I went to bed at about 1 a.m. on Monday, February 21st. It was an extra day off of school (for President’s Day) and I was taking advantage by catching up on laundry and such. As soon as I got into bed I could feel the contractions starting. I had them 1-3 times an hour, lasting anywhere from about 15 seconds to 1.5 minutes, so I didn’t get much sleep.
Jack (my 4 year old) woke up at 6:30, and when we got out of bed to make breakfast the contractions kept coming. I called Kevin (he was at work) to tell him that today was probably the day and to make sure to keep his cell phone on and in his pocket. I called my Mom and other family members too, so they knew to be prepared.
After breakfast the contractions were about 2-4 times an hour, so Jack and I decided to take a walk to see if I could get the contractions into a pattern. It didn’t work. My sister came home from school to drive me to my weekly midwife appointment, so at about 11:30 Jack, myself, and my sister headed to the birthing center for my appointment. Bea checked me and I was 2-3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced. Samuel wasn’t putting too much pressure on my cervix though. Bea sent me home with instructions to not exhaust myself trying to make labor come harder. If it was going to happen it would happen, and I needed my energy! She said to walk, take a break, and repeat.
On the way home I had 3 contractions (it’s a 40 minute drive). I assumed it was because she had checked me so my uterus was mad, lol. My Mom agreed. But an hour and a half later they were still coming to 9-10 minutes apart and were lasting for at least 1 minute. Kevin came home from work and took over taking care of Jack so I could concentrate on my breathing and relaxing. I called the birthing center to let them know there was a pattern and that things were starting to pick up speed. The midwife was with a client, so the birthing assistant took a message and said they’d call me back ASAP. I told Kevin to put the bags in the car, because I was pretty sure they were going to have me come in.
At one point I was on my knees, with my upper body on the birthing ball, and I was moaning through a contraction. Jack climbed up onto my back and asked me ‘What’s wrong Mama?’. I told him his brother wanted to come out to meet him. He kissed my cheek and went back to his playroom. In the 15 minutes it took for me to get a call back from the midwife, the contractions had progressed to being about 6 minutes apart and lasting for about 1.5 – 2 minutes. I was leaning over my birthing ball and trying to rest and calm my body as much as I could.
My Daddy came over to take over ‘Jackson duty’ so Jack could finish his snack and he and my Daddy would meet us up at the birthing center. Kevin was making a frozen pizza for himself and Jack and said he was going to eat a slice before we left! My response: ‘Are you freaking kidding me?!’ Apparently he was, lol, but at the time I thought he was being serious and I thought about punching him (kidding… maybe).
Kevin and I started walking to the jeep, and I realized I forgot my pack of bottled water so Kevin went to get it. I had a contraction, so I got down on all fours on my front porch and was doing my pelvic rocks. I’m sure the neighbors enjoyed the show, lol. Kevin helped me get into the jeep. I told him to blast the air conditioning, because I was insanely hot, and we headed off.
During the drive, the contractions really picked up. They were now about 3-4 minutes apart and lasting about 2 minutes. It was really uncomfortable having to sit in the car, upright, and seat-belted in while trying to work through the contractions. Plus the sun was so bright and it was really annoying me. We got really lucky with not hitting too many red lights though, so we got there in about 30 minutes. I think Kevin may have broken the speed limit a few times too, lol.
That drive was honestly the worst part of my whole labor. Being confined by the safety belt and not being able to move through the contractions was pure torture. I had my head in a pillow, because the sun was killing my eyes. I was holding onto the ‘oh shit’ bar in the jeep and bearing down on it. Luckily I remembered the midwives had warned me that it could take a good 30 minutes for the tub to fill up, so I called them and requested they start filling it up.
When we arrived, one of the birthing assistants was waiting for us, so she helped us inside and got me settled on the bed. We got there at about 4:30. Bea (the midwife) came in to check me and I was 8 centimeters, fully effaced, and Samuel was all the way down. They had the birthing tub all filled up and ready for me, so I got my tub shirt on, Kevin got his swim trunks on, and we went right into the tub.
The warm water was amazing! It helped me relax so much and the sound of the water filling the tub was very soothing. It was dark and there were candles lit, and Bea and the birthing assistant (who’s name I didn’t have time to catch, lol) were so calming and reassuring. My oldest sister April showed up at about this time, but we were still waiting for my younger sister Stacy, Mom, Daddy, Jack, my bestest friend Crystal, and the photographer. We had an entourage coming!. The birthing assistant got me some water and some crackers to snack on, since I had not eaten in a while and I was going to need the energy to push soon.
Bea asked me to let her know if/when my waters broke and about 3 minutes after that, with the next contraction, they broke. She checked me and I was complete. She told me to listen to my body and push when I felt like I needed to. By now my Mom had made it and was videotaping.
I’m not sure when Stacy came, lol. I had another contraction and breathed through it, and on the next contraction I started pushing. It felt good to push and it helped the pain, but I just tried to go into myself and relax and focus on bringing my baby out. It was hard to not tense my body up and at one point Bea asked me to try and relax my legs and let them fall open more. I told her I couldn’t, lol. Somehow I found the strength to do it though. I remember telling them that it hurt, but I know it was beneficial, because I could listen to my body tell me how hard to push and when I needed to take it slower.
I pushed through 4 contractions and Samuel was born at 5:06. I remember feeling 2 pops when he came out, and I thought “Oh my goodness, there’s two!” I know one pop was his head and the other pop was his shoulders, lol, but I did have a moment of panic there. They placed Samuel on my chest to cuddle with me while they waited for his cord to stop pulsing.
I was still in a lot of pain, so I had my head back with my eyes closed on Kevin’s legs for a minute while I held Samuel and rubbed him. They placed warm towels on him, and about this time the photographer arrived. Once the cord stopped pulsing, Kevin cut it and we just hung out in the tub while the water drained and I felt stable enough to move. About this time my Daddy, Jackson, and my Grandma arrived. Jack came in and met his new brother. He gave the midwife a big hug and a high-five!
With some help from the midwife and Kevin, I made it into the bedroom and laid down. Samuel and I had a little over an hour of just skin-to-skin time. During this time Jack was learning all about the placenta from the midwives. He put gloves on, picked up my placenta, and Andrea (a second midwife who arrived after the birth) was explaining what the placenta was for. He was absolutely amazed by it!
The midwives checked Sam out while he was on my chest. After the first hour we had a couple of nursing sessions and then they took him to weigh him. My Mom ordered pizza and salad and everyone munched and talked in the living room, while Samuel and I rested in the bedroom, and they came in one at a time to visit. I ate, showered, and Samuel got his official newborn exam. We headed back home around 11 p.m., with our new baby boy in tow.
Edited to Add the video: