We’re so excited to have Baby H home with us!! She was born at 7:30pm on Tuesday night (July 13th), two weeks before her expected due date. We’re so blessed that everything seemed to go just the way we had hoped!

It was about a 24 hour labor that started with really mild contractions at around 8pm on Monday night. I thought for sure it was Braxton Hicks at first, and after the first 4 or so, we started timing them and they were 20 minutes apart. As the evening progressed, they gradually increased in frequency and intensity. I used contractionmaster.com to keep track of when they were coming (great site!). By midnight I was timing them at 12 minutes apart as we busily sorted her clothes and blankets to get them washed “just in case” this was for real. That was a task I had originally planned on doing when I started my leave from work, which was still a week away!

That night we barely slept at all as we were up about every 10 minutes with a contraction while my husband applied counter pressure on my back which really helped with the increasing pain. At that point they felt like the bad menstrual cramps I used to get occasionally. By 6am I felt sure we’d be having a baby that day so I emailed work to let them know of my change in plans and texted my parents who are on vacation in Idaho with my younger siblings to let them know I felt sure this was the real deal. My Dad quickly booked a flight for my Mom to fly out of Spokane that morning so she wouldn’t miss the birth!

I called my midwife at 6:30am to give her a heads up on what was going on and get her thoughts on my current situation. She said to eat a big breakfast, take a warm bath and get some sleep since we hadn’t slept for more than 10 minutes at a time the whole night. A warm bath helped separate the contractions back to about 12 minutes apart. I called my midwife again at noon and had her listen to my reaction to one of my contractions. She said to call again when I was at 4-1-1. So I called again at 3pm and she said to meet her at the birth center at 4:30pm.

By then the contractions were really strong and I was very vocal through them. My husband was also going on almost 20 hours of counter pressure duty and was really feeling it in his arms and shoulders. He was great during all this and really understanding as my demeanor became less hospitable with each passing hour.

The short car ride to the birth center was super uncomfortable because I had to sit through 2 contractions in an uncomfortable seated position with no counter pressure on my back. When we got there, I got checked out and learned I was fully effaced and dilated to a high 6, almost 7! It was such a relief to hear that I was well on my way to having this baby!

My Mom and older sister arrived as I got in the tub and labored there for the remaining 3 hours. After each contraction I practically fell asleep, and was in a very different state of mind. I could hear the conversations around me but physically I was completely disconnected and completely relaxed. I don’t think I opened my eyes more than two or three times during the whole time I was in the water.

Finally my water broke after 2.5 hours. It was such a relief for a brief moment, but right after that very brief moment, I got the craziest urge to push but my midwife told me to hold off until she checked where I was at. I had just a small piece of cervix left which she held back while I pushed through a pushing contraction. It was INTENSE and a very different feeling than the contractions I had been feeling during transition. As I pushed, I could actually feel her moving down closer to the exit.

The whole pushing phase lasted half an hour. I pushed hard (probably too hard) 8 times during a total of 4 pushing contractions. I felt the dreaded ring of fire, then her head was out, followed by one more push that released her shoulders and I felt the rest of her body wiggle out to the sounds of joy and excitement in the room. She was on my chest moments later looking up at us with big beautiful eyes. It was such a surreal, beautiful moment.

After some rubbing on her back she let out a nice cry and lay there on me for a few minutes. My husband got to cut the cord after it stopped pulsing (10 minutes) and I passed her off to him as the midwife noted some bleeding and we focused on delivering the placenta. It came out after another 5 minutes but there was still a constant stream of blood that turned out to be from the many small tears I had made by pushing really hard. I got stitched up then got some much-needed assistance with breastfeeding from my midwife.

Baby H latched on after a few minutes and held on for over 15 minutes. She was then weighed (5lbs 10oz) and measured (18in) and we got to dress her up in her first outfit (a team effort), which turned out to be really big on her cause she’s a tiny one.

We spent a total of 7 hours at the birth center – 3 before she was born and 4 after. We had lots of questions for my midwife as she went though the recommendations for the first 3 days (checking temps, recording feeds, diapers, etc.). We were home with her by 11:30pm absolutely elated to have her here with us and grateful to God for such a wonderful experience!

- Joanne, first time Mom