On Wednesday January 6th, at 5 days overdue and feeling like our baby was never going to arrive, we went in to see the midwives, who after a little check, informed me that I was 1 cm dilated, with some other good things happening down there. Now 1cm at nearly 41 weeks is nothing to write home about, but it was PROGRESS! Progress that made me feel like we actually may have this baby before it was time to register him for preschool!

That Friday we had a BPP (biophysical profile) test scheduled, which includes an ultrasound and a non-stress test, where they check all of baby’s stats and make sure everything is still OK. They look for baby’s movement, breathing, fluid levels and muscle tone, and then hook you up to a monitor to make sure baby’s heart rate is increasing with movement, etc.

Annnd….we kind of failed the test.

Baby was in the middle of a nice long nap during the ultrasound, and was NOT interested in coming out to play. Thus he got a big fat ZERO in the movement box, and a big fat ZERO in the breathing box, because that was also way down.

Luckily he came out to play for the non stress test, and they recorded lots of movement there.

However, since we technically failed the test, the midwives asked me to come back the next morning to repeat the whole shenanigan all over again.

Goodie.

My midwife assured me it was nothing to get concerned about, since they saw lots of movement eventually, and that lower breathing rates can actually be a sign of a baby getting ready to head on out, but it was another day of waiting, and another drive to the hospital the next morning.

Or not…

We went home, I promptly got on the elliptical and went for a nice long (but slow!) walk. Ate 1/2 a pineapple. Then got up to some shenanigans of our own later that night.

Something seems to have worked!

At 3:30 am, I woke up feeling those telltale cramps. By 4am, my contractions started. They were regular from the get-go, coming about 5 minutes apart, but only lasting about 30 seconds or so. I stayed in bed for the next two hours, determined to rest and let the family keep sleeping, and knowing full well that my 3 year old son Griffin would be up at 6:01, and there was no chance of anyone sleeping in. I started to make lists in my head…lists of all the things I had to do when I got up – strip the good sheets off the bed, blow up the pool a bit more, pack the last of Griffin’s things, oh and muffins…wouldn’t it be nice to have fresh muffins this morning?

Just before 6am I woke my husband Steve up to share the news.

The first few hours of the morning flew by in a haze. We called Grandma and Grandpa to come pick up Griffin, called my mom, called my friend Gretel who was coming to be my doula, and finally, called the midwives, all while my contractions sped up to about 3 minutes apart. I took a shower, and spent about an hour sitting onto the birthing ball and just breathing through the contractions.  Things slowed down a bit for that hour, maybe because I was so relaxed…and maybe because upon coming to check on me at one point, Steve found me trying to move the changing table to plug in the heating pad for when baby was born, and in no uncertain terms told me to sit back down and chill out until the midwives arrived.  The stress of having me in labour and Griffin being very hyper was a bit much I think!  (However, I did get those muffins made!)

At 8:30am, everyone seemed to converge all at once. Grandma and Grandpa arrived, just in the nick of time, because we were starting to lose patience with the 3 year old Captain Full O’Beans! The midwives arrived. The dog went crazy. Gretel arrived. The midwives checked me and declared me 4 cm dilated, and in active labour, all while Dudley the dog barked madly in the background.

And then suddenly, it was quiet again.  Griffin, Grandma and Grandpa were gone, thankfully taking the dog with them, and I had the go-ahead to get in the birthing tub.

Ah the tub! It was warm, I was buoyant, it was all good. And those stories you read, about water birthing, and how getting in the birthing tub just makes the pain of the contractions “melt away?”

Um….not for me!

Don’t get me wrong, it was relaxing as stink to hang out in the water all day. It was easy to change positions, it was soothing and warm, but there was nothing melting about my contractions!

The midwives encouraged me to get out of the tub fairly regularly, as walking around sped things up. I got out for the first time around noon I think, just around the time that my Mom arrived. Another check found me at 6cms, and we decided to break my water just to keep things moving along. (I’m kind of with the “lets just get this over with” school, that says bring on the pain, if it means it’s over quicker!)

I think it was shortly after 1pm that I got out of the tub again. The contractions had seriously intensified, and I could no longer get comfortable in the tub. Buoyancy was suddenly unwanted, I wanted something solid and supporting under me that I could lean on, and I knew push against when the time came.

And the time came sooner than I anticipated. We moved to our bedroom, the walk there having stepped things up another notch.  I knew we were close.  Steve snuggled up on the bed next to me for a few delightful minutes while I worked through the next few contractions.  Suddenly I started to feel the pressure in my bum, and the urge to push became overwhelming.  The midwife quickly checked me, and I was glad to hear that we were good to go, everything was dilated and effaced and all the other things they needed to be. So suddenly we were pushing. And just as suddenly, it was over. I think maybe a grand total of 4 pushes and a few tribal howls later, I was holding my beautiful new son in my arms.  They brought him right up to my chest and he let out a few gurgle-y cries.

Now, aside from all the “technical elements” of the story, I want to tell you a bit about what I remember about the beauty of being able to have this experience in my own home. Our house, which is full of windows facing in all directions, was flooded with the most beautiful sun light all day long…I’m not sure I’ve seen a more beautiful day so far this winter. Despite the fact that there were 6 people in the house plus me, it was silent, almost reverent, all day long. It was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by familiar things, familiar people, all of whom obviously held a deep respect for what they were witnessing. I hardly felt worthy of the respect as I lounged in the water and later howled on the bed…heck, most of what I was doing was breathing. However, here in the afterglow, holding a stunning little human being in my arms as I type, I fully understand the importance of the event. It’s life giving…it’s giving life.

I really don’t know where everyone was or what everyone did all day long, but the one thing I do know is that Steve never left my side – he was amazing, strong, and I couldn’t have done it without him. Gretel too – she did leave my side, to make sandwiches and take pictures and do all kinds of other stuff that I’m certain I have no idea of the breadth of, but every time a contraction hit she was right back there at my side, pushing on my back, or not, depending on my mood at the time. I’m so thankful they were a part of the day.

I’m also so glad that my Mom was able to be there. My Mom arrived on time for Griffin’s (hospital) birth, but ended up going back to our house to grab a bit of rest, as we thought it was going to be hours before Griffin arrived. Griffin surprised us all (including the second midwife who arrived in barely enough time to catch him!) and my mom missed the big moment. I’m glad she didn’t miss it this time!

Corben is, in a word, perfect. He weighed in at 8lbs, 8 oz.  He is a totally chilled out baby…very little phases him. Even when he’s hungry he gets a bit worked up, but it’s nothing like the end of the world cries that my first son had when he was a baby. The only thing he hates is being cold, and thus, being naked or anywhere even close to partially undressed. Other than that he’s eating all day, waking only once or twice in the night to feed, and generally being adorable.  We’re all very much in love!

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Jenn
Proud Mama to 2 beautiful boys.  My husband and I are just a couple of folks (with a dog) who decided to leave our little apartment in downtown Toronto for greener pastures (literally!) and to start a family.  We now live on a 2 acre slice of paradise on the “Roof of Ontario” – the highest part of the province.
You can follow our adventures at www.lifeontheroof.blogspot.com