I had been feeling a little bit “off” on Monday and Tuesday, but tried not to dwell on it or let it get my hopes up or anything.  I had a few braxton hicks contractions that were uncomfortable, but not painful, and again, tried not to think anything of it.

I had a midwife appointment Tuesday afternoon.  Even though I know it doesn’t mean much, I asked her to check me because I was curious.  I was 2.5cm dilated and 40% effaced.  Interestingly, Lena had been transverse and posterior, meaning she was facing the side and front instead of the back.  Facing backwards is optimal for labor and birth.  Well, Lynda could tell when she checked me that her head was actually anterior, which is what we want.  So, she basically had her head turned to the side, which was good.  Lynda offered to strip my membranes.  I entertained the thought, but really just wanted this labor to start on its own.  So, I declined and grudgingly set up a 41 week appointment for next week.

I went to sleep that night resigning myself to further days of pregnancy.

Brian and I had gone to bed early.  He was fighting a cold and I was just plain exhausted, so by the time I woke up just after 2:30 I had already gotten 5 hours of sleep, thankfully.  A contraction had woken me up.  I honestly don’t know if I had had any yet, or if they just started intense enough to wake me.  But, wake me they did.  I laid there wondering if this was really it.  I grabbed my iphone and checked my email, surfed the internet a little, all while timing the contractions.  I was surprised to realize they were 5 minutes apart and one minute long.  Still not painful, just uncomfortable.

Then one hit that I would call painful.  I decided to get up and walk around to try to move things along and start to get ready.  This was about 3:10.  I proceeded to get dressed, get things situated, etc.  All the while noticing that the contractions were very close together as I was walking around.  My contraction pattern with Trevor was a little random, so I didn’t think much of it.  But, they were getting intense enough, I decided to wake up Brian around 3:30.  I told him I was in labor.  I don’t remember exactly what he said, but it was something along the lines of “are you sure?”.  I assured him I most definitely was and he got up.  Within about 5 minutes I told him he better call Lynda my midwife because it appeared things were progressing quickly.  We woke up my mom so she would be available just in case Trevor woke up.  I really hoped the whole thing would be done and over with before Trevor woke up in the morning.  That gave me 4-5 hours.  I was hopeful, but a little nervous, too.

I got on the birth ball and rocked back and forth, humming through the contractions.  They were very close together and pretty intense, but I tried not to think about since I figured I still had at least a few hours to go, if not several.  I wondered if things weren’t further along than I thought when I had to keep telling my mom and Brian to not talk during the contractions.  I had to focus because they were getting hard.  I started getting hot and shaky and started having a harder time dealing with the contractions.  So, I told Brian to fill up the tub so I could have some warm water to help with the pain and the buoyancy to take some pressure off my belly.  I got in the tub probably around 4 or shortly after that.

After a couple contractions in the tub, I was starting to worry that Lynda wasn’t there yet and was about to tell Brian to call her again, when she showed up.  This was probably 4:15.  She came in to see how things were going, and only had to listen to me groan through one contraction to realize that she had better get a move on setting things up.

At this point the contractions were basically on top of each other and getting extremely difficult to deal with.  I knew things were moving along at a surprisingly fast rate, but I still don’t think I knew just how close I was.  A few more really hard contractions in the tub, then one hit that had a distinct hard pressure.  Not a pushing pressure, but more of an downward and opening pressure.  I think this was when it hit me that it was almost time.  The next contraction was a distinct pushing contraction.  After it was over, I got out of the tub and onto the birthing stool Lynda had brought.  One push on the stool, just enough time to catch my breath and yell “IT HURTS!!!” before pushing again with all my might.  And she was out at 4:40am.  Last time Brian cried as Trevor was put on my chest, this time, he laughed and kept repeating “Look at her! Look at her!”  He was basically in shock that it was already over and had gone so fast.  I think I was, too.  In shock, but very grateful.

My water had never broken, so she was born in the caul, which means I pushed her out with her amniotic sac still intact.  Being born in the caul is good luck, supposedly.  It broke as her body came out and gave her a little shower, so she was totally clean when Lynda put her on my belly.  The umbilical cord was short, so I couldn’t hold her any higher up than that.  She didn’t cry at all.  We got a good look at her and then moved me onto the bed with her.  I wanted to nurse her, but she couldn’t reach my chest until we cut the cord.  Oh, Lynda had two assistants that arrived about 5 minutes after she was born.  Luckily, Lynda was totally comfortable and confident flying solo.  I love that woman!

So, Brian cut the cord, and she latched right on.  Yay!  The midwives cleaned everything up while Lena and I got acquainted.  The placenta came out with no problems, and they said I bled surprisingly little.  I did get a minor 1st degree tear that needed to be sutured, but that’s a lot better than what I came away with last time.  They gave her a newborn exam and she passed with flying colors.  They finished cleaning up and left.  They were gone by 6:00, which gave us just enough time to settle and reflect a bit before Trevor woke up.  The timing of everything couldn’t have been more perfect.

As we’ve reflected over the experience since then, we’ve realized some interesting things.  First, Brian missed half my labor.  Sounds funny when you say it that way, but it’s true.  I doubt he ever would have imagined when I woke him up that he would have a new daughter just over an hour later.  Second, we would never have made it to a hospital, considering I didn’t even wake Brian up until an hour before the birth.  And then, we would have had to wait for someone to come stay at the house with Trevor.  I can imagine I would have starting feeling like pushing as we were walking out the door.  Lynda pointed out we wouldn’t have made it to her birthing center either, for the same reasons.  This baby was destined to be born at home.  I’m just glad we had planned it that way instead of it taking us by surprise!

We are totally amazed by the experience.  How blessed we’ve been with how it worked out and how things have been going since then.  So amazed.  We can’t even talk about it without chuckling because it just blows us away.

Jody