This narrative was adapted from a little bullet-point overview typed up by Eric and I. I’ve tried to fill in the facts with the feelings, but forgive me if its not terribly eloquent!
I used the elliptical for 20 min at the Morrow’s in the morning on 6/4. Forgot to wear pregnancy support belt, but exercised anyway. Knew I’d pay for it later in my low back.
Had a 39 week afternoon appointment at Birthcare. Checked by Kelly. Cervix 60% thinned and 2.5 cm dilated already! “Do you want me just to check you or help you along?” “What does that mean?” She did a 2-finger swipe around my cervix. She said it looks like they might get a call from us in the next few days.
Knowing the labor was imminent made Eric and I talk excitedly about other name possibilities on the drive home. We mostly had Malcolm decided, but we were toying around with other nerdy middle names like Tiberius or Centauri. Poor kid.
Went home to a normal evening. Put Vi to bed and watched MST3K’s “Manos” the Hands of Fate. Ate the chocolate Andrea sent. Iced back and massaged it–lots of pressure and ache. Had a normal bedtime. I asked Eric: “Wanna soften my cervix?” Of course he would! That’s about as sexy as things were getting these days.
Around midnight on 6/5 I was flipping over, maybe had to go to the bathroom. I felt a small shudder, pin pop, gurgling bubbles. It was a very odd feeling, not nearly as dramatic as when my water broke with Vi. So at 12:40am I got up to pee. More liquid that wasn’t pee. I called out of the bathroom: “Baby, I think my water broke.”
Called Birthcare. No call back. Called again. Contractions started. Eric asked me how they felt–“Pain right in the babymaker.” Which was a relief since I didn’t feel them in my back. Yet. While waiting for the callback, I said to Eric: “I’m scared.” Eric says: “you’re gonna do awesome. We get to meet him today.”
Marsha called back while Quinn on the toilet. About 5-10 mins apart.
Elin called back again. On her way about 2am.
We moved downstairs while Eric ran around like a crazy person trying to prepare the lower floor for labor. I was backwards on the toilet most of the time. Then legs were falling asleep. Moved to the futon for a while on hands and knees. Contractions pretty intense from the start.
Eric started to fill the tub. Tub taking a long time. Our water heater couldnt sustain the heat for the duration of the fill. In the back of my mind I wondered whether we spent all this money renting a tub we couldn’t keep warm. The heater it comes with is only designed to maintain a temperature, and not rapidly heat up the water. So Eric started to boil water in the teapot to add to the tub. Our friend Diana came over during the craziness and took over water boiling for the duration of the labor. She was a life saver.
Elin (midwife) and Mary Beth(birth assistant) arrive around 3am.
Tub mostly ready. I got in around 4am, still a little chilly. Intense contractions around 3-5 apart. Was shivering and shuddering through the contractions, but it still felt better than getting out. I wanted Eric in tub too. At this point, Diana is boiling 3 pots of water at a time. As she is dumping it in, it is sinking, burning Eric’s feet, but it feels great on my back. I didn’t know it was burning Eric. I Liked broad pressure on my low back, no massage. Really liking the playlist I made–wasn’t sure if I would like it. As Coldpay came on I managed to say to Eric: “Oh no you hate Coldplay.” He says: “If you can take labor, I can take Coldplay.”
While I contracted, I breathed deep audible breaths to help keep me as relaxed as possible. Later, my mom said it sounded like a meditation. Early on, I almost started making references to that SNL sketch about natural birth. I almost said:“Can I breathe my pain into your mouth?” but she was afraid the birth team wouldn’t think she was in hard labor, so she didn’t say it out loud. Eric thought during breathing, “Are these sounds going to attract another one?” ha ha.
The midwife asked where I want to have this baby. I said I wanted him in the tub. She said I can’t push out the baby until tub is closer to 100 degrees. Oh boy, thank you Diana! Still trying to reach body temp in the tub.
My sister Summer was being Skyped in during first part of labor, my mom was skyped in near the end.
What I was feeling during all of this:
When it was difficult to focus on relaxing, I had Mantra: “Come on out baby Chappy. Come on out.” It helped me visualize why I was having the labor pain. Although Malcolm was faced the right way, I still felt the majority of the labor in my back. It was mainly because I just have a bad back and the pressure was intensifying there. The contractions often lasted more than a minute, which was pretty long. But the difference was that this time around I was an active participant in this hard work. It wasn’t just “happening to me”. Another Mantra I said out loud more than once was: “I’m a badass.” And I believed it. The birth team agreed 🙂 I would occasionally look at the clock and think: “Ok, my expectation is ten hours. We’re almost half-way there! I can do this. I can do this.” I spent the majority of the time on my knees in the tub. I tried to change positions a bit, but the back pressure was so intense, it hurt to move in many positions.
I had no desire to be checked for dilation. Not in the least curious. Midwife could easily tell where we were in the labor because of attitude, breathing. everything appeared very straight-forward. And I wasnt going to get out of the tub to get checked. I could barely move.
Summer and Julie switched on skype at some point.
At this point, I finally hit a breaking point. I asked, “When’s he coming out?” “I’m out of gas.” The breathing sounds sounded like they were “breaking”. Couldn’t focus much longer…
I was in transition.
Then I bore down at the end of a contraction. “Thank God”, I thought.
As I started to push more often, midwife slid a mirror under me, trying to see baby. I pushed for awhile without feeling much progress.
At this point, Vi woke up. Diana got her. She could hear mama from upstairs, but Diana was able to calm her down and get her dressed. Got downstairs saw us in the tub. “Mama seeping.” She thought I was asleep! Not panicking or scared. Kathy came around 7 to pick her up and take her for the day. They sat on the couch for a couple contractions before leaving for the day.
Midwife couldn’t see progress. I reached down to feel for the head, but I had to reach in pretty far. “I feel something squishy.” “What kind of squishy?” they asked. I didn’t know.
Tried to change positions in the tub to help progress, but it wasn’t comfortable and it didn’t seem to help.
The midwife said to get out of the tub so she could check what was happening. apparently this was taking too long, and she wanted to make sure all was well. I got out and they tried to get me dry clothes. I said: “I don’t want to have a contraction standing up.” , so I grabbed a wet towel around me and headed straight to the futon as another contraction came. I couldn’t lift leg, tired, and IT bands so sore. So I pushed twice with legs closed on my left side. Even so, I felt a noticeable difference–he was coming!
After assistance in lifting leg, a couple more pushes and he surged forward. It was so fast, I screamed because it was like I was being ripped in half. The sound that came out of me was so crazy, I thought: “That’s what the movie chicks do. Dramatic.” I felt the all too familiar Burning. Then more burning. The head was out, then I tried to listen to the midwife to slow the pushes for a controlled delivery. I cried and screamed and tried to slow the pushing. Nothing could stop him. He came right out it was the most amazing feeling. Julie my mom was on Skype and couldn’t see while we were on the futon. She only heard the screaming. “She’s dying! Something’s wrong!”
From Eric’s perspective: saw the midwife do some quick lasso move and saw the cord flop over. Saw a hand come next, arm first. Another quick lasso move, cord flopped over again. Apparently his head came out with his hand over his face. No wonder it hurt so bad. Plus, the cord was wrapped around the arm/head, then again around his arm. Hence the quick lasso moves by the midwife, Elin. Slow steady and baby out on next contraction. Flopped down next to me. “That’s a baby,” Eric thought.
He came out a little blue. “He may need a puff of air.” A little worried, I asked “Is he ok?” He took a big breath just before they put the oxygen to his mouth. Pinked up right away. I was ecstatic and crying. I said to Eric, “We did it!” He said: “YOU did it!” I was told about the hand and the cord details, and said, “And I pushed THAT out?! I’m amazing!” Everyone agreed. I was so proud of us both.
“What should we call him?” asked Eric. “Malcolm Scott”, I said. As Scott is Eric’s middle name and also the name of his family’s Scottish clan. “Because WE did this.”
9 pounds, 12 oz. and a giant 15 inch noggin. 20 inches long. I had the closest guess to birthweight. Eric had underestimated by a whole pound 🙂
It was the most amazing thing to see him there. The experience was very different this time around, it was like my labor experience was redeemed. I had countless people praying for us–that this time it would be short and uncomplicated. And it was. As I was laying on the bed next to him later that afternoon, I felt so excessively blessed by this little guy. He felt such a gift–one I didn’t deserve, but God gave me anyway.