I was due February 22. My first two babies, both girls, were each born two days before their due date. So of course, I expected my third to follow the same pattern. But the 20th came and went without the appearance of a baby. Then I got to experience what it was like to actually still be pregnant on my due date. A few days later, I was feeling fantastic physically but terribly emotionally. I had been so incredibly uncomfortable at the end with my first two, and here I was feeling great, that must mean I have a ways to go, right? Finally, at five days post due, I asked our midwife, Tiffanie to strip my membranes. The cramping started a couple of hours later.
I went to bed uncomfortable that night and woke up a few times from contractions but I was able to go right back to sleep. When we woke up in the morning, around 8, the intensity was increasing. I started timing my contractions around 8:30 but there was no pattern to them. I had also had no pattern with my first two babies until I reached transition. I was really hoping this was labor and was reminding myself that it was very normal for me to not have a pattern.
I sent a text to Tiffanie around 10am telling her what was going on. She knew my history of fast labors and I wanted to make sure she had plenty of notice. I kept laboring in our bedroom, our daughters coming in and out to check on Mommy. Mainly, they loved the day since they got to watch a ton of TV so we could have some quiet time together. I was dealing with the contractions pretty well, mostly on my hands and knees. My husband was pushing his fist into my back to relieve the back pain and I was doing deep abdominal breathing.
Around 10:45am I was on the floor leaning on one of those big exercise balls and I was hit with a very hard contraction. As soon as it was over, I told my husband, Matthew to call Tiffanie. She arrived 45 minutes later with Cassie, a midwife student we had met during our prenatal visits. When they got there they quietly began setting up and told Matthew that it was time to set up the birthing tub. Tiffanie watched me from our doorway for a minute. In between contractions, I told her how happy I was that she was there. I had been really worried that she would not be able to make it in time since my previous labors had been so fast and we lived so far apart. She told me that I was doing great and that I was in transition. I was so happy and relieved, I started crying.
A few minutes later, I was able to get into the birthing tub. It really did help with the pain. It probably took me from a 7 to a 5. Unfortunately, I was about to go up to a 10 in pain and no amount of warm water was going to help that.
I am so thankful that Matthew and I had a special moment shortly after I got in the tub. Tiffanie and Cassie were sitting in the next room, letting us have our privacy so it was just Matthew and I in the room. We had gotten some holy water from our church and we added it to our birthing tub. I asked Matthew to pray for our baby and he said a wonderful prayer for our family. I am grateful that God gave us an extra pain free minute to share that moment. Things really picked up after that.
When I had my second daughter, which was my first birth without any pain medication, I had a rough few minutes but it was really only 20-30 minutes of very tough pain. I was really expecting my third baby to be the same or easier. It ended up being about an hour and a half this time.
I wish I could say that I handled the pain well. I didn’t. I cried, I screamed, I tensed up. I did everything you are not supposed to do. I even banged on the wall in front of me a few times. I kept repeating that I couldn’t do it. When a new contraction would start, I would just say “No, no, no!” I could only handle the contractions on my hands and knees. My arms and legs kept going numb so I would flip over to my back in between contractions. Through all of this, my husband was there putting his fist to my back during EVERY SINGLE CONTRACTION. Tiffanie was quietly assuring me that I could do it. She tried to get me to say that a few times. I couldn’t get the words out but a small part of my brain believed her and it helped me calm down a little.
The girls kept coming in and out of the room but mainly kept away. They didn’t seem too bothered by the noise I was making, they just didn’t really want to be around it. We had spent a lot of time during the pregnancy watching birthing videos together so they wouldn’t be intimidated by the sights and sounds of birth. We talked a lot about how it was hard work to get a baby out and sometimes the mommies cry because they are so happy.
Finally, finally, finally! I was feeling a small urge to push! The urge wasn’t overwhelming like it was with my second baby but I was in so much pain, I needed to get the baby out. I started to push and it started to burn. I was so happy to finally be getting somewhere, I had switched from saying “No, no, no” to saying “Yes, yes, yes!”
Our baby started coming out, finally. I was asking Tiffanie and Matthew for updates after every contraction. How much is out? Half the head? After what felt like forever but I’m sure was just a few minutes, our baby was out! Matthew caught, just like we had planned. He held our baby for a few moments while I flipped onto my back. It was then that Matthew looked at me and said “You have a son.” A baby boy. Since Matthew and I both came from families with lots of girls and we had already had two girls of our own, we didn’t have real high hopes of having a boy. I think I even asked him if he was sure it was a boy. I immediately reached for our baby and put him on my chest. I started crying and just kept repeating “My baby, my baby.”
Our girls had come into the room while I was pushing. They still, three months later, talk about it almost every day. They tell me what a good job I did getting the baby out. That it was really hard, but I did it. They talk about seeing their brother’s head come out. Our oldest, who was 4, helped cut the cord. She still talks about using the scissors to cut the long string. It’s so cute, I don’t want to correct her. I wasn’t really sure that I even wanted them at the birth but now I am so glad they were there. It’s one of my favorite things about our birth.
This birth did not turn out like I thought it would. It was definitely my most painful birth, probably because he was so big. He was 9 pounds, 1 ounce. A 1 pound, 1 ounce jump from my second baby. I also thought I would love being in the birthing tub and I did like it for a little bit. I think I just should have gotten out. By the time the labor got really tough, I needed to pace like I had with my second baby but I couldn’t concentrate enough to realize that and get out of the tub. I felt trapped in there and it got very hot in the small room. After the birth, I had a few days that I was embarrassed about how poorly I had dealt with the pain. Ultimately though, I did it. I got my baby out without any drugs, forceps or vacuum. That was the goal. I got every single thing in our birth plan. It was amazing. I was amazing.