On Saturday evening as hubby and I went over our plans for the next day, I had a brunch which he would drive me to because he insisted that I not drive alone because I was “too close” and he would come home watch his basketball game, in peace without crazy, nesting preggo. Sounded like a perfect Sunday, even as I was thinking about it, I remember laughing out loud and saying “these plans sounds a little too perfect, watch her decide to come…”
Mother’s instincts I guess.
In the early morning hours of April 6th, I felt a couple of mild contractions. Much like the ones I’ve had on and off that whole week, they didn’t bother me much and I continued with business as usual which at that time was sleep. By the 2nd time I got up to pee at 7:30 am, I noticed blood, not just a light spotting like the previous night that prompted me to tell my doula to get ready, she’ll be here “in the next 2 days”. Actual blood, bright red and enough to flow into the toilet bowl. Still no contraction at that time, so I went back to bed.
I woke Chris up and told him what had happened and that I was going to skip brunch because I didn’t want to be the crazy lady going into labor in the middle of our meal. I also decided I would start measuring the contractions if they came again.
The first recorded one came at 7:48 AM. By the third one, my breathing had become so intense that Chris decided to wake up and see how he could help. I looked at the timer and realized the contractions were all about a minute long and came about 2 minutes apart.
“That can’t be right!”
Chris asked if he should set up the birth tub, and I said no, because surely it couldn’t be time for that yet. My first labor management technique was to get in the regular tub on all fours, swaying against a birth ball, with him aiming the warm water directly on my back, measuring contractions as they came. It felt great, but did little to slow down my contractions. So I told him to call the midwife, I explained to her what was going on, and she told me to alert the doula and give her a buzz in an hour with an update.
I decided that perhaps I should take a bath, that should help ease things up a bit. Hubby again asked about setting up the birth tub, “no!” I insisted, it’s not “that” time yet. He asked if I wanted to add my usual herbs to the bath, but I said no to that as well since I usually like to infuse the herbs in boiling water. We def didn’t have time for that, just my trusty lavender bath salts and maybe a few drops of oil from my labor oil kit.
With candles set, birth playlist going, I got in and tried to relax. The warm water felt good, I even had a few shorter contractions, a couple were about 4 minutes apart, intense but better. That however, was short lived, and I started to feel a little off. I asked Chris to check the time, an hour hadn’t passed yet. Sick of being in the bath, I drained it and headed for the room, to do what exactly I don’t know, but that’s where I wanted to go.
I barely made it to the edge of the bed, when I had the sudden urge to throw up. Within seconds I was hurling clear liquid all over the floor. Chris rushed to my side, with the largest towel he could find, I looked at him and whimpered “Set up the tub, she’s coming…”
I then had him call the midwife, at first I spoke, then of course the contractions were coming and I could barely breath so he continued the conversation for me, and she ended with “well this is it sweetie, I’ll make my way over.” Next up was the doula, she too agreed that it was time to head over.
Chris tried to feed me multiple times as we worked through the surges, first were the boiled eggs, I took 2 bites and was to weak to continue. Then once I was in the birth tub, he spoon fed me yogurt, I had some but couldn’t finish. So he just stuck to water in between each contraction.
Our midwife arrived at 10:30, she checked our vitals soon after and everything was great, she just encouraged me to go with the flow and let her know when I felt pressure.
“Pressure?!” I thought “but we just started, surely it can’t be time for pressure…” Again, I was slightly in denial. Not long after that thought, pressure showed up, and the contractions started getting even more intense. I stayed mostly on my knees inside the tub, hanging my arms on one side with Chris behind me apply counter pressure to my back as each surge came.
The brunch I was supposed to attend was a surprise in honor of my friend Judy, who also was supposed to be at the birth. I had yet to contact her, I thought for sure I had until later in the afternoon to alert her. I mean labor is supposed to last a little while, right? It quickly became evident that this was not the case and I had Chris call Judy to make her way over. Brunch would have to wait.
She came right away, then minutes later my doula finally arrived. I was deep in the crux of labor by then, well passed transition, breathing deeply, and moaning loudly to exhale. The entire block could hear me, I was sure. I have no idea how close the contractions were, but it sometimes felt like they never stopped, just one looong contraction. No breaks in between like I read in those books.
The pushing phase came quick, I have no idea how long I pushed for but it felt long, and it hurt, a lot! I did have a brief moment, where I questioned if it was really going to happen, in the middle of our living room nonetheless. Thankfully, my doula was in front of the entire time, with encouraging phrases like “you’re doing it!” “This is great!” as I literally squeezed her entire body. Everyone else was behind me, the midwife with calm reassurance, Chris in super coach mode with his “you got this baby!” , Judy in awe of the whole thing. I pushed, and pushed, and pushed with all my being until I had to hold it, yup hold it, and go a little slower so I wouldn’t tear.
Just when I became convinced the pushing would never end, I heard the midwife ask Chris “Do you want pictures?!”
“Holy shit! Yes pictures, we want pictures! OMG, this is it, she’ll be here any second!”
With that thought, and my favorite birth song playing on my iPod, I had a sudden surge of energy, it was time to meet my baby girl.
I pushed and puuuushed a bit more. Oh yeah, they weren’t lying about that “ring of fire” at all, but I just focused on the end result. I felt her head, and with one final push the rest of her body slid out. Then I heard the most beautiful words ever “Ok mama, come get your baby!”, I turned around, looked down and there she was my little water baby.
I grabbed her in disbelief.
“Welcome Anaïs, hiiii! We’ve waited a long time to meet you…” I gushed, looking at her, then at my hubby “omg, she’s here!”
Anaïs Josephine was born on April 6th, at 12:20 PM, just under 5 hours after I noticed the first “real” contractions.
Oh yeah, we had a homebirth. I know I never mentioned that whole part of the deal, but I promise we’ll discuss in an upcoming post. For now here are some pics of her and our early moments together.
Hangin’ with daddy: