Coming close to 5 years – A Birth Story

For me this started on the two days before the actual birth at 10:40pm when I lost some of the plug. I know it usually doesn’t mean much, but it has now proven to be a very good sign for me. A very good one for impending labour indeed.

That night I was having some regular contractions, but nothing too painful, just enough to be noticed. I thought things might be happening, so got up after trying to sleep for awhile. They were coming about every 4-6 min but weren’t convincing enough, so I went back to bed.

Next Day

The day started as normal. I went with Miss Fab to our usual coffee and hot chocolate outing.

I had more contracting during the day. Again, nothing major, but just that much more intense than normal Braxton hicks.

Lost more plug at 2:50pm.

We went to a parent meeting for Miss Fab’s preschool that night and I remember one of the teachers gesturing at me – asking me if I am in labour, jokingly. I have been moving around my chair trying to get comfortable during the contractions and she must have sensed me. Near the end I stood up to walk around a little bit and another of the teachers came to me and said its ok if I leave. I said I am fine, but they basically kicked me out with care, plus Dad was getting bored and didn’t complain at all.

We got home at around 8:30pm, had a quick dinner and while Mr.Blab  put future big sister to bed I went for a walk around the block.

Later on, while talking to my mom for an hour I started writing down the contraction’s timings out of curiosity. Mr.Blab came by to check what I was doing and his face went pale and he pointed at the times I had written down on the paper (every 5-10 min) and asked “what is this?” with big anxious eyes. I said “don’t worry, nothing yet, been having them since last night”. I had everything under control and didn’t need his worries to burden me and I think that is why I had been keeping quiet.

I did a few things around the house. At 10:50pm decided to send a message to my friend, who was going to be my daughter’s support person during the birth, and tell her that there is a possibility of something happening soon, but definitely not anything certain. It was getting late and I wanted her to be prepared for a rude awakening some time in the night.

10:55pm more plug out.

I went to have a shower.

My friend called and Mr.Blab  brought the phone in the bathroom. She was getting excited, but since I really wasn’t sure if the birth is imminent I was trying to dampen her enthusiasm and didn’t want her to be keeping awake in anticipation. It was nice to talk to her though, and her excitement was lovely and made me giddy as well.  After getting off the phone, I had my shower, which felt wonderful. The water running down that ripe body is something not to be missed.

11:40pm I made myself a quick dark rye and hummus sandwich.

Mr.Blab asked me if I still wanted my bath, as we talked about earlier in the day. Sure!

While he was running my bath and lighting candles, I decided to time the contractions – every 4 min / about 50-60sec duration. They were just mildly painful, still not convincing enough that they are the real thing. With Miss Fab I had only about an hour worth of slightly painful contractions and from then on it was quite clear that labour was happening, so I was a bit confused with this turn of events.

Mr.Blab asked if he should call the hospital. I said that he can, if it will make him feel better, but if they told him we need to go, he cant, I repeat, can not bug me about it, cause I am not going. He had been a bit of a worried baby with the last birth and had been asking me repeatedly when we are going to the hospital and I  didn’t want that again. He decided not to call. Smart choice.

Went in the bathroom, which was dark with candles and some lovely man had brought the small TV in on the counter (ok, he is wonderful that way) and watched David Letterman, sipped my Red Raspberry Leaf tea and waited to see if things will slow down.

They didn’t. Still regular, but now even stronger contractions. I was rubbing my back through them now. Felt great though – in this warm lavender and Epsom salts bath, surrounded by candles…labouring. This was truly the best part of it all. Should have stayed there.

Birth Day

I decided to get out of the tub at about 1:00am.

Had my towel around me and by chance discovered that if I keep it taut around my back and lean forward while standing it felt great during the contractions, which by now were coming every 4min/70-80sec long.

Mr.Blab was doing last minute preparations – bag, cameras, and clothes ready for Miss Fab…

I kept leaking eggwhite stuff. Kept wiping it off and wondering if it was the waters or just plug.

We were discussing the situation and whether this is it… laughing and joking about it. Now he was giving me back massage during the contractions while I was leaning on the kitchen bench. Just the over the oven light was on and it was nice and cosy. I had the two mobile phones in front – one to check the time of the contractions and the other on stop watch to check the length. It was fun to watch the progress.

By 2am contractions were still every 4min, but 100-120 sec long.

I think I was almost convinced this was not a false alarm by now.

Still on the bench with my trusted towel around my back and my lovely man providing counter pressure on my back.

We were chatting and I was gulping water.

Went few times to the toilet and contractions there were not very pleasant…well, they darn hurt! Sitting down was not a position I enjoyed.

About now I felt like I didn’t want to be touched much, which happened very quickly into my first labour. I knew things were definitely getting close. The contractions were still every 4min and about 110sec long, but the pain was taking me over and taking me somewhere else – I let it, as it was the only way not to fight and to ensure the contractions were doing their job. I would lean and relax my lower half of the body and just breathe.

Mr.Blab, now released of his duty to do anything with me, was catching a little sleep, sitting on the sofa across my now very familiar kitchen bench. Yes, I was still there, standing.

3:04 last recorded contraction on my paper, about 110sec long, after which I woke the sleeping man to call my friend, the hospital and get us ready to go.

I am labouring with my towel, dripping a little bit of fluid on the floor, while he made the calls and woke and dressed Miss Fab. She was adorable, coming in the kitchen with messy hair and sparkles in her eyes, excited saying: “Mommy, the baby is coming!”. Yes, darling she is.

They were ready in the car, while I waited out the latest contraction and slowly made my way in the car. My girl  was asking me about the pains and then in the midst of a dreadful contraction (they are REALLY not fun in the car, home birth saves the whole unpleasant car ride too) I vividly remember her saying: “When I squeeze my eyes, the lights look like stars”, talking about the street lights. I looked at her and smiled as much as I could and whispered “Big beautiful stars…”

The ride is about 10min long. Horrid, horrid, horrid, especially when you wait till the last moment to make it. When we got there, I waited another contraction, for which I had to use my learned from the other labour trick of causing myself pain elsewhere to distract me from the big ones happening in my tummy – the best I could come up with is sticking my nail in my finger. When one is away from comfort and needs to use the actual thinking brain, that relaxed state is lost and one needs something else and that’s all I could come up with. Then got out and after refusing the wheelchair kindly brought by Daddy, made my way into the hospital (my daughter still asks me why I didn’t want a wheelchair) . Another cx…I still carry my towel and apply pressure with it and without my kitchen bench for support I lean my forehead on the nearest wall and do a tiny little squat.

We move in the elevator and Miss Fab cheerfully presses the button.

Out and another cx.

Walk the few meters to the suite say hi to the midwife turn the corner find a wall, brace head, pull towel and…. another cx. I keep my eyes closed and don’t pay much attention to what the others are doing.

We were told that my friend has arrived and my daughter went in the corridor to welcome her. Mr.Blab asked if I wanted him to give me back massage…I said no. I needed no one and nothing.

The midwife asked me after the contraction to go on the bed so she can check me. Its not something I wanted, but here is proof that in this condition, we women follow and do things we are not comfortable with for unknown reason. Maybe, because we just want to be left alone, or maybe because we are on some other level of consciousness that is designed to follow the signals of our own body. Anyway, I tried, but as soon as my butt touched the bed I knew it won’t be happening. The unpleasant feeling reminded me that this time I am not doing anything I am not comfortable with and just shook my head to refuse the offer and returned back to standing at the wall. Another cx.

Mr.Blab asked the midwives if he should go move the car as he parked at an ob/gyn spot. They said that its  probably a good idea and he went. I said hi to my friend and she asked me how I was going…as good as expected, I said laughing. She and my girl started chatting up in the background. Another cx, but this one turned to a pushing sensation in the midst. My stomach started to shake and the any pain almost disappeared. The midwife had her hand on my tummy at that point and was listening to the tones of my baby.

The bright lights were on, so I asked if they could get them down or off. Daddy was back by now and they started looking for a way to do that.

Another cx, this time all about pushing baby. I didn’t have to do anything, just let the incredible pressure do its job. She was coming down, I could feel her, even had to check with my hand if I can touch her for the first time. Then decided to try and see if I could slow down to avoid tearing. Then I thought it would be better to go on all fours, so asked for a pad. I would just talk to the wall and hope someone was listening  back there.

Another cx. There is no way to manage the urge to  push and I was not trying at this point…reach down and feel my baby girl. I support her head with my hand, open my leg a little bit more and her head is out. In my hand. Mr.Blab having heard the first noise coming from me, in the form of a grunt (by his own recount of the events) looks at me and sees the face of his daughter. He tells the midwives that the head is out – “The head is out!” – And one of them scrambles to me and helps supports her out… while he runs for the camera.

3:56am our second girl is born.

The relief! THE RELIEF! I cannot describe it. I walk over to the bed with the biggest smile on my face and realise that Miss Fab is upset. Her sister was all covered in vernix and that seemed to have scared her, so she was staying away. We had watched videos of births, but none of them had such a white goopy baby. I was so happy that with the biggest smile I say: “Mommy is ok, it’s finished, it’s done”. And that is the truth, the feeling of relief is indescribable, I could have flown at that point. I have been standing for the last 3 hours, with exception of the car ride, so the bed felt pretty good too.

Big sister was still not sure and looking with suspicion at that white gooey glob on my tummy. My friend was taking pictures, Mr.Blab was all grin and talking softly at his new girl, while cuddling and comforting his first born. We were waiting for the cord to stop pulsating and just taking our time to savor this wonderful fresh person that had just joined our family. She had her first feed. After which we sent everyone else out and got on with checking me and fixing up the 2nd degree tear that I wasn’t spared. Although, what did I expect delivering standing up ;).

The little one was still on the boob and I didn’t care about anything else.

The gang were back and big sister was much better now after having talked things over with dad and my friend. She was excited, going from this side to the other and wanting to see the baby. I remembered we bought her disposable cameras for the occasion and she jumped around at the thought. Then started taking pictures of her sister… touching her…kissing her. The grin didn’t leave her face. She was falling in love.

My friend left.

This time was magical. Our new child on my breast, the other with a grin from one ear to the other, kissing everyone in sight and my wonderful man looking at me like I am the best thing on earth…

I was ready to leave, but the midwives asked me nicely to at least stay a few hours. I agreed. Mr.Blab and sister left at about 5:30am to get some sleep, although big sister was not very willing to leave little sister by now.

I had a shower, put on my comfy jammies, dimmed the lights even more and jumped in bed with the new person in my life. The ward was quiet and the midwives left me at peace.

I call this my perfect hospital birth. But I admit, I often wish I had stayed home, especially after knowing how much better a home birth is.

(that birth “dress” I am wearing is held as a memento in her memory box…along with the vernix ;) )