I had had several episodes of false labor in the week leading up to my due date. I'd get a couple of hours of regular contractions 5-7 minutes apart, and then they'd get more irregular and eventually disappear. It was maddening and exhausting, because it didn't let me sleep well.
When I hit 40 weeks, I asked my midwife Miriam to sweep my membranes and see if we couldn't get things moving. After another 48 hours of irregular contractions, around 3:30pm on September 29th they started to get regular again. Afraid that they may disappear again, Eliot and I decided to go for a walk to help keep things progressing. Since it was pretty hot outside for a preggo lady, we decided to go to Costco where it was air conditioned and had lots of space to walk.
So my mom watched James as we headed out to the store. Of course I hadn't thought that there would be a million people there since it was Saturday. Eliot enjoyed some free samples as we wandered the aisles, occasionally stopping for me to "examine" some chicken or book or something when the contractions hit..
After Costco, we decided to stop by Albertsons and get some cake (I had been craving cake after watching too many episodes of Cake Boss). When my contractions picked up to every 3 minutes and were pretty intense while standing in the bakery, Eliot and I agreed I should call and check in with the midwife on call, who told me to keep walking and check in when they were more intense and 2-3 minutes apart.
We went back home and to keep myself walking, I engaged James Ina game of "I'm gonna get you!" while he ran through the house squealing and laughing. Come story time, though, my contractions were so intense I had to go lay down and concentrate on relaxing through them. After about an hour, I called Eliot in to time them because they were too intense for me to think about hitting the stopwatch on my phone. When we realized they were less than 3 minutes apart, Eliot called the midwife, and after she talked to me through a contraction we both agreed it was time for me to come in to the birth center.
At this point it was about 8pm. James was in bed and my mom was there to watch him, so we drove 10 min down the road to the birth center. It was a tough ride for me, as a moving car with intense contractions does not make a great combo. Nevertheless, we made it just fine.
The midwife on call was the same one I had seen at my 40 week appointment, Miriam. She checked me and I was at 5cm, which meant I wasn't going back home! They put me in the "blue" room and I sat in a chair trying to work through the contractions while the nurse Janelle set up the jacuzzi tub for me. I sank into the hot bath and it felt great... But the contractions were still pretty awful. I had to moan to get through them, which is funny because I never would have thought that would be a coping technique for me but hey, whatever works at that point! I remember doing that with James too.
They kept a close watch on the baby's heart rate every 15 min or so while I labored in the tub. Everything was going fine, and it was so nice to be in a place so quiet and peaceful... The only staff was my nurse and nurse midwife. When Miriam came in to check on me, I was in so much pain I asked her about breaking my water. She said she'd like to give it 2 hours and then see where we are at. I looked at her in disbelief... I couldn't fathom 2 more hours of the pain I was feeling. She reminded me that time would fly and said that I'd already been there a half hour, which was surprising toe. Time distortion indeed.
The contractions started coming right on top of each other and extremely intense, and I felt a POP! And my water broke! Eliot called the nurse in to confirm it. They did a check and I was 8cm. I think if I was in my normal mind I would have gotten out of the tub at this point... I never wanted a water birth in any capacity. However, I was i so much pain with each contraction and things moved so quickly that suddenly I had to push! I started saying to Eliot, "I need to push!" I've and over. He went to get the nurse and told her, and she and the midwife came in a minute later (Eliot was a bit rattled and couldn't believe they were so calm). I remember Eliot saying something like shouldn't she get out of the tub and Miriam assuring him lots of babies are born in the water. Quite frankly, by that point, I didn't care that I was in the tub and there was no way anyone was moving me... I just needed to push!
And push I did. Probably about 4 good long pushes with me screaming to get through the pain. I remember reaching down to feel her head and thinking to myself, "Just one more push and I'll be pain-free!" HA!
And then there she was. My beautiful girl, born at 9:13pm, in a tub. She was pretty ashen and I was scared she wasn't ok, but then she cried and all was well. They had to get me out of the tub, which reminds me of the Office joke where Creed, upon hearing of a water birth, said, " it must have been like the tide at Omaha beach" Yep, but I didn't care. Eliot crab-walked across the room with Ellie in his arms as we were still attached and I needed to get to the bed. They inspected me for tears (none! Yay!) and I remember being in a lot of pain and saying that. I think I wanted drugs more after the delivery than before!
After a few minutes of snuggling and Eliot cutting the cord (and the usual clean up), we were left alone for a bit in our quiet, dim room to bond as a family. The moon was almost full and we could see the hospital where James was born outside the window. It was so peaceful, and Eleanore was very calm. She even took right to breast feeding.
I took a shower and almost passed out in it from not having eaten, so I then had a snack while daddy held Ellie. Then the nurse came in and weighed her in a little fishhook sling (8lbs 2oz) and measured her height (20") and head (13"). Then, after a few more minutes of cuddle time, it was time to pack up and go home! The birth center is a short stay facility where you just stay 4-6 hours after birth. So around 1:30am we dressed Eleanore in a little kitty sleeper outfit that Daddy had picked out and prepared to go home. Eliot packed the car and I felt a but crampy so I laid down for a few extra minutes. Then Janelle took one last pic of all three of us and we were out the door at 2am. We made it home safe and sound at 2:15am, in awe of our little girl and that it all went so quickly. Suddenly we were a family of 4!
Eleanore is now a week old and doing so well. She is a wonderful presence in our home and a blessing to us all. <3