Monday, September 20th. 39w6d.
8am. Had great midwife appointment in the morning. She said my body was very ready, 3-4 cm’s dilated, but now only about 50% effaced (had been 80% effaced at 38 week appt) due to the baby’s position. He was still on the right side and she was hoping he’d move and put more pressure on my cervix (causing it to efface further). She said it WAS possible I could go another week before going into labor. I couldn’t believe that was a possibility because I knew Cael was a pretty big size already, and the pressure I was feeling was nothing short of HARDCORE. Another week….no way. N said she’d like to try doing Reiki before I left. I had never been open to this sort of thing before and thought it was a bit “out there” for me, but had nothing but complete trust in my midwife, so told her to go for it. She had me lay down on the bed and close my eyes while K looked on. She started hanging a pendant over all of my chakras (head, chest, etc…..) and they would spin slightly (without her moving her hands to spin them). She told me my heart was open and ready for this baby, but when she got to my pelvic area, she said I was completely closed. The pendant stood completely still. Interesting. After she did this over all of the “chakras” on my body, she told me she was going to “open me up” and see if that helped. K said she swirled her hands around and around and then almost “swooshed” each space above my head, neck, chest, pelvis and feet. I immediately felt myself relaxing and heard only the wind chimes hanging throughout her office and the birds chirping outside. Very surreal and so unusual for me. She then told me she was going to see if I was “open” now. The pendant was circling much bigger over each section on my body now, and when it got above my pelvis, it did massive loops without N even moving her hands. K was blown away and I had to open my eyes to see it for myself. My midwife was so excited and said I was definitely open and ready for this baby and that I may go into labor later in the day. She had used this once before with the same reaction on a pregnant patient. I was hesitant it worked, but left feeling relaxed and prepared for the possibility of laboring later in the day. K and I went into work like normal. N had advised me to do pelvic tilts/rocks and the ‘polar bear’ yoga position to help try to move Cael to a better spot for labor and delivery. I did the positions every 2 hours for 10 minutes at a time, but never felt Cael move his position.
2:30pm. Sitting down at Chic-Fil-A eating lunch with K, Lach and K’s dad. Started getting contractions that felt different than the ones I’d been having the last few days (just regular BH contractions). These were mildly painful and I couldn’t ignore them. They weren’t coming regularly, but were painful each time….so I was definitely paying attention.
3:15pm. Back at work. Pulled out a pen and paper to time them. They were coming every 7-10 minutes and hurt. Started to think this was really something now.
4:00pm. Told K I couldn’t focus at work and they were still really hurting. Asked her to pack up so we could go home. Talked to N to update her and told her I thought the reiki “did it”! She told me to call her in an hour so she could hear me on the phone having contractions…
4:30pm. At home. Contractions 6 minutes apart. Rushing around trying to get Lachlan packed up (chocolate milk, snacks, pajamas, diapers, etc). I had semi-packed a bag for him, but realized I’d left quite a few things out of it! All the while, I’m stopping to write down the contractions on the piece of paper.
5:30pm. K’s mom has picked up Lach. Did I mention I cried when he left? Was hoping he wouldn’t have to spend the night away from me….but I knew I wouldn’t be able to go through what was ahead of me if he had stayed. Called N and told her contractions were about 4 minutes apart and hurt, but I still felt pretty good. She told me she’d be there by 6:15pm with our doula/birthing assistant.
6:15pm. Awesome birthing playlist playing over iTunes. Tons of candles lit. The place smelled like a pumpkin spice latte. I was kneeling on all fours on the rug gripping the fabric in my hands with each contraction. Then it was over and I’d talk to K like all was fine. N arrives with T, our doula. I’m able to talk to them and am still really aware of everything I’m feeling. N checks me on our bed. 7 cm! She tells me I have a really high pain tolerance and says that I have done so much hard work today. That felt good. Then she tells me I’ll have the baby by bedtime. That was pretty awesome. Water was still intact and she asks me to walk around a bit. I go to the bathroom to pee then do laps around our kitchen table. I’m circling twice then get a contraction. Each time K rubs her hands hard into my lower back, allowing me to try to focus on something OTHER than the pain. I grip the underneath side of the table with each contraction. I keep up this routine until I’m getting one contraction each time I circle the table. Ouuuch.
7:45pm. N and T have filled up the birthing tub. It’s a massive tank, decorated beautifully by all the mamas that have birthed in it before me. It’s hot and I get in, not sure how I’ll like it…knowing I only stayed in it for minutes for Lach’s birth. The water is so hot and feels awesome on my legs and belly. I kneel as push my nails into the tub while I get another contraction, then when it’s over I try to find a position I feel comfortable in. I end up laying on my back/semi-sitting up with my feet pushed against the end of the tub. I smell herbs from the kitchen stove all the way in the den.
8:15pm. Things start getting really tough. The contractions are close together now and I’m 10 cm’s dilated. My water still hasn’t broken, and N doesn’t want to break it. If she had, I’d have started pushing immediately. She wants the water to break on it’s own so I can ease the baby out and prevent tearing badly like I did with Lach. The contractions are hard to get through now and sweat is dripping down my face. I guess being in a 100 degree bathtub would have something to do with that! The lights are off inside our house, and there are only candles and a flashlight, and our porch light on. I can hear every word of every song playing on my playlist. Mat Kearney, Brian Wilson, The Fray, David Gray. K holds a cold cloth on my forehead and says “Listen to the words Baby. Breathe in, Breathe out…..”. I can’t talk at this point and N gives me 2 combs to hold in the palms of my hands. I grip them so tightly against pressure points in my hands. Anything to feel pain in a different place. I have several moments where I want to weep and don’t know how much longer I can do this.
9:05pm. N asks me to open my legs wide and I remember saying “no, no, no”. It was so uncomfortable and I was at a point where I knew I couldn’t escape this pain, no matter how much I wanted to. My water breaks and I immediately start pushing. This was harder than anything I’d ever felt. So much different and more painful than pushing Lachlan out. I tried to be gentle with my pushing, but felt an urgent need to get this baby out of me – fast. This was the only time I was vocal during my labor. Half grunts, half screams trying to do what was the hardest work I’d ever done. N directs my attention back on her, trying to get me to focus to ease the baby out and prevent tearing. 15 minutes later my wet baby boy is brought up to me through the water. N unwrapped the cord from around his neck (and shoulder!) underneath the water. What a moment that was. I did it. It’s over. He’s out. Exhausted and in love and in awe that this little person just came out of me. 9lbs 2oz. Born at 9:20pm on 9/20! My thoughts are all over the place…..He is beautiful and perfect and it’s over! Karli cries. I cry. Again, it was all worth it. Every moment when you think you can’t go on, every tear. I’d do it all again – in a heartbeat.