September 23rd, My Due Date
I knew she was coming soon. Either that or I had caught a spontaneous stomach bug. Or maybe my father in law's chili really just didn't agree with me. Either way, I spent most of the day throwing up and in the bathroom. Contractions were still as annoying as ever, but never any closer or stronger. I got very little sleep that night.
I woke up feeling miserable and nauseous, running on about 3 hours of sleep. I decided to call my midwife and tell her about my stomach problems. She suggested I go into labor and delivery so that they could check to see if I'm dehydrated. So around 11:30am Chris and I headed to the hospital. They hooked me up to a contraction monitor and I was surprised to see that my contractions were becoming more regular, about 4 minutes apart. They still weren't getting any stronger though and I was starting to feel a little better. So we were released and we went home around 1pm.
The rest of the day I noticed my contractions getting a little stronger each time. I was never in any pain though. This is my fourth baby and never did labor come on so slowly, so I figured it was just more Braxton Hicks. But around round 7pm I the contractions were becoming a little more intense and about 2-3 minutes apart so I called my midwife again to update her on my progress. She told us to go back to labor and delivery and she'd meet us there. At this point I knew baby girl was coming very soon so we grabbed the hospital bag and off we went.
When we got to the hospital around 7:30pm I didn't have to worry about any paperwork because I'd already been there that morning and everything was ready. They checked me and said I was at 5cm. The contractions were becoming much more intense, but still not very painful, so Chris and I walked for a little while. We walked a circle around the labor and delivery floor and every single time we got to this certain point at a fire extinguisher sign, I'd have another really big contraction and have to lean there against the wall. After about an hour of this I couldn't walk much anymore so we went back to our room and things really started to pick up very quickly.
I was in alot of pain, but only during a contraction, so I tried resting on a birthing ball. I did my hypnobirthing deep breathing like I read in all my books and it helped so much. Chris started texting family and our birth photographer to let them know baby would probably arrive soon and they better head for the hospital now. But then things got a little crazy. Around 8:45pm the pain was so intense I started begging for an epidural, even though I really didn't want one, and my midwife knew that so she distracted me. I was trying my hardest to breathe deeply but I just couldn't relax myself during those hard contractions. (I learned later that I went from 6cm to 10cm in about 18 minutes). My midwife convinced me to get in the bed and relax and as soon as I let out a deep breath I felt a scary and very loud "pop" inside me. I had no idea what was happening, I thought the baby broke a bone! Chris kept trying to ask what was wrong because of my horrified facial expression but I couldn't answer him! Turns out, my water broke. You'd think I'd know the feeling by now, but it never broke on it's own with my other labors.
Things are really fuzzy after that, but here's what I remember...
I ripped off all my clothes except my sports bra and told them she was coming. I was so hot and sweaty I couldn't stand it. The pressure on my lower back and bottom was so intense I couldn't lay down, or stand, or sit. I had to be on my hands and knees or it felt like a knife stabbing my backside (I later found out why - she broke my tailbone!). I told my midwife this baby was coming right now and it was time to push. She said "whenever you're ready!". Oh I was ready alright! With each contraction I pushed with all my might, on my hands and knees, with my face buried in the pillow of the bed, ass high in the air for all to see, screaming and yelling and groaning like a primal cavewoman. I am usually a very quiet and modest person but I was far away in labor land and thoughts like that never even crossed my mind. It felt like hours of pushing and I began thinking I couldn't finish this (I found out later I was only pushing for 10 minutes). Finally I felt progress when I actually felt her head moving through my bones and start to crown. I reached down and felt her soft little head, it felt just like a peach. And that was all the motivation I needed to push her the rest of the way out. She came out at 9:18pm and lay on the bed beneath me and took her first breath, and with that came a cry. I remember my midwife saying "turn around and pick up your baby" but I was sort of in shock. I just stared at her under me and couldn't move for what felt like forever. Finally I was able to flip over and they put her on my bare chest, cord still connected and pulsing. She nursed right away. This is when my birth photographer arrived. Things happened so quickly there was no way she could have got there in time! I was a little bummed, but kinda thankful considering how crazy and primal I got, I'm not sure I'd want photos of that part! lol
A little later they took her and weighed her. I was shocked that she weighed 8 lbs and 3 oz! Bigger than my biggest baby by a pound! I had no idea my little frame could grow a baby that big!
When I finally came back to earth a little more I couldn't stop staring at her. This tiny little beautiful creature. So beautiful and so perfect, her brand new deep ocean blue eyes staring up at me. Her perfectly round little head looked just like a tomato, and just as red as one too! We immediately fell in love. I didn't sleep at all that night. All I could do is stare at her and watch her chest rise and fall, completely transfixed on her and replaying the day over and over in my mind.
I am so thankful for having such a great midwife. I couldn't have asked for a better person to help me through this. She let me do whatever felt comfortable to me. She stayed back and let me be while I labored how it felt right. She spoke to me softly and said encouraging words exactly when I needed to hear them. And thanks to her wisdom and experience, now I know how labor is supposed to go without intervention. This is my fourth child and it was finally done right. My husband was also a great support, stealing linens and holding cold rags over my neck, staying calm and being my rock when I needed him.
Our hospital stay was less than 24 hours and I can't say enough good things about the staff there. Everyone was so respectful of our decisions and helpful when we needed something. Overall, it was a very empowering experience and things went better than I expected.
We haven't yet seen the birth photographs yet, but I'll update this post when I get them.
There is a song, and I'm not sure who wrote it, called "Sweet Violets" that my Granddad used to sing to me. It goes "Sweet Violets, sweeter than all the roses..." My Granddad is so special to me, was and is the father figure in my life, and means the world to me. This song has special meaning and that's why I chose the name Violet Rose. If Levi had been a girl, I would have already had my Violet 4 years ago. And now I do.