Not all the pictures in this story are PG, just a heads up. If you don't want to see either, skip the pictures, don't look, or don't read! ;)
Happy birthday to me!!! I woke Sunday morning, heavy pregnant, tired, 24. No plans. Going to enjoy the day, clean a little, get more ready for my parent's arrival, and the baby when ever he may come. Want to get the car cleaned, clear it out for my prenatal on Tuesday so the birth pool will fit. I nag Nate to help me clean it, but he isn't feeling in the mood, wants to do it tomorrow. Fine. Braxton Hicks are acting funny, curious, I watch the clock for a few rounds...yeah, they are coming about every 10 minutes, I have gas, it's probably nothing. Set my clock watching aside. I am stinky, I need a bath. Take a nice long one, dip my belly down in the water, relax my back, ah that is better. What a big belly in that mirror, stretch marks are getting a little darker, a little redder, they are going to be worse this time, especially with at least a week of stretching left to do. Have to pee again. Need to get some food.
Hmm, still having those funny Braxton's, they sort of hurt. I don't feel like cooking. Burger King will do tonight. Not terribly hungry. OW! I grab Nate...That one hurt. I am going to call Stephanie (good friend/doula) see what she thinks. Steph thinks I should call Kathi (midwife) give her a heads up, "it is probably nothing, you have been gassy, that can make the uterus irritated". Kathi thinks the same thing, "do you have any chamomile? That might help the gas, have a glass, then go to bed just in case, you need to rest if it is the real thing". That sounds good. Have a few more bites, drink up some chamomile, pass a few gas bubbles....if it is the real thing...I should give my bathrooms a once over, just so they are nice for the midwives. Need to call Terrah (Coastie wife/neighbor/good friend), talk to her about what she wants to do about Claralynne, I know she has work tomorrow, she may not be able to take her. "I might be in labor, just wanted to give you a heads up. I will call you if things pick up, alright 3 in the morning whatever, thank Ter". Scrub the toilets, wipe the counters, go to bed, try not to watch the clock, sleep sleep. I dream it isn't really labor, called Kathi and she came in vain. Something wakes me at 3:00 am. I think I dozed back to sleep, there is missing memory of the time between 3 and 5 am.
Sleep didn't kill them, get up a bit after five, walk around a little...I just can't be in labor. But I am having to moan through these, I feel them low. Better call Kathi, she has a piece to drive, "Okay, sounds like the real thing, I am on my way". Call Mom and Dad, it is early there, around 4 a.m., but they will want to know. "Really? You're kidding?! Did you call the Midwife? You did! How crazy, he is coming the day after your birthday! Yeah Nate, she is in labor, Dad says that's wild! I just can't believe it....okay, keep us posted. We love you too, good luck!" Call Terrah again "Clara is still sleeping, I know you have work and Dalton (Terrah's Son) is sick, what do you want to do? Yeah, I think I will call Jinny (Another coastie wife/good friend/neighbor), see if she can't take her, we will work something out". Contraction, ohh bad time to make a phone call, oh well too late now. "Hi Jinny....sorry... I am having a contraction....yeah I am in labor, I am sorry it is so early, Terrah has work and Dalton is sick, wondering if you can take Claralynne? She is still sleeping right now. Okay, will call you when she wakes up, thank you so much." Want Nate to get up with me now, I need his support. I need to do that pile of dishes, put a few away, have a contraction, can't get much done. Nate makes me go relax, I need to save my energy. I grab my birth supplies and lay them out for Kathi and the assistants. Nate puts on A Good Year, yeah that is good, "Lance Armstrong!!!" Russel Crow yells, as he flips off the French bicyclers, that is good keep me gigglin'. Should eat something while I still can, don't really feel hungry, shouldn't have taken my prenatal on an empty stomach, feel sort of sick. Nate makes me a smoothie, I sip on it. Call Steph, "yes, I called Kathi, she is on her way, probably will be here soon." "Aubrey, you need to relax, you sound sort of hopped up, you need to eat something with carbs for the energy, not just the smoothie, the prenatal is what upset your tummy" she is right, I need to calm down, my heart rate is going. "Nate could you make me a piece of toast" he brings it to me, nope not feelin' it, I only take a bite.
8:30 a.m. "Hi guys!" So glad they are here. They mill around, bringing things in, the pool, Nate takes it upstairs, starts to blow it up. It isn't the Aqua Doula, that wouldn't fit in Kathi's car, and the other car didn't have any gas, she didn't want to waste time in case the baby came really fast. Sort of disappointed, I hope the water stays warm enough, I wanted the Aqua Doula because it is self heating, the blow up one isn't. Rory (first assistant) finds my cookie sheet, she just went looking around my kitchen and found it, how endearing. She grabs my birth supplies, starts getting things out. They take my blood pressure, ask a few questions "Yes I am trying to eat, I have been sipping on the smoothie, no I couldn't eat the toast. Yeah, water sounds good, thanks". "Hi Katie" (second assistant), she looks tired, it is a long drive. A few more questions, everyone gets settled, pool is coming along. Amazingly, my moaning, the movie, nor the very noisy electric pump haven't woken Clara, that is okay, stay sleeping. Contractions are pretty far apart, pretty short too...I hope I am not wrong. "Rory, do you know how to French braid? Good, will you do my hair sometime in the next little bit" Kathi knits, something blue. I want to watch Harry Potter. We all chat, Nate still working on the pool, had to make a duct tape rig to attach the hose to the shower, none of the adapters hooked up to the sink. Clara wakes up, about 9:30 a.m. Rory goes and gets her, she is half asleep still, Rory snuggles her "I wish I had a girl!" she has two boys. Give Clara some loves call up Jinny, she comes and gets her, don't want to say goodbye, don't want to worry about her, strange feeling. Nate stole the baby monitor to listen for the water hose, so he will hear it if his rig breaks, it does, he goes to fix it. "Do you want me to braid your hair Aubrey? Before your contractions start getting better." Kathi wants me to get up, you should go take a walk, okay we will. Nate and I put shoes and Jackets on, go walking up and down the walkway behind all the Coast Guard houses. We stop and sway with every contraction. Hubby is slightly damp and smells like Nate sweat, how I love him. We hold hands and walk, and stop and sway, I shiver a little. May mornings, here in Northern Michigan, still have a little bite. What a pretty day it is though, the day after my birthday, how wild. We go back in, it is a little cold for a walk. The ladies want to go grab something to eat, but they want to check me first. Kathi wants Rory to do it, give her some practice, she reaches deep, my cervix must still be a little high, she feels a good four, that seems high to me, it hasn't been that long, could you check to Kathi? Kathi feels a good four too, babies head isn't applied very well to my cervix, hmm, have some effacing to do still, at about 75% baby is at +1 station, not high, not low. Alright, all good things to know. I tell them how good Java Joe's is, tell them how to get there. Have a good breakfast, okay, I will just keep doing what I am doing, Kathi wants me to try and get something else to eat. Okay, I will call you if anything happens. I lay on the couch and try to rest, doze off to sleep a few times, decided to get up and eat, I brows the fridge and the pantry, mandarin oranges don't sound bad, get myself a bowl, munch on some oranges. Nate and I text family and friends with my progress. Still have a little cold, mucus is stuck behind my nose, try to get it out, and gag myself, now I have to puke, I am on the toilet so I can't puke in there, grab the garbage and give a good heave, Nate! he comes and rubs my back, okay I am puking that is fine, will probably help to dilate me. Nate cleans out the garbage. Call Kathi to let her know, can't reach her, call Rory's cell. "You threw up? Alright, thanks for letting us know. We are about on our way back." They get back a few minutes later. Kathi wants me to start doing some things to help get the baby in a better position, his head presenting the way it is, can slow labor progress. She has me waddle up and down the stairs, that brings on good contractions, can't hack em on the stairs, so waddle as quick as I can back to my birth ball for the peak of the contraction, sometimes I sit on it, sometimes I kneel and Katie applies counter pressure. This gets tiring after a few times up and down the stairs, waddling to my ball, so I sway on hands and knees for a few, that can help baby's position too. Go back to the stairs, Nate goes up and down with me, helps apply counter pressure. Katie and Rory have an idea, they want me to lay on my back with my sling underneath me and rock me back and fourth. I get in position, Rory pulls, up then Katie, they find their rhythm, 1 2 3, and Katie pulls up hard and straight, I flop over to one side, it feels good. They do it a few times, through a few contractions, I feel a little move in my pelvis, wonder if the rocking worked? Nate is tending to the pool, it has cooled down a lot, they want to warm it back up, so he starts to siphon out the cool water so they can put hot water back in. A few contractions, these feel different, something is different. I need Nate, I call for him, he comes to me."Ok Aubrey, lets check you" it is a little after 1 p.m., three hours since I was a four. Now I am a five, that is a lot of labor for a single centimeter. These contractions are pretty good though, can I get in the tub? They are still trying to warm it up, but I don't care. I get in, it is a little cold. I shiver a little, after a few minutes, Katie starts bringing boiling water. I want Pride and Prejudice. Just keep starting it over and over Nate. Ooooooooohhhhhhh! Low I moan, it feels good to moan, it feels like singing, oooooooohhhhhhhh. There are good breaks in between contractions, I gather myself, get ready for the next, watch a little of the movie, I love the music so. Nathan stays with me, I grasp his hand tight. Kathi brings me a pink popcicle, I don't want it. They are good about giving me water, though I don't want it either. The contractions are good, they are good, ooooookay come down baby, ooooooopen up. I chant with the contractions, sweet whispers in my ear "you are doing so good honey, he is coming, James is coming" Yes he is, he is. I feel the water, it is easy to move, I flip onto my back, onto my side, onto my knees. Get through it. I love this music. This contraction is different, I ponder it, remember it, I felt it, ever so slightly, I want to be checked, it felt like I needed to poop. Maybe I am at and eight, and eight would be good, not long to go after an eight. Nathan go tell Kathi the last contraction felt like I needed to poop. She comes, "You feel like you need to poop? You want to get out and try to have a bowel movement then I will check you?" "No, Kathi I pooped while you were gone, I don't think that is what it is." " well why don't you try bearing down with the next contraction, if it feels right then go with it" It seems strange. I don't think it is time, I just want Kathi to check me, here it comes, okay, I will give it a push, maybe it will feel right, it is probably not time, then she will check me...here comes ooohhh ohhhh, push....OOOOOOHHHHHHHH. I just gave a little, just a tiny little push, and it took me, if I had not held tight to Nathan it would have taken me away, out the window to another planet. I feel the burn, it I feel his head coming, getting ready to pass through me. No way...no way...it can't be time...it can't be. I feel for his head, there it is, Kathi feels too, is it time? Am I fully? "You felt it, his head was right there, I didn't go very far in for your cervix" Another is coming huuuuuuuuuuhhhhh, it takes me, I reach for his head, I can feel his bag, his bag has come first it is soft, I feel the waters within it, I lead Nathan's hand to feel the miracle, there is his bag Nathan! Do you feel it, do you feel it. Another comes, I don't need to push through it, I collect, the next will come, the baby will be here in just a few moments. It comes and I feel his head emerging, round perfect, I feel some of his head out of me, some under my skin, feel it stretching me, round and perfect. Kathi wants me to pant though the contraction, but I can't, I CAN'T, I CAN'T "yes you can, yes you can, you are doing so good" pant pant pant, pushing is not an option. It releases me, the next one will bring his head, I know it, and Kathi knows it, it has been fast "Aubrey I am going to apply pressure to his head, to help him come slower, she does, her hand is there and my hand is there his head is there and I feel it come, born into my hand, perfect tiny globe, my son. I feel some fears, fears of his shoulders, he is his Father's son. Has he had the signs of dystocia? I don't know, Kathi his shoulders???? His shoulders??? "he is fine honey, his shoulders are fine. I feel his head, and I find his neck and the cord around it, HIS CORD, THERE IS A CORD, it is tight, and I need to get him out, I push hard and he is born into my hands, I try to pull him out "Aubrey let me have the baby!" Kathi takes him, and she is spinning him, under the water, unwrapping the tight cord, she bring him out, he is here. He is a little grey, and covered in white waxy stuff, it is vernix. He is tight, he has good muscle tone, but he isn't breathing like I want, he hasn't made a good lusty cry. We all rub him, and love him, encourage and kiss him. Kathi has Rory milk his cord, they bring the cookie sheet Rory had prepared earlier, put it into the water in front of me, he is never taken away, he is still attached to his cord. They place him on the tray, and give him some air, he comes around better, and he is so beautiful. They put a hat on his head, and a cover him in a towel. Our eyes meet. Nate! We forgot to see if he is a boy for sure! I check...And he is.
He is born into the room he was created in at 3:16 p.m. on May 19th, they day after my birthday. The day after my birthday is his birthday!
They help my out of the tub, and I deliver the placenta. I nurse him for the first time, knowing how to do it helps, and he takes to it like he had been doing it in the womb! Thanks Mom for teaching me how to nurse! They move us to the bed, I want to take out my wet braids they are making me cold, so I give little James to his Daddy for the first time. I put my hair in a pony and put on some clothes, much warmer. We admire our perfect little son. Kathi takes James to weigh and check him over. She guesses he will be 7 pounds 3 ounces and he is. Rory thinks Kathi should join the circus guessing weight, this is not the first time she has been right on. (My last midwife, Beth, guessed Claralynne's weight exactly as well). James is 20 inches long. Kathi checks him over. She finds clues he is a few weeks early, the vernix, his ear's cartilage is soft, his testicles haven't yet descended, but he is perfect. We call for Jinny to bring Claralynne. And a new big sister sees her brother for the first time. I am so glad to have her home. Holding my two children together for the first time, is an overwhelming experience. My two children.Though hesitant at first, Claralynne wants to hold and touch James right away.What a good big sister, she is going to be.
We didn't get any video footage, things moved too quickly at the end. I was having a contraction, and I knew the baby was coming soon, I yelled for someone to go and get the video camera, Katie did, she fumbled with it, she tried turning it on, and I realized the battery was not in it, I wanted her to go get it, but Kathi told her to forget about it. Thankfully she listened to Kathi, if it weren't for her good advice, and Katie had gone for the battery, liked I asked, I would not even have pictures. I am also so grateful for my homebirth experience. It was wonderful, yet again. It flowed so beautifully.
James had a little bit of a struggle coming around. Had we been in the hospital, I imagine his cord would have been cut immediately. I doubt Nathan would have been given the chance to cut it, and I suspect they would have taken James across the room to get him started, where Nathan and I could not even see him, let alone touch and kiss him like were able to do. We would have had to wait for the last and only sign he was okay, a good cry, which is something he didn't give right away, truly he didn't give a really good cry until the next day. It was an intense experience with him in our arms, I can't imagine the fear that would have taken us had he been taken away.
After he was weighed, Kathi, Rory, and Katie left Nathan and I to stare, I continued to feed our tiny ball of perfection. After a little while Nate went downstairs, when he did he found Kathi, Rory, and Katie had cooked a yummy dinner, cleaned the pile of dishes, and gotten the laundry done, something these ladies didn't give a second thought to doing. With the evening coming to a close, each of the ladies came one by one to admire, they kissed James, kissed me, kissed Nate and Claralynne, then started off on their long drive home. It was an amazing day.