Our second child arrived Tuesday, January 12, 2010, 1:30am.
This is the story of his arrival.
On the Friday before Everett was born, I went to the chiropractor and that evening I started having contractions, 10 minutes apart but not difficult and we thought he might be born soon. But alas, no. He's tricksy like his father :)
At least all the bags were packed (over-packed really, but better safe than sorry...) and waiting in the car.
I kept having periodic contractions through the weekend and then on Monday Jesse, Savannah, and I went out and I got my hair cut at a salon for the first time in YEARS. The appointment went long and so I dropped Jesse off at work to save him time and then Savannah and I went to the grocery store. (They were having super double coupons ending on Tuesday and I wanted to try to go Monday and Tuesday.) Jesse figured that since it was the only time I'd ever dropped him off at work, that I'd for sure go into labor. Of course, he was right. And my water broke in the cereal aisle at 5:30pm. I bent down to grab some baby food and gushed. Ew. It soaked my pants but luckily there were only 2 drops of amniotic fluid on the floor. We left the cart in the aisle and left.
I called Jesse, called the midwife, called my mom, called the in-laws, and went to pick Jesse up at work. We went home and ate and I rested. After a couple of hours, I started walking around to see how intense the contractions would be and within an hour Jesse decided we should head toward the birth center. I didn't think I needed to go yet because they weren't overwhelming contractions but Jesse had a feeling things would quicken soon. And he was right. Again. After more walking and a car ride, I was starting to "cocoon" (ignore the world) by the time we settled in at the birth center around 9:30pm. Savannah had fallen asleep in the car and was sleeping on the couch in the other room. Our midwife, Damaris, got all her stuff ready and started filling the birthing pool. By the time it was full, I was quite ready to relax in water.
With Savannah's birth with midwives at the hospital, they only had a standard bathroom tub and legally could not allow you to actually give birth in the water. In contrast, a nice sized pool to move around in and change positions was great. I got in and out of the water numerous times as I was too hot and too cold and just antsy. Damaris periodically checked the baby's heart rate, I think less than half a dozen times and checked how dilated I was only two times (I think?... I wasn't really in a state of mind to keep track, at the time, hehe). With midwife in the hospital, I was "required" to have fetal heart rate monitor on constantly, but I refused :) and so she checked with the doppler often and they checked cervical dilation more too (half a dozen times? in about the same amount of time). I was very pleased with Savannah's midwife/hospital birth but I was even more satisfied and comfortable with Everett's birth at the birth center. Shameless plug: http://carolinabirth.org
I was able to relax through the contractions much easier in the water than out of it but transition was taking a LONG time -- at least twice as long as it took with Savannah. Around 11:30pm I was dilated to almost 9. And we were discussing whether or not this baby would arrive before midnight. I was hoping so. But after midnight passed and I was growing frustrated, the midwives advised that it might go faster with gravity helping me more. So I decided to get out of the water and try standing and squatting even though it was precisely what I DIDN'T want to do. It was close to impossible to stay standing or squatting through the contractions but I forced myself to try for a few minutes. During this time, I felt like pushing and when they had last checked I wasn't quite fully dilated so I needed to breathe through the contractions... which, anyone who has done this can tell you, is extremely frustrating to do.
Savannah woke up during the transition stage and we had to gauge to see if she'd be alright watching the rest of the labor and the delivery. She was just fine. A little reserved, from waking up in a strange place and watching something new and different, but fine. She went back and forth as she pleased between the birthing room and the other room where she had some of her DVDs running.
So I couldn't bear to stand or squat any longer and got back in the water again. Soon Savannah wanted to hop in the water with me and that's what we brought her swimsuit for :)
I was starting to feel very frustrated that it was taking so long (both compared to the transition stage with Savannah and "textbook" descriptions - though I know they're not really that accurate or important) and I was having more difficulty just breathing through contractions and not pushing. I asked if maybe Damaris should check to see if I was dilated enough to push yet (I was fairly confident my body was ready but I didn't want to hurt my cervix or tear anything) and she said to wait another while. I did but soon I knew my body was definitely pushing that baby even though I was breathing and NOT helping it. I reached down to see if I could feel the baby's head and I had NO idea what I was feeling... but Damaris was surprised to see his head was nearly out. Jesse said his head was dimpled and squished - I was expecting to feel something smooth. Damaris grabbed her stuff and Jesse got into catching position with Savannah right next to him to see best. I pushed with two contractions and his head was out and next contraction his body was out too. As his head was coming out, I was telling Savannah that it was just like the videos we watched of babies being born. Jesse grabbed him out of the water and then he and Damaris passed him over to me onto my chest. He was a "he" and had lots of dark straight hair and LOTS of vernix. He didn't cry at all upon being born, but peeked through his eyelids and wiggled. His apgars were great but we poked and wiggled him to get him to cry to make sure his lungs were fine and he wasn't too cold. The placenta was out shortly thereafter and we started our interesting breastfeeding adventure (maybe that will be another post, maybe). In retrospect, I figure it must have taken so much longer for Everett to make his way down the birth canal because he's so much bigger than Savannah was - more than 2 pounds bigger, so I'm thankful he wasn't my first baby. Recovery has been 10 times easier than the first time too. So all in all, I'm very thankful that God hears and answers prayers :)
They grabbed the first blanket on the stack - a pink one - before we even checked to see if the baby was a boy or girl.
Papa and Everett.
A pair of intense serious guys.
He doesn't really look 6 days old here -- holding his head up so well!