So I am kicking myself for not doing this in the hospital when A) I had great wi-fi and B) I had only one child. Seriously, it’s not that I ever thought that people who had three plus children didn’t have to work hard or anything but my word… props to all who have been outnumbered longer than we have!
Monday, October 28th started the same as the other 284 days before; I was still pregnant. Now I was betting on the following day as the birth day but I was still beset with all sorts of nagging worries. What if it was another week? Why had I had weeks of little labor signs but no labor (this didn’t happen with the others)? Could I be pregnant forever? My biggest fear was that the wondering was going to mentally eat me up; the nights of contractions that went away in the morning and all the rest of the stuff that was keeping me guessing.
Suffice it to say I woke up cranky.
And I skipped my run. Never a good combo.
In the morning, after a play date, I jumped on my friend’s magic trampoline. This is the same one I bounced on before going into labor with Jonathan and I am starting to think she should start charging money. Trampoline bouncing beats home remedies like castor oil any day, I’m sure, though I only have trampoline experience.
So maybe it was the trampoline or maybe I have the elliptical to thank. At nap time, I got my dad to come man the fort since I had squandered precious morning time, skipped my run, and only done 30 minutes on the bike. To the fitness center I went and, surrounded by self-conscious college students, did a vigorous hour on the elliptical with very frequent and intense (closing my eyes and breathing through them but not stopping, oh no, I was NOT going to stop) contractions. I had 7 in the last 15 minutes but thought they could just be exercise induced.
But this put me at an important decision point. Husband was 50 minutes away and had an hour before he either had to head to his next campus, nearly 2 hours from home, or come back if I thought I was in labor. I hate feeling like I’m crying wolf, so I told him I’d time the contractions for an hour and let him know. The contractions continued as I packed the rest of the stuff for the hospital, gave my Dad dinner plans and bedtime instructions for the boys, and collected the library books that were due. They were good solid contractions that stopped me in my tracks and were 3-5 minutes apart. So Husband started his drive home and I tried to get ready for what might be a baby but (in my worst fears) would be me showing up to have the triage nurses tell me, Oh Honey, I’m so sorry about the contractions but you’re only 2 centimeters. In which case we would be having a dinner date in Ann Arbor and I would be super uncomfortable. I did realize though, that I’d read the midwives’ instructions wrong. Since I was a third time mom I was supposed to call in when contractions were 5-10 minutes apart, not 3-5. Just a minor mis-read.
By the time Husband arrived I was ready to shove him in the car and just GO. I curled up around my friend’s (same one who has the trampoline) amazing body pillow that was fantastic for a 50 minute drive with contractions. But the contractions slowed to maybe 5 minutes apart and didn’t seem as intense (probably a good thing!) while we were on the road. This only confirmed my fears that I was going to show up only to be sent home. This is my third time giving birth, shouldn’t I have some clue what’s going on?!? We arrived in the parking area and my first thought was that, having just finished a contraction, I would be fine getting up the elevator to triage. But no. Contraction in the lobby, contraction in the elevator, contraction at the triage desk, contraction on the floor by the triage couch. At least having done this before I have no problem knowing what I need. Let me lean forward, let me be still, and do not touch me at all costs. We arrived at triage around 6:40 pm.
They got me a room and, unlike the bad experience with my triage nurses during Isaac’s birth, the nurses were fantastic. They let me just kneel on the floor and let me do what I liked as they started monitoring. Baby was hanging out around 120-130 and I knew then (ha!) that it must be a boy. The nurse checked me, I was at 6 cm, and they sent me to a room to finish the 20 minute strip. Seriously, if you just let me labor in the right position I am a very agreeable and ideal patient. I can even have fun between contractions! So we finished the strip as the tub was being filled, the nurse dimmed the lights, and checked me at 7.5 to 8 cm.
Getting into the birthing tub was the best feeling ever. At this point, I was hoping for a baby by midnight. The midwife was pretty busy and I saw her once. The midwife student stood around nervously and told me several times to tell her if I felt the contractions change. Apparently everyone except me felt that there would be a baby sooner rather than later. I was almost at the point of whispering to husband that the student was getting annoying just hanging out in the doorway when, low and behold, contractions changed!
I hate pushing contractions. I hate the sense of losing control. I hate that, having done this three times I know that you just have to let them work while knowing what’s coming. It might have been 4 more contractions when I had that contraction. The one where you know there is a baby with a head and you are mentally processing “ring of fire” and “crowning” and know that the contraction won’t let up until there’s a baby.
And there was a baby, at 8:12 pm, born in the birthing tub. Clint was the one to tell me that she was a girl and I think I cried. I couldn’t believe it! And yes, being surprised was as fun as everyone told me it would be.
The only part of the birth I was dissatisfied was was the fact that the midwife (who I think barely made it in time) cut the cord almost immediately after birth due to positioning. The whole post-birth experience felt very rushed to me, which was frustrating. I loved the home birth experience where you just did what felt good when you felt like doing it and this was decidedly NOT that experience. Overall though, great team and a much faster birth than I, at least, was anticipating!
And we have our little girl!!! I love having a girl.
Things I find fascinating
-We had a girl
-Our girl had roughly the same heart rate as the boys
-Our girl was 20 inches and 7 pounds 5.6 ounces, which was Isaac’s exact size (I would have expected to produce a smaller baby if I was having a girl)
-On a pregnancy timeline she arrived one day before her brothers did
-Which has caused all of my children to be Monday babies
Happy Birth Day, Liliana Grace!