The pregnancy went fairly well this time around. I never really enjoy pregnancy, because it's just a long hard slog and so tough on your body, but I really didn't have any major complaints this time around. And I lucked out with unseasonably cool temperatures since the beginning of August.
After having three of my four kids arrive a bit before their due date, I was hoping the odds were in my favor to have it happen again with #5. I was due September 14th, and had intentionally kept my calendar cleared for the whole week before that. Of course, Mr. Baby did not come early for me, so I ended up having to endure a torturous week of sitting around the house with no plans, just dying of the anticipation and waiting.
I had a midwife appointment scheduled for my due date - which I had been expecting not even to make it to - and as soon as the midwife asked me if I had any questions, I immediately said, "can we sweep my membranes?!!!" (I'm convinced that's what had made Linus finally arrive, when he was a week past due). I was fully expecting she would sweep me and I would be going into labor later that day. So I was rather peeved when she told me she wouldn't do it, because they already had several women laboring at that moment, and she didn't want to have to add one more. Very disappointed, we went back home to sit around and wait for my body to decide to start doing something about getting the baby out.
That night, I did have some contractions. I decided to park it in front of a show (Victoria, which is on Amazon Prime - pretty enjoyable, largely due to the beautiful clothing!) and wait to see if anything developed. After several hours of sporadic contractions, things finally fizzled out, and I decided to just go to bed.
I woke up a little after four in the morning, most likely because I had to pee again. But as soon as I opened my eyes, I realized that it felt like perhaps my water had broken. I stood up, and there was even more fluid, so I knew that must have been what happened. This was really the defining point to this entire labor. My water has never broken on its own. My midwives always break it for me (at my request) because late in my labor, contractions always start to slow way down since the sac is providing too much cushion on the baby's head. In fact, a couple of the midwives have remarked that my body makes a "very strong bag of waters"! So as soon as I realized what was happening, I became worried that things could possibly pick up very quickly.
I woke up Tom, and we began the usual frenzied rush of making all the necessary phone calls (midwives, the doula, the grandparents who needed to come watch our big kids), and getting all the last-minute items into my hospital bag. Contractions did end up starting only a couple minutes later, but luckily, they were still not too close to transition-type contractions.
We made it to the hospital with enough time, and I was only about 4 cm dilated. My doula showed up, I got into my usual position sitting on the labor ball with my doula pressing my back for me.....Okay, seriously, I'm a total creature of habit. If you've read one of my birth stories, you've pretty much read them all! Really, the only noteworthy thing about this part is that during a few of the contractions, a big gush of amniotic fluid would come out and creep along the floor and almost touch Tom's shoes (he was stationed in front of me, providing a steady force that I could brace myself against), and there was no way for him to escape the on-coming flood! As soon as those contraction passed, and I was able to think again, I would just chuckle about it, as he ran to get more towels to clean it up :-)
I suddenly wasn't feeling sitting on the ball anymore, which is always my cue that transition is coming. I moved to the bed, and sorta sat upright against the raised back, and just bore with the slowed contractions for the next hour or so. Tom and my doula were asked to bring me many many icy wet rags to place on my forehead (Tom found it amusing that I kept asking, "can you make them any colder??" when he was literally having to pick the ice cubes off them before he placed them on me).
Suddenly, things started to really hurt, and I knew it was time to push. Side-note: labor always hurts just as bad, no matter how many times you do it. Doesn't it seem like it should get better over time? Like, your body would stretch out or get looser or something? After each of my babies is born, I am stunned anew at just how much it hurts. And yet....it's "just" one day of pain....traded for a lifetime with your child.
Anyways, I had the nurses bring the big mirror on a pole. I love that thing. It lets me watch exactly what is happening while I'm pushing, and I find it incredibly motivating. As soon as I can see how close that baby's head is, I am just ready to push it right out. This whole phase was very quick again. I think I pushed once to get a cervical lip out of the way, and then two more pushes, and he was born! As usual, Tom was the emotional one, and he started crying. I just sorta lay there in shock, clutching the baby to my chest, and thinking, "it's over! it's over!"
My whole labor was four and a half hours, which is my shortest yet. Felix weighed 8lb.13oz, making him my biggest baby yet. And actually, I think the two things may be related. The lactation consultant at the hospital told me the next day that often, babies who were born from quick labors end up being heavier. Basically, they didn't undergo as many contractions to help squeeze all the "stuff" out of them (I never really got clarification on what sort of stuff that was. But the idea made sense to me). Anyways, he didn't look like our biggest baby yet, and he's already been small enough to fit into newborn size clothing for a lot longer than Linus - my only real "big baby" - ever did. So I buy that explanation.
|A half hour after birth, they brought me a breakfast tray! Never was I more excited to eat!|