So I guess the last you heard from us was on the Tuesday before the birth. On Wednesday we went in to see the midwives, who after a little check, informed me that I was 1 cm dilated, with some other good things happening down there. Now 1cm at nearly 41 weeks is nothing to write home about, but it was PROGRESS! Progress that made me feel like we actually may have this baby before it was time to register him for preschool.
On Friday we had a BPP (biophysical profile) test scheduled, which includes an ultrasound and a non-stress test, where they basically check all of baby's stats and make sure everything is still OK. They look for baby's movement, breathing, fluid levels and muscle tone, and then hook you up to a monitor to make sure baby's heartrate is increasing with movement, yada yada yada.
Annnd....we kind of failed the test.
See, baby was in the middle of a nice long nap during the ultrasound, and was NOT interested in coming out to play. Thus he got a big fat ZERO in the movement box, and a big fat ZERO in the breathing box, because that was also way down.
Luckily he came out to play for the non stress test, and they recorded lots of movement there.
However, since we technically failed the test, the midwives asked me to come back the next morning to repeat the whole shenanigan all over again.
My midwife assured me it was nothing to get concerned about, since they saw lots of movement eventually, and that lower breathing rates can actually be a sign of a baby getting ready to head on out, but it was another day of waiting, and another drive to the hospital the next morning.
We went home, I promptly got on the elliptical and went for a nice long (but slow!) walk. Ate 1/2 a pineapple. Then got up to some shenanigans of our own later that night.
Something seems to have worked!
At 3:30 am, I woke up feeling those telltale cramps. By 4am, my contractions started. They were regular from the get-go, coming about 5 minutes apart, but only lasting about 30 seconds or so. I stayed in bed for the next two hours, determined to rest and let the family keep sleeping, and knowing darn well that Griffin would be up at 6:01, and there was no chance in hell of anyone sleeping in. I started to make lists in my head...lists of all the things I had to do when I got up - strip the good sheets off the bed, blow up the pool a bit more, pack the last of Griffin's things, oh and muffins...wouldn't it be nice to have fresh muffins this morning?
Just before 6am I woke Steve up to share the news.
The first few hours of the morning flew by in a haze. We called Grandma and Grandpa to come pick up Griffin, called my mom, called Gretel, and finally, called the midwives, all while my contractions sped up to about 3 minutes apart. Oh, and muffins....I made muffins!
At 8:30am, everyone seemed to converge all at once. Grandma and Grandpa arrived, just in the nick of time, because we were about to toss Griffin in the snow to go play by himself (OK, not really, but we were starting to loose patience with Captain Full O'Beans.) The midwives arrived. The dog went ape-shit. Gretel arrived. The midwives checked me and declared me 4 cm dilated, and in active labour, all while Dudley barked madly in the background.
And then suddenly, it was quiet again, and I had the go-ahead to get in the birthing tub.
Ah the tub! It was warm, I was buoyant, it was all good. And those stories you read, about waterbirthing, and how getting in the birthing tub just makes the pain of the contractions "melt away?"
Lies. All lies.
Don't get me wrong, it was relaxing as stink to hang out in the water all day. It was easy to change positions, it was soothing and warm, but there was nothing melting about my contractions!
The midwives encouraged me to get out of the tub fairly regularly, as walking around sped things way the heck up. I got out for the first time around noon I think, just around the time that my Mom arrived. Another check found me at 6cms, and we decided to break my water just to keep things moving along. (I'm kind of with the "lets just get this over with" school, that says bring on the pain, if it means it's over quicker!)
I think it was shortly after one that I got out of the tub again. The contractions had seriously intensified, and I could no longer get comfortable in the tub. Buoyancy was suddenly unwanted, I wanted something solid and supporting under me that I could lean on, and I knew push against when the time came.
And the time came sooner than I anticipated. I moved to our bed, and after a few quick contractions I was ready to push.
Anyone who's given birth will tell you that that desire to push is something that you could never ever fight. Women that are told "don't push yet" are like, "yeah, right." It's akin to stopping a fricking freight train. So I was glad to hear that we were good to go, everything was dilated and effaced and all the other things they needed to be. So suddenly we were pushing. And just as suddenly, it was over. I think maybe a grand total of 5 pushes and a few tribal howls later, I was holding my beautiful new son in my arms.
Now, aside from all the "technical elements" of the story, I want to tell you a bit about what I remember about the beauty of being able to have this experience in my own home. Our house, which is full of windows facing in all directions, was flooded with the most beautiful sun light all day long...I'm not sure I've seen a more beautiful day so far this winter. Despite the fact that there were 6 people in the house plus me, it was silent, almost reverent, all day long. It was an amazing feeling to be surrounded by familiar things, familiar people, all of whom obviously held a deep respect for what they were witnessing. I hardly felt worthy of the respect as I lounged in the water and later howled on the bed...hell, most of what I was doing was breathing. However, here in the afterglow, holding this stunning little human being in my arms as I type, I fully understand the importance of the event. It's life giving...it's giving life.
I really don't know where everyone was or what everyone did all day long, but the one thing I do know is that Steve never left my side - he was amazing, strong, and I couldn't have done it without him. Gretel too - she did leave my side, to make sandwiches and take pictures and do all kinds of other stuff that I'm certain I have no idea of the breadth of, but every time a contraction hit she was right back there at my side, pushing on my back, or not, depending on my mood at the time. I love both of you guys, and I'm so glad you were a part of the day.
I'm also so glad that my Mom was able to be there. My Mom arrived on time for Griffin's birth, but ended up going back to our house to grab a bit of rest, as we thought it was going to be hours before Griffin arrived. Griffin surprised us all (including the second midwife who arrived in barely enough time to catch him!) and my mom missed the big moment. I'm glad you didn't miss it this time Ma!
Corben is, in a word, perfect. He is a totally chilled out baby...very little phases him. Even when he's hungry he gets a bit worked up, but it's nothing like the end of the world cries that Griffin had when he was a baby. The only thing he hates is being cold, and thus, being naked or anywhere even close to partially undressed. Other than that he's eating all day, waking only once or twice in the night to feed, and generally being adorable.
I have more to say about this whole second baby thing, but I think this post is quite long enough, so I'll just leave you with some pictures of the day, courtesy of Gretel.
(If you came here via the Birth Story Blog Hop, you'll find the MckLinky here. Thanks for stopping by!)