I need to write this down before I forget some of the details. It is amazing how quickly so much fades after birth.
I would say it all started Monday the 16th of March.
I had some early labor signs, but was truly in a lot of pain from an inflamed tooth. This had been bothering me for some time, and it was decided to have a root canal done this day. All signs of labor stopped at that time, providentially, and the procedure was completed. I had my first very good nights sleep in a while, and woke on the 17th, St. Patrick's Day, to more early labor signs and mild, spaced out contractions.
Over the course of the morning, the contractions regulated at 15 minutes apart, but were still mild and short. I finally decided to just go out with my mom and eat lunch, do a few errands, and generally enjoy the lovely day outside. We went out to eat, then to Trader Joe's, and Goodwill. One lady at Goodwill asked me when my baby was due, and I told her it was the next day, although I was timing contractions as we spoke. She couldn't believe it ~ "Here??" she asked, shocked.
We went home, and I was sleepy so I took an hour nap, and woke up about 6:00 pm. Contractions at 12 minutes apart, still mild, still barely uncomfortable. My mom went home, because it seemed as if this might not go anywhere for a while.
However, immediately after she left, the contractions went to 9 minutes, and required a little walking off. My husband called the midwife, who reserved the birth pool for us at the hospital, and agreed to wait til we called again to meet at the hospital. Within 20 minutes, the contractions were at 6 minutes, were quite uncomfortable, and I was getting fuzzy headed. My husband quickly recognized the signs, and ordered me to the car, as my desire at this time was to stay home a while longer. That is my way, supreme denial.
By the time we did the 20 minute drive, the contractions were between 4 and 5 minutes apart. As I walked into our room, I saw the birth pool, all set up and being filled. My anxiety level decreased immediately, as I knew I was going to get to use the water!
After about an hour of signing papers, getting monitored and getting checked, I finally got to get in the pool, at 7 cm dilated. Joy! Bliss! Immediate pain relief!
I think I had about 7 contractions in the tub, before I knew that our baby girl was about to be born. I remember how hot the water was, how good the cool towel on my face felt, and how nice it was to listen to the chanting of the Canon of St. Andrew of Crete. The atmosphere in the room was upbeat, energetic, yet peaceful. It was just myself, my husband, the midwives and one nurse, all supremely supportive of me, encouraging and excited.
I remember expressing some fear about hemorrhaging , as I have had two significant postpartum hemorrhages in the past. I felt my fear was preventing me from relaxing all the way to let the baby be born. My midwife assured me she was quite prepared to handle it, but that my body knew what to do to control the bleeding. She encouraged me to have confidence in my body, and with that, I relaxed significantly. Two good, hard, painful pushes later, and there she was! It always amazes me how quickly anguish can turn to joy!
She was perfect. She didn't cry much, as she was still in the water with me, and I assume, quite comfortable. Her eyes were wide open, and she looked amazed at what had just happened. She pinked up quickly, and, after her cord was finished pulsing, my husband cut the cord, and was handed his new daughter, and I got out of the tub and went to the bed. The placenta was delivered, and there was no hemorrhage at all. Perfect.
I got to hold the baby again for an hour, and she was quiet, alert and peaceful. Moments I hope to never forget, some of the absolute best of my life.
We debated about her name. We had previously decided her name would be Melanie Christine Marie. But she was born on St. Patrick's Day. Do we commemorate this? Seemed like we should, so we thought we could change it to Melanie Patrice Marie. My older daughters really were attached to Christine, which we had been using for some time. Ultimately it was decided to name her Melanie Christine Patrice Marie.
Melanie is for St. Melania, born in the 400's, a married saint of the church and philanthropist in the Holy Land. Her story is remarkable and I can't wait to share it with you in a later post.
Christine, my grandmother's middle name.
Patrice, in Honor of St. Patrick
Marie, in honor of the Theotokos, the mother of Our Lord, and patroness of our other four daughters.
Our Melanie's arrival was just as I had hoped and prayed for. My recovery so far has been the best ever. I want to thank God, and all of you, for your prayers, encouragement and concern for me during this pregnancy and delivery. The power of your intercessory prayers is evident to me in the beauty of this birth. Thank you, each and every one. I am truly grateful!!