The week prior to delivering our little Theo, I had been really terrified of giving birth. Strangely, I thought that since I had done this eight times prior, I wouldn't be so afraid. The last time I gave birth, I never really went through the terror phase. So this time caught me by surprise. As the days drug on, I became less terrified, and more incredulous. I probably would never give birth, anyway. Nothing to be afraid of. Supreme denial.
So, on August 13th, a day past my due date (the first time I had ever entered my 40th week pregnant, by the way. There are firsts even in ninths), I spent the morning looking at our busy school calendar, thinking we were going to have a heap of trouble here if I didn't have the baby pretty soon. The calendar was too full put it off much longer.
As if by magic, on hour later, I began steady contractions. They were light, but fairly close together. Seven minutes, mostly. This went on for an hour, so I called the midwife to let her know things were percolating. Instructed to call her back when the contractions got 5 minutes apart, I rested and ate a good protein meal, and drank the fresh green juice I had made the day before.
Less than an hour later, the contractions were still fairly mild, but had dropped to 4-5 minutes apart. I called the midwife back, and she decided to send the nurse out, which would take about an hour to get to my house.
As it turned out, the midwife decided to come, too, and she got here in about 30 minutes. Good thing, because by the time she got here, the contractions were much stronger and giving me very little time between to rest. Two contractions after the midwife arrived, my water broke, and then labor became like a freight train. One massive contraction after another, with no time for me to collect myself. My husband filled my tub, and I gratefully crawled in, but didn't feel very hopeful for relief, because I hadn't ever had such a rough labor before. But, the water did the trick, and I could manage the contractions better. There still was very little break between them, though, so I still felt like I was being thrashed around. I struggled with all my might to relax, let the contractions work, get out of my own way, so to speak. I felt myself descend into "labor land", where I was unaware of anyone or anything else, except my body and the contractions. I imagined a lake of calm water, with rings emanating from a tossed stone. About 3 contractions later, I felt the baby's head on the inside of my tail bone. Progress! One more contraction, and although I felt like I had turned inside out, I also felt the baby being born. Wow! One tiny push later, and I was looking at my new little son in my arms, flabergasted. My brain was still in labor land, and was trying with all its might to catch up to the reality that our Baby was here! I just couldn't believe it was all over in about 20 minutes!
Little Theodore Frederick Maximos was born at 5:13 pm, after one hour of what I call "real" labor, and 4 hours start to finish of any contractions at all. A record! He was 8lbs 11oz, and 21", very common size for my babies. He pinked up immediately, screamed heartily, and looked just as confused as I did!
After the cord stopped pulsing, my husband cut the cord, and took the baby to show his older siblings, who had stayed home during the birth (the younger ones went to Grammy's house, a few days prior). I finished with the placenta in my bed, had no extra bleeding at all. My uterus, for as old as it is, worked perfectly!!
Items of note, that I remember, but can't figure out how to weave into this story:
I remember the nurse leaving the room, and when she returned she said she had told the older three kids the baby would be born soon. Upon hearing that news, my eldest son shut his laptop, and high-tailed it out the door to head to Grammy's. He got called back by his sister a mere 5 minutes later, telling him to come back home and see his new baby brother.
I remember looking at the baby right after he was born, and looking around for my husband, and realizing he wasn't in the room. He had stepped out for a minute, and missed the birth. He heard a baby cry, and ran back in within seconds of Theo's arrival. The pace of the birth surprised everyone!
I remember the heavenly feeling of the cool cloth on my forehead and chest. My entire being was focused upon how good those cool clothes felt. They were my all, my universe for a few moments. Then the baby was born, and my focus shifted to him, miraculous newborn eyes, and his exquisite smallness.
Here we are now, settling in nicely. It is such a joy to get to know this little one!
The homebirth aspect of this experience was amazingly awesome. It did cause me some stress beforehand, both because I was afraid I wouldn't get "perfectly" ready here, and trying to keep everything ready for a few weeks. But the experience of not having to leave during a freight train labor, and then going straight to my own bed afterward, and spending our first night together here in peace and quiet and uninterrupted was so priceless!
It was strange having something "new" to do during my ninth birth, but the birth itself was picture perfect, and getting to do it at home just magnified its goodness. I am so glad I decided to do a home birth!