I have been blessed with fairly short labors – something I don’t take for granted. I’ve never known a long 24-48 hour labor, even with our first child. By the fifth time around I pretty much expected the same labor. I’m learning, however, that every delivery is different and full of surprises.
Thursday morning (December 29th) I woke up at 2:00 am having contractions. They continued until morning, finally stopping around 10:00 am. I was a little frustrated, but tried to be content. I was still pretty sick with a sinus infection and my husband didn’t feel I was quite ready to give birth yet because I could hardly breathe!
Friday morning, (December 30th) was my due date, (though very few people actually knew that!) I was two weeks late in delivering Olivia, and this time around, emotionally I couldn’t handle the questions that would come if I went late again. It was rather exhausting. So I told everyone the baby was due sometime around the beginning of January – which didn’t give me much time but it didn’t get December stuck in everyone’s head.
That morning around 10:00 I started having contractions again. They came about every 30 minutes and I could handle them on my own. I didn’t call my sister or midwife for a long time as they never seemed to pick up in strength or speed. Finally in the afternoon they started getting a little harder, (though I was still on Facebook posting around 2:00 and nobody suspected a thing!) I eventually called my sister and told her that she might have to cancel her plans for the evening. When I called my midwife around 3:00 to tell her that I was having contractions, she asked if I had seen a bloody show yet. I said no, and no sooner did I get off the phone with her than I had a bloody show. I texted her back right away to let her know, and started to get hopeful that something would happen that day.
The contractions finally got hard enough to need my husband’s help through them around 6:00. By that time my mother in law had come to pick up the children, so we were finally alone. My husband had blown up the birth pool earlier in the day and started filling it with water so we wouldn’t drain the hot water heater all at once. I sat in bed frustrated with infrequent contractions, so much so that I needed something to distract me. So, my husband cozied up beside me we watched an online video about marketing on his iPod! Every time a contraction came (about every 15-20 minutes) I would press pause real quick, and he would squeeze my hand through the contraction and then we would start watching again. As many of you well know though, you can’t distract contractions forever.
Finally around 7:00 my sister arrived. After talking to my midwife on the phone again she encouraged me to get out of bed and walk up and down our stairs several times to try to move things along. I was pretty tired at this point and she didn’t want to drag things on until 3:00 in the morning for my sake.
So up and down the stairs we went; and then my husband brought in a birthing stool he had made and I sat on that. My sister was writing notes, and she wrote down at 7:50 that my contractions had stopped as she didn’t hear any noise coming from the living room. I actually was still having contractions, about every 15 minutes or so, but I was able to stay very quiet and calm through them. My husband would hold my hand during the contraction. At one point I was actually sleeping in between them as I leaned against the couch. That bit of rest came in handy towards the end.
My midwife ended up coming at 8:40 to check me. I was getting discouraged because the contractions were not getting closer and only slighter harder in pain. Thoughts of a 24 hour labor were starting to come into my head, but I tried to shoo them away. She checked me at 9:10, and told me to my extreme surprise that I was dilated to an 8 already! Praise the Lord! We sat and chatted in between contractions until I finally asked her if I should get in the birth pool. She said I could, so I started making my way there. I had several contractions on the way, and getting in was hard.
The water felt wonderful, and after having one contraction I asked her if I could try pushing. She said yes, but only during a contraction.
The next contraction I started pushing but no one really knew that I was. I was very calm and didn’t make any noise (a first for me pushing a baby out!). My midwife told me later she saw some blood come out in the water, and quickly reached down to check me only to feel part of the baby’s head already being born! In just two contractions Deborah Grace was born. I pulled her out of the water and checked instantly to see what gender the baby was. We were elated to discover that we had another girl, and everyone was almost in shock that I had just delivered the baby! I think I was in the birth pool 5-10 minutes total before delivering!
Deborah was born with her hand up by her face, which my midwife said was the cause of all my strange contractions. She had seen labors like mine before when the hand was up at the face, and there isn’t enough pressure on the cervix to cause it to dilate faster.
I’m honestly still trying to process the birth as it was just so different than my others – in a good way! My contractions never got as intense and overwhelming as in my other labors. This is the first time that I have taken Red Raspberry capsules (I took 8 a day during the last month), drank the Mama’s Red Raspberry Brew from The Bulk Herb Store, and did Evening Primrose oil from 37 weeks on. I’m guessing that made a difference in my contractions this time. I feel like ultimately, though, God really blessed me with a wonderful labor and gave me an immense amount of “grace“!
Little Deborah and I have been snuggling and getting to know each other these past few days. : ) She started nursing without any problems, for which I’m very grateful. Every baby I have I get more relaxed as a mother, and the newborn days are not nearly as scary and overwhelming as when I had my first. She is a precious little girl, and I am so thankful to have a third daughter!