June 4th, 10:39pm
6 pounds, 5 ounces
20.5 inches long
The first signs that labor could be near started exactly a week before her birth. I was just over 37 weeks and had a little bit of bloody mucus discharge. The longest I have ever "lasted" after seeing this kind of thing is one week. I was excited because I knew that chances were high I would have a baby within a weeks time. That had been a Tuesday. On Wednesday, I went to my midwife appointment. She checked me and said I was about 3-4 cm dilated, but my cervix was still very thick. She was willing to strip my membranes in I wanted though. Based on the bloody show I had had the day before, I figured it was worth a try. Well, I did have some cramping that afternoon along with a couple of contractions, but nothing major. I continued to have large amounts of bloody discharge for the next 3-4 days. Then, even that stopped, and still no baby.
On Saturday to keep my mind off of the fact that baby still wasn't here (and to hopefully help things along) we (the family) decided to hike/climb Sandia mountain. Well, we climbed ALL afternoon. I did get a couple strong contractions, but clearly, baby still wasn't ready just yet.
On Monday, I told the kids that perhaps baby wasn't here yet, because she liked things "extra pretty." The kids helped me clean the house spotless from head to toe. Then, we headed out to the store and they each picked out some nail polish (well the girls did anyway). We came home and painted our toes pretty in hopes that Madelyn would want to come out and see how "nice" everything was.
On Tuesday we started off doing some errands in town, and then headed to my midwife appointment at 1. The midwife again checked me and found that I was still about 3-4 cm and 100% thick. Crazy that I was dilated, but not effaced at all. Anyway, she went ahead and stripped my membranes again. At around 4:30 I felt my first contraction. They seemed to keep coming regularly so, at around 5 I started watching the clock to see what was going on. They were about 6-7 minutes apart, but certainly not anything too strong. Well, they started to get stronger, and were down to about 5-6 minutes apart by 6. I called my DH to let him know this "might" be it. DH was working out of the area, but assured me he was on his way home. Around 6:30 I let my friend who was going to watch the kids know that this "might be it." At 7, I called the midwife to let her know (as she would have to head into the birth center as well - she was on call) that things might happen. Contractions were around 4 minutes apart at this point. At 7:30 DH arrived home. Honestly at that point I felt like my contractions were starting to space out, and didn't even seem as strong. I was putting the kids to bed and was feeling a little bit discouraged... After I got the kids all tucked in, I came out into the living room and BAM, a contraction hit that I couldn't walk though. About 2-3 minutes later another one hit! "This is it!!" I told DH. We need to go now. We called my friend who was going to watch the kids. She lives 2 miles away and said she would be there in 5 minutes... 15 minutes later she showed up, and I was SOOOO ready to get out of there. I knew we still had time, even though the drive would be an hour to the birth center, but I knew that the car was not the most ideal place to deal with the contractions, so I wanted to get on with it. ANyway, then DH goes inside to see about getting the TV working for her. Ummmmm, Let's go. My friend saw me go through a couple contractions, and got a worried look on her face. "You waited too long this time," she said. "Nope, we've got time, but we are going now!" With that, we got into the car and took off. It was just about 8:30 when we left.
I was a bit unsettled and having trouble coping with the contractions when we first got going. I even remember telling DH that I was ready for my epidural as we got into the car (said as a joke, because I knew there was no possibility of that even at the birth center), because I was really feeling the pain. Anyway, I knew I had to get "in the zone" or the ride would be excruciating. I managed to focus and concentrated on taking slow, deep breaths through the contractions. I tried staying on my hands and knees in the back seat, but that wasn't a great position. Then I moved to draping my arms over the back of the seat while sitting on my knees. That seemed much better. I did that for about half of the drive, but then I could feel my legs and feet were starting to fall asleep. I laid down then, on my side. I wasn't sure how that would work to get through the contractions, but I found that as long as I kept taking long, deep breathes I could tolerate them. The way I normally go to the birth center is not the shortest way, it's just the way I prefer. Dh asked if we should take the faster route, YES!! So, he was trying to get it to come up on his GPS, but it wasn't. He called his brother, and his brother was relaying directions to my DH on how to get there the fast way. As we were going along I could feel increasing pressure like I needed to use the bathroom, but I wasn't worried about it being the baby. It's normal for me to have one last bathroom trip toward the end of labor. I simply knew I was progressing. Then, I started to feel nauseous. Even though this is a classic sign of "transition" it didn't dawn on me at the time that I was actually "that far along." Finally the directions came through on the GPS and we were almost there. Apparently DH took a couple side streets. He hit 3 speed bumps. I think I dilated 1 cm for each bump he hit!! Those were NOT fun, lol. About 3 minutes later we were at the birth center.
I waited through a contraction, and then headed to the door. I could barely walk at this point even when I wasn't contracting, and once inside I did get down on my hands and knees for a minute (and another contraction). I can't remember if I managed to walk to my room at the end of the hallway, or if I crawled, lol. When I got to my room I stayed on the floor through the first few contractions. Then I did get up to use the bathroom, and I joked that I was "pretty sure" I wouldn't give birth on the toilet, but hey, they do water births, so if I did we could just fish her out. The midwife said that another woman was in labor and heading in as well, so she called in the other midwife just to be safe. Kinda funny that the other woman was going to give birth to her fifth child and she also only had one boy (and would give birth to a girl). Anyway, finally the midwife checked me. I said, "just please don't tell me I'm only a 4 (what I had been that afternoon)." I honestly, thought I was more like a 6 or 7. She said I was a 9 and 100% effaced. Whenever I was ready to break my water, baby would come fast. Wow, I was shocked, even though I had had all the classic signs of transition, I just didn't expect to be that far. The midwife said she was surprised too, since I was still joking around between contractions and in a relatively good mood. Anyway, I opted to just labor on the bed on my side for awhile, and then told her to go ahead and break my water. She told me that I was complete when she broke it, and at any point if I felt like pushing I could. It was a relief when she did break my water. I was able to bear down a little bit during the contractions which really felt so much better then just breathing through them. The other midwife popped her head in the door and asked if we had a baby yet. Apparently, the other baby had just been born... about 10 minutes after the other woman walked in the door!! Well, that was enough for Madelyn to get the message, a minute later she crowned. They told me to ease up, and (knowing my body) I just pushed like mad anyway at that point. I wanted her out, and I knew I wouldn't tear. And with that she was out (and I didn't tear)! Her cord was REALLY short, so they could only lay her on the bottom part of my belly. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing and then went ahead and cut it. At that point I had to take off my shirt and bra. I had clothes I was going to "labor in," but never got to that point. Once my clothes were off, they put her up on my breast and covered her with a blanket. My DH called my mom to let her know that baby was here. I was actually talking to my mom just before I delivered the placenta. I remember hanging up the phone, and then gave a push and the placenta was out. The placenta was starting to show signs of calcification, so it was definitely time for Madelyn to be born (even though she was only 38 weeks). For about the next hour Madelyn laid snuggled with me and nursed. Then the nurse drew up the bath, and we both climbed in to wash up. I relaxed in the tub and continued to nurse her for close to another hour. Then, it was into the bed to relax/sleep a little for the next couple hours. At some point in there they did come in to weigh and measure her. She's a peanut at 6 pounds, 5 ounces, but she does have some length to her at 20.5 inches. At exactly 4 hours post birth, we were announced "healthy" and free to leave. So, we got to the birth center at 9:40, Madelyn was born at 10:39, and we were on our way home just before 3 am. We got home at 4, crawled into bed and slept for a couple hours, and then the girls started coming into our room shortly before 7. It was so cute to look up and see 4 little faces all peering in at us and whispering about their new baby sister!!
Recovery has been an absolute breeze. I didn't even really "swell" down there, so other then a little achy the first couple days, I've pretty much felt 100%. Madelyn loves to be held, and thankfully we have lots of "holders" here. Some things that surprised me about her. The first thing - she looks like her oldest sister. My oldest has always looked the most "different" from her siblings. The next 4 all looked like each other. Well, this one came out and I was surprised to see that she didn't look like the last 4 babies. She looked like big sis! The other surprising thing is how long her arms and legs are. They are MUCH longer then any of the other babies we have had.