Eamon's Birth Story:
While all the action only took a few hours, the story of Eamon's birth last Sunday really starts on Friday afternoon.
Last weekend, DH went to a conference a couple hours from where we live. At 37 weeks pregnant, I was a little nervous about being on my own with the Bat and the Eel for 48 hours, but neither of us were too worried about anything else happening. Both my previous labors occurred past the 40 week mark. I had been having sporadic bouts of contractions for a couple weeks, but that was par for the course in my experience and not to be taken too seriously. By Friday, though, DH was really nervous about his original plan to go away for the whole weekend and resolved to come home on Saturday night.
Friday afternoon, I had an appointment with my midwife. Since my prior labors proceeded quickly (8 and 4 hours), and she lives an hour away, the midwife wanted to examine me to see whether we should expect labor to start soon. The results were inconclusive, but she thought it wouldn't be too long considering how low the baby was. That exam triggered mild but regular contractions for the rest of the day that progressed from 7 minutes apart in the late afternoon to 3.5 minutes apart when they petered out at 2am. Since they never intensified, I didn't take them seriously, but I'm pretty sure they were getting everything ready to go.
On Sunday morning, I posted my weekly pregnancy update and then got going with my day. As I was starting a load in the wash, I felt a little trickle and deduced as I cleaned it up that my water had broken. I told DH to let the midwife know and took a shower, figuring that the rest of the fluid could come out there. It didn't.
So I set about preparing our bedroom, but the boys decided that this was a good time to interfere with those efforts, and I gave up. I switched to timing contractions, since the midwife wanted me to call her with that information anyway. That was when the rest of the fluid decided to come out. On the bed. The contractions were mild and 4.5 minutes apart.
DH took the Bat to get fast food for lunch (for all of us). My midwife asked another, closer midwife to come over and monitor me while we waited for my midwife to arrive. The backup midwife (who happens to be the midwife who delivered the Bat) asked me to collect some of the amniotic fluid in a cup for her to examine. I collected it in front of the Eel, and then had to protect the cup until the midwife arrived, because the Eel proclaimed on seeing the cup, "I thirsty!" (Shudder...)
By the time DH returned with food, I only felt like eating a little and could no longer do anything through the contractions. The backup midwife and I had also discovered that I did not have enough towels, so we sent DH and the Bat back out to buy some.
By now, the contractions were starting to get close and I was vocalizing, but I could still converse between them. I was also enjoying the fact that I was recovering enough between contractions to feel the baby move down--something I had not experienced before. The back up midwife told DH "not to dally".
While he was away, the midwife got out my birth kit and ripped up an old sheet in case DH didn't make it back in time. We joked about how this was all getting a bit frontier. At a certain point, though, I started feeling a bit shaky and nauseous, so I told her I thought I was close to transition. She told me she was pretty sure I was past that and getting close to pushing.
Not long after that, I could feel that the baby was starting to press down to crown. I wasn't pushing--he was. But my body wasn't quite ready yet. Two or three contractions later, I was ready. Sometime around this point, my midwife arrived, and DH and the Bat arrived in time to be told that the baby was crowning.
I had decided ahead of time that I wanted to try delivering the baby on my knees, and I had been kneeling throughout the labor. I had also resolved to try my best not to scream as I had with my other labors. It took some concentration, but I did manage to keep my noises low--if loud--and I think it did help.
Unlike the Bat and the Eel's births, I could not tell when Eamon's head was out and had to be told. But his head and body were out in two pushes. He was passed to me through my legs, and the midwives set to work cleaning amniotic fluid from his mouth and nose. It took him a while to pink up, but he was perfectly healthy at 9 pounds, 3 ounces and 23 inches long. He is my smallest and longest baby.
The entire labor was less than 3.5 hours, and I had no tearing. The recovery has been remarkably easy, too.
Both the Bat and the Eel handled the birth remarkably well--the Bat especially. The Bat really enjoyed learning from my midwife about the placenta when she examined it. In his words, "It's beautiful."
While the transition to having a new baby in the house has been a bit stressful on them, the boys have been very good with their new brother and are both loving, gentle, and attentive.
Because the birth was easy, I have been afforded the opportunity to approach my relationship with Eamon from a new perspective. The labor was very much a team effort: he would move, then I would respond. That sense of our being a team has carried over into our nursing relationship, whereas neither birth nor nursing felt so dynamic with the other two. It's been a really satisfying experience to feel like Eamon and I are collaborating rather than that I have a series of tasks to perform, and I am grateful for the opportunity to experience birth and infant mothering this way.