March 9, 2013
10 pounds 4 ounces
19 1/4 inches
42 weeks gestation
My birth story with my third baby begins when I was approximately 35-36 weeks gestation and began having frequent braxton hicks contractions. Because both my previous babies had chosen their own birth dates around 37-38 weeks, we thought our baby would be born soon. In the evenings I would often have an hour or two were I would have 2-4 contractions of moderate intensity that would make me think labor was gearing up, but they always faded away. Because of my previous precipitous birth with our second daughter, we were constantly on alert.
Approximately 37 weeks
When I was approximately 38 weeks pregnant, I started having consistent contractions in the evening on Valentine's Day. The contraction pattern fit with my previous birth, coming every 1 1/2 to 3 minutes and lasting 45-60 seconds. They were intense enough for me to take notice and breathe through them, but they were not unbearable. After 3 hours we called our midwives, who came and sat with us and periodically monitored me, and called my parents, who came to stay with our other daughters. However, as more people entered our home, my contractions slowly began coming further and further apart until they stopped altogether. I asked to have my cervix checked, and was found to be 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced, but my cervix was very posterior. We decided to let the midwives go home and try to get some rest. We all expected labor to begin soon.
The weeks began to pass. My braxton hicks contractions became less frequent during the day, but I spent most evenings after dinner having random moderate contractions. My due date came and went. My baby was so far engaged into my pelvis that the midwives couldn't even feel her head when they palpated my belly for fetal position. But still we waited.
False alarm - Valentine's Day
When I was 41 weeks 6 days, I went to bed complaining that I was never going to go into labor after an evening with no contractions what so ever. I fell asleep at approximately midnight.
Last belly pic - 41 weeks
At around 1:15 am I was jolted awake with intense stomach cramps. I ran to the bathroom, where I was practically trapped on the toilet by frequent cramping. I knew immediately and without any doubt that I was in labor. My husband had fallen asleep on the couch downstairs, and I knew I needed to get to him so we could call the midwives. I focused on getting downstairs, where I thankfully found him awake and in the kitchen. I told him to call the midwives and tell them to come now, and that I was unable to time contractions but that they were coming quickly and were very intense. Approximately 10-15 minutes after I was awakened from a sound sleep, I was already leaning against the counter and swaying through contractions, my legs shaking involuntarily with each one. I left my husband to talk to the midwives, and worked on making my way back upstairs. I made it into the bathroom and leaned against the counter, and soon I was vocalizing through contractions. We briefly discussed getting me into the bath tub, where we thought I might want to deliver, however I felt rooted to my spot by the counter and the bath tub did not appeal to me in the least. As my vocalizations increased, my husband remembered our last birth, and called one of our midwives and got her on the phone while she drove. She recommended that I get into the bed to attempt to slow things down but I couldn't move from my spot by the counter. Suddenly I felt my body move the baby down, my water broke, and I felt very intense pressure and a burning sensation. With two pushes, the head was out and my husband tossed his phone aside to catch. Another push and the body followed, and my husband was holding our daughter behind me. I had delivered her standing up in our bathroom, leaning against the bathroom counter. My husband patted her back firmly until she cried, and we wrapped her in a blanket. We slowly made our way to our bed. I looked at my clock on my way to the bed - it was not yet 2am. From first contraction to baby in hand, it had been just 37 minutes.
It was a bit tricky getting into the bed, as the baby was behind me and still attached by the umbilical cord, but we managed to maneuver her until I was able to lay down and hold her in my arms. Approximately 10 minutes later our first midwife arrived, and about 5 minutes after that our second midwife entered the room. As with my previous birth, my contractions stopped immediately after the birth of the baby, but before the placenta was delivered. Ironically, it took longer to deliver the placenta than it did to deliver the baby, but it did eventually release. I had a small first degree tear that did not require suturing and was otherwise fine. Our midwives began the newborn evaluation and weighed her - our baby was 10 pounds, 4 ounces! Soon I was able to get into the shower, then back into bed with my baby. Around this time, our second daughter woke up and came into the room to meet her new sister, and we awakened our oldest as well. By 4:30 am the midwives were on their way home and our family was tucked into our bed, happy and now complete.
Baby #1 - C-section after 4 hours of labor due to undiagnosed breech presentation
Baby #2 - 2 hour labor, (unintentional unassisted) VBAC delivered in the car
Baby #3 - 37 minute labor, (unintentional unassisted) HBAC delivered at home