Little Dave's birth story began the day before he was born. I started having contractions on Friday – they were crampy, but not intense – somewhat frequent, but not close enough to time. We started off the day by walking Bel to school. Later we went to Costco with Ita & Tia Rosa (I had Ita drive in case labor kicked into high gear all of a sudden) and did more walking and lots of shopping. The contractions continued througout the day, but weren't really anything to write home about. One thing that I did note was that I was having contractions no matter what I was doing: walking, sitting, sleeping/resting... I just figured that since I had had some false alarms before, that the contractions would eventually peter out and I would be pregnant forever! Being that this was my third baby we all figured that when labor started it would just be Go-Time right away and a fast progression. At my 39 week appointment (two weeks prior!) I was already 4cm dilated and baby was at +2 station, which would put me in the active labor category right away. But that is all according to the textbooks - my baby and body had other ideas.
Contractions continued throughout the night and I got winks of sleep in between. Saturday morning dawned early with the appearance of Easton and Isabel around 5:30a and 6a respectively. I swear they knew it was going to be an exciting day. We just hung around and daddy started timing contractions to give himself something to do. By 11:30 the kids went down for naps and were up at 1:30! When Isabel got up and I looked at the clock, I couldn't believe that naps were already done for the day! They started to get hungry and grumpy as my contractions started to get closer together and more intense. I started focusing though them and didn't want to talk or be talked to during the surges. At about 2:30 I needed to get out of our chaotic house. We decided to head to the mall to walk around. My mom wisely advised us to take our baby bag with us in case we didn't come back home. We hadn't been in the car for more than a minute before a big contraction hit and Dave pulled over. Even though the mall is really only about 5 mintues away we stopped once more before pulling into the parking lot. I looked at him and said, "I really don't feel like being around people right now. Lets head to The Birth Place." Dave was more than happy to oblige. We arrived at the warm, comfortable setting where our baby was to be born at about 3pm. Stacy greeted us in her warm mothering way and helped us settle in.
"Do you want me to check you?" She asked. "As of right now its totally up to you. If I see something I don't understand I will need to check you, but as of right now its completely up to you."
I decided to wait a bit on that and get settled in and focus through a few more surges. I used the birthing ball for a while then sometime between 3:30/4p I requested to get into that big beautiful tub. During the transition of going to the bathroom and filling up the tub, Stacy said that it would be a good time to check me if that was what I wanted. A small internal dialogue ensued...
"What if I'm not that far along and have a ways to go?"
"But that doesn't necesarrily mean anything because I could progress really fast."
"What if I'm like an 8 or 9 and almost ready to push?"
While I was debating with myself Dave broke my thoughts with, "Just get into the tub".
The warm water enveloped me with a sense of comfort and relaxation. Stacy prepared me for my labor to slow a bit as the water sometimes relaxes the body so much that contractions can space out to 10-15 min apart for a while after first getting into the tub. While she was in mid-sentence another big contraction hit. Stacy encouraged me to focus my sounds low and deep, Dave rubbed my back and shoulders while my mom rubbed my hands between contractions to help the blood flow and the tingling to subside. I knew I was on the verge of hyperventilating like I did with Isabel and tried to focus on deep meaningful breaths. There just didn't seem to be enough oxygen available. Dave coached me between contractions to get deep breaths which also helped to relax me and get ready for the next surge. Then transition came. I knew I was in transition because I got a little nauseous and just wanted to climb out of my skin. Part of my mind just needed to escape and get out of there! (Like that would have helped ;-) At some point Dave got in the tub with me and I was able to use his comfort to literally lean on during this hard stage of labor. The whole time Stacy was overseeing and monitoring from the perimeter. No one ever said anything about pushing: that it was time to push, how hard, how long... During a few contractions I did a few experimental pushes and it felt right. When I did that with Isabel the nurse got after me for pushing without telling her! I remember Stacy quietly telling my mom and Dave that I had started to push and it wouldn't be long. I have no idea how long I pushed or how many times. They were gentle urges at first and I could feel the baby decent deeper in the birth canal. Then before I knew it came the "Ring of Fire". I just wasn't ready for that yet! I let another surge come and go, then I was ready to meet my baby. With a mighty push my baby was born. One more push and the little one was caught by daddy's waiting hands. It was 4:40pm, only one hour and 40 minutes after we had first arrived. I reached down to take my baby and Stacy said, "Hold on, hold on!" I looked down to a mirad of hands and then my child was placed on my chest. "My baby! My baby!" was all I could say as I cuddled that new little life. The little one was a bit purple, but Stacy assured us that was normal coloring for a water birth when they aren't exposed to the air right away. The babe peacefully snuggled up on my chest and I realized we didn't know his/her gender! I turned the little one over and daddy and I said, "Its a boy" in unison! I couldn't believe that I had another son!
After a while Daddy got to cut Little Dave's cord thereby giving him his own identity and personhood.
While we cuddled in bed Stacy explained that the cord had been wrapped around his neck, thus the sea of hands when he popped out. She was a bit surprised being that whenever she had checked his heartbeat it was in the perfect 130s range. Yet another amazing thing about the human body is that the umbilical cord gets more stretchy and elastic the longer the baby cooks in the womb. Little Dave needed that extra week in there to make sure that he would be born smoothly and without incident even with the cord being wrapped around his neck. What a perfect example of how important it is to trust your baby and your body to know exactly what is perfect and right when it comes to birthing.
After lots of snuggles it was time to weigh the wee man and get all the necessary stats before he was inundated with his siblings. He didn't look as chubby as Easton did when he was born, so for a moment I thought that maybe he was smaller - like in the 7lb range. But when I saw the student midwife measure his length - twice and it come to 23inches I knew that we had a big boy! I saw the midwives eyes wide with amazement as they looked at his weight. 9 pounds even!!! Part of me wonders at my surprise. I had said the whole time that I would have an 8.5lb baby, and since he hung out for a week longer 9 pounds was totally reasonable!
At about 6:30p the siblings arrived to meet their new little brother. Isabel of course being the little mommy that she, is was totally enthralled. Easton was more interested in walking all over the bed and checking out his surroundings, but stopped long enough to give his little brother nice little pat on the head.
We were home in the comfort of our own beds by 9pm. Isabel was of course still awake with the excitement and told daddy, "I'm glad mommy is home". She needed the comfort and reassurance that even though things were changing, mommy and daddy would always come home.
Little Dave, you are the perfect addition to our family. Your birth went just as smoothly as I had always hoped and envisioned. Even though you are my third baby, you have taught me so much about the beauty and miracle of birth. You are perfect in every way and I love every bit of you from your beautiful brown hair down to your long little toes. I can't help but stare at you in wonderment. I know that you will grow to love your sibling as much as they love you. Isabel's face lights up with delight whenever she sees you. "He is so cute" is her favorite way to describe you. Even Easton grins ear to ear when he peeks over at you. I know you two will be best friends and drive mommy crazy with your antics. Thank you for choosing us as yourfamily. I feel so incredibly privileged to be called your mommy.