Part I: Labor and Birth
It all began Sunday, January 6th, late afternoon. While visiting with friends, I noticed I was having regular contractions. At first, I didn't pay much attention the them, but once my friends left, I realized that I was still having regular contractions. They continued and seemed to steadily be four minutes apart. Unsure if this was the start of labor, I decided to take a warm bath to see if this would cause the contractions to fizzle out. While in the tub, they did spread out to about five to six minutes apart. But, as soon as I got out, they returned to about every four minutes. I felt this was indeed early labor, but knew the contractions weren't strong enough to be active labor.
After several hours of wondering if this was labor, I was tired of timing and just tired in general, so I went to bed around 10:30pm. I was so tired, in fact, that part of me hoped labor wouldn't intensify during the night, but rather "pick up where we left off in the morning", after a full night's rest. I had always wished that I could wake up in the morning and go into labor. I've had all my babies late at night, after a long day, and feeling very tired, so I desired a morning labor.
Well, I got half of my wish. I did officially go into labor in the morning, but I certainly didn't get that full night's rest I had hoped for. I guess my mind was just too focused on the possibility of labor, because I was up constantly during the night. I did maintain regular contractions through the night, although only a couple of them were a bit stronger than the rest.
The alarm clock went off at 5:30 am the next morning because I had planned to take my friends to the airport. Well, with having not gotten much sleep AND knowing I was possibly in labor, I awoke Greg and asked him to take them to the airport. The thought of being stuck in morning traffic and having my water break in the car was an unnerving thought.
Before Greg left, I had already experienced a few harder contractions and started to get nervous about something happening while he was gone. I sat down to post on my blog, and as soon as I stood up, I had a very strong contraction, hard enough to have to breathe through. At this point, I KNEW I was in active labor! I told Greg to get to that airport FAST! I also told him to call me every thirty minutes to check on my progress. As soon as he left, I went into labor preparation mode and finished up last minute things in my room and bathroom. In no time, Greg was home and we called the midwife. I think it was about 8:30am when we called her. She said she would go ahead and come because it was going to take her an hour to get here.
At this point, I pretty much stayed in my room as labor intensified. I tried various positions to find what was comfortable. I was almost overwhelmed with choices! In the hospital, I always did the same thing....I walked and stayed on my feet until it was time to push. Ahh, but here at home, I had choices! Almost too many choices. I couldn't decide WHAT I wanted to do! I walked, I stood, I layed in bed.......I was trying to hold out as long as possible before getting into the tub. I wanted to hold out for that much anticipated relief for transition. It wasn't long before the contractions became doozies, so Greg drew the bath......it was time. I had a couple of contractions in the bathroom so I held onto the counter and had Greg rub vigorously on my lower back. This helped tremendously to ease some of the pain. Tub time!
I had only been in the tub about 10 minutes when Janet, my midwife, arrived. While in the tub, I tried to relax and find a comfortable position. The water WAS a great relief, but I couldn't seem to find the right position during a contraction. I wanted to be upright so that Greg could have access to my back, but I felt like I was having to hold myself up which just exerted extra energy that needed to be reserved for the contraction itself.
Just as I was trying to decide if being in the tub was working for me, I had a HUGE contration and suddenly felt "pushy"! To everyone's surprise, including mine, I began grunting and pushing. Usually pushing affords me some relief, but I wasn't feeling any. But, with the next push, I felt a pop and then MAJOR relief. My bag of water had ruptured. Labor had advanced so quickly that it hadn't even occured to me that my water bag was still in tact.
By this time, my small bathroom had filled up with lots of people: My mom, the kids, my friends, and my midwife. Greg left my back to get into the "catcher's position". In one push, I felt the baby go from high up in my pelvis to crowning. I instictively put my hand on the baby's head to ease her out to prevent tearing. Once her head was out, Janet instructed Greg to check for any cord around the neck. No cord! Before my next push I remember yelling, "I hate the shoulders!" and bracing myself for the next push. The head is not what bothers me, it's those shoulders! Ouch! So, with one final push, Greg pulled our sweet baby girl out and placed her on my belly. She was perfect and breathing well! Our baby was finally here!
I can't tell you what a blessing it was to be surrounded by loved ones to share this miracle with us! I always love the sounds of all the people around me after giving birth. The shouts of joy, the praising, and the laughter. It's priceless!
Genevieve Julee was born January 7th at 9:52am. She was milky white (with vernix) and absolutley beautiful! The birth was amazing and Genevieve was strong and healthy! Best of all, Greg finally got to deliver one of our babies! God is good!