Elisabeth is nine days old today. Thus far, she has been an absolute angel.
She is a fabulous sleeper,
and rarely fusses.
She loves to look at the world around her
and is adored by her big brothers and sisters.
She had a beautiful, peaceful entrance into the world.
No bright lights, no scratchy hospital blankets, no one trying to rush her birth or force any type of schedule onto her. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
Now on to the nitty gritty details, for those of you who are curious:
9:00 pm – My water broke. And them broke some more. And some more. And more… Todd worked on putting all of the kids to bed, and then we set up the bedroom, which essentially meant putting chux pads on every surface I might possibly want to sit on and stripping off our real bedding for an old sheet and bedspread on top of a shower curtain. Simple, yet effective. Since there was some meconium, we called Brigitte (my midwife) to let her know what was going on. She was just finishing up another birth in a hospital about an hour away, but would be on her way to check on us as soon as she could. The baby was still kicking up a storm (she did this every night) and I wasn’t having any contractions yet, so we settled in to wait for some action to begin.
12:00 am – Brigitte arrived. She checked the baby’s heartbeat – perfect! – and gave me my first dose of antibiotics (I was strep +). She got everything set up for the birth and then headed to her house for some rest. One of the reasons that I chose her to be my midwife was that she lives nearby, and it worked out really well for all of us. Todd managed to lay down and get some sleep, but I was too excited, so I just watched him snore.
1:00 am – Contractions!!! They were short and far apart, but at least something was finally happening. Todd kept snoring, and I hung out in our comfy computer chair, laboring away.
4:00 am – I was still doing fine, but I could feel the baby moving lower and lower, and was worried that labor would kick in with a vengeance and Brigitte wouldn’t make it back in time, so I decided to call her and have her come back out. She checked the heartbeat – still perfect – and we spent the next hour discussing the meanings of our childrens’ names.
5:00 am – I was getting impatient with the long, slow labor (after a long, slow pregnancy), so I asked Brigitte to check me. I was completely effaced and dilated to a four. Not bad, until you realize that I had been dilated to a four since Thursday. Sigh. I decided that I was going to have to get out of my comfy computer chair and change positions to make the contractions more effective. I got in bed on my left side and YOWSA! The contractions really took off. Now they were l-o-n-g and really intense. Even with Todd applying some serious counterpressure on my back, they were the strongest contractions I’ve ever had with any of my babies. I was SO glad that I was home in my quiet, dark bedroom with no nurses rushing in and out. I was able to totally relax and just be in labor.
6:30ish am – I entered my “pushing denial” phase. My contractions were changing into pushing contractions, and I hate hate HATE pushing. So I kept on trying to relax through them, thinking to myself “No, it can’t really be time yet.” The only problem is that it is impossible for me to relax through pushing contractions. So around 6:45 I finally decided to give in and start pushing. Todd could tell it was time, because I was really, really grouchy. 😉
6:50 am – I thought I might like to get back into the comfy computer chair, but I tried it for one contraction and could tell it wasn’t going to work. So we piled up some pillows at the top of my bed for me to lean on, and Brigitte sat cross legged at the bottom. Todd went to wake up Sarah, and she sat right next to Brigitte. (This was not quite the view I had planned for her, but it worked.) Then pushing began in earnest, and right at 7:00 am on the dot Elisabeth made her entrance into the world!
We wrapped her in our warmest, softest bath towels and I snuggled her on my chest. Sarah announced that she was a BOY! And then Todd smacked her for being a smart-alec. The placenta came out fairly quickly, and then Sarah cut the cord. Brigitte showed Sarah and I exactly how the placenta had worked and all of the cool placenta parts. It was fascinating! (We now have a placenta in our freezer – any ideas on what to do with it?) Then Brigitte ran home to send her kids off to school and take a quick shower while we kept snuggling in bed. She came back about an hour later to do Elisabeth’s newborn exam (she was perfect!) and make sure I was still doing ok. I did bleed quite heavily, but Brigitte treated it pretty aggressively and was able to stop it before it became a full fledged hemorrhage. (When I bled like that in the hospital at Jakob’s birth, they just let me keep bleeding until I had lost way too much blood. That is one of the benefits of homebirth. The hospital’s attitude is “We’ll take care of it when it becomes a problem,” whereas a midwife’s attitude is “Let’s take care of it BEFORE it becomes a problem.”) All in all, it was a fabulous birth.
She was definitely worth the wait.