On Tuesday, April 12, Lucas and I were convinced the baby was coming. I had about 4 hours of contractions--but, unfortunately they stayed about 8 minutes apart and died out without getting anywhere. Lucas spent the whole next day at work paranoid that I was going to have the baby at any moment, but I did not have anymore contractions until Saturday, April 16. I had nearly 5 hours of contractions that were about 5 minutes apart--bounced on the birth ball, walked, took Lincoln to an Easter Egg hunt, bounced some more, and then watched them die out around dinner time. No baby, but they felt strong enough that I was convinced he wouldn't be waiting too much longer!
On Sunday, April 17, we went on a walk and again tried to bring back the contractions. Apparently, though, the baby knew he was coming the next day and gave me a break because they never did pick back up on Sunday.
On Monday, April 18, we had our 40 week prenatal visit at 9:00. My midwife, Bernadette, did a check at my request and said I had dilated to 4+ centimeters, was 75% effaced, and baby was at a -1 station. I requested that she do a gentle membrane sweep--my opinion is that it will work if baby is really ready, and won't if he isn't. Bernadette said that one side of the bag of waters had already detached, so she really only swept the other side. It took about a minute and was a little painful, but very manageable. From there, she sent us home and told us to call her when contractions were 3-5 minutes apart (she was certain the baby was coming today!).
Lucas, Lincoln, and I swung by the store on the way home to pick up a few things. I had a few contractions at the store, but didn't bother timing anything. The car ride home was pretty uncomfortable--especially the last mile or so, which seemed to have developed about a billion (yes, a billion) more potholes and bumps in the hour we were gone. Once we got home, Lucas went to put Lincoln down for his nap and I bounced on the birth ball and walked aimlessly around the house :) After about 30 minutes of that, I figured I should start timing the contractions--they were around 5 minutes apart at that point.
Lincoln decided a nap was really not in his plan for the day, so he got moved to the couch and situated with "bob da buildas skyscwapet" (Bob the Builder Skyscraper). Lucas began filling the birth tub, and I decided that I really liked holding onto our kitchen counter. It had become the most comfortable thing ever--not sure how I had never noticed before. Bob the Builder's background music was beginning to drive me crazy, so before doing something I'd regret later (like throwing the remote through the TV to shut him up), I went and locked myself in the nice, quiet bathroom...where I suddenly discovered that the bathroom counter was now the most comfortable place in the house. Contractions were now 4 minutes apart. I was doing great--the 4 minute break between contractions was a long enough break that the contractions themselves were totally manageable. As long as I could lean on the counter and occasionally have someone press on my back, I was good. I practiced my visualization techniques and could swear that I felt the baby moving down when I pictured it. At this point, I heard the doorbell ring.
Lucas came and knocked on the bathroom door to tell me that Shannon (the student midwife that would be assisting Bernadette) was here. Apparently, neither Lucas nor I had our phone ringer on and they had been trying to call us. When they couldn't reach us, they thought maybe we had already had the baby and just decided to come on over. I felt bad, but it ended up being a good thing that she had come already. Shannon asked how far apart contractions were, and I told her about 4 minutes. She watched for a few, then said she thought they were a lot closer than 4 minutes. She quickly checked me and I was almost 7 centimeters and 90% effaced. This was about 12:30, I think. She called Bernadette to tell her, and Bernadette said she was already on her way over.
I went back out to the kitchen for some gatorade. At this point, I now needed someone to press on my back for each contraction. The most comfortable position was still leaning on something--counter, wall, couch, etc. The contractions were getting closer together and stronger, but I was able to breathe through them pretty easily. I used a hypnobirthing breathing technique to breathe in and lift up for a long breath, then breathe out long and slow. I am not describing that very well. Anyway, it worked GREAT.
Lucas was getting Lincoln some lunch and a bag packed for him to go to our friend Kari's house. I told Lucas that I couldn't take the sound of Bob the Builder anymore, and he needed to turn it off now. Luckily, Lincoln had finished his lunch, so Lucas was able to this with minimal protesting and got Lincoln and Wembley loaded up in the car and over to Kari's. By the time Lucas got back, Bernadette had arrived and he helped her bring all the equipment into the house. The birth tub was filled and Shannon asked me if I wanted to get in. I declined (I had spent a long time in the tub during labor with Lincoln and felt it slowed my labor down, so I was scared of the same thing happening. Despite being assured that I was far enough along that it wouldn't slow me down, I still didn't want to get in yet...).
I told whoever was listening that I wanted to push, and then just did. I was standing up in our bedroom, leaning over our dresser--only about 3 steps inside the bedroom door, and about 2 ft. from the birth tub. Lucas was standing next to me in the doorway, and Shannon and Bernadette were scrambling to cover the floor with towels and the tarp because we have white carpet and I apparently was going to have the baby right there. Bernadette asked where I wanted to have the baby (assuming I wanted to step 2 feet to get in the tub), but I said I couldn't move. So on the next contraction, I pushed and felt a ton of pressure. There was a "pop!" and the waters burst. That was a new feeling for me, since last time they were broken in the birth tub and I didn't notice. There was some slight burning, which I registered as the "ring of fire"--only, it was nowhere near as painful as it had been with Lincoln, so I didn't really think it was the "real thing." The next thing I heard was, "your baby's head is halfway out!" so apparently, my judgment was a bit off. I pushed again and the rest of the head was out, followed by the shoulders and body. Lucas said, "you did it!" And then, the baby cried! It was 2:15. Lucas had to run to get the camera (he didn't think the baby would come so fast--he said he thought he had at least 3 more hours!) I turned around to see the baby and Shannon and Bernadette were wrapping him in a blanket to hand him to me. I delivered the placenta about 2 minutes later and moved to the bed with the baby.
From the time I had my membranes swept to the birth was a little less than 5 hours. I pushed for a total of 7 minutes. The labor was fast, and with the exception of those 2 contractions during transition, very very manageable! I was amazed. Because of how fast he came out, I did have some 2nd degree tearing, but since I tore much worse the first time, I was fine with it.
We had our names narrowed down to 2--and decided he looked like a Bennett. Bennett, Lucas, and I hung out for awhile while Bernadette and Shannon cleaned up. Then, I had the amazingly fun experience of being stitched up (sarcasm!) and Bennett and I took an herbal bath. Lucas worked on draining the (unused) birth tub (sorry!!!!). The midwives headed out around 5:00.