At some point, a long while back, we started a birthday tradition that I look forward to as each child’s birthday approaches….A LOT!! And while I am not totally positive the kids still get the same kick out of it, they humor their mother pretty convincingly, which makes me think maybe they don’t hate it too much.
As the big day approaches, we start talking about what was happening at that point, how ever many years ago it was that they were about to be born. How huge their mother was, how active (or inactive, as the case may be) they were in the womb, what was going on in the family, etc and so on. Then the last 48 hours before they were born are talked about in great detail….who was here, what we were doing at that time, how we were feeling, and when we KNEW the time was near. We do this up to their time of birth….and I don’t know about them, but their mom truly LOVES reliving these moments with them!!!
So with this in mind, I thought I’d share Abby’s birth story with you all as we approach her BIG day tomorrow.
I was HUGE!! Truth be told, I had been huge for some time actually. Having babies just shy of 14 months apart means there is no time for reconditioning of the abdominal muscles in between, even involuntarily!! So by the time I was about 4 months along, I was already very clearly pregnant, so just imagine how big I was by the big day!! It was comical really. I was VERY ready for this new bundle of joy to make an appearance, considering I was at this point, 2 weeks past my due date. And yet, I clearly remember being grateful for that extra time. I knew there was a good chance this was my last baby, and being blessed with wonderful pregnancies, the idea of not feeling them move inside me again was difficult to imagine. Just another reason I am grateful I had a midwife and that she was willing to let me go into labor on my own time.
Michael was working at BWC, a ton of hours as was usual, but it was a Saturday and he was home enjoying the day with his growing family. We were both vaguely aware that the Super Bowl was coming on the following day, and were looking forward to having dinner with my mom, sister, and Cousin Deb who was in from Boston visiting (and waiting patiently to see this new bundle of joy!!) that evening. Breakfast with the same crew, as well as my grandmother & grandfather, was on the agenda for the following morning. It was looking like it would be a good weekend (family AND food-wise).
Madison was 3 days from being 14 months old and still such a baby herself. She was so little, still wearing 6-9 month clothes, and wasn’t walking or talking, but her sweet personality was very much there. Chance was a big 4 ½ year old, with a toothless grin, and could not be more excited about the new baby on the way. After all, he got an awesome Buzz Lightyear action figure “from Madi” when she was born, surely there would be some good stuff from the new baby too!! He was hoping for a boy….with good toy taste<grin>.
I’d been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for a while at this point, pretty typical for my pregnancies, but my check up this week had not revealed much indication that the baby was coming anytime soon. Of course, my body never was good about giving us a clue ahead of time, so we knew anything could happen. My mom, Jess and Deb were nice enough to come our way for dinner and we thoroughly enjoyed a night out eating at a little hole-in-the-wall Italian restaurant we love near our house. Cousin Deb made her pleas to my baby belly to come out already….she was due to head back home in a couple of days and really, really wanted to see this baby!!
Her pleas were apparently heard because it wasn’t long after we got home that I began thinking that my contractions were a little different than they had been. I wasn’t sure, but had an inkling that something was happening. I got the little ones to bed and hit the hay for a good nights sleep. By early morning it was CLEAR something was happening.
One of the awesome things about having a baby with a Midwife at a Birth Center is that you don’t have the restrictions on eating and such that you would otherwise. It’s a good thing considering how the day went from there!!
I filled Michael in as we got ready to go meet everyone for breakfast. My contractions were 10 minutes apart consistently, and getting stronger, but I knew I was still a long way from being ready to have this baby. HOW I knew is anyone’s guess, but I suppose on your third you have as good an idea as ever. Mostly though, since my body didn’t do much before labor, I knew that I usually went about 24 hours before anyone was going to make an appearance. Besides, I was HUNGRY and wasn’t about to miss this breakfast with the family!! I made him swear to not say a word about the contractions to anyone till I was ready.
I could envision the scene if we handled this any differently. We’d walk in the restaurant and announce the big news, to watch everyone stand up and start pushing us towards the door to go have this baby!! I was NOT missing breakfast, so there could be no clues given. Of course, in the end, it was my need to stop talking during a contraction that announced it for us…LOL.
It really was perfect timing….I had just finished eating and was talking to my mom when another contraction hit. I had been pretty clever about making sure I wasn’t talking during any that had preceded this one, but it was bound to eventually happen. She knew immediately what was going on, and as predicted, as soon as it was announced every single one of them stood up and started pushing us out the door!!! LOL My precious sister, who had missed Madison’s birth by 5 minutes, attached herself to me and was not going to let go. She was NOT missing this one!!! I assured her we had time though, and as pretty as she was dressed, it was NOT appropriate clothing for watching/helping a baby be born!! She needed to head to the condo and get something comfy on, we would get the kiddo’s deposited at his Mom’s, and we’d meet her back at the house in just a little while.
I had called my Midwife before we headed to breakfast, just to give her the heads up, and she asked that I call as things progressed. Problem was, several hours later, and I was still having contractions 10 minutes apart. They were getting stronger, just not closer together as we expected. We ordered pizza, played games, and my sister and I walked around the block, over and over and over again. My contractions would get a little closer together while walking, but as soon as I would sit down again, back to 10 minutes apart. UGH!!
By about 3pm, the Midwife was starting to wonder if I was really in labor!! With that, we made a quick run to the birth center to be checked. There wasn’t any doubt in my mind, and sure enough, I was at a 5 and things were going well. With that, we were off to Braum’s for Banana Splits…LOL. Back home, more walking, packing final items in the birth bag, and then, because there wasn’t much else to do, we started watching the Super Bowl pre-game programming. And still, the contractions were 10 minutes apart.
At about 6:30 my midwife called. I was making her nervous and would I please come on in to the birth center so she could watch me. No problem….we loaded up and were on our way. We were having a baby!!!!
Oh, I should mention, we didn’t know whether we were having a boy or a girl, but ONLY had a girl name. Why a boy name eluded us at that point I cannot remember, but we just could not come up with one that worked for us. The girls name was solid though, so we would just have to wait and see!!
Once we arrived at the birth center….an amazing Victorian home near downtown Dallas….my water broke when my midwife checked to see what progress I had made. I was at a 7 and doing well, so we decided a walk around the park right next to the house was in order……besides, while walking had not gotten things moving consistently, it had helped, I was sure of it. That one walk around the block took FOREVER!!! I was having to stop every 5 feet to get through some strong contractions, and was very glad to finally make the circuit and get back inside the house.
By this time my mom and Cousin Deb had made it to the birth center and my labor was getting more intense. Contractions were just a couple of minutes apart and I had started the “moose call” I became famous for during Madison’s birth….LOL. The kids get a kick out of hearing it, Michael says I replicate it pretty well, but truth be told, I am pretty sure there is no way I can do it in quite the same way without labor pains!! LOL
In no time at all, I was at transition. I had warned my midwife that this would be the point when I would be sure I couldn’t get through it, and that I needed her to remind me that as soon as I was through this stage, I could start pushing. As predicted, this was my breaking point, and for a few contractions I was sure I wasn’t going to be able to do this. I was done and there was no way I could have this baby!! With the support of Michael, my mom, sister and the midwife, I made it through and it was time to push!!!!
While I had been walking around the spacious room the whole time I was there, I assumed, as I am sure we all did, that I would get up into the bed to have the baby. For reasons that I cannot articulate, that just didn’t feel right when the time came though. With that, the midwife and assistant offered to help me squat while pushing, and while we tried, that wasn’t working either. As we contemplated options, the midwife offered that I could just have her standing up if I wanted to!! Seriously?? Yes….and it was actually her favorite type of birth….well okay!!
As I began pushing my sweet sister was fulfilling a wish I had to have pictures this time. They would be black and white, and while I was sure they would never be shared with anyone, it was important to me to see this baby's birth. As the baby crowned though, Jessica became so emotional she simply could not continue taking pictures. She was so incredibly moved by what she was witnessing, she could do nothing but watch and sob. At this point, the assistant took over camera duties and I was blessed with photos that I cherish to this day.
Meanwhile, I was experiencing something more profound than words can express.
Three pushes later, at 9:05pm, they were catching our baby girl as she was born!!! Phew….we HAD a girls name<grin>. She was perfect and healthy, weighing 8 pounds even, with big blue eyes, and a swatch of red hair on her little round head. As soon as I could get on the bed, she was laying across me and almost immediately latched on. It was incredible, and amazing, and breathtaking.
Her daddy would be the honored one to bathe her for the first time as I watched that bond begin growing.
A few hours later, after getting cleaned up and eating (again), we were ready to head home to sleep in our own bed. Another one of those amazing parts of having a baby in a birth center……we were in our own home, sleeping in our own bed (well, mostly staring at this beautiful little bundle laying next to us) by 3am…..and could not have been happier or more content.
And this is where the story of our youngest begins……
Be sure and check back tomorrow for a celebratory photo montage of our beautiful girl.
Happy almost birthday Miss Abigail!!!!