When we started to talk about baby number four, I introduced the idea of waiting to find out the gender of the baby. At first Will was a little apprehensive, but he came around eventually. So it was decided when Joslyn was just a twinkle in our eyes, this last babies gender would be a surprise.
Not knowing if the baby was a boy or a girl really made the last few weeks of pregnancy exciting and fun. It felt like waiting for Christmas morning, but not knowing exactly when that would be. The week before Joslyn was born, I would start having contractions every morning and they would last anywhere from 2-4 hours and then stop. I was sure I would have a quicker labor this time around. The morning before her birth they woke me up around 6am. I was 40 weeks and 1 day.
I went down stars to meditate, pray and spend some time alone before the boys woke up. I bounced on the exercise ball and told baby I couldn’t wait to meet her. After an hour of consistent contractions, I started doing some labor inducing exercises. I knew I had little control over getting labor to start, but I figured it was worth a try. After 7 or so hours of contractions I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be having a quick birth. I was curious to see where I was at because they seemed pretty intense. My midwife came to check me and told me I was at a three and 100% effaced. I was thrilled. With all three boys, it took me over 12 hours to get to a three. So I thought, great! Things are moving along!
Janee (My midwife) left and we sent the kids to my neighbors house. We went on a walk trying to “keep things going” I had a lot of anxiety and stress over my labor stalling like it had done with Connors birth. My doula came over and offered counter pressure and we watched a movie trying to relax. Things slowed down in the evening and we sent her home until things picked up a bit.
When I would lay down, contractions were 10 minutes apart. When I stood up and walked around, they were 5 minutes apart. So I alternated between resting and working hard for the next couple of hours. Janee came back to check me at 10:30 and I was still at a three. I had a really hard time getting over the disappointment of not progressing. I ugly cried for a good 20 minutes, then decided I would try to get some sleep as I was not interested in “getting things going” through the night. My sweet midwife offered to stay the night to ease my stress and have her there in case I needed her. I rested as much as I could and figured out how to do counter pressure on myself through the night.
In the morning it was back to business. I tried to be patient with my body, but it was hard. I was ready to meet my baby and with all of the contractions I had been having I was sure I would not have another 40 hour birth. But I also knew that I had done it before and I could do it again. Baby was looking great and I was managing contractions just fine.
|All photos by Katherine Anne Loveless http://www.katherineloveless.com/|
Around 5pm I asked for my midwife and doula to come back over. I had no idea if I was close, but I felt like I needed some more support. I had her check me again, and I was at a 5! I was relieved to have made some progress. The next 5 hours are blurred together in my head as one intense hour. I was shocked by how late it was when they announced she was born at 10:05pm. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We started to fill up the birth pool around 6:00pm. This made my bedroom hot and humid. So we went downstairs for a bit when the kids came home around 7:00. The temperature change was a bit of a shock and I started to shake I was so cold. I stood over the heat vent and watched the kids eat some snacks and goof off around at the table. They were a good distraction.
Contractions seemed to be right on top of each other and I was ready to feel the relief of the warm water. I had two contractions walking up to my room and hurdled into the tub. It felt amazing to have the warm water envelop my contracting belly. Will came and sat next to the tub, and I melted into his arms. This was on of my favorite moments, the love and excitement was tangible.
The exhaustion was starting to set in, my legs were tired and weak. I had spent the last 30 something hours squatting during contractions, because it’s what felt good and comfortable. But now I could not find a comfortable position as squatting was becoming increasingly difficult. While the water was making contractions more manageable, resting in between was nearly impossible. At some point in the water I was checked and at an 8 with a posterior lip. Janee held it down through a contraction and had me do some lunges in the pool. Around 9:45 I got out of the water and Will helped support me while I kneeled on the bed. My water broke and things got real.
I could not support my own body any longer. I laid on my side and tried my best to stay relaxed. Something felt much different than my previous births. It was more intense than I felt like I could handle. I was experiencing pain that I had never felt before. I was starting to panic. I kept saying that I couldn’t do it. I was done and I wanted to just go to sleep. I was in that crazy state of mind that I actually believed that was an option. Everyone’s response was “You are doing it Cara.” After about 10 minutes of me freaking out, Will leaned down and whispered in my ear “Thank you. Thank you so much for doing this.”
I realized that this was part of my story, it was going to be hard. No one needed to save me from pain. I wasn’t suffering, pain was just a sensation and it was okay to allow myself to feel it without fear. I took a deep breath and decided it was time to surrender. Then I reached down a moment later to feel my babies head crowning. I did not expect it to be that fast. My body started to push and I felt her head slide gently into my hands. Then I knew exactly why this time it was so different, a little hand grasped my finger. She was born with both hands up by her head. I smiled and then pushed the rest of her body out.
The first hands to touch my baby were my own. I pulled her slippery body on to my stomach and was filled with relief. We covered her up with a towel and stared at our new tiny human. We held her, kissed her and stroked her arms then together lifted up the towel to reveal that we were getting our little girl! And we were thrilled.