My actual labor with Kieryn was the fastest I’ve yet experienced. In fact, I don’t believe it could have been any faster. But the whole story of her arrival turned out to be much longer than the other two birth stories, so I decided to break it up into two parts – the events leading up and the actual birth.
“Third babies are often the anomaly,” my midwife, Lisa, said right from the start. And she was absolutely right. The first trimesters with my first two pregnancies were beautiful. This time, I had nauseous moments that I wished would lead to cathartic vomiting sessions, though they never did. I was hungrier than I had ever been in my entire life – so hungry, that even after two ultrasounds showing just one baby, I often wondered if there was a second one hiding in there. Warm-up contractions started during my 22nd week of pregnancy – way earlier than they had with the other two. And though I made early labor progress with Anson, it took much longer this time around to kick into actual labor.
Because of the early progress with Anson, we knew my body liked to get going well before the baby was actually ready to arrive. So we didn’t get overly excited when I was
1 cm and 80% effaced at 35 weeks, or
2 cm and 90% effaced at 36 weeks, or
Between 3 and 4cm and 95% effaced with Kieryn at +1 station at 38 weeks.
Because Kieryn was well on her way down and her head was in the way, Lisa couldn’t get a really good estimate of my dilation at that appointment on Thursday, July 29th, but she said she could have probably gotten me to 5 cm with a little help. We didn’t feel the need to “help” anything along at that point, but we did start getting a little excited.
My Memere was scheduled to come up on Tuesday, August 3rd (one week before my official due date) to stay with us so she could see the birth and help out afterwards. But in light of the progress, my mom convinced my Memere to move her flight so instead of arriving on Tuesday, she would arrive on Saturday morning, July 31st. We didn’t want her to miss the “imminent” birth.
If we were just a little excited on Thursday, we officially became overly excited on Friday, July 30th when I lost my mucus plug. At that point, Lisa said it was just a matter of time before Kieryn came, though she couldn’t say exactly how much time. My mom gave me strict bed rest orders so that I’d keep the baby in until Memere arrived the next morning. Once she arrived, the orders swung from bed rest to vigorous activity: walking, cleaning, swimming, and hiking up and down the stairs to fetch any item that was needed. We were ready to meet this baby!
On many occasions the contractions would be so strong that I swore I could feel dilation/effacement occurring. Often, they would be 5-7 minutes apart for an hour or more, but then would fade out. Like her big brother, Kieryn was very content to stay in her womb home, despite our best efforts to coax her out.
There were a couple of days, August 3rd and 4th, where I was really sleepy. I asked Lisa if it meant anything. She said it meant that I needed rest for the big event that was coming up. But she still couldn’t estimate when exactly that would be. She just kept faithfully saying that the baby would arrive on her birthday.
By Friday, August 6th I was fully effaced and 4 cm dilated, but Lisa said she could get me to 7cm! Knowing that we were ready to meet our baby, Lisa asked if we wanted her to sweep my membranes in order to encourage Kieryn out. It’s a step that happens naturally right before labor begins. Since there were no risks involved with it, we asked her to do it. She guaranteed that the baby would be here within the next 24 hours.
But following the 3rd-baby-anomaly pattern of this pregnancy, I was the ONE woman among the 600-something others in Lisa’s experience and an untold number of other women in two other midwive’s experiences who DID NOT follow the rule of labor starting within 24 hours of the membranes being separated.
At that point, mom was at the end of her vacation time. So, she began driving 1.5 hours up to our house after work to stay the night in the hopes of being here for the birth. Then she would turn back around and drive the 1.5 hours back the next morning. The end of Memere’s visit was in sight too. Cell phones were constantly ringing with people looking for updates on my status. We always answered with, “NOOOO baby yet. . .”
I felt the pressure (however self-imposed it may have been) growing steadily each day and entered a zone of frequent discouragement. I felt like I was wasting my family’s time and energy and disappointing them with my lack of performance. Even if they weren’t disappointed, I was. I was so excited to experience the wonder of another labor. I struggled to remember that the Lord would bring our baby girl to us in His good time.
I was also getting a little bit stir-crazy. Knowing how fast everything would go once labor actually started, and because this was going to be a home birth, I didn’t want to be more than 2 minutes from my house. So, I didn’t leave the neighborhood for weeks. Literally. I was so glad to have my mom and memere around to keep me company. But still, I was eager for more freedom again.
On August 10th, my official due date and a full FOUR days after my membranes had been separated, Lisa came over to check me again and said the baby could not be any closer to arriving than she was. She even got heart tones in the spot you normally get them when the mom is actually pushing! This solidified our suspicion that this would probably be my fastest active labor yet! We spent about a half hour reviewing what Erich should do if everything ended up happening in a 15 minute span from first contraction to birth and Lisa didn’t have time to get here. He took notes like crazy!
But two more days passed and still no Kieryn. . .
See this post for the rest of the story.