In honor of my baby girl’s second birthday, which just passed, I am finally posting her lovely birth story.
Change in Plans
We were supposed to be going to Nashville to visit with our friends David and Vicky that Friday after our morning appointment with our midwife, Debi. But there was tons of snow and ice in their area that would have made getting to their house impossible. Several people had expressed concern about us going over so close to the baby’s birth, but I was certain she would not be coming two weeks early. That simply was not the way it had gone any of the four previous times. Despite my assurance, they were all very relieved that the weather didn’t permit us to go.
Let the Messages Begin!
Our appointment with Debi was at 10 am. I messaged all my sisters with the update:
Debi checked me just a bit ago and her immediate response was, “Ooooh!” She said I was VERY soft and 3.5 cm. She felt lots of hair. 🙂 She said she wouldn’t be surprised if we had the baby this week. BUT I’ve heard that before with all the other babies, so I’m not betting on it. Her point was that in the spectrum of “green” (cervix not ready) to “ripe” (cervix very ready), I’m at the ripe level. As soon as I get contractions that are regular, this baby will be here. She suggested more dancing this Shabbat and said, “Let’s have a baby!” 🙂
By 12:17, shortly after getting home after the appointment, I texted Debi with a screenshot of my contractions, which were about 2 minutes apart and lasting between 30 seconds and one minute. I said, “I don’t know if this is because of the digging today, but I wanted you keep you posted. They are not stronger than usual. Just coming frequently. No more mucus yet. I’m lying down to see if they’ll taper off.”
I updated the girls. “We may have an impromptu erev here tonight if this keeps up. I’ll keep you posted here.”
“SEND SOMEONE FOR A HOSE,” Casey replied. A new hose to fill the birthing tub that would be blown up in our master bedroom was the one main thing I hadn’t gotten yet, thinking there was still plenty of time. But my mom was already on it. She grabbed one on her break that afternoon and was poised and ready to leave work at the next notice from me.
Lying down with Simeon did not stop the contractions. They were still rolling in every 2 minutes and lasting 30 seconds to 1 minute. Though I had been lying down the whole hour, I hadn’t been able to sleep.
Debi canceled her 2 o’clock appointment and told me to get up and see what happened.
“Could this really be it even though I haven’t lost any mucus?”
“Oh yes it could be…Even without the mucus.”
We decided we’d check back in an hour. But just a few minutes later, I checked myself and got nasty chunky bloody stuff on my finger. I texted her a picture, because midwives are down with that kind of stuff.
You’d think after doing this four other times, I’d be more sure of the process. But it’s never the same.
“The cervix is opening,” was her reply.
I sat down at Erich’s desk and cried. “I’m not ready.”
“Yes, you are,” he assured me. He reminded me of our Abba’s perfect timing and prayed for us. He was excited. “Let’s do this!”
My sisters who were all in the midst of Shabbat prep, began wrapping things up in order to position themselves to be here when I gave the word.
An hour later, at 2:49pm, my body was still cranking out contractions every two minutes, and I began to feel it a little more in my back. Debi decided to head this way. Mom did too. Even though I was still not convinced this was really it, I really wanted all my sisters here. (Turns out that wanting my mom and all my sisters to be with me is a sure sign labor is underway.)
“Mom is almost home,” I told them. “Debi is on her way. I don’t know if this is it, but contractions haven’t spaced out at all, so anyone who wants to come and who won’t be upset if this is a false alarm is welcome to come.”
The Birth Party
That was all the invitation they needed. The birth party was underway within that hour.
Kristina was in the kitchen cooking up a feast for the entire crew.
Mari was there, offering the perfect words of truth to encourage me at the perfect time.
Casey was making sure I stayed hydrated and took time to sort through the pile of girl clothes she had given me a while before, but which I still hadn’t gotten around to pulling out and organizing. She also caught the early moments of birth on video for us.
Farrah, pregnant with her first baby, was crying almost continually and asking great questions at every turn.
Laurie was cheering me on and praying.
Alex, a new friend who is a nursing student with aspirations to become a midwife, was there too.
And, of course, Myrna. Somehow, my body has waited until her arrival to kick into high gear these last two births.
The house was buzzing with sweet activity. I roamed around, having those stop-what-you’re-doing-and-wag-your-bottom contractions in the kitchen and in the living room. Once the tub began to be prepared, I transitioned up to the room.
My dear friends hauled up pots of boiling water for the tub. (Yes, we actually did need boiling water for this birth. I always thought the boiling water thing was a joke, but it was no joke when our hot water tank decided it couldn’t get the birth tub filled up in time.)
As I waited for the tub, I had the shivers, my tell-tale sign of transition. Debi checked me. Bag of waters was bulging. I was 6-7 cm, maybe even 8. I had full permission to enter the never-disappointing hot water of the tub.
I encountered the familiar, but ever-exciting, sensations of the baby rapidly descending. Knowing where I was in the process, and how quickly things would move from there, I sent word to the girls downstairs that whoever wanted to see the baby’s birth should come up quickly, because this baby was coming soon.
The room filled with all my loved ones. In just a few minutes, with a calm matter-of-factness, I informed Debi I would be pushing soon. Sure enough, that’s just how it went. After just a few minutes of pushing, I announced, “Okay, there’s the head. All done.”
Debi checked. “It was just the water.”
“Not the head?” I said incredulously. Then I whined a bit as I entered my next contraction.
Despite my disappointment, it was only about three minutes more before she was born.
And she was perfect.
We sat in the water together recovering from the whirlwind of activity we had just gone through. Then family introductions were made. Madeline, on the verge of tears, came to see her new sister. Kieryn, always full of empathy, felt badly that we were in a tub full of blood. Anson and Simeon greeted their new baby sister with eagerness.
Happy Endings and New Beginnings
Though Eden Naomi was two weeks early according to my due date, she came right on time:
Friday evening, February 20, 2015, 6:55pm.
8 lbs 8 oz.
I couldn’t have planned it better if I had tried. My entire family was present. Erich and I were overwhelmed by the support.
Shortly after the birth I sent out Facebook thank-you’s. I ended with Debi:
You are an incredible midwife. I have loved every appointment and labor I’ve had with you. Maybe we’ll do this all again in a couple of years.
And here we are two years later, preparing to start appointments again for our next precious gift!