Everett made his way into the world on October 20, 2010 at 6:44 am. This is how it went down.
At around 1:30 in the morning my son, Fletcher, who is 23 months old, was yelling for “Mama” from his bed. I went in to give him a cuddle and get him back to sleep. I had mild contractions which were more uncomfortable with 25 pounds on my lap but I had those often at night. He went to sleep right away and I crawled back in bed. I may have dozed off, or may not have. I remember feeling a contraction with a little pain at 2 am. I laid in bed and waited for more but I had a feeling this was it. I had 2 more that felt around 5-7 minutes apart so I got up to begin timing. I sat on my birth ball, turned on a DVRed soap from over a week ago and used my iPhone App to time. I was getting them every 6 minutes, and they lasted for 1 minute. Some came closer. Then very quickly they went to 4 minutes apart and I was already having to breathe through them. I went back into my bedroom and told my husband I thought this was it! I wanted to take a shower to relieve the pain and also see if they slowed down at all before calling the midwife. A few nights prior I had irregular, but painful contractions, for a few hours. The shower seemed to slow them back down so I wanted to test that.
They kept up through the shower which made “showering” more difficult. I wanted to shave my legs but I gave that up. I did try to do a little personal grooming since I knew there would be an audience seeing my goods soon. That was a joke too since I couldn’t see a thing. I did my best, as I always tried to do.
I called my doula from the bathroom and told her to come over since things were moving quickly. I still kept saying I “think” this is it.
I got dressed, did my makeup, dried my hair, and went back to my birth ball. By then I was really feeling things and told my husband to call the midwife. She asked a few questions. My husband answered as best he could but honestly I gave up timing a while ago so I had no clue where we were. She could hear me breathing through in the background and she knew it was the real deal. We called her at around 3:45 am. She had a 1.5 hour drive to our house. Directly after Steven called our other midwife, who was 50 minutes away, and she left as well.
Next, Steven had to bring the birth tub upstairs and begin filling it. At this stage I was trying to find my rhythm. I was past the point of simply breathing through. I began vocalizing but hadn’t really found the right tone or movements to cope with the pain. Steven put pressure on my back when he could. Shortly after my doula arrived. I hardly noticed her. I was pacing the bedroom and moaning through the contractions, which at this point felt around 3 minutes apart. I did get nauseous and had to vomit. I knew this was a good sign. It felt nice to throw up. My doula helped by getting me water and making sure I was drinking, and rubbed my back through a few more contractions while I leaned on the bed.
Sue, the closest midwife, arrived at 4:55 am. I also hardly noticed. I think I may have been vomiting again when she came in. At this point I was just expelling water. She started setting up the supplies we had gathered beforehand for our birth kit and her own safety equipment. She was very concerned with the temperature of the water and wanted it to be cooler.
I felt bad because I was ignoring everyone in the room. Pacing and moaning were doing the most good to get through each contraction. They were close together and very strong. My legs were getting tired from the pacing. My other midwife arrived and everyone was busy getting things prepped. I had my blood pressure checked and the doppler was used a few times to check on the baby’s heart rate. He was doing great and stayed in the 130’s.
Soon the tub was full and I was ready to get in. My husband helped me into a swim suit. I was irritated that he couldn’t get it figured out and had no patience to help him. After getting in the tub a contraction hit and I was again nauseous. A bowl was soon in front of me. I started out sitting but realized this wasn’t working. Every time a contraction came I curled up then stretched and writhed around, almost having my body under the water completely. I had to again find a way to handle the contractions in this new environment. The water felt nice and warm and seemed to help.
I only had a few contractions before I started to feel pressure. There were a few contractions with longer breaks. I remember enjoying this time and trying to relax my body as completely as possible while I had the chance. I drank water and my doula and husband switch places. Now my husband was in front of me holding my hand. I was draped over the side of the tub and kneeling for the pushing stage.
I remember being in shock and disbelief that the pushing stage was here. My body knew what to do. My midwife told me to let a few contractions work to push the baby down for me. I made it through those first few without the intense urge to bear down. Then for the next few pushes I couldn’t have held back if I had wanted to. Every contraction I was bearing down hard and felt a very intense urge to push in my bottom. Luckily my body had already cleaned itself out during active labor so when doing so I didn’t have a bowel movement.
The midwives had placed a hand mirror at the bottom of the pool and were keeping an eye on the progress. I was gripping my husband’s hand tightly each time I pushed. My leaning over the pool was making a lot of water come out so hubby asked me to lean on him.
This marked the head coming out. It was a perfect time to change positions. I was more upright. My legs were extremely weak from the walking earlier, and shaking from the pain of the contractions. I was worried I would collapse. At any time if my bottom touched the floor of the pool I hated the feeling and recoiled in pain.
My midwife announced that she could see dark hair. I asked how many more pushes. I was getting tired. She estimated 4-5. I worked with each contraction and pushed the head out. My water never broke and when I reached to feel the head I was touching the membranes. It finally broke when the head was almost out. It took 3-4 pushes for the head to come out completely. He played a mean game of peek-a-boo. I remember making a remark about it and my midwife assured me I wouldn’t lose ground and to let it go in. Between pushes I relaxed despite the lovely burning sensation. I believe as the nose was coming I felt the most pain and knew I did tear. Then, another push and the body was out!
I think the midwives were behind me helping guide him out but I couldn’t see. I moved to a sitting position and took my baby to my chest. It was a weird timeless moment. I knew things were going on around but I was oblivious to it all. The moment I saw him and held him I was escatic and was saying “Oh my god! He is here!” The entire pushing phase I envisioned him slipping out and grabbing him as the ultimate reward and goal, and there he was! He was wrapped up in the cord and by putting him to my chest it was tugging at my insides. We all worked to unwrap his leg, then his abdomen. He then stayed on my chest while my husband and I stared at him. My husband gave me a kiss and told me he loved me and he had tears in his eyes.
It didn’t take very long for the placenta to come out. Another contraction, a quick push, and it was finished. My husband cut the cord at this point. Everett stayed on my chest and was very content. He settled down after that initial cry and just laid there. I inspected his features and knew he was bigger than my first son.
After a good 10 minutes I was ready to get out of the tub and into bed. Before the birth I was concerned about after the delivery and laying in a pool of what was surely a mix of urine, blood, and possibly feces. Let me tell you, you don’t care!
And I couldn’t have planned the timing better, because right after the baby was born my son woke up and walked into the room! I was so happy to see him and have him meet his little brother. He was drowsy and a little disoriented. Seeing a room full of people at 7 am had to have been confusing, but he came over and met the baby.
The midwives had laid a trail of chux pads from the tub to my bed. They took Everett and gave him to my husband, and he had removed his shirt to keep the baby warm. They replaced his wet hat and blanket with a fresh set. I was guided to the bed and I crawled in on hands and knees. I was shivering badly. A top was given to me, and then I got Everett back so that I could nurse him. He latched on right away and was able to nurse on both sides. In the meantime, I was examined and it was determined that I had a small tear that needed stitches. A topical numbing spray (that burns!) was applied and I had 2 internal stitches and 2 external. The external ones were a little ouchy.
The room was cleaned up, my husband got to use the pump he assembled to drain the birth tub. This was a crazy time because my son was roaming around trying to get into the numerous things he shouldn’t. Luckily my doula and the photographer kept him busy. My doula grabbed food for me and made sure I was getting food! That was lovely!
Everett was weighed and measured. He was 8 pounds, 8 ounces and 20.5 inches long!
Hubby brought in a few glasses of Champagne and we toasted to baby Everett.
Soon everything was gone, the people left, and it was just the 4 of us! My labor had only lasted 4 hours and 45 minutes. I couldn’t have done it without the support team I had in place. Even though I kept to myself for most of my labor, just hearing someone telling me how great it was going, or how wonderful I was doing, made all the difference. I am especially proud of my husband, who is very squeamish normally. He was a trooper!