Monday 12/16 was like any other day; we went to my Moms house to hang out & do laundry. We came home, made dinner, cleaned up the kitchen and then I was in bed by 8. I didn’t do anything strenuous and I had no inkling that labor was only a few hours away.
I’m not sure if it was a contraction that woke me up, or if I woke up and then had a contraction. Either way, I woke up at 12:30 and had a pretty good contraction. It wasn’t overwhelming – but it was different than the braxton hicks I had been experiencing for the last several weeks.
I tried to go back to sleep but I could not get comfortable; I continued to have contractions every 7-9 minutes (I never actually timed them, but this is my guesstimate and what I told my Midwife when I called her). I was having to pee every couple of minutes it seemed, and I was also have lots of bowel movements; which I had read or maybe I had heard on a podcast that having bowel movements in early labor is totally normal. It’s just one of the ways your body is preparing for labor. On my last pee trip to the bathroom there was some blood when I wiped (mucous plug maybe?). I literally laughed out loud and said, “Oh. yep. This is the real deal.” Until this point I was still unsure whether or not this was real labor.
By now it was 1:45am – I woke Chris up and told him what was happening. He agreed that I needed to call Rebecca (my midwife) and let her know what was happening. She lives about an hour away from the birth center so we needed to give her plenty of notice. Chris was not in a hot hurry to deliver another baby by himself at home (poor guy is slightly traumatized from Aubrey’s birth.)
He also text his brother to let him know what was going on. Paisley & Aubrey were going to be going over to Jeremy & Amy’s house while Chris & I were at the birth center. Initially we were planning on taking them over to their house, but my contractions were started to get a little stronger and I didn’t think I could ride that far in the car. Honestly it’s only 5.5 miles one way, but it was just to much for me to handle then. We opted to have Jeremy come and pick them up, and honestly it worked out for the best.
As soon as Jeremy picked the girls up Chris & I headed for the birth center which was a whopping 2.3 miles away. We strategically picked the campground & birth center based on their proximity from each other – Again, this proved to be a wise choice. I had one contraction in the truck, one as soon as we pulled into the parking lot & another one as soon as we walked into what would be our birthing room. They were definitely getting stronger & closer together. Every 2-3 min, I think.
As soon as we got into our room Rebecca had me lay on the bed so that she could check my vitals and check Riley’s heart rate. This was just about the extent of any monitoring that was done. I did ask if she needed to do a cervix check and she said “No, this is your 3rd kid. You are in labor. We are good.” After that was done she said we were free to roam about the cabin. LOL, kidding. She didn’t say that – but she did say that we were free to wander around because no one else was there. FYI: It was 3am.
Rebecca asked if I wanted her to start the tub? I said I would wait a little bit longer to see how things went.
I think I had maybe 1 more contractions before they really started to ramp up in intensity. I wasn’t feeling pressure but I wasn’t able to do anything other than breath and moan through the contraction. My preferred stance was leaned over the bed while swaying my hips. I went to find Rebecca and asked if we could get the tub started.
She said “yep. I heard you in there.” I’m going to break from the story here to tell you how much I LOVE Midwifery care. It is like no other care. Every single visit was like visiting family. I wasn’t just a patient number or a dollar amount.
It all starts to get a little fuzzy now – Rebecca go the tub going. At some point I got in. As I was getting in the tub Rebecca told me that I could absolutely deliver in the water but that I couldn’t bob Riley’s head up and down once her head was out. I would have to keep her head underwater. (I’m here to tell ya that this sounds much easier than it actually is!) (The reason for this, i think, is that as long as she stayed underwater she was still “breathing” through the umbilical cord – but once she came out of the water she would take a breath and obviously she couldn’t go back under the water.)
Rebecca checked Riley’s heart rate and commented that my sacrum wasn’t opened up yet so we weren’t quite there yet. She also said something like it could be an hour or it could be 20 minutes. (click link to see what I mean about the sacrum. be warned, maybe not safe for work.) The very next contraction was crazy. I felt a ton of pressure and I could feel that I was going to need to push very soon. Rebecca said, “Oh, it could be 20 minutes then.”
Each contraction after that one was intense. I tried to remember to breath through them and to stay relaxed, which was quite difficult. I also tried not to scream. Later, after Riley was born, I commented to Chris that I tried not to scream. He laughed and said I was pretty loud.
I really have no idea how many contractions or how long it took to get Riley out. I know that part of her head was out (OMG THE BURN) and Rebecca asked if I wanted to feel. I said yes & started to reach for her, but then said no – Rebecca encouraged me to feel her head. THAT WAS WILD.
I also had to change positions from kneeling to laying on my side. I can’t remember why; maybe to help keep her head underwater. I feel like it took FOR-EV-ER to get her head all the way out. THE BURN. Lord have mercy, the burn.
and then the sweet sweet relief when she was finally all the way out. WHEW. We did it again! Riley Ann was born in the water on 12/17/2019 at 3:47am -A mere 45 minutes after we arrived at the birth center. Phew!
Just like with Aubrey, we did a delayed cord clamping. We let the cord stay attached until it had completely stopped pulsing. Per Rebecca, this is typically when the placenta has detached and is ready to be delivered. I hated this part with Aubrey & it was equally as awful with Riley.
After that was all over with I was able to get out of the tub and into bed. A BED. Not an icky hospital bed, A REAL BED! I loved being able to get into my own bed after Aubrey was born – but a nice cozy bed at a birth center was great too.
I realize this is getting lengthy – but I’m going to write it all out for the sake of my memory…..
The one thing that we didn’t have, that we needed, was food. I did manage to throw some snacks and drinks into a bag before we left but I hadn’t planned on what I would actually eat after she was born. I knew I needed a meal, but I never made one. I was planning on making some kind of quiche and then just heating it up at the birth center, but I never go around to making one. SO, when the time came that I needed to eat I had a banana & a kids chobani yogurt squeeze thing. That was enough so that I could take some ibuprofen.
Because we were staying so close to the birth center Chris was able to run home and make us some breakfast. So he went home, cooked up some egg sandwiches and came back to the birth center. Best egg sandwich EVER.
When he got back the Midwives (Rebecca & her student, Mary) got to work taking all of Riley’s measurements. So by this time i think it was probably close to 530 or 6. So we were able to just chill and cuddle for several hours before they did anything with Riley. Again, Midwifery care is THEE BEST.
As with Aubrey, I didn’t think Riley looked big enough to be 9lbs, but lo and behold, she was. 9lbs on the dot! Again, blew my mind! I guess I need to see an actual tiny baby to realize how big 9lbs actually is.
Eventually everyone cleared out and Chris & I were left to relax. We had the option to leave at the 4hr mark, but we opted to stay and relax there for a little while. Chris had to leave again and go get our car from his brothers house since that’s where Riley’s car seat was. We ended up leaving the birth center around 9:30am – just 6.5 hrs after we arrived.