I can hardly believe I’m finally writing this post, and that “Baby Audrey,” as her big sister calls her, is here! As I am typing this, Audrey is not yet a full 48-hours old, and so far having her here has been quite the transition. Just as getting her here was a group effort, so will be these next couple of weeks as we get settled into our new routine. I am so thankful to have family nearby to help, specifically with Bonnie, and she is going through such a big adjustment.
My labor and delivery could not have gone more smoothly. The home birth experience was absolutely amazing, and again, I have my family to thank for helping make the home birth possible. My mom was an enormous comfort and help, as I knew she would be. My dad took Bonnie, albeit only for a few hours, and my sister helped with Bonnie as well. My mom is staying here at the house with us for a week. I didn’t realize until after Audrey’s arrival how crucial having my mom here would be for Bonnie, and not to mention for myself!
The evening leading up to my going into labor was normal and uneventful. No mucous plug or bloody show, no sudden burst of energy or urge to nest. Andrew and I went to dinner with my parents and sister, in celebration of his being 100% DONE with school AND his residency. Afterward we stopped by my parents’ house so that Andrew could help my dad carry a heavy piece of furniture down their stairs. We came home, put a very overtired Bonnie to bed, and put in a movie while I worked on paperwork for Andrew’s office. I did empty the dishwasher, clean the kitchen countertops, and pick up Bonnie’s toys from the living room, but those things are all part of my usual evening routine, and definitely didn’t constitute as “nesting.”
Andrew and I went to bed around 10:30. I fell asleep praying that I would go into labor before the weekend was over. I slept soundly until about 3am, when I woke up to a contraction. Part of me didn’t want to get my hopes up, since I’d been having contractions off and on for a couple weeks, but my gut knew that this was it. At this point, the contractions were about 10 minutes apart and anywhere from 30 to 40 seconds long.
Around 4:30am I got in the shower and stayed there for about 30 minutes. After my shower I cleaned out the tub and then the rest of the bathroom before letting Andrew know that I am in labor. I assured him things were progressing quite slowly and that he could continue sleeping. This was also about the time I text my mom to let her know what was going on.
By 5am Andrew was awake and alert, and the contractions were anywhere from 3 to 6 minutes apart, and lasting between 35 and 55 seconds. By 5:30am they were even closer together. I was feeling them mostly in my back, and it was becoming difficult for me to stand up straight through them. At this point I decided to text my midwife just to let her know what was going on so that she could be prepared to head this way when the time came.
At 6am I attempted to eat a little breakfast, knowing that if I waited until labor progressed further I would not be able to make myself eat anything. Bonnie wakes up around this time so Andrew and I put her in her stroller and began walking up and down our street. We did this together until my mom got here, at which point she and Andrew began to take turns walking with me, until around 7:30 or so, until it became too difficult for me to walk through the contractions.
By about 8:30am the contractions began to transition from my back to my low pelvis area, which was a nice switch at first, until they turned into rolling contractions shortly after. When this happened I started having anywhere from three to five or six contractions at a time, with just a few seconds-long break in between each one. Around that same time Andrew left the house to head to traffic school (long story there.)
After Andrew left the contractions continued to intensify, so I decided to take a shower. I sat in the shower, leaned over the side, and my mom held the water on my low back. She also kept diffusers running throughout my entire labor and was a better support than I could have even imagined. Shortly after I got out of the shower, my dad stopped by the house to pick up Bonnie. She had been a trooper up to this point, but I knew she did not need to be present for the actual birth.
My midwife got to the house at 9:30am, and after she’d gotten all settled in and up to speed I asked my mom to help me with a bath. During this time I began to wonder how I was going to make it through several more hours of contractions, as their intensity was growing so quickly. While I was sitting in the bath tub my mom held the shower head over me and rubbed my arm through each contraction. I sat in the warm water for a long time, and leaned over the side of the tub through the contractions. It was during this bath that things really started to progress even faster, and I began to realize I probably wouldn’t have hours of labor left after all.
When I let my mom know I was ready to get out of the bath so left the room for a bit, stepped outside, and took (or maybe made?) a phone call. Once my mom left the bathroom I had six insane contractions back-t0-back, with almost no breaks between each one: three in the tub, one on the toilet, and two leaning over the bathroom vanity.
After that wave of contractions finally ended (I’m sure it was only a matter of a few minutes, but it seemed like an eternity,) I stepped out of the bathroom into the bedroom. My midwife was nowhere to be found, and neither was my mom (and Andrew is still in traffic school.) Even though I wondered where people were, I didn’t have time to go looking for them before another wave of contractions hit. I leaned over the bed for a series of several strong, rolling contractions. During the very last one my water broke, just as my mom was walking back into the room. She hurriedly found my midwife, who had been using the other bathroom, and called my husband, who headed home immediately.
During my next set of contractions, kneeling on the floor, leaning over the bed, at 10:54am (as best anyone can tell) I pushed Audrey’s head out. She let out a small wail, and I pushed her shoulders and the rest of her out during the following contraction. I was able to catch her on my own, with a little help from my midwife, because I was shaking so badly. I did not tear this time, which surprised me since she came so quickly, but I did get a scratch down there, probably from her extremely long fingernails!
My mom and midwife immediately began working together to make a comfortable pallet on the floor, and as I was getting situated Audrey was able to latch easily, and began to nurse. Once her cord stopped pulsing my mom cut it, and at some point soon after Andrew got home.
After trying for quite a while to deliver the placenta on my own, my midwife and I decided on a shot of pitocin in my thigh. After what seemed like an eternity, I was finally able to expel the placenta.
Audrey was incredibly calm through all the activity, including all of the newborn procedures. She weighed in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces, and 21 inches long… a full inch longer and nearly a pound heavier than her older sister! She has two toes that are webbed and will eventually need to be surgically separated, but she is perfect, webbed toes and all!
And just for fun, here are pictures of both girls at 24 hours old:
I cannot wait to see how their friendship blossoms as they grow!!!