Charlie’s birth was straightforward; he wasn’t here, and then suddenly…he was.
But let’s start at the beginning: he was eight days late.
I know that doesn’t exactly make me a martyr but my other two kids each came about a week early. I was pregnant with Charlie for 14 days longer than I’d even been pregnant before.
You know…I didn’t mind being late. Really, I was fine. The only thing that nagged at me and eventually drove me to covertly try out those embarrassing labor-inducing wives’ tales was the threat of going “in” for an ultrasound, and possibly worse.
I had the pleasure of once again working with a midwife for the tail end of this pregnancy and birth, an experience I can’t recommend highly enough. I can’t imagine doing birth any other way.
But because I was technically overdue, things were starting to get clinical. For the safety of myself and my midwife, I would eventually need to go get checked out in a traditional medical environment with advanced medical equipment. Suddenly your basic measuring tape and hands-on-belly approach were not enough.
I did not want to pay for another ultrasound. I did not want to be told by a doctor that I ought to just trot on over to L&D and get induced. So for days I tried the tricks, though honestly it didn’t feel right. I felt like I was trying to evacuate Charlie before he was ready to come and that seemed unfair. But the alternative—possibly being induced—was far worse.
With every day he didn’t come, I started to expect him less. Weird, right? By a week overdue it started to seem less and less likely that he would ever actually come!
And then, at 1:18am on the 8th day, he came!
I’d had contractions off and on for two days, strong contractions that actually had me pushing buttons on a stop watch at times, but they never developed a pattern or increased much in intensity. It felt like I was doing labor in stages, like I was gently and causally progressing. I told myself that, anyway.
And as it turns out, I think I was right.
And now for the actual birth story…
I went to bed at about 10. Contractions had mellowed and I was pretty sure we were in for a quiet night. Todd came to bed at 11:00, and when he came through the door I woke up in pain. Not severe, but definitely there. He went to bed and I said nothing, just laid there, quietly timing what I couldn’t deny were pretty intense contractions.
That’s when my water just gave up and broke. Days of contractions will do that to you. This was my second experience with water breaking early in labor. It’s extremely helpful in determining when it’s “the real thing.” I recommend it 🙂
And the games began. I called the midwife and Todd, who hadn’t had the chance to fall asleep yet, bless him, got the kids to his parents’ house. For maybe half an hour I went about the house, getting things ready for the hippie-est thing I’ve ever done in my life, a home birth (turns out those are totally NOT weird or scary, by the way).
I don’t know how long I expected to be in labor, but 2.5 hours from “was that a for real contraction?” to BABY was not it. The contractions very quickly escalated in intensity, becoming what I think are the most intense I’ve ever had. It took the midwife about an hour to arrive at my house from the time I called her, and I’d been watching out the window expectantly for probably 20 minutes before she pulled up. I could tell things were moving quickly.
And then just after she arrived I slipped seamlessly through transition to push time. By now I know what that transition feels like and I didn’t let it freak me out.
By the midwife’s clock I pushed for eleven minutes and then we had ourselves a Charlie. He cried more than either of my other boys, a kind of pig squealy cry that was more funny than pitiful.
After he was out we had the usual couple hours of unpleasantness that is post partum contractions (you cannot possibly prepare yourself properly for those bad boys…), sutures (ditto), and all the rest of that necessary mommy maintenance. Contrary to popular belief, the great birth ordeal is not over until the care provider finally finishes their prodding.
All things considered, this was my favorite labor. Quick, yes. Intense, very. But good…strong…efficient. I’d go eight days over again in a heartbeat if it meant another whirlwind delivery. I found it totally worth the intensity.
So ends the tale of Charlie’s swift beginning! At 9 days old we count him among the sleeping and eating baby champions of the world. He is a squishy delight and I try to do nothing but sit and hold him all day long, but…I’ve got other kids 🙂
Praise the Lord for his great gifts to us!