Jim was frantically doing laundry, packing suitcases, and generally sort of freaking out. I went back to bed and he said what are you doing?!?! I said nothing is happening yet and I'm tired. I want to rest before labor starts! I laid down for about an hour or so and was having some light contractions that were pretty irregular. Kellan had preschool that morning so I got up to eat, help with the kids, and get things ready for the birth. Jim got Kellan off to preschool and arranged with his dad to watch the kids until the baby was born and we were settled back at home. While he was gone taking care of drop offs and grabbing a few last minute needs from the store, I packed a bag for me and baby and then tried to rest here and there because I knew I'd need energy for delivery and this pregnancy had been pretty exhausting for me. I was having contractions throughout the day, and continuously leaking water, but the contractions weren't that strong and were between 8-10 min apart, so I'd been ignoring them mostly and just trying to get things ready.
|Last belly pic|
Jim and I had so much trouble agreeing on a name for this baby the entire pregnancy. We knew we wanted an Irish name, but between our families already using many of the names we loved, it was hard to decide in something perfect. Shortly after we found out the gender, I decided I was in LOVE with the name Darby, but Jim vetoed it immediately and said he really didn't like it because it sounded too much like Barbie. I loved the name so much and it seemed like such a perfect fit as soon as I saw it, so I begged him for a few weeks to think about it more, but Jim was so strongly against it I finally gave up. We had narrowed it down to two other choices, but couldn't decide which we liked better. The birth center had asked me to fill out the birth certificate paperwork before coming in to deliver, so I was working on that as Jim was getting ready to leave with the boys. I thought we had decided on a name, so I asked him just to make sure and he said he wasn't feeling that either of our choices were right and that he might actually like the name Darby now. I said, "Are you kidding me?!?!" I had argued for that name FOREVER and he had made it clear he wasn't going to budge. He said he didn't know and left and I gave up filling out paperwork.
At 2, Jim got home and drove me to the chiropractor to get a quick last minute adjustment before labor. Afterwards, we went and got something to eat and then went back home. I told Jim to pick a name because I was done thinking about it and he said he needed to see her first. Valerie was on her way so that she would be there to photograph the birth. After I ate, around 4 pm, I thought about going for a walk to see if I could get labor going, but decided to try and nap again for awhile instead and Jim took a nap too. Valerie arrived at the house while I was resting. I got up around 5 because my contractions were suddenly getting stronger and not easy to sleep through anymore, so I knew active labor had finally started. I grabbed my birth ball and my phone and started timing contractions while talking to Valerie and bouncing on my ball and watching Chopped on Netflix. My midwife called around 6pm for an update and I told her that contractions were between 4-5 min apart and getting strong, but I felt like we had more time and that I was a little concerned because the baby wasn't moving much. She said that they wanted me to come in between 10-11pm to get a round of antibiotics since at that point my water would be broken for 18 hours. She suggested I lay down and see if I could get five movements from baby in the next hour. I did and got a few right away, so I went back to the ball. Valerie left to grab some dinner and I told Jim we might think about heading in to the birth center when she got back because things were getting stronger. The midwife called back for another update around 7pm and I told her I felt things were progressing enough that we'd probably be heading in within the next hour or so. When Valerie got back I told her to go ahead and take her time eating but that we would probably start heading to the birth center when she was ready. I felt like they were getting kind of antsy for some progress and at that point my contractions were getting harder to talk through.
We left for the birth center a little after 8pm and arrived around 8:30pm. I was listening to my Hypnobabies Easy First Stage track on the way in. When I got there, we got the diffuser going with lavender and stress away and I went straight for the ball. Elizabeth, the midwife came in and said they would like to do a quick check to see where I was at, test that I was leaking amniotic fluid, and they wanted to listen to baby and make sure she was doing well. Baby sounded good and I was definitely leaking fluid. When they checked me (I had not had any checks during pregnancy), she said I was 3cm and 80% effaced. It was a little after 9pm at that point. She said that they would like to break my hindwaters (only my forewaters had broken earlier) and sweep my membranes to see if that might get things to progress faster. I was nearing the 18 hour mark and the overseeing OB for the birth center would want to send me upstairs to the hospital L&D for induction if I hit 24 hours and was still pregnant. I was adamant that I did not want ANY interventions and that I knew my body would know what to do, so I told her I wanted to wait and that I thought things would progress on their own. I am so glad I listened to my body!
She suggested I take a hot shower because sometimes that will help get things going and then go for a walk. It was a pretty night and I agreed it might be good to get some fresh air. I got in the shower for about 15 minutes and had some pretty good contractions while I was in there. I had to hold on to the bars on the wall to stabilize myself through them. When I got out, I got dressed and told Jim and Valerie I was feeling hungry and wanted to grab a snack. The birth center offers snacks, but I was looking for protein specifically, which they didn't seem to have much of, so we decided to walk down to the cafeteria. I had to stop several times on the way there to breathe through contractions. Valerie said they were about 3 minutes apart at that point. I told Jim and Valerie I was feeling really discouraged and doubtful because I'd thought I was a lot further along than that based off the strength of my contractions and that I was really scared of being sent upstairs for an induction. They both reassured me that I was fine and that I needed to trust my body and not worry about that yet. We got to the vending machines and I grabbed a protein bar and we sat down for a few minutes and then decided to go outside. The courtyard doors looked like they might be locked, so we thought we'd go out the main entrance instead, but as we walked that way, I was really having some hard contractions and had to stop frequently. I decided I needed to go back to the birth room and try to do some Hypnobabies, maybe get in the tub to see if that helped with the pressure. We sat down on a bench and I finished my protein bar and then started feeling a little nauseated. I sat through a couple strong contractions and then we went back to the birth room.
We got back to the room just after 10pm. On the way past the nurse's station, the nurse asked for the birth certificate paperwork. I told her it was in the car and it wasn't ready yet and she asked if we could get it so I said Jim would and went back to the room sort of mid-sentence because I needed to sit down. I tried laying on my side on the bed though a couple contractions with a peanut ball the midwife brought to me, and Jim turned on my Hypnobabies track, but they were getting really intense and I felt like I couldn't get into a good headspace to concentrate through them. Jim went to go get the paperwork from the car.Valerie started filling the tub for me. I thought maybe emptying my bladder might help, so I went into the bathroom. As soon as I tried to go, I realized I couldn't and my contractions were feeling extremely strong and intense like I was in transition. I thought there was no way, I was only at 3cm and 80% effaced an hour ago! Elizabeth asked if she could check me again and I said yes, but the contractions were coming so fast and I was feeling an incredible amount of pressure, it made it difficult and all of a sudden, as Jim walked back in the room from the car, I screamed this involuntary almost-primal scream/growl and my body just started pushing. It was the craziest thing ever and caught me completely off guard. I had a natural birth with Aven and never experienced anything like this! I couldn't wrap my head around why I was pushing because I was still thinking there was no way I was that far progressed in an hour. Elizabeth helped me back to the bed for a check and I was throwing my clothes off as we went because I felt like I was burning up! I climbed onto the bed on hands and knees and kept screaming and pushing, I couldn't help it. I said is that the baby? Is she coming? Elizabeth said yes she is! At some point the nurses wheeled in the IV antibiotics because I was going to get them at 10:30pm and she saw that I was pushing so she said, "Well, I guess she didn't want these!"
Well, I am definitely not a "calm birther". I screamed through the contractions and nearly broke Jim's hand. I said," I can't do it! I know I've done it before but I can't do it!" Everyone said, "You already ARE!" I started yelling, "It hurts!" Jim, in an attempt to distract me said, "What hurts?" I said, "My fucking VAGINA hurts, what's wrong with you?!?!" I felt like the baby was in a weird position because I was feeling more pressure toward the back than my last two births and I said, "Something isn't right. She's stuck! She's in a weird position. It's not right!" Elizabeth said, "No, she's not stuck, you're doing great." They raised the bed so that I was in a more upright position, leaning over the headboard to push. I had been pretty determined not to push on my back, but I felt like I needed to flip over to get baby in a better position. When I turned, things were a little easier. I kept pushing and she was out! I said, "What time is it?!?!" It was 10:50pm! Just shy of an hour and a half after I'd been only 3cm and 80% effaced! She had been trying to come out sunny-side-up and her cord was wrapped twice around her neck, so she was a little purple. I caught her as she came out and put her on my chest while we waited for her cord to stop pulsating. Elizabeth gave her some oxygen to help her breathe and she cried but just for a minute. I held her up and checked to make sure she was still a girl! She is amazing and beautiful and perfect. The midwife and nurses were as shocked as I was that she was already here! They said that might be the fastest labor progression they'd seen yet! This is exactly why I normally decline cervical checks and don't want to know my dilation/effacement. It doesn't mean a single thing and I can't think of a better example of how insignificant it is than this birth!
I asked Jim what her name was and he said it was Darby Elise. He said after I worked that hard to get her here, he thought she should have the name I chose. He chose her middle name, which is beautiful. We think it's perfect for her. I had a tiny 1st degree tear and needed just 3 stitches. I worried about hemorrhaging again, because I had after my last two births and the last time was so traumatic. The nurses and midwives understood my concerns, patiently waited for the placenta to detach on its own, and calmly checked for clots. They did have to remove a few, but it was nothing like I had gone through after Aven's birth and there was no hemorrhage! They let us rest for a little while, then came in and weighed her and got her measurements. She was 7lbs and 11oz. just like her big brother Kellan had been, but she was an inch shorter at 18.5 inches. I took a shower and got dressed and we headed home around 2am! We were there just under 6 hours total, labored for 1.5 hours of that time. The nurse told me on the way out that she still couldn't believe how fast it all went and that when I got there, they had been placing bets on delivery time and they were all thinking it would be at least 1-2am! My entire active labor was just under 6 hours as well. I pushed for 20 min. She came so fast, her head didn't really have any molding. The nurses kept saying she looked like she'd been breech because her head was round and not coned.
This birth went so differently from what I expected, and although it was intense, it was exactly what I wanted. I am so glad I switched to a midwife team this time and that they trusted my judgement, allowed me to listen to and trust my body, and reaffirmed that I could do this even when I was doubting myself. I know if I had stayed with my previous OB, this story would be very different. Darby is probably our last baby and I feel beyond blessed to have had such an amazing birth experience.
Recovery so far has been pretty easy (3 days post-partum as I write this). I'm not too uncomfortable, actually feeling pretty much back to normal. I've been lucky that despite having tough pregnancies, my recoveries are usually quick. Lisa is bringing by my placenta capsules today which will help even more and my milk came in last night. Darby is doing well and her big brothers are absolutely in love with her!