Went straight to the DG and bought a preggo test.
Didn't even tell Luke I was going to take one (because I am forever taking them to be sure...), but let him know in a hurry that I had.
Needless to say, I didn't milk that goat much. Everything went on the back burner. I was shocked and a little frustrated that my body was clearly never going to be normal ever again. Then, that little guy began his magic. His quiet little kicks, long naps and convenient night-sickness won me over long before he arrived.
Only catch was I really didn't want to give birth again. Not yet. I was itching to hold him (we didn't know it was a boy, but weren't at all surprised), but I was dreading birthing him. I even told the CNM (certified nurse midwife) that my window of natural labor toleration was probably more like 18 hours instead of 24. She smiled and said we would just wait and see how it went.
Estimations were for a eight and a half pound baby. Nearing the end I was waddling as fast as I could after two kids and I was dilated to two cms a week before my due date. I oscillated between wanting to cross my legs and jump on a trampoline. Mom and Dad arrived as in-house childcare. Everything was ready! I was ready! Dread or no, I was done done done with being pregnant. I printed off a birth plan. I think I even gave it to the CNM, but this time I just felt settled. I didn't really want to birth a baby, but I knew I could and I knew how.
There are some things mamas just learn.
On Friday, November 4th, 2011, I went in for my last CNM appointment. I was dilated to 4 cms and "ripe." I let the CNM strip my membranes and prayed it would work. Because Ollie had had a quiet morning, I let them run a heart rate and movement strip on him after my exam. Turned out my quiet baby was active and strong just so gentle I could hardly feel him. Bless that boy.
Before we left the office, light irregular contractions had started. We stopped for gas, went to the book store and headed home to pack our bags. With the help of Mom and Luke, I sat at the dinner table through moderate contractions and helped bathe the big kids and put them to bed. By ten, I got in bed hoping to rest. I slept fitfully through contractions timing them about 10 minutes apart. At 12:40 am, I woke up to active labor. Annabel woke up whimpering at 1:00 am and she and I cuddled in bed as my body did the work of labor. With the body of my toddler warm against my back, I dozed between contractions focusing on the breathing of my sweet girl and I was almost able to disconnect from the pain. At 4:00 am, I felt my contractions getting stronger and decided it was time to wake Luke up. Strangely, my greatest concern was that Annabel would be very upset by being moved.
Luke asked how close my contractions were. My estimation was 7 minutes, but our plan was to go to the hospital pretty early so I could labor away from the house and kids (so as not to scar them for life). As I stood up to go take a shower I marked a surprisingly strong contraction. Luke began timing and when I reported the beginning of the next one, his face turned white as he reported that we were now at two and a half minutes apart. Still, life must be lived, and children must be settled. Focusing deeply, I hugged my screaming daughter goodbye and Luke presented Laine with a Buzz Lightyear doll (which Grammy and PopPop listened to for the next seven hours), and then we were finally off. At 5:15 we pulled up to the hospital and got checked in. Not only was I not making jokes, I wasn't talking. THEY ASKED ME TO SIGN SOMETHING, and we went up to the most beautiful labor and delivery room I have ever seen. It was big and quiet and light and there was a huge bath tub. Within minutes I was eased into the bathtub and Luke was spraying my back and the quiet, patient CNM sat by my side and did...nothing. She didn't direct, she didn't fuss, she didn't ask questions, she just sat and watched. Confidently. Quietly. Patiently.
At some point she told me that if I wasn't comfortable with a water birth I needed to get out of the bath. I looked into her eyes and asked if I could do a water birth. Seriously. During transition, I decided to try something new because I liked the sound of it. The bath was so gentle and even during the worst of it, I could be pain free between contractions, so I stayed in. It just felt right. I had the arms of my husband around me and I knew we could do it.
So, still in the water, I felt the urge to push. But my water wasn't broken. Before when I had felt the urge to push with my water intact, we decided to break my water, but this time (new practice, new CNM) this quiet woman looked at me as said, "listen to what your body is saying." Every overly analytical, controlling, first-born part of me wanted to weigh the risks and benefits. What was going to happen? What about bruising? Then I was overwhelmed with the need to obey. The need to push. The need to be present. After one push I felt my water break and felt absurdly proud and strong. After three more pushes Ollie's head was out and then (after a weird little pause) one more push, and there he was at 6:56 am. Gentle and sweet and hungry. Little dude nursed like a big boy.