Pregnancy #4 was no walk in the park, and at 39 weeks pregnant, I was ready to be done. Or so I thought.
I was up all night on this particular Tuesday (leading into Wednesday), for no good reason. I wasn’t tired, but I was certainly enjoying the peaceful, quiet night as everyone else slept. I had just finished watching Knocked Up (ironically) – it was around 3:30 a.m. – and I was laying there on the couch watching TV when my water broke. Out of the clear blue sky, with no warning contractions or anything, I got a weird stabby feeling in my vagina, then felt an odd popping sensation, then out poured the baby’s spa water.
And suddenly I wasn’t at all sure I was ready to be done. I wasn’t mentally prepared for the baby to come a week early, even though I hoped and prayed for an early arrival. I was ‘ready’ to go a week (or more) late!
I got up and high-tailed it to the bathroom, hoping not to besmirch too much of the carpet with the leaking fluid. I always hate to wake Brian up in the middle of the night, but it was hard to conduct a serious internal debate with such damning evidence as gushing womb goo, so I stuffed a towel between my legs, and waddled into the bedroom.
(Stage whisper) “Babe? …… BABE?!”
(Sleepy, but slightly panicked mumbling, because his wife never wakes him up on purpose) “Uh?!”
“My water just broke. I’m getting in the shower.”
I had my priorities straight. First things first: eliminate the lumberjack state of my insanely hairy legs. Get unsmelly. Thankfully, my contractions hadn’t really started yet – just some mildly crampy stuff. However, inexplicably, shaving one’s legs is difficult when one’s water has broken. Go figure.
While I showered, Brian called Penny, our amazing and fantastic midwife, to tell her what was going on. She told us that it was likely the weather that caused my water to break early (big snow/ice storm), and she wanted us to keep her posted when my contractions picked up.
I wandered around a bit, directing Brian if he asked for help while he tried to get everything ready for our impending home birth. He was adorable, a little tense, excited, and just….amped. I attempted to fold some clean laundry to stay busy while waiting for things to happen. I think I might have folded 4 things before I had to abandon ship and lean over a chair to get through my sudden, intense contractions.
I promptly called Penny back, and she said, “It’s time, huh?” I told her, yeah, she better head down. Things were getting increasingly intense really quickly, so I figured it was time to get in the tub. Brian was running around like a crazy man, including vacuuming the stairs. Seriously. I patiently got through a few contractions on my own before telling him to put the vacuum away and sit down by me. I needed quiet (my Pandora station didn’t even make it through 2 songs before I told him to CLOSE. THE. COMPUTER.) and I needed my husband by my side.
We were in our living room in the wee hours of the morning. By that time it was probably about 5:50 a.m. or so. He sat in a chair just outside the tub for a bit, but eventually I needed him in the tub with me. I needed to labor on hands and knees, but to support myself in that position in the tub required my arms to be extended fully down, thus making it really hard to relax and let my body work. When he got in and sat down, I threw my arms around his neck, kept my knees on the bottom of the tub, and buried my face in his neck and chest while I got through my contractions. They were insanely intense and they built up to 100% so quickly.
It wasn’t long before I realized my body was starting to push. I was very grunty and I suspected Penny wasn’t going to make it before the baby came. That scared me a little bit, because somehow I thought I needed more labor support! In the back of my mind, I may have had some concerns about after the baby came, but mainly, I just thought, “What if it gets worse than this? I need help!” I told Brian the baby was coming. I prayed that Penny would get here first.
Then, right in the middle of one of these body shaking contractions, I heard Fiona start crying from her room. Good timing, little girl! I told Brian he could NOT go anywhere, so he’d need to yell as loud as he could for Brianna (everyone was still sleeping). He probably called Bri 3 times before she came stumbling out and realized what was going on. I did surprisingly well at staying focused and letting Brian direct them, when it’s my nature to delegate (read: be bossy). Bri went in and got Fiona, then they all came out for a second to check on me. They went back to their room together to play games on their little tablet while waiting for their new sibling to arrive.
Maybe 2 contractions later, it was time. I realized the baby was on the way. I told Brian, the baby’s coming…the baby’s COMING! Oh my God, the baby’s head is out! The baby’s OUT! It was that fast. It was INSANE and thrilling. I reached down and picked up the baby and lifted its face out of the water. We realized the cord was around its neck so I somersaulted her through it to untangle her and then I looked at her. Brian called for the kids, and they came running out to meet their new sibling.
She was this calm, not really breathing yet, vernix-covered, perfect little being. I started blowing in her face a bit to perk her up, and rubbing her chest and back. She slowly started to pink up and breathe, more and more. The kids were instantly in love. Fiona kept saying, “New baby!!” and Bri snapped pictures.
Brian called Penny and let her know the baby was here. She stayed on the phone with him and asked some questions about the baby until she arrived. She only missed it by about 5 minutes! While on the phone, the kids started asking if it was a boy or a girl. Baby was still attached to me with the cord and we were still in the spa, so when I first looked, it was an awkward angle and I said, “Oh, it’s a boy!” Eli was so excited for a second, and then I took a better look and said, “Oh wait, no, it’s a girl!!” Eli made a slightly dejected face for a second and then realized he really didn’t care and he was totally in love.
We named her Sabrina Nicole, and she was a perfect 7 pounds, born at 6:15 a.m. on March 6, 2013. We had an delicious time getting to know her after her birth, snuggling in our bed together, nursing, and being in love. She didn’t even cry for the first time until she was 2 days old!
It was, all in all, an amazing, brilliant experience, and I can’t imagine ever having another hospital birth. Of course, Brian can’t imagine having more babies anywhere, but time will tell.