Before I begin to speak of the birth though, I must mention that in the weeks leading up to it, things didn’t feel quite usual to me. I never felt as though Silas “dropped” and didn’t experience the desperation to hit the bathroom dozens of times each day as I usually do in the final weeks of pregnancy. As my due date approached, and then passed, I analyzed the date, realized that I was probably due closer to the 25th, but also wondered a bit about the fact that no matter what I did, this baby didn’t seem to be descending as I am accustomed to my babies doing. On Tuesday the 24th, Larkspur, Beatrix and I drove the hour to my last prenatal appointment. I sat in that waiting room with my little girls feeling so incredibly exhausted, and wished I had asked Jonny to drive me. There was nothing remarkable about that visit other than the fact that Silas’ heartrate was 150, as opposed to his standard 120. The midwife assured me all was fine. Knowing that this would most likely be my last outing with just my two little girls, we drove over to Whole Foods for pizza, and gigantic parfaits (those berry or chocolate ones they sell in the bakery-we got one of each.) I sat and watched my girls attempt to eat those huge desserts with a tired smile, and then we headed home. I started having irregular contractions on the drive back. Those contractions continued through the evening and kept me up the whole night. I woke Jonny up around seven, not feeling ready for this despite wanting it to happen. My huge concern was making sure there was food prepared for our kids. Jonny got out of bed with me and started making breakfast while I did some cleaning. The contractions stayed irregular, but Jonny monitored me anyway, writing times down on the chalkboard wall. By lunchtime, while contractions were still irregular, they were intense enough that I knew that today was the day. I felt a mixture of excitement, fear, and apprehension. I emailed a friend, giving her an update, and expressing my fears (over the pain yet to come!) She emailed me back this brief but powerful message:
“Candle lit. Prayers being said. Don’t hate it. Don’t fight it. Look upon it as a gift you give that little boy and as something the two of you journey together. Ebb and flow; rest in the quiet moments; relax into the intense ones. You are the mama. He’s so blessed to have you.”
I have a very hard time imagining (despite 5 pregnancies and 5 babies!) that there really is a real baby connected to the whole process of pregnancy and then labor. I cannot tell you how much Elizabeth’s words carried me through those next hours. I meditated so much on making this birth, and my choice of a natural birth, a gift to my little boy.
I called my midwife(L) and birth assistant (P) early in the afternoon to let them know what was happening. L wanted to go ahead and come to our house, but I asked her not to. I like to be alone with my family until I reach the point that I know my labor isn’t going to stall. I am not one to want many people around me during labor in general. Jonny is excellent at supporting me, and I prefer to be alone with him. The tricky thing though is that once my labor really gets going, I am at transition and things move quickly. My midwife was driving from an hour away, and D.C. rush hour was approaching.
I make people nervous….but I am getting pretty darn good at timing things.
I did reach a point around 6 p.m. where I was starting to feel a little desperate and I really wanted to get in the pool. But, I was afraid that I would need to push a couple of contractions after getting in the water and vowed to wait until one of my midwives arrived. Finally P pulled in the drive around 6: 45 and before she was out of her car, I was in the pool.