Just as I anticipated, contractions started coming regularly about an hour after my water broke. It felt just like your sister Allison's birth, with one really strong wave followed by one not so strong (her water was broken for me and labor started within an hour). Your Dad stayed with me the whole time, rubbing my back, talking to me - wanting me to treasure this last labor and birth. His presence meant so much to me this time. Everytime he left the room, my contractions would lighten up and when he was holding my hand they felt like we were making good progress. The birth ball was the most comfortable place to be, although I knew I wanted to try for another water birth. So after a few hours of bouncing on the ball and relaxing through the contractions with my hypnobirthing, we called the midwives to say I was starting to get uncomfortable and wanted to get into the tub. Your Dad ran the tub for me, but then I just wanted to stay on the birthing ball. Amber (one of our midwives) arrived quickly (she's been present for my last three births) and checked on your heartbeat. It was much lower than our last appointment and I could tell that you were moving much lower. Hurray - we were making progress!
I finally decided to try the water and it felt so good to get in the tub. I moved around, trying to get in a good position to help you move down. The hypnobirthing cd played in the background and I giggled every time it said " you are a beautiful woman"..because your Dad was right by my side listening with me. The midwives left us to labor on our own, only coming in to check periodically on your heart beat - which stayed strong throughout labor. I'm not sure how much time had passed at this point, but it finally felt really good to bear down a little with each contraction so I knew it was close or I was almost dilated fully. Amber checked me per my request and I was at a 9 with a lip...this is where I always get before asking her to check! She tried to hold the lip back so I could push through it, but my contractions were too far apart to hold down to keep you from slipping back upwards. You would just rise back up between them. So Joani (my other wonderful midwife), gave me some herbs to pick up the pace. It worked, but I just couldn't position myself right in the tub and so I wanted to get out thinking if I was more vertical, then gravity might help me.
As soon as I got out of the tub, the herbs kicked in and I could hardly move through the contractions. I lost all my focus from the hypnobirthing and couldn't get it back as hard as I tried. With every contraction I just fell to my knees in pain and I couldn't get back on top of them. The hypnobirthing was out the window at this point. I made it to the side of my bed and just leaned over the mattress with each contraction, pushing with each one as my body took over. My mind said, no more, make it stop...and please just call the hospital to arrange for a c-section..and I'm too old for this!
But it didn't stop and my encouraging team of Amber, Joani and your Dad said I could do it....I didn't believe them at the time. The fact that you were probably very big, likely bigger than your sister Abbey (10.3lbs) was holding me back and I just couldn't seem to let go. Joani pushed on the side of my hips with each contraction and that seemed to help me make progress a little. Finally, Amber suggested that I lay down on the bed, flat on my back...I thought she must be out of her mind to suggest that, but I was willing to try anything to make the hurting stop. Sure enough, with the help of everyone (literally), your Dad on one leg, Joani on the other and Amber coaxing from within, your head was visible. Your Dad said you had lots of hair! I pushed with all my might and finally felt the ring of fire...yay! We were almost there. They asked me to stop pushing so I could stretch and it was so hard not to push. They said, your head would slide out by itself if I just stopped pushing so I did and it did. The shoulders were a little tricky, but nothing like how Abbey was stuck.
Baby Boy, you entered the world at 2:26pm and were put on my chest. All blue and gray, you took a while to take your first breath as I rubbed your back and talked to you - welcoming you into the world and our family. Finally, that precious moment arrived and you breathed in life, let out the tiniest of a cry and started to pink up. What a happy moment and I was so relieved that it was finally over - or so I hoped.