After 2 weeks of warm-up labor everyday, this is finally what happened…
I have always said that the 25th would be Caitilyn’s birth day because I have had my last 2 babies 2 days after their due dates and my brother also planned his wedding for this day. So no surprise when I start having slightly more regular and intense contractions on Saturday the morning of the 25th. I let my Midwife know. She is happy to hear it and tells me that it sounds like I am probably in early labor and that it may be all day before things really pick up. My Mom and husband, Kevin are anxious to get this labor really started. So they encourage me to squat during contractions and walk between them. Things aren’t really moving along very quickly. So after about an hour of debating it, I am talked into taking castor oil or “faster oil” as Kevin calls it. So around 11am we mix up some eggs with 2 tbsp. of castor oil and cook them up. They don’t taste that great but compared with drinking the oil this is definitely the preferred way! I am thinking by 12 pm I should be feeling the effects of the castor oil.
It’s 12pm and I am feeling it. I have gone to the bathroom, which wasn’t too bad. I am now feeling very regular contractions and have to completely relax with them. I know that things are moving along and I ask Kevin to call the Midwife and ask her to come over.
She arrives around 1 pm as I was just about to hop in the bath. But I decide since the contractions are getting quite painful now I want to be checked. I lay down on my side in the bed and my left back side starts to hurt relentlessly. My Midwife comes in and I am really hurting now. She consoles me. I am crying a bit. Why did I want to do this now? I roll to my back and my cervix is checked. My Midwife says, “So how far do you want to be?” I say that I better at least a 4. She says that I am a 5. (Ok so I wanted to really be an 8, but who can control these things.) She tells me that I might feel better if I get in the shower since I feel it’s too early to get in the bath.
The shower feels great and the muscles that were aching so relentlessly relax and soon that weird pain is gone. I am relieved because I am only half way to 10cm and I know that things will get a lot more intense but from where I was I didn’t know if I could make it through more pain like that. As I labor I soon realize that any time I tilt back or am on my side I get that relentless pain so I am careful to avoid positions that cause the uterus to pull on the round (front) ligaments.
I continue to labor slowly; walking around the house, eating some almonds, chatting with everyone. At around 5 pm I decide that it may be time to get into the bath. I’d like to wait until I am about 8 cm dilated so I want to be checked again. This time I am 7 cm, probably 8 when I am upright. So I get in the bath. My contractions really pick up. They are very intense coming and going every 2 minutes and lasting over 1 minute. I ask my husband to get ready. He rolls up his pants and gets his feet and legs into the tub. My left back side is aching again. I tell my Midwife. She reassures me and tells me that the baby may be posterior and that I should really focus on relaxing the areas that are hurting because the baby may need to turn. I work really hard at relaxing. I can feel how hard and pointed my uterus gets during each contraction. Everyone around me comments on how strong each contractions looks to them and they tell me I am doing a great job! This is so great to hear! With a few of the contractions I can feel the baby’s feet press upward. This really intensifies the contractions and makes it harder for me to relax, but I keep telling myself that I must allow my body to work or I will cause myself more pain.
It is getting dark now. My Mom lights all the candles. It feels so great to be in this peaceful room with the soft glow of the candles and all of my loved ones around me. It’s probably around 6 pm when I start feeling like I’d like to push soon. I ask if it would be alright and my Midwife reminds me that my body will let me know when the time is right. So I just continue to relax through each contraction. Soon I am feeling more pressure around my tail bone and I start to grunt a bit at the peak of a few contractions. With these grunting pushes the baby moves down a bit. Ok now I am really feeling the urge to push. I get on my knees, close to my husband. I look into his eyes and tell him, “She is coming!” He smiles and nods that he knows. With the next contraction I feel an overwhelming urge to push. I bear down hard. She is coming quickly. With this first push I feel her head crowning, but I can’t quite push the rest of her head through yet. I think, “Wow that is so intense!” Kevin says aloud that he thinks he can see the head. What? I know he’s got to be able to see the head! I feel the urge to push again. Her head is out! The baby is still in her bag of waters. Kevin is worried that the baby is not coming out and that she may inhale the water. He tells me to push. I can’t. The Midwife reminds us that the uterus needs to reconstitute around the baby’s body and that I should wait for my next contraction. Alright. We don’t wait long until I push again and the rest of the baby slides out and into her Daddy’s hands. “She’s here,” I proclaim! Daddy pulls her out of the water and hands her to me. She is so beautiful! I hold her close to my body. This wide-eyed miracle skin to skin against me is something I will never forget. Her brothers both come running over to see their new sister. They comment on how beautiful she is and how much they love her! Caleb (age 4) is especially emotional. I look to see if we really have a girl. We do! I announce it to everyone. I never really thought that the labor would pick up enough for me to actually give birth but it did. Today I gave birth. Caitilyn is here!
We spend the next 30 minutes taking in this precious moment and initiate breastfeeding. The placenta is birthed. Cassandra (age 2) wakes up from her late nap and gets her first glimpse of the baby. She looks as if she doesn’t know what to think about what’s going on and is reluctant to touch her new baby sister. Then Kevin’s Mom and Dad arrive and come into our room to join us. Daddy cuts the cord and the baby and I get out of the tub and get cleaned up.
We all climb up into our bed and take lots of pictures, including our first “complete” family picture. Our Caitilyn is here.
We are now a family of 6!
What a wonderful experience! As a Mother, I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to carry, birth and nurture 4 healthy, beautiful children.