Continued from here…
When Sarah checked me, I was a disappointing 4 cm. While she busied herself checking my vitals and getting settled in, it felt an eternity was passing between contractions. The car ride and transition to a new location had scared my labor off a bit. I could feel Trevor’s “I told you so” penetrating silently through the room.
I apologized, and Sarah reassured me that we’d give it some time and, worse case scenario, if I wasn’t progressing she would break my water and I’d “have the baby within 20 minutes”. Either way, she said, I’d go home with a baby. The thought of having my water broken scared me, and I set my mind to do everything in my power to avoid it. Sarah started my IV, and I got walking.
I’m convinced I have a fair amount of control over how quickly this stage of my labor goes. My strong preference is to spend the part when the contractions are really hard either in a nice comfy chair holding on for dear life or in the bath, both of which most certainly slow labor down. This was not a luxury I could afford under threat of having my water broken (such a pity to waste the gorgeous jacuzzi tub in our birthing suite, though!). I was going to have to work to get this baby out in a timely manner.
I spent the next two hours pacing the floor back and forth between our little bedroom and the kitchen/living area where Sarah and nurse Jeannie had stationed themselves. My contractions fairly quickly got themselves back into a good regular pattern, and in between I alternated between making small talk with Sarah and Jeannie and poking Trevor, who was fast asleep sitting up in the bed where I was about to deliver our baby. (Always good for him to get his rest so he’s ready for the big moment.)
By about 5 AM I could feel that my contractions were different, a little pressure-y. By 5:30, Trevor had perked up and announced his prediction that I would give birth in about a half an hour. Shortly after, Sarah checked me again and I was dilated to 8 cm. She suggested I stay in bed at this point, and I knew at once that the hard part was imminent.
At 5:53 my water broke (hallelujah, all on its own!). As with three of my other births (Ro, Bea, and June for anyone keeping track of such statistics), the baby was right behind. This is what Trevor says happened next: “I don’t want to push. Do I have to push? I’m not pushing. I’m not pushing. Oww, oww, oww, oww, OWWW!” <Head.>
She was born at 5:58 AM (Daddy got it spot on!), beautiful and perfect like her sisters (and brother, and other sister, I’m quite sure, though I wasn’t there to see them arrive). Trevor announced, with tremendous relief in his voice, that she was a girl (Sarah must have been relieved, too, not to have to keep her gender a secret any longer – she had accidentally found out some five months ago from my bloodwork!). He cut her cord, and we set about getting to know our sweet new blessing. There is just nothing like holding a tiny little person in your arms and knowing that, having only just met her, you already love her so deeply and fiercely that you can’t imagine your life without her in it. It just never gets old.
* * * * *
Six days later, when I arrived at the birth center for our postpartum check-up, Sarah came right out to see me. “You’re not going to believe this,” she said. “Your bloodwork came back a couple of hours after you went home with the baby last week. Your hemoglobin was up to 11.4!”
Totally could’ve had a homebirth. I almost wished I didn’t know, but decided, instead, just to be thankful that we had had yet another wonderful birth experience. And that I hadn’t given birth at the side of the turnpike!