It's been three months and eight days since my baby girl took her first breath and it's high time I tell her story as it is one that needs recording. Childbirth is one of my very favorite topics. I love to hear birth stories, and I love to talk about my own children's births. Not everyone feels the same as I, so if birth is something you'd rather not talk about, or in this case, read about, please feel free to skip this post.
For whatever reason, I did not want to write much during my pregnancy. Perhaps it's because this pregnancy was harder for me than any of my others. I was more sick than I was with Ella and Rohan, but not as sick as I was with Mac. Early in the pregnancy, I was so incredibly tired. I've never been so tired in my whole life. I was ready to go to bed at 6pm every day.
But it wasn't just how I felt physically that made this pregnancy harder. I feel like emotionally, or psychologically it was more difficult than ever. For the last few years I've known there was one more person that was supposed to be in our family, but I was very comfortable in my then-current circumstances in life and I had gotten far enough past the "baby" stage of child-rearing that it was hard to want to start anew with diapers, nursing, binkies, and sleepless nights. I honestly just wanted to be done, but my little Brynja was waiting and I knew it. Dustin knew it too (although he always denied it). Despite this mutual (but mostly unspoken) knowledge, years passed and the time was never right.
But then, suddenly, it was.
And I got pregnant.
Those nine months flew by and suddenly my due date, March 12th, was here!!! ...and then it was gone. I already wrote out some of those feelings previously. It was such a weird time. I had so much anxiety and yet so much detachment about having a baby. I was scared of labor this time. (I always am, but more so each pregnancy.) I was anxious about how my life would change once the baby was born. And yet, it felt like it was never really going to happen. It felt like, despite my ever-growing belly, it was not really going to happen. I wasn't really going to have a baby! As it turns out, I was and I did.
My due date came and went and I, relatively patiently, waited for something to happen. But nothing was despite all the walking and various other things we tried to start labor. I would show up to my midwife's office hoping for some progress with dilation or effacement and I was let down repeatedly. I was dilated to 1cm and "thick". The next week, no change. And the next week, barely dilated to a 2 and still no effacement. Then at almost a week over my due date I was still the same. It was very frustrating. Not to mention the fact that I kept thinking the baby had "dropped" because of the discomfort I was feeling and the fact that people continually told me I looked "lower" than I had been before. But each time she'd check the head position, the baby was still floating around, easy to move, not engaged at all. I only cried a handful of times.
And so, on Friday, the 19th of March, I thought perhaps my water had broken. But then I didn't know and I was left confused. I called Helene, who is my midwife, and she said unless it's "gushing" or consistently leaking not to worry about it. So, I didn't. Dustin and I went and got some food that night and I was sure that the baby dropped as we were out on the town. I was excited to go for a non-stress test the next morning at 10:00 to see if my suspicions were true.
We went to bed that night with no sign of anything happening. I woke up at about 4am and found that my water was definitely broken and was at the "gushing" stage. Awesome. If you haven't had your water break, you haven't LIVED! or something. I've never had that happen before. My water broke with Mac when I was in labor and dilated to 5cm, and Ella and Rohan's labors, my midwife broke my water just before they were born. So, this was new to me. Water breaking with no contractions? Weird.
I figured I'd be having a baby within the next 24 or so hours, so I took a shower! Yes, I took a shower, fixed my hair and put on some makeup at 4:30 a.m. I was going to look "cute" in labor, I decided. Vain? Maybe, but I do get tired of looking like total crap in all the pictures of post-delivery so call me vain if you must. Dustin was up with me and he showered too. As I was fixing my face/hair, Dustin decided he was going to go back to bed for a while and try and get some sleep. I finished my beautification and then puttered around and gathered the rest of my stuff for our hospital bag. It was very weird to be doing that with nary a contraction. Not even a ripple.
I got my bag all packed and it was almost 6am by that point. I didn't want to wake my midwife up unnecessarily early so I decided to follow Dustin's example and try to get some sleep, make-up, fancy hair and all. Into bed I climbed and I was asleep almost instantly.
Rohan woke me at 8:00 with his daily request for a bowl of cereal and the day was officially underway. And oh, what a day it was!
I called Helene, my midwife, and told her I was "gushing" fluid and she told me to eat some breakfast and head on up to the hospital to get started on my antibiotic. I was lucky enough to be Beta-Strep positive for the first time ever, and so I had the pleasure of an I.V. in my arm. I had one previously with Mac, but neither Rohan nor Ella's labor did they require it of me.
I had always assumed I'd go into labor in the middle of the night, because that's what I've done every other time. So, I had arranged for help with my other kids for the middle of the night. I never dreamed I'd have to arrange for my children on a Saturday morning. I made a few calls and got things arranged. We all ate some breakfast and packed up!
It's a very surreal feeling to leave your house with zero labor action and know the next time you come into it, you are going to have a baby in your arms.
So, we dropped our kids off at our friend's house. Rebby wanted to take a picture of Dustin and I, on our way to have a baby.
And there we are! Dustin and his big rarely-seen-in-pictures smile, and me, in all my round, feminine glory. Uh huh.
And off we went.
To be continued...