On Friday, the day before our son Justin was born, I thought I was in labor. Sheila, my midwife, came out, set up, and waited around awhile but eventually it became obvious that Friday was not going to be the day after all. This is what I wrote about the birth experience, starting early Saturday morning.
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This time I woke up at about 4 a.m. by fairly strong contractions that felt lower and closer together than what I had been experiencing - good signs. For whatever reason I resolved to wait until 5 a.m. before waking Matt or calling Sheila. In hindsight, I think that this resolution wasn’t the greatest idea, but at the time they weren’t that strong and I figured if the baby was coming, it was going to be at least another 3-4 hours, based on my previous experiences and how the contractions felt. The contractions were strong enough that I had to get out of bed at shortly before 5, so I woke Matt and had him call Sheila. By then I needed my full attention for the contractions, but could still go through them without needing Matt for counter pressure on my lower back. Sheila said she’d head right over, and Matt went to take care of the chickens and do a few other things to help get ready.
By about 5:15, I was wanting Matt there for counter pressure, so the poor guy was trying to do various things while also helping me about every four minutes! I knew Sheila wouldn’t be there until about 6, but I wasn’t particularly concerned as in the past I knew that this stage of more intense labor lasts for at least 30 minutes and possibly much longer and transition was usually at least 30-45 min. At this point I was thinking that Sheila would probably arrive while I was in transition and would be there while I was pushing.
However, by about 5:30 I was in transition (I always have an overwhelming urge to hide in the bathroom during transition - no idea why, but each time that has been the case) but instead of at least 30-45 minutes, transition was only about 7 minutes long! At 5:41 my water broke, just as the fog of transition was starting to clear. Transition was so short I hardly felt fully immersed in it, but it still took me a little time to realize that it was already over. Matt ran off to grab some towels, although at this point I hadn’t communicated what was going on. In the few seconds he was gone, I knew I was out of transition and ready to push. A brief moment of panic hit, as I realized it would still be another 15 minutes before Sheila arrived, but I was also somewhat consoled by the fact that I had pushed with the last two for at least 30 minutes. I briefly considered calling for emergency help, but I realized that even if they managed to beat Sheila to the house, it wouldn’t be by much. Matt said he briefly considered that too, but figured they wouldn’t arrive any sooner than Sheila, and he didn’t want to deal with the intrusion.
As soon as Matt came back I told him I was ready to push and he asked me if I wanted to move, but by then it was too late. I was already pushing again, and while I didn’t even try very hard to push, all of a sudden there was the baby’s head! Matt was there and ready, and the next push came so fast there still wasn’t time to move out of the bathroom. The next push was enough to clear the baby’s shoulders and then there he was!! He was born at 5:45 a.m., only 45 minutes after I woke Matt up. Matt caught the very slippery baby and announced that Emma was going to be disappointed as the baby was a boy. (Thankfully she wasn’t - the first time she saw him she said in an awed voice, “he’s beautiful!”) I had been thinking girl for the last couple of months, but for some reason in the last 24 hours I was starting to think boy, and when Matt said that I didn’t feel surprised at all.
Justin started crying right away and was nice and pink, so we were greatly relieved and made our way awkwardly to the bed. Thankfully we had left it all prepared from the day before, because we wouldn’t have had time to deal with it that morning! We dried him off, looked him over and just were generally amazed and incredulous about the whole experience. About 10-15 minutes after he was born, Sheila came in and was glad to see that everything was ok. I felt badly for her - she missed her last birth too, again through no fault of her own. She just didn’t get called in time, and she can only drive so fast! She looked him over and checked me, and we both were doing just fine. Justin cried and fussed a lot for about the first hour after he was born, but eventually did nurse a little before finally falling asleep. I felt great right afterwards, but then I got cold and started to feel pretty shaky and lousy. They covered me up well with blankets and I rested for an hour or so and then felt much better.
I still can’t believe how fast I went through those later stages of labor and delivery, and I am so thankful that everything went as well as it did. I think we’re both pretty incredulous about the whole experience, but it happened so fast we couldn’t do anything more than just deal with the situation as it unfolded. But I am so thankful that Matt was able to handle it all and he did a wonderful job in a very stressful situation!