Let’s start this story a bit earlier in the day. The later times are the few bullet points Craig was able to jot down during the crazy process that was Jonah’s birth.
11am – Midwife appointment. I’m 5 days “late” but baby and I are both doing well so we talk about a few natural induction methods but decide to wait until next Monday to do anything. As we leave, midwife mentions that walking is an easy one without any real side effects so I might try taking a little walk this afternoon since the weather was so nice anyway.
4:00 – After we all take a nice long nap, we go on another 0.8 mile hike. I have a few contractions during the walk but not anything different from the previous 3 weeks.
9:00 – Lucy took a longer nap than usual so bedtime is late but she finally falls asleep.
9:20 - Craig makes some cookies from my freezer dough stash and I get my pajamas on so we can watch Covert Affairs together.
~10:05 – Mid episode, I have my first serious contraction without any warning so I grab his arm. It ends and I go to the bathroom and come back and say “I think that was the real thing” to which he replies “What?” Apparently, he didn’t recognize my arm grabbing as a sign of pain but just thought I wanted him to stop blocking the computer screen. I try to lay down but have another contraction and say I want the show off. He counters with “there’s only 5 minutes left” but the tone in my voice repeating my “suggestion “ to turn it off lets him know I mean it. I’m already freaking out and head to the bathroom again where he finds me sprawled over the sink. I don’t know why I think that is a good place to relax so he gets me back to our room, takes off the top layer of our bed to get down to the labor layer just in time for another contraction. He is trying to time them but I’m not being helpful with letting him know when they stop and start since I’m already overwhelmed and shaking. Then I say “I don’t think I can do this Craig” and he jokes that I it’s only been 10 minutes, I can’t be in transition yet. Oh, if we only knew!
10:25 – He finally gets two contractions recorded, they are ~40 seconds long and about 3 minutes apart.
10:30 - Craig calls our midwife with the update and she says she’s heading right out and then he texts “Neighbor J” to tell her to be on standby and start praying. (She is our Lucy-care but since Lucy is asleep, she’s just going to wait unless we tell her we need her help)
10:40 – I start feeling a lot of pressure. I never felt the urge to push last time so this was new to me, but I knew it meant something. All those ladies out there who have labored will understand how time doesn’t quite seem to make sense while you’re in labor but I was pretty sure this was fast so I asked Craig when he called the midwife and he said “about 10 minutes ago” and I know that I’m not going to be able to hold off pushing until she gets here. The next contraction, I’m pushing. It’s not a “Oh, I think I feel like push and so now I will” but a “my body is pushing whether I want to or not” kinda thing.
10:45 – Craig sees water bag start to crown. Then the head is out. I’m not having a contraction but there is still a lot of pressure and I’m in pain. The bag hasn’t broken and we aren’t really sure what we’re supposed to do so he calls the midwife to inquire as to her whereabouts and she tells him to break the bag. After this, I feel a lot better and the next contraction, baby comes out with Craig’s assistance. Craig grabs the baby and helps me hold it in a towel but baby only lets out a tiny little meow of a cry and is looking a bit blue. Craig is relaying information to me from the midwife while searching for the snot bulb. I’m rubbing baby’s feet and praying aloud.
Finally, with a little help from Craig and the blue bulb, baby starts to really cry and pink up. And as much as I know that this happens and it isn’t totally unusual for a baby to take a minute to respond, and it really probably was only a minute, there is a huge difference between waiting a minute with a skilled midwife and her expertise, tools and container of oxygen right there and waiting that minute all alone with your husband and baby and I will tell you that it was the longest minute of my life.
But eventually he did cry – and cry – and cry. In fact, he cried for the next 30 minutes. But a pink crying baby is so much better than a blue quiet baby so I didn’t even care. We finally take a minute to find out baby is a boy! Midwife (still on the phone) gives Craig a few more instructions then says she’ll see us in a few minutes.
11:00 - Craig helps me get settled and we hang tight then eventually realize we should look at the time and both guess that is has been at least 10 minutes since baby Jonah was born. In case you’ve lost track of time, that’s about 45 minutes between “I think I’m in labor” and “Oh, here’s a baby!” 45 minutes!
While that might sound good on paper, let me assure you that it is not. The only way to describe a 45-minute labor is brutal. Actually, it’s not the only way, but it’s the only way I can do so while avoiding the type of language I do not use. I do not recommend a 45-minute labor, for a variety of reasons.
11:10 – Midwife arrives (after being pulled over by a cop on the way (she only got a warning)) and Jonah is nice and pink (and still crying :-) and I’m ready to “finish things up” with some cord cutting and third stage stuff right. Then I get prepped for stitches again right as the midwife’s assistant arrives. I was hoping to avoid tearing this time but they weren’t as bad as last time so I only needed three stitches and if you’re gonna have a baby that fast, there is bound to be some collateral damage. During my stitches, Lucy wakes up and needs to potty but once she sees people, she’s up. She’s not at all interested in the baby but is quite content to sit in the living room and watch her Pooh video despite the commotion in our bedroom.
11:30-1 - Craig makes me French toast and Lucy moves in to eat and watch Pooh on our bed with me and Jonah while everyone else cleans up and fetches me anything I think I could need. Then Jonah gets weighed and measured, the midwives go over some details with us then head out.
1-2:30 – Craig and Jonah are exhausted but Lucy and I are wired up. Finally, I get her to lie down with me in her bed and she falls asleep. I come back to daddy and baby and decide to join them.
While I don’t think this is a birth experience I would like to repeat anytime soon, I also feel like God was definitely watching out for us. I had two big worries about the birth. The first was that Craig was working nights this month and the idea of going into labor without him was very scary. Since nighttime is the more common labor time, it seemed likely this might happen. I tried to tell myself that he could be home in 30 minutes and that should be plenty of time, but it wouldn’t have been. The 20th was the last of his nights off and the next four nights he would have been away and I can’t even imagine this happening without him. He was pretty much the most awesome labor coach ever. I was completely freaking out but at least my body was doing what it needed to on its own. He had to actually think and act rationally and he did. He seemed really calm to me both while comforting me and talking to our midwife. And this from the guy who doesn’t even like to be the one to cut the cord!
My second worry was Lucy and what would be going on with her. As I mentioned, we had plans with Neighbor J but I still was worried. But when you give birth in under an hour, even a poor sleeper has a good chance of sleeping through it!
And I think it makes a pretty good story, don’t ya think?