Thursday. It wasn’t a great day. My friend, Terrie Bitner died of brain cancer. She was an amazing homeschool friend, writing mentor, and inspiring primary teacher. I was having a down day. It was also the day before the Shakespeare play. I was feeling a ton of pressure all day. I was trying to do as little as possible so I would have energy for the day of the play and all that would entail. The errands I did have, I took Kalani and she drove and did all of the running for me. I tried yoga and stretching and laying down to relieve the pressure. It was a long day. The evening I had a few signs that labor might be coming. I started thinking of all of the other times I almost made it to when I had hoped: starting the labor the day before Chris’ last final during his masters program, labor the day before Christmas, labor before 37 weeks… I wondered if I would almost make it to the Shakespeare play but not quite. The timing was not stellar.
I went to bed hoping it’d just be another night of pre-labor contractions and pressure and little sleep. By midnight, I could no longer talk myself out of reality. The contractions were only 10 minutes apart and not serious by any means, but I knew it was labor. I was having heartburn issues and feeling nauseous. I did NOT want to labor and feel this way. I needed to rest before labor, but staying down wouldn’t work with heartburn. I had been laying in bed timing contractions and wondering if they would all disappear. After an hour I broke the news to my husband. We debated when to call midwives when clearly my contractions were wimpy. No matter what I needed to get upright for a while. I called the midwives at about 1:30 am. Chris set up the birth pool and I puttered around getting things ready. My contractions were weak and 8 minutes apart at 2 am when Chelsea arrived. Baby and I were both fine and Natalie and her assistant Amanda showed up shortly. Although contractions were creeping closer and slightly intensifying, I started wondering how long labor would be. We had a discussion shortly after the midwives arrived about whether or not I wanted to be checked. I didn’t. I don’t like it. The next few contractions are buggers and it means nothing. I’ve been at a 7 for 7 hours. I’ve been at a 3 then delivered 2 hours later. Why do it? I didn’t want to get into the birth pool yet, lest I slow things down. So we opted for movement. I had been laboring on my ball and leaning forward to get any contractions off my back-they were still mild, but I don’t like back labor. To speed things up I walked and did squats and paced all over the house. Chris tried to rest, the contractions were so little, I needed him rested more than I needed someone to watch me waddle. Chelsea chased me down to monitor the baby where I was 🙂 I love home birth midwives. After an hour and a half of walking and moving, my contractions were 6 minutes apart and I was starting to wonder why I would want MORE contractions, but still not much. ugh. I was tempted to rest for a while. We decided to get checked. I was a 3 maybe 4. THIS IS WHY I DON’T get checked. sigh. I wanted to cry. The next two contraction were buggers… why did i get checked? I didn’t tell my husband, because I KNEW I would cry. It was 3:30 am. I was trying to talk myself down off the ledge. This didn’t mean anything. Every contraction was bringing me closer to my baby. Midwife Natalie and her assistant went to the couch to rest and Chelsea monitored me by the light of her phone. 5 minutes apart.
At about 4:30 am I decided to try the water. My contractions were 5 minutes apart, but very manageable. Once I got into the water the contractions intensified. Within a few minutes I wanted my husband. The back labor was more than I wanted to handle alone. I had to get out of the water at one point and hated every second. I was glad they could monitor the baby while I was in the water. I was 4 minutes apart and vocalizing through contractions with counter pressure… my back was hurting. Chelsea massaged with oil, which felt great and Chris did counter pressure. I was on my knees for contractions, but my knees are… weak, so I’d flip over and sit down in between. I thought I was relaxing in between, but Chris would put his hand on my arm (he was sitting behind me, out of the pool) and it helped me relax and melt and give my back more of a break. Chelsea got Natalie and Amanda, and I could hear them talking about how I must be close… judging by my behavior. I was glad to hear that because I had already started to count contractions (normally when the get really hard I have less than 10 to go-I was having a hard time remembering what number I was on). Two horrible, back breaking contractions and with my vocalization Chris announced “that’s a crowning noise”. The water took the edge off of the pain enough that I had the wherewithal to reach down and feel my baby’s head. I tried to push gently, Chris reminded me to breath. Somehow Chelsea reached across the tub to reach the baby too, which was very comforting to me. A few pushes and her head was out, Chelsea checked for a cord or any problems. I was used to the baby wooshing out once their head is delivered… not so. When I was already feeling completely split apart and broken… I couldn’t imagine more.I felt far away from my husband based on where I had ended up and where I was delivering. I did NOT like that distance, and the pool made it difficult to change that.I really needed the water, and I needed and wanted my husband. Holding my baby’s head gave me hope and with a few more pushes I was bringing her up in my arms.
It was 5:16am. She was covered in thick vernix, with dark hair and many darling fat rolls everywhere. I snuggled her, so grateful she was with us. Kalani and Natalie came in to see the baby. Chelsea checked the baby while she stayed in my arms. We still didn’t have a name for this darling! Daughter Natalie had made me a shake which made me happy. I had been drinking throughout labor. I had been hungry sometimes, but couldn’t eat and I was now starving. After some energy blast from the shake, I delivered the placenta while still holding my baby. Chris took Natalie and Raymond to seminary and school. Kalani became my everything. We nursed while I was still in the pool. Once the cord stopped pulsing, Kalani cut the cord.
Midwife Natalie took the baby and I was helped out of the pool and rinsed and dried off. and we moved to my bed. No tears 🙂 no problems to deal with. I nursed the baby again, she is one hungry little girl. We weighed her, 9 lbs and 6 oz! She was 21.5 inches long. The baby pooped all over her blanket. We snuggled skin to skin and nursed a bit more. Kalani was starting to run interference for the little people who were now starting to wake up. I was getting cold and got some socks on… it was wonderful to have so many women around cleaning up, taking care of me and the baby and the children out there. Lydia woke and started making muffins.
I got dressed and Kalani got the baby dressed. Baby and I snuggled in bed while the midwives Chelsea and Natalie and assistant Amanda scurried around cleaning up, getting pool down (it didn’t want to pump out with any speed) and giving me help with nursing – the baby does not have a strong suck (there is a clicking noise so I support her chin to maintain the suction) Yes, with 10 other children every single nursing experience has involved a learning curve! How can that be?
Chris and daughter Natalie came home and the midwives left. The little children were eating and Kalani brought each child in to briefly to see the baby and tell them that she was mommy today. My room was deemed off limits until 9.
The midwives left. Chris and I waited until 8 to call my mom. Chris made me an omelet (I was SO hungry). After I called my mom, we were debating names… none of the names we were considering were right. As we were talking about calling people, Chris said “What about Lisa Gloria?” It was right! We have a name. Lisa! Lisa is my sister’s name. I love her. She is so loving and kind and is just… my best friend in the whole world (husband aside). Gloria is my mom’s name. We knew from early on her middle name would be Gloria. My mom is so inspiring. All together her name means devoted to God’s glory.