I had gone a week past my due date and the feeling of anticipation was starting to turn into monotony. Thankfully, for the entire overdue week I was feeling pretty good. My energy level was decent, my back wasn’t bothering me, and all contractions and other signs of labor had completely stopped.
Then on July 11, Sunday morning, after I showered I noticed a little twinge of crampiness. I hardly gave it a second thought since I had been experiencing pre-labor contractions for weeks. But about ten minutes later, the crampy feeling came back. Was this true labor?
I waited about an hour before telling my hubby about the contractions, and we decided to go ahead and go to breakfast as planned with his parents, who were visiting at the time. After sitting through another hour of contractions (accompanied by some yummy Hungry Bear pancakes), I was sure this was the real thing.
We came back home and told Eric’s parents that we wouldn’t be going to church since I was in labor. I texted my midwife (who lives 40 minutes away) to let her know, and we continued texting throughout the morning as labor progressed. By lunchtime, contractions were coming every 7-8 minutes for 30-40 seconds, but I was still able to talk through them. After a yummy lunch prepared by my in-laws, Eric and I retreated to our room to set up the birthing supplies.
Looking back at my texting history, at 2:38 PM I texted my midwife with this message:
“5 min apart, 40-60 seconds, getting more intense. Baby still moving some.”
A minute later, she responded:
“Whoo hoo! Would u be ok with me leaving here now and coming up?”
At that point I remember thinking that it was still a little early, but since had she missed my last birth, I texted her and said it would be fine if she went ahead and came.
I continued walking around between contractions, and during each one I would kneel next to the bed as Eric applied counterpressure to my lower back. The contractions stayed about 4-5 minutes apart and a minute long with the occasional “mini-contraction” in between that only lasted about 20 seconds. They were getting intense and I had to focus on relaxing through them, but they weren’t painful.
I recall lying on the bed and watching the clock between 3:25 and 3:35 and wondering why I was starting to feel an urge to push even though the contractions were still four minutes apart. At 3:35 I stood up, and all at once it hit me: the baby was coming right then. I jumped back to my kneeling position by the bed and somehow informed Eric through my garbled nonsense that I was going to push.
On the first push my water broke and I think the head crowned; on the second push the head was out, and on the third—at 3:40 PM–we had a baby boy!
His color was good but his cries sounded a little gurgly, so Eric held him face down and rubbed and patted his back. After maneuvering around the umbilical cord, I managed to sit down on the shower curtain lined floor and hold my little boy while Eric grabbed a blanket to wrap him up. He started to nurse like a pro, and at that point my mother-in-law came in. She had been startled by the sound of crying from the next room—we hadn’t even had a chance to let her know the baby was coming RIGHT NOW!
Around 4 PM my midwife and her assistant arrived, and the placenta was delivered shortly after. I started experiencing some faintness and ringing in my ears (just as I did after Hudson’s birth), so they laid me flat and gave me some herbs and methergine to stop any unnecessary bleeding. I started to feel better almost instantly.
Our baby boy, Boulder Griffin Chou, weighed in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces and was 20 ¾ inches long, just one ounce and a quarter-inch bigger than our first boy.
Although the birth went flawlessly and experiencing it alone with my hubby was an awesome experience, I’m thankful for my wonderful midwife who provides gentle and thorough postnatal care. This birth was a blessing in so many ways: it was quick, virtually pain-free, and resulted in a beautiful, strong, healthy baby boy.
Thank You Lord!