9-13-2015 at 10:12am
W: 7lbs 12oz L: 20"
Saturday, September 12, was a gorgeous day. I was 41 weeks pregnant that day. We spent the evening in the backyard as a family (pic below) and little did we know that in the morning we'd have a baby! I had been having braxton hicks contractions like crazy for weeks, some were pretty intense. But I always knew it wasn't the real deal. But this particular Saturday evening I was having a few sporadic contractions and had an inkling that maybe it would be the start of something. I had zero symptoms or signs that anything would happen but I still wondered. I went to bed praying for rest, that if baby was going to come that it would not be the middle of the night like our last birth!
Last pic as a group of five siblings!
Thankfully sleep came readily and easily that night. I kept dreaming of contractions and labor. I slowly woke in the morning realizing these dream contractions were actually real contractions. And they were coming closer and stronger. At 5:30 I finally got up and timed them. They were 4-5 minutes apart and lasting for about 45 seconds. After about an hour of timing I woke Daniel up and told him it was baby time. The contractions were starting to make me really uncomfortable.
I helped Daniel make up our bed with a tarp, then clean sheets, then a huge chucks pad and another clean sheet. Daniel started getting the birth tub ready, at my request. Getting in too early can stall things but I didn't care. I just wanted in the water and wanted in the water ASAP. The air pump Daniel used was great but it was super loud, like an airplane engine! He went off to call his mom so she could come watch the boys, who were now stirring and waking.
As soon as there was a bit of water in the tub I got in. During my last days of pregnancy I had been reading Ina May Gaskin's book "Spiritual Midwifery" and was trying to be very conscientious about my attitude and about being positive. I was trying to "keep my humor" so there were some laughs here and there. Daniel or I texted my midwife at some point to come on over. Daniel put on some worship music by Kim Walker-Smith and I melted into labor.
I was taking a potty break in the bathroom when the midwives arrived. They got all set up and then helped me back in the tub. They listened to Thea's heart and were really good about being present but also giving me my space. My body kept shaking this birth, a lot. I don't know if I was cold, if it was hormones, if it was transition... maybe all of the above. But my body was super shaky almost the entire time.
Our daughters wandered into our room. At one point I held the hands of Abigail and Zoe between contractions. Elaina left a couple times to grab things for Daniel like a snack and water. Zoe left a couple times to go play because she got bored. Abigail stayed the entire time; she didn't want to miss a thing! I was so careful to watch my speech and actually avoided saying a single curse word. Go me!
It got painful. Fast. And was very reminiscent of my last birth (of Silas) where I was in the worst pain I'd ever been in. Obviously it was worth it because here I was, willing to do it all over again with Thea. I threw up twice but because we had just woken up for the day my stomach was empty. I don't know if it is worse to have a ton to puke up or absolutely nothing but it was the latter.
I really kicked myself later for not drinking red raspberry leaf tea. I feel that maybe if I had it would have helped tone and prepare my uterus more. The old gal just had such a hard time, being baby number six. She wasn't a happy camper about it and I felt the fury. Despite that I was still trying to remain positive and present. In between contractions I noticed one of the student midwives had made some coffee and was using my Dr. Who mug so I piped up that she had the best mug in the house! I liked her even more knowing she was a Dr. Who fangirl.
The pain got worse. I was asked where the pain was, like back or pubic bone, and I couldn't articulate where it was. I finally realized it was my cervix and told her. My midwife told me I should get out of the water and have a few contractions on the toilet. I inwardly panicked. I felt SO close and knew I didn't want to get out so I decided to close my eyes and ignore everyone. I finally had my midwife check me a few minutes later, around 10am or so (hadn't been checked once my entire pregnancy or up to this point in labor). She said I was 9cm but had a lip of cervix. Oh and when she touched that bit that wasn't budging I about jumped out of my skin. Yup, that's where all the pain was coming from! She told me to let baby's head work through it, slowly. But a few contractions later I was pushing! I warned the student midwife that I push fast and this birth was no exception.
I was still in the birth tub, leaning over the edge and facing Daniel. I had my right knee down on the bottom of the pool but I lifted my left leg up in a squat position. I had my hand there and pushed out the tiniest little baby head. I gasped and said, "Her head! Her head is out!" I felt cord around her neck but the student midwife was already on it and slipped the cord over Thea's head and out of the way. I was still on that same contraction, it all happened so fast, and the rest of Thea came sliding out and into the water. The student midwife said, "Take your baby!" and I pulled up our petite princess, silently thanking God that the hard part was finally over!
It was then I reminded Daniel to take some pictures! So all these birth tub pictures are from Daniel's iPhone. So glad I have these first pictures of Thea because her face changed so quickly.
My first thought when I pulled her up was, "Oh I know you! You're here!" Next thing I noticed was all her dark hair. It was black and it was long, for a newborn. She was really quiet and didn't seem to be taking any breaths so we worked her up and that's why she appears to be crying in almost every picture (she actually only cried for a few seconds). And this baby had so much vernix it was crazy. It was just layered on her like frosting on a cake.
The big sisters were present when Thea was born! They were so so so excited. The brothers stayed downstairs with Nonna. The kids had to wait quite awhile to hold Thea, though. When she was born we did skin-to-skin while all the siblings went off to Nonna's house. After a few hours away they came back home, climbed into my bed next to me and finally got to take turns fighting over the baby.
Abbie (age 8) and Thea
Elaina (age 10) and Thea
Silas (age 2) and Thea (she's a few days old here and in the rest of the pics)
Judah (turned 4 twelve days after Thea was born) and Thea
Zoe (age 5) and Thea