The weeks preceding Andrew’s birth were full of starts and stops. On Tuesday I went to see Toni, my midwife. Because I was starting to dilate and efface, she was concerned I might go into labour within the next few days. Because I was ostensibly at 36 weeks I had to wait until Sunday if I wanted my homebirth. Brian and I actually knew I was farther along, as we had been charting, but because I had ovulated at an odd time the standard LMP method gave us a different due date.
That evening we discussed what we would do if I did go into labour before Sunday, including staying home and doing it unassisted. Brian was uncomfortable with that but I knew that at that point I would feel safer at home, alone, than going to a hospital. I spent the next few days relaxing, with my feet up, and having the occasional glass of wine when contractions got regular. They stopped by Saturday and later that night I got up and started doing housework, hoping things would start up again.
Sunday morning the children and I went to church, and everyone wanted to know what I was doing there! That afternoon Nichole, my friend and doula, came over to walk with me in the hopes of starting labour. While we walked we talked about my birth plans. One thing was very important to me was letting my water rupture spontaneously. I had had AROM with both Matthew and Olivia and was determined to avoid that this time. We walked in the afternoon, ate supper, then went for a walk with my neighbour Cheryl. Nothing!
The next day was the start of Vacation Bible School. I had been scheduled to work in the Nursery that week (I am director of the Nursery) but Brian was afraid I would go into labour and he didn’t want me driving. I stayed home Monday and one of my employees took Matthew (my 5 year old) to VBS. When I was still not in labour by that evening, I planned to work the next day and go see Toni that afternoon,. She said I was at 0 station and 2-3 cm, and that I could go ahead and work the rest of the week. Since Nichole had left to go to a wedding in Ohio that am , I was glad labour was not imminent.
I worked the rest of the week uneventfully. On Thursday Toni’s daughter called to tell me she had put her mom on a plane, as her dad was dying. On Fri I had a message from Toni wean I got home from church, that her dad had died just as her plane was touching down, and that I shouldn’t have the baby without her.
On Saturday, I woke up and told Brian we had to see Star Wars TODAY, if I was to have a chance to see it in the theatre. I called Cheryl and she came over to watch Matthew and Olivia that afternoon. As soon as the previews started I started having regular contractions. I joked that we might end up naming this baby Lucas! We went home and Brian made dinner for all of us (Cheryl stayed to dinner) . I had a glass of wine with dinner and the contractions stopped.
Nothing happened over the next week. Both Nichole and Toni returned but at this point I knew I had to let go and trust God’s timing in this matter. The only thing I knew was that I did NOT want a July 4 baby. ON the 4th Toni called me before her family picnic. She couldn’t believe I was still pregnant! I took an energizing bath with rosemary and lemon that night while Brian watched the fireworks with the kids.
The morning of Friday, the 5th, I woke up with Olivia in bed next to me. I reflected on how she still seemed like my baby and wondered if my inability to let go of her babyhood was delaying my labour. I felt energized that am. I actually lifted weights while the kids watched Zooboomafoo. I did housework while the kids played outside. I kept having to go to the bathroom and wondered why I seemed to be peeing myself. We started out for a walk and when we had gone about a block I felt a small gush. My water had broken! I told the kids we would have a baby today and we took the shortest route home. On the way I had irregular, mild contractions. We got home and I called Toni, Nichole, Brian and Cheryl. Nichole was the first one there. Since things were moving slowly Brian finished up at work and picked up some groceries on the way home. Once both Brian and Toni and her student Anne were there, Nichole and I went walking again.
Things progresses slowly, which I had expected from my previous labour (25 and 16 hours respectively). However the contractions didn’t bother me much, I could still talk through them and spent some hours snacking on the food Cheryl had brought ( she and her 11 year old son Sasha had gone grocery shopping for us). At one point they took Matthew and Olivia to their house around the block. As the afternoon wore on I could tell that Toni would have preferred to break my waters to move things along but held my ground.
Around 7 PM I was still on the internet, chatting, when Toni said she wanted to do another exam and if things weren’t moving she would go for a while. I was at 7 cm and the exam must have stirred things up because I then felt a need to get into the tub. Contractions started coming one on top of the other and HURT.
Brian moved the TV and Nintendo into Matthew’s room so Sasha could more easily entertain Matthew. I alternated between the tub , the toilet and the bathroom counter for some time. By the time I made it back to the bathroom, my water had broken and I was at 9.5 cm. I knew I needed to get up on my knees, and I stayed there, Brian knelt by the side of the bed and I hung there with my arms around his neck. I mostly breathed and swayed through the contractions but a few times I couldn’t keep on top of them. I felt as if, if I could just get a break I could finish this….somehow those breaks always came. Suddenly I felt a whooshing down my birth canal and heard Nichole, who was taping the birth say “I can see the head Jenna, it’s beautiful!” Toni told me to blow if it was burning and asked if I wanted to flip around so Brian could catch. “No” to both- I gave a great heave of effort and felt the slippery little body slide out, followed by crying. I looked down and saw a penis- we had another son! At this moment Matthew and Olivia, having heard the crying, rushed in.
Our baby was born at 9:30 PM. Anne wrapped the baby and I in warm towels. Within 15 minutes baby latched on. Soon after his first feeding Nichole and Anne helped me into the bath with healing herbs from Nicole’s MIL’s garden. I emerged to a fresh bed, to hear that our son was 7 lbs. 5 oz and 21.5 inches long. Brian and I were then left alone to decide on a name. We soon named him Andrew Thomas. Cheryl and Sasha left, then Toni and Anne, followed by Nichole. Olivia was so excited she didn’t get to sleep until 1 am. Andrew took to breastfeeding beautifully and was over his birth weight by 6 days.
He is a bright, beautiful baby and our whole family thanks God for this precious gift.
Joy, & Raspberry Leaves
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