* Disclosure: I may use words that may make readers squeamish...I gave birth, in a pool of water. You've been warned.
Phillip got Sophia up and out of our room so he could start filling up the birth tub. There was no way we could send her to school/daycare at this point. We were too involved in my labor, she had a runny nose and a terrible cough.
I labored on my exercise ball for a while longer. Sophia asked several times if I was okay and I assured her I was. At one point I got very cold and put a blanket over my shoulders. She stood by me and gently rubbed my back. She busied herself with juice and toys. She even indulged me in a little music that she played on her recorder. I intended to have music playing while in labor-a toddler playing the recorder was not what I envisioned but at least she was content.
By the time my mom and sister got home from the grocery store I had moved into the bedroom so I could sit on the exercise ball and rest against the side of my bed. Phillip had prepared the bed according to the instructions of the midwives-top sheets, waterproof mattress cover, pillows in trash bags and then cases etc. The tub continued to fill but obviously a standard hot water tank can only pump out so much water. He started heating water in pots on the stove to speed up the process.
Since I was recording my contractions on paper I knew they were between seven and five minutes apart and lasting for one to one and a half minutes each. At 8:15am I had Phillip call the midwife again. He told her she should head on over.
Kim was on her way to pre-natal appointments when she received the call from Peggy that I was in labor. She got to the house about 9:00am. She changed into scrubs, set up her supplies and checked my vitals.
I asked when I could get into the tub. She said at any point but the closer I was to delivery the better it would feel. In between contractions we would chat. She asked if I wanted to be checked to see how far along I was. I think we were both a little surprised...I was 8cm to complete! Emma would be here soon.
Kim added this "When I arrived, I never would have thought you were as far along as you were. I thought maybe 4-5cm. But, then, you started sounding much more vocal, and I thought you might be more like 6-7cm. But, by the time I checked you, you were 8 to complete, and your cervix was literally melting away as I checked. Definitely more like really soft butta :)"
I think I did one or two more contractions and was ready to get in. I was still in very good spirits upon being nearly fully dilated and entering the tub.
Entering the tub was amazing. The warm water just enveloped me. My mom said she wished she could have had a recording of me. I went from moaning through most all of the contractions to relief, relaxation (as much as I could be), to a sense of focus on the next step.
Being in the water is like stepping into a hot tub after a good work out. The feeling of having your muscles melt away from you and the buoyancy of the water helping to remove the tension from your body.
Through the next round of contractions I labored mostly on my knees with Phillip outside the tub on a step stool. We held hands and breathed through the contractions. By this time Peggy, the other midwife and woman who started Birth By Design, had arrived to assist with the birth. Everyone was in the master bedroom gathered around the tub. I realized I hadn't alerted Phillip's mom that I was in labor. My mom called her and she was able to hear me moaning through a contraction. Mom asked Kim if she had a guesstimate on how much longer it would be-while always hard to guess Kim erred on the side of caution and said an hour.
I knew it was getting close to time to push. By now I had gotten off my knees and was sitting. I could brace with my toes through each contraction by pushing my toes into the sidewalls of the pool. I had Phillip on my left and Julia on my right. Sophia was right next to Julia. A gripped each of their hands through the contractions. I told Kim I had to push and she said to go ahead. I gave a little push with the next contraction. The next contraction was the big one.
I felt the baby come through each of the stations of the pelvis. Including when she hit whatever nerve runs from the leg to the pelvis. OUCH! I think that could have been more painful than some of the contractions. As I pushed it was like a cork had popped. I could feel the mucous plug pop, the water break, and then she was really on her way out. The one thing I did yell during the whole process? "SHE'S CROWNINGGGGGGG!!!!!" And very quickly I could feel the rest of her body come through the birth canal and out. She was born at 10:15am.
I don't remember seeing her swim through the water. Phillip saw Emma make her way from between my legs and literally swim up to the surface. Kim reached into the water, caught Emma and put her on my chest. Once she took her first breath of air she cried with delight. She was here. We are now a family of four.
Emma laid on my chest for about 15 minutes. I continued to contract. Once the cord stopped pulsing Peggy and Phillip clamped and cut the cord. We finished the rest of the birth process on the bed. This is the only part of the whole labor and delivery that we didn't have Sophie witness. Kim checked to make sure Emma was healthy, had all the right parts, and was declared "perfect." She weighed in at 7lbs 10oz. and 20 1/2" long.
Emma has been alert and calm since birth. I was in bed eating lunch and calling family and friends around 12:00pm that day. We know we want one more child (hopefully our boy!) I will do a home water birth that time too. Even my mom said she is a convert!
Next post: Emma's Birth Story (Part 3- Compare and Contrast between Sophie's Birth and Emma's)