On April 25 at 10:02am I posted this Facebook status update:
Madeleine is due in ten days but something tells me we won’t have to wait that long…
Less than 19 hours later, nine days before my due date, I woke up at 4:20 to find my water breaking. I labored at home as my contractions were irregular. We left for the birth center just before 2pm and made a quick stop at the salon so I could get my nails done. 😉 We arrived at the birth center at 3, saw Becky (the midwife) at 3:30, and settled into our birth room at 4pm. I was 4cm dilated and about 90-95% effaced so Becky had swept my membranes (not fun) but when our awesome friend and photographer Jodi arrived a couple of hours later my contractions still weren’t regular.
We tried lots of things to get me into active labor. By 8pm Becky was getting concerned because we were racing the clock. Florida state law says if a mom isn’t in active labor by 24 hours after her water breaks, she has to transfer to the hospital! That meant we were down to our last 8 hours.
Around 10:30 Becky decided to check my progress. Only 5cm. That’s not a lot of progress in 6.5 hours. But that exam seemed to do the trick because suddenly my contractions got a lot stronger and a lot closer together. They never did hit the magic 5-1-1 mark (when the water hasn’t broken, moms are supposed to stay at home until contractions are five minutes apart, one minute long, for one hour), they just jumped from being erratic to insane!
By 11pm I was definitely in labor. It was time to start getting the birth tub ready and call in the doula and the birth assistant. Michelle, the doula we had been working with all year, arrived around 11:45 and started helping me with my breathing. Michelle’s calming voice reminding me to breath and keep my moans deep and low really helped me to work through each surge. Around midnight Becky checked me again and I was finally up to 8cm! Husband, Becky, and Michelle helped me settle into the tub for the home stretch. I floated on my stomach to let the water help ease my contractions and finally, around 1:45am, it was time to push. After a few minutes though, Babe started having d-cells (her heart rate was dropping) so Becky and Michelle told me to switch onto my back.
I was so exhausted it took Husband, Becky, and Michelle to help me turn over and then for the rest of the time Husband had to keep holding me up under the arms so I had room to breathe. That helped Babes heart rate up a little but they were still concerned and didn’t want me to waste any time pushing her out. After a couple of pushes her head and hand were out! That’s right, she had her right hand to the side of her head when I delivered her! Then it only took a few strong pushes, Babe popped out, and Becky realized why her heart rate had been dropping. Babes umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck (and wrist) four times!!! Becky did this amazing little spin, spin, spin (under water) and freed her in a matter of seconds before placing her on my chest so she could recover from the shock of being born.
These three pictures were taken by Michelle. Stay tuned for more pictures taken by our wonderful friend Jodi who stayed with us into the wee hours of the morning.
I snapped this pic of Babe when I woke from a nap this morning.