Monday – the day before Sarah was born I’d come to a decision that she wasn’t coming yet and just to deal with it. I was planning on picking my sister Vanessa up from the airport on Wednesday and having her babysit that night while Rob and I went to Forum at my midwife’s house. That day I went to acupuncture and got an adjustment as well, came home and went on a huge walk with Robby, cleaned my house for a few hours, then went back outside to play with neighbors, and made dinner. It was a BEAUTIFUL day. I usually would take a nap in the afternoon but instead got a diet coke and was awake and productive. (I was trying to limit the diet coke to once a week and had been doing pretty well with that, and guess what, I haven’t even had any since she was born! Pretty good, huh?)
Tuesday – I woke up around 4 am and couldn’t sleep. I went and had a bowl of applesauce, went to the bathroom, and then tried to listen to some hypnobabies track to fall back asleep. I was having some contractions but nothing too crazy and after having had tons the other night I wasn’t going to let myself get excited about anything. It got to the point that I was sleeping inbetween the contractions but then they’d wake me up… I wasn’t paying much attention to how close they are because I was trying to just ignore them. I got up and went to the kitchen and got a bowl of cereal.
6 am – While in the kitchen and moving around the contractions got more intense… I remember just thinking to myself that even if it didn’t mean labor was coming right now that each of these contractions was doing something good and would help me eventually meet my baby. That’s when I started getting emotional! After each contraction I was laughing and crying with joy just thinking about how excited I was to meet my little baby! I figured just in case this turned into labor I better finish putting away the pots and pans from dinner and washing a few last things in the sink. I had to pause for the contractions and was laughing and crying some more…
As it got closer to 7 am I knew I had a decision to make – Rob was planning on going to the rec center at 7 to work out. He and Andrew go every Tues & Thurs mornings. I kept thinking, “should I let him go or not?” I tried to imagine the contractions (which I did notice were like 7 minutes-ish apart now) coming like they were and Robby getting up and having to make breakfast and go about like normal and it didn’t seem right… I went in the bedroom and Rob’s alarm went off. I informed him I’d been up with contractions but they were more serious than before and I didn’t know if he was going to be able to go or not… then I was leaning over the birth ball and had a strong contraction and while moaning through it I moan-said, “Yeah you’renotgoingANYWHERE!!!” He texted Andrew to let him know, which would also notify Becca, that I was having contractions and didn’t want him to leave. (Becca would be coming to the birth as my doula and sister (in law)).
7 am – So now what? I didn’t know when to call Sherri my midwife and get Becca and Taba and everyone over! What if it went faster than Robby’s birth? If so then we better hurry! (His birth was a total of 6 hrs) But what if these contractions just stopped and went away?? I didn’t want to have a false alarm. I asked Rob to say a prayer to know what we should do and when we should call everyone… immediately after the prayer I had a HUGE contraction and we said, “Ok! Here we go!”
First I called Becca. She was really excited for me and helped assure me that I was most likely in labor and it most likely would NOT stop and if so it’s ok we still need to call people and move forward. (I explained I was emotional and shaky and the contractions were definitely more intense then ever before) I told her not to rush over here because I wanted to take a shower but she was going to get ready and head on over.
Second I called Sherri. It went immediately to her voicemail. Whoops! It surprised me but didn’t make me feel nervous, I think I laughed actually. I just left her a voicemail.
I called Taba. I remember she was trying to explain what she had to do before she could come down and I was just like, “uh huh ok bye.” Just like ok just get down here. I was having a contraction and just couldn’t focus on what she was saying.
I go to get in the shower and Sherri calls back. Rob answered the phone and she said immediately, “WHEN DID ESTHER CALL ME?” He reassured her it had just been five minutes ago and everything was fine. I talked to her and told her what was going on, she asked how far apart contractions were which was like 5-7 minutes… she was actually at another birth that had just finished! She said the woman delivered an hour after Sherri got there at about 7 am. Sherri had also had ANOTHER deliver at 1:30 am that morning. I was her THIRD birth that day. Crazy! I’m so glad I didn’t go into labor earlier that morning or she would have needed to be in two places at once! But it all worked out so smoothly instead. She said she would finish up at that birth and send Hannah, one of her apprentices, to come and labor with me and get set up. I let her know my doula was on her way too and not to rush.
See it was difficult to know if it was the real thing because with Robby the contractions didn’t get painful until I was in transition and about to push so I couldn’t wait for THAT point to call people. I knew it had the potential to go really fast so I wanted everyone to get there and get the tub filled up and not wait too long… but I really didn’t want a false alarm! I kept saying that…
I took a shower and put my special swim suit top I’d bought just for this occasion – I remember searching through the swimsuit drawer saying, “Where’s my stupid $17 swim top I bought for this!?!” because I couldn’t find it at first. I put on my waterproof mascara and tried to make a cute ponytail and I was set. I remember the pictures of labor with Robby and I did not look cute at all so I figured why not try to look a little better this time?
Robby woke up around 8 am. Rob went in his room and told him, “mommy’s going to have the baby today!” He was excited. We had planned to have my friend Lindsay help watch him when I went into labor but it turned out that she needed to go out of town that exact day and my other sister wasn’t coming til the next day so we were super grateful to have my wonderful friend and neighbor Maeris who had offered to help be able to watch him. I wanted him near by so he could come back when it was time to push and since I had no idea when that would be I just wanted him close. Rob walked Robby over to Maeris’ around 8:30 am.
Becca got here first. She rubbed my back as I laid down and listened to my hypnobabies birthing day track. I was feeling quite a bit of discomfort in my back but the contractions still weren’t too bad. I sat on the bed and thought about how just a few months ago I had been sitting in that same spot when we were on the phone with the fertility center and found out we were pregnant… that day and that experience is burned in my mind. I just kept having tears of joy and happiness thinking we were finally going to get to meet this sweet little baby.
Hannah arrived and brought with her a bunch of the birth supplies. She started setting things up – laying down the shower curtain in the living room to prepare for the tub that Sherri would bring!
Taba got here – I can’t remember if she got here before or after Hannah… I was starting to need to focus more on the contractions than what was going on around me.
10:30 – Shortly after Roxanna, another midwife who works with Sherri, arrived and she asked to check and see how dilated I was. I sat on the little birth stool and she informed me I was at a 3 and 100% effaced. I’m not gonna lie I was disappointed since the week before I had Sherri check me and I was a 2 but now I was fully effaced which was important and at least we were headed in the right direction.
Roxanna is a foot zone therapist (sort of like reflexology) and knows all the right places to dig into your feet to help labor pick up! So she and Hannah rubbed and squeezed my feet in some pretty painful ways for about a half hour to get things going. I was game for whatever they wanted to do or suggested to keep the contractions coming and coming strong! I just didn’t want them to stop! I really felt like after that foot massage my contractions were more consistent and intense.
One thing I remember is that I went to the bathroom like a 100 times. It became Rob’s job to walk me there and push on my knees during contractions as I sat on the toilet. This job got harder and harder through the labor because I needed more and more support. But I really went to the bathroom like every 10 minutes the entire time. (It’s important to go often during labor – keep an empty bladder so it doesn’t impede the process! And Sherri said if you feel like you have to go then you need to go! So ok.)
11:30 – Soon after that Sherri got there, bringing with her the tub and the hose so we could start getting it filled up! I was so happy to see her!
We talked about what we could do to help baby come down and get into a good position. She suggested walking the stairs in my building or crawling in my hallway – I opted for the crawling. She demonstrated for me what she wanted me to do, not just simple crawling but kind of like a lion and really get my pelvis moving around. I must have looked pretty funny doing this but again I was game for anything that would help keep things going and getting farther along!
I was still in a good mood, laughing in-between contractions… I was having quite a bit of back labor so they made up a nice heat pack (a wet towel wrapped in some chux pads microwaved) that laid on my back while I did my mama lion crawling. When I would have a contraction someone would put some counter pressure on my back as well and that felt good.
12:30? – After crawling around and laboring in the hallway for a while Sherri had me get on my bed and she checked me. I told her, “just don’t say 3. If I’m a 3 make something up.” She said I was a 4 1/2 or 5 and when I was contracting it was getting open wider but then it’d come back down. So we decided I needed a little rest. I laid on my bed and they took turns putting counter pressure on my knees and back during each contraction. I felt like the contractions got stronger and stronger then and I was making some nice loud birth noises (low kind of moaning sounds that just help take the pressure off and help push baby down). While I was laying there my sister Taba comes in and tells me she has to run up to SLC to drop something off at her work – she had to get this done by 3 and Sherri had said she didn’t think the baby would come yet so maybe just run do it now. I remember just being like, “ok, I can’t worry about this…” but hoped she’d be back in time.
After about an hour of resting with contractions in the bed Sherri talked about what we should try next. We could do some walking, some stairs, some lunges… I asked, “when can I get in the tub??” With Robby I got to the hospital and was at a 6, then labored in the tub where I felt like things got more intense, and then shortly after was pushing… so I wondered if the tub would help me relax and labor better. She said I could get in anytime I wanted to! So to the tub we went.
1:40 pm – I get in the tub and it feels great. It was so nice and deep… we had my hypnobabies birthing day track going in the background on the ipod dock. She (the voice on the track) would say something funny like, “you mentally thank your support team” and we’d all have a good laugh. But I tell you that hypnosis stuff works! I was surprised at the amount of *pain* I felt this time around because with Robby I did not experience that but we’d find out soon that little sister had her sweet little hand up by her chin when she came out and it could have been her elbow in my back causing a lot of that discomfort.
In the tub I moved around from laying back, which didn’t feel great, to getting on my hands and knees which maybe felt too good – Sherri said, “this might feel so good because it’s taking pressure OFF of the cervix which we don’t want.” No we do not. So she suggested I do a “take a knee” pose like in football. Now THIS was an effective position. Whew those contractions were getting strong! I switched legs and baby just kept on coming down.
Wish I knew what time exactly, maybe 2:15? – Sherri checks me and I’m at an 8 1/2, she tells me baby is just RIGHT THERE! Oh I’m so excited by this! I tell Becca to run go get Robby from Maeris’ house. I just wanted him near – if it still was going to be a while he could watch a movie or play on the computer or something but I just wanted him to come now. Sherri tells me we can take a break and rest for a little bit or keep going. I say KEEP GOING.
2:20 ish – Becca walks out the door to go get Robby. A minute later Taba walks back in the door from running her errand to SLC. Another minute later, POP my water breaks! And transition hits. Becca comes back in the door with Robby.
I had prepared Robby for what a mommy in labor would sound like – more like a mama bear or something and told him when I’m making noise that means I’m working hard to get the baby out. Also we’d watched a few birth videos of water births so he was pretty prepared. He didn’t seem scared at all, he was just sitting with Rob and occasionally patting my hand…
Sherri had me turn so I was in the birth tub short ways in a squat. As the contractions got super intense I got a little worried – I didn’t feel the urge to push like I did with Robby but once I started to push and listened to what Sherri and Roxanna were saying everything felt better and went better. I had one contraction where I felt like I was starting to get more high pitched and just yelling and then Sherri said, “you’re going to scare your baby! Focus! Breathe!” Roxanna came and got close to me and talked quietly in my ear telling me, “You can do anything for a minute. Just focus! Push!” And it was like, “oh, ok, yes I’ll do that.” Then I got quiet and just buckled down and pushed! Which felt much better! Then the whole “ring of fire” sensation came and memories of tearing scared me and made me pause. I asked Sherri if I should push or not, I didn’t want to tear, and she said she was going to let me tear and to keep pushing. Sherri said she could see her hair – they asked if I wanted to help catch her, I said I couldn’t move… Sherri took my hand and it put on my baby’s head which was the neatest feeling and so motivating! She was RIGHT THERE! It would be over soon and I would be holding her.
2:39 pm – After about 10 minutes of pushing out she came, first her head with her little hand up by her chin, and then her body which Sherri lifted up and out of the water quickly – the best feeling ever! She handed me my baby and we were just all overcome with emotion! I checked to make sure it was a girl and held her close to me. I turned to Robby and was just so excited he was getting to meet his sister, I loved his happy excited face. I kept saying, “Robby look! Rob look!”
Sherri said, “you did so good!” I remember feeling so happy and grateful for her and everyone who was there – I feel like everyone there had a certain role to fill and it was perfect. And my baby was perfect! I just couldn’t believe she was mine!
Sherri had me lower her body back into the water but keep her head above the water. We watched as she stretched herself out and just unfolded… it was so gentle and sweet. She opened her eyes and tilted her head back and looked up over my shoulder directly at Robby – the first thing she saw! She just stared at him for about 5 minutes! He was so happy! I just felt like she was saying, “oh hi, you prayed me here!” She seemed to know just who he was. It was then I was thinking she might look like a Sarah…
We just cried and stared at her and loved her… she started to make a little sucking face so I just nursed her right away. That helped with the placenta which came out easily and smoothly a few minutes later. We stayed in the tub for a few more minutes and then decided to get out and go lay in our bed. They handed her off to Rob in a nice warm pink towel (bought specifically for this purpose :)) and helped me out of the tub.
4:00 pm – We gathered on the bed where they did the baby check and weighed and measured her. She was 8 lbs 6 oz (a little bigger than Robby’s 8 lb 2 oz) and 21 inches long! She was perfectly healthy. We got to hold her and snuggle her on the bed while our support team ran around the house cleaning everything up – you would have had NO idea a baby had been born there! Everything was put away and cleaned up.
5:30 pm – After everything was cleaned up and put away we got to stay in bed and rest with our new little sweetheart. We talked about names and settled on Sarah. I was so glad we could come to an agreement quickly! Becca was nice and took Robby over to her house with her. Rob and I snoozed and enjoyed just being at home with our baby.
7:30 pm – The LBGS came and met baby Sarah! Can’t believe we didn’t get a picture of that! I was still a little out of it. Then Andrew & Becca brought Robby back over with their kids to meet Sarah and they all got to take turns holding her. Then Robby went back over to their house for a sleepover which was great! He had fun and we could focus on just getting more rest.
9:30 pm – My mother in law MaryAnn arrived – when she found out I was in labor that morning she made a quick decision to just get on a plane and fly out here now to help us for a week! Boy are we glad she did!!!!!! She helped that night with diaper changes and held Sarah part of the time so we could sleep. It was great knowing she was just right outside of our room with her grandma when she wasn’t in our arms.
I totally forgot to mention that Susan was there taking pictures! That’s because she did such a good job at just being like a shadow and capturing the moment with these beautiful pictures but not really making her presence known. Perfect for a birth photographer!!! She came during the part where I was resting on the bed after Sherri had checked me. I didn’t want her to come too early either in case it took a long time. I am SO grateful she was there to capture this experience with these amazing pictures! We will treasure them forever!
We are so happy that everything went so well! It was just like I visualized it! She is just the most beautiful perfect baby I’ve ever seen! We love her so much!
I’m sure I’m leaving out some details (I know, how is that possible when this post is this long!?) so I might add more later but this is what I’ve got so far. I wanted to write this out so I won’t forget anything so I’ll be impressed if anyone actually reads this whole thing!