Tuesday Dec 13th I woke up to a pretty uncomfortable contraction at 6am. I told Jerad that I thought he might be right and today might be the day. He had been saying for weeks that I was going to have the baby on Tuesday the 13th, and was so convincing that people he talked to assumed I was getting induced that day and/or having a scheduled c-section. We had a quick pow-wow and he asked me what was the most important thing to me, that he finish building our bedroom furniture so that the mattress could be moved up off of the floor, that we start baking a "birthday cake" like we had during Marshall's labor, or that he clean the house (because he knows I can't relax if things are out of place). I decided that if this really WAS labor, I wanted to spend the morning doing something special with just us and Marshall.
One last hurrah as a family of three.
So, we decided to take Marshall to a parent and me gymnastics class in Atascadero. The class started at 9:30 and by that time I was having uncomfortable (but manageable) contractions every 5-7 minutes. I basically sat on the side lines the whole class and watched Jerad and Marshall.
We left the class at about 10:30, and the contractions continued. I kept telling Jerad I wasn't sure if this was "it" and to not say anything to anyone yet because I'd be really embarrassed if it was a false alarm. With Marshall my water broke the night before he was born so I was sort of expecting the same thing to happen this time.
We got home around 11 and started to do a few things around the house. FYI, housework is a GREAT way to distract yourself from the pain and discomfort of contractions! At 11:30 my sister sent me a text message asking if we'd be meeting Miller today and I told her
"Maybe. I have to get our bedroom clean, fill the birth tub, and Jerad has to finish the furniture so its not looking too hopeful. Actually I've been having real contractions all day but I'm refusing to acknowledge."
I also told her that I did this for like 2 days with Marshall so I wasn't too hopeful yet.
Jerad had a small job that he thought would only take an hour to finish, so I told him he should go take care of it and bring back some Thai food for us to have for lunch. He left around 12:30. By this time contractions were happening consistently every 5 minutes, lasting 30 seconds, and were uncomfortable enough that I needed to concentrate through them.
He got back about 1:45, just when I had started feeling a little panicky about being home all alone. I called our midwife to give her a heads up that "this might be the day." I told her my contractions were 5 minutes apart, but only lasting about 30 seconds and were uncomfortable but still manageable. She said things would probably pick up after it got dark and to let her know if there were any changes. We had a delicious, enormous, Thai lunch. I also sent a text message to Amy who was our doula with Marshall and was going to come take photos of the birth letting her know that "tonight might be the night."
Jerad's brother had gone with him on the job and stuck around afterwards and helped do things around the house and entertained Marshall. We had set up the birth pool already, but hadn't started to fill it. Our new house has weird faucets and we hadn't been able to find an adapter that would let us hook a hose up to our bathroom sink to fill the tub. Also at our last house we had a tankless water heater so we didn't have to worry about running out of hot water, and at the new house we have a standard water heater which would need to refill at least once. They ended up hooking the hose to the utility sink in the garage and running it through our upstairs bedroom window. While the water heater refilled Joey boiled pots of water on the stove downstairs and brought them upstairs to dump them in the tub.
Boiling water for a birth... cliche much?
Meanwhile I tended to the important things... like changing the sheets on the guest bed. When I write that now, all I can think is "wtf is wrong with me?!?" but at the time I thought "well, if this is a long labor maybe the midwife will want to take a nap" and I have this thing about guests always getting clean sheets.
Jerad called his mom around 2:30 to ask her if she'd come by after work to play with Marshall and she asked if she should come right away or if 3:30 when she got off work would be fine. I told him to tell her 3:30 or 4 was fine and she didn't need to hurry.
At this point things were getting a lot more intense, but I was still worried that maybe it was a false alarm and I was getting stressed out that more and more people were getting told I was "in labor." I was having the same irrational fears that I had last time. I worried that if this WASN'T active labor, I wouldn't be able to make it through the real thing. By this time I didn't want to see anyone so I basically shut myself in our room and tried to deal with the pain. Contractions were every 3-4 minutes apart, much more intense (I needed to whine/groan through them), but still only lasting 30-45 seconds.
Jerad was alternating between trying to be with me and be supportive, and trying to finish all the things I'd asked him to do around the house. At some point he called his mom and told her she should probably come now.
A little before 4 I told him to call our Midwife and ask her to come up as well. It had only been 2 hours and 15 minutes since I had told her that "today might be the day!" Luckily she took his word for it and didn't ask to talk to me because I didn't want to talk to anyone:) She also called her assistant Jackie who lives in Paso and asked her to come over. It was the same assistant that was there for Marshall's birth, and I had really been hoping she'd make it to Miller's too. She was technically on maternity leave but said that depending on when I went into labor, she'd try to make it. Yay for my evening labors!
I'm a little fuzzy on the time line at this point, but Jackie got to our house a little after 4. The contractions had changed to the intense 'feels like my body is tearing-itself-apart type,' and were coming every 2:45 minutes and lasting about 45 seconds. As soon as she got there it was like my brain switched out of labor mode, and into hostess mode. I hate that about myself, yet I can't not do it! I asked her how she was doing (she's due about a month after I was), and basically told her that the contractions hurt but were only 45 seconds. She asked me a bunch of questions like was I feeling any pressure (I wasn't) and I forget what else. After watching me for a few minutes, she said she was going to slip out and give the midwife a call to let her know that she didn't have to rush because it was probably going to be a little while.
Jerad asked me where Amy was and I realized besides telling her that I'd probably have the baby tonight, I'd never sent her any updates so he texted her and told her she could come over too. She said she'd head over as soon as her husband got home to babysit, which would probably be about 30 minutes.
Nothing I did helped the pain, and no position was comfortable so I asked if I could get in the tub. Jackie asked me to wait and let the Midwife check me first since she was going to be there any minute. She got there (I think) around 4:40 and asked me to lay down on the bed so that she could check my cervix.
Holy hell, I don't know how some of you women labor on your backs in bed. Up until this point I had been alternating standing, leaning over the counter, and sitting. I don't know if it was how this baby was positioned, but the 10 seconds or so I had to lay there while getting checked were excruciating. We compromised and she let me lay on my side (still awful), and announced that she couldn't feel any cervix at all and (just like with Marshall) the baby was already descending into the birth canal.
I was so relieved, I guess it wasn't a false labor after all!
About 4:50, 10 minutes after the Midwife arrived, I got in the tub on my knees with my arms over the side and almost immediately started feeling the urge to push. When I say urge to push I mean that my body was starting to push with every contraction, and not in that serene 'gently breathe the baby out' way that some women talk about, but in more of a ripping itself apart while I gripped the tub for dear life and yelled. I kept asking the Midwife if the baby was moving down at all because it was so excruciating I was hoping that I was making progress. At no point did I ever want pain meds or to be at the hospital, I just kept thinking that if it went on like it was for another 8 hours (or heck, even 3 hours) there was no way I could handle it. She told me that I needed to change positions and lean back against Jerad otherwise the baby was going to be born 1/2 in and 1/2 out of the water. Once I laid back she told me that his hand was up by his face and I needed to go ahead and push without waiting for a contraction to get him out. He came out all at once with that last push.
He was born at 5:01pm, after about 10 minutes of pushing.
Immediately after he was born I said "that wasn't so bad!" Because honestly, even though it felt like my body was ripping itself apart... it was only 10 minutes. I can do anything for 10 minutes right? Jackie grabbed my camera and took a few pictures (he came so fast Amy still hadn't arrived).
We hung out in the tub for awhile waiting for his cord to stop pulsing so that Jerad could cut it.
We got out of the tub and laid on the bed so that the Midwife could check blood pressures and heart tones and whatnot. Miller was breathing fine but a a little grey so she had Jackie hold the oxygen mask up to his face for a bit. It wasn't scary at all because he was acting and breathing fine, it was just nice that he could get that extra little bit of help. Amy arrived a few minutes later and took pictures:
|Miller Cash, moments after birth.|
Then it was time for the newborn exam.
|19.25 inches, 14 inch head.|
Almost the exact same size as Marshall was!
I think it was at this point that I told Jerad "hey, you should let our families/friends know we just had a baby!" Everything had happened so fast that besides Jerad's mom and brother who were down stairs with Marshall, we hadn't even told anyone I was in labor! I thought we'd have plenty of time... whoops. One of my sisters thought it was a joke, and my mom was out to dinner with friends and also was pretty surprised. My other sister and brother in law stopped at Trader Joe's on the way and brought us a bunch of premade lunches and dinners which was AWESOME over the next few days, and once again my friend Beth was able to stop by and meet the baby right after he was born.
Thanks to the fast and furious delivery, and Miller's hand being up against his face, I had a third degree tear that needed stitches. Awesome.
After that, Jerad got him dressed and brought him downstairs to meet the people that were gathering to see him.
|Marshall meeting Miller for the first time|
And once again, we were all able to shower and go to sleep in our own bed at a normal hour.
So there you have it, The Birth Story:)
Comparing my two labors I don't know what was better. Marshall's (read it here) was more drawn out and I pushed for 45 minutes which seemed like a while at the time, but in retrospect wasn't bad. I remember wanting the pushing contractions to come faster so that I could just get him out already, but it was nice that he came out slowly and gently. Miller's labor was much more intense, definitely more painful, BUT it was over fast and I only pushed for 10 minutes. I also skipped all the normal Transition stuff this time like shaking and throwing up and feeling panicky. If I could choose, I probably would have liked a little longer, and a less intense labor but like I said, I can do anything for 10 minutes so in the grand scheme of things it wasn't bad.
Welcome Home baby Miller, we love you already!