This was originally published in January 2011. Posting it again to celebrate Violet’s fifth birthday.
At 4:04 am I woke from a dream with a low contraction… different from what I had been having off and on for a couple of weeks. I knew it was ‘real’. I waited for the next one before waking Joel, it took a few hits (yes I am loving, totally smacked him after one call). He didn’t believe me/wanted to wait it out… but I was like the house is a mess we need to change sheets and pack up Monk, one more contraction and we get up! After the third one he believed me and we got up. Gathered dishes, threw the sheets in the washer.
5:30 we decided to go back to bed and *try* to sleep/wait out and see if this was ‘false’ or not. Un huh it lasted about two contractions, I wasn’t into laying through them. Up we got, and I sat on the ball… started timing the contractions on Joel’s iPod.
By 6 ish they were around 7 mins apart and lasting a minute or so. I still wasn’t convinced that this was actually labour, I kept saying maybe its not… I don’t want to call and get everything ready if its not it. We debated but decided to call Joel’s mom to come pick up Monk to take her to my grandparents… then after that we paged Dianne (my midwife) to give her a heads up please don’t go far… she seemed sure that this was it (still I wasn’t convinced).
Monk (Annaliese) woke after that, I felt so badly our routine was off she was tired, but we needed her dressed and packed and gone… Joel’s mom and Dianne showed up around the same time, I thought okay the stress of all of this is gonna stop my labour. I had a few while finishing sending Monk off but I could talk and walk and pretend they weren’t there.
Dianne completely set up once she got here… which made me semi nervous that what if this isn’t it… like my child is gone, my house is set up for birth, and my labour is gonna stall at any moment. I could sway/breath through every contraction at this point without a huge ‘I am gonna die kill me feeling’. They started to get shorter but stronger, again I was thinking ‘see I knew it, this ISN’T labour’.
Joel was filling the pool and heating water (ya stereotypical dad thing ‘boil water’… but that pool was deep and our hot water tank wasn’t enough). At one point while filling the tub the contractions came to a pain that I needed to hold onto Joel, I needed him to support me, and know I was in pain… yet still I was like we can’t be close, and my labour is gonna stop. I could clearly think through the pain, reminding myself ‘its one minute, I can do anything for a minute, I will be nursing a baby by dinner, open your eyes, breath, move, don’t be tense.’
I started itching to get in the tub, and kept asking Joel ‘how much longer’… I think by about 9:30 he had it filled enough, just not quite warm enough, that I was able to get in. I thought ‘okay I am gonna get in here and this will end these short contractions and its done, all this set up for nothing’. Having my legs spread and contracting low to the ground really felt better, along with warmth and comfort of the water… Joel admitted after that we both were thinking okay we have settled in to the tub, in for a few more hours at *least*.
Joel’s mom made it back at some point after I was in the pool (like maybe 9:45), then Barb (second midwife) came in… I was really thrown when she walked in. One because I knew that meant near the end, two because it was supposed to be Joanne the student if after a certain time (which I thought oh we will be way longer). So I kinda couldn’t understand why Barb was here already, I hadn’t been checked and could not understand how Dianne knew it was now.
I had another strong contraction, and thought near the end of it ‘I might like to push’. I hadn’t been checked, and thought maybe I should get checked so I know if I am at like two centimeters or if I am close (keep in mind I am still convinced this could be false labour, and one stress factor could send me out of labour). Dianne said it would be better if I got out and laid down… so I agreed that after the next contraction I would.
The next contraction hit, and I was like ‘umm wow, I want to push, can I push, no I am PUSHING’. I felt the baby move from my uterus to the birth canal in like a second… It was completely instinctual, I couldn’t stop myself. They asked me to lay back, and I said NO I couldn’t, so Dianne asked if I could get up on my knees… she said the bag of water was right there, and asked if I minded if she broke it, I really didn’t care. I don’t know if she did or not? But she said as the baby came out she could see Vi looking up at her through the bag of water.
The next two minutes were such a rush, I was holding onto Joel and yelling/baring down, the burning was horrible, I even commented on it in the midst of pushing, Barb and Dianne both said in their calm voices ‘its your baby’s head stretching you’. I knew it was I could feel her *right* there. When Dianne said pant/breath to me, Joel’s eyes went huge… we both knew *this* right now was it, our baby was coming… then it was ‘reach down and grab your baby’. In five minutes I had gone from asking Dianne to check my cervix to my baby was in my arms. I was in shock/awe of the whole thing… some how even in that moment I still couldn’t believe I was in labour, pushing, and had a baby.
I sat in the tub for awhile longer, delivered the placenta, and just was in awe of the whole thing… like seriously not expecting everything to happen so fast, and ten minutes prior thinking ‘my labour is gonna stop’.
Violet Ellen Mae was born ‘in the caul’ on January 7th, 2011 at 10:01 am, she weighed 8lbs 7oz. She snagged the title of First Homebirth in Muskoka, and First Baby Born in the Town of Huntsville. We just finished an interview with the paper and I am excited to share it with you when it comes out!
The differences that stand out for me between my first and second birth.
I didn’t complain about the labour, whine, or even reach a point where I felt like ‘I can’t do this’, with Annaliese I wanted out and wanted the epidural. I was focused and convinced it wasn’t real… I think I was waiting for my water to break (happened with Annaliese’s birth prior to labour). The pushing stage was much more intense with Violet though, I don’t remember yelling, or feeling such instinct when pushing Annaliese out. Violet my body pushed her out all on its own without instruction or permission. All around my second birth experience was calmer, with a peace of knowing my body was able and made to do this.