Anyway, the morning of the 16th dawns nice and sunny and I start having contractions. They are about 10 minutes apart but pretty consistent. I putter around the house, hang out with the kids, etc. I talk to the midwives and let them know what's up. I send the kids to my friends house so that they can have some fun and Dilbert and I have some fun hanging out together. Around three we call Tara, our doula, to come. She was with us at the Tykes birth and was fabulous. She gets there and I decide that I'm getting tired of this half-assed labor, lets kick this in gear. So, I have Dilbert make me a peach and castor oil smoothy, funny enough, it's not as good as it sounds.
I choked that down and things do pick up a little. The midwives come out and check me and I'm at 3cm! They set things up for a birth that night and then go because another mama is in labor and moving quicker than I am. We putter around some more. We had fun, Tara, Dilbert and I just hanging out together. I sat on the ball for a while and would sway through every contraction. They were the real thing but they didn't seem to go anywhere. Finally around 11:30 that night, everything just went away. I drank about 2 ounces of wine and went to sleep.
The next morning was a Tuesday and I went to my regular book club/Bible study at church. I was mad as a hornet. I had labored all day yesterday and now was walking around, still dilated to 3cm but still very much pregnant. My ankles were swollen, I couldn't fit into normal shoes, my back ached, my pelvis ached, I was not in a happy place. I made mention of this to a friend of mine at the study, who also happens to be a nurse. She seemed to think that this stall in labor meant that something could be wrong but honestly, that had never occured to me before. I was irritated, yes. But I wasn't worried about the birth.
When I say I wasn't worried about the birth, that's not exactly accurate. I felt about the birth the way I imagine athletes view some incredibly difficult, painful and life altering event that they are excited to do but will be happy to have behind them. Birth makes a better memory than experience. But I wouldn't trade that memory for anything.
The rest of that week was pretty quiet. Thursday night Dilbert and I tried a little labor encouragement that seemed to work. I started having contractions about 10 minutes apart again. They weren't very intense so I went to sleep.
When I woke up, they kept on coming. Sometimes they would be tough, and I'd have to stop and pay attention to them. Other times I didn't even pause. At about 2, I dropped the kids off at a friends house where they could play while I went to my midwife appointment. As I was driving the kids there I gradually started to think that maybe this could be the real thing. The contractions were more intense when I was in the car and I really did have to pay attention to them so it made the drive pretty interesting.
Dilbert drove me to my appointment and started making noises about how nice the birth center was and maybe I should just have the baby there. He's right, the birth center is very nice and I could totally see why someone would want to have a baby there. The bathtubs are enormous! But I really wanted to be at home. The midwife checked me again and said I was dilated to 4cm now. After 4cm you're considered in active labor. Because it was now about 6 and the route home was a parking lot we decided to have dinner near the birth center, that way if things picked up quickly, we could at least get there to have the baby. We went to this nice Thai restaurant and I squeezed Dilberts hand through the contractions. Then we walked around the shopping center for a while. I was having to stop every few stores to wait for a contraction to pass. Now it was close to 7 and the roads had cleared up a little so we could make it home quickly without risk of birthing in a car. We went home and called Tara and started to get ready.
Things were still set up from Monday night when we'd had a false alarm so all I had to do was get some water and go hang out in my room. My friend dropped off my kids and Karla came over to be with them if they wanted to be at the birth.
At 8 we put the kids to bed and between contractions I did our usual good night song with the kids.
Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday,
We love you
Happy Birthday and may all your
dreams come true.
When you blow out the candles
one light stays aglow.
It's the love light in your eyes
where ere you go.
The Pudding came home from preschool with this song and loved it and was always asking for it so we sang it to her and the Tyke every night. It was kindof our thing.
After the kids were in bed, things started getting more serious. I kept saying things like "I really want to be pushing, I just want to push this baby out, I feel so much pressure, I really want to be done with this!" Between every contraction I sat on the edge of the bed, then when one would start I'd stand up and bury my face in my husbands chest and moan. I'd bend my knees a little and sway my hips. It wasn't a pretty dance, but it was mine. Apparently it was during this stage that I bit Dilbert a couple of times. As I came out of a contraction I realized that I was about to bite him and stopped and apologized. Dilbert said it was no big deal, I'd already done it a couple of times and that it was his fault "for getting anywhere near your mouth." He a good man.
I'd used a birth stool at the Tykes birth and wanted to do that again but the second I sat down on the birth stool it felt all wrong. I made it through one intense contraction there and popped up as quickly as an enormously pregnant and laboring woman can pop with a baby's head engaged in her pelvis. I started to get a little panicy now because my plan had been to push on the stool and now I didn't want to do that but I didn't want to do anything else either. I felt like maybe it would be good to lean forward so I decided to try getting on my hands and knees.
I crawled up on the bed and almost immediately a contraction hit. I felt the baby's head slide down under my pubic bone. I've had three previous births and never felt that, it was the strangest thing. It didn't really hurt, other things did but not that specifically, it just felt very strange and I suddenly couldn't move to change positions anymore.
I lost my ever-lovin mind after that. Tara tried to prop up some pillows to support my upper body and I threw them at Dilbert. I cursed a little and told Tara that she was lying to me when she said I was doing great. What I think I said was, "You and I both know that's just what you say at this stage, it's total bullshit!" or something to that effect. This baby felt huge and I could feel it coming, the pressure was huge!
The actual order of events gets a little fuzzy for me here. I felt all this pressure but not a strong urge to push. I really wanted to push but I didn't feel the, "I'm pushing now and I can't help it!" urge that I had with Ike. Kim told me to try pushing as I felt like it so with the next contraction I did and lost my mind. Apparently what was going on behind me was this. Baby had their arm wrapped around their face and was patting their opposite shoulder so that great big head and elbow were all trying to come through at the same time. With my first big push, Kim figured this out and went very hands off. She said that the baby would need to spin to get all that through and the less she did right then the better. She did keep putting the warm wet clothes on my bum which at the time were the best things in the world. I never knew such a thing could be so awesome.
Anyway, while I waited for the next contraction and complained that I had a baby wedged in a very uncomfortable place, baby decided they had been there long enough as well and started to spin. I felt baby spin and as they did, I finally go the urge to push and push I did. Baby's head popped out with a sort of spinning "ta-da" motion as their arm was released from its awkward position and they started screaming right away. I pushed without a contraction and got the rest of baby's body out but it seemed to take too long because I said as they were coming I said, "Oh baby, get out!".
Kim slid baby between my knees and under my chest (remember I was on my hands and knees) and I got my first glimpse of my screaming baby GIRL! We touched her puffy little face and her soft little head. Dilbert and I couldn't look away! She just screamed. We picked her up and I sat propped against the head board and caressed every beautiful little chubby extremity, and she screamed. Dilbert went and woke the other kids and brought them in, and she kept screaming. The Tyke was too sleepy for all this crazy, so he immediately went back to bed, and the baby kept screaming. The Pudding was excited to have a baby sister and we realized that they both ended up with the same birthday. Baby girl was born just after midnight on the Pudding's 6th birthday! Awesome! The baby kept screaming...
Around this time Kim told me to sing the song, the happy birthday song I'd been singing to the kids every night. I did and a miracle happened. Baby girl stopped screaming. She nestled in and latched on like a hoover and nursed herself into a coma. It was beautiful.
I told Dilbert that with the disapproving look that she gave the world, her face reminded me of a walnut so that is now her blog name. Her real name is totally different.
Around this time the Tyke realized he was missing out on the fun so he got back up, went down to his toy box in the basement and found his doctor kit. His grandparents got him these little toy doctor tools and coat for Christmas so he found those, came upstairs and asked for help in putting the coat on so he could "check out the baby." We weren't really sure where those toys had been so one of the midwives let him check her out instead. It was really the sweetest thing.
Kim checked out the baby with her real stethoscope and verious other stuff and then came time for the weigh in. Someone guessed 8lbs 10 oz. Someone else guessed over 10lbs. Now that she was out I was hoping for a big number just to acknowledge the effort I'd just given. They put her in the little fish scale and she came up at 9lbs 11oz, just exactly 1 ounce more than her brother had been. She was one inch taller as well, measuring 22 inches long.
After that things started to calm down. The Walnut was dressed and went to sleep after nursing some more, I took a shower to get all the birth off me and the kids went back to bed and were able to sleep despite their excitement. Dilbert called his parents and mine, my mom found a flight and his parents made plans to drive down early in the morning. But for the night we were tucked in to bed to just enjoy this beautiful little Walnut.
Well, now my little Walnut is 10 months old. She still likes the Happy Birthday song and still gives strangers the stink eye when she doesn't like the look of them. She's crazy tall for her age and crawls all over like a bug. She is worth every heartache and tear shed and worry and ache and pain that it took to get her here and I'm so glad she's with us.