If you haven’t yet read part 1 of this story, you can find it right here.
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I crawled back into bed thinking that I should get some rest before the baby came. That lasted all of one contraction and I was back up on my feet. I told my husband, who asked if I could wake him in about an hour, when things were really going to be rolling. I went downstairs to call the midwife (who, by a miracle, came into our lives about 2.5 weeks earlier). I told her I was contracting about 2 minutes apart and she said, “Fill the pool. You know what to do. I’ll see you when I get there.” I called up to Adam to come downstairs to fill the pool. I did NOT want to do the stairs again! And, thankfully, calling to him didn’t wake the kids.
It felt like he asked me about one hundred questions about where all the supplies were and where I wanted the pool and such. I answered between contractions and I got out the birth box with all the herbs and essential oils and puppy pads all the things I thought I would need.
I was shocked at how soon I started vocalizing. I thought it was just me being a noisy birther. I decided to labour a bit on the toilet while I waited for the pool to fill up. Adam said we had run out of hot water and that the pool was leaking (apparently the plug wasn’t secured) and he hoped it wouldn’t warp the laminate (that we had just installed two weeks prior) or go down into our furnace. He was busy. I was busy.
I was in the bathroom for probably all of 5 minutes when I started to get pushy. I’m guessing Adam heard me and he came into the bathroom to find I had draped myself over the birth ball. He tried to convince me that I should move to the pool. I told him it wasn’t going to happen and I was just going to have the baby on the bathroom floor. I had it all planned out. The position I would deliver in, the way I would catch the baby and the towel I would grab to warm us. The picture was painted and I was not going to be told otherwise.
Then he did the unthinkable: he stole the ball.
He rolled it a few feet at a time across the house, bribing me to follow between contractions. He told me I would regret if I didn’t have the baby in the water. I told him I didn’t care and to just give me the freaking ball back! He didn’t. The monster! I thought, “What if Lynn (the midwife) walks in right now and is greeted by me naked, crawling along the floor in the living room? She probably won’t care, she is a midwife after all. But what about the cold gust of air that’s sure to follow?” In spite of the fact that it was the middle of the night and I was in the process of pushing a baby out, I had a surprising amount of clarity about the situation and an entire internal dialog about it. I’m pretty sure it was internal. Most of it anyway.
I crawled to the pool in about 4 contractions and Adam helped me in before he went to get more hot water from the kitchen (he had pots boiling on the stove). Due to the leak, there was only about a foot of water in the pool. I surveyed the situation and, quickly, reworked my birth plan/vision. One contraction in the pool and I told Adam that the baby was coming. He basically said, “yeah, yeah. I’m getting water.” “No Adam. Screw the water. The baby’s head is right here. It’s coming now. You need to get over here.” He brought a pot and said, “Yup, there’s the head.” I truly didn’t think he would be there so I planned to catch the baby. But there he was and he told me to get into a position to give him access. I decided that it would mean more to him to catch our baby than it did to me (which is saying a lot).
I pushed the head out and figured it would take a couple more contractions to get the rest out, as I did with Biscuit. I was mistaken. It happened just like the birth of my friends’ son (that I had the privilege to witness) and the baby just slid right out into the water and into his father’s loving hands with ease. I stood up and turned as he passed our baby to me. The cord was looped around his neck so we got it unlooped. Adam went to call the midwife to tell her that the baby was here.
I waited for the infamous first cry. It didn’t come.
He was breathing. His heart was beating. He was just so still. Once again, God said: trust Me. I tried to work up a panic and go through all the proper motions to get him to make a noise or move or something. I wasn’t panicked though. I just knew he was still. Same as he had always been in utero. Then I panicked about the fact that I wasn’t panicking and shouldn’t I be feeling something bad right now? Adam had his hand on the baby’s heart and it kept on beating. Baby started turning pink.
That was when we heard little footsteps on the floorboards upstairs. C had woken up (who knows how long he lay awake listening to the commotion at the foot of the stairs!) and was on his way down. He said that my noises woke him up. I asked if I scared him and he said, “No, you were just having a baby. Is that our new baby?” It was perfect timing to introduce him to his newest little brother. He said, “Aw, he’s so cute and tiny! I always wanted another little brother.” He’s my sweet and sensitive little man.
I moved to the couch and snuggled with our littlest one while C watched and took it all in. Adam went downstairs to fix the furnace that had, indeed, had a pile of water leak into it and quit working. It was about -35 Celcius outside (-31 F) so I planned how, after the placenta was birthed, we would bundle up and walk over to my mom’s across the yard.
Lynn walked in the door almost an hour after the birth. She had gotten caught up in some thick fog on the way. She quickly took in the scene and helped me birth the placenta and get to the bathroom to pee. I already felt amazing. Other than feeling a little worn, I barely noticed my body had just been through a birth. At about 6:30am, Biscuit came downstairs and surveyed the situation. Lynn said to him, “Look, your mom has your new baby!” He looked at me, looked at the baby in my arms, and said, “And I have Jingle,” as he help up his stuffed dog. That little Biscuit is always good for a laugh!
Both my bigger boys came to snuggle with me and the baby and Adam got the furnace going and Lynn made me toast and tea. We went over the placenta and she noted how short the cord was, which could lead to a lack of movement in the womb. We discussed names and couldn’t agree so we put it on the back burner for a while.
In the meantime, I tried to nurse the baby. He still hadn’t eaten more than a drop or two that I had expressed into his mouth. I feel so blessed that Lynn and I agreed fully on the true journey of natural birth. We both knew he would eat when he was ready. We tried when he was about 3.5 hours old and he cried at the efforts. After being so quiet for so long, it was strange to hear him cry.
He finally started opening his eyes and rooting around 9am. He latched on and nursed for a full ten minutes. It was incredible! Lynn noted that he was exhibiting all the behaviors of a baby who had just been born. Our conclusion: he was born asleep. Literally. The labor and birth were so peaceful that it didn’t even wake him up.
First call to the midwife was at 3:35am. The second call to tell her the baby was born was at 4:43am. The labour and birth took just over an hour.
I’ve since written about being infatuated with my newborn and breastfeeding as a third time mom. I spend most of my days holding a baby who sleeps like neither of my other boys did. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect addition to our family and he is truly God’s gift to us.
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