Looking back, I must have known it was coming. Of course, it was my due date, so every day that passed I was inevitably getting closer. But, I had a really unusually satisfying sleep that night and lost a lot of mucus plug when I woke up. And kids, being the in tune little things that they are, must have also known. My daughter had said to me, just days before that I would have to wait to take them trick-or-treating until next year, because she said the baby would come before Halloween. And the morning of the day I went into labor, my youngest cuddled up to me in bed and asked to nurse with a mischievous smile on his face. I think we both knew it would be the last time he had nursing all to himself, but neither of us said anything. And when we were all up and getting ready, I did my own version of nesting- I felt driven to give the kids a bath, complete with hair washing and blow-drying, which was pretty unusual for me to want to do at 9 months pregnant. Almost like any other day.
It sounds so typical, I guess, but it was the most beautiful fall day and I told my husband that I thought it would be a beautiful day for a baby to be born. He looked at me funny, and surprised me with what is an elaborate plan for him- he wanted to pack a picnic and take the kids to the park for the day.
So, on a day almost like any other, we piled into the car, picked up some food and drove to the windy, hilly, empty playground. The fall leaves had never looked so pretty, and we spent a few hours feeding the ducks and watching the kids play. Right before we left, my midwife/friend called and asked if we wanted to go with them to the zoo for a Halloween thing. It sounded fun, and I knew my kids would love it, but something made me want to stay close to home. She told me later that she knew if I didn't want to go trick or treating, that I must be in labor!
As I was walking up the steep hill, I felt the first contraction that was clearly different than all of the practice ones I had felt up until that point. It felt good, almost, to be different and not as high and tight as I was used to. It was definitely lower in my body, and I felt some pressure too. But, it was by no means painful, and if I hadn't been in labor before I might not even have noticed it. It's like riding a bike, though. You never forget that feeling.
So, we continued to play because I wasn't quite ready to admit I was in labor. I had a few harder contractions on the way home, but chalked them up to riding in the car. My midwife had called when we were away, and by the time I called her back (around 1 pm or so) I was having pretty regular contractions, like 5 minutes apart. She lives 4 hours away, but I was still hesitant to have her leave since technically I could stay this way for days. Luckily, she thought otherwise and told me she was on her way, and if I was wrong than I was wrong.
Not half an hour later arrived the famous “bloody show”. If it weren't for one of my midwifery textbooks saying that contractions with bloody show certainly signify labor, it might not have seemed as real to me. I called my midwife back, told her that yes, it was now good she was on her way, and began cleaning up for birth. I had decided just days before that I wanted to set up the birth pool in my husband's office. It's the biggest, least cluttered room we have, and it also has a door (a novelty around here) and access to all our music. So, I got to work moving his stuff out of the way and getting all the supplies in a corner. I was feeling the contractions, but they weren't really distracting me yet. Although, somehow I had a feeling of how it would progress because my husband asked me (at about 4 pm) if I thought that the baby would make it being born on this day, or not. I said without hesitation that the baby would come before midnight.
To keep myself busy, I made my weekly phone call to my parents because I knew I wouldn't be able to make it soon. It was a little bit of a challenge getting through that phone call unnoticed, but I wasn't going to let on that anything was happening. I just told them I thought it would be “soon” that the baby was born!
My local midwife/friend arrived around 4:30 and she checked hearttones and the baby's position. She was still LOA, thanks to the Webster technique, and I was thrilled that she was in position, ready to go. I milled around the house as everyone cooked, and tried to ignore the contractions as much as I could. Eventually, I escaped upstairs and put on some music. Labor was so different that I ever remember! After two posterior labors, I was used to being immobile and spending the entire labor feeling like I was going to die on my hands and knees. This was actually pleasant! It felt good to be upright and walking around. I was so pleased!
(Stay tuned for Part 2 of her birth story next week!)