monday morning, august 6, 2012, started off like any other monday: breakfast time followed by rounding up the crew for my visit with my midwife, colleen. i was at 38 weeks and had been seeing her on a weekly basis for the past couple of weeks because of my SUA.
i think that visit was the official kick off to my labor. you can read some of the details from that day here, because i was crazy and decided to post something when i should be preparing for a birth.
anyway, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. there was nothing but my water leaking. obviously, i blogged that day, washed the car seat cover and did other usual stuff (i think...i can't remember).
at around 5:30 p.m. i was greeted by a wonderful contraction. hello! at that point, i had a feeling we were probably going to have a baby that night. it was a good thing colleen had given me her mobile number (she must have known i was going to go into labor that night) so that i could get in touch with her as soon as labor started. she knew how much i had wanted to try a water birth (i had planned for one for the both boys, but didn't get to), so she wanted to make sure she got to the hospital early enough to make sure the tub was all ready for me once i got there.
for once i didn't wait to call until i was having contractions every 5 minutes. i think i must have called colleen after we put the kiddos in bed probably around 8 p.m. at that time, contractions were still not painful, but i was definitely sure we would be meeting our baby that night. even though the contractions were still about 10-15 minutes apart, colleen decided to head to the hospital to get my tub ready. i have to say that i'm very thankful to have had a very intuitive and attentive midwife. she just knew there was no chance in labor stalling with me, and getting my room and tub ready early was pretty much the only way i was going to experience my waterbirth :).
i can't remember all the specifics between the phone call and the time we left for the hospital, but i knew we left around 10:30 p.m. because we had to wait for plan A-1 to take into effect (a.k.a. our super, awesome friend ami who has been plan A-1 since Gibson's pregnancy, but we never had to initiate it until now). as we waited for ami to come over, i remember the contractions starting to make me grimace. my sweet husband was very helpful in distracting me when i needed to be distracted, and provided silent support when i just needed to focus. it's funny that this time around, i didn't feel nervous at all about laboring or delivery (even with the possible risks related to the SUA). God had really given me peace about the whole situation.
we got to the hospital at 11:00 p.m. and began the check-in process at the ER. when one of the gals at the front-desk heard that my contractions were about 5-6 minutes apart and that this was my 4th child, she decided we didn't need to check-in and rushed us up to our room. her words: "i'm not about to deal with a birth in the ER!" i'm so glad, because i wouldn't want to do that either.
everything was ready to go once we arrived to the room. all i had to do was change. SO awesome! i had to go through the usual hospital protocol of being hooked up to the fetal monitoring machine for 15 minutes, but after time was up it was taken off. man, being stuck in that bed trying to go through your contractions, even if it was just for 15 minutes, was brutal. i was very relieved when i could finally move around.
while i wasn't crying like a baby (ha!) during the contractions, they did require more from me in order to manage the pain compared to the other 3 births. we skipped the hep-loc, because colleen is awesome that way. just kidding. but seriously, she told the attending nurse that i didn't need it since we wouldn't have enough time anyway. haha. speaking of the attending nurse, she told me she was a doula before she became a nurse. how cool is that? last time i was in with cash, i had a nurse who gave birth naturally to all 6 of her kids. this time around, i have a former doula?? God has perfect timing.
i was able to push on my own timing again like last time. i pushed once on the bed. then colleen told me that if i wanted a waterbirth i'd better get into the tub, because she had a feeling that on the next push the baby will be making her appearance.
walking to the tub felt like the longest walk ev.er. my brain was trying to tell my body to walk faster, but those dang contractions slow you down, don't they?
the tub was fantastic. warm and soothing. throw in the dimmed lights, and you couldn't help but feel more relaxed. even though my contractions were painful, the warmth and the bouyancy from the water helped a lot. and once the contraction was over, i felt even more relaxed in the tub, and didn't feel anxious about how the next one would feel. i don't even remember how frequent they were coming, although i only had maybe a couple more contractions before i was ready to push again.
on the second push, which was in the water, i could feel lani's little head. being in the tub by yourself, and being consciously aware that you're about to meet your baby was crazy, out-of-this-world. i vaguely heard colleen's words as she coached me through pushing her head out and how to catch her in my arms.
i saw her come out and caught her in my arms. i think that was one of the craziest feelings ever! our little leilani juliati was born 18 minutes after we checked into the hospital. in the water. my little mermaid. and oh she was so tiny and precious and perfect in every way. what an overwhelming feeling it all was...to be involved in the whole process of delivering the baby. one moment i was watching her make her entrance, and the next moment i was holding her close to me with the warm water surrounding us. i have to say, i am glad i was able to experience the waterbirth. and seriously...catching your own baby? that's just crazy pants! but it was awesome!
and the best part was that the peaceful bonding moment between us and our new baby didn't end right after birth. colleen and the nurse were very respectful of our space. i felt i had enough time to just take in my newborn baby before we cut the cord, and we had plenty of skin-to-skin time before they took her weight and length. thinking back on it now, it seemed like everything was kinda chill and low-key after she was born. nothing felt rushed. everything was just at the right time.
i'm thankful that God met this funny desire of mine to have a waterbirth. He didn't have to, and i would have been ok with that. but He did and i'm so grateful for the experience. it was a great reminder of His perfect design...everything from the pregnancy to the birth was perfectly planned and engineered by Him. every ache and discomfort in my hips as the due date drew closer and closer, every painful contraction, the instincts in my body kicking in as birth was happening...all perfectly designed by Him.
but i'm most thankful for the precious little bundle that he gave us that day, and for the opportunity to be a mommy and daddy to another sweet baby.