*Sorry for the lack of posts but I've been a wee bit busy with a new baby! :) I had planned on at least posting a little blurb about the birth but really haven't had time to between breastfeeding, taking care of the other kids & trying to get the occasional nap! So I've been writing this in bits & pieces over the past week on my phone and hopefully it makes some kind of sense. As a forewarning, this is a story about giving birth - I don't think I've been exceptionally graphic or anything but there is the occasional mention of blood & such. I also got a bit long winded so I put it all underneath this break - enjoy!
On Saturday Feburary 23rd we had an appointment with my midwife. I was around 42 weeks pregnant. When I woke up that morning and went to the bathroom I had some bloody show, which was exciting to me as that *could* mean labor is going to start. I didn't want to get too excited though as baby boy seemed pretty content on sticking around inside the womb. After the midwife took my vitals and ran her tests, we discussed our options. I was getting to be overdue - not that that was a huge deal to us, we knew it was just a guess anyway - but we having to start thinking about the possibility of going to the hospital, which I preferred not to do. I had the bloody show that morning and occasional contractions - I also had dropped & was measuring 38 weeks instead of 40 like I had last time, so we decided to have the midwife do a stretch and sweep of the membranes to possibly help me along. I started out the visit dilated to 3 and left dilated just at 4.
For the rest of the day I had very mild contractions that were 20-30 minutes apart or so, gradually increasing as the day went on. I came home and cleaned, hoping to spur the contractions on, while the kids watched TV and hubby napped since he'd worked the night before. I cleaned up the entire kitchen (seriously - did up all the dishes, shined the sink, cleaned off the counters, scrubbed the floors, wiped down all the cabinets...the whole nine yards!) and then picked up the dining room and living room after I put the kids to bed. I then went in and laid down with hubby for awhile but I couldn't sleep.
Between 11 - 12 that night, my contractions intensified. They were every 7-8 minutes. I could still move around and talk, but they were getting stronger. I moved out to our living room for awhile, did deep breathing, and paced the living room floor. I called the midwife around 1 or 1:30-ish and let her know they had picked up. We discussed her coming over but I felt very indecisive. I didn't want her to come over too early & wait around for centuries. I was totally expecting a long drawn out labor, or for it to stall like it had on me during my other labors. We decided I would try to lay down for awhile to see if they tapered off and so I could maybe get some sleep. I tried laying down but every time I would drift off I'd have a contraction. I was getting frustrated. Hubby suggested I try and get in the shower. I got in and focused our shower head on my lower back where all the pain and pressure was and it helped a lot. I stayed in there for probably twenty minutes or so. As I was getting out of the shower, I had a super strong contraction, so strong that I braced myself against the bathroom wall to breathe through it. I went straight to the bedroom & told hubby, "We need to call the midwife!"
I called her back and she said she would be on her way shortly. I then called my parents and my hubby called his mother - a.k.a. our helpers/child wranglers/photographer. He also texted my best friend who was planning on attending and being my doula/birth partner. He then began filling the birth pool up while I holed up in the bedroom, where I was sitting on the bed and breathing through the contractions that were coming every four - five minutes or so.
I remember sitting on the edge of the bed (because it seemed to me like the best/most comfortable place to be, for whatever reason) and breathing through my contractions as best I could. They were really coming on strong now and my lower back was aching horribly. At this point I started being a little short with people, and I do apologize for that, but it was definitely turning into transition time...I felt like I wanted them to do certain things but then didn't want them to do them. (One example - I told my Mom I wanted a heating pad but then when she brought it to me I said no, no, no, nevermind.) I kept thinking to myself this is just a wave, it's coming in strong and I'm just going to blow it out and away - and that really helped me to move on through them. With my previous births in the hospital, I had people there holding my hands, nurses buzzing in and out, machines hooked up to me...this time it was just me, in my house. Everybody else was busy with the pool and getting things ready. I don't know if that contributed to how fast my labor went or not but I think it might have. (Total active labor time ended up being between 4-6 hours or so.) Hubby was there and kept popping in to make sure I was okay, but was also hurriedly trying to fill the pool and text my friend.
His Mom got there when she got off work and my parents arrived a little after that, and they also began helping with the pool. I had planned on having my Mom watch the kids but they were still asleep. (It was 3 in the morning, after all.) I went to the bathroom at some point in time and when I stood up blood gushed down my leg - everything was definitely thinning out and preparing for baby's arrival. The midwife and her assistant got there shortly after that. By then I had started feeling intense pressure and had just thought, "Hmmm, this is how I felt when I was ready to push with the other kids...surely it's not that time already."
The midwife came in and asked if I was feeling "pushy" yet and I said, grunting, "Maybeeee." I thought I *might* be. Again, I had expected to be in labor for a long time and/or for it to stall like it always had in the hospital. She had me lay down so she could check my progress and as she did my water broke. She said kind of exasperated, "Oh, Shalynne! You're ready to have this baby now!" I was shocked! Everybody started rushing around. She asked if I wanted to move to the birth pool - it wasn't completely full yet but she said we could go out & try it anyway - but I didn't feel like I could move from where I was. Just standing up to move into a different position on the bed was challenging.
Hubby came in then and she had him kneel on one side of the bed and assist. The position I pushed in was totally odd (or seems totally odd to me now) but she suggested it because of baby being posterior & because I wanted to be on the bed - sort of on my side with hubby holding a leg up and me holding the other. It wasn't how I imagined laboring at all but it worked out okay. My mother-in-law came in and helped hubby stay upright and my Dad took pictures from somewhere in the room. (I can't remember, I was a little busy!) My midwife's assistant was also there, handing her things and getting stuff ready.)
I began pushing when I felt the urge and taking little breaks in between. I remember thinking at first that I wanted to push carefully and easily so I didn't have any tears but once I heard the midwife say they could see his head (with tons of hair!) I started getting impatient and could only think about GETTING HIM OUT. :) I pushed about 5-6 times total and then the midwife lifted him up onto my tummy. I was alternately teary-eyed and smiling. He was 8 pounds, 15 ounces - almost 9 pounds! - and 22 inches long, with a full dark head of hair and dark blue eyes that look just like Zeke's when he was a baby.
We decided on the name Zachariah Leon because Zachariah was a name that Zeke had talked about ever since we first announced that I was pregnant. He thought it would be so cool to have "Zeke and Zac" and has been so excited about being a big brother that we decided to go with his choice. Leon was my grandfather's middle name and we thought it went well with Zachariah.
The kids slept through EVERYTHING! I didn't scream or yell but I know that I did make at least a little bit of noise and there were a lot of people moving around & talking...but it didn't phase them at all. After he was born and we were getting settled, hubby noticed that Zeke was peeking out his door. He asked him, "Do you want to come meet your little brother?" and Zeke's face lit up like Christmas morning. He was SO excited. We ended up having to wake Ellie up because she was still sleeping - so she was a bit more groggy and not quite as excited as Zeke, but still pretty happy. :)
The rest of that day is a blur of people coming and going, our first couples sessions of breastfeeding, and general chaos. My Mom took the other kiddos with her for a few days so we could get adjusted, hubby got to stay home with us for a few days, and I've had numerous people bringing me food, checking in on me, taking my kids places, and doing my chores. My best friend (who unfortunately missed the birth) came in after Baby Zac was born, has been stopping by almost daily, and has been faithfully answering any and all of my questions & queries about breastfeeding, no matter what time it is. I have been blessed with the wonderful support of family and friends who've showered me with blessings and I couldn't be more grateful.
Our first week or so (he's 10 days old today) has really been pretty great. Breastfeeding has been a bit of a challenge but it's going very well - I'll write a more in depth post on that a little later though, because there's lots I want to say. Mister Zac has already gotten back to and above his birth weight! He's also even been letting me get a little sleep here & there, which is much appreciated. It's always a little bit of an adjustment, adding a new little member to the family, but for the most part things have been pretty smooth sailing. We are blessed. :)