Two hours later, around 6:30am, I woke up to use the loo and discovered that I had lost my, ahem, mucous plug. (Obstetric vernacular can be so unpleasant.) I went back to bed with butterflies in my stomach, knowing this would probably be the day. I laid there until Richard began to stir, and then I told him that maybe he better stick around for the morning. (He had left something at the office the day before and planned to go pick it up.)
I felt excited and nervous and thrilled all at the same time, but the problem was that I wasn’t actually in labor yet. I kept myself busy around the house, I made arrangements for the kids and I waited for some real contractions. Simon’s birth happened really quickly, each of my labors got shorter and shorter, so I was really worried that this time it would go TOO quickly. Around 10:00 we took the kids to Mike and Cindy’s house, and called the birth centre. The midwife suggested that since this was my fifth baby, even though the contractions weren’t strong and regular to go ahead and come in.
It was around 11:00am by the time we arrived at the birth centre and a midwife checked me. Nothing. Nada. Nil. She gave us the option to stay or to go home until things picked up. I knew I would go crazy hanging around the birth centre so we went home. We stopped and had some lunch, did some Easter preparations, and then we went for a walk. We walked and walked until the contractions picked up and I was too tired to walk anymore. We walked through the front door, and I sat down on the recliner, and my water broke.
I changed my clothes and we left for the birthing centre, checking in around 2:30. By the time I got into my room and changed my clothes again, my contraction were short but really painful. The plan (if you could call it that) was to use gas and air (nitrous oxide) while bouncing on the birthing ball, until it was time to push. Then I was going to get into the giant birthing tub and bring my sweet little baby into the world in the water.
But reality was a little different. I used the gas and air on the ball for awhile and that part actually worked quite well. Unfortunately I wasn’t quite sure what my body was telling me, and I wasn’t sure if I was feeling the urge to push, or not. So I got in the bath and breathed through some more contractions (with gas and air) and decided I needed to push. **As a side note, my only complaint about my birthing experience was that the midwife didn’t check me at this point. I wish she had, because I was pushing too early.
By the time she was ready to come, I didn’t have the patience to do things slowly and gently. I pushed her right out, with Richard and the midwife cheering me on, and before I knew it the whole thing was over. It was 4:53pm, less than three hours from our arrival at the birth centre. Her actual exit from my body wasn’t as painful as I expected it to be and I had my sweet bundle in my arms right away. I LOVED this part. They didn’t take her away from me at all. I held her slimey, new little body close to my chest for as long as I wanted to. I delivered the placenta quickly, Richard cut the cord and that was that.
We passed her along to Richard while the midwife gave me a couple stitches. (Don’t deliver a baby in a hurry, I learned.) But I got to breathe the gas all while she fixed me up, and that was such a blessing. It completely relaxed me and by the time she was finished I was high as a kite. Really. Fortunately gas is only effective while you’re breathing it, so it only took me a minute or two to come back down to earth.
But the bonuses of natural birth were that as soon as it was done I had control of my body, I wasn’t shaky or numb, and I could take a shower when I felt ready. The shower was so nice, because let’s be honest, birth is messy.
Once I was all clean I went back to the bed and slept for a bit while Richard took care of Amirah. I had the option to stay overnight, but Richard felt like he should be home with the kids, so I decided to go home too. We left the birth centre around 9:30, just four and a half hours after Amirah was born.
Cindy had come by the birth centre to get a house key, and when we arrived home the kids were all sound asleep. Richard and I climbed into our own bed, with our sweet baby nearby and all was right in the world.