Monday, April 6, 2015

Baby Owl; or, the Story of Cannonball Kate

This is a picture of Baby Kate Adelaide, she is one month old today! Sometimes I call her my baby owl because of the silly wide-eyed baby faces she makes. I've written her birth story in epic long form in my journal, but I just don't have time to write it here. Why don't I have time when I've only left the house a few times in the past month? Because most of the time I am holding a baby and taking care of 3 other kids or trying to get some sleep. Blogging has slid to the bottom of the to-do list in my quest for survival. Fortunately at 4 weeks I am beginning to see my way out of the baby blur that constitutes this first little while. Baby Kate gives me a fairly consistent chunk of sleep from 9:30p.m.--2:30a.m. and breastfeeding, which has been really rough this time, has finally gotten better. Anyway, without further ado, here are the highlights of her birth story!

I was 13 days past my estimated due date and stressed because 14 days was my mental deadline for how long I could be pregnant without doing some testing to make sure the baby was okay. Because I do natural birth, I believe I should also let labor start when the baby is ready, but I was desperate so I did some epic walking with Austin, bounced on the exercise ball, and played "Let's Dance" on the XBox to try and get something started. My sister-in-law texted me that in their nightly family prayer they prayed that the baby would be born that night, so I was super hopeful as I went to bed that night that I would go into labor during the night. I woke up multiple times to use the bathroom and hopefully see some signs of labor starting, but nothing was going on. My final waking was around 5:30 and still nothing...I clung to the hope though of that family prayer said for me...the night wasn't quite over yet, since I was still in bed trying to sleep, right?

As I lay there in the early morning trying to go back to sleep I felt a couple uncomfortable contractions and rolled over to my other side so they would go away. Another contraction, and the familiar little hope that THIS COULD BE THE START OF SOMETHING! But I probably was just contracting because I had to use the bathroom again. I got up and took my book into the bathroom. I'd been reading my way through the Harry Potter series to kill time until the baby came, and I was halfway through book #5.  Another contraction in the bathroom and I totally could not concentrate on my book. That's when my little hope got serious; Did the prayer work? I decided to get my phone and start timing contractions on my app. A couple days before I had had a series of serious contractions and alerted the midwives but after a while they stopped. I wanted to make sure I was really in labor before I told anyone things were happening.

So I started timing after what was probably my 5th contraction, looking at my app record this was at 6:11 a.m. It was 1 minute 45 seconds long, followed by a 30 second contraction a few minutes later, a pattern which repeated itself a couple times. Hmm, I noted. This was how long they were last time when I stopped timing them, called the midwives, and got in the birth tub. I decided to get Austin up to fill up the tub. Announcing to him that I'm in labor is always a lot more anti-climactic than I think it will be. Maybe because the past couple of times he's been asleep and it takes a minute for it to sink in. Anyway, he leaped into action admirably to get the pool ready, (although I'm pretty sure when he was getting dressed he stopped to ask me what color of shirt he should wear for the birth) I called my mom to come over, and put on my swim top. I'd been looking forward to sinking into a giant pool of hot water for quite some time and was super excited. Contractions were uncomfortable, but just crampy not painful...Austin asked me if I'd told the midwives to come but I just wanted to wait one more contraction.

I realized after that contraction that I'd better get the midwives ASAP so I texted Melissa and she was on her way. This was at 6:35 after 7 contractions. The nice thing about child number 4 is that you can compare your labor with past labors. I knew I was going to have a fast birth, but I was slightly shocked as right after that text and the next slightly uncomfortable contraction I felt the top of a little noggin hanging out!  The top of the baby's head was still protected by her water sac, (That iron bag of waters is probably what sent me 14 days overdue) so it felt super cool. I was stoked because I wasn't in any pain but there was a head! I think thanks to all my contractions that never turned into full-blown labor and the extra womb time for baby, my body had been slowly moving the baby down.

I think I yelled for Austin and told him to get Melissa on speakerphone. She definitely wasn't going to make it in time. Everything was moving fast and it was really exciting...I jumped into the birth tub--I wasn't going to be denied my hot tub experience after waiting so long, even if it wasn't quite full! Austin and Mom were rushing around boiling water and dumping it into the tub to help get it warm enough and I was just chilling in the tub with this baby head, but not uncomfortable at all since I was in between contractions. It was so surreal. I couldn't get in a comfortable position for the next couple contractions, and then I felt a pushing one coming. (Again, it was nice to have past labors to compare with.) I recall Austin had run to the kitchen to get some more boiling water for the tub and yelling for him so he wouldn't miss the birth. I had a long pushing contraction, (actually painful!) a little breather, and then one more push and the baby was out! I had a hand ready to catch her to keep her from landing on the tub floor and then my mom handed her to me to hold. Wow! She was very calm and so cute!

Mom grabbed the suction bulb and was ready to suction out the baby if needed, but it was quickly apparent that this was quite a healthy baby. When we weighed her later she was an ounce shy of 10 lbs, by far our biggest baby--and fastest. Melissa was listening in on the birth and told us Kate was born at 6:54, so it was a super fast labor and delivery, about an hour from start to finish. I lounged with my cute new baby until Melissa showed up about 15 minutes later to take care of the rest of the birth stuff and settle us into bed. Sammy woke up a little after 6 and was watching TV while the baby was born, but the other two girls just stayed asleep, so that part worked out really well. They were excited to see the new baby but it wasn't a huge deal for them. To be fair, new babies are super cute but don't do much.

To sum up, it was a really awesome birth: fun, exciting, and very easy. I don't think there's one right way to give birth, but I wish every woman could have a birth as great as mine, I know it would be a treasured experience. Would I do it again? Yes, for sure...but only if I could skip the pregnancy and newborn part again. Is there a way to make that happen? Until then, the story of Cannonball Kate seems like a good story to end on.