Alex was born prematurely and spent twenty three agonizing days in the NICU.
Spain was born prematurely and spent one exhausting week in the NICU.
I spent a lot of time praying that Luke would be full term. I was blessed to have people praying with me, not only for a full term baby, but also for my peace of mind. This was on ongoing test. I spent the first half of my pregnancy wondering if my teeth would survive the morning sickness that was plaguing me. I was in and out of the ER multiple times for IV fluid, because nothing stayed down. Then just as morning sickness was tolerable, I started to have contractions. My midwife put me on pelvic rest, and my OB gave me a check list of when to come in to the labor & delivery ward. My birth team was amazing. I had a wonderful OB at the hospital with the NICU I wanted to use, and a midwifery team for the hope of a planned homebirth.
My mom arranged to come out when we reached 36 weeks. The goal was to reach at least 37 weeks- officially full term and Texas-legal for homebirth. I was ecstatic to watch as I got closer and closer to my "due date". While I was thrilled to grow bigger and spend another day pregnant, I was surprised by how many times I had tell people that I was thrilled to STILL be pregnant. I certainly wasn't prepared for the onslaught of pressure to have a baby once I hit 40 weeks. I spent a lot of time praying about our next step. My midwife, who had assured me wasn't concerned about "overdue" babies, began pressuring me to try natural induction techniques. My OB scheduled my induction.
At 42 weeks gestation, I had a biophysical done, and was given the green light to continue being pregnant by my midwife.
I spent the last day of April, cranky and irritable. As soon as Sweet Husband got home from work my mom sent us on a date. It was her very nice way of saying I was driving everyone else crazy. I knew I was being irrational and emotional, but I couldn't help myself. I felt destined to be pregnant forever. Because of Luke's position, my left leg was in a state of constant swelling and occasional numbness. Everyone was keeping an eye on me for Pre-e. Funnily enough, I remember the agony of the low-carb diet another midwife recommended I follow during the last few weeks, more than the joint pain. All I wanted was a sandwich.
I woke up the next morning at 4 a.m weirdly energized. I did the only sane thing I could think of. I read random articles online. My back was a little achy, but after months of prodominal labor, I didn't want to get excited. After about an hour, the back pain was getting more intense. I decide to stand in a hot shower and see if the contractions would stop before waking Sweet Husband up. I stood in the shower through several contractions. I was focused on breathing through each contraction while the rest of the household slept. Finally I shut off the water and dragged myself out of the bathroom to wake Sweet Husband up.
Sweet Husband jumped into action. He woke up my mom, and inflated the swimming pool, we bought to use as a birthing tub. My mom applied counter pressure to my aching back as I tried to get a hold of the midwife. After getting the midwife's voicemail message three times, and leaving one passive-aggressive message that went along the lines of "I'm having a baby today, I don't know what your plans are" I called the student midwife. The student midwife gave me some words of encouragement as I vocalized through a contraction, before promising to get a hold of the midwife for me. The midwife called a few minutes later, and promised to head right over.
I desperately wanted to sink into a hot pool of water. But the inflated swimming pool was dry. I did a half-growl half-whine plea for Sweet Husband to fill up the swimming pool, while I draped myself over my exercise ball and rocked through a few more contractions.
As soon as there was enough water to cover my thighs, I got into the swimming pool. Sweet Husband mistook this as a signal to turn the water off. I rocked through another contraction and made a mental note to ask for more water when he came back into the room. I rocked through contractions and tried to to angle myself in the pool so the water covered the parts on my lower back that ached for hydo-help. Before long I felt a subtle shift, and knew it was time to push. I draped myself over the edge of the pool and moaned for Sweet Husband. I could see him working in the kitchen, but he didn't acknowledge me, so I called him again. I was swept up into a another contraction and managed to yell his name a little more forcefully.
"Just a minute. I'm making breakfast." he answered.
At this point, I lost whatever semblance of zen I may have possessed.
"I am pushing this baby out now." I growled "If you want to catch get over here, because I. AM. NOT. WAITING!" Sweet Husband hurried into the room and crouched next to the tub.
"I need more water." I moaned. My mom held up a glass of water and forced a straw between my lips. I took a sip, then clarified "In the pool. I need more water in the pool." Another contraction took over, then another, then another. I could feel his head slowly start to crown. Sweet Husband climbed into the pool next to me, assuming his catching position behind me. I breathed through another contraction. I couldn't believe how long the birth was taking. The other two had practically flown out. His head finally slid out. I took another drink from the glass my mom held.
This is where the inner dialogue took over.
I quit. I'll finish pushing this baby out later. I just need a break. I can't quit. I have a head outside my body. I won't be able to sit down... Or use the bathroom. Please don't let me poop during labor. Please don't let me poop during labor. I'm okay. I'm okay. Let's finish this.
Another contraction and I felt his one of his shoulders slip out. Almost done. We're almost done. The next contraction hit and I felt, my water break as his other shoulder slid out. Then it was over.
He was out.
Safely cradled in Sweet Husband's arms.
My mom directed Sweet Husband in taking the caul sac off of baby Luke while I took a few moments to catch my breath. Being cautious of the cord Sweet Husband and my mom helped me into a seated position, where I could recline against the edge of the swimming pool, then handed me baby Luke.
The sweet boy who waited until there was no doubt that he was full term.
One month after my estimated due date, baby Luke was born.