Reader discretion: This is a birth story and will include frank descriptions of bodily functions and the birth process.
At 6am I was vaguely aware that Jeremy was up out of bed returning one of our kids to their own bed. I felt a sudden wetness between my legs, and instantly wondered and hoped it was my water breaking.
I've never had my water break spontaneously before, and I didn't feel or hear the "pop", but after sitting on the toilet a few minutes I was sure I wasn't just passing urine. I had called Jeremy, and we just sat looking at each other. He wondered what we do next, and I said, 'Wait for contractions to pick up.'
We tried to go back to bed. Twice I put on a pad and lay on a towel, to just quickly jump up out of bed and run to the bathroom! Finally, I decided to just sit in the empty tub on a towel for a while. After a little while the leaking slowed down so I got out to join the rest of the family. Jeremy had already begun to tidy up the house, so we worked on that for a few hours and my contractions slowly started coming closer together and being stronger.
At 9 we texted some friends about having the boys over and I texted my midwife about my waters and 5 minute-contractions. She asked if I was ready for her to come over and I told her, "Not just yet."
I had a couple of pretty serious contractions during breakfast, so we told the boys they needed to get dressed and clean up their trains and Lego's and then we'd take them over to friends' houses. But during the hour it took to do that my contractions slowed down and got easier.
At my midwife appointment the day before, she determined that my previously-optimally-positioned baby had slid towards my back to a posterior positioning. I had spent much of the previous day on my hands and knees to try and give him the opportunity to align himself better, so I did some more of that. But the contractions stayed sparse.
We decided, since we needed a few things, to go take a walk around Target to encourage contractions. It's just around the corner from our house and I packed a towel in my diaper bag just in case I ended up needing to wrap myself up in it and run out!
At 1pm we were in the Jimmy Johns drive through for lunch when my midwife texted me for an update. She suggested I pick up some castor oil on the way home--since my waters had broken we really needed to have the baby "today".
At 2pm I drank a fruit smoothy with 2 Tbls castor oil mixed in. Around 3pm my contractions started to pick up just a little. At 3:40 we decided to have Jeremy take the boys to friends' houses. Rory woke up from his nap just in time to go out the door, and I had Jeremy take a picture of me holding him one last time as my "baby".
As soon as Jeremy left the contractions intensified. I went in to the bathroom and (aided by the castor oil) emptied my bowels through a number of contractions.
I texted my midwife that she could come over now because contractions had picked up and I was interested in checking on the baby. (Though I really wanted to insert a disclaimer about not thinking it was really time yet.) She and her birth assistant and a student midwife all pulled into the driveway at the same time as Jeremy right after 4pm. The baby was born at 5:04.
They all came in and set up the room for birth. Remade my bed with fresh sheets and a plastic shower curtain liner underneath. Another shower curtain on the ground in front of my bed where they also put the birth stool I had mentioned at one appointment I might be interested in. And pulled out the kit of supplies I had ordered and set everything up.
Meanwhile I had latched on to Jeremy who is always my rock during labor. I squeeze his hands and pull on his arms and hang on him, and he just provides for me. He comforts me and stands by me.
My midwife asked if I was starting to feel pressure. I didn't really answer but in the next contraction at one point let out a bit of growl with a grunt. Jeremy (nervously) asked, "Are you trying to push?"
"Yes, she is." My midwife responded in a pleased tone of voice that I was totally glad to hear--meaning she wasn't telling me to wait! She asked if I wanted her to check where I was in terms of progress and I did. So I got up on the bed and she said I was basically there. I breathed through a few more contractions and then started pushing.
I was trying to push in a controlled manner (always hoping in vain to avoid stitches) but still trying to push hard, but wasn't making much progress. (After Owen my kids have all come in about 3 contractions.) We propped me up on some more pillows, she encouraged me to pull back on my knees more. (At one point scolding me for trying to "run away" from that contraction--which was totally what I had done.) Then she asked if I wanted to move to the birthing stool. I did because I was really very confused at why the baby wasn't out yet.
I sat on the stool and the change of position was good just to help me get on top of the contraction and push from a different angle. His head came slowly out and once it did, I said, "Oh, good!" unlike Wyatt"s birth where I momentarily panicked in between head and body, this time I was just happy that it actually happened--the head was out, the end was here! My body took a little pause and with the next contraction I pushed his body out!
He cried right away, and she suctioned his mouth and nose, and I delivered the placenta, then moved up into bed.
Peter Tom, 8 pounds 5 ounces, 22 inches long. Born 11 hours after my water breaking, 38 weeks 5 days gestation
In this picture you can see a little bit how his head is misshapen from delivery. He was born posterior (aka "face up", aka "the wrong way"!) But then his head also came through off-centered (I cant remember the technical term) so his head was elongated to the one side. Basically, both those things led to the increase in effort needed to push him out.
My midwife said she was wondering in the middle of it all if the baby had a hand up by his face or something, because it was definitely taking more effort and time than are generally needed for a 5th baby to come out!
Mom and baby getting checked out after delivery!
Apparently there was something different about my placenta as well, but I wasn't aware of the conversation going on about it--Jeremy caught a little of it. But my midwife was telling the other two that they sure got to see a number of interesting things with my delivery.
So we've been recovering at home the last few days. I'm sore from delivery, but frankly I just feel great not being pregnant anymore--it get's so painful and uncomfortable at the end!
The boys love Peter, and Jeremy is being a great dad--to all the boys.