Oh, my Haakon Boy! How happy I am to have you here.... finally! You were certainly worth the wait! And now that you're a month old and already starting to do big things--smile, coo, hold your head up, etc--I should get your birth story down and your journal started. So here goes....
Like all my children, you were a week late. The beautiful thing about you, however, is that you came all by yourself! I didn't have to be induced--Hallelujah! Labor started sometime in the middle of the night. At first I thought I was dreaming about being in labor. But then the contractions started getting uncomfortable enough that each one would wake me up; I'd come up out of sleep, feel the peak, and then drift back into sleep. And then they were hard enough that there was no more sleeping. Hm, I thought, this is different. I waited another half hour to see if they'd go away. They stayed an even 4-5 minutes apart. So I woke up your dad.
"Honey, I think I'm in labor."
"Really?" He sat up. "You think it's the real thing? How close are the contractions? Do you think we should get the kids up? Should we call Ciara?"
We timed the contractions for another forty-five minutes. Even and strong (quite strong). We decided that, yes, it was the real thing, and knowing my labors, we should probably get going soon or we'd be having you at home. So we grabbed our bags, buckled the sleepy kids in the van, and drove over to the Petersen's. The contractions were hard enough by now that I had to stop and breathe as each one peaked. When we got back in the van and on our way to the hospital, I began listening to my Hypnobabies tracks, trying to find a deep, calm place to go under. And it certainly relaxed me, but I was still feeling each pressure wave get stronger.
We got into the hospital and into the natural birthing room, grateful that it was available this time around. Then, of course,the nurse went through all the paperwork and questions, etc, etc. And I started to get nervous, because now the contractions were moving farther apart. Still as strong as before, but about seven minutes apart now; and the nurse started talking about having to send me home.
Home?! Not a chance, I thought. I am a week overdue, woman! A week! And this child is probably over ten pounds already! Just try sending me home! Try it--I dare you!
She called my midwife, and they decided to come in and break my water to see if that would get things moving. And now I was nervous for another reason: I remembered how much harder the contractions were after they broke my water with Risa--a day and night difference! And my hypnosis still wasn't softening or anesthetizing any of the pain of the contractions. But well, there it was. Either I went or the water amniotic sac went.... It was NOT going to be me! So we waited for the midwife to show up. She came in--Hallelujah #2: it was one of my two favorite midwives in the group of six! How lucky! Seeing Jen Krebs walk in the room sealed the deal--I was having a baby today! And I was having it with a midwife that I actually wanted! What could be better?
I'll tell you what could be better--laboring in a big, warm jacuzzi tub! And that's exactly where I went just as soon as Jen broke my water. She wanted me in there and leaning over the edge to try to turn you around--it appears that somewhere in the very last week of my pregnancy, you moved yourself around from the optimal position to sunny side up! Naughty!! So she helped me undress and sent me over to the giant laboring tub. Ahhh! How.... relaxing?? No, not by any means. I was in serious pain now. But how much more bearable it made each contraction. I was actually really surprised at just how much it eased the pain at the peak of each contraction.
For a while. And then even the warm weightlessness of the bath could no longer help me. I had to get out, I had to start moving around; no more sitting or kneeling or laying still for me. We were in serious GO mode! Each contraction made me clench my fists and whimper (I really wanted to scream and punch something; ah well). Now I was climbing all over Chad, trying not to lose control....funny how much less control I had this time around! Yikes! Pretty soon it was absolutely unbearable! Agonizing! Each pressure wave! And Jen was a hero again, pushing against my knees, showing Chad how as well, easing the blow each time.
Then I started panicking, thinking about how Coren was sunny side up, and it took me over an hour to push him out! To do that again with you, this time without medication?? No, no, no, no, no! I was not pushing a bowling ball through my lady parts for a whole hour without an epidural. I was definitely starting to panic. I told Chad that I wanted an epidural.
"Well, Honey, if you're asking for it, that probably means that you're in transition. You're almost there!"
"I know," I said. "But I can't push for an hour without medication. Please. I can't do it."
So Chad talked to Jen, and she was also reluctant. "If you're that close," she said, "you'll be done delivering your baby before the epidural kicks in. Let me check where you are." I was kneeling over the head of the bed, trying to moan through the pain, but I felt my equanimity very quickly ebbing away. She checked me and said, "Wow, okay, on your next wave, go ahead and push. You're there!" And really, she didn't even have to say it, because I felt that overwhelming urge on the very next one. It was time, and my body was automatically gearing up to push. I bore down; and with a quick twist of her hand she got you turned around. Just like that! Hooray for Jen!! Then she had me turn around and pull my knees up to my chest. I gave a couple more hard pushes, feeling with each one that I had nothing more to give. I was running out of energy so much faster this time around! What gives?! And I think I worried Chad a bit too--With Risa I silently bore through the whole thing. But with you, at the end there, I yelled a few times! It could not get over fast enough for me....
And it was fast! Four hours of labor, and seven minutes of pushing, and there you were! A big boy with the longest umbilical cord I've ever seen! Holy smokes! And you were gross and slimy and wrinkly and crying and absolutely beautiful! They pulled you out and handed you right to me--the first time I've ever been immediately handed my child. How amazing! To be exhausted and shaking, and yet to have the priceless result in my arms. So tender! So I held you for a few minutes; then it was time for me to finish laboring, and we both needed a good clean-up.
And an hour or so later, when everything was taken care of, and we were moved to our recovery room, and it was quiet and peaceful again, there we were: Dad and Mom and Baby. And we reveled again in those first few precious moments together, just the three of us. And how you took my breath away! All nine pounds, thirteen ounces of you! Your giant arms and hands and fingers. The length of you that shocked every nurse that looked after you (twenty-two inches!). The perfectness of everything about you. And that sweet just-come-into-the-world aura that surrounds you in those first days and weeks. You looked just exactly like Coren, which gave me a serious case of deja vu that first week of nursing. How happy we are that you're here, Haakon Joseph--Baby, you've arrived!!