Written to Fenton, So I can pop it into his baby book.
There are pictures and details if that wigs you out!
Monday night I had trouble sleeping. Too many burps. Kept me up. I finally fell asleep for 2-3 hours and woke up with cramps in my lower abdomen. I laid in bed for a few hours halfway sleeping, but mostly not. They came about every 5 minutes.
At 11:30 Tuesday I had an appointment with my midwife. When she checked my she “dug around” a bit and lightly stripped my membranes. After my appointment, the cramps started back up. (I am so dense and apparently it takes me 3 labors to figure out that these cramps are my contractions.) They were a few minutes apart and about 30 seconds long.
I got home and hung out for a bit. Haleigh came over a couple hours after (3ish?) to hang out and keep me company. Dad was trying to get some last minute work done before the hard stuff hit. I called my midwife to let her know what was up. Since I didn’t seem close, she said she was going to head home and to let her know if things intensified.
Ki was out with Gramma running errands and Ella was napping. Shortly after 4, Nana came over to pick up Ella and Gramma stopped by to drop off Ki for Nana. They went to Grandpa and Nana’s for a sleepover.
I tried to lay down for a nap since I’d only slept a few hours the night before, but my contractions picked up. And people kept texting me.
Mandi was on her way down from MN. She arrived about 7. I was texting with my friend, Sarah and she ended up heading over around then, too. At this point, I think my contractions were 2 minutes apart and about 30-60 seconds long, which is pretty much how it stayed for as long as I was aware of that stuff. They still felt like cramps in my lower abdomen. Mandi gave me counter pressure when I needed it during contractions. I was mainly hanging out in the living room leaning on the kitchen counter at first.
I snacked on fruit and drank a lot of water. According to Sarah I burped at least twice after every contraction. I forgot that part. Haha!
Around 9pm I felt like I did when I got to the hospital with Ella (which was about 6 cm), so we decided to call my midwife. She lived 2 hours away, so I wanted plenty of time for her to get here. We called. We texted. Nothing. And her voicemail was full. I started to freak out a bit. We started talking about our options. Do we have the baby and call the paramedics? Do I head to the hospital? I really wanted to have the baby at home. We knew the laboring part, it was just what to do once the baby was born.
Sarah had the brilliant idea to call our friend, Jessie, who is a doula and had all 3 of her kids at home. We figured she would know what to do. We called and I talked to her until I got a contraction then someone else took over.
We knew we would need a stethoscope, but didn’t want to tell Gramma about the midwife issue. We knew she would worry. We called Aunt Jaime and Uncle Matt brought over hers.
Meanwhile, I was feeling further along. Mandi called a friend who is a doula (and trained in cervical checks) and she talked me through checking myself to see how far along I was. I could fit 3 fingers with a bit of space between them. She said that was probably about 7 cm. That felt like where I was compared to Ella’s labor.
I became pretty emotional, realizing the midwife most likely wasn’t going to make it and I was at 7. With Ki and Ella I had my water broken at 7cm because I had hard contractions that didn’t seem to go anywhere. With Ella, I dilated to an 8-9 while she broke my water and was at 10 and pushing within half an hour. I knew that if the midwife had been there I would be almost done. Without someone breaking my water, I felt like I would be in labor forever and not be able to do it.
Mandi showed me some things to do during contractions to encourage my water to break. I did lunges and tried rolling forward leaning on the ball, then rolling back and landing somewhat hard in a squat. Nothing. I even tried to scratch at it to see if I could snag it while on the toilet. I was kind of an emotional wreck for a while.
10:30ish Jessie got here with another doula who’d also had all of her children at home. That was a bit of a relief, knowing there were people who had been through it before and helped doula at other home births. I was still concerned about my water not being broken. I felt pretty defeated.
During one contraction I was hanging on Jessie, getting counter pressure from Mandi and my hands squeezed (which is surprisingly helpful) and heard laughing in the kitchen near us. So I yelled at them to shut up. It was distracting me. I learned later that your dad had made a comment about how we looked like the picture of the flag raisers of Iwo Jima and Sarah and Haleigh laughed.
A little walk outside. It was nice and crisp and I was cold!
I labored all over the place. During a contraction, I literally had 2-5 people helping me out. Squeezing my hands, my hips, counter pressure on my lower back, squeezing/rubbing my thighs… The ladies were amazing. Dad was there and helped a bit with contractions, but was mostly moral support. I just wanted him near. (I am so thankful for the ladies who helped me with the draining physical part of labor that would have done Mike in!)
I was pretty much force fed towards the end. I didn’t care to eat. They fed me grapes and watermelon and made me drink water. A lot.
I kept on laboring. I lost a ton of mucus plug one time when I went to the bathroom. That was encouraging because it meant stuff was happening.
Finally, probably about 2am, we headed in to our room. I don’t remember why we moved from the living room, where we had plastic and a blanket down on the floor, to our room. They rushed and moved the plastic and blanket into our room and got out the chucks pads.
After they took a look and told me they could see your head, I relaxed and was SO relieved. I knew the end was in sight and this wouldn’t last forever.
Mandi was squatting with her back against our bed and I was squatting/sitting on poor Mandi. Mike and Jessie were holding me up.
Sarah helped me not fall off the ball while I pushed. She reminded me to relax, which I so needed!
At one point between contractions while I was standing hunched over, I remember saying, “Sorry for the view!” to Mandi. I also said I felt like pooping, which I only shared because I know that when you are close to pushing it can feel similar. Here’s Mandi about that time…slightly worried.
It took about 3 pushes (15 minutes?) to push you out. Your head felt a lot bigger than Ki and Ella’s heads had. I figured it was because your bag of waters was still intact. At one point while pushing I hollered, “Who’s got their hand up my butt hole?!!” (Lovely, huh?) Apparently Mandi was “holding me together” which I was totally ok with. It was worth it to not tear!
When I pushed you out, you had a nuchal left hand (it was by your face) and your cord was wrapped around that arm. You’re still in the bag below! So neat.
The water broke as soon as your chin was out and you aspirated some. Here you are right after your water broke.
Dad caught you. He loved it. He held you and exclaimed, “Caitlin! We have a boy!”
I love this picture. You were so alert! You’re like, “What up, Mandi?”
I bawled. It was such a relief to have you out and finally snuggle you! I didn’t cry with the other two.
Apparently my placenta was odd. Kind of small and the cord was off center. I guess it did its job though.
You even had a sterilized shoelace to tie your cord. It said ‘HAVE A HEART’ and had hearts. Mandi cut your cord.
snuggled up with Daddy
and snuggling Momma
About this time, the midwife called. At 3:19am. You were born at 2:42am. Dad told her there was no point in her coming right then. We snuggled a bit and took a bath and tried to nurse, then slept for a few hours before Ki and Ella stopped by. Apparently her phone had stored all of our calls and texts and they all went through at 3:19.*
So alert! I had a couple little sandwiches while we snuggled.
We called grandparents, but everyone else just got a text, as far as I recall. Daddy and Jessie weighed you. At first they said 6lbs and I was SO surprised! You were actually 7lbs, 8oz, just like Ella.
We took a bath and celebrated with some sparkling cider. I was tired.
Your favorite position. Hands by your face/head.
The next morning the midwife came and you were 20″ and had dropped to 6lbs 13oz. (You had already had your first poop.)
I think it was a blessing that the midwife didn’t get our calls. If she had, I would have had her break my water at 7 cm and could have had some major tearing or other problems (hand or elbow out first). Because she wasn’t there, my water wasn’t broken and it protected us.
This was my hardest labor, both physically and emotionally because of the water issue. Physically because I was used to being done hours earlier. With you I had a much longer labor at the end. But you were so worth it! I’m now a fan of letting the water break on its own (unless there are medical reasons it needs to be broken, of course).
A HUGE thank you to those that helped bring my sweet Fenton into the world! And thanks for all the pictures, Haleigh!
*For those that are wondering about going with my midwife in the future, I have had a good experience with her before and after baby and would probably use her again. However, I would insist on having a backup number!