I have a bit of time and the shred of energy to match, so here is our story- sans photos. I'll just upload a pile of pics whenever we figure out getting the pics off the new camera :)
As made obvious by the previous post, Ivo was running "late," and this mommy was just beginning to feel a little nervous on day 8 of his lateness. I was a 3 wk late induction baby; my sister was induced as well. Ezra was 6 days late. So, I felt ready to start trying to do what we could to get the kid to come on out. My friend went into labor 4 days before her due date, so I knew that my midwife probably didn't want me to have him that day. Still, it stung a little when I called to ask for an acupuncture referral, and I got plain told that I needed to wait until after friend had her baby. I knew that was the best thing to do, but I was really sad and having a hard time knowing how to feel about the fact that for 9 days now, all my midwives were GLAD I wasn't in labor. They had a heckuva couple of weeks, so I don't blame them and know that it was all God's will and grace for us all that Ivo didn't come during the crazy time.
I should mention here the metaphor that I adopted for waiting to go into labor. Imagine me and Ezra walking to the park me with picnic basket and awesome sandbox toys in hand. I have the perfect spot in mind and great time planned- better than Ez could even imagine. Ezra, however, doesn't know what is in store for him and is distracted to whole way there by all the "better" things he could do- like play in the rocks in the neighbors yard or blow dandelion fluff. If he had the vocabulary, he'd say, "Mom, really, this is what we should do! Trust me. I've thought a lot about this and conditions are perfect for us to have fun, right here, right now!" I have to say a lot of, "no, honey. Come on. Keep walking. We'll be there soon; I promise -- you're going to love what I have in mind. It's better than those rocks. I've thought of things for us to do you've never even dreamed about!" Now, I'm a good parent, so I don't mind my child's childish enthusiasm for how we should be having fun together. I think it's cute actually, unless he gets whiney when I make him come to terms and keep walking- away from his good idea, his vision for his labor and birth... I mean picnic. So, the analogy is easy, right? I'm the Ezra. God is my good parent. I felt very strongly that God loved my excitement but would be saddened by my whining or despairing whenever my plan didn't materialize, and he made me keep walking.
After God told me to keep walking through Cindie that 8th morning, he gave me some new cause for excitement by her telling me that we could break my water the next morning. YAY! I was nervous because I didn't want to break the water if my body wasn't ready to labor, but I was ready to accept the risks and get on with it; I'd been 4 cm for almost a month for crying out loud (which, for the record, truly tells you nothing about WHEN you will go!!!). On morning 9, May 12th, My Mom-in-law picked Ezra up for a day of fun and picking up Grandpa from the airport. (One of my BIG desires for the birth was that Ezra be able to have his Grandma Laura and Grandpa both around.) We had long before gotten everything ready for Ezzie's overnight stay in the event that I did go into labor. Brendan took the day off, and we headed to Cindie's to see about breaking the water. Cindie and I both prayed that we'd have peace about the decision, and when we arrived at her office, all three of us were on the same peaceful page.
She TRIED to break the water. She tried hard! She did cervical massage, and we pushed on me every which way to try to get the water to bubble out and give her something to grab with her little metal hook. She was scared to try too hard because Ivo's head was SO LOW and pushing hard against my cervix, and she didn't want to scrape him up. After about 20 minutes, we gave up and just went with stripping my membranes. It was disappointing, but we were glad too because we'd prayed that it wouldn't work if it wasn't the right thing. I left there 5 cm dilated and ready to walk around and wait for some labor.
We went to Madison, the acupuncturist's neighborhood, to see if I could get in for a treatment. Brendan and I were getting along SO well, and we had a great morning hitting up coffee shops and bakeries for pee breaks as we walked all over. I was having very mild, inconsistent contractions. I did NOT think I'd be having a baby that day. We decided to hang out until Cactus opened (one of my favorite places to eat) to have lunch. The acupuncturist NEVER called.
During lunch, the contractions did strengthen a bit and seemed to be around 8 minutes apart. That was about noon. Still, on the drive home, I called my friend Brenna to tell her that she probably should just go to work b/c I didn't think there'd be a baby that day... maybe later in the middle of the night or something. On the car ride home, the contractions stayed consistent and were at about 7 minutes apart when we got home. I called Brenna back :). Brendan and I then walked around our block and tried to watch a movie to kill time and see what would happen. I was very unconvinced. When the contractions hit 5 minutes apart, they still didn't hurt. I didn't even need to think about them in the slightest. It was starting to get fun though b/c I thought surely I'd have some real labor sometime soon. I called Cindie to give her an update, and she said I should call for the tub. I was still not convinced. But, the tub takes a long time to fill, so I knew I should... and I did... an hour later.
Brendan and I walked to Metro Market near our house to get some more birth snacks for us and the crew. I had a couple of painful contractions there. NOW, I was convinced. I LOVED being labor in public. It felt so She-Rah or something. We called for the tub soon as we got home, and then Brenna came over. We sat around and chatted, and my contractions slowed. Then, Brenna and I went out to walk, and they picked right back up. When we got home, we watched the rest of So, I Married an Axe Murderer. Yep, that's what had come from our Blockbuster queue. It started to get fun. Brenna suggested I start using the ball, and that helped me to feel things more. I then had a contraction that brought the tiny thought in the back of my mind very much to the major forefront- OH CRAP, I've done this before, and it can hurt A LOT! I put that away very quickly, though. I'd conditioned myself beforehand to just REALLY try this time to have fun and be glad for any progress, to just go with it all and to not think of it as "OW, OW, OW!"
Looking back, I think was starting transition then. I had this strong sense of needing to figure out how and where I was going to do this thing, how I would handle each contraction. I had loose bowel all day (sorry, but it's true), so I wound up on the toilet and asked Brendan to come in and stay with me there. My contractions got serious then, and we resumed timing them, so we could call Cindie to come over at the 3 minute mark. It was about 6:00 we think. I loved the way we did the contractions. I would put my legs up on the bathtub across from the toilet. Brendan sat across from me, and I leaned over and hugged on him. I would squeeze his shirt or rub his shoulders when the pain would peak. They were painful, but completely manageable. I felt so comforted by Brendan's affection and his strong, warm frame. He would rub my back btwn contractions sometimes. We had a great time. It still hurt, but we were having a fun, lovey time.
Then there was this one awesome contraction that was double peaked, and during it I really assumed a squatting position and tried to lean into the contraction and just really go with it. I SWEAR I felt my cervix open big time on that one. After that, I said I wanted to try getting in the tub, and we called Cindie. Brenna and Brendan worked on cooling the water a bit, and anytime that I needed Rib, I would just call for him, and he'd come hug with me. I sat down on the couch (covered in plastic and sheets) with him, and we did some contractions there. They were starting to hurt more, but I was amazed at how easy they were to get through. In between them, I had pretty decent relief, especially if I smiled, was thankful, remembered to pray, and hugged Brendan. That reminds me. My mantra for the last week had been "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer." I was very blessed by those words and the Spirit's enabling me to apply them!
Cindie arrived. I think it was about 8:30 or so. It may have been a bit later; I don't really know. She was so happy to see us being so sweet and happy, and that just made it all the more fun to be happy. I layed back between contractions for her to check me. 9 cm!!! YAY!!! I had been SO MISERABLE at 9 centimeters for Ezra's birth, but this was a walk in the park compared. I wonder if some of that was due to my blessedly intact water. I laughed and was thrilled and was so thankful. We did about 4 more contractions, then I wanted to go pee. While peeing, I had a contraction and felt a new sensation... pushing! I had had NO urge to push with Ezra's birth, so I knew that my prayers were being answered which made me even more happy. It was a strange stinging sensation as I felt him start moving down. I screamed, "I'm pushing!" Mel, my other midwife, had just walked in. Cindie said, "Well, come get in the tub. I'd rather you not do it on the toilet." I was SO excited. Still, I was getting ready in my heart for a long hard time because that's how it was with Ezra. In fact, I had a hard time not asking to have an episiotomy right away b/c that's what we eventually had to do at his birth. At that time, the episiotomy was a big relief.
I got in the water, and it felt great. I knelt down with Brendan on the other side of the tub wall, so that we could keep up the snuggle technique. The pushing sensation continued, and I outloud prayed and praised God for how kind he was being to me in the birth. Not long after I got in, I thought the head was crowning because it hurt like that. I reached down to check, and, nope, it was the, "WATER BUBBLE, WATER BUBBLE, WATER BUBBLE!" Yeah, I yelled it. I thought they might want to do something about it, but they didn't. I kept my hand on myself and tried to help myself stretch out around the bubble. I kept doing this low crooning noise and saying, "stretch, stretch, stretch" in a deep, deep voice. It all helped a lot.
Brendan was right there helping the whole time. Meanwhile, poor Mel was trying to get the doppler on me to check Ivo, but I knew he'd be out any minute. Brendan mopped my face with a cool rag, and Brenna poured pots of cool water in the tub. It all felt great. Then, I could feel Ivo's head inside the bubble. I was so thrilled but still was resisting asking for an episiotomy! In another couple pushes his head came out. I screamed, "aaahhhhAAAAHHHHH [head pops out] YAY!!!," and then I laughed my head off. I could not believe that it was almost done. Cindie grabbed my hips and pulled me up and back as I pushed out his body. He came out in an intact sac. It was cool. I barely saw it because I couldn't turn around to see him as he was attached to me still... which I had sort of forgotten! I was so excited that it was hard for me to focus, but I consciously thought to try to pull him out of the water myself up between my legs. Cindie helped pull me back to sit down against the tub wall and helped me get him to my chest. I was amazed. I think I said something like, "my baby is born, you guys!!!" We were all so thankful for how beautiful and easy Ivo's birth was compared to Ezra's. (although, both babies were equally wonderful!) I was so happy and excited that it was easy to just be able to instantly fall in love with Ivo. He was born at 9:31 pm. I had a kind of weird tear that needed stitches, but it was much less painful than the episiotomy... MUCH.
I pushed the placenta out soon after that, and then noticed that I was sitting in some blood soup that I could smell. That was a little gross, but I didn't care. They got me out, and I said I was pretty dizzy. They gave me pitocin in my leg to help stop my bleeding. We know now thanks to my really low hematocrit that I lost more blood than was good for me, especially considering how low my hematocrit was going into the labor. I wasn't scared about it, though, because I knew that they had everything they needed and the skill to help me. I had an IV and needed to just stay flat. Incidentally, I'm not recovered from all that even now. I've been on a sort of modified bed rest pretty much since the birth and still can't do very much at all without getting extremely fatigued or a bit dizzy.
All that aside,though, Ivo was a great newborn! 8lbs 3oz, just like his brother. 21 inches, 1.5 inches taller than his brother. Neither of the kids heads molded at all- they were perfectly pretty and round. He did everything right and was perfectly healthy. I loved our first night together in the cozy bed that we had prepared. It was so wonderful to be in bed together with Brendan and Ivo. Cindie stayed with us until LATE in the night to make sure I was recovering ok. I felt very safe and like everything would be fine, which it was.
As each person left, Mel, Brenna, then Cindie, I was so thankful to have had them all with me for that wonderful experience. Each one of them lent their own sort of support and mojo to the whole thing. Of course, Brendan was my favorite part of it all. We're still riding the high of the relational leap we took that night that Ivo was born. I don't think we'd ever before had such a great, affectionate time together. That was amazing icing on the cake. God answered SO MANY prayers just exactly as I hoped... if not way better than I'd hoped. The timing was excellent. I didn't have ANY of the complications (though minor... painful) I had had with Ezra's birth.
The last important thing was Ivo meeting Ezra. That went great too. Ezra was so happy and seemd to understand perfectly well what had gone down and even pointed out my no longer fat belly and said, "Ivo gone... Baby Ivo out!"
Praise GOD!!! Now, if I can only continue to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer! We're 12 days in, and Ivo has staph in his left eye (no, I don't know how); Ezra is sick; and I'm still needing to this bedrest thing. Oh well. I've NO doubt that God is very good and can see us through anything just fine :).