I awoke feeling contractions, yet thought that this was just more of the false labor that I had been feeling for the past weeks off and on. Not at all uncomfortable, but they made me wonder if it could be the real thing. I took my 6:00 AM shower as I always do, made my Love lunch, ate breakfast with him and the girls, then got the girls and myself dressed for the day. After my Love left for work I started thinking more about these contractions and began to time them and jot that down on paper. Not that close together. Not that strong but they were there.
Kristin, our oldest daughter went off to Kindergarten leaving Erin, her sister and I to ourselves. I started feeling excited and alive with an inner energy that I had never felt before. It was a healing feeling that soothed over me a lot of the moods and discomforts I had experienced with this pregnancy. I felt much closer to this child within me who went through my up and down times. I sat many times in my rocking chair up in my bedroom dreaming of you my baby to be, feeling you kick and swim gracefully in your water world. I sang to you of songs of love, of the joy of being with child and of when my arms would hold you and rock you. So much inner thought waves seemed to be passing through us as though we knew our time as one would soon pass. Our life as two, mother and baby would begin...excitement and yet I would miss this time in my life as I love being pregnant. I love how my body changes, I am in awe of this gift as a woman, that I am able to nurture a life inside me. I realized this might be my last time of being pregnant and though I was wanting this baby in my arms I mourned the memory of the feeling of being pregnant. The first fluttering movements like butterfly wings, the rubbing my belly where your tiny feet stretched out , the knowing so intimately the feelings I held.
Before my Love had left for work I did not say anything about my contractions. I just didn't believe that this was it, yet I did. I don't know why.....
My contractions had started to get closer together so I thought it would be good to do something to take my mind off of them that way if it wasn't the real thing it would stop. Around 10:15 AM, Erin and I decided to go for a walk and visit a friend who lived down the street. I figured that talking would take my mind off the contractions which were now 8 to 10 minutes apart. They had begun to become more noticeable and I could positively feel them grip at me yet I could not make myself believe that this was real.
Outside was a beautiful blue sky. A very warm wind was blowing the dry leaves all around the sidewalks. Fall was just around the corner yet summer had not decided to leave yet. Cool nights, warm days. There is a unique smell this time of year and only then before the crispness of Fall begins. I shall always remember that smell and how I felt that day. I could tell it would be hot later on and I thought "Oh no! I'm going to have this baby on a hot Indian Summer day just like I kept saying I hoped I wouldn't!" Walking down the street I breathed deeply, as much for the aroma of the the air as for the comfort of the contractions. I thought of calling my Love but resisted, not yet, not till I was sure. I didn't know what sign I expected but I just waited.
It is a silly, scary, funny, overwhelming, mixed up, wonderful feeling when you realize you are walking around and you are in labor. Especially when you are without your partner. It is almost magical in what your body is doing inside.
At the time that I arrived at my friend Debbie's house until I left there, my body really began working. The contractions became much more strong yet about the same time between. I was having trouble talking and having a hard time sitting still while I was having the contractions yet I didn't want to tell Debbie. I still not believe this. At about 11:15 AM I was feeling too uncomfortable sitting when the pains came. I decided it was to time to leave. Walking home I became frightened. Here I was with a two and a half year old, me in labor yet still trying to to deny it, without my Love. Would I make it home? I felt if I could just get inside our home that I would feel more secure, that things would change. Labor would stop. I didn't feel ready. Being alone was not fun.
I made it home and even managed to fix Erin her lunch. That was not easy since at this time I was shaking. Contractions were about 5 to 8 minutes apart and at times 4 minutes. Believe it Ellen!
My mother by marriage Betty, called and I still did not let on. It was very difficult to talk and our conversation was short. She came by not too long after. I can't even remember why she came since I was so wrapped up in my contractions. She sat with Erin for a bit and played then she left. I wonder if she thought something seemed different about me?
After she left I decided I had to call my Love. I needed him badly. At the time he was building a home for his cousins about a 35 to 40 minute drive from where we lived without a phone (this was before cell phones). I was suppose to call the neighbors next door to the job but they didn't answer. Panic! I'll have the baby alone is the crazy thought I had. I remember that I can call dear Arleen and Clark who live in the town where the job is as well. Clark says he will drive over to my Love and tell him to come home. I called next to page Peggy my midwife. She calls me back within minutes. I tell her all that has happened and proceed to tell her that I hope it is not a false labor alarm. Silly me...of course it is labor! Contractions are about 3 to 5 minutes apart and I am having to use my breathing and my "Ah's" sound. The pains hurt in my lower back and I hope that this will not be back labor as with my other two labors.
Erin is being so good. I try to explain why I am swaying and saying "Ahhhhh" but she must think mommy is weird. Please Peggy, my Love and Sandy the other midwife who is to help at the birth, please come now! This is really it! I was feeling so emotional. Talking to Peggy on the phone I was almost in tears. I wondered if I could hold it together till they arrived.
It seems like forever before my Love comes home but at last he arrives. It must have been around 1:00 PM. I was so relieved to have him home with me. I would be able to have our baby! We gave each other a big hug. I was giddy and I was shaky. My Love thought he should call my mom to get Erin and Kristin as was the plan. This would keep my mother busy instead of hovering over us all making me nervous. No answer so we finally leave a message at Papa's office. Next he calls Betty to come back over as she is the back up for the girls. Then he calls Mary who is to take photos of the birth. Lastly he calls Sue is sister to come as she is to be at the birth as well. In the meantime Erin is quite happy playing by herself, with no care in the world.
I am rocking and swaying my hips with my contractions which have become much closer together and longer in duration. I barely have time in between to talk to my Love. About 1:15 Sandy the other midwife arrives. She does a check on me and I am dilated to 5 centimeters. I am delighted! She calls Peggy to let her know how I am doing and that I am moving along. This will not be a long labor and tells Peggy to hurry. She also wanted to know where Kay, the Midwife in training, is as she is not here and she has most of the equipment needed.
My poor Love, he thought he would be able to take a shower before all the activity built up. Forget that! He and Sandy get our bed ready for the birth, bottom sheet, waterproof pad and another bottom sheet that have been ready in a bag are put on. About that time Betty arrives to tend to Erin. She is very excited and spreads such good cheer for us all.
My contractions sometimes come back to back. Double wammies as I call them. Standing and leaning against the wall or my Love is the most comfortable position for me with my swaying hips as I say my "Aaahhhhs", keeping my mouth soft and open just as I want my body to be. Open and relaxed to let this baby move down and out.
My mom, Sue and Kay arrive, I hardly look up to say "hello", I'm too busy working! Peggy makes it with her nine month old son and her Au Pair. I feel so content that she has come. I need her gentle, familiar presence as she was my midwife for Erin and also my childbirth teacher. She is my mentor, she is the guiding force for me, I can't imagine her not here. Another check, baby is doing great.
I am so hot. The suggestion of a shower comes up. No, but a bath sounds wonderful to me. A delicious cool bath. The contractions like it too. Enough to cool me down as well but then I start to feel caged and disoriented. Where do I go? I am so unsettled as where to be in my home. Do I walk some more, should I sit or lie down? I begin to tire of this labor business. All three midwives decide on another check and I can hardly believe them when they say I am 8 centimeters! Then it is back to breathing, walking, standing, breathing, and swaying.
The next check comes not long after the last one because they notice that I am sounding like I am bearing down. I'm not sure really if I'm beginning to push or not but I do feel different. In between contractions I feel great. In fact they seem to have let up a bit.
Mary the photographer arrives just in time to hear that I am fully dilated. So fast! I don't believe any of them. I feel too clear in my head. Where was transition?
Sandy and Peggy
My waters were still intact but bulging. The question came up as to whether we should break them. We decide to. The sensation of that feeling is warm and dreamy but only for seconds because then my contractions become quite intense and in earnest.
I change to a side position but quickly decide that feels uncomfortable and awkward for me. The pushing really hurts. I don't like this one bit. When will this baby pop out? I go to a semi-sitting position and Peggy tells me to look at the mirror to see our baby's head as it peeks and hides and then I see the crowning of our baby. I begin to feel in touch with this little baby who wants out as much as I want he / she out. I feel so impatient! I also become scared since it seems it is taking forever. The excitement in the room builds and my efforts of pushing take on a urgency within me. The feeling of letting go, to allow your body to release and let birth happen is difficult for me. I know that if I let go that the pain will be real. I know I can handle this as I did before, I know that my dearest Love is here to support me through this, but most of all my Peggy is beside me, talking in my ear "Down and out Ellen, down and out". She is the birth whisper. Her voice lulls me to follow her gentle direction to bring this child out of it's water world. It is obvious that I am once again having back labor.
Peggy is close to my head, calmly and gently pulling me back to a quiet state. She helps remind me how to push more efficiently. I am so happy as well as relieved that she is here. My Love has his hands on our child's head along with Kay the midwife as the rotation happens. He has never had this experience and is worried he will hurt our baby with the turning. He is encouraged by all the midwives he is doing just fine. One push and baby's head appears. Where is the rest? Will I be stuck like this forever? The pain is incredibly intense for this part. The shoulders hurt so much coming and then with a slippery whoosh of the last amniotic water out then up to my chest our baby arrives! The blue shades melt into pink as she cries out. How can one describe this sight? Joy....words escape me for the profound feelings I have. Tears of joy.
My Love who helped with Kay guide our child to the world comes next to me where Peggy had been. We look at this beautiful baby, perfect in every way. Our little girl.....Megan born at 3:19 PM.
My Love, Megan and I
Papa, Erin, Kristin, Megan and I
My timing of giving birth was perfect. School kids were just walking to their homes while we were absorbing the birth. Our windows wide open to catch any small breeze in the hot bedroom, our ceiling fan whirling round attempting to cool the air. Had I still been in labor all the kids on the street would have heard me and more than likely most would have stood below our french doors to our driveway below for the entertainment they would have heard. We lived in a neighborhood of days gone by where all the children of different ages played together. Doors during the day were unlocked, most of the mothers were stay at home moms. It was just several weeks before while I was taking a bath with Erin two of the neighborhood sister's came walking in. They looked at my huge belly and smiled at me as they chatted, wanting to know if Kristin and Erin could come play. Yes, I would have made good entertainment that day. News traveled quickly that our family had a new little girl just as our daughters were brought home to meet their little sister. My mom still in shock that I would ever have a baby at home, and Papa smiling at the scene. Wine was opened, crackers and cheese, laughter and smiles. It was a fine Indian Summer Day...it was a good day for a birth.
My Love and his baby girl
Auntie Sue and Megan
**My Midwife Peggy wrote a book back in 2002...Baby Catcher...I highly recommend it for she writes so well and believe me the stories are amazing!