After having five successful births in a hospital with epidurals, even though I’d always dreamed of having an all natural home birth, I was beginning to get nervous about the pain as my due date approached.
Jenn asking me that simple question during one of our last prenatal massage brought it back into perspective.
“Yeah,” I thought, “ I think I can do anything for just 60 seconds.”
And with that thought, I felt I was mentally ready to go for what was to come in just a few weeks.
But, subconsciously, I had a lot on my mind.
In the last trimester of pregnancy, we discovered my mom, my best friend, had breast cancer again, and in addition was having trouble getting her energy back after a hematoma. And shortly after this discovery, due to hyper stress, my dad suffered a stroke and subsequently neurological issues. Then, during my last few weeks of pregnancy, my mom suffered another hematoma and it was discovered during this few weeks’ stay in the hospital that she also had stage 4 lung cancer that had traveled to her bones. She was given at most 18 months to live, and suddenly mountains of paperwork and decisions needed to be made for both her and my dad, who have been my biggest supporters in all of life, especially when it came to welcoming new babies.
When I shared this with Jenn, who’s also formerly a hospice nurse, she showed that her expansive knowledge stretches way beyond prenatal care and quite frankly in all of health care, and she offered wisdom to allow me to to accept and live in the present moment of the situation, and she projected I likely wouldn’t go into labor until I felt the situation was sorted for my mom and dad.
Sure enough, the night after we’d finally found the best skilled nursing and long term care for my mom and a solution for my dad, who I felt was doing a better, early labor started (After a day on a row boat on our back yard little lake to get things going 😃).
At 3 am on April 2nd, the contractions woke me up and I remember thinking “ohhhh that’s a real one!” But the contractions would come and go and come and go and come and go – with a few hours of nothing in between each set of contractions that were at most 10 minutes apart.
As I went to bed that same Saturday night, after feeling like we’d tried EVERYTHING to officially get things going, i let everyone know it likely wasn’t going to happen any time soon and no need to come over as planned, since I was just going to go to sleep and maybe have a baby another day.
“Are you sure???” My sister in law texted “You’ve had every other baby in the middle of the night. This one might come then too.”
Nah, I replied. All of the other ones were induced by pitocin, so likely there is a ways to go.
My sister left me three excited voicemails and some texts and text, ready to make the drive over and sleep over just in case!
Nah, I said –
Nothing to see here. You may as well go to bed, I said.
Yet, at bedtime, the contractions started again –
Still with no regularity – 10 mins apart, then 15, then 20 – and I thought – oh gosh here we go again – Another night in and out of sleep.
Yet, at around 3 am, as I was getting up to sway through another contraction between sleep, I felt a slight familiar internal pop, and then another pop, and out came the water down my legs.
I let Michael know to call Jenn, the midwife, and I hopped in the shower to rinse off – and all of a sudden, the contractions came one after the other and one after the other, and I thought – this is really it.
As he called the midwife, yes in the middle of the night, my mom happened to call to check on me. He picked it up and filled her in and we were both surprised and I said “Mother’s instinct! She must have felt something was happening.”
It felt like Jenn and Tara, the Pittsburgh Midwives, got there right away.
They said “Come on, let’s walk –
Silver sneakers!,” and led me to the kitchen to walk around the island. And that next contraction felt AMAZING.
We did some more laps with some chit chat catching up in between, as the contractions got stronger and stronger and stronger.
Jenn guided me through different positions to both get more comfortable and get things going – squatting, lunging positions, laying on my side, and everything helped but eventually nothing felt comfortable anymore, and I just wanted out of my body.
Jenn checked me and let me know I was so close at 8 cm and the baby’s head was nearly there.
I then was fighting every contraction.
I started swearing through them, shivering and truly expressing that pain I was in.
Jenn would say “It’s okay – it’s just your baby -you’re totally safe, and you just got through another contraction and you’ll never have to do that one ever again.”
She suggested I take a shower and my eyes opened wide with relief as I felt that’s EXACTLY what I needed to do.
And while in there, I tried to shift my mindset to welcome each contraction as progress and a sign that baby Maison was one step closer to coming out.
When I stepped out, I was way more relaxed. Yet it felt like the pain was way more extreme, and I was so exhausted.
I remember squatting some more through contractions and throwing up violently and shaking, and I was a mess. But I kept remembering this was just temporary and every one of these instances was a step closer to a baby.
We went out and walked the kitchen again over and over again, with a few more F bombs in between ☺️ – Michael asked “Do you maybe want to pick another word?” in case the kids woke and heard me and I responded, “No!” In my head thinking, “There is no other word but fuck for this situation!”
I got to the point where I couldn’t even talk any more and was ever so grateful that they kept bringing me electrolyte water to drink because I was so thirsty but didn’t have the energy to even say if.
I remember looking at Jenn, who’s putting on gloves and Tara who’d brought a waterproof pad over – later they revealed that by looking at my walking it looked like I might have pushed the baby out right onto the kitchen floor.
And all of a sudden I felt the urge to push.
They led me to the bedroom, and all of a sudden I announced “I have to poop!” 😆 And they acknowledged it and calmly guided me onto the bed after asking if I’d rather be on the floor or the bed , and after what felt like three pushes, little Maison was out and crying.
I reached down and grabbed my baby boy, guided by Jenn and Tara, and got to turn and finally sit and relax and hold my new baby as we waited for the placenta to come out.
Michael started swooning over our sixth baby right away, and was present and helpful and supporting the whole time, and got to catch his baby boy with Jenn intervening just through one push to untangle the cord around him.
And as we opened the bedroom door to grab some things out in the living room, we found Milo waiting outside the bedroom door who said he’d just woken up to Maison’s sweet baby cry.
Surprisingly, except for Mica, the kids said none of them heard any of my moans and screams through the night.
It was such a gift to be able to have them all there to come meet their brother right in their new home.
And we got to spend days after just lounging around together just loving on him, each of them taking turns holding him and just ogling over his tiny feet and hands and everything in between.