I woke up around 12:30 am Monday morning, March 21st. I'd been having contractions sporadically, starting and stopping the last couple days, but these wouldn't let me sleep. I timed them for a bit and they were around 5 minutes apart, lasting about 30 seconds. I kept trying to sleep until around 4am when I officially gave up and woke up Sean to tell him what was going on. We stayed in bed and tried timing them and resting and just generally being together. I called Pam, one of my midwives, around 6 and let her know what was going on, that the contractions were consistent but not coming any closer yet. She suggested going for a walk and to call her in couple hours. Sean called in to work, told them he would come bring up sub plans for the day. I went to the school with him and walked laps in the hallway and timed contractions. They were getting longer, but not closer together yet, still every 5 minutes, lasting 45-60 seconds. When Sean was ready we headed back home, I gave Pam a call again around 8 to update her and tell her we were getting ready to head out for a walk to the lake with the dog and I'd call and check in again around noon.
It was chilly out, and though the lake had been mostly clear of ice the day before it had started to refreeze over night. Sean let our dog, Abbey, off leash like he usually does at the lake so she can get a drink and run a bit. This is where it gets interesting and we develop a theme with during this labor. There are geese out on the lake standing on the thin layer of ice, Abbey hears them and takes off running and out across the ice, us yelling for her to stop. We watch as she keeps going and I tell Sean she's not going to make it, she's out a good 30 yards now and she crashes through the ice. She swims, we try and coax her back the way she came, thinking she can break through the ice swimming, but she can't. I start throwing rocks, thinking I can maybe break a path, but the rocks just bounce off the ice. Sean runs for help while I sit on the dock, still having contractions, trying to keep the dog calm, praying she won't drown, trying to get her to rest her head on the ice instead of struggling to get her front paws up and slipping back. Sean comes back with a rope and a neighbor. We try to get the rope out around her (my sister, who rides horses, should have been there, her rope skills would have been helpful!) and can't. I say we need to get the canoe, that's the best thing I can think to do. It's been over 15 minutes already.
Sean and the neighbor go for our canoe while I wait. Another neighbor comes and he asks what's happened and says he'll be back with his kayak. Sean and the other neighbor get there as he comes back with his kayak and a chain saw. Sean's getting on the life vest while I tie a rope to him incase he falls in, the neighbor is trying to cut the ice with the chainsaw, I'm still having contractions, and Sean is trying to get the canoe in the lake. Somehow it's decided the neighbor will take the canoe, Sean gives him the life vest, the paddle won't break trough the ice so he asks for the shovel our other neighbor has in his truck. I keep have another contraction and think how utterly ridiculous this whole thing is. Somehow he gets out to Abbey and pulls her in the canoe. Sean and I reel them both in with the rope.
Eventually we get home, where my labor just seems to stop. I call Pam and tell her all that happened and that labor seems to have stopped. I've been up since 12:30am and am exhausted so Sean and I go to lay down and rest, which lasts a couple hours before contractions start up again and won't let me sleep. They are every three or so minutes now and 45-60 seconds and I can't lie down through them. I feel them mostly in my lower back and go to shower because the water feels good on my lower back through the contractions. We call Pam and update her; she said she and Suzanne would leave around 7pm to get to us around 9 or 9:30pm. We think I'm going into active labor and are excited to finally meet our little one that night!
Contractions hold steady at every three minutes, I'm uncomfortable and have to change position when one starts (I favor the hands and knees position, squatting was annoying) and groan low through them. Pam and Suzanne get there and start setting up, I get nervous once there are there and contractions slow to every 5 minutes again, which they say is normal. They tell us to go rest, so Sean and I go lay in bed. I move to my hands and knees for each contraction, they are coming more frequently again now. Suzanne comes in and tells us there is a problem with the pool. We go to see and there is a big puddle (Thank goodness Sean insisted on putting a tarp down under it!). The liner had a hole and was leaking water into the permanent liner, which was also leaking because it got tucked under the wall of the pool in a couple spots. Our continuing water theme.
Labor has more or less stalled at this point again. We talk about what to do: can we save the water? Do we have to start over? Will we get it refilled in time? I said it was all right if we couldn't have the pool and Suzanne tells us they've delivered babies in the shower and tub before. Sean is upset. It's decided that they'll drain the pool and start over. Pam and Suzanne have an extra liner to replace the one with the hole. They'll boil water in between refilling while the water heats up again. I'm told to go and rest, I've been up for almost 24 hours at this point with only a couple hours rest.
This whole part is foggy in my memory, it felt like such a short amount of time, but was hours somehow. Contractions started up again soon after I lay down. They were uncomfortable and I was having bloody show at his point. I rested and contracted, going from laying to hands and knees, and back again. I moan quietly through contractions (at least I think I was quiet! I should ask Sean about that!) rocking on my hands and knees. I remember Suzanne coming in a couple times and saying I was doing well. And Sean coming in and rubbing my back.
They get the tub all set up again and Sean comes and lies in bed too, I have no idea what time this was, my concept of time was totally off at this point! I finally fall asleep, exhausted, and don't wake up until around 6am. Contractions are mild and 10 minutes or more apart. Pam and Suzanne say we should try a walk. I'm feeling frustrated and annoyed that we made them come all this way and we didn't have a baby that night. We walk down to the school and back down to the fire station and around the block. It snowed over night and everything was quiet and blanketed white. We get back to the house and we sit and talk with Pam and Suzanne. I express my frustrations and apologize that they came all the way up here. They reassure us it's alright, this happens a lot with first babies and that it was good they came up so we could have the pool all set up right. Pam offers to check me, says I'm still probably in early labor and about 1 to 2cm she'd guess. I agreed to getting checked and was 1cm like they expected and frustrated that all those contractions don't seem to have done anything. At this point they talk to us about what to do: more walking, resting, etc. Suzanne tells me a bit about homeopathy and has me take some black cohosh and instructs me to take it again around noon. They are going to go home to rest and they are sure they'll be back later that night for us to have a baby. Sean says statistically more babies are born on Wednesday's than any other day, and our midwives tell us most babies are born at night.
So we are going on 30+ hours at this point. Our midwives leave, Sean goes to nap, and I clean the kitchen because I have to do something. Contractions keep coming every 5 minutes. When Sean gets up he goes down to the school to drop off his sub plans, I tell him not to rush back, at this point I kind of wanted to be left alone. He pulls out the washer for me before he goes so I can do laundry (I was looking for anything to distract me at this point!). While he's gone the hose connecting the washer breaks and water pours all over the floor of the kitchen, I probably should have given up on anything water related at this point, though I am glad I didn't!
Around 4pm on Tuesday Sean starts making dinner. I was completely miserable at this point, contractions were still about 5 minutes apart and I checked myself to see if I was any more dilated than when Pam checked me; nope, still at 1cm. I used some choice words to vent my frustrations to Sean, and then Suzanne called. She suggested I ignore the contractions, watch a movie with Sean, and just relax, and she also has me take some pulsatilla at this point. It's about 5:30 now, we've eaten diner, I'm trying to watch TV with Sean but the contractions just keep coming and I can't ignore them, I had to breath and move through them. I end up getting in the shower for a bit because I can't relax.
Looking back now I recognize the shift in contractions and know that I probably actually started active labor around that 5:30/6pm (night time!) time frame, at the time I was too frustrated to acknowledge the shift though. I know I started pacing the kitchen and spare bedroom at this point. I didn't want to be touched, I didn't want to be in the light, and I couldn't quit moving. It hurt to be still. Sean suggests I walk up and down the stairs. This feels amazing and I remember walking up and down over and over while repeating in my head "I can do this!" Around 7:30 or 8 (I don't know the time exactly) Sean suggests calling Pam. I have zero desire to talk to anyone, I just keep walking through the house, and so he calls. He does give the phone to me and I talk to Pam, tell her what I am feeling and she asks if I can check myself again (I had told Suzanne about that and she told Pam). I give the phone back to Sean and go to check myself in the bathroom; still 1cm. I tell Pam and we talked while I kept walking (I can not for the life of me remember exactly what she or I said!) but at some point a few minutes in to the conversation after I had checked myself, I stopped and looked at Sean and said to him "my legs are wet." And they were.
Sean took the phone at this point and talked to Pam. She and Suzanne would be leaving to come up within half an hour he told me, they'd get there around 10:30 or 11pm.
I couldn't believe it was my water, I asked Sean if maybe it was just sweat, but I'd dry my legs and they'd be wet again, it wasn't sweat. From here everything gets really blurry, I know I took a shower and ended up in my hands and knees in the shower having contraction after contraction. I stayed in until the water was cold. I know I got a shirt on, but pants or a skirt never made it, and I ended up on my hands and knees in the bed. I called for Sean at each contraction; I just wanted him with me, holding my hand, touching my back, anything. Pam and Suzanne got there a bit before 10:30 I think (they must have driven awfully fast!). I know they talked to Sean and I know Pam came and sat against the bedroom doorframe. I don't remember talking through beyond saying "hi" when I first saw her, I don't remember seeing Suzanne though. Sean eventually ends up in the bed with me, I don't know how close contractions were at this point, but they were coming what felt like constantly. Pam was sitting by the heater vent on the floor in our room, I remember wanting to offer her a chair but I couldn't talk and the thought was fleeting anyway at that point! I must have said I was tired at some point because Pam suggested resting on my side. Up until laying on my side labor was not the worst pain I had ever experienced, it hurt but was totally manageable. But lying on my side was miserable and I wanted to cry. Sean tells me I did get quiet between contractions and rested, but I just remember wanting to move from my side! Pam offered to check me after a bit (around midnight) of time on my side; I was at a 4, almost 5cm. She said I could get in the pool if I wanted to. I was so glad to get off my side, and the water felt amazing.
Everything went incredibly fast once I was in the water, in the beginning I wanted to hold Sean's hand when I'd have a contraction and I know I held Suzanne's hand through a couple too when Sean wasn't there. I never actually pushed on my own it was the strangest thing. I just at one point had a contraction and my body pushed. I remember I gasped and looked at Suzanne who was in front of me and told her I pushed. I was worried I shouldn't because I wasn't dilated enough, but they reassured me it was all right. From there my body started pushing with every contraction. I started to feel sick, and Suzanne gave Sean a bowl that I thankfully never had to use; I felt hot too, Sean and Suzanne put cold washcloths on my forehead. I had both hands in the pool at this point and when I'd have a contraction I'd relax my jaw and breath while I pushed back with the contractions. I could feel baby's head coming lower and lower with each contraction, it was the craziest feeling! Pam encouraged me to reach down and feel the head and I told Sean babe had hair!
At some point Sean moved behind me, though I don't remember him ever leaving. I was lost in myself. I asked Sean after what it was like, what was I doing? He said I was quiet other than a low hum that I kept making, which I don't remember doing! I remember Pam telling me to push with the contractions and I remember feeling the slight burn as the head pushed through. Apparently Pam told me two more pushes but baby came flying out all at once in one push. The head, shoulders, and legs were all out in less than a minute, at 2:37am. I remember the feeling as she slid out. Her head felt like a "pop" and then I could feel her legs moving in me still as I pushed with the contraction and the rest of her slid out. Pam passed her through my legs and I pulled her up out of the water. She was so tiny and still blue. I held her against my belly, her cord was short and I couldn't get her much out of the water. She cried and I told her it was ok I'm your mama. Suzanne was putting blankets on us both and I peeked to see if we had a girl or a boy. I looked at Sean and told him he was right, we had a little girl. Our sweet baby Wren Elisabeth.
Since her cord was short they had us get out of the tub and move to the couch. We snuggled our sweet baby and talked to her. They had me hand her to Sean to push out the placenta, which was easy and just slid right out. Suzanne clamped her cord and Sean cut it. Pam showed us her placenta and all the different parts. It was so amazing seeing this whole organ my body grew to nurture our baby inside of me.
We moved to the bedroom, where Suzanne did the newborn exam, weighed Wren, and examined me. We all made guesses at her weight, everyone guessed in the 6lb range and she shocked us with her 7lbs and 6oz! I said it's the thighs, she fools you because she's tiny but she's got cute chubby thighs! Even though she came out so quickly I didn't tear at all, and I was thankful for that! Then we settled into our bed to cuddle then with our sweet little babe.