I found out I was pregnant with Cooper, Son #3!  I didn’t want to have a replay of Jack and Riley’s birth and ended up at a free standing Birth Center.  The pregnancy was full of apprehension at first with me on Progesterone so I wouldn’t miscarry.  I had terrible morning sickness, but otherwise, it was an uneventful pregnancy.  My Midwife suggested I take Fish Oil, which wasn’t suggested to me with my other two births.  At 39 weeks 5 days, I went into labor with Cooper.  It started with the Midwife stripping my membranes and later that afternoon, my labor was off and running.  I was feeling really good for being in birthing time and this time, I used techniques from the HypnoBabies home study course.  This course was much more comprehensive than HypnoBirthing IMO.  I kept track of my pressure waves on the computer, but didn’t even really feel like labor other than a few squeezes here and there.  At 6p we packed our bags and dropped the boys off at their friends house for the night.  We made it to the birth center around 8p and my contractions stopped!  As usual.  Rich ran to get me a sandwich and after he got back, and I ate, I started feeling something.  Around 9p, pressure waves started up again with gusto and I felt great through them up until about 7cm.  My Midwife checked me and told me my cervix was swelling because I felt the incredible need to push, but I shouldn’t because I’m not totally dilated.  I was so upset.  I thought my cervix was going to burst and I couldn’t stop needing to push.  I couldn’t breathe through them and felt so defeated.  She got this worried look on her face and that worried me.  Then she asked if I wanted to go to the hospital and I said yes because I thought I was going to explode or die or something.  The EMT’s get there and the one guy was such a jerk.  I got really annoyed with him and wanted to kick him (honestly, I can’t remember now what he said, but I remember my anger!) and that is where Rich said the cervix dilated.  I thought it was the bumpy ride to the hospital, but anyway…I’m in the hallway and I thought that I must have a hemorrhoid about to burst because something was coming out of my bottom and I was totally freaked out.  It wasn’t a hemorrhoid.  It was Cooper’s head crowning.  I got into the hospital room when I realized that I had in fact dilated and I was pushing a baby out at that moment.  The nurses were so busy and thankfully my Midwife caught him just in time.  The Doctor wasn’t even in the room yet.  So a 5 1/2 hour labor with a crazy ambulance ride and there I was in a crappy hospital yet again.  This was very close to my ideal birth (no meds, no tears, no interventions except for the membrane stripping,) but not quite.

Cooper was 11 months old when I found out I was pregnant again.

Anyway, I was so apprehensive of giving birth again.  It just seemed too tedious to even think about.  Part of me wanted a C-section and knocked out to just get the labor over with.  Part of me still wanted to try for my ideal birth.  I had lost confidence in myself along the way.  My friend talked me into a homebirth.  She made so much sense to me that day and I decided to just go for it and not analyze it anymore.

I met a few Midwives and settled on one that seemed to fit.  She had almost 20 years experience and her Birthday was the same as Coopers, so it felt serendipitous as Jack (my oldest Son) would say.  The pregnancy was so beyond uneventful.  Very little morning sickness, in fact, I didn’t even notice the pregnancy much until the end.  This baby was a week late!

On the 27th of August, I woke up, nursed Cooper and felt a gush down below.  Well, I didn’t really leak much the rest of the day, except maybe some bloody show and mucus.  I walked, I ate, I napped, I nursed and my pressure waves never really got going.  I had some really strong ones, but nothing that would keep up at the same level.  My Midwife was so easy going and said that I wasn’t on a time limit.  I just had to keep anything out of the Yoni and all was fine with her.  She came over around 7p or so and hung out for several hours.  My friend Michele came over too and we went on a walk.  Around 10p, I was tired and my pressure waves all but disappeared.  I felt so deflated and told everyone they can go home, false alarm.  They all left around 11p or so and I went to bed wondering when this show would get on the road.  The show got on the road around 1:30a when I woke up to a very sharp pressure wave that left me stinging and shivering.  I ran to the shower to see if that would chill it out so I could get back to sleep and I had three more in succession.  I knew this was it and called out to my husband who didn’t hear me.  I then started calling him every bad name I could think of because he wouldn’t wake up!  Finally, he heard me and rushed in and I told him to call the Midwife back.

Then the details got hazy on me.  We went down to the main floor where I got my water and brought my pillows down and got ready for the Midwife to arrive.  When she got there we greeted and laughed about the birthing time and I had several more pressure waves that caused me to really pause.  I had on my HypnoBabies MP3 tracks and tried to relax and get into the groove.  We went down into our finished basement because the pressure waves were pretty close together and I just wanted to be where I knew I would land.  I held my husband a lot during the pressure waves and relaxed and gave in to the sensations.  My verbal relaxation cue was the word “peace” but at some point the word wasn’t helping.  I remembered that in the book, “Spiritual Midwifery” Ina May Gaskin, the worlds leading Midwife said that saying the word “love” completely relaxes the vaginal sphincter and opens you up.  So I started a mantra “I love you, I love you, I love you…”to my Husband.  It felt so good to say and to give to him during this process and at some point I started saying it to Gryffin.  I told him how much I loved him and wanted to meet him.  The contractions never did get too close together and I had some rest time between them the entire labor.  My Midwife never checked my cervix for dilation and I just labored for awhile wondering if I was in active labor yet.  Several hours later I asked my MW if I was in active labor and she laughed.  At some point I asked to get in the tub and spent several hours in water.  A few times I got out to shower for a change of scenery and to see if that would help feel better, but it honestly was so intense, there was no letting up.  I just had to get through it.  There was about 40 minutes of what must have been transition where I started shouting that I was done and that it could stop and I just wanted to escape the sensations.  It’s incredibly powerful and overwhelming.  Finally, there was what must have been a 5 minute lull and I crashed with my head back on the tub and napped.  I woke up to a crazy popping sensation and it was then that I knew my water had officially and totally broke.  It wasn’t too long before I started feeling the need to push, but it wasn’t overpowering.  It was manageable.  I got nervous and asked my MW to check me and she refused.  She kept telling me that I was doing great and to trust myself.  That was the best gift she could have given me.  I started pushing, but he was so far up still.  I wanted to see how much farther I had to go and felt for his head.  I felt that he had hair and it was wet.  I got so excited to know that he was coming.  It took about 30 minutes of pushing to crowning.  The last two births, I barely pushed when I was finally given the approval before they shot out of me.  Gryffin was tough though.  I was very tired pushing him out and every time I felt him slip back in, I would get so put out.  I really wanted him out bad at this point.  Once I pushed his head out, my MW had to help maneuver his shoulder and I felt his last kicks as he did his final descent.  Immediately I felt like an empty, but very much relieved vessel.  I was on all fours and had to step over his cord and grabbed him tight.  I had just a skid mark, so no stitches for me again!

It was so empowering and amazing and magical and I was on such a high afterwards.  Every woman has her story, whether it be adoption or labor or deciding not to have children and travel instead.  My life has been full of exciting wonderful stories, but nothing feels as though it defines me like laboring with Gryffin.