My EDD for this little girl, baby #5, was 3/25. All day 3/20, I contracted irregularly but steadily. At noon we went to a family picnic/bingo perty the kids had been looking forward to.  Then around 4pm, we headed 40 miles up to the city where I’d planned on birthing for a b-day party for my nephew.  Everyone kept asking me how I was feeling & I said “fine,” not wanting to make a big deal about the waves I was still feeling. I was a bit concerned because the baby had felt posterior since I woke up & I wanted to go home & crawl around or spend some time leaning over a chair to encourage her to turn, as I had been doing for weeks.  By 8pm we left & I said I just wanted to get home to lay down & see if the waves were going to go away & to better time them.  On the drive, my waves were 10-12 min apart.  They still were completely comfortable, but were longer-lasting than in previous days.

Back at home, my husband put the kids to bed, showered, & packed a bag.  Bags for me & the kids had been in the van for a couple of weeks.  I listened to the Hypnobabies Deepening track while sitting on my birth ball, leaning over the arm of the couch.  Waves were still coming about every 10 min. It was almost 10pm, so before it got too late I thought I’d better called my midwife & my MIL, who would be watching the kids, to let them know this probably was “it.”  Then I leaned forward over some pillows on the coffee table & watched some tv while sipping red raspberry leaf tea & timing my waves.  They became 5-7 min apart.  My 10-yr-old son said he was too excited to sleep, so I had him arrange the “nurse cookies” I had in the freezer onto a tray.  My husband came downstairs to check on me & I said “let’s go.” We put the birth ball & the sleepy kids in the van & headed the 40 miles back into town, me with my Ipod on the Birthing Affirmations.

I called my MW again & my in-laws, who met us in the hospital parking lot & hopped in our van to take the kids to their house.  We checked-in at midnite, with my Ipod still on.  My husband dimmed the room lights.  I gave the nurse my birth plan & she just said, “ok, no IV,” like it was no big deal & didn’t even place a heplock, though I’d offered.  She did a 20-min monitoring strip then only monitored intermittently after that. My MW, Donna, arrived around 1am, & said I was “a stretchy 4, and thin” & offered to break my water, but I said I’d rather wait a bit.  I knew things would get more intense once it was broken, & I wanted to be further dilated first.  She asked if I was hungry then brought me chicken soup & left us alone for a bit.  I knew I should try to sleep, but I was too excited.

At 2:30, 6cm, Donna broke a small trickle in my bag & waves very gradually began to increase in intensity & frequency.  I put the ball in bed with a pillowcase draped over it & knelt, leaning my upper body on the ball. During each wave I would use my peace cue, focus on relaxing my hands & listening to Kerry’s voice on my ipod, & I would drop my hips limp & low & wide, envisioning, not the baby moving down, but just a general idea of downward motion, of a sort of a tidal pull.  I was still generally comfortable—the waves feeling about like strong menstrual cramps.  In between waves my husband, Donna, & I basically chatted.  I remember hearing my husband “warn” Donna that I’d birthed our last baby on all-4s, so she’d expect I’d be staying in the position I was in. Donna asked if I’d want to get in the tub or shower & I mumbled “too late.”

After 2 or 3 stronger waves that came very close together, I suddenly said I felt pushy & heard Donna push the call alarm for the nurses.  With the next wave the baby’s head started crowning & I remember saying “here she comes” & automatically pushing.  Donna said “wait, don’t push yet” & I said “I’ll try” but it was hard to hold back.  I pushed anyway & my husband said Donna had barely reached the end of the bed when the head was out.  I heard her saying “easy, easy” as I instinctively pushed along with 2 or 3 fast waves, & at 3:36am Julia Kathleen was born.  8lbs 4oz.  From feeling “pushy” to the baby in my arms could barely have been 3 minutes.

They lay the baby on the bed underneath me & helped raise her up to my belly/chest & slipped a blanket under her.  They rolled me over to my back so I could hold her on my chest.  She nursed & snuggled for an hour while I delivered the placenta.  Then my husband cut the cord & they took Julia to the warmer next to me & bathed her & did the newborn stuff.

Donna was happy with my birth position & said she’s sure it helped the baby turn to a good LOA birth presentation herself.  My husband kept saying for days how amazing the birth was—how calm and quiet and fast.  I think my calmness is why Donna was so surprised when the baby suddenly appeared.  I was surprised myself. I mean, I could feel the intensity increasing, but I kept thinking, “ok, it’s going to get bad soon,” but instead it was like I just snapped my fingers & Julia was here.  The actual pushing-out was not p***less, exactly, but totally manageable & gentle.  I barely broke a sweat.  No stitches, no tearing, no hemorrhoids, barely even swollen-feeling afterwards.  Couldn’t have asked for much better than that!

–Kerry Beth