The Before... First and Second Babies
Our first baby was the result of an induction and an unnecessary c section. It was traumatic and devastating. I learned so much about labor and birth after that experience. Our second baby was an unassisted vbac at home, a very intense 5 hours and 50 minute labor. We didn't know what to expect since it was my first time experiencing real labor and a vaginal birth. It went better than expected and we knew all our future babies would be born this way!
During my third pregnancy, I had a reoccurring dream of my husband coming home early in the morning while it was still dark outside, a light dusting of fresh snow falling, to find me in labor in the hallway of our home. Moments later, seeing daddy holding our baby girl in his arms even though we didn't know the baby's gender. It was so peaceful and magical. Baby was sharing a dream with me and only me, it was our perfect birth and our bond.
Thanksgiving morning (2016)
At 40 weeks and 3 days pregnant, around 6:20am I was suddenly woken up needing to use the bathroom. I went back to bed and tried to get some more sleep since my alarm would be going off in an hour to get ready for a 45 minute drive for a family lunch. A few minutes later, I was woken again by some mild cramping. Glancing at the clock I noticed it was 6:28am, noting to myself my husband would be getting off work in a half hour. Another surge of cramping came and I glanced at the clock again. It was 6:30am. I decided to just lay in bed and keep an eye on the clock for a little while.
After another couple contractions they began to increase in pressure and I found myself moaning through them and talking to baby. I got out of bed and made my way to the living room, rubbing my belly and breathing deeply and calmly. Contractions were still coming every 2-3 minutes and lasting about a minute long but weren't painful, just smooth waves. By this time it was close to 7am and knew my husband would be getting off from work now and coming home.
Dream come true
Looking out the window, I saw that it was still dark and very foggy. It looked as if snow was falling. I felt so at peace; so familiar. I smiled, knowing this is what my mind and body had been preparing for. Contractions were growing in strength and I knew if I called my hubby he would rush home and I didn't want him to get into an accident.
I was resting my head on a pillow as I was bent over the bathroom sink, swaying my hips with each strong wave. I was moaning and swaying as I heard the front door open and my husband come up the stairs. It was about 7:20ish and he opened the bathroom door with a smile and said "Hey... Are you in labor?" All I could do was nod my head as another contraction came and that's when I realized this was real labor.
This was it
He waited patiently in the hallway for the contraction to pass and then asked me what I needed him to do. I told him to grab me a Powerade and start filling the birth pool. I was so relieved that he was home and was there for me. Contractions were coming every 1.5-2 minutes now and lasting a little over a minute long but I continued to breathe and sway through them. My legs were getting tired so I listened to my body and got on my hands and knees in the living room. They kept getting more intense and I started to loudly moan.
Clayton asked if I was OK, I said I was but it was getting painful. He had aired up the pool and had just started to fill it as I thought to myself "What is he doing in there? Why is it taking him so long to get that pool ready!?" Checking the clock, I felt like I had been in labor for hours but it was only 7:40am. Needing to use the bathroom again, I made my way there.
I was on the toilet for 2 contractions and felt uneasy so I stood up next to the sink again. At the peak of the next contraction, I felt the need to bear down and squat. I could feel the Earth beneath my feet pulling my belly towards it, like I couldn't control it. They were coming closer and closer and I called for Clayton.
I told him there was a lot of pressure and I needed to get on the floor. He helped me lower down and as soon as my knees hit the floor, I felt intense pressure and my water broke. It didn't just break, but exploded out onto the towel I had on the floor. Laughing because it surprised me, I immediately felt my body start to push.
At first I was scared because I was worried I wasn't dilated enough or baby wasn't close enough yet. "It's too soon to push!" I told Clayton when the urge came, I told him I couldn't keep doing it if it was going to be this intense for so long. I called out, "please, God, don't make this last too much longer."
Clayton told me to breathe, close my eyes and listen to my body. He was right, I felt panic in my mind but calm in my heart. "Shall I check and see if I can feel the baby?" He asked. I said yes and as soon as he checked me, he happily announced, "I can feel something hard, I think it's the baby's head!"
I asked if he was sure. He said he was and that baby was coming. I was tired and wanted a break, I said I didn't know if I could keep going. Clayton told me I was doing great and was so strong. He told me to breathe and trust my body, that I was doing everything perfectly. It's like his words instilled some sort of confidence in me because my next words were "I can do this. I can do this. We can do this, baby. It's me and you. We can do this."
Squatting, I had another hard contraction. I growled and moaned deep and loud, and didn't push at all. My feet felt like they had roots firmly planted in the floor, like my body was a mighty oak that spent years growing right there, waiting for this moment to support me. Clayton said "It's the baby's head. It's coming out!" I reached down and could feel baby's head, feel the hair. I was so relieved that this was happening so fast.
"Grab a warm washcloth!" I told Clayton, and he held it against my bottom as another strong contraction came and my body pushed on its own. Clayton touched my back and said "the head is out. I can see the head!" I asked if the whole head was out, mouth and nose and if baby looked ok. He smiled and said "yes, her lips are moving!" I didn't even have time to notice that he said "her lips" since we didn't know the gender of baby and we already had 2 boys.
My body took a short break. Clayton and I talked and laughed about how crazy this all was and that it was finally time to meet baby. About 2 minutes later I felt another contraction. I told Clayton to get ready to catch baby as he sat behind me. My body pushed as I roared and the baby slid right out into daddy's arms.
Clayton yelled "it's a girl, we have a girl!" as he fought back tears. He held her as I turned around and sat down. I had seen this imagine in my dreams so many times but actually seeing it with my eyes, happening right in front of me was nothing short of the most incredible moment in my life.
Baby is HERE!
He was a little concerned since she wasn't making any sounds. I told him it was ok but he could rub her back a little bit if he wanted. She started to moan a little and he looked at me like he never had before. So intense...so lost for words. There she was, our little Autumn Ember. I asked Clayton what time she was born, he said 8:08am. It all happened in just 1 hour and 40 minutes!!! Clayton handed her to me and I said I felt like I had to push again. Terror hit his face as he said "It better not be another baby!" but I assured him it was just the placenta.
Enjoying Newborn Cuddles
Autumn was so content and just snuggled me as I bursted into tears. Clayton and I sat on the bathroom floor in shock, crying together for over 10 minutes. It had all been so perfect and so fast. He kissed me and that kiss somehow felt different, felt new. We felt different, the whole world felt new. Her older brothers got to meet her while we left her cord and placenta attached for about an hour. After cutting the cord we weighed and measured her. 9lbs 8oz and 20.25in long! We had a lot to be thankful for that Thanksgiving day.
Looking back, its so surreal how accurate my dreams had been. My body waited until baby was ready and until I had support from my husband. It really, truly was a dream come true. ❤