After having four previous children most would think I should have learned patience with my fifth pregnancy. That was not the case. I was surprised and a little upset to have made it to my due date after having all my full term babies in week 38. Not to mention staying at 2 cms for weeks. On Thursday, June 14th, Beth came to my home for a visit and striped my membranes hoping to get things moving, along with walking stairs. That night when I went to bed I had come to the conclusion that it didn’t work and I felt as if I would never meet this baby.
On June 15th at about 4:00 pm I started having some mild contractions about every 8 to 10 minutes. I timed them for a while and decided to call Beth just to keep her up updated. She asked me to call her back in about an hour to check in again, and she said she would get her car ready. I didn’t make it an hour when the contractions started coming every 2 to 3 minutes. I called Beth again and she, Jessica, and Susan were on their way. I really felt like I was causing a stir for nothing and that they would have to return home. I was outside chasing the kids around when they arrived.
Meanwhile my husband, Chris, was busy with the bar-b-que that we had started before realizing I was in labor. It was quite a site I am sure. I met them on the sidewalk and led them inside.
Before I knew it my bedroom was transformed and the most wonderful warm rice sock was on my back. Beth checked me and found that I was between 4 and 5 cms but when I would have a contraction I would close to 3 cms. I was still having contractions every 2 or 3 minutes. I had been busy washing laundry and Beth and Susan helped me to fold a load of towels. My doula, Valerie, arrived with a birth ball. It really felt good to sit and rock on the ball. I noticed that the contractions were getting stronger and that Jessica was reminding me to relax. My sister-in-law came with her two children, not really believing that it was time. And shortly after my own sister came in from Kingsville along with her new puppy. It looked like Grand Central Station around here. Beth was concerned that all the commotion would slow things down for me, but felt that as long as I was comfortable with all the excitement it was OK. The only thing bothering me was that both the two yr. olds wanted the birth ball to play with.
My in-laws just happen to be in town from New Orleans, LA, and they offered to watch all the children. We gladly took them up on their offer and Chris and his sister took the children to them. Beth checked me again before they left, but I don’t recall how far dilated I was. I kissed my kids good-bye with a little disappointment because I thought I would want them here for the big event. I then got into the shower. The warm spray felt wonderful on my back while I was contracting. I then filled the tub and laid down in the water. Beth poured water over my belly and that helped me to relax a little. I asked her to check me again and I was at about 7 cms. It didn’t seem like I was in the bath for long, but when I got to the bedroom it was after 9:00.
Chris still had not returned from dropping the kids off and I called to my in-laws house and asked him to come home. He was just around the block so it didn’t take long for him to arrive. Both my sister-in-laws were with him, much to my surprise because I though one of them was still out of state. I felt like I was having a hard time dealing with the contractions by this point. They seemed to be coming one on top of the other with little time in between to relax and prepare for the next one. Jessica was constantly reminding me to relax and Beth said if I imagined what my body was doing with each contraction that it would help. It worked a little, but I was getting louder with each one. I also noticed that I was shaking some and that was a sign that I was in transition. I could also tell by the way I was reacting to people during the contractions. I was getting irritated easily and then would apologize after the contraction had ended. We have laughed about that now, saying I was like Jekell and Hyde.
Time seemed to not have any meaning. Finally, my body started pushing on its own at about 10:09 and I decided to help it along. I felt relief to be pushing, but also lots of pressure and burning, I knew the baby was close. About 5 minutes later, at 10:14, Elsa’s head crowned. My sister and Chris were holding my legs and I reached down and touched her head. I was pushing again and her head was delivered a minute later and in another minute I push her shoulders and body out. Beth put her on my stomach and Chris announced that we had another baby girl in our home. It was exciting to discover the sex of the baby on our own, what a special gift it was. I was concerned because the baby didn’t cry, but Jessica and Beth assured me she was fine and was breathing.
Beth seemed a little concerned to get the placenta delivered so we tried to get Elsa to nurse, but she just didn’t seem interested. Beth also gave me the most awful tasting herb to help and 10 minutes later it was delivered. She checked me for tears and didn’t find any. We then got comfortable in the bed and Elsa nursed while Beth made up an herbal bath for my new baby and I. It felt wonderful to slide into the warm water and Elsa love it. She just floated in the water and looked around. I think Chris called his parents and while I was in the bath my girls came in to meet their new baby sister. They were all so happy and excited.
When I got out of the bath my bed had clean sheets and all the laundry was in the washer, there was no mess to be seen. Beth did Elsa’s newborn exam and eye drops. We then passed her around and everyone guessed her weight. Chris was right on. She weighed 8 lbs. 4 oz. and was 19.5 inches long. I then got to put her first diaper on and dress her.
Beth, Jessica, Susan, and Valerie packed up all their supplies, congratulated me, and Chris helped carry everything to their cars. It was all over and I was still amazed that I was holding my new daughter in my arms, that I had actually giving birth just an hour or so before. I am still in awe over how my body knew just what it was doing and didn’t let me down.
After 4 hospital deliveries people could not understand why I would want to have a baby at home. Even I can’t pin point the exact reason, except that I needed to do this for my baby and myself. I wish that I would have discovered the joy and comfort of having my baby at home before my 5th child. I know now that there is no other way for me. I also hope that I have opened the minds of my sister-in-laws and especially my own sister.