There is a reason..well, many reasons, why it has taken me 2 weeks to get Zachary’s birth story written and on the blog. First, I am still processing his birth. It was fast and furious, so it has taken time to wrap my brain around it. Second, I was waiting for some great photos to show you. However, my fantastic photographer has been on (a well deserved) vacation, so I don’t have many yet. Today I am sharing part 1 of his birth. There are two parts because…well, there is a lot to say!
My labor began a good 2 weeks before Zachary was born. I was so very uncomfortable, gassy and having contractions – but nothing regular. Since the longest I had ever carried a baby was 39 weeks 3 days, I was sure this baby would also come early. Famous last words.
Starting at 39 weeks, I was really done and ready to get this show on the road. On Sunday, July 14, I visited Laurie, my midwife. She had stripped my membranes the Wednesday before and we were both surprised I was still pregnant. After a “therapeutic massage” of my cervix, she gave me some herbs with instructions to take them, pump for 20 minutes, rest for 10 and repeat for a total of 6 times. She said this would ease me into labor and get things going. We planned on seeing each other that night.
At this point in my pregnancy I was incredibly cranky. Having all four kids home all day, every day was really starting to wear on all of us. Their constant bickering was giving me great cause for concern at having them at my birth. I knew I couldn’t relax if they wouldn’t start getting along. That night at the dinner table, there was yet another huge fight between the kids and I stormed off to my room, slammed the door and downed my first bit of herbs. I yelled at them, “If I go into labor tonight there is NO WAY you guys get to watch your brother be born! You are making me CRAZY!”
Not a great way to start labor.
I sat in my room downing awful tasting herbs, drinking coke, pumping and watching Hunger Games. I had some great contractions while pumping, but once I was done, so was my uterus. I went to bed feeling pretty defeated. The next day I made a decision – the kids were not going to be allowed to watch the baby be born. In the past I had let the children who were over the age of 4 (if they wanted) come in when I push. This time, I just knew I couldn’t handle it. Libby took it the hardest, but I told her she could help cut the cord when the time came and she was happy with that. Amelia and Seth were both okay with it as they had already been at births. I felt such a huge weight lifted when that decision was made.
When talking to Laurie, we realized the herbs helped me get past that emotional blockage and that now it was very possible my body, mind and soul were ready to do this.
On Wednesday, I decided to try the herbs again. I sat in my room, watched the rain come down, and felt very peaceful. After I was done, I walked around the house trying to get contractions to come regularly. I did this for a full episode of Glee. When nothing happened, I went to bed again feeling defeated. The next day I would be 40 weeks and I just couldn’t believe I was still pregnant. When the longest you’ve ever been pregnant is 39 weeks 3 days, 40 weeks feels like you are a week past your date.
That night was particularly hard getting the kids to bed. There was a lot of crying, too much yelling and absolutely no peace in our home. I felt awful inside and out. I knew he wasn’t coming anytime soon. As I lay in bed thinking about this, Seth came into my room. He was shivering and really upset. I asked what was wrong and he told me he didn’t feel good. My first thought was, “of course. He is going to be sick, this illness will sweep through the house and I will be pregnant for at least another week.” Jeremy got him tucked into his bed and I sat on the floor and began to cry. These were not little tears. Oh no, this was a gut wrenching sob of a woman who has reached her limit.
When Jeremy came in I unleashed the demon that was living in my body. I started yelling and screaming at him. I joke now that I came up off the floor like a woman possessed, laser beams shooting from my eyes, head spinning around. That is what I felt like at least. I was SO mad and SO frustrated and any and everything he had done in the last 12 years came up. It was not pretty. Luckily, he sat there and just took it. He is a smart man and knows when to keep his mouth shut. After I was done screaming, we had an actual conversation, I felt better and went to sleep. Emotional obstacle number 2 – conquered.
The next two days were filled with friends trying to keep me from going crazy. I did acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments, visualization, talking to the baby and anything else I could think of to get him here.
Finally, on Saturday, I surrendered. I knew I wouldn’t be pregnant forever, but I also knew I was making myself and everyone else miserable with all the trying. So, I just stopped. While I felt in my heart this would be the last day I would be pregnant – I told no one. I didn’t want to jinx it or look like a fool when I woke up pregnant on Sunday. So, I took Libby to a birthday party in the morning. I took a nap in the afternoon. I snuggled with Elliott after his nap and just tried to have a relaxing day. You would think by my 6th pregnancy I would know that this was the one way to get a baby to come – but I forget it every time.
My contractions had been off and on all day long, but just like the last 2 weeks, they were not timeable or regular. Between the contractions and gas, I was pretty uncomfortable, but I didn’t think I was in labor.
By dinner time my contractions were getting more regular, but I still wasn’t ready to say I was in labor. Around 7 pm, I started timing them. They were only a few minutes apart but also only 30-45 seconds long. I remember praying that they would space out and get stronger and by about 8 pm they did. Jeremy went to take the kids to bed and looked at my timings at 7:30 – they were about 7 minutes apart and lasting 45 seconds. When he came down again at 8:45 (and I was texting Laurie) they were 3-4 minutes apart, lasting 45 seconds – 1 minute. He started to freak out a bit and told me to tell Laurie to get here NOW!
I was finally ready to call it and say I was in labor. Laurie and Erica, her apprentice, were on their way. I also called Leilani who was taking pictures and my dear friend, Sarah would would be my doula. We were ready to get this show on the road!