Friday October 29 - I started experiencing some prodromal and early labor signs. I spent the morning sipping coffee with a sweet friend who is also a doula. Talking all things pregnancy and birth. Throughout the day I’d have some stronger contractions then they’d fizzle out. My back ached so bad. I was experiencing lots of low pressure. I thought things would pick up after jane went to bed, but they stayed the same.
Saturday October 30 - I woke up slightly disappointed because I thought things would pick up over night and into the morning. Contractions, pressure and my achy back were all the same. Slowly increasing then back to where they were before. I went to our lovely chiropractor, Dr. Sandy for an adjustment to make sure my body and baby were in optimal position for labor and delivery. After my appointment things picked up a little. Stronger, more frequent contractions. I lost my mucus plug. We spent the day doing little things around the house and outside. Things still weren’t picking up. Even though my body was showing signs labor is near, she wasn’t ready to come out. I prayed to fully surrender to Gods timing, to trust my body and this process. I knew she would be in our arms soon.
Sunday October 31st - Halloween… if you know me well, you knew this day was the one day I did not want to have our baby!
My contractions were still happening. Increasing very little, and very slowly. My back was so achy. My body was taking its sweet time getting things going. I was tired of the back and forth. Is this the start? Or is it going to fizzle out again? At this point I didn’t care what way it went, but I was over being in limbo. We went for a family walk around 11. That kicked things up a bit. We had to stop a few times and Alex put some counter pressure on my hips and back. I asked my midwife, Maureen, if she’d come by and check me. I was 2cm and 80% -1 station. She said if things continue this way, and I didn’t go into active labor by morning, we can encourage my contractions by using the breast pump. She encouraged us to rest as much as we could and ensured us we’d be meeting our baby soon.
Monday November 1st - We we’re able to get some good sleep. I had several contractions wake me, but was able to sleep in between them. Jane slept in and Alex and I were able to enjoy breakfast together. We knew today was the day. My mom came over to help with Jane and we started getting the house ready. Maureen came around 10:30. She checked me again, 3-4cm, 95%. I was ready to get things going. We finished preparing our room for the birth. I started on the breast pump at 11:30. I pumped until a contraction came, took the pump off, worked through the contraction, waited 60 seconds, then started pumping again. We did this until my waves started increasing in intensity and frequency on their own. It was such a blessing being able to have great conversations, laughs and even shed some tears as I progressed from early to active labor. Once the waves started getting to the point I needed to focus on them, we turned down the lights and turned on my birth playlist. Around 1:30 we called our doula and second midwife to come over. I was officially in active labor around 2pm.
I had a powerhouse of a support team!! Alex was absolutely incredible and knew exactly how to care for me, and support me through each contraction. I was truly covered in love, support and prayers.
I felt so calm, and in control. I was able to focus in, hum and moan through contractions. In between waves, we were laughing, smiling and having a great time!
I thought to myself, “I still have so much further to go if I am still feeling this good”.
Letting my waves come and go, getting lost in the moment. This is it! This is what I have spent the last two years praying, dreaming, planning and preparing for. Two songs played from my birth playlist, "I Surrender" by Hillsong Worship and "Rest On Us" by Harvest, Jon Thurlow played back to back. It was just what I needed to hear in the moment. A wave of tears came over me. Not out of pain, out of pure joy, gratitude and faithfulness.
I knew I wanted to labor and give birth in the pool. However, I didn’t want to get in too soon and slow labor down. Once I was in, I wanted to stay until the baby was born. I held off getting in the tub as long as I could. As the intensity grew and waves were lasting longer, I noticed a shift. I wanted to tuck in my pelvis through waves instead of pushing my butt out. I told my midwife I was thinking of getting in the tub. My team helped me in the water at 6:30pm. It was instantly relaxing, but also crazy intense. I felt arise of power and a tone change through the next couple waves. I tried bearing down during my next contraction. It felt good, like progress was being made. At 6:40 I started pushing. Alex was apply counter pressure on my back. I was convinced I was pushing her head down and then we both felt and heard a “pop” (The way Alex describes this moment is one of my favorite memories). My waters ruptured. I thought “ah man! I thought her head was close. Now I have to do it again, but with an actual head.”. The pressure and intensity didn’t let up in between waves. I heard Maureen telling the second midwife (who was charting) "crowning.", "crowning the size of an egg". I bursted out "ONLY A FRICKEN EGG?!". Everyone had a good chuckle. I felt another wave come quickly and super intense. I roared her head down and out with the next push. I got a tiny break before I roared the rest of her body down and out. Joelle MaryAnn was born at 6:51pm after 10 minutes of pushing. Maureen caught Joelle and passed her to Alex and I under my legs. Alex helped bring her up to my belly. Her cord was wrapped around her shoulder and body. She didn’t realize she was earth side. Maureen used the bag to give her one positive pressure breath. She pinked right up and started crying. We got to the bed and soaked in the sight of our new baby girl!
My mom had made a lasagna, so our care team went upstairs to eat while Alex and I studied our new baby, I nursed, and we cried. I couldn’t believe we did it!
A little over an hour had passed and we were ready for Jane to come down to meet her sister! She smiled and said "baby!". She was more focused on me, than her new sister. Jane looked down at Joelle who was nursing, and excitedly said "she's drinkin' milk from your booboos!". My heart so content. There we were, a family of four!