Current thought: It's amazing how you can fall in love with something so little so quickly. We are crazy about Olive!
So...back to the story. I was getting impatient. Every day, my mood worsened. I tried so hard not to let the waiting affect me but it was getting to me. I was reaching my mental end point.
On Wednesday, November 2nd, I had an ultrasound and non-stress to check on the baby. The entire time during the non-stress test, I sat in the chair and just worried my little heart to the max. I could hear the baby's heart beat...so strong...loud, fast...then slow...and then fast...and I got so anxious. What if the baby wasn't doing well? Oh my gosh...I'm going to have to go to the hospital right now and get induced. This is not my plan! What if there is something wrong with the baby? How will things go? You can imagine. My mind was racing. Luckily when the nurse came in, I asked her how it looked and she said to me, "It is picture perfect. Baby's doing amazingly!" Wow that calmed my fears. Next, I went in for the ultrasound and once more, everything looked well. What a relief! Again, I had an increased sense of patience. I was so glad the baby was doing well.
On Thursday, November 3rd, I woke up feeling different. I felt optimistic for the first time in days. I actually did something instead of lay in bed. I cleaned my house alongside my mom. I felt renewed. The evening before, I had started to take more of the homeopathic version of black and blue cohosh. For the first time, it was actually giving me contractions. Nothing hard or painful or even very regular...but...contractions! Hooray. Still trying not to get my hopes up though. I went in to see my midwife at about noon and had her strip my membranes. I sat on her couch and let out all of my feelings and let her know...I was really reaching the end. I didn't know how much more I could take. We discussed our options and then she checked my cervix. Finally some noticeable change! I was now almost completely effaced and dilated to 4 centimeters. And, my bag of waters was really bulgy. Everything was really favorable for labor and baby was super low and engaged. I decided I would go home and continue the homeopathics and if needed, try magnesium again to get contractions strong (I did not want to do that again...NOT fun!). Luckily, my contractions continued all day. I didn't pay much attention to them or time them until about 5:45 that evening when they were becoming about 3 minutes apart. They stayed that way for a couple of hours so I called my midwife, Alison, to come over. We were going to have a baby!
Of course...as she and her apprentice, Kat, arrived...my contractions completely spaced out. What is with that! I was so disappointed. Travis and I decided to take another walk together and that is one of my favorite parts of this birth. Since the kids were in bed, we left by ourselves and walked around our neighborhood hand in hand. It was really sweet. It made us miss the days when it was just us :) And it was crazy to imagine that soon, there'd be another little one joining us! On our walk, I continued to have contractions. Nothing hard but they did make me have to walk a tad slower. We talked about what we wanted to do, since clearly my labor was taking the same pattern it had for the last month. We talked about breaking my water to get things going and for the first time, both of us felt completely good about it and at peace. When I had discussed the idea earlier with my midwife, she mentioned that for the first time, she also felt okay with doing something as well. It is hard to describe but something just felt different and right. When we returned from our walk, it was about 10:00 pm and we had Alison break my water.
Gush. Whoa weird feeling. And there was soooooooo much water. I thought we would for sure soak my bed! Those chux pads are pretty absorbent though! I felt nervous after we broke my water and didn't know what position to be in. I wanted to stay upright to encourage the baby to be in a good position but after awhile, I began to get sleepy. Contractions hadn't started to come yet. Travis and I watched an episode of Modern Family, then I decided to lay down for a bit. During this time, Max woke up, so Travis went in and laid with him. Finally, after about an hour and a half, the contractions started to come. And they were getting pretty hard. They were still spaced out, between 5 and 10 minutes apart, but each time, they were feeling stronger and stronger. I was getting excited! And a little nervous for what was ahead.
Since they were staying spaced out and I wasn't really getting much rest in between, I decided to get up and move around. I was all alone in my room and I decided I was needing some company by this point. When the contractions would come, they were hard enough that I just needed to feel someone around me. I used the bathroom and had contractions two minutes apart. They seemed to really come closer together once I got up. I asked my mom to wake up Travis and then asked Alison if she thought it'd be okay to go ahead and get in the birth pool (I didn't want to get in too early and have labor slow down). She said things seemed to be moving along so I could get in.
Into the water I went and Ohhhhh. The warmth was so comforting. It was probably midnight or 12:15 am by this point. It took a couple of minutes in the water before I had my first contraction and it wasn't too bad. The next one was still spaced out a little bit, but then...it hit. They started to get really intense and instead of being able to breathe through them silently...the singing began. You know...the birth song. The moan that you can't help but do and it begins to sound like a melody? I had to moan through every contraction. I tried to tell myself "You can do anything for one minute" but during that minute, it was hard to believe I could get through it. They were coming closer together and getting stronger. I was getting louder. Eventually, I realized that the room had suddenly filled with people. Travis was by my side, Alison and Kat were getting things set up for birth, and my mom was standing in the doorway. That encouraged me and also freaked me out at the same time. It made me realize...WOW. It's close! The moment I have been wanting so badly for so long is almost here.
At one point, I was having a really hard contraction and had moved to another position, on my back with my feet out. I felt a hand reach out and I grabbed it. I honestly had no idea whose hand it was but when the contraction was over and I "came to" I realized it was Travis' hand. He gave me such strength as I labored and it was so comforting to have him near. During some of the early contractions, he would hold Basil essential oil under my nose and I'd breathe it in. It seemed to help somewhat with the pain but eventually, the pain was obviously too strong for an essential oil to overcome ;)
Eventually, the contractions were seemingly never ending. They were so intense and I could hardly catch my breath. I started to shake as I leaned over the pool. I even felt like throwing up a few times and wondered if I would. In my head I thought..."Transition!" Even though I knew I was in transition, it didn't make it any easier. At this point, I felt like what was happening would last forever and there was no way it'd ever end. That should have been a clue to me that it was almost over! I found myself wanting to push through my contractions. I am not sure if that's because I felt an urge to push (it wasn't at all overwhelming) or if I just wanted to push because I knew that'd help the baby arrive. In any case, I started to really push through the contractions. Alison encouraged me to listen to my body and follow it and do whatever I needed to do. A couple of times during and after my contractions, I simply broke down in tears. I was feeling so defeated. This was so hard. So much harder and more intense than last time. I didn't know if I could do it. I think one time I actually started crying because I got a cramp in my leg and I was thinking "You've got to be kidding me...a cramp in my leg AND contractions!?!" I was obviously an emotional wreck!
As I labored, Kat placed her hand on my perineum to support it and it felt so good. There was something so comforting about having that pressure there. Eventually I started to feel some burning in my perineum and I said, "Is that the head??" When Kat told me it wasn't I was like NO WAY. It had to have been the head. Suddenly on my next push, I'm like "THIS is the head, it HAS to be!" And Kat agreed. All of the sudden the baby was beginning to crown! I pushed with all my might and the head was out! And then, I had no strength left. Not even an urge to push really. They told me to keep pushing so I mustered all of the energy I had left (none) and pushed as hard and as long as I could. Eventually, I felt the little body slip out and what relief. Instantly, the pain was gone. It was over! Travis caught our little baby right into his arms. Alison told me to turn over and hold my baby, so almost in a drunken trance, I turned around and there it was...a baby! What a relief I felt. I didn't even care to check if it was a boy or a girl. I was just happy it was over and the baby was on my chest! The baby instantly grabbed on to Trav's fingers and held them for quite awhile. Olive was born at 1:32 am. Ironically, 32 is my husband's favorite number :)
I sat in the tub, in awe and disbelief that it was really over. After Maude's birth, I remember feeling like I wanted to it again right away. It wasn't like that this time. It had been so intense and so emotional that I felt drained. Happy and so relieved, but I was not ready to do it again :) I sat there, soaking up my baby and transitioning my mind back to reality. The baby was so calm and hardly made a peep. She was breathing well and pinking up, so none of us were worried. It was such a calm, peaceful entrance into this world.
After 10 or 15 minutes, I got out of the pool, holding the baby in my arms. We moved to my bed and continued to rest and soak in those very first moments together.
Eventually, Travis lifted the towel and looked to see what the baby was. A GIRL!! What a shock!!!! I kept saying, "Really? It's a girl??" I couldn't believe it. All along I had imagined and wanted a girl, but had really figured it'd be a boy. Two ultrasound techs had really sounded like they messed up during ultrasounds and called it a "He" so we thought for sure it'd be a boy. We were happily surprised she was a girl! Olive Rubi it was.
I love the feeling just after giving birth. It's the most indescribable thing. I was flooded with such a sense of relief and overwhelmed with love. I held my little vernix-covered baby on my chest and just soaked it all in. She grabbed onto my bra and held it as we lay there. I was so happy.
She even peeked her eyes open for a little bit! She could hardly open them because there was so much vernix on her. I couldn't believe how thick it was. She had a lot more than any of my other kids. It is amazing how it has all soaked in now and she's completely clean. We didn't wipe any of it away and she hasn't had a bath, but she looks clean and new...purified.
After 20 minutes or so, the cord stopped pulsating and Travis cut it. It was the first time he cut our children's cord! My mom did it both of the other times. He said to me that this birth was really neat for him. It wasn't an abnormal or weird experience at all...and was so natural. I love that he caught Olive and was the first person to touch her as she entered this world.
Olive felt so tiny as she was first placed on my chest. I really thought she wouldn't weigh very much because she just seemed so little! I think it is because she has a nice, little head. This is her being weighed by Alison. She came in at 8 pounds even and was 20 inches long.
The midwives performing the newborn exam. The clock says 2:57 am, so Olive is an hour and a half old. I love that we got to spend so much time together before the newborn exam was performed. I nursed Olive as soon as we could after she was born (probably 25 minutes) and out of all of my babies, she was a natural! I put her up to my breast and was quite surprised as all of the sudden it felt like a little paranha had taken a hold of me! She nursed for probably an hour straight and has been nursing well ever since.
Mr. Max woke up at about 4 am just as the midwives were packing up to leave. He had wet through his clothes and came in wide awake. My mom said he felt hot to her, but he didn't really feel hot to me. He was a bit out of it so he wasn't interested in Olive. He did seem to grasp the fact that the baby had finally come out of mommy's tummy. Lucky us - he stayed up the whole morning! He finally crashed at about 8 am but luckily, we were able to go back to sleep and he entertained himself during that time.
It was so sweet to sit and hold Olive in the wee hours of the morning. I loved every moment and just couldn't believe she was here and that it was over!
In the morning Maude woke up and although it took her awhile to notice the baby, eventually she did and has been in love ever since. I love this picture of us. She climbed up and wanted me to hold her, then my mom handed me Olive and we sat there, all cuddling. It was such a beautiful moment. I love my girls. When I'm nursing Olive, Maude will come up saying, "Your turn?" with her hands out. She is always wanting it to be her turn to hold the baby. I worried about jealousy with her but she has been nothing but accepting of Olive. I am so glad.
Spending time together in those first hours.
The new reality of three kids! A very tired mom and dad and kids who all need attention :) I love our life.
Our new family of five! It is hard to believe all these precious little children are ours! I love my family so much. And I have the cutest kids, if I do say so myself. My hubby is pretty cute too :)
Sweet siblings. Max finally held Olive this evening for the first time. He has been down with a fever for the last two days and hasn't had any interest in Olive besides mentioning that she came out of my tummy. I finally got him to hold her and he was in love. I think he felt really big. He said "She's really heavy." I just love my kids.
(Max is 3 1/2, Maude is 22 months, and Olive is 3 days)
(Max is 3 1/2, Maude is 22 months, and Olive is 3 days)
It is really hard to believe that this is all over and now we are onto the newborn phase! Olive is such a sweet baby. She's full of lots of little mousy noises which are so adorable. She hardly cries and is so sweet. This birth was so intense and so emotionally challenging, but looking back, I am so happy with it. It was exactly how it needed to be. It exhausted everything it could have - it stretched me physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually - but I have come away feeling stronger than ever. I am healing well and feeling great. I only had a small tear which didn't require fixing and besides the horrible afterbirth contractions (OUCH), I am feeling very good. We even went on a short walk tonight as a family. It was so good to get out and breathe in the fresh air. My milk is already in and Olive is loving it. I love nursing her too!
I am feeling so blessed. I feel so happy. I love my little family so much. I feel so blessed that everything with this birth went so perfectly and smoothly. My midwife mentioned that this was one of the most perfect births they've had in a long time. Although it was quick and intense (only 2 hours of active labor), it all went so well and I just feel so grateful.
Now I'm off to go snuggle my little Olive <3
(Ironically, when my midwife came for my 24 hour visit, she said that the ultrasound place had called to ensure she'd received the fax of the results and they mentioned that my amniotic fluid levels had risen dramatically in the last week and were recommending induction. She said I'd already had the baby! But it just goes to show that the timing was all perfect. We each felt so good about things the day of her birth and I think I know why. God was watching over us.)