Everett Asher, you are here :: a home birth
The story of Everett's birth starts a week before his due date. Actually, the story might even start earlier than that. ...
At 35 weeks, I was feeling big and ready with Braxton Hicks contractions happening daily. I felt like the little boy could be here any day. There was even one night when I had to stop making dinner because the contractions were coming so often and so strong. I had to make it to 37 weeks to deliver at home, so I was doing what I could to take things easy but work was stressing me out and life with a 2.5 year old is not what you might call relaxing.
Then 37 weeks hit and the worry about reaching the home birth cut-off lifted. I was still rushing and working hard to get everything as ready as possible for my leave. 38 weeks hit and I started my leave. All the pressures and worries lifted and suddenly I had the feeling I was going to be pregnant for the rest of my life.
Then came Monday, the day I hit 39 weeks. All throughout my pregnancy I'd had in my head that a week early would be a grand time to have this boy. Second babies come early, everyone said. I was ready to be done being pregnant and it wasn't too early for the baby. I had my usual appointment with Michelle, my midwife, and told her my hopes, but also that I was still feeling like I was going to be pregnant forever. That night I started having contractions worth timing and at 3 minutes apart we called Michelle. But, by the time she got there and then Amber, the midwife in training, arrived I was doing good... too good. The contractions had all but stopped and everyone turned around and headed home. Everyone that is except for the grandparents coming from Santa Cruz. They were on-call to take big sister when the time came. The false alarm ended up being a long night for them.
And then nothing... the Braxton Hicks stopped and my due date rolled around and nothing. I was more than ready. In the week between the false alarm and my due date I'd developed stretch marks and then pupps rash. The rash quickly spread from my belly to my legs and then my arms and back too. It was incredibly itchy and uncomfortable. I was ready to be done! I was walking all day every day hoping to bring on baby. The day before my due date Michelle stripped my membranes hoping that would get things started, but Monday, my due date, rolled around and nothing. In desperation, I called around and got myself an appointment for acupuncture that day. It helped calm me down but I was still pregnant by the end of the day.
Still pregnant the next day, I treated myself to a pedicure and had a fun day at the park with EddyLou. Still pregnant the next day, I went for another round of acupuncture and had spicy Cajun food for dinner. Still pregnant the next day, Lukas took off work - planning to be off until baby came - to help me. We did preschool drop-off together and for lunch we picked up a prego pizza. The legend is that this was the trick to get labor started.
But, by dinner time I was still pregnant. We ordered Thai food - mine especially spicy - and EddyLou and I drove over to pick it up - it was a little after 6pm. As I stepped out of the car I felt a pop. "Oh shoot," I thought. "My water just broke." I felt my pants and miraculously they weren't wet. Quickly I grabbed EddyLou from her car seat. We ran into the restaurant where our food was already waiting for us and there wasn't a line. In less than a minute we had paid and were back in the car headed home.
My contractions started when we got home, but I managed to eat Lukas's dinner (mine being unnecessarily spicy now) and we called Michelle. She said she'd gather her things and come on over. We called Grandma and Grandpa too - no false alarm this time. Lukas put EddyLou to bed while my labor started to progress. Between contractions I gave her a hug. By the time Michelle got there, I was up and walking between the contractions. I was filled with a nervous energy. This is really it.
As a contraction would come I would fold over the arms of the easy chair, sway my hips, and concentrate on my breathing trying to ride it like a wave. I am strong. I am open. Between contractions I tried to walk off the nervous energy. Michelle suggested I sit and relax but I couldn't do that. At some point, breathing through the contractions wasn't enough. I started to hum/sing the same three notes - one for the build up, one for the peek, and one for the descent. I think maybe I was trying to avoid both tensing up and waking up Ediza. The singing wasn't anything I planned (though I do remember singing for a little bit during my labor with Ediza as well).
I wasn't ready for the tub and then... I was ready to be in the tub. Oh, the glorious warmth of the tub was so incredibly soothing. The support of the water and the distraction each time a bit more warm water was added. Between contractions I could rest and during I folded over the side of the tub, singing my three note song. It was focused and quiet until suddenly the notes were bursting from my mouth. Afterwards, Michelle said it was almost operatic. My whole energy was focused on those notes. The intensity was astounding. I kept my hands open wide and not fighting the contractions.
At some point Grandma and Grandpa stopped by and collected EddyLou's go-bag and pack-n-play. They were all ready to come get her when she woke up. Around the time the intensity of my singing peaked, Michelle quietly told Lukas, "I think the baby will be here soon." Lukas asked what to do about the sleeping kid and I think Michelle's response was a shoulder shrug along the lines of maybe she'll just keep sleeping.
Then I was pushing from hands and knees in the tub holding tightly to Lukas's hands. Michelle asked me to turn over when the baby seemed to go back up after every push. As I rolled over there was a little pop and the last of my water broke. I pushed in a bridge with my hands overhead gripping so hard on Lukas's hands. I held my breath and pushed. And then, he came quickly. Big head and shoulders and arms and legs... he was here! Quickly, hands helped lift him up from the water to my chest. "Keep his face out of the water," as he took his first breaths and let out his first whimpering cries. "Hi baby, I'm your momma." It was 10:27 pm.
We made our way to the couch and the midwives cleaned up. It was all so contained because everything had happened in the tub. After everything settled down and the midwives had left, it got quiet and EddyLou woke up. Lukas ushered her from bed to potty and back again. She had slept through all the noise and Grandma and Grandpa hadn't needed to come get her. In the morning, she came out to the living room with her tussled bedhead. "Baby brother come out you's belly," she said with a shy smile. And then... life with two kids began.