At the beginning of January, I had a day of cramps and general discomfort. It was a not very fun day, Jake was at work and I couldn’t figure out if I was being labor-ish or not. When he came home that night and I told him how I was feeling, he made an executive decision that the next day we’d head to Phoenix to wait for the baby.
I was decidedly uncomfortable in the car during the drive down, but the closer we got to town and the more I relaxed, the better I felt. Once we were there and unloaded, I stopped having cramps, stopped feeling rotten and pretty much just reverted back to just being regular pregnant, not about-to-go-into-labor pregnant.
So, we hung out in my mom’s two-story condo, with no yard, two big dogs and three kids who had been pulled out of their house without any warning. Every morning Adeline would ask me “Is baby Delilah here today?” and then be disappointed when I was still pregnant.
The more time that went by the more frustrated I got. We could have been home! I was fine, barely a twinge.
After we had been there a little over a week, my mom took the girls out for the day to give Jake and I time to just hang out and do whatever we wanted together (for, like, the eighth time since we’d been there. My mom is amazing.). We kind of putzed around for the afternoon, and I took the dogs for a walk before we headed out to do…stuff. We went to some stores-Jake’s willingness to wander around Joann’s with me never fails to make me all gooey inside-and then out to eat. The last time we’d gone out to eat, I’d had an anxiety attack in the restaurant and it wasn’t so fun. This time, I was feeling similarly, and I though for some reason I had developed an aversion to restaurants. It was a dinner I had long been looking forward to though, so I ignored how I was feeling and although we kind of left in more of a hurry than we normally would have, we still ate and it was still nice.
I wasn’t feeling a whole lot better when we got back to my mom’s and I ended up falling asleep on the couch after everyone else had gone to bed. I got up and went upstairs, still feeling not great and there were cramps added in this time too. I read for a little while, and ended up falling asleep again. I woke up again with the cramps, and…my water broke.
Based on previous experience-my water breaking while the baby was actively being born-I was feeling a liiiiitle frantic. I woke Jake up and changed into different clothes so we could leave. He isn’t the world’s faster waker-upper, and I don’t think I quite articulated my panic to him so it felt like he took foreeeeeever to get ready to go. I’m thinking, do you really need to brush your teeth? I told my mom we were heading out, and we paged the midwife to let her know too. She called back before we could even get out the door and let me know she’d be there with the tub ready.
The drive was uneventful, I had some cramps and maybe one or two contractions. I had been stressing out the entire week that I’d go into labor during a time of day that would force us to drive to the birth center during rush hour, and since it was Saturday morning that fear was gone, but the new fear of construction zones popped up. Luckily it was smooth sailing, and the light to turn left off the freeway was even green when we got to it. What are the odds?
We got to the birth center and…nothing. The tub was ready, the midwife was ready, Jake and I were ready, but apparently the baby wasn’t. The assistant (apprentice? I’m not sure of her title) got there and we got settled in. The room is set up like a bedroom, there’s a bed, chair and nightstand, and an attached bathroom. I swear that full tub was mocking me, because after all of my panic and rush, I wasn’t even having contractions, cramps or anything.
So, we slept. I ate, we slept. We watched TV, I slept. I ate again, and slept some more. I went back and forth between waking up cheerful and optimistic (this will surely be the hour something happens!) to being discouraged and frustrated (calculating how many more hours until I’d be facing a hospital transfer). It was easier to just sleep than to worry, so I slept. Since I had left the house sure I’d have a baby in my arms by lunch time, as the afternoon went on I got more and more anxious. I kept thinking I should get up and walk, but the whole water broken thing made that very unattractive. My midwife kept pushing food, which I was so not interested in, like not interested to the point that I asked Jake to eat his breakfast outside because I couldn’t stand the smell.
As it got later, we started discussing ‘things to do’ to try to get things moving. My midwife was sure that if I ate something substantial that it would help. I was resistant, so she told me I had a half an hour and if nothing changed then we’d try a good meal. She also told Jake that he should be laying in bed with me, rubbing my back and taking care of me. He politely agreed, but after three previous babies he knew better than to crowd me. After she left, my contractions started to pick up-just a little, like I actually had to think through them rather than just notice they were happening.
A few more contractions in, and I wasn’t able to be laying down anymore. I had Jake refill the birthing tub, and a few more contractions went by and I was ready to get in. At this point I was kind of not aware of my surroundings anymore, but I remember the assistant coming in, and then telling them that the midwife should probably be there too, and then hearing her telling me she was right there. She turned on the jets in the tub this time, which we didn’t have a chance to do with Hazel, and it was wonderful. After another handful of contractions, I was ready to push. It was three, maybe four pushes, and we had a baby. That first minute after a baby is born might be one of my most favorite feelings in the entire world. Delilah Joan was born at 5:59 PM on January 10th, weighing 7 pounds 15 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long.
We hung out at the birth center for another few hours, and then packed up and went home. It was late-we didn’t get back to the house until 11 or so, but Adeline was still awake. She got to meet her new baby sister, and then insisted on sleeping downstairs with me and the baby that night.
After a couple of days we were ready to come home, so after having the baby checked over by a pediatrician, we loaded up and drove back. My mom followed us up so she could help me while Jake works, and we’re all working on settling in to a new routine and giving me a chance to recover.
I’m so happy to be home, and am feeling about 96%. My mom will be here for a few more days, so I’m back and forth between being excited to get back to normal and kind of terrified about doing it on my own when Jake’s at work. This has been the longest I’ve ever given myself to recover after a baby, and I’m starting to feel a little bit lazy, and ready to be back in charge again. I have learned a lot about managing the kids from watching my mom with them though, and I hope I can remember everything that she did so I can start doing it too. Her methods are very effective, and more pleasant than how I’ve done things (she never, ever raises her voice. Ever.). But it is still hard to not be in charge, and I rather miss Hazel, who is in total YaYa mode right now.
So here we go on our next great adventure-family of six!