This morning at 1:25 a.m., our 9th baby turned a year old! I would love to say that I slept right through it, but he and his 2-year-old brother were both awake. Bring on the caffeine. Good thing God made them cute.
I thought it would be fun to join in at Friday Quick Takes to remember baby Brooks’ birth! I love remembering my birth stories!
At suppertime on September 11th, my midwife stopped by my house to do an exam. I was 41 weeks pregnant but felt about 352 weeks pregnant. Yes, all my babies like to grow past their estimated due dates. Yes, I was huge. No, I’m sure there wasn’t twins in there. I grow ’em big and healthy.
The baby (we didn’t have a name because we didn’t know the gender) was engaged in the birth canal and extremely low, which explains why it hurt to walk. And sit. And move. For first time mamas, the baby drops a few weeks before birth; for a grand multipara like myself, the baby doesn’t drop until right before birth. I was only dilated to 2 cm, but my bag of water was already bulging. “It” would happen very soon.
Mike had taken the kids to dinner, so after my exam I tried to nap. My midwife insisted she was staying at our house that night! She had an inkling that true labor would start once the kids were asleep.
I was thankful that the kids got ready for bed easily! Well, except for Drake, who kept hanging around with us downstairs. We told him to go to bed because when he woke up the baby would be here! As I nursed Heath to sleep (yes I am a crunchy, granola tandem nurser now), I had some *strong* contractions. Wow. Labor pains are something so strong, so intense, yet so quickly forgotten.
I had a snack at around 10:00 p.m., and my midwife got the birth supplies ready in our bedroom. My blood pressure was great, baby’s heart rate was tolerating contractions well. Labor was still in the early stages, so she napped on the couch. Mike napped upstairs in our bedroom since I didn’t need his support yet.
All I felt like doing was walking and swaying. I paced around our kitchen, praying and enjoying those last baby kicks and squirms. With each contraction I would relax, visualizing the baby dropping lower. I would instinctively sway, praying “Hail Mary, full of grace,” but I couldn’t manage to get the rest of the prayer out. Contractions were getting strong!
A little after midnight, I felt the baby’s head move down. It’s the strangest, most uncomfortable feeling! I decided to wake Mike and my midwife up, and we went upstairs to the bedroom.
I was already 7 cm dilated and baby was lower with a very bulging bag of water. It wouldn’t be long! I labored in the quiet darkness of our bedroom, standing and swaying, pacing back and forth to the bathroom, and sitting on a birth ball. I couldn’t believe the intense amount of pressure I felt, kind of like a huge water balloon was trying to come out!
(This is the amazing part of a home birth. As long as baby is tolerating labor well, I could be in whatever position I liked, eating and drinking, wearing whatever I wanted to wear, using the bathroom whenever I wanted.)
At this point, Drake woke up and came into our bedroom. I told him to go downstairs and wait because the baby would be here really soon!
A little after 1:00 a.m. the pressure was incredibly intense. I hobbled over to the birth stool and pushed a few minutes, but my water just wouldn’t break. The baby was about to be born, and the pressure of pushing with an intact bag of water was very intense! As soon as my midwife broke my water, the baby came out with the next push.
Honestly, I didn’t have gushy, mushy, loving feelings right away. I never do. I just felt relief. Thank you, God, that it was over!
My midwife skillfully wrapped the baby in a towel, placing the baby in my arms. I heard Drake and Blaise scrambling to come in the room, and I peeked—It was a boy! I had been for sure it was a girl, but it was a boy!
Britta woke up, then all the others came in the room. Baby Heath (only 15 months old at the time) miraculously stayed asleep, and the others woke up Erica and Kelsey in their basement bedroom. Drake was bragging that he had known, he had been right that it was a boy!
The kids got to watch Mike cut the umbilical cord once it stopped pulsing. We kicked them out of the bedroom so I could deliver the placenta, be examined, and get cleaned up. Then they came back in to watch their little brother’s newborn exam.
Brooks Dominic was the name Mike and I decided on. “Little” Brooks weighed in at 9 lb 2 oz and was 20 1/2 inches long. He nursed like a champ from the beginning!
After I showered, we sent the kids back to bed to rest before they went to school. Here we all are about 6 hours after Brooks was born:
When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world.
Happy birthday, little guy. We love you!