The birth of our fourth child, Molly, was by far our best birth experience. She was due in mid-February of the “snowiest winter on record” here in Philly. With each snowstorm, our neighbors would come out en masse and shovel and snowblow our driveway first out of concern for us. We were seriously pondering what to prepare for a home birth, just in case the roads were closed and we could not get to The Birth Center when I went into labor!
My “due date” came and passed, as it had with our second, and the waiting was harder and harder each day. That Thursday, I was done! I was tired of going through our normal routine (house stuff and homeschool for our oldest two) while all the time just waiting for something to happen. So, we took the day off and walked Ikea and then headed back out and walked Ridley Creek with my 2 ½ year old in the jogging stroller that afternoon. I had been having Braxton hicks contractions throughout the afternoon, but they were definitely nothing to be too excited about.
That Friday morning, I had my non-stress test at TBC and they said I was definitely having contractions! Dorinda suggested sweeping my membranes. I had never had that done before, but at that point, anything that might help sounded good! So, I had her go ahead and then we walked around Target for a while after we left the appointment. I was definitely having different contractions then and knew they were definitely not “just” Braxton hicks anymore!
That afternoon, my husband, Matt, took our older kids out for a few hours while my 2 ½ year old napped. I decided that maybe I should go ahead and make the casserole I was going to take when we went to TBC and even possibly pack my bag (always put that off until the last minute). We had been invited to a friend’s house for dinner, but I felt like staying home since I knew I was in labor already and didn’t really want to be around other people. My husband took our three kids, and I had a quiet evening to myself.
At some point, I realized that maybe I should start timing contractions, and they were maybe 8-10 minutes apart. I eventually had to change position in my chair for them, so I knew things were progressing. I called and found that Katie was on call that night (she delivered my son as well) and was expecting a call from me at any time. She told me to wait until the contractions were 5 minutes or so apart and about one minute in length.
My husband came home and put the kids to bed and then came down and watched me for a while. He suggested calling the babysitter and getting ready to go. I didn’t think it was time yet and said so. Thankfully, he knows me much better than I know myself! Apparently, I get really, really calm when I am in a lot of pain and tend to downplay the seriousness of it. This is why our 2nd child was born only 10 minutes after we arrived at the hospital! So, he looked at me and then he called Katie and told her he was overruling me and that we were coming in. Katie knew to trust his call there, so she said she’d see us soon.
The babysitter arrived and we headed out, and it was none too soon, because it seemed that, as soon as we got on 95, the contractions suddenly hit an even 5 minutes apart and 1 minute long! We got there and Katie and Colleen were waiting. I had been group-B strep positive, so they started an IV and I got my first dose. I was able to pace a bit at first and then ended up standing by the bed leaning on the birth ball for the contractions. For a while I could joke with the midwives and my husband, but eventually I needed to just concentrate on breathing and praying and getting through each one. I ended up kneeling on the bed leaning on the ball after a while, and that was the best, because I could dig my forehead into the ball with each contraction and then roll back and forth.
At some point, the contractions changed and I felt like pushing, so I mentioned it to Katie and Colleen, and they said to go ahead, so I did. My poor husband always bears the brunt of my reaction to pain at this point, because I squeeze his hand through the contractions, and I inevitably forget to cut my fingernails beforehand. ☺ He is great, though, and was totally encouraging and supportive!
After pushing for a wonderfully shorter time that with my son (3rd child), still on my knees leaning on the ball, the baby crowned and then popped out, still wrapped in her bag of waters. This was my only labor where my water didn’t break at all!
The midwives helped me to lower back onto the bed and handed me my new baby girl! What a wonderful labor and delivery! It was by far the best of the four, and I am so thankful for TBC and the support and encouragement throughout the entire process!
Molly was born February 2, 2010.