Tuesday was Meredith's first day of school. I thought for sure I would have already have had the baby and wouldn't be able to walk her to school. I was 41+1 by my dates. My midwife had me dated by LMP which put me at 41 on Wednesday which meant Wednesday morning I would have to drive into Tampa and have a BPP (biophysical profile - a non-stress test plus ultrasound) done to make sure everything still looked healthy. Most of the day on Tuesday I was having contractions that felt more "real" than the ones I'd been having for the past couple of days, though nowhere near timeable and not very intense at all. We went to our friend's house for an afternoon playdate and I mentioned to her that they were feeling real but they were all over the place, sometimes 30 min, sometimes 45, etc. With my other two I never had any early labor at all... once I started contracting it was "it" and things got moving quickly, so I didn't trust that these really were real and not just prodromal labor.
Brian went to bed around 10 and I stayed up with the very intermittent contractions. Around midnight I decided to go to bed. I went to the bathroom and had a tiny bit of brown tinged mucus and got very excited. I'd never lost my plug prior to labor starting before. I went to bed and laid down for a little bit, but quickly realized the contractions had become more timeable. I started timing at 12:15 and they were coming about every 10-12 min, lasting 1 min. I texted my doula since she lives the furthest and told her it was definitely happening, but who knew how long it would be. I timed for an hour then woke Brian to tell him and called my midwife at 1:30. I told her I'd time for another hour then call her back & decide when I wanted her to be here.
I told Brian we should get the bed made up, so we got up and I think being upright made things get moving and suddenly they weren't 10 min apart but some were piggybacking on top of each other. Brian asked if he should call the midwife and I said yes. It had only been about 20 min since I'd called her, but she lives 45+ min away and I knew I was definitely in active labor at that point. Called my photographer at this point too, who is also 45 min away. This was at around 1:40am.
I was having bad diarrhea so was on & off the toilet, but finally decided I wanted to get into the tub. I guess I got in around 2am. Brian & I were still talking between contractions so neither of us thought it was as close as it was. Things quickly got moving though and soon the contractions were coming right on top of each other. The midwife got there just before 3 with my photographer a few minutes behind her. I remember hearing the first click of the shutter and thinking how distracting that would be, then never hearing it again! I was already starting to feel a little pushy, but didn't believe it because it hadn't been long enough. It's funny because I was recognizing my sounds more than I was my own sensations. I kept thinking "these are pushy sounds" even though I was sure it wasn't time to be pushing!
But it was time and after a short while I couldn't deny it. I was feeling pushy and got that out of control shaking feeling, though not nearly as bad as I'd had with Sean (Brian said he didn't even notice me doing it). My midwife assured me baby's head was right there and guided my hand to feel it but I couldn't feel it. Brian said he could see the head popping in & out as I pushed and could see the membranes stretched over the baby's head. Meredith had woken up right around the time everyone started arriving but had gone downstairs, not wanting to be in the room. She did come up toward the end though, and was there for maybe the last 10-15 min. I remember being able to talk to her between a contraction, to assure her I was ok and remind her what hard work it was having a baby. She decided to stay, probably because someone assured her the baby would be here VERY soon. My doula showed up about 5 minutes before the baby was born. I was pushing and knew baby was close and was feeling stretching in the front vs. in the perineum. The sensations were very different, being in the water. I could pinpoint exactly where the pain and pressure were, unlike just having general feeling of it like with my other two out of water births. My water broke, and 5 minutes later he came in one big push, head and body all at once, and suddenly my baby was on my chest!
I recall people saying "he's here" though we hadn't actually checked for sex yet. I was cradling him and thought I felt testicles, but handed him to Brian and he let Meredith look & announce it was a boy. It felt very anti-climactic, where I thought that moment would be a huge one. Maybe because I really believe the ultrasound tech did slip when she told me "he" at that 40 week ultrasound. Or maybe at that point I just didn't care. He had a head full of dark hair and by looking at him we didn't think he looked as big as Sean had been, even though I was sure (because he was 9 days overdue) he'd be bigger!
My midwife asked if I wanted to get out to deliver the placenta or stay in the tub, and I opted to stay. Grant & I snuggled while we waited, and we got his cord cut when it stopped pulsing. Neither Brian or Meredith wanted to cut it, and I couldn't really reach, so Marianne my midwife cut it. My placenta delivered about 15 minutes later. We handed Grant off to Brian to get dried and warm while I got out. I forgot about the after birth shakes... how freezing cold you get, and it felt that much worse that I was wet. I couldn't stop shivering! Got into bed and wrapped in blankets, and got my baby to warm me.
The midwife's assistant showed up about then and they sat and did their notes while Grant nursed. He latched well and grazed from side to side with breaks in between. Meredith was busy making sure everything was ready... bringing in toys for the baby, informing us the baby stuff we'd need (bouncy seat, swing, etc.) were still all in the closet. She was very concerned about everything being just right and we kept trying to get her to just sit be calm. Thankfully my doula took her downstairs and had her help with dishes & getting me food and drink.
Everyone stayed until around 6 and we finally got Meredith back to bed, though I don't think she ever went back to sleep. Sean would be up by 7 so we tried to get a little rest. I couldn't sleep though. When Sean woke up Meredith was very excited to go get him and bring him to our room. The first thing he did was give me his binky for the baby (though that didn't last long!) and has been loving on him ever since. Both the kids are enamored with him and thankfully there haven't really been any jealousy issues yet. Grant is latching & nursing better than my other two. I had minimal tearing and I already feel better down there than I did with the other two also, which I think has a lot to do with giving birth in the water. I also never experienced an intense transition like with the other two. Could be because I was in the water, or it could be because it all happened so quickly that my entire labor was like transition! I still can't believe he's here and that it all happened so quickly! Everyone told me the third baby is a wild card... he was my longest pregnancy (41+2) and my shortest labor (just 3 hours!).
Grant McPherson Graves
August 21, 2013 @ 3:34am
8lb 12oz, 21 inches
Photographs by Lee Anne Roquemore of Petal & Vine Photography