Throughout my pregnancy with you, when people would ask me my due date, I would say, “Christmas Eve, but I’d love for her to arrive a week early and be here for Christmas!” Little did I know… you were listening!
It was Wednesday, December 16, eight days before your due date, and I awoke to bloody show and loss of most of my mucous plug. The day progressed with a few light contractions, but nothing too alarming. I felt more and more pressure as the day went on, and started to wonder if you were well on your way. I felt a combination of excitement and fear, remembering the pain of labor but also anticipating seeing you for the fist time. At about 9pm, I put Rebekah to bed and went ahead and went to sleep myself, knowing I would need the rest if things were actually progressing. Rebekah woke up at about 11:30pm, so I went into her room to lay down with her. During the 20 minutes or so in her bed, I felt a few strong contractions. They felt like very intense menstrual cramps. I got up and went downstairs to tell your dad that we should start timing. It was just after midnight on Thursday, December 17. After about a half hour, we called Hillary and my mom and told them that things were progressing quickly. Hillary said she would head over right away. Hillary arrived very quickly and joked, “Be careful what you wish for!” She found that I was already dilated to 8cm, which was exciting because you were coming quickly.
The contractions were intense, but very tolerable, and I was able to talk and joke in between. Hillary’s assistant Tera came, and I had met her twice before, so it was nice to see that a familiar face would be assisting. The midwives rested in the living room as I walked around the house and handled the contractions as best as I could. With every contraction I had to stop and hold onto something and bend over. I was thankful the contractions weren’t in back, though, like they were during my first labor. Rebekah awoke again, and Mike tried to console her in her room, but eventually had to bring her downstairs to sit with us… she knew something was going on and wanted to be a part of it! She enjoyed a few Christmas cartoons on the bed with me in the guestroom. It was a lot of fun, really, except for my having to jump o! the bed and bend over for each contraction. I needed quiet focus each time, but they really weren’t too terrible. At about 4am, I decided to get into the birthing pool, in hopes that it would ease the pain a bit. Rebekah got in with me and had the absolute time of her life. A warm pool in the house, how fun! We were both naked, of course, and she didn’t seem to mind my focused pauses during contractions. She splashed and jumped around for about 45 minutes. Mike took her out when I knew things were getting close. My parents arrived soon after, which was perfect timing because my dad took Rebekah to the basement to play and watch TV. Hillary and Tera and my mom stayed close as I labored in the pool.
Being the middle of the night, I was sure the midwives were tired, so I asked mom to make them some coffee, which they appreciated. When I asked what to do, they were very calm, and kept telling me to just follow my body’s lead. Rebekah fell asleep in the basement with Dad, which was perfect, since I was about to make a lot of noise! Mike and my mom were also encouraging me throughout. Hillary asked me if I would like her to break my water, to make things go more quickly, so I had her go ahead. The pressure really set in now! I felt faint and unsure of what to do. I entered the mindset of feeling unable to work any harder. Hillary kept telling me that, “I needed to do this for the baby” and that helped immensely. It’s not all about me anymore! The hard pushing started around 5:30am. There was a small lip of my cervix that had not thinned out completely, so with each contraction Hillary put her hand in there and held it aside while I pushed. As much as this hurt, it sort of helped to have something to aim my pushing toward- her hand. I was crying and saying over and over that I couldn’t do it and it hurt too badly. I started to feel faint, like I was going to black out. My blood pressure dropped and your heart rate went down.
Finally, the strong urge set in and I pushed with all of my might to get you through my pelvis. Once you were through the pelvis, your heart rate was fine. At this point, I couldn’t stop pushing. I hollered and groaned and pushed and pushed and pushed until your head came out. Your grandpa in the basement heard some frightening noises come from me! Finally, at 6:02am on December 17, your whole body came out and you were born. You passed some meconium as you came out, so they didn’t keep your face under the water. You were placed on my belly and I kissed and hugged you. The relief of you sliding out is indescribable. Happy Birthday, Eliza and mommy! I held you in the water for awhile, the cord was cut by your daddy, and then he held you and I stood up to birth the placenta. We moved to the bed and I held you on my bare chest. You latched on with no problem! Rebekah woke up at about 8am and was delighted to see that her baby had arrived! She wanted to hold you immediately, so she climbed up on the bed and held you in her arms. Her first comment was, “She’s tiny.” We are all so happy that you were able to come into this world in such a peaceful and loving home. We love you, dear Eliza!
The experience of having a home birth was amazing. The midwives were incredible, calm, and focused. Being able to climb into bed with our own pillows and sheets was so comforting. Mike made everyone eggs and pancakes and we enjoyed staring at you and welcoming you into our family.