Meredith's Birth Story
Since Charlotte and Graham were both over 40 weeks when they were born, I fully expected to go over my due date again. I really tried to not even tell people my exact due date because I prefer to be left alone when I get to 40 weeks. If you've ever been overdue, you know how much of a mental game it plays on you, so I wanted to make sure I wasn't getting a bunch of questions and texts asking me when baby was coming. I needed to focus on my body and my mind and the labor I was about to go into. On Thanksgiving morning around 9 a.m., I had a couple mild contractions when I woke up. I hadn't had anything but Braxton hicks thus far, so I knew these were different. I knew baby was coming! I decided to take a bath and just relax. I brought Graham in the tub with me to spend a little time with him. It is such a sweet memory that I'll always have of his last day being my little baby. I had some contractions in the tub and I would stop and focus on breathing through them. They were about 10 minutes apart, so I just wanted to go about my day and ignore them.
At around 10:30 a.m., Josh came in the bathroom while we were taking our bath, and saw me breathing through a contraction. I hadn't told him I was having them because I didn't want him to start freaking out. Once he saw me, he started getting antsy. We were planning to go out to eat for Thanksgiving lunch, but once he saw me he said we should stay in. I told him I was fine and that I'd let him know if they got more intense. After my bath, I went ahead and got ready to go out. I was still breathing through contractions as I did my makeup and got dressed, and I was texting my midwife, doula, and birth photographer. They all thought I was crazy for going to lunch, and even said it might not be the best idea, but I'm stubborn so of course I didn't listen! Once I was dressed, I went downstairs to round everyone up. Josh was still against going to lunch, but I was adamant and he wasn't going to argue with the pregnant lady. He did drive us though, which is something I always do, but I knew I couldn't drive. We drove to Cracker Barrel, and the contractions in the car were not fun at all. I don't like sitting while having contractions, so I was pretty uncomfortable but trying not to show Josh. There ended up being a 2 hour wait for lunch, so we left and drove back closer to home to find another place. We ended up at Kona Grill. We ate lunch pretty quick (for a family of 6), and I was having contractions all through lunch. They were still consistent at around 10 minutes.
Once we got home, around 3:30 p.m., I went upstairs to try and take a nap. I knew I'd have a baby soon, and wanted to rest while I could. I laid down for an hour or so, still uncomfortable, so I didn't get a ton of rest. Decided to just sit on my yoga ball around 5:30 p.m. and then sit on my bedroom floor and watch a show. I didn't like being in bed during the contractions, so the floor ended up being the best option. Josh came in periodically to check on me, and around 7:15 p.m., I just wanted to lay in bed again, but asked Josh to bring me a heating pad for my back. He brought it up to me, and as soon as I got it on my back, I had a super painful contraction and I jumped out of bed and onto the floor to get on my hands and knees. At 7:37 p.m. I grabbed my phone and called my midwife mid-contraction and told her to come, this was it. My contractions were around 8 minutes apart at this point, but I know that for my body, I gauge active labor by the pain level and not the time between contractions. I called my birth photographer and then told Josh that I had called everyone to come. He picked up downstairs, got the other kids in bed, then came upstairs and asked if he should start filling the pool. I told him to just wait a bit. Around 8 p.m., my birth photographer got to the house and once she saw me having some contractions, she told Josh to fill the pool up. At this point my contractions were coming faster, about every 3 or 4 minutes. I was using a heating pad as counter pressure on my back, and it really helped me stay on top of those contractions. At some point I turned on my birth playlist. This was the first birth I had made one, and as the first song played, I started crying. I don't normally cry at all during my labors, so this was new. But I was so overwhelmed with everything, and how the last week had gone.
In my last week of pregnancy I had the stomach flu, and then tested positive for Flu B, which I currently had while in labor. I was ready to meet my baby and all the emotions of what I had dealt with that last week really surfaced. I just sat on my bed and let the tears flow, and once the song was over, I went right back to just going through the contractions. At this point my doula had arrived and since I was handling the contractions well by myself with the heating pad, she just let me be. At 8:45 p.m., my midwife showed up. She lives all the way across town so it took her a bit. My contractions at that point were every 2 minutes. I started talking about getting in the pool, and my midwife asked if I was ready to. I don't like to labor very long in the water because I tend to get too hot, so I questioned whether I was far enough along to even get in. She asked if I wanted her to check me for dilation, to see where I was. At this point in my pregnancy, I hadn't gotten a single cervical check, but I wanted to know where I was at that point. She checked me and said I was around 6 cm, but after the birth she said I was more like 5 cm, she just didn't want me to feel like I wasn't far enough along. I tend to dilate very fast towards the end, so I decided to get in the pool. I was about to get in when I had a contraction that brought me to my hands and knees. I felt a "pop" and knew my water had broken!
At around 9:15 p.m. immediately after that contraction I got in the pool. Josh went to grab the kids because we knew we were close. Once the kids got there, I looked at Charlotte and told her that everything was okay, mommy was okay. The kids just sat there so quietly and watched everything. It feels like a lifetime during the labor, and after a contraction would pass I would reach inside myself to feel where the baby was, and I could feel the head coming down more every time. I started to feel a ton of pressure and I stayed on my knees to get through those contractions. Eventually I put my left leg up to bear down and stabilize myself. Suddenly, I felt the ring of fire and the incredible urge to push. The head came out in one contraction, my midwife checked for a cord around the neck and there wasn't one, so she took her hands away and told me to keep going by myself. I pushed again, grabbed the baby, and pulled her out! So much relief!
And I was so happy to have pulled her out and caught her all on my own! She was born at 9:34 p.m., only 2 hours after I called my midwife! I just laid back in the pool and snuggled her while the older kids touched her and talked to her. We told the kids that it was a girl, and then told them her name. They were in love! Carson cut her cord, and he was so excited! Charlotte came in the pool with Meredith and I to get a closer look at her baby sister. It was such a perfect birth. So fast, but it went so smoothly. We spent the next 2 hours just basking in our new baby and loving on our family. It was beautiful and I couldn't have asked for a better experience!