Just this over a week ago Saturday (January 28, 2012), we welcomed our fifth child into the family: Taliya Ruth. This little angel is so precious. We are just eating her up.
Just to recap some historical information with our family, we have decided that home is the best place for us to be for birth unless a medical reason arises, so I have had all but one of my babies at home. Our first birth was in the hospital and it was less than satisfying (to put it gently) and after doing a lot of research and reading many books and medical studies, we found that home birth with certified midwives is an excellent alternative to the hospital birth experience (for more information on this topic, please check out the resource list for recommended sources). In addition, all of my children have been "overdue", or past the date of "estimatation" (EDD). This has ranged from 7-16 days, prior to this 5th birth. Thankfully, the recurrent nature of post-term babies for me has allowed me to get my mind in gear to expect the babies to come later rather than early. This has really helped with the end of pregnancy mind games that happen when mommy is just sick of being pregnant and wants to hold final hold the baby at the end of the race. It is always helpful to focus on the fact that the EDD is just an estimation, not a prediction.
We have been so excited in anticipation for the birth of Taliya. A funny side story is that, as previously mentioned, I always expect my babies to go "overdue", so in the beginning of this pregnancy, when I initially found out I was pregnant, I decided to "tell people" my due date was a week later than it actually was. This was to deter the regular "when is the baby coming" questions at the end, which can be very trying when you are "overdue". Well, in the midst of adding this week for others, I got lost in the dates and confused myself into thinking the actual due date was the "false one". I did not realize this mistake until my 38 week appointment with my midwives. She said, "You are officially 38 weeks pregnant!" to which I replied, "I thought I was 37 weeks pregnant...". She flips open her chart and said, "No, you're due X date and are 38 weeks today.". The only problem with this "new" information was that my husband had scheduled work tests the entire week before my false due date, which meant he now had things scheduled the entire week after I would hit 40 weeks! I just decided that I would have to wait until at least after Friday to have the baby so he could get his work done.
Of course, on my "due date" a lot of sudden pre-labor/Braxton Hicks started. They were intense and came a lot throughout the day, but ultimately did not go anywhere, so I just basically ignored them. This continued on throughout the week, sometimes getting so uncomfortable that I would have to breathe through them. I was woken up during the middle of the night with them. Things were happening, but they did not go any farther, so I just ignored them. We got through the week while Mark finished up his work tasks and the weekend began.
On Saturday morning, at 2:30 am, I was awoken by contractions again. This time, though, they were not going away. I just kind of labored at the foot of the bed, debating on if I should lay back down and sleep (since I had just gotten into bed at midnight) or if I needed to get up. A few minutes later a sudden burst of nausea hit me, so I ran to the bathroom and the lovely side of birth began =0). My body emptied out all the food things we had taken in over the next couple of hours, which of course was time that also included many contractions in between bathroom runs and sleeping on the couch for a few minutes here and there. It was pretty. Thankfully, though, once my stomach was emptied, the nausea went away for the rest of labor.
Around 4:30 am, I was thinking about whether or not I needed to wake up Mark. I knew he was tired and I didn't know how long we would have for the labor, but I was expecting our normal 11-14 hours. But, then I remembered that we needed to fill the birth tub with water and I didn't know how long that would take, so I decided it would be best to wake him up just to be safe. I went into the bedroom, tapped his foot a few times and said, "Babe, I'm in labor...". He responded with "Great"! He then proceeded to text the midwife that I was in labor and throwing up and she immediately called him back and said they were on their way. Little did I know that she was actually concerned about not making it in time because she lives 45 minutes away. Thankfully she had been awake when Mark texted her so she was ready to move right away (P.S. it is not recommended to text the midwife in situations like this, lol, but had she not called Mark back right away I was going to have him call). He immediately got to work filling the tub and I got back into my position on the couch, sitting and laboring in a cross-legged position.
Man, it felt intense! But, because I am accustomed to long labors, I just kept thinking that I was still early in my progress. The first midwife (assistant) arrived around 4:50 am and she just quietly sat in the room with me and observed my labor. I would simply go limp in my upper torso when the contractions would hit, I would lower my head and slowly sway back and forth in my upper body while making low/deep moaning noises. This was my main labor position, lol.
Soon after, the other student midwife and the main midwife arrived and the tub was filled. I later learned some back story to the tub situation. It had been filled with very hot water, since my husband was anticipating a long labor. The midwife informed him that they needed to add some cold water to cool the water down, which they proceeded to do quickly. Of course, I did not know any of this was going on in the room next to me. I was just focused on my laboring, which was getting more and more difficult to manage. "Dear God, tell me that I am not 2-3 cm, because I do not know how I am going to get through 8 more hours of this" was what was going through my mind. My hips were killing me. My back was hurting. I stood up and was leaning over the couch to try to get some relief and one of the midwives helped offer some counter pressure on my hips, which really helped to alleviate some of the intensity. This was all happening around 6:50 am.
The kids were downstairs putting together some "crafts" to welcome Taliya into the family.
At 7am, I was told I could get into the water, which I was hesitant to do because I knew I was making nice progress and I didn't want the water to halt any progress, even though I love the relief the water offers. But, I got into the water eagerly anyway. It felt so great! Even when the next contraction came it felt less intense and more peaceful, which was a welcome relief! Water rocks! A minute or so later the midwife said, "Whenever you begin to feel pressure in your rear, just let me know". It was a humorous statement to me because I had been feeling some pressure already, but I "knew" it was not yet the baby because in my head I was "only 3-4" or so I kept telling myself. They asked me to move to another side of the tub so that they could see better, which I knew meant they thought I would be pushing soon, but I didn't really want to believe her because if she was wrong I didn't want to have my hopes up, even though this was countering what I knew was going on in my body...this was my battle of experience, lol. Past experiences were clouding my better judgment and thinking processes.
First contractions in the water...less intense than before but still intense!
Right after the midwives had me switch to the other side of the pool so they could get a better view, pushing began!
Head's out and I turned over (upon instinct)
Baby's out, but still in the water (cord was loosely around her foot)
Right into mommy's arms...just how I like it =0)
And, Mommy's face of disbelief...my exact words were, "SHUT UP!"
Anyway, about a minute later, I felt the beginning of pushing, which was met without any objections so I just went with it. About a minute after that she was crowning and 30 seconds later she was in my arms. The entire birth was seamless, smoothe, and totally caught my husband and me by surprise with how quickly it went! My 5 day "overdue" baby was covered in vernix (a sign of being a younger baby) and was beautiful. When we eventually weighed her she was 7 lbs 2 oz and 20 1/4 inches long. She nursed fine (although we had a little latch issue for a bit, but eventually worked through it) and slept wonderfully. She has been such an amazing blessing. Taliya, "dew of Heaven", Ruth, "companion and friend", has become the newest little love addiction for the Filter household, and she is definitely abundantly blessed by the many hands that hold and love her! =0)
First picture with all 5 children! Welcome to the family, Taliya! We love you!
(I finally was able to put together the video of the event. We love to video tape the births of the kids, because the girls especially have really enjoyed seeing their own birth. We are asked regularly if they can watch them. =0) I hope it blesses, encourages, and awes you as much as it does me.)