And by interesting I mean I gave birth in the backseat of a car today.
Yep, that's today in a nutshell!
So on October 12th, around 8:30pm I lost a nice chunk of mucous plug streaked with blood. I told -- it could definitely mean labor was near, and I was noticeably more freaked than he was, because he didn't think I would be going into labor. Hell, neither did I, I wasn't even 40 weeks yet and I thought he'd come late like his big brother did.
So at 8:42 I had my first contraction. They ranged from 7-13 minutes apart, very irregular - so I didn't think it was the real thing. I figured it was the same "labor" I'd had with Noah - twice - before actually going into labor. I relaxed, ate, drank tons of water and tried to watch TV. At some point I tried to go to sleep, but contractions kept waking me up. When I had 4 contractions that were 6 minutes apart, I decided it was finally enough of a pattern and regular enough to get going to our midwife's house. I handed the phone to -- between contractions and told him I couldn't wait any longer, that I thought it was finally the real thing and not practice labor. He called his mom and I walked to the bathroom to lean on the washer (it's the perfect height) so I could sway my hips through contractions that were suddenly very, very intense. He brought the phone in because his mom wanted to talk to me, and I had to have him wait through the contraction before I could take it. Like I said, they were suddenly very intense, and I couldn't really talk through them. That probably should have been my first clue that I wasn't going to make it to the house before having him. I talked to her, she let me know she was on her way. I hung up the phone just in time for another contraction. I put my head on my arms, swayed my hips, I counted and I let the contraction do it's job instead of fighting it. It hurts less that way. After the contraction I went back into the kitchen and had a random contraction that didn't wait 6 minutes like the rest, so I breathed and counted through it leaning on the kitchen table. They went back to 6 minutes after that. I went back to our bedroom with -- to try to relax a little while he brought our clothes and birth supplies downstairs, and swayed through contractions on my headboard and kneeling against my bed.
And then it hit me, I forgot pads. I thought I'd bought some but they were either missing or I'd forgotten them because as I watched -- bring everything down, I didn't see a single package. I went to my brother's room to ask to borrow $10 until I got home so I could get more water and some pads on the way up, had a contraction that I got through on his dresser, and freaked him out a bit - unintentionally, of course. I borrowed the money and let my mom know we were leaving to go to VT because Sparrow had decided it was time to come out now. She freaked out a bit, she told me she didn't think I was going to make it up there before he decided it was time to come into the world. I assured her I would make it, not knowing I would only be halfway there when he was born. -- helped me through a few more contractions and then his mom was there.
I felt bad not helping him carry everything down even though I was in labor, so I decided to carry Noah downstairs. I didn't tell him because I knew he would have told me no and gotten him himself.
Bad idea. I got a hellish contraction the second I picked him up, and he was sleeping so I couldn't just put him down! Word to the wise, it's not easy to hold a 28lb two year old through an intense contraction. I rocked back and forth with Noah in my arms, and somehow made it through a 60 second contraction from hell. Yeah, that one was fun.
I got him down to the car and the first thing -- (--' mom) said was "What are you doing, why are you carrying him? You're in labor!" Right then I had another contraction and handed him to --, who tried to calm him down while I leaned on the car. Noah had no idea what was going on and was pretty upset, but they got him calmed down and into the car. With my next contraction she rubbed my back and helped me through it while -- finished loading the car and buckling Noah.
We got into the car, everything loaded into the back, and got on our way. -- asked his mom to stop at the 24 hour CVS for water and pads because he remembered me asking him to run in and get them, and I said "no no no it's okay we'll do it after I have him we need to go!" Just like that, no punctuation, no pause, just all in one panicky breath. I didn't want to give birth in the backseat of a car, even though -- lined it with those chucks pads or whatever they're called just in case. I really thought we were going to make it, though. Until we hit a super bumpy road and contractions started coming one after another. Every two minutes I was leaning over the seat, counting to 60... then to 70... then to 80... then 90?! 90 second contractions every two minutes, and I knew this was it. I wasn't going to make it. I kept trying to focus on the music in the car, -- was playing something very similar to my birth playlist and I was so thankful. It helped me to relax, even if just a little. But then I felt it, that unmistakable pressure, the urge to push, and I fought it for a good twenty minutes. I kept trying to hold off on pushing, I really did, but when you need to push - you need to push!
Despite not wanting to give birth in the back of a car, I pushed and broke my water. I tried not to, but at this point I didn't have any control over it. I gave in and I let my body do what it had to - after all, it knows best. My body knows how to labor, how to get the baby out, my body knows what it needs to do. And so I pushed, all while screaming "Fuck shit fuck fuck fuck I can't do this, fuuuuuck!"
This is exactly how I was when I was in transition with Noah, so I knew I was close. Even though I had this overwhelming feeling I couldn't do it, I kept reminding myself in my head, "You've done this before, you can do it again!" I had encouragement from -- and --, who tried to assure me that yes, I could do this, and reminded me that I didn't really have another option at the point seeing as we were on the side of the road, somewhere in MA, and closer to my midwife than to a hospital anyway.
Anyway, I reached down right after my water broke and I felt his head. I didn't feel his hair but I wasn't too concerned with his hair at this point, I just wanted him out so I would stop hurting.
-- pulled over and came around to the back seat of the car to help me. I told her my water broke even though I'm like 99.99999% positive she already knew and that that's why she pulled over...
I pushed again and his head was out, and he was posterior, and I had to try to stop pushing so -- could unwrap the cord from around his neck. Then out came his arms (like Superman, I'm told!) and then the rest of him shortly after! He had a good, strong cry, and I wasn't incredibly worried anymore - but still a little worried. I've never given birth in a car before.
I didn't even cry because I was in total shock, I gave birth in the backseat of a car, next to my 2 year old, somewhere on the side of the road in who knows what town!
I asked if he was okay probably thirty times in five minutes, even though they kept telling me he was fine.
-- cut the cord and handed him to --, who wrapped him in a receiving blanket from the basket with our birth supplies. I kind of just stared at the umbilical cord still attached to me and the blood on those pads - and on the seat and even a little on the door. Yeah, skills I guess, I got blood everywhere! I apologized and -- kept telling me it was okay, but I literally got blood on everything.
Noah asked what it was and without thinking I told him it was baby juice. I don't know why that even made sense to me, but apparently it did. I also don't know why he asked because he knows what blood is.
The whole time I was pushing he was sitting in his seat, a lot calmer than I expected but still panicky. He kept asking if I was okay and what was happening and -- kept telling him I was okay and that the baby was coming. I think it clicked for him after -- told him the baby was coming, because Noah's watched plenty of birth videos with me and he knows it's common for laboring women to yell and growl and moan in labor. He still kept asking if I was okay though, because he worries about me.
We continued on to VT to my midwife's house, stopping once more along the way to deliver the placenta - which is sitting in the fridge currently. As soon as we were on our way up again -- asked what the baby's name was, and I remembered that we hadn't told anyone the name yet. We told her his name and then I sent my parents a text saying "He's here, Gage Orion Richards was born at 5:26am, in the back seat, somewhere on the side of the road in MA. We're okay!" My dad didn't even know I was in labor - no one really did because we didn't think it was real labor! And yeah, Facebook addicted me sent a text to make my status announcing his arrival.
When we got there, my midwife checked us out and got his stats (7lbs 6oz like his brother and 20 inches long), our blood pressure and pulses were great, I have a minor surface tear. By the way, that's worse than stitches because it's like a damn perineal paper cut. We talked and enjoyed our new baby and relaxed. She kept an eye on us for a few hours because I was positive for group B strep a week earlier. After doing my research I'd decided against antibiotics in labor (not like I'd have had a chance for them anyway, haha!) and I'd been treating it at home with Vitamin C, echinacea, and bee propolis. We're both doing great with all that. He's very alert and talkative, he actually makes all these ridiculously cute dragon noises and we've taken to calling him Dragon or "the dragon baby" more often than Gage. Noah absolutely adores him. My midwife gave us the footprint kit and gave me some extra stuff to help with PP healing and all that, and helped me to shower and made sure I felt alright. -- and his mom made a Dunkin run and brought back hot apple cider (CT doesn't have it but VT and MA do!) and we just sat around for a few hours chatting and enjoying our new baby/dragon. I'm not sure how long we actually stayed, but I know we had the okay to go after four hours, just like a birthing center, because there were no complications. My midwife and her family are like a second family to me, our families have been close for over a decade, so it's like my home away from home and it was really nice to be there and relax.
I got to see my best friend and her boyfriend and meet her daughter, Fayelinn (we were due 4 weeks apart but she had her daughter on October 5th (due September 26th) and I had Gage October 13th (due October 23rd)). All in all it was a chaotic, messy, incredible, memorable, and chaotically beautiful experience.
We're home now and doing great. He's breastfeeding like a champ, and actually sleeping right next to his big brother next to me right now. I might join them soon, I'm exhausted!
Welcome to the world, Gage Orion Richards. :)
7lbs, 6oz and 20in long
October 13th, 2013
I couldn't ask for more.