Max was a little undecided about what day he wanted to be born. On the 22nd of December, from about 12:30AM, I had some pretty regular, fairly strong contractions. I just laid in bed, timing some of the and breathing through them, waiting for them to get just a little bit stronger and then I would wake Jay up. But sometime between 3 and 4 AM they petered out and I fell back to sleep.
The next night, I was wakened to stronger, more regular contractions at around 12:30 AM. I waited to see if they stayed strong, and woke Jay up about a half hour later. We called the midwife and started filling the pool.
Carol, our midwife, arrived at around 1:30 and found that I was dilated to about 5, and 90% effaced, so it looked like things were finally on a roll. Kathi arrived around two, and Jay’s mom around 2:30. Jay’s mom was there to care for the kids, especially Tessa, who still wakes up sometimes at night. So she went up and slept in their room. Kathi worked on getting one year old Emily back to sleep.
I did some walking around the house, and labored a little bit on my side. When Carol checked me at around 4:30 I was dilated to 6 and Max had moved a bit lower. Around 6 AM, I sat down to rest in the rocker for a while, and the contractions came to a complete halt. Carol said she thought my body was just too tired to keep going, and sent me to bed to try and get some sleep. She went to sleep in our schoolroom for a while. I woke up at 7:30 to some serious contractions, but over the next hour, they stopped again. I was so tired and depressed. All that time laboring seemed to be for nothing.
When Carol woke up she said that I probably had regressed back to 4 or 5 cm dilation, since I wasn’t actively contracting. She gave me a hug and headed home to her family, giving me instructions just to spend the day resting.
The night of the 23rd/24th I woke up at 1 AM, and my first thought was, “Oh no, here we go again.” I quickly realized that I was not contracting at all and settled quickly back to sleep thinking that we would all get a good night’s rest. But alas, it was not to be… I woke again at 2:30 AM on the 24th to some really mind blowing, serious contractions. I woke Jay up right away, I could barely think. He called Carol and set about warming up the pool. (Carol had said to leave it set up for up to 24 hours.) Once he had that underway he came back up and helped me come downstairs. I lay on the couch and shook through each contraction, and even in between. I couldn’t tell if I was cold or if it was just part of the labor. But it made it very hard to relax through the contractions.
Carol arrived at 3:15 or so and checked me. I was dilated to 7cm this time. But the contractions were so intense and I was so tired already, I didn’t know if maybe I did hope that it all stopped again. Permanent pregnancy was starting to sound okay with me.
I got into the pool sometime around 5:30 I think. I was dilated to 8-9cm. The pool helped me to relax quite a bit. It stopped my shaking. I was able to hum through each contraction, which helped to keep my focus a little better. Carol broke my water soon after. It took quite a bit of coaxing from both Carol and Jay to get me even to change positions to push. Every movement hurt, and things seemed to be going so much slower than with Tessa’s birth. My contractions were very strong, but were spaced over five minutes apart, so even when I started pushing I would lose all the ground I gained in between contractions.
After pushing in the pool for a while, Carol had me move out onto my back on the couch. I think the pool had cooled off too much and I wasn’t pushing very effectively. She and Jay each help my legs while I pushed. After several contractions of that, I moved a little more upright and pushed some more. I finally told them that I had to squat to get any pushing done, so Carol quickly set up some towels and pads on the other side of the pool and Jay supported me in a squat. Once there, I pushed through and between contractions until he FINALLY was born at 6:55 AM. Overall, I had pushed for 55 minutes, most of that time going nowhere due to the long intervals between contractions.
Max was my second shortest, but I think was my hardest birth, as far as pain and length of time pushing. I confess to being fairly uncooperative about the whole pushing ordeal, and while I was pushing on my back, I had charley horses in my thighs that cut short the pushing I could do in each contraction.
As soon as Max was out, the placenta detached, so Carol had to cut the cord right away and hand Max off to his daddy. I had a 1cm tear, which did not require stitching up.
Carol helped me up the stairs and into the shower to rinse off. Jay was busy with Max, getting a diaper and some clothes on him. While he was doing that the kids heard his little cry and rushed in to meet their new brother. (They had woken up only a few minutes before and Paisley had kept them in their rooms until she knew it was all clear.) I got settled in bed and let Max nurse for the first time. He took only a few seconds to figure out what to do and got right down to business.
He was 8 pounds, 6 ounces at birth and 20.5 inches long. He was very eager for my milk to come in and by three days old had succeeded in gaining two ounces already.
He has a very strong suck but is still having a little trouble with his latch on, leaving me very sore, especially on one side. But that is starting to slowly improve.
The kids all adore him, especially Tessa, who exclaims each and every time she sees him, “Oooh Maxie!” Occasionally tacking on, “He’s so KWOOT!”