Friday, January 10th, one day before my due date, I woke up at 3:30am to use the restroom and had several prodromal labor contractions 4-5 minutes apart. I became antsy hoping this would turn into “real” labor and so I started my last load of laundry and ate breakfast. I decided that if I’d had a few more that I would alert my mom and midwife Shannon since my last 2 labors were very quick–I didn’t want them missing it. I sat on the couch to play a little Candy Crush and the contractions quickly petered out back to just crampy braxton hicks and 10+ minutes apart. At 4:30am I declared it prodromal labor and went back to bed to try to get some sleep before my boys woke up.
At about 4:45am, my 2 1/2year old son Axton came to bed with us. I got him settled in our side-carred crib and patted his back. I was quite uncomfortable with the back cramping I was experiencing (and had been for the last 4 days) and was having a hard time falling back asleep. At 5:15am, just as I was drifting off to sleep I felt something that I couldn’t decide if it was a huge punch from baby or my water breaking. I decided to get up and check, and sure enough, it was my water. I put on a pad and got breakfast and the TV going for Axton, since he woke up when I got out of bed. I called Shannon, who asked if I’d like her to go ahead and come on over. I felt really silly asking her to come since I hadn’t had any contractions since my water breaking, so we decided she’d get up and ready and I would text her when I started having contractions. I called my mother and sister Candice to go ahead and come over, woke up my husband, and put my in-laws on alert.
At 5:30am I texted Shannon that I’d had a couple contractions. I was having a hard time timing them, as I’d have one, then forget to hit stop as I tried to take my last pregnant belly picture, brush my teeth, fix my hair, and put on makeup (hey, so I’m vain…). My guess is about 3 minutes apart. I had a bit of bloody show at 5:40, but not much. I updated my Facebook due date group and my personal page that I’d be having a baby that day and turned on my water in the bathtub. My mom showed up about 5:55am and Shannon showed up about 6:10am. She checked my blood pressure, temperature, and checked baby’s heartbeat as I sat on my birth ball. At this point the contractions were becoming very tough and intense and required my full attention. I leaned over the bed and closed my eyes and tried to relax through them, but was already having a hard time doing so; the pressure was so intense in my lower back, and I was also experiencing very painful cramps in my lower back and lower abdomen in conjunction with the tightness and pressure of the contractions. They began coming every 2 minutes and lasting over a minute. After a few more contractions, I was already feeling overwhelmed with the intensity and pain and began crying. I promptly decided it was time to get in the tub, even though it wasn’t even half full.
I donned my “traditional birthing tank,” as my sister calls it, and climbed in the tub. The water felt great, but unfortunately didn’t provide as much relief as I remember it having with my other two water births. My husband Corey climbed in after me and I assumed my position draped over his knee. Upon seeing the two of us in the tub, Logan (5 1/2) and Axton decided they wanted a bath too. My mom helped them put on their swim trunks and they came in with us for about 10 minutes or so. They played a bit and hugged me a bit, then I needed them out. The contractions weren’t quite letting up between each peak; they would peak and die back down, but the cramping in my back didn’t let up and then I’d have another wave of contraction. Sometime around 7, the time really escaped me this labor, my sister Candice, student midwife Amber, and my father-in-law arrived. My father-in-law helped watch the boys and warm more water on the stove for the tub, as I later learned we were having problems with the water pressure and so the warm water ran out before the tub was full, and my mother and sister took pictures and videos for me.
Shortly thereafter I began feeling my body squeezing with each peak of the contractions and called Shannon into the bathroom. The contractions felt too much to handle at this point and I began repeating “you can do this. Come on, baby. Come on down” in my head. I also remember telling my husband “this is stupid. I can’t do this anymore” 🙂 Shannon gave me encouragement telling me how strong I was. In between these “pushy” contractions, my body gave me a little rest as I felt like there was more time in between these contractions than what I was feeling before. I knew my body would begin pushing soon and tried to prepare myself mentally for what I knew would be hard. At about 7:30, my body began to bear down, and my first thought was “no, I’m not ready,” but there was no stopping it. I was involuntarily shaking and crying, the intensity was just too much to bear. I had to make myself try to keep my sounds low as I cried out (embarrassingly loudly) “owwww” and “whoooo”. After two pushing contractions I announced that I felt his head. Two more contractions, crying, and grunting and his head was out. He had a tight nuchal cord, and my body hadn’t given me another contraction yet. Shannon asked if I was ready to have my baby and helped me deliver the body. I could feel his body wasn’t in the best position coming out, so birthing his body was not as easy or painless as it had been with my other two boys whose bodies slid out with a push. She passed him to me and I pulled him out of the water. He did not instantly pink up out of the water since his cord was not only wrapped around his neck but around his arm and around his chest. Shannon and I did a quick fumble/scramble to get him untangled and I brought him to my chest.
I did it. It was soo hard, but I did it. My baby was here. He wasn’t crying, but I knew all was well when he turned his head and looked directly at me with wide open eyes. When he rooted and tried to nurse through my shirt, all worries melted away–he was going to be fine. I rubbed his back, cooed over his tiny head full of dark hair, and watched him pink up as his brothers came in to meet him. We marveled at how tiny he was, which Shannon and Amber laughed about, but he is my smallest baby, so to me he IS so tiny.
After we cut the cord and I delivered the placenta, he nursed like a champ and Shannon did his assessment. My beautiful rainbow baby Bronn Everett was 7lb 13oz, 19 1/2″, born at 7:39am on January 10, 2014, after a very hard 2 hours and 20 minutes of labor. And he was worth every second of it. ETA: I forgot to mention that since he had turned head down around 28 weeks, he had been direct occiput posterior, OP, with a hand on his face that would slip down into my pelvic inlet at times (his back at my back and a hand that might possibly come out at the same time as his head…basically the most unfavorable position for labor and birth). Most OP babies give their mamas lots of prodromal labor, a hard and long back labor, and a long pushing time (not to mention if that hand came out with his head…). January 6th and the 9th, I saw my chiropractor for the Webster adjustment to hopefully get my pelvis in line for him to turn anterior (his face at my back, or the most favorable position for labor and birth), and while it did help alleviate the pain I was feeling in my pubic bone, he still remained posterior (though we did feel his back at my left side on the 7th, which meant he was able to move some, but he quickly went back to his direct OP position). He remained OP throughout labor, giving me intense back labor, but did emerge anterior. I can’t say exactly when he turned, but I’m sure it had something to do with him being nice and tangled.
“to be a rainbow baby does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears in the sky, it does not mean that the storm never happened, or that the family is not still dealing with its sadness aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds…..and that light is you. Storm clouds may still hover but a “rainbow baby” provides a counterbalance of color, energy, and hope.”