Six weeks later, all of the details of Livie’s birth are a little fuzzy. What all of the women say is true—you do forget how things felt and all you remember is how wonderful it was to hold your baby at last. I’m glad I wrote some things down. My favorite version of her birth story is the one that my husband tells—he makes me sound like Superwoman. ;)
Finally, after months of waiting, and holding our breath to see if we would be able to attend a wedding shortly before the baby was due, the weekend of her due date arrived. We’d been on pins and needles as I’d been having lots of Braxton and Hicks contractions for the two preceding weeks.
Jacob and I at the wedding—38 weeks and ready to pop!
Saturday, June 15th: Early in the morning I had a good contraction that woke me up. I made myself go back to sleep. I knew I’d need rest if this was the real deal. Around 8 AM I was still having consistent contractions so I woke Jacob and called my midwife. She said she would come and check on me and re-verified directions to our home. I called my mom to let her know and she said to let her know what Alice said. With lots of little ones at home I didn’t want Mom to make the hour and a half drive for a false alarm.
Waiting for Alice to get there—my last pregnant photo.
My house was a wreck, and I needed to buy groceries. I had planned to take care of everything that day, but now was afraid I wouldn’t be able to. Jacob called his parents and my mother-in-law came in like a whirlwind and cleaned and my father-in-law took my list and went shopping.
Once again, my contractions followed their pattern from the previous two weeks: consistent, closer together and stronger, then suddenly stop or space way out after an hour—almost to the minute. By the time Alice arrived at my house, they had stopped. She checked me and I was at 4cm, which was two more than I had been at my appointment earlier that week. So they weren’t in vain. Alice said that every centimeter I could dilate before I went into active labor was one less that I’d have to work for later.
She stayed for an hour and told me to get lots of rest and that she’d probably see me soon. So we did. And I got bored. I didn’t have another contraction (not even a little one) for hours. We rested most of the day and my in-laws came over again that afternoon. For some reason I started craving steak. We didn’t know what tomorrow (which was Father’s Day) would hold, so my father-in-law suggested we celebrate that evening and go out if I felt like it. I said that that was fine, so long as we ate steak. Yes, a heavy steak is the ideal meal to eat when you could go into labor at any minute. What was I thinking?
We had a great time and I had about an hour’s worth of good contractions that I ignored. We came home, played a few games of dominoes, and went to bed. I had already said that I was not going to church the next morning, I knew I needed to rest. And what could be more embarrassing than having your water break at church, right?
Sunday, June 16th: We slept in and I woke up feeling really good. Then I remembered that I still hadn’t bought sheets for the twin size bed that my mom was going to sleep on when she stayed with us. We only had queen sized sheets. Before I started panicking about my mother having a place to sleep Jacob said we’d just go to the store and get some and pick up some things for supper. He was in the mood to cook. And we both thought the walk would do me some good.
We went to the store and made it home without anything exciting happening and I took another nap. Jacob was really hoping that the baby would be born on Father’s Day—that would have been the ultimate Father’s Day gift.
Jacob fixed an amazing supper—pork roast, green bean casserole, potatoes, carrots—another huge, heavy meal. But it was so good!
We played dominoes again and around 6PM strong contractions began again. I started timing them, but expected them to follow the pattern again and stop in an hour. They didn’t, and I began having trouble concentrating on the game when I would have one. Jacob found it highly amusing ;)
At 11PM, contractions were still happening and they were closer together and beginning to take my breathe away. I sent Alice a text and she said she was headed our way. She got to our house at 11:30 and I called Mom to let her know that Alice was coming again. Alice checked me and I had dilated any more, but my bag of waters was very bulgy and I was really in labor this time!
I called my mom again and let her know that this was the real deal and she said she was about to leave.
Alice encouraged me to try and sleep as much as I could. We all rested for a while. I didn’t sleep much, but I tried to between contractions. Jacob slept soundly.
Monday, June 17th: At 2AM my water broke. It was the weirdest feeling ever and it actually made me jump, and that woke Jacob up. I told Alice, “My water just broke! How could anyone ‘think’ their water broke? I felt it!” We all laughed a little bit and then the next contraction hit me. It hit me so hard that after it was over I vomited. It was crazy how much of a difference there was between the contractions before my water broke and afterwards.
My mom arrived right after that. Not too long after that I needed a bathroom break so I went. I had another awful (good) contraction and threw up everywhere again. I think all of the vomit overwhelmed my poor husband. I told him, “Don’t worry about it, Mama will take care of it.” Having her there was such a help and I was able to relax and not worry about things.
The rest of the time is pretty fuzzy in my memory. My husband was such a trooper. He literally held me through every contraction and sacrificed his hands to I could have something to hold onto. He jokingly said that he hoped we could both still play our instruments when it was all over and he had no idea I had such a strong grip.
Around 4AM I asked to get in the bathtub. I didn’t know how much longer I would be in labor and I wanted something to help me relax and rest as much as possible. The warm water felt so good! It didn’t help me much with the pain of the contractions, but it made the rests in between wonderful. Alice checked me and told me it was almost time to push. I couldn’t believe it. She went to gather up things and get things ready and told me when I felt the baby to let her know. Two contractions later I felt the baby. I couldn’t believe it—I actually FELT the baby. She told me I could push whenever I wanted to, and how to push. I tried several pushes in the tub, but I couldn’t get comfortable so she suggested I move back to the bed.
The bed was much more comfortable and I felt like I was able to push better there. After a few pushes Alice had me squat because the baby needed a little more help to finish being born. Once I squatted things got so intense. I just though they were intense before! One thing that is crazy to me is that in between contractions and pushing I felt like I could go to sleep. I actually asked for a break and she told me “No, the baby’s head is right there, you’re about to crown.”
Once she saw Livie’s head, she had Jacob look and he said, “She has dark hair! I can see her hair!” They looked a few couple more times and I remember thinking “Stop looking and help me get her out!” Jacob told me, “Sweetheart, she’s so close, only about another inch!”
I was getting to the point where I was exhausted and didn’t think I could go on and Alice told me to reach down and feel of my baby. When I felt and realized how close she was, that gave me the extra boost I needed to finish having her.
When they say “ring of fire” they mean it!
Her head was born and the cord was around her neck. Alice took care of it and the next push Jacob caught our little girl. She was beautiful and worth everything.
She was born at 4:50 AM after right at 3 hours of active labor, and one day before her due date.
Daddy cutting the cord.
Olivia Grace~7lbs 12oz, 19 3/4 inches