Disclaimer: while not as graphic as some birth stories, there is some flesh shown in the pictures.
Ryan was born at 41 weeks. For some reason, I never thought I would carry him that long, I thought I'd birth him earlier, so by the time 40-41 weeks came around, I was so *done* being pregnant. On Tuesday I went and saw my chiropractor who adjusted me and did some cranial sacral work. Wednesday I decided to walk. First I walked in the morning with my good friend SaraBeth. We walked along the waterfront on the west side, a favorite walking path of ours (although we usually do a whole loop, walking both the west and east sides, but I was unable to walk that far on that morning).
All that walking must have helped! I went to bed early that night and slept soundly until about 12:30, when I began feeling some pretty good contractions. At this point I asked Mike to come to bed (he's a night owl) but by about 12:50 the contractions had stopped, just like most nights the past few weeks, so I went back to sleep.
Then in my sleep I suddenly felt a POP! and woke up instantly. I moved a bit to see if any water would come out, and it did, just a little bit. A huge smile came over my face. It was 2am. I woke up Mike and told him that my water had broken, and he got up and got me a towel and my pager and immediately got back into bed and fell asleep (in fact, he does NOT remember waking up at all, nor getting the towel/pager).
I then paged my midwife:
Lee 2:03 am: Pop! Water broke just now. Waiting on contractions...
Midwife 2:06: Great! What color fluid? Felt baby moving around lately?
L 2:07: Baby is moving. I haven't left bed so don't know color... I'll check.
L 2:11: Clear, and just a trickle so far. (Water bag probably had a small break high up, so just a little bit came out in the beginning, and nothing more until the birth.)
M 2:13: Ok! Try and sleep. Things may start right away...or not. We'll see!
L 3:00: 6 ctx now. 5-7 min apart, 45-60 seconds, last 2 hurt.
M 3:03: Ok. Let me know when you want us to come. Otherwise I'll come when they are 5 min apart consistently, probably soon. I'd have Mike start working on the pool.
At this point I began to get excited, as I was feeling a little discouraged by the contractions being kind of erratically spaced apart, with some hurting and some feeling just like Braxton-Hicks. I woke up Mike and told him to get started on the pool. He woke up Guthrie, and the 2 of them got the pool out of the garage, finished pumping it full of air (it wouldn't have fit through the door had it been fully inflated), and started filling it with water. The hose was connected to the laundry spouts upstairs and then draped over the half-wall to the pool below.
M 3:36: Any change? I'm thinking of heading up now. What do you think? (She lives in Salem, a 35-40 minute drive.)
L 3:39: Ctx kind of far apart but intense.
M 3:40: Like still 5-7 min?
L 3:42: Yes, or longer, I haven't timed the last few, let me pay attn again and let you know.
M 3:43: Ok, well, unless you don't want me to, I'll start on my way. You never know how it may change.
L 3:45: Yes. Last 2 about 4 min apart.
M 3:48: Ok, coming! :-)
At this point I had already left the bedroom and was hanging out in the office -- the office chair was a comfortable place to sit. Mike informed me that the hot water had run out, even though we had turned up the hot water heater 2 weeks prior. So Guthrie started boiling water on the stove. Mike went to sleep on the couch.
I went downstairs and was having contractions regularly about 4 minutes apart. I moved around the room, doing whatever felt comfortable, and also went to the bathroom a lot as it felt like I had endless amounts of pee (I was also drinking water to stay hydrated).
The midwives, Lennon and Angie, arrived at 4:30. I was still moving around, comfortably laboring. At one point, on impulse, I opened the fridge and grabbed some grapes and started popping them into my mouth. They tasted so good that moment.
Contractions started to get more intense and I found myself having to brace myself against something and bend/rock/dance through a contraction. Lennon suggested I get into the birth pool, and after 2 more contractions, I decided it was time, but the water was way too hot. So they hastily added more cold water while I had another intense contraction while hanging onto Mike.
Once I got into the pool it felt *divine.* I had a contraction and it was so much easier in the water. A short time later a contraction came just 2 minutes after the last one and I said "oh, shit." It also felt really good to breathe down through each contraction, and I knew things were really moving along.
During this time, Jake had been asleep in his bed, but he woke himself up at 5:45 and came downstairs. He smiled when he saw what was happening and wanted to know where the baby was. Then he started asking every 60 seconds if the baby was coming "now?" until I had to tell him to stop asking! Mike gave him the iPhone so he could watch videos while waiting as we had no idea how much longer it would be.
Suddenly I began to push, and this was VERY intense. I was making a lot of noise and was unable to concentrate on anything except what was happening in my body. During the second push I could really feel the baby moving down and managed to say "baby's coming.....!" Guthrie and Mike, being deaf, had no idea that I was pushing, until the midwives started grabbing things (flashlight, etc.) and then Guthrie woke up Mike (who had gone back to the couch) and grabbed the camera. Luckily, Mike, Jake, and Guthrie/camera, all made it in time to watch the baby come out.
Ryan was born at 6:08am, in the caul! (Considered lucky.) I was so disoriented from the fast birth (3.5 hours of contractions and only pushed 4 times) that I couldn't get the amniotic sac off his face so Lennon helped me out. As soon as I saw his face I knew he was a boy, he just looked like it! I checked his nether regions to confirm, and announced it to Mike and Jake. Jake immediately said, "but I wanted a sister!" We all laughed.
After about 2 minutes, I sat back to look at Ryan. The midwives, who had been carefully watching him, asked if they could give him some air since he wasn't really breathing on his own yet. He had made some movements, so I wasn't too worried, but they gave him air from a mini oxygen pump and started rubbing his chest and listening with a stethoscope. I talked to him to encourage him to breathe and be with us. His heart sounded fine, but he needed help clearing his lungs, so we turned him over and down to help him drain. After about 10 minutes of working on him, he was breathing on his own and started crying and pinking up.
Once his breathing was more clear, he demonstrated that he had a good set of lungs!
Jake did not appreciate the crying and so he did this:
Lennon talking with Jake, reassuring him...
After a bit longer, I was helped out of the pool, upstairs, and into bed.
The placenta came out with no problems, and then Mike held his new son.
Family. Ryan nursed right off the bat!
8 pounds, 6 ounces.
Jake went to school while I cleaned up and enjoyed my new baby.
Then Mike and I did this:
Naming: The night/morning of the 29th, I had insomnia, so I got up to eat. I became obsessed with figuring out a boy name that I liked (I had none, but had a girl's name ready). So I looked on the internet for 4-letter boy names and read many. I don't remember seeing the name Ryan but I did like the 'R' names. I went back to bed but kept thinking and thinking about a name. Finally 'Ryan' came to me and I really liked it and promptly went to sleep.
A few hours after Ryan was born I asked Mike about naming him and told him I had a name in mind. I hoped he would like this name as I had already started calling him "Ryan" in my own head -- he looked like a Ryan! Mike was not ready yet, hadn't spent enough time with the baby, so I left it alone. In the afternoon I asked him again so he asked to be given time to think of a letter. He sat down and after a minute said, "I think something with a 'R.'" I suggested Ryan and after about 30 minutes he warmed up to it and decided it fit. His middle name, Michael, is obviously for his Daddy.
Many, many thanks to Guthrie for taking all these pictures, and more!