On 12/10 we started having some signs of labor. I was excited because at that point we were 11 days past due and I was anxious for things to get moving. Nothing else really happened that day though aside from mild, steady contractions. Then on Luke's birthday, 12/11 we went into early labor at 4am. Early labor was not very painful, but it went on a long time. I got a bath, but I didn't like it so I got out. I walked and bounced on my exercise ball. Contractions were 6 minutes apart all day. I wanted to take it slow and rest as much as I could because I knew my body had more work to do. I also wanted the contractions to give us progress. With Owen I was very stressed out being in the hospital and I feel it definitely slowed things down for us. I knew that I needed to stay relaxed and I saw each contraction as a good thing as the day went on. I mentally pictured waves washing over me and tried to visualize the vast openness of the ocean. And yes I know that sounds nutty, I just needed my body to make progress! Luke would ask me how I was doing, and I always said,"I'm okay, just thinking open thoughts." Luke made me food all day and made sure I was drinking lots of water.
By about 4pm I was feeling tired. I was worried we weren't getting anywhere and I would just exhaust myself, which is one of the things that happened with Owen. I texted Chrissy, our midwife, and asked if she had any recommendations. She suggested a walk and then a rest. Walking didn't do much, and it was just about time to get Owen's bedtime routine going. Luke gave Owen his bath and I laid down on the couch for a bit. At this point the contractions were still 6 minutes apart and were uncomfortable enough that sleeping was not happening, but I wanted to rest. Owen went to bed at 7pm as usual. We continued to be in early labor until about 9pm. I texted Chrissy around 8:30 asking her to come check on Beck, I wanted to make sure that another long labor was not stressing him out. In the hospital this had been a concern, and while Owen was born healthy and perfect, I just wanted to check on my baby. He had been kicking all day so I didn't suspect anything was wrong, but I wanted to check on his heartbeat and I think Chrissy did too. I had been texting with Chrissy throughout the day.
Chrissy and Bridget came over around 9:30. Chrissy got to our house first and we hugged and she asked how I was doing. By that time thes contractions jumped to 3 minutes apart and were getting more intense. I rocked and bounced on my ball and Luke would apply pressure to my back and hips when I wanted him to. It still was not horribly painful though so I thought that we couldn't be that far along, since they were still easy to work through. Owen woke up a couple times and Luke got him back down once, but I think he knew something was up and wanted me to snuggle him. After Chrissy arrived I got him back to bed once and when I came out of his room, Bridget had arrived as well. Once Bridget was here they asked us a bunch of questions, had I been eating and drinking through out the day, going to the bathroom, all the usual stuff. Bridget said to Chrissy,"She is very quiet, but I'm pretty sure she is in transition." I didn't really register this until the next morning. They asked if I wanted to be checked. I did, but I was also incredibly nervous because every time they checked me at the hospital we had made such little progress and I felt like the contractions weren't strong enough for us to be more than a couple centimeters. So they checked me at 10pm and we were at 6cm! Hallelujah! We were doing this...and it wasn't that bad?! Chrissy said that we were doing great and I was excited that we had made it past 5cm! The midwives apprentice, Leslie, came over too. Our midwives set everything up and brewed some coffee that Luke had set up earlier in the evening. I focused on laboring and Owen realized people were here and got up to entertain them of course. I labored on the exercise ball for a while (that thing was my best friend!) and then on the couch. Luke would rub my back and hips or if he needed a break then one of our midwives would come over and help me through the contraction.
I was on the couch laying on my side when my water broke around midnight. I heard a pop and told Luke I thought it had broken. Later I asked him didn't he hear that?! It had seemed so loud to me. I asked to move to the bedroom then, partly because I just wanted to move and partly because I didn't want to get amniotic fluid on the couch. Chrissy and Luke helped me move to the bed and we worked through about six more contractions. It was a lot more intense once my water broke. Luke had been texting with a few people nearby that could potentially come help us out with Owen if we needed it, and I remember being so angry he was texting and told him to stop. I used some more choice words than that....but really he was trying to be helpful. He sat on the floor holding my hand and keeping eye contact when I would. Two more contractions and I told Luke that my body was pushing. Our midwives came in and said okay! I didn't think that labor was painful enough or long enough to be pushing, but my body took over and just knew it was time. No one checked or said okay yes it's time, my body knew exactly what to do and when. Four pushes later at 12:49pm Beckett was born and placed on my chest. They looked him over while we just were together. He was perfect. He grabbed onto my finger right away. The whole time he was inside I kept feeling his hands moving around his head and he put his hands up to cover his face on the outside too. He still does all the time. Our midwives let us have some family time and cleaned up everything. I was shaking afterward from the adrenaline, and they gave me some juice and asked if I wanted to eat. I didn't. I had thrown up several times during transition and my stomach was still unsure about food. After a little while I had a nutrigrain bar. Beckett latched right away and ate for a couple hours. He was still attached to his cord (which was incredibly thick!) for quite a while after as well and I hadn't delivered the placenta yet. His cord pulsed for about an hour and once it finally stopped I delivered the placenta and Luke cut his cord. Our midwives were so patient and relaxed about everything. We could not have had a better team of people to support and help us with our birth. There was no mess left afterward, which I think was something Luke and I continue to be surprised about because in the hospital everything seemed so messy. They did the laundry and the dishes. They just gave us our space and let us have our perfect beautiful little boy! I will be always grateful for everything they did and didn't do for us and to us. For something we never even considered when this adventure began, we could not have had a better experience in welcoming our son into our family.