On Tuesday December 6th, I got out of bed at around 6:30 in the morning to get the children up and ready for school. It was at that moment that I started to feel contractions. These were no Braxton-Hicks contractions. These were real contractions, not very strong yet, but real. At just after 8:00 am, I called my sister Rose Anne in Sherbrooke to let her know that the baby was most likely going to come a little earlier than expected. I didn't call the midwife right away, I wanted to make sure that it wasn't all just going to stop all of a sudden first.
I went to my scheduled gynecologist appointment at 9:30 am. I was hoping the contractions wouldn't get any worse while I was there, and I hoped they wouldn't notice anything. Noone noticed anything was going on. In fact, the gynecologist I saw even remarked that I was at 39 weeks and that if I hadn't given birth by next week, we could envision an induction!! That, even after I had made it quite clear that I didn't want to be induced unless abolutely necessary! I couldn't believe it! I wasn't even all the way to 40 weeks yet and she was already talking induction!! Give me a break!
Anyway, at that point it was quite obvious to me that I wouldn't be needing an induction at all, so I couldn't care less what she thought. I came home and called the midwife to let her know labour had started. She said to call back later once the contractions got a bit more intense. The electrician was there, doing some wiring in the basement for the boys' room that Marc is finishing, so in between contractions, I helped him out. Rose Anne arrived at about 12:30. We had lunch, me mostly standing. I thought maybe I should call the midwife soon, but since the contractions weren't all that regular yet, I decided to take a bath first, since baths help to relax. When I got out of the bath, the midwife called me before I could call her, to see how things were going. It must have been 2 or 2:30. She said she'd be right over. By that time, the contractions were getting a bit more intense and more regular. I started to crouch or go on hands and knees when I had a contraction. On hands and knees I felt more comfortable. But then the dog thought I was playing with him!
I think the midwife and her assistant arrived somewhere around 3:30. They started setting things up, while I continued walking around the house and doing little things. About the time they finished setting up, the contractions were starting to get quite intense, so I just stayed in the bedroom with them most of the time. Toby lay down in the doorway and kept watch. I got up fom time to time to go to the bathroom or go check on what the others were doing, and then I suddenly felt a small urge to push with one contraction in the kitchen, so I got Marc to come back to the room with me, and I stayed there from then on.
I remember concentrating on each contraction, breathing through it and being able to separate the pressure from the pain. I realized there was a lot more pressure than actual pain in each contraction, and by relaxing, I could diminish the illusion of pain a bit. Kind of like when it's windy outside, it might only be -5 but it feels like -20. I realised the pain was never much more than bad menstrual cramps, but the pressure made it feel worse. Being on hands and knees took off a bit of the pressure.
I knew I was quite near the end, and my breathing and turned into a slight moan. Toby was moaning in the doorway with me. Silly dog. I don't think that in all there were much more than 10 really bad contractions before I started pushing. Noone had to tell me when to push, I felt quite in control of my body this time. My water started coming out and I started to push right after. That's when I started screaming. I don't usually scream much. With the others I let out a yell or two and then just pushed and they slid out, but this time I roared through two minutes of pushing. I could feel that he wasn't coming out as quick as the others, and then I felt someone disengaging something there, and it got easier to push again. It hurt the perineal area a bit more to push this time, which might be why I kept screaming, that and the effort, and the fact that it was a release and once I started, I didn't care anymore to stop. It took two minutes to get him all the way out. After which I stopped screaming and just breathed really hard for about a minute, as if I'd just run a marathon. I realised the baby was under me and and I picked him up. The umbilical cord was still intact, so I couldn't pull him up too far.
When I was about to start pushing, someone had gotten the dog out of the way, so people could get in and out the door without stepping on him, so I got Marc to let him out again. I moved closer to the door so Toby could smell the new baby because he's not allowed in the room. (I was already pretty close to the door.) We had also gotten the kids to come in so they could see the birth, but just before I pushed him out the two oldest left to go to the kitchen so they missed it. But Maryssa snd Gabriel saw the baby come out. So did Auntie Rose Anne.
Maryssa wanted to know why I had been yelling. I told her it was because I had to push hard.
After a few minutes on the floor with the baby born, the midwife cut the umbilical cord, and I moved up onto the bed to wait for the the expulsion of the placenta. That was when they told me that he had had one hand up by his head. So that was what I felt the midwife disengaging, and why it had been a little harder to push. Then she weighed him, and we discovered the other reason why it had been harder to push him out; he weighed 9 whole pounds! My other babies were 7,5 7,6 7,8 and 8,1. I'd never had a baby this big before!
It was a very nice birth. If I had to do it over again, I would do it at home again.
Edited to add: We found out later that the baby was not born at 9 pounds after all, the scale was probably off when he was weighed and we'll never know exactly how much he weighed. But by deducted how much he gained in a month (he was 9 lbs 4 oz at one months and just over 12 lbs at two months) we guessed it was probably about 7 lbs 8 oz or so. Which fits right in with the others. I had a hard time believing he was tht big and wanted to ask them to check again, I wish I had now. I didn't because I didn't want to insult them by implying that they weren't competent... sigh... that's what you get for being too nice, ha ha.