Sarah's birth was not what I had prepared for. First of all, she was unexpectedly born in our bathroom! At the time, I didn't really elaborate much on my blog, but here is the post from the time. My husband also posted about it to fill in family and friends.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006 I had been to the doctor's where the midwife decided I should be induced the next day. My husband, Jack and I went out to lunch for our last meal as a three-person family. My in-laws came down to stay with Jack in the morning when we went to the hospital.
That afternoon and evening I ran myself up and down the two flights of stairs in our townhouse doing every load of laundry I could think to do. For some reason, having a baby the next day meant that we would need clean clothes. And lots of them! My back hurt a lot, but, hey, I was nine months pregnant and was hauling heavy laundry baskets up and down two flights of stairs. Of course it was gonna hurt!
We went to bed and just as I had finally fallen asleep I was awakened by that back pain. It just kept waking me up to the point where I couldn't sleep. I woke up my husband and told him that maybe? I was having contractions. Soon, I realized that, yes, they definitely were contractions, and they were strong. I kept poking my husband to stay awake so he could time them. I barked strict instructions that he was to time the contractions, to remain completely quiet during the contractions, to remain still and not move the bed, and by no means was he to touch me during a contraction.
We talked to the midwife on call and she gave us the, "come in when the contractions are 5 minutes apart and strong for one hour" business. That was around one thirty in the morning. Around two o'clock, my husband was getting dressed and getting our bags by the door and calling my parents to make sure they were awake and knew to get ready.
I went to the bathroom and my water broke. I was relieved because that meant that we could leave to go to the hospital. I called my husband into the bathroom. That's when things started to narrow and time and other people seemed to disappear. I started to panic a little, but I knew I was fine. I told my husband to tell me I was okay. I said that I knew I was fine, I just needed him to tell me. He kept trying to get me to get up and get moving so we could go to the hospital, but I wasn't going anywhere. I stood with my hands on the sink and felt my body contract and push. I told my husband, I need to push. Both he and his mother said, "Don't!"
But you can't tell a laboring woman not to push. It just was not possible to stop. I was no longer in control of this body.
I couldn't hold my own weight anymore so I told my husband that I needed to lay on the floor. He called to his mother to call an ambulance because he didn't know how he was going to get me back up and into the car.
As he laid me down, he said, "the head is out!" And with one more contraction, our baby girl was here and in my husband's and my arms. The three of us sat on the floor of our bathroom and looked at each other in disbelief. She was here. She was healthy. She was beautiful.
And I felt wonderful! I was so relieved.
According to the time stamp on the 911 transcript, the baby was born 4 minutes after my water broke. At 2:15 in the morning Sarah Grace became the fourth member of our family.
The 911 operator instructed my mother in law that we should tie off the cord and my father in law graciously gave up his shoe string (we still have it in a bag, in case Sarah wants to see it someday).
The ambulance arrived and 5 or 6 very very young looking paramedics stuffed into my bedroom. There I was on the floor, wearing only a shirt with my bath towels surrounding me and a slimy, beautiful angel in my arms. And, I swear, these boys could not have been older than 18 (I sure feel old!). Luckily there was one in charge (maybe he was 18 1/2?) and he knelt on the bathroom floor next to me and talked to me and checked and made sure I was alright and that the baby was alright.
Then it was time to cut the cord. So, the paramedic pulled out a scalpel and handed it to my husband. I think my husband was a little intimidated holding an very sharp instrument next to his newborn baby girl who lay on his wife's belly. He cut the cord and then my baby girl was wrapped in my bath towel and laid on my bed so the paramedics could get me taken care of and moved onto a stretcher.
They moved me somehow down the stairs and then out into the parking lot where I got to hold my baby girl on the way to the hospital. It was a very bumpy ride. I think the route they took must not have followed the roads, maybe that's a liberty that ambulances have, but I think they drove over ditches and through rocks and over anything but smooth, even pavement. When we arrived in the ER, the staff stood around the desk and cheered for us as we came in.
I was taken up to a labor and delivery room (ha ha, I didn't need you!) and cleaned up and the baby was cleaned up and warmed up. The midwife said she was wondering where we were, she was here waiting for us!
After such a long and exciting night we couldn't wait to call everyone we knew and tell them about our experience. My parents, husband and I sat around my hospital room waiting for the time to be late enough that we could call and tell our story. I think we started calling people at 6 am. I know that sounds a little early, but after our night, I don't think anybody minded.
Back at home, my mother and father in law couldn't go back to sleep, so they busied themselves with laundry (how could I have had any left?) and other things around the house. As my mother in law passed the dining room table she saw that it looked wet. She knew she had cleaned up after dinner, but went to get a paper towel anyway. Turns out, the fluid from all the birthing going on upstairs had leaked from the bathroom into the light above the dining room. My father in law removed the light fixture and cleaned it up.
Sarah's birth went so quickly that I wasn't scared or really even thinking about anything other than the moment. My body just moved through one stage of labor into the next. My body and God took over. There was a strength that moved her from my body and into her own. And my beautiful baby girl was born.