Little Prince: A Birth Story* (Part One)

Our sweet little boy is officially a week old today. Even as I write that I can hardly believe it… I feel like this last pregnancy was so, so long, and yet now that Will is here time is flying by.

(Will is not the baby’s real name–just as Ruby and Hank are nicknames for our older children. Nicknames just help me stay hidden from my tech-savvy students who have tried to “google” me in the past.)

While Will’s arrival was not quite as tumultuous as his older brother’s, he still arrived a little like a freight train racing through a station. But let’s take a step back, shall we?

I’ve been feeling like my body was preparing for labor for some time, which was a new experience for me. With Ruby, there was a whole lot of nothing going on right up until the day I was induced. I never felt a contraction prior to my labor, and had very few pre labor symptoms. It contributed to why I wasn’t sure whether or not I was actually in “real” labor with Hank until my water broke.

For about a week before Will was born, I had been feeling a lot of pressure “down there” every time I stood up and walked around, and I definitely felt the baby drop down a little lower every day as his due date approached. I had bouts of nausea and that other symptom that sometimes goes with that (pre labor is super glamorous). I had some Braxton Hicks contractions whenever I was on my feet too much, but they were never painful or uncomfortable.

I think things really started to get going on Saturday morning. The feeling of pressure intensified, and I just felt a little off all day. The BH contractions happened more frequently, but the intensity never changed and the day passed uneventfully. Sunday was much of the same–I was still feeling off, so we stayed home from church and had a quiet day. To be truthful, up until this point I hadn’t really been nervous about labor… I mean, been there, done that, right?

By Sunday I was feeling rather anxious about the whole thing. I was nervous about how we would manage the kids and get to the hospital in time, and how I would know when it was the right time to page my midwife. I think I knew deep down that things were about to start and it was bubbling to the surface. I stayed in pretty close contact with my mom, and thank goodness my ever-steady Hubster was here to keep me grounded and let me know that everything would be alright.

On Monday morning we hit a milestone I spent most of the month convinced I wouldn’t reach–one of Will’s potential due dates. We spent most of my pregnancy thinking that his due date was July 26th, but a few weeks ago one of my midwives noticed that there was a second date in my file from a previous ultrasound: July 25th. One day doesn’t make that much of a difference, especially since my children like to be overdue and come several days late. Either way, we made it to my due date(s) and I was so happy.

I finally felt ready to have this baby.

On July 25th (due date #1), I had some cramping that was so strong it woke me from a deep sleep. I immediately recognized it as the same feeling I had in the hours before Hank was born, and when it continued for nearly 30 minutes I knew that something was up. The Hubster was in the shower, and when the cramping became so strong that I could feel it down in my legs, I figured it was time to let him know what I was feeling.

Because things with Hank moved so quickly, he decided to stay home from work. The cramping continued for a good 45 minutes, even after changing positions and moving around… but then it subsided. I felt more pressure than ever before, but the cramping stopped around 8am. I decided to go for a long walk to see if I could help things along. I definitely felt contractions happening more frequently, but they never intensified. Even after a second walk at 10:30, I felt things slow to a standstill.

It was… disappointing. It was a grey, drizzly morning, and as I walked around my neighborhood I realized just how ready I was to meet our new little man and get through labor. I was tired of thinking about it and the waiting and not-knowing when it will start is exhausting. I may or may not have had a little conversation with my belly to let him know that he was allowed to come now… but he stayed put.

By early afternoon I had resigned myself to the fact that this kid was not coming that day and settled in for a quiet night. The Hubster and I curled up on the couch to watch our current fav TV show (Brooklyn 99–AMAZING) and other than feeling a little tired, there really wasn’t much happening labor-wise. This kid has always been move active at night, and even the baby was quiet as I prepared for bed.

(In hindsight, that should have been my first real clue that things were about to happen.)

I turned in around 10pm, fully expecting another night of frequent wake-ups to pee and not much else. Before falling asleep I double checked that I had my midwife’s pager number stored in my phone (just in case) and despite my feelings of anxiety, I fell asleep quickly.

Shortly after 2am I woke up for what is often my first or second washroom break. Usually I get up, stumble to the bathroom and back and collapse back into bed without really waking up. This time, as soon as I got up I was very alert and even after I got back into bed, I felt very awake. As I lay there in the dark waiting to fall back asleep, I had my first “real” contraction. It didn’t last long, and I rolled over, willing myself to fall back asleep. I looked at the clock before closing my eyes– 2:15am on July 26th, the due date we had been working with all year.

A few minutes later, I had another one. This contraction lasted a little longer, and it was definitely stronger. It was strong enough that even when I shifted positions I couldn’t really get comfortable through it.

My midwife’s instructions began racing through my mind: as soon as I had three good contractions, I was to page her. Hank’s labor progressed so quickly that she didn’t want me to wait. I had just had two contractions in a space of less than 15 minutes. Was this really it?

Five minutes later I had my third contraction. It was definitely more intense than the first two, and I knew it was time to get moving. I lay in the dark, took a deep breath, put my hand on the Hubster’s shoulder and said,

“Hubs. I think it’s time to page the midwives.”

I don’t think I’ve ever seen him fly out of bed that quickly….

Our little Prince was officially on his way.

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