On the morning of July 26th we had plans to meet up with Nicole and her children at a man made little lake in Cedar Hills. We packed a lunch and headed out. Due to car trouble, they couldn't meet us so we ended up packing up and heading over to visit them. My boys love their cousins and it was a very pleasant visit for me too. I wasn't feeling any contractions, but sometime in the afternoon the baby felt significantly lower in my hips. I didn't think too much of it, but I do always get a little excited when it feels like things are progressing.
We went home and I got Adam down for a nap. The other boys were watching a movie and I wondered if resting might help to get some contractions going. I did rest, but nothing.
At seven we had a Relief Society activity. It was all about pampering and relaxing and I got a foot soak, a massage, some great make-up tips, some homemade sugar scrubs and lotions, and the final class was on relaxing breathing techniques. My friend Randi (who is also pregnant) and couldn't stop yawning=). Even though we left late, I made Randi go for a walk with me. We went a few times earlier this summer, but it's been forever and I was hoping maybe a walk would help kick start some serious contractions. We went for a good walk, 2 miles with lots of hills, but nothing. We got home a little after 10.
Kevin and I watched an old episode of Numb3rs on netflicks and had some ice cream. During about the last 15 minutes of the show I had 2 pretty good contractions. They were not much more than others I've had in the past few weeks, but they felt a little stronger. I was really hot, so after the show I went out and sat on the back steps. I saw a shooting star and wondered if it was a sign=) Kevin joined me and we decided to read our nightly conference talk outside because it felt so nice out there. Toward the end of reading, I had a contraction that made it difficult for me to read out loud. When I stood up, I had another rough one. I'm guessing it was probably about 11:15 or so at this point. We went inside and cleaned up a few things before heading upstairs.
I had 2 more contractions and decided it was time to call Rebecca. It was hard to know what to tell her because I hadn't been really timing the contractions, and they hadn't been steady. She said she'd load up her car and that we should call her in 15 minutes to let her know if she should come or go to bed and wait. We hung up and Kevin started getting the birthing tub blown up. 2 minutes later another contraction came on strong. My water broke. It was 11:37. Kevin called Rebecca back and told her that my water broke. When that happened with Adam (the only other time it has broken on its own), I was already at a 10. She said she'd come as fast as she could.
From here, it was all a little crazy. Kevin focused on getting the tub blown up and filled while I focused on...I don't know, survival I guess=) My contractions were intense with very little time in between. I spent some time laying on my bed, some time in the bathroom, some time just walking around, some time kneeling by my bed. My friend Amber had shown me a position she uses during labor and it totally saved me. For the worst parts I'd call Kevin in to help push on my back. It was really helpful. He'd tell me how great I was doing, and it was nice to hear even though I knew it is the obligation of husbands to say such things in moments such as these. When the contraction died down a bit, he'd go back to to getting the tub filled. It seemed to take forever.
It was just after midnight and I was in the bathroom when I realized that the baby was coming any minute. I was in the middle of a very hard contraction, and it was all I could do to get up and move to the tub, which by this time had about 6 inches of water in it. I said something like "this baby is coming right now", climbed in and within seconds, there she was. It was 12:04 on July 27th. She slid out with one little push. I scooped her up and started rubbing her back. She started crying and I felt relieved. I told Kevin to call Rebecca and find out what we should do. She said just hold her skin to skin and keep her warm and make sure we don't pull on the cord. She would be there soon. Little Jane started nursing almost right away and was looking around. It felt unreal that she was there in my arms, that the pain was over, that this little girl was mine.
The sky was amazing on the morning of her birth:
Rebecca left at about 3:30 and Jane slept and slept. I woke up every hour or so, making sure she was still alright. It felt strange that such a new little fragile baby was left in our care. She just slept peacefully. It seemed miraculous that a few hours ago she had never breathed air, and now here she was, in her bed, breathing peacefully.
In the morning, as the boys started to wake up, we called my friend Amy who is an amazing photographer. We wanted her to capture the first few moments of our new family all together. I'm still in awe of the gift she gave us:
Welcome to the family Jane Elizabeth! We are so thrilled to have you!
We've been so well taken care of by our friends and family, I'm blown away by their goodness.
I just wanted to add...
Before this pregnancy, I never would have considered a home birth. I felt a lot of peace about the choice this time and moved forward with it. I'm not the sort of tough person who does hard things on purpose, so this was uncharacteristic of me. Even I couldn't put my finger on why I felt so okay with it.
But had I not planned a home birth, Jane would probably been born in our van. We're about 25 minutes from our hospital, and I can't imagine that I would have been able to get someone to be home with the boys and made it in time. It just wouldn't have been possible. I'm so grateful that although it didn't go exactly as planned, it was a wonderful experience. I am so blessed.