June 17, 2013
Kassidy Jule Mullis
8.0lbs – 20 ½” long
On Sunday night, June 16, Father’s Day, I started to feel the first contractions. They were minor enough that I didn’t realize they were signs of early labor. We timed a few and decided to give Brenda, our midwife, and Teresa, our doula, a heads up. They both texted back and let me know to call them overnight if I needed them. Brenda said to let her know if they got under 5 minutes apart and more than 45 seconds long. Teresa said to go have a glass of wine and try to get some rest. (I *love* her!) I tried to go to sleep, but it just wasn’t working. Contractions were increasing in strength and were 10-15 minutes apart.
Around 1am, we got up and went out into the den. They boys had just gotten back from a movie and watched us walk out of the bedroom. They knew something was up. I tried sitting on the birth ball and worked through each contraction while Mike timed them. He had downloaded a labor app.
He then poured a glass of wine for both of us.
After a little while, I knew we were going to need our rest, so we went to bed around 3am. I was able to sleep for about 1 ½ hour. So about 4:30am, I started timing again. The app made it so much easier to time and track the contractions.
I decided since Teresa had just done a birth the night before and had been up until 4am that she needed as much sleep as possible. So I waited until 7am to call her.
When we talked, I was concerned about her getting caught in Monday morning traffic. She said she would get dressed, eat some breakfast and then head our way. Brenda said she would stop by in between her morning and afternoon appointments, around lunch time. (I was ready to go soon after that call, but she then called me back and said maybe it was too early.)
I talked with Teresa a little bit later and told her the contractions were still irregular, 5-7 minutes apart, but lasting 1-1 ½ minutes. Both she and Brenda had talked to me while I was having contractions and thought I was fine. (She sounded like she was still in very early labor. She was tired from the lack of sleep but was so in control and calm, we had guessed her as in middle to early labor still.)
We all believed, with me being a first time mom, that it was going to take a while. Brenda said she would stop by after her morning appointments around lunch time. Throughout the morning, during contractions, Mike would rub my back and I would try to stretch out my muscles and keep moving. We had some spaghetti for lunch. I ate between contractions.
Then Brenda showed up. She checked me and found that I was 8cm dilated and 95% effaced. She told Mike to get the pool ready. (Brenda called me and I was only a few minutes away. When I heard how far dilated she was, I was delightfully shocked!) Until that point, he had been very leisurely getting it ready. Then he and Jesse (Her step son) kicked it into high gear. While they were working on the pool, Teresa showed up and started working with me through the contractions. About the time they filled the pool with water, Jesse went into his room and I stepped into the water. The warm water felt so good. Shortly after getting in, it started raining outside. We were on my mom’s screened in porch. The rain was beautiful. It made for a very peaceful surrounding. (The gardenias were in full bloom so we had the fresh smell of rain with the gardenias flooding our senses!)
The contractions were getting stronger and they had me start to push. I pushed for nearly an hour. At some point, Brenda had me push for a count of 6, take a breath and do it again. That helped me focus. After doing that my water broke. After almost an hour of pushing, she began to crown. They could see her, but I couldn’t feel her head yet. It was the most intense pushing and effort I had ever had to do. Funny that now, in writing this, I don’t remember the pain. I do remember feeling like I just didn’t have it in me to push any longer or any harder. I remember the encouragement. They told me this is why it is called “labor”, because it is hard work. That hit me. I needed to up it a notch to get her out. Not just a notch but more than I thought I had in me to give. I also knew that I did not want to go to the hospital because I hadn’t given it everything I had. (Every woman hits the wall of great doubt. This was when Jamie needed the most encouragement. Mike was beside her being her strength! We used my rebozo to help her get some extra push support.)
After a few more rounds of intense pushing, her head was out. They tried to get me to see her in a mirror, but I just wanted to continue. The next contractions allowed me to push her body out. Next thing I knew, they were putting her on my chest. I had a baby girl in my arms!!!!
Brenda checked her and said her breathing was a bit irregular, but that if she could nurse, it would regulate. So that’s what we did. She started breastfeeding while we were still in the water. They let the boys know to come out. It took a while before I was able to get out of the water. I still had to push out the placenta. I had no idea that I was going to have to push again. I was so done, but they helped me through that too. (It was so cool to go and find Mike’s sons in other parts of the house- trying to give Jamie her privacy. They came out to the porch and admired their new baby sister!)
They finally helped me into my mom’s tub. They had made a sitz bath and I got to sit and soak and they brought Kassidy to join me in the water. Once we soaked a bit, they helped me to the bed to finish all the procedures, measurements, analysis of her and my sutures. After all that was done, I just remember lying flat on my back, something I hadn’t been able to do for quite some time and then they brought me food, pizza, mango, etc and some coconut water. For the first time in months, I didn’t have any reflux.
The rest of that time is a blur. I recall lying in bed that night with her on my chest and Mike next to me. Then we moved her to his chest and she slept peacefully on him too.
That night was filled with me waking her up every 2 hours to eat. It was truly amazing that I had this new little life that needed me and that God had given me everything I needed to provide for her. This little being that was created from one moment in time because of the love that Mike and I had for each other. Just more evidence of “passion and patience” (Romans 5:3 MSG)
It was incredible being with this warrior mama. She took our BOLD classes and brought that boldness to her birth. It was also so great when as we talked in the last trimester about the type of birth she desired, she stepped out of her planned hospital birth- where her insurance was limiting her as to who she could go to- and she stepped into her heart and met with home birth midwives in the last month of her pregnancy. Home birth is what felt right to her and she trusted her heart.