I woke up around 2:30AM on September 12th to regular contractions occurring about every 2 minutes and lasting 30-40 seconds each. They weren't terribly severe, but after a couple hours, I figured I should call Janice (my midwife) since they were so close together. Since I didn't sound to be working terribly hard to overcome the contraction pains, Janice suggested I take a bath, take some Tylenol, drink some water, and see if the contractions die down or endure. Even though the bath was really relaxing, the contractions continued. I was hoping I would be able to get some more rest after the bath since I was pretty tired, but the dang contractions prevented it. The contractions were particularly annoying because even though they continued, they weren't picking up much at all in severity.
Because the contractions kept going, I was pretty convinced I was going to meet my baby that day! I was quite disheartened, though, because it was seeming as though this labor was just going to take f o r e v e r , which I really hadn't anticipated. We spread the word to the masses and our loved ones started heading our way and making arrangements. Phillip went off to class for a quiz because I was confident that I wouldn't be having a baby anytime too soon. Not too long after he left for school, though, I texted him saying the contractions were more intense so he should try to take his quiz and then head back home. He agreed, but it wasn't more than an hour later that I texted him again saying the contractions were lightening up! I was seriously so confused by what my body was doing.
For the rest of the afternoon I only had sporadic contractions. Mom, Eleanor, Margot, and I went on a walk to see if that would rev things into a higher gear, but...nope. I was beginning to feel guilty thinking that all these people were headed our way to celebrate a new baby that wasn't even going to be making an appearance that day, after all.
Around 6:15-6:30PM the family (my mom, my dad, Phill's mom, Trey, myself, Phill, and Eleanor) all sat down for dinner. This is also when contractions started back up again. The contractions were painful and again starting to form a pattern, but I wasn't even thinking of them being actual labor contractions anymore. I had essentially convinced myself that it wasn't going to be tonight, especially since it was already evening. For the rest of the meal, I made frequent pauses to get through the contractions. My mom and Phillip's mom both stated they thought I seemed to be working much harder to overcome these contraction pains. After laboring around the dining room for a while and experiencing quite a bit of pain, I started to realize (although not quite believing it) that these must be true labor pains. I finally called Janis at 7:15PM. We agreed that I would labor and then call her back after 30 minutes to check progress. However, only 7 minutes after hanging up with her I had Phill call her back to have her go ahead and make her way over. I was having a hard time dealing with the contractions, so I knew I wanted her there. I also knew it would take her at least an hour in travel time.
I made my way upstairs to the bedroom and asked Phill to begin filling the birth tub. His mom helped me change into my bikini top. I was really struggling physically and mentally. The intense bodily pain I was feeling after such a short amount of time convinced me that I wasn't handling this labor as well as I did with Eleanor's birth. I remember saying things like, "I don't know what to do" and "Nothing is good!". I couldn't find any sort of comfortable position. Somehow, I ended up on all fours on the floor of our bedroom. It nearly seemed like I was beginning to feel the urge to push. I couldn't help but embrace that feeling, and then my waters broke. It was so surprising; a big ol' explosion! I remember my initial thought, after surprise, was fear because I just knew this meant things were actually about to get more strong and intense. I simply wasn't sure how I would be able to handle it. Phill called Janis to tell her my water had broken. He called her back just 6 minutes later to report that I was saying I felt like I needed to push. She was still on the road in Roanoke. The tub was only half full, but we all began to realize this baby was COMING. No time to wait for a full birthing tub! I then began crawling around the floor assisting and instructing "the moms" to cover the floor with plastic tarp, towels, and absorbent chucks pads. Janis was on speakerphone steadily giving instruction. Praise the Lord for Phill who had read through the "In Case of Fast Labor" instructions we were given. He was so in the zone and focused on delivering the baby properly and safely. It may have been an incredibly quick experience, but it's still impressive that I never for even a second saw a glimpse of doubt on his face. Other than overcoming the physical battle I was enduring, my only thought was getting the baby out and ensuring the cord wasn't tight around her neck. Mom J. and Mom O. were kiiinda freaking out, but reasonably so!
A contraction came on. I was on my knees on the floor next to the half-full tub. I swear I wasn't even pushing yet but baby was coming down and out so I had to make the conscious decision to push the baby out. More pain? Yes. Burning? You got it. I had my hands down feeling for a cord around the neck and Phill had his hands in place to catch the baby. With that one push, Beatrix Kay entered this world with a cry, perfect in every way. I glanced at the phone; it was 8:04 PM. Less than 2 hours since active labor began. I looked her over intently while making sure she was covered with the towel. I quickly noticed her dark hair just like her sister had, and vernix across her back and head differing from her sister.
It's safe to say shock was the overall feeling in the room! I didn't know what else to do, so I just brought her to breast to start nursing. We all sat there examining sweet baby and discussing our disbelief with what had just happened when Janis finally arrived and began looking us over and taking the reigns. Shortly after she arrived I felt another contraction and delivered the placenta. Janis cut the cord.
Tash arrived at some point shortly after delivery, as well. So many exact details are blurred in my mind because the whole process went so ridiculously quick! I feel like I'm leaving holes in the story, but I also know there wasn't a lot of time so perhaps there really aren't too many holes missing anyway! Elissa, the birth assistant RN, arrived, too, and the rest of the time was spent examining myself and baby. Beatrix's lungs were a bit congested so Janis began working to get her to cry to help clear the lungs. This turned out to be much more difficult than you could imagine! This sweet newborn just did not have have anything other than a little cat-like meow cry in her! Ultimately, of course, her lungs cleared out anyway and all vital signs were good.
Beatrix was nearly identical in size to what her big sister Eleanor was at birth. Beatrix weighed in at 8 lbs 3 oz (just one ounce more than Eleanor) and measured 20 3/4" in length (identical to Eleanor). I was stunned, and THRILLED to be finished with the crazy difficult labor pain. Did we really just deliver our baby on our own?! We'll always have this impressive, bizarre story to tell. It still blows my mind that I went from thinking it wouldn't be that day to birthing a baby all within the matter of a few hours.