Bastion Thaxted was born, 2 days late mind you forevermore, on March 22. Why I hold that mini-grudge against my overbaked ones? I don't know. Yes, yes I do. It's very uncomfortable going right up to due dates, let alone over. Especially when the previous two came blessedly early!
But that's neither here nor there.
Because two days late or two weeks early, this birth was the easiest and most prepared-for, beyond a doubt. Score! At one point, I even confessed to Nicole that this seemed way too easy, something must be wrong. She just said, No you're just doing a very good job. Something about knowing the pain and intensity that you're in for apparently makes you more prepared to receive it. And being overdue. You just get giddy to get it done with! Ok, maybe not giddy. But well-prepared indeed.
At about 2:30 am, I felt a great, bonafide contraction. Not just a niggling B-H. A real contraction! So for about 3 hrs, I logged them, slept in between and kept praying that they'd keep coming. Around 5, I woke up Daddy. Daddy Matt, you're fourth baby will be here today. Then I texted two of my bests and told them today would be the day, yay!
Needless to say, things progressed well. The bigs were excited to wake up at 8 am, and find out their newest brother would be here today. We all ate eggs and toast (this homebirth business, its a great thing) and continued on our baby-bringing trajectory. Nicole arrived about 7:30, ready to do this thing.
Side note, TENS unit. Amazing. If not pain numbing, definitely distracting. Never got to use one with Verity and Noam, both being under 3 hours of labor. When all was said and done Bastion was about 8 hours. But TENS unit, about as useful as the birthing tub.
Nadah arrived around 9:30 to help catch, along with Jill to help watch biggens. Noam floated in and out of the hoopla in the living room. Verity got in the birthing tub with me once, tolerated it for about 5 minutes and then declared it was too hot and asked if she could get out. Little lobster legs, she had. That water is always so pleasantly scalding. Unless you're birthing Noam 2 weeks early and run out of hot water and resort to boiling atop the stove.
I promptly enlisted the well-seasoned help of Nadah (doula, massage-therapist extraordinaire of 25 years that she is- loaning me her signed copy of Spiritual Midwifery, and all!), to suggest some productive positions and helpful vocalizations so as not to thrash my vocal cords like last time. Deep groans and moans we had. No, not very attractive, but oh-so helpful! Honestly, my midwife team, along with super-awesome Jill as kid-wrangler made that day not only down-to-business, but actually enjoyable. I stop at enjoyable, lest I say the word "fun." Labor? Fun? Well, kinda. So excited to meet my littlest.
Nicole was so gentle and knew to give me plenty of space and time. Nadah was very verbally encouraging, and wow, super strong hands. She held me and massaged me in some of the best ways I've ever experienced during labor. Jill, fun to expose her to the business of homebirth. Her joy in witnessing was in turn a joy and blessing to me!
And, Matt. Of course, Matt. His strong hands and body did more than anyone else could have dreamed. In labor...And other ways, of course. What?
He continues to be my necessity, my focal point during a birth of one his babies. I can't make it through a contraction without him close by. He takes some serious abuse as he squeezes my hips, pushes me for support during contractions, and receives a lethal hand grasp or two. He takes on labor in ways I assume most husbands/dads don't get to experience. Let's all say it together one more time: "Ahh, homebirth!"
My water actually broke, for once! One of the midwives said, something like Ah, your water just broke and I was slightly let down. I was already in the tub, so I didn't even really notice. Once I got in the water, I was ready for work. I'm a pusher. None of this "wait to be fully dilated." Besides, doesn't pushing help with dilation anyway? So, push I did. The tub was awesome as always. So warm, so supportive. Seriously. One of the team. I went through various positions to find somewhere comfortable and productive to help push. I found myself squatting when it came time for the big head push. Never having done a delivery in squat, I wasn't quite sure where to go or how to get through it but Nicole did remind me after Bastion's head was out, "Don't sit on your baby's head!" Seriously, I needed that. I didn't know exactly where in space and time I was. I held on for a minute, with Bastion's little head hanging out before I delivered him with the next contraction. Control, that was. I'm gonna say it, it was ridiculous and amazing to just sit there, not go crazy and scream, and just wait. Wait for the next moment for my body to just do its thing. So when it came, I capitalized and it was all over.
Nicole kinda pushed Bastion toward me while he was still underwater and shouted, "Grab your baby!" Me? I was like, Whaaa...? So Matt pulled tiny baby body up and out. Baby boy!
He was born dragging his amniotic sac behind him (weird), cord wrapped twice, and crazy snuffly in the nose. Nicole actually gave him a bit of oxygen to help out, since his little nostrils were flaring so much. In the end, he was fine, nursed like a champing champion (strongest sucker yet!), the placenta was is excellent condition, and he worked up to an Apgar of 10.
The kid weighs over 15 lbs. now, at almost 8 weeks.
Me? Longest postpartum recovery EVER! Not only did I have an immediate hemorrhage the day of the birth, I had remnants of the amniotic sac left behind that did weird things to my recovery. I was never in any real "danger" but Nicole did give me a tincture of angelica and eventually, Cytotec to help control the bleeding. Which it did. After about 4 days though, I decided I was ready to help Matt with burning trees. Opened up a new bleed and Nicole had me on bed rest/ultra-light duty for a week. THAT was rough. But, no pain anyway really this time, just a huge dose of patience and healing. I guess I'm not 25 anymore! This was my first baby in my 30's and I felt it! Finally, by the time Matt went back to work, over 2 weeks after the birth, I felt mostly myself again. And oh so nice to lose the baby weight rapidly again. I love the high-calorie nursing weight loss diet!
In the meantime, we've been schooling still, trying to get out and spend time in the last few weeks of spring, and getting to our newest little. Sure, of course there are challenges inherent to having 4 kids. Of course we "stay busy." But seriously, its been great, we feel so confident with our newborn that we've been able to enjoy him in ways never done before. The siblings are all wonderful with him, reading, singing, sharing with him and its a joy to witness. Bastion takes so much more life in in a 24-hr period than his siblings did when they were new. We're all enjoying lots of new baby snuggling, moments of peaceful nursing, and sweet smiles and sounds from such a little human. So blessed to be witnessing his growing up so fast already! Soon, very soon, he will be almost 20 like Mcclellan is. Oy, this life we live! So much of it! I say. Blessed.