The birth story for any men who might be reading:
Gabriel Peter was born at 2:26 am on January 6th after a quick labour. He was born at home. I’m tired but doing well, and Gabriel is doing well, too.
The detailed birth story:
He’s here! With all of my other pregnancies only going until 38 weeks, I never expected to reach my due date this time. Gabriel had to show us who was boss though; active labour started almost to the minute, the day after my estimated due date.
I’d been having cramps and random contractions for a couple of weeks..nothing painful, just stronger than the braxton hicks contractions that I’d been having for the past few months.
On Saturday, my due date, I’d been having actually fewer signs of impending labour than previous days so I wasn’t expecting anything. I did have a few small contractions in the evening, but they weren’t strong or regular. We went to bed around 10 I think. I tried to get to sleep but since I’m usually a belly sleeper, I couldn’t get comfortable. Around 11 I began having a few contractions..nothing too strong or regular but more noticeable. I got up around 11:30 to go to the bathroom then went back to bed. Around 12:00 I started having contractions that were strong enough to be hurting a bit. My husband woke up with my restlessness around 12:30 and we decided that we should call the midwife. By the time I got up and went downstairs, the contractions were strong enough that I couldn’t walk through them.
Louis paged the midwife at about 12:45 I think, and she called back about 10 minutes later. She asked it if would be OK if a student midwife came along (whom I’d met a few days before) and that she’d be here in about 45 minutes. I hadn’t realized that she lived so far away!
About 20 mins after that, the contractions were painful enough that I just spent my time kneeling, leaning against the pull-out couch in the living room. I started feeling a lot of pressure. Louis called the midwife back to let her know that things were progressing quickly and to ask how far away she was. She was still a good 20 minutes away, and she said that if I felt like I needed to push to call an ambulance.
I started feeling like I wanted to push a few minutes later so Louis called for the ambulance. He also called a friend of ours who had said she could come and stay with the kids in case we had to leave for the hospital quickly. The EMTs ended up arriving only a few minutes before the midwife did, so I felt a bit foolish for having called them..especially since I wasn’t at the real pushing stage yet. It turns out that Gabriel was facing a bit to the side, so the awkward presentation was causing pressure that I was trying to push through. The midwife checked my cervix and there was only a bit of a lip left, so she held that out of the way while I pushed Gabriel past the lip.
The EMTs asked if they should stay. The midwives (the 2nd midwife arrived at some point..I have no real clue when) said that they had things under control, but if they wanted to stand by just in case, that was fine. They asked me if I was Ok with them just observing since most EMTs don’t have many chances to be present at a planned home birth, and I was fine with it. So it turns out that our calling them unnecessarily was a blessing to them; they were able to observe in a controlled setting and just learn from the experience. Hopefully this will prove useful to them in the future!
I kept feeling like I had to push but pushing didn’t feel right, either. Again, this turned out to be due to the fact that he wasn’t facing properly. My water broke while I was still on the floor leaning against the side of the sofa bed and that relieved some of the immediate pressure I had been feeling until Gabriel moved down a bit farther. The midwives had me change from my kneeling/squatting position on the floor to laying down flat on my back on the sofa bed. Later I was told that this helped open up the top of my pelvis to allow Gabriel to position himself better and squeeze under. I started real pushes and he crowned with his head still facing to the side, but then he turned and faced down. A few more pushes and he was out!
I was surprised with his size; the midwife had told me that he didn’t feel like a big baby when I saw her a few days prior. I was measuring about 1 week smaller than the gestation I was at for the last 4 or 5 appointments. But Gabriel was 8lbs and 14 oz; 2 full lbs larger than my smallest and been, and 1.5 lbs larger than Josiah was (who had been my biggest baby so far.) He is 21 inches long; the same length as Josiah had been.
I was so worn out after his delivery (since I hadn’t slept at all since Friday night) and was too sore to be able to sit properly and hold Gabriel, so hubby got some cuddle time with him and brought him into the other room to show our friend. Gabriel was a bit mucousy and at some point between my water breaking and delivery Gabriel had pooped so there was meconium present at birth, so he had a bit of a hard time getting a good cry. The midwives blew some oxygen into his face and gave him the vitamin K shot, which helped him to give a good loud cry and his lungs quickly cleared up. His apgars were 8, 8, and 10.
I think this was my most intense labour. Gabriel was born at 2:26 am, so less than 2 hours after active labour had started. The pressure was much more intense than my only other natural birth had been (which had been Annabel’s.) Pushing his head out was also a lot more difficult than any of the others had been due to his size and presentation. He was also the first of my babies that I had to actually push at to get his shoulders out.
Thankfully, I didn’t tear at all! I was fairly swollen for the first 24 hours but am more comfortable now, though still moving a bit slowly. The midwife almost had to catheterize me because I couldn’t pee; I finally managed a small pee after trying several times and drinking several glasses of water, and then a full pee shortly after the midwives left. So praise God that I didn’t have to be catheterized!
I finally was able to climb into bed around 5:45, at which point Josiah was waking up. Poor Louis didn’t get to sleep at all. I’m glad he at least got a couple of hours of sleep before he woke up when I was in labour. It took a while to get Gabriel to sleep, and I was eventually able to fall asleep around 7:30 or 8.
The older kids love Gabriel. When I finally came downstairs they were so excited. Tobi told us that we should pray and thank God for the baby coming, and then he sang Happy Birthday to him. Josiah was totally intrigued at this tiny little being in Mom’s arms and he tried to take him away from me, making all sorts of cute and excited OOOHH noises and pointing. Annie was excited too and loved holding him.
The kids are adjusting OK. There has been some more whining than usual and they have been quicker to be frustrated when they have to wait for something, but I’m hoping that things settle soon. I had a talk with them today about how Mommy and Daddy are really tired and we need them to be patient with us and that we might ask them to wait more or to do more for themselves. I also told them that we’d try to be more patient with them since it’s a lot for them to get used to as well.
Josiah has been the more difficult one. He’s too young to understand what’s going on; he just sees that his Mommy is always another baby so he’s been having lots of tantrums. I’ve been trying to give Josiah lots of hugs and cuddles when I’m not holding Gabriel so I hope he settles more within the next few days as well. Any prayers would be appreciated.
So, here’s the breakdown of the birth stats:
Gabriel Peter – Gabriel means “God is my strength”
Jan 6, 2013, 2:26 am
8lbs 14 oz
21 inches long
head circumference of 38cm (14.9 inches..that just doesn’t seem possible!)
Active labour of just over 2 hours
Born at home in the presence of my husband, 2 midwives, a midwife student, and several EMTs. With my friend praying for us in the next room, and my 3 older children sleeping upstairs.