It’s been a few weeks since I posted in this space. I’m a sucker for reading birth stories, so today I thought I would get back in the writing groove and share our boy’s birth story with you!
Irregular contractions started the afternoon of January 5th. I knew it could be awhile, but I thought that it for sure meant the process had started. With both Gracie and Lillian, once contractions got going, that was the real deal. This little dude decided to change things up for me a bit! Contractions continued here and there through the night and some into Friday morning, but I was still able to sleep and then Friday morning they stopped.
Sunday morning things started again and this time they were more regular. So of course I thought, “Yay! This is it!” I wasn’t sure how quickly things would progress and I was nervous not to have the midwife at our home in time, so we asked her to come to our home about mid day. Since our return from Uganda we have been staying with Dustin’s parents in their basement living area until we are able to build in the Spring. So Mimi and Pap took the girl’s to church, the midwife arrived, and I was all set for this to be the day our boy was born. Long story short, after 12ish hours of regular contractions, not terribly painful, but regular, things just kind of slowed down and pretty much stopped. The midwife went home and I was more emotionally exhausted than physically exhausted. When was this kid going to actually be born!? He was still a few days before his due date, but both my girl’s were born around 39 weeks, so I was getting impatient and tired of all this teasing! I was trying to get things going with walking when I could, sitting on the exercise ball, going to the chiropractor, but I knew he was only going to come when he was ready!
Tuesday morning things picked up again. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but then again, it was hard not to. It was now his due date, and third times a charm, right? This time contractions kept coming steady, and they seemed to be increasing in intensity. I didn’t want to call the midwife to come too early this time, but as she lives farther away, I asked her to hang out somewhere close and I would let her know if things continued and picked up. Around three we decided to ask her to head to the house. She arrived and Mimi Steiner took the girl’s to the library and out to eat with Pap.
I continued with pacing around the living room and stopping to brace against the couch for contractions. I also spent quite a lot of time on the exercise ball. Any swaying motion seemed to help. I’ve always felt very in control during my contractions. They hurt, but I feel capable of handling them. I was having a bit of anxiety already just thinking about pushing, as this has always been the most painful part for me. We had the birth tub all set up and ready to go for when I felt that I wanted to get in. As I had a midwife at home this time, I had no idea how much I was dilated or effaced and she said it was totally up to me as to when I wanted to get in the water. I knew it could speed things up or slow things down, but I was actually a little worried it would speed things up too much! With Gracie, once I got into the water I transitioned very quickly and dilated the rest of the way rapidly. I was ready for this little guy to be born, but not as sure I was ready to actually push him out!
As I contemplated what to do, I felt like Jesus gave me the assurance that it was going to be ok and just get in the water! So I did! A little before six I got into the water. At first I didn’t have a contraction for awhile and I was afraid things had slowed down. I was holding Dustin’s hand, on my knees in the water and leaning on the edge of the tub. As my first contraction in the water started, all of a sudden I jumped and gasped, scaring Dustin in the process! My water had broken with that first contraction in the water! Now I was ready for thing to really get moving. About a half hour passed of contractions, but I felt absolutely zero urge to push! I had expected that I would feel the urge to push almost immediately as I did with Lillian after my water broke. With each contraction and no urge to push I felt a bit anxious, but tried to remain as relaxed as I could and just breath. The midwife reminded me to just listen to my body and not to worry if I didn’t feel like I had to push yet.
All of sudden, things changed! I went from absolutely zero urge to push, to this baby’s head is on it’s way out! It was a pretty intense pressure and pain and as I was on my knees in the water my body automatically tightened up, instead of relaxing and allowing more room for him to come out! I was trying to balance between pushing and not pushing too much so I didn’t tear. I had my hand down by his head with the first contraction and after the first contraction his head and little hands were out. He decided he wanted to have his hands by his face when he was born. Then with the next contraction I was bracing myself on the side of the tub and trying to relax my legs a little bit. The rest of him slid on out into the water and the midwife told me to reach down and pick him up! I picked up my perfect little babe and had him resting on my chest. Time of birth was 6:29 pm. He gave out a little cry when he first came out of the water, but then he calmed down as he laid on my chest. He tried to lift his head some and look around a bit…and he was so cheesy! If you don’t know what that means, it means he was covered in a good thick layer of vernix! He also had some good bruising on his nose, as he must have dropped very quickly at the end!
We waited to cut the cord and he nursed awhile while we were still in the tub. Eventually I delivered the placenta. For some reason, I hate having to deliver the placenta afterwards. Obviously it’s necessary, but I’m all like “Really? I just pushed out a human being, and now you’re asking me to push again!?” Of course it’s not as bad as the actually pushing of the baby, but it still feels like so much work!
After the cord was cut and the placenta delivered, we got out of the tub and all situated in the rocking chair to nurse awhile. Big sister’s were back from their outing and were pretty excited to meet him. They came down to peek at him and already started kissing his smooshy face. The girl’s went to bed upstairs and I had some more time snuggling and nursing. I eventually got up to shower and get all cleaned up. The midwife weighed him in at 7 lbs 8 oz. My biggest baby yet!
Reu Benjamin Steiner is a sweet addition to our family as the little brother. He has perfectly chubby, kissable cheeks, and a full head of light brown/blonde hair. His name can be found in the genealogy of Jesus and means shepherd or friend. We are so happy that our little boy is here!