To really understand this story you do kinda need to know that the last two labors were whirlwind, sprinty, high concentrated craziness. One ended abruptly in an emergency elevator birth and the next ended in a much more prepared-before the midwife home birth-but definitely fast and furious. Both were Chris and I alone. This time we definitely wanted ATTENDED childbirth. I wanted both my husband AND the midwife there and prayed that would all happen...then I chose a midwife who lived about 2 miles away ;). We also definitely wanted to stay home. After being home last time, I can't fathom going back to a hospital for anything other than a medical reason. Home is at least as safe. Home is so much more comfortable and peaceful and warm and...wonderful. If you are unsure that home is equally at safe...find ONE study that proves otherwise...make sure it doesn't compare out of hospital births with IN hospital births. There isn't such a study..but if you'd like to look, knock yourself out.
December 11th had been a busy day...library, midwife appointment, and a little Christmas shopping. I had a happy birthday phone call with my sister and wished I could have a baby on her birthday. With the midwife I had discussed the possibility that I could go 2 weeks late and that would be December 27th! AGGGGHH. I was planning my due date belly pictures. My husband, on the other hand, had been commenting that this week would be better than next because he has finals next week.
That evening I had settled down to read a bit and was having a few contractions and thought'd I'd just go to bed. I'd been having quite a few nights filled with contractions and little sleep. I was hoping to get some rest. I read maybe a few pages when I felt a very familiar pop. I ran to the bathroom and discovered my water had broken. It was 7:40pm My darling 4yo Abigail had been reading with me, so I sent her to go and get Natalie. Natalie got my phone for me and alerted Kalani. I called Chris. Chris is coaching basketball and was at an away game. He had driven his own car for this very reason. All I said was "Chris my water broke" and he took off. He made the 40 minute drive in 26 minutes...thanks Houston traffic for cooperating! I called my midwife and explained that I wasn't having contractions and although I was shaky (cold shaky) I didn't think we were at critical point. I told her to eat her dinner-she was just sitting down-and I'd call her or have a daughter call if it got crazy. Natalie and Kalani sprang into action. They prepared the bed for delivery and worked to get the little people to bed. Natalie said at one point "Well you have US!" We had talked briefly with both girls on what they might need to do and what they would be willing to do. I was and am grateful for them.
I was still feeling only extremely wimpy contractions scarcely worth mentioning. I was considering sitting on the couch and watching a movie, were it not for my constant leakiness. I was on the couch relaxing when Chris came racing in the door in full adrenaline and catch the baby mode.
The midwife and her assistant arrived at 8:30pm. I was dilated to a 6-7. If I could just have some contractions we'd have a baby. Instead we chatted and joked and laughed. We heard about how Amanda met her husband and her two children. we told them our story. I joked that we had been praying so long that we would have enough time to get everyone here for the birth that God in his infinite wisdom, mercy and humor heard...what? she wants a longer labor? SURE!! How about 7 hours! I was having contractions 2-5 minutes apart, but only while I was pacing-still very mild. If I sat down they'd space out. The baby was fine...though VERY VERY wiggly. Every heart beat check involved many swooshing sounds of baby movement. Chris was starting to talk about a 12-12-12 baby. By 11 o'clock there was still not much happening. And right here is where I was SO glad to be home. A midwife doesn't manage labor and she doesn't control it. She observes labor and cares for the mother and baby through labor. I was tired. This is already a few hours past my bedtime. Chris gave me a blessing and we decided to take a nap. Natalie and Amanda each grabbed a couch. Chris stayed up and read sports stuff and fell asleep in the rocking chair and I laid down on the bed. I worried I would be in labor forever, or that I would get my hopes up on sleep, get just enough to be groggy and then have real labor. My contractions spaced out to about 11 minutes apart. They were different. Starting to be more serious. But 11 minutes? That's a ton of thinking time. I was prepared. I repeated my birth hymn (http://www.lds.org/music/library/hymns/when-faith-endures?lang=eng) I repeated my mantra words (receive, hope, love) and listened to relaxing music. After an hour of this I was annoyed. I didn't want to do this alone, the contractions were getting annoying and I wanted Chris' help. I woke him up and he laid down with me. He would sleep in between and wake up for contractions to help with counter pressure. After an hour of that (now 1 am) Chris woke up Amanda. After watching a few contractions...now 6-9 minutes apart and hard enough that I was vocalizing through them...think Ha breathing or making myself relax my jaw and remain open. After a little more than an hour of that they woke Midwife Natalie.
At this point I was confused. How long was this labor going to be? Sure the contractions were PLENTY hard, but 9 minutes in between? I wanted to start counting contractions(normally when they get this hard I'm 10 contractions away...it's just that 10 contractions at this pace would be another hour and a half!) Midwife Natalie was starting to comment that it was close and that whatever position I was currently in (hands and knees, side lying and kneeling beside my bed) were great birthing positions. She said I could push if I wanted and that's when I realized Rachel was not where I could feel her to push her. I thought the midwife was crazy, but I try and trust the people around me in labor...try being the operative word. I felt I would be in labor forever---which is a typical transition labor thought--but this time I felt it was justified! I tried to trust that maybe I was close. With so much time in between contractions, I could move and think for a few minutes. I needed gravity, so I got down next to the bed kneeling. My right hip and leg were sore and tired and not supporting me well. I had a very strong contraction there...then thinking time-another 6 minute break, while Chris continued to massage my back and love me. I was desperately trying to maintain the one contraction at a time concept--I really wanted to hold my baby. With the next contraction I could feel Rachel move down and I started to push. Chris, Natalie and Amanda all encouraged me to breath, and go slow and let the baby come. I had the irrational thought that were I to wait I might not be able to feel her to push again-or that I would have to wait again...carpe diem...patience be gone. My body needs time to stretch and the baby needs time to get ready to breath and I know this so I half tried to breath and push gently, when I heard those wonderful words...there's her forehead, and her shoulders, no cord issues...and finally she was born.
Rachel Barbara Kelly. Rachel is the name I thought of at her ultrasound...she was just Rachel...clear and simple. I love the Rachel of the Bible and her inspiring faith and strength. I have a friend Rachel who is an inspiration to me. Barbara is Chris' mother's name. His beautiful mother who died earlier this year. She is a wonderful, wonderful lady! She is so childlike and sweet and loving. She had been with me at some births, has been a fabulous mother in law and grandma and we really miss her. We are thrilled to be able to remember her with Rachel's name. Chris' aunt Barbara also endears the name to me. I love aunt barbara.
Rachel is 9lbs 14oz. She is 22inches long, but has short fingers and toes.
Shortly after birth, I delivered the placenta, bathed, and was back relaxing in my bed. One teensy tear not worth stitching (thanks midwife!). Everything was cleaned up, I had already had my shake (thanks Kalani it was perfect!) and my omelet (I'm starving after labor and I LOVE being home and not having to wait for food!) Amazingly no one woke up until Kalani and Natalie woke at 4am. They held the baby and dressed her, then got ready for seminary. Midwife Natalie and assistant Amanda left around 5am and we attempted sleep.
Click on the photo for more Rachel pictures and comments from the children about their new baby sister.