[A “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage or still birth. Just like a rainbow following a storm, renewing hope.]
I was 411/2 weeks pregnant and very ready for this baby to be on the outside. No matter how adamant I am about babies coming on their own time, I was looking for that magic trick that would make me go into labor, because I was ready! I was anxious. My birthing area was taunting me every day. And my belly was very very large. I was having prodromal labor from about 35 weeks (irregular contractions that do not go away with change in position, activity, or food/drinks like braxtons do but they also aren’t real labor contractions). This baby, just like his brother and sister, was still floating high in my belly and was not engaged in my pelvis at all. My midwife was not concerned about being past due and was very reassuring that this baby WOULD eventually come out. That Friday night I prayed a prayer much different than the previous nights, where I was begging God and Mother Mary to help this baby move down and start labor. That night I prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for this new life and I gave my anxiety over to Him and accepted His will. I felt much at peace after that prayer. I knew I’d have my baby on Sunday. Divine Mercy Sunday.
Saturday morning I lost my mucus plug and contractions started to feel real. They were about 20 minutes apart. I made breakfast, cleaned the house, then took a nap. I woke up, made dinner, put the kids to bed, then turned on the TV and bounced on the birth ball. I told Adam to go to bed because one of us had to be rested if this was going to end up being a 3 day labor, like Caroline. Contractions were about every 10 minutes. I was very tired and ready to sleep but it wasn’t possible at this point. I watched TV while pacing the floor or bouncing on the ball until I couldn’t concentrate on the TV any longer. It was around 11pm. I turned on the computer and put on a playlist of the Divine Mercy Chaplet in song, along with a handful of other hymns. I sang along when I could and meditated through contractions. While I was pregnant I made a list of intentions to pray for during labor, friends and family going through rough times to offer my labor pains up for. It really was wonderful to have something outside of myself to help me with labor. Having intentions and prayers to focus on also kept me from having stupid songs randomly on repeat in my head.
At 1 am I called my midwife and told her that contractions were about every 5 minutes, but I was still coping well alone and she did not have to come yet.
I found a lot of comfort being on my hands and knees during labor and I’d lounge back and rest on a pile of pillows in between contractions.
At 4:30 am I called my midwife and told her to make her way over. I knew I was in transition. Some contractions were back to back some were 2 minutes apart.
She arrived around 5am and quietly got her things set up, she took my BP and the baby’s heart beat. She felt my belly to see what position baby was in and how far down he was. No internal checks. Having her presence was wonderful and her touch was just what I needed.
Around 6 am Adam woke up and came to see how things were progressing. At this point I was getting very mad at the pain and I was very emotional. When I saw Adam, I clung to him in a big embrace, and he gave me the strength that I needed.
I was fully dilated soon after that and felt a little pushy, but not much. My water hadn’t broken yet either. I did not feel like pushing, but my midwife and her assistant were telling me to push with the pain, so I did. It was awful. I got in a lot of different positions but nothing felt right (anyone see a pattern here?) My water finally did break and it had very light meconium stain. Then at some point at the end of those two horrible, hot, sweaty hours the baby moved into the birth canal and came out in a contraction or two. I was on my hands and knees. Adam announced, with much excitement, which part of the baby’s head/face he saw as baby was being born. It was so sweet. Then my midwife and Adam caught baby and passed him to me. I saw he was a boy right away. We rubbed him and talked to him. He let out a big cry. Samuel Frederick was born at 8:27am on Divine Mercy Sunday. My shortest labor.
I sat back and snuggled him while my Midwife did a few checks and cleaned some things up. When his cord stopped pulsing, it was tied and cut. The placenta came out. I got into bed to relax and Samuel got measured and weighed. I passed a few clots and a ton of blood, which has been typical for me. I felt fine. Actually, I felt better once it all came out. My midwife asked if I wanted a shot of pitocin to help with the blood, I said no, unless she felt like it was the best thing to do. I took a few droppers full of “after ease” and Shepherds purse herbal tincture instead. Everything was well.
My Mother in law came and took the big kids to her house once they woke up ( I was still in labor) and she brought them back after Samuel was born and things had gotten cleaned up. We all snuggled Sammy and took some pictures.
Adam and Caroline had such emotionally charged births. Adams birth was traumatic and led to postpartum depression. Carolines birth was empowering and led to a major “birth high” that left me excited and in love with the whole birth experience for weeks. Samuel’s birth was how I feel birth is meant to be. Just birth. Simple but beautiful. It wasn’t hyped up, it wasn’t downplayed. I didn’t have to stress out over being in charge of everything. I had the right help to make it easy and relaxing for me. My body went into labor on it’s own and took it’s time moving my baby into the world. It was hard work, I had to do it, but it was worth it. And now, a month after his birth, I feel grounded. I’m here. Present. Not sad or still in the clouds. I love every second of being a mom to these three beautiful children. Samuel, himself, is also the perfect mix between my two older children, in looks and in temperament.
He has brought balance. And so much love. Even the earth seemed to rejoice with me in his birth, coming to life in blossoms, green grass, and sunny skies!