(I wrote this 5 months after Patch's birth. He is now 10.5 months old)
Warning: This is super long and mostly boring. I just wanted to write it out before the memories get too hazy. I also want to do this for the girls' births because I never wrote their stories, but let's start with the most recent.
My due date was at the end of October. Anywhere between the 22nd and the 31st. I think it was the 28th. I really wanted him to be born on the 28th because it is the feast of St. Simon and St. Jude. I am a big fan of St. Jude... but the 28th came and went with no baby coming out. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were rubbing the pressure points in my feet an ankles on my birthday (the 26th) which they did just hours before I went into labor with Adelaide. My mother-in-law had given me a gift certificate for a prenatal massage a while before this, but I hadn't had it yet because of the craziness of our life, what with my Dad living with us and requiring a lot of care, the girls, and sharing one car. We made it happen on the 29th. The masseuse knew I really wanted this baby out, so he did everything in his power to help the situation. He even used this very sharp crystal stone thing to push on certain pressure points.
As I was going to bed around 11 or so, I felt a small pop. I thought, "hmm, I think my water just broke... but I'm not going to get up because I'm giant and tired, and if it did, then I only have 12 hours to get into active labor before I will have to be transferred to a hospital" (crunchy mom problems). I went to sleep and woke up just before 2 to go pee. A good bit of water gushed out, I went pee, and went to wake Patrick up. I knew that I needed to get labor going ASAP. He called his mom and she and my sister-in-law came over to be there for the girls. I walked around, squatted, bounced on a birthing ball, walked up and down stairs (we only have about 3 stairs lol), but nothing was helping. I was definitely contracting, but it wasn't consistent. Theresa! You should have slept!, you say. Yeah, I hear you, but I was thinking that I only had 12 hours to be in active labor and I didn't want to waste any of it. Plus, my contractions, while few and far between, hurt like heck. I tried laying down, but I couldn't sleep because the contractions hurt, and in between, I was worrying about when the next one would come.
Morning came, my in-laws took the girls all day and we called an aid to stay with my dad, and we headed to the midwife to see how things were going and to get IV antibiotics since my water broke and I'm GBS positive (every dang time). We were planning on another home-birth, but it worked out better for our midwife if we came to the office at this point since I wasn't in active labor anyway. When we got there, she didn't think my water had broken. It had stopped leaking much earlier. She said, "Maybe you peed yourself." Ummm, nope, sure didn't. I know because I peed right after it broke, very different feeling. What I can best figure is that it was a high leak and then the head came down and blocked any water from escaping. I was very torn about what to do; you would have to know me to really understand. I could either demand to be taken seriously about my water breaking, but that meant that I would end up in the hospital in a few short hours, or I could just say, "meh, maybe it didn't break," and go back home to wait it out. The answer would be obvious to most home-birthers, but you have to remember, I knew my water had broken, so I was nervous for my son. I didn't want him to have GBS disease because I could have prolonged rupture of membranes. We decided to wait it out, discussing that even if it was a high leak, it wasn't leaking now, and if the fluid couldn't come out, hopefully bacteria wouldn't go in. (Don't know how sound that logic is.) We walked around a local mall for a while, then went home and tried to nap. That didn't work, same reasons as before. We walked around the neighborhood. Many times. People who saw us knew what we were doing and wished us luck. Around 4 or 5 we went to Zaxby's because we were hungry. I had been having intense contractions on and off all day. Not super strong, but nothing to be ignored. At Zaxby's, they moved into a pattern of about 5 minutes apart. We finished up and went home thinking the party was finally starting.
Then they disappeared. They were as sporadic as ever. I was so tired and just wanted to sleep, but couldn't. I was afraid of another labor like with Elizabeth, where I pre-labored for days, literally, and couldn't sleep. My in-laws brought the girls back to sleep in their own beds and my mother-in-law stayed in case we needed her. I didn't know what to do. I couldn't do this forever, and I was considering going to the hospital because those epidural things were sounding mighty nice. We were watching The Voice (love it) and finally, around 10, I decided to take some CALM (magnesium supplement) to help me relax, hoping to get just a little sleep.
Then. of course. is when the contractions picked up. Every six or so minutes, then 5, then 4. We called the midwife and she was at the birth-center with another momma. She said she wouldn't make it to us so we had to go to her. We were very bummed, Patrick more so, because we had both of our girls at home and it is awesome. He wanted to try to wait, thinking maybe the midwife will finish in time. (He may have been joking but my sense of humor had left me by this point.) Patrick quickly got some things ready for the birth center, mainly just clothes for me and the baby after I gave birth. Then we hopped in the car (I use the term, 'hop,' lightly) and drove the 15 minutes to the birth center. Oh, and Patrick stopped at McDonald's for a drink because he was thirsty, I got some water. When we were leaving the McDonald's, the light would not turn green. He had to go right and make a u-turn. Whenever we pass that McDonald's, I think of that night (and we pass it a lot.)
The contractions were coming closer but were still bearable. They hurt, and I couldn't talk through them, but they weren't super bad... yet. When we got to the birth center around 12:30 or so, my midwife checked me and I was 8 centimeters. Score! I knew it would be soon. She put me in the small birthing room and started my IV. There was mention of filling the tub because I have always wanted to try to labor in a tub. For now, I stood at the end of the bed, holding on to the iron frame. Patrick was behind me on a birth ball, applying counter pressure and rubbing my back during every contraction, just like he always does for my labors.
The other woman in labor was getting close to giving birth. I could hear her vocalizing ever so slightly. Then the beautiful sound of the baby's cry. So amazing... for HER. That was the worst part of the birth center birth: hearing another mother give birth and the baby cry during my transition. It was over for her, but at its worst for me. The midwife had just enough time to make sure they were ok and come in my room to say, "I think we are ready to have a baby." My water fully broke all over Patrick's legs. Remember how he was sitting behind me? Ooops. She took out my IV and said, "I'm fine if you want to stay here." Music to my ears! She did not make me lay down so she could check me, she knew I was complete by my freaking out and yelling and saying," I can't do this, " "Get him out, he has to come out!" etc. I felt bad for the other mother because she got to hear me be loud and in pain while she was bonding with her baby, but she probably didn't care. She probably thought, "Wow, I hope I didn't sound like that!" Don't worry lady, you didn't.
So back to where I was: standing at the end of the bed clutching the metal foot frame and pushing, now, with everything in me. I don't know how long I pushed, but I'm guessing maybe 5 minutes. Then came the most amazing feeling. That swooshing moment when the whole baby glides out and there is immediate relief from the tortuous pain you have been feeling. Then we had to sort of waddle to the bed and lay down. He was born at 1:45AM on October 30, over 24 hours from the time I originally felt the pop, but less than 4 hours from the time that the contractions became consistent and only just over one hour from when we got to the birth center. Patrick was surprised because he didn't think it would be quite so fast at the end. I guess I can try the birth tub next time.
The midwife cut the cord. That kind of stuff grosses Patrick out. I think he may have cut Elizabeth's cord, but that was probably it. I just lay there looking at my little man saying, "I can't believe he's here!" over and over. When he came out, the midwife and assistant were saying how big he was. He looked small to me because I hadn't been holding any little nuggets recently. He was 9 lbs 6 oz. A full pound bigger than Adelaide who was 6 oz. bigger than Elizabeth. He was so cute. It took him a minute to latch on, but when he did, he didn't want to let go. I love those first few moments when I get to look at the child that has been inhabiting my body for the past nine months. "It was you in there!" After a while, Patrick held little Patrick while I showered and got dressed. The birth assistant washed my clothes from birth and gave them back clean. I really didn't mind the birth center birth as much as I thought I would. People say that once you have a home birth, it is really hard to do it anywhere else. I really liked the birth center though, except for hearing the other lady. I wasn't worried about waking any children, and we didn't have any mess to clean up at home, but we did have to drive home. We loaded ourselves and our stuff into the car and made it back home around 5AM.
My mother-in-law was awake and held Patrick while we slept for a couple of hours. I insisted that I wake up before the girls saw him. We got up at around 7 and let the girls come out of their rooms to meet their baby brother. That must be so awesome to go to sleep one night with a pregnant momma and wake up to see your baby brother. They were so so excited. They wanted to hold him and love him. We just hung out most of the day. I should have slept. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law were over to help, but for whatever reason, I didn't sleep. I did go to bed early though. My poor mom was really sick with some kind of cold, so she came over only for a short while, wore a mask, and didn't hold the baby. My dad was mad for a minute because the lady who comes to help him told him about the baby before we did. She walked in and saw the baby and was amazed because she had just seen me the night before still very pregnant, and I was already home with him. Amazing! So she went in my dad's room and mentioned it to him, but we hadn't been back there yet because we had just woken up when she got there.
It is hard to call him Patrick. We debated a lot about what we would call him. He is the third Roy Patrick in the family. I didn't want to call him Roy. We talked about calling him Roy Patrick all together, but it doesn't roll of the tongue very easily. We talked about nicknames; Red, Patch, Trey, Trip, Tres. Even after he was born, we still hadn't decided. I was talking to a friend and said that of all the names, I like just Patrick best, but it's hard because we already have Patrick, and my dad's name is Patrick. She said, "If you like it, just call him Patrick." We can figure out the confusion later. So we did call him that, but I am sitting here 5 months later and it still doesn't feel like his name. We call him Patch sometimes and I like that, but nothing seems quite right. I know it will happen in time, I just thought it would feel more normal now.
He is so sweet, so adorable, and so loved. We all love him so much. It is hard to believe he has only been here for 5 months, but time is also flying, and it's hard to believe that it has already been almost half a year since he was born. Welcome to the world, Patrick! It's a better place because you are here.
This is a more recent picture of him since I wrote this post and waited many months to publish it. He is 10.5 months old. I can't believe he is almost a whole year old!