I went to bed early that night - around 8:45pm, your daddy joined me - he was tired, too! I remember crawling into bed and commenting something like, "Do you love this fat cow body?" and Michael said, "You are beautiful," and I believed him and really felt grateful for his support and love. I probably fell asleep around 9:45 but then woke up at 10:00. I rolled to my right side and a contraction started. This didn't seem strange since I had had many contractions in the last month with you. But after 5 or 7 of them, I called the midwife Edana and asked her if she think she should come. She suggested I try to sleep between the contractions or take a warm shower. I went back into the bedroom where your daddy was sleeping, going to crawl back in bed with him, but instead I shook his shoulder and woke him, saying "It's time. I think you should start filling up the birthing tub." It took him about 30 seconds to get out of bed (fast for him!) and we met at the top of the stairs and stopped midstep and stared at each other then gave each other a knowing smile. We knew what was coming: YOU! We hugged. We went to kiss each other and then Michael pulled away, "I'm sick. I may still have some germs, I don't want to get you sick." That was sweet, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to enjoy this labor without his warmth and embrace, so I insisted he kiss me on the lips! Ha, how rough the men have it! He consented for my sake, something I knew he didn't want to do, but he knew I needed his support.
At 11:00 I texted Edana and said "I think you'd better come, I started emptying my bowels." (This is how the middle of my labor with Avi went, too.)
Between 11 and 12:30 I labored laying down on my side, kissing Michael between contractions to make me relax and soften my cervix. I swear this works! I was so relaxed when the midwives took my blood pressure during labor it was LOWER (98/50) than my regular blood pressure (which is normally lower, and during my pregnancy ranged 96-122/58-85). I was relaxing deeply every time a contraction came, I breathed deeply into my belly, and visualized softening and opening - this being my third labor, I was able to feel more and I could literally feel the lower part of my uterus releasing in round circles, like you being able to drop down more each time as it relaxed and opened. It was opening for you to come through!
Your waters popped while I was kissing your daddy in that little twin bed in the playroom! I felt this pop and swear I heard it, too. Then about 5 seconds later, clear, slick water started running out between my legs. This is when a more intense labor started. I wanted to lay down because I was beginning to tire - it was way past my bedtime - but laying down was not comfortable during a contraction. So, I sat on the edge of the couch in the playroom and leaned into Michael, Edana or Michelle (the RN midwife) while a contraction happened. They were about 3-5 minutes apart and lasted only about a minute. They were bearable. I didn't even know when "transition" happened since it was going so well… But I guess that transition came when I had this thought, "This isn't fun. Why did I ever think this was fun?" (The reason I thought this is because I really did have fun birthing your sisters - and I did have fun overall birthing you. Birthing is such a unique and amazing biological and spiritual experience. Something one will experience only a handful of times in your life if you are so blessed, so I was looking forward to each of my daughters' births! Truly!) So, I guess I was in transition when I had that rather sarcastic thought! But I didn't even realize it because Edana had just measured my cervix and I was only 3cm. That surprised me because I thought I was a lot more open than that, but with Mila's labor my cervix expanded/opened very very quickly, so I trusted that my body would open as quick as it needed to.
In between a contraction, just sitting and waiting for you to come!
Laying down during a contraction felt better at first, but then after transition I only felt like staying upright.
Blowing you a kiss, baby Ziah! (See the bed behind me on the floor? That's where I was laboring when my waters broke.)
Here I'm concentrating and trying to relax during a contraction.
So, around 2:10, I asked Edana if I could get into the tub. About 5 minutes before that, I asked Michael to get Amy Leach, our next door neighbor, who was to be responsible for getting your sisters to the birth of their sister and make sure that the videocamera was recording (we forgot to do that with Mila's birth because she came so quickly)! So, right before I got into the tub, I yelled to Amy "Go get the girls," - I just had a feeling you were coming soon, Ziah. Amy said she could hear the urgency in my voice, so she ran upstairs, shook Avi, who opened her eyes, smiled at Amy, then rolled over and closed her eyes. So, Amy grabbed Mila out of her crib who asked for "Mommy", then Amy sat up Avi and got her to follow her downstairs to the playroom. I heard Mila saying, "Mommy? Mommy?" before she entered the room, but once she got in the room, saw all these people, and saw her mommy sitting in a make-shift spa in the "kitchen corner" of her playroom she got absolutely silent and just watched with open eyes! Avi on the other hand climbed up to the top bunk and sat perched on the corner to get a good clear view. They literally got there just as you were crowning. When Avi saw your head come out, she said "Oh my gosh!'' and was giggling! I'm so happy she was so lighthearted and happy - it gave me a sense of joy, too!
I gently caressed your head right before you popped it out all the way. It felt so soft and surreal!
Avi and Mila just watching and waiting for you to come!
(Backstory: about 3 weeks before you were I watched Avi's birth video with her to show her a birth to know what to expect. I did a lot of talking about blood and how it's okay to bleed during birth, and I talked about how mommy would probably have her eyes closed, be concentrating and moaning. When we saw Avi's birth, I started laughing because when her head came out you could just see her little face all scrunched up and then she just sat there like that for about 4 or 5 minutes! While watching the video of Avi's birth, I started laughing and then Avi started laughing too - we were laughing at how silly her little face was just hanging out waiting to be born! So, I think that helped her to have a lighthearted approach to the birthing experience.) So, there was Avi giggling perched up on the bunk, Mila staring with a straight face in Amy's arms, and Michael on his knees ready to catch you as you finally emerged. Before your shoulders came out, I reached down and felt your head - it felt so soft and squishy! I just touched it gently, but I wonder if this was because you were underwater, or if it was because your bones had just moved to make it through the birth canal or what… Now, I love holding your little newborn head in my hand, seeing how small it is and how much it has firmed up already! You came out with 2 pushes - the first got your head and the second was your body. I felt a huge sense of relief to finally hold you in my arms and see your face.
Oh, I loved holding you from the very first second!
Your chord was too short to have you up closer to my face...
You barely cried - you were so relaxed and sleepy! In fact, you were really sleepy for about the first 2 weeks of your life - we had to tickle your feet every couple hours to get you to wake up enough to breastfeed.
Healthy heart and lungs!
Not much bleeding - even though it looks like a lot in the water.
We put a hat on you to keep you warm and kept most of your body in the warm water. You were content.
Avi already wanted to touch you and hold you!
Mila was still asleep! It was 2:00am after all! And what were all of these people doing in her playroom? And why was there a hot tub in the corner where her toy kitchen normally was? Hee hee hee!
See your umbilical chord?
You were bluish for only a few seconds - you pinked up really quickly! Your umbilical chord was short (just like your sisters) so I had to get out of the tub after a few moments so I could relax with you (otherwise, I was afraid of getting water in your mouth). So, we moved onto the couch. You just sat on my tummy and thigh area, barely crying, but raising your head and looking around. Your grammy Mimi Peggy came then and was so scared but so happy that you were here. Your placenta took about 40 minutes to deliver and during that time, you just laid there, then Avi cut your chord, then you breastfed to encourage contractions to deliver the placenta.
Avi - all on her own - got out a book and started to read to you!
Nurse/sister/amazing-kindergartner Aveah cuts your umbilical chord without even flinching once. Just did it! It took about 4 snips to get through that tough fleshy chord that fed you for 9 months! Oh, and look how your eyes are wide open!
Avi perched in the corner singing.
Mila standing near the action with some books waiting to read them.
Mila flipping through a book to pass the time...
Mimi got here about 20 minutes after you were born. She about broke down when she saw you - with joy and fear and wonder!
Reading to Mila and Avi while Ziah nurses trying to stimulate my uterus to deliver the placenta.
I was happy! I don't know what we were laughing about, but the room had a sense of joy in it!
Edana giving me a drink!
Breastfeeding your wet little head - you were a great feeder right from the start!
Somehow Avi snuck away with Michael's phone…!
Mila, Mimi, Amy, Edana, Jennifer, Michelle, Maren, Ziah!
Daddy always tries to take off his shirt when he holds you to give you lots of skin-to-skin bonding time with him. He loves you.
Around 4am we moved upstairs and Edana put about 4 stitches in my torn perineum. At 5am the midwives went home and we tried to sleep. Michael was able to sleep for a few hours, and though I dozed, I kept waking up probably due to the adrenaline and the hormones, but also because you would breath really heavy, then stop breathing for about 5-10 seconds, this would startle me and I would shake you and of course you would breathe again - this is normal for people just learning how to breathe! By later that day, your breathing had gotten into a rhythm!
Wow! What a blessing your birth was! It was peaceful, healing and intimate, you were so happy right from the beginning and so were your sisters, daddy and mommy! Thank you for choosing us, Ziah Sky!