*I posted this a few months ago on Facebook and decided to add it to my blog.
So here it is for those of you who asked me about it. As a warning, I'm not embarrassed or hesitent in the least to talk about body parts and functions so if you've got a problem with that, don't read this. :^)
I'm just gonna say that if given the choice between a fast, intense labor or a slow, gradual one, I'll take the slow, gradual one. It made all the difference in the world to have time to breathe in between contractions. I am so glad I got to experience a "normal" labor and delivery. For those of you who don't know, my girls' births were very short and extremely intense, pretty much unbearable. I was slightly worried about going through that again and had been praying, reading, and focusing all summer on how to deal with that type of labor again. Turns out, I didn't need to worry (do we ever??).
I woke up at about 4 am Sunday morning with what I knew were labor contractions and lots of bloody show (I actually lost my mucus plug the week before). The contractions were hard and uncomfortable, but they were really irregular and mostly about 20 min. apart. I got up at 7 and told Sky I'd been having contractions but they didn't seem to be going anywhere fast and I was going to take a shower and get ready for church and just see what happened. The answer: Nothing. :P Just kept doing what it was doing. I was really uncomfortable, but we went to church anyway. I ended up standing/walking around the back of the church since sitting didn't feel very good. I'm glad I went because it was better than sitting at home being bored AND uncomfortable. I'll never forget the look on one of our elder's face when he asked me when the baby was gonna come and I said "today, probably". It was priceless. He looked at me like he was afraid I meant right then and there.
We went home, my mom and Julie came, I called my midwife to put her on stand-by, and we waited...all day. I was annoyed because I knew I was in labor but nothing was happening. I was so used to labor starting with a bang and ending with a baby 3 hours later. Lindsay (my other sister) came and started doing some reflexology moves on me (she's a massage therapist) to get the labor going, and we all went to bed. I thought she was pretty brave coming for the birth since she was going to have a baby in a few months herself.
I slept off and on, and woke when my water broke at about 3:30 am. Finally!! I walked around until the contractions got really painful then I took a shower....for 2hours (thank God for a tankless hot water heater!). The hot water really made a huge difference in pain management. To focus on staying relaxed through the contractions, I sang/hummed the song "You Grace Is Enough" in a low, throaty voice the entire time (it had been stuck in my head since the band played it at church the previous morning, lol). It was good to have something to focus on, and keeping my throat open and relaxed helped to keep my entire body relaxed. One of the midwives came in a few times with a Doppler to check the baby's heartbeat, and occasionally someone would stick their head in to ask if I was alright. At one point, my midwife said if I wanted to have the baby in the shower, Sky would have to deliver it because she wasn't going to. :^)
Sky came in to check on me just as I couldn't stand there anymore and had felt the baby move down. I went into our bedroom where my mom, sisters, and midwives were having a party and knelt on the floor. I was pretty much in a hand-and-knees position, with my head resting on the bed. Turned out to be a good choice, since Joel was so big and that's the best position for bigger babies. With Sky and Lindsay sitting on the bed holding me up, I started pushing and couldn't believe how long it took to push that baby out! It was so different than the last two times. But the nice difference between this birth and my last two was that I could breathe and rest in between the contractions. It was soooooo nice!! I was even able to make snide remarks at people and drink some water between contractions. At one point I thought for sure his head was about to crown and my mom says "I see a little patch of hair!" and I replied "That's IT?!?!" I finally got his head out and I kept waiting for the rest of him to slide out but I had to push several more times. His head came out to his chin, then one sholder at a time, then I got him out to his waist, THEN he finally decided to pop the rest of the way out. (Later, we discovered that his chest was bigger around than his head. Also, he had a very long cord, which was wrapped around his neck and under one arm.) The good part about him taking his time was that I didn't tear at all. My mom caught him. I heard her chuckle then say "So, Dad, what is it?" and Sky said "Um, that's a boy."
I reached down to pick him up and thought he felt heavy for a newborn. Turns out, he was 8 lbs, 12 oz. It was funny, really. Because everyone had been telling me for the past 3 months how small I was and how I was going to have a little baby. I kept telling them that I could feel where his butt was and where his head was, and that this baby wasn't as small as they thought. Of course, I was right. :)
It was such a peaceful birth. I never once lost control or freaked out like I did last time (which was an answer to prayer). I love having my babies at home in a comfortable, relaxed environment. It's such a blessing to me to be able to have that choice. It was my easiest birth yet, even if it was the longest. And the biggest baby! I'm glad he was a week early or he would have been over 9 lbs! At his 1-week check-up he weighed 9 lbs 4 oz, and at his 3-week check, he weighed 10 lbs 4 oz. His daddy said half of that was hair.
His sisters fell instantly in love with him. They slept through the whole thing and woke up an hour after he was born. Mom brought Kailey in to see him when she woke up. She looked at him for a second, then held her arms out and said "Give it to me!". She then had to unwrap him and examine all his toes and fingers (which he didn't appreciate) and almost didn't give him back to me. She calls him "my baby" and hovers around anyone else who holds him. Faith pats him on the head and kisses him like he's a kitty cat. They both want to help me burp him and they both go running when he starts crying in the other room. It's pretty crazy around here with 3kids 3 and under. People keep telling me it'll get easier....I hope they're right. :P