The day continued uneventfully. In the evening I took the big kids to AWANAs, and met Tom at Grace Group (Bible study) while Danner stayed home with Oma. During Bible study I started to have contractions that I kept track of on an app that I had downloaded on my tablet. The contractions were three to five minutes apart but weren't necessarily painful, just increasing in their tightness, which had happened twice before, and completely fizzled, so my hopes weren't very high that they were actually doing anything.
I left Bible study at 7:50 pm, as usual, so that I could go pick up the kids from AWANAs. As I got into the car I felt my underwear get a little wet. Being nine months pregnant, I thought I might just have peed myself and continued on my drive to get the kids.
When I got to the church where AWANAs is hosted and got out, I felt my underwear get wetter. Then I knew that I had not just had an accident, my water was leaking. I made my way into the building hoping to find the kids and quickly get them into the van - usually they're running all over the building and it's a bit of a challenge to round them all up. My heart was racing and I was desperate to get the kids, get home, get Tom, and get to the birth center. In all of my past birthing experiences the baby came very soon after my water broke.
Miraculously the kids, except Jon, were right by the front door. I looked Livvy in the eye and flatly told her to go get Jon and for them all to go get into the van, "We need to go home". I wish I could master that tone or look because they obeyed, immediately.
At 8:07 pm after the kids were all buckled into the van, I texted Tom asking him to meet me at home, that my water was leaking. About halfway between AWANAs and home (a 10 minute drive), I felt a pop. The pop. No gush of water. Just a pop. I called Tom, asked him to call the birth center, get the number of the midwife on-call, call her and let her know what was going on.
I was near panic. Some peoples' panic looks like frantic movements, loud crying or screaming. My panic is very, very quiet. Very, very serious. I look back and wish that I had told the kids exactly what was happening. I wish I had had them pray for me. They would have totally been on board with what needed to happen. But I said nothing and I concentrated on driving. I was so scared I was going to have a baby before getting to the birth center - I was driving a van full of kids the completely opposite direction I knew I needed to be going.
I pulled into the driveway next to Tom's car - he had made it home just minutes before me. The kids scrambled out and started helping Daddy load our bags for the birth center into his car. Oma came out with Danner and I gave him a quick kiss.
As I was sitting there, my boots and pants that had been comfortable 10 minutes before became completely unbearable. I had to get them off! I managed to get one boot off before Tom came to get me out of the van and slide me over into his car. I told him that he had to get my remaining boot and pants off NOW! I had him grab a skirt from my birthing bag before he slid me over and stood me up.
As soon as I started to stand up, water went everywhere. Tom removed my boot and took off my wet pants and underwear.
There I stood, bum-naked in my driveway while Tom tried to quickly get my skirt on (Naked In My Driveway - it's going to be the title of a book that I am going to write one day; it'll be a compilation of mothering moments - thanks Mandy for the idea).
We sped off to the birthing center around 8:25pm. My contractions increased in frequency and intensity very quickly as we drove. I can still remember how surreal it all seemed - here I was, experiencing intense pain, driving down the freeway, going to have a baby any minute, passing cars where people were just having ordinary conversations, watching people pump gas or pull into the drive-through at McDonald's. I forced myself to pay attention to these things, to wiggle my toes like a friend suggested, anything to distract my brain from the pain.
It is normally a 25+ minute drive from our house to the birth center. We pulled into the parking lot at 8:48. Once I got inside things progressed extremely fast. After a brief spell on the potty, I was in the bed on my hands and knees pushing.
Esther, our very sweet midwife, tried to get me to not push. She wanted to give my body some time to open up. I resisted as best as I could for one contraction and then I couldn't handle it anymore.
I prayed that God would have mercy on me - I knew I did not deserve to have this baby in the next push, I had had such a rotten attitude, but I was desperate for His mercy, His grace to end the pain quickly. I prayed and then I pushed as hard as I could. I knew his head was out but I could feel some tugging - his shoulder was caught because the little bugger had his hand on his face (just like Livvy). After one more push and a good tug from Esther, out came the sweetest little baby with a head full of dark hair.
I just held him. Looking at his sweet, calm little face. He didn't cry. He just snuggled into me and slept peacefully as if nothing extraordinary had just happened.
Zachariah Lyle was born at 9:07pm, less than 20 minutes after getting to the birth center.
I nursed him while Tom went to prepare our after birth treat - champagne (just a little...this event was definitely worth celebrating) and chocolate fondue with strawberries and oranges. It was delicious.
We hung out at the birthing center for the next several hours. I rested, showered, and ate some more. Zac got examined, weighed, and measured. My "little" baby was 9 lbs 5 oz and 21.5" long. Wow! The biggest baby before Zac was Sammy, and he was only 7 lbs 15 oz - I didn't think I could have one above 8 lbs.
Funny thing, as were were preparing to discharge, Esther told me to get dressed so we could move to a different room. It was then that I realized I didn't have any clean clothes. I couldn't wear the skirt that I wore into the center; it was wet. Because of how fast everything had happened, I didn't have time to re-pack the pants that I was originally intending to wear home ( I only had two bottoms that fit, so I rotated them). I might have arrived half naked, but I certainly couldn't go home that way.
After a minute or two of scratching our heads, I remembered that I had packed Tom's swim trunks just in case it was a water birth and he wanted to get in with me. They were a perfect fit!
|Getting ready to go home: Paola (nurse), me and Esther (midwife)|
The next morning, after a mostly restful night, we were greeted by five beautiful little faces anxious to all hold their new brother.
And, of course, we had to take pictures of the honey and the 'staches.