It's been 12 days since Arthur was born, so I figure it's time to write up the story of his birth. We're all getting pretty settled in at home - it's a lot easier the second time around!
I should start by saying that I was very anxious to have Arthur - I was so uncomfortable the last few weeks of my pregnancy. I felt like a big hive queen with a swollen, pulsating abdomen. I know there was just one baby in there, but I was tired, awkward, and uncomfortable. It didn't help that I had a few bouts of false labor - one a couple of weeks before Arthur was born, and one a couple of days early. So when I did finally go into labor the night of January 7, I was afraid to get my hopes up. We called Chris's mom anyway to ask her to spend the night with us in case we needed to go to the hospital during the night. My contractions pretty much stopped once I went to bed, but started up again about 3 in the morning. Like with Elmer, they were pretty strong and steady, but very far apart all morning on Wednesday, January 8. I was constantly afraid they would stop altogether - I was SO ready to have this baby!
We all went to our church's Wednesday morning healing service, which helped get my mind off my contractions. I asked for a healing blessing in preparation for a smooth delivery, and that helped relieve me of my anxiety. I gave up control of the situation and just left it to God and nature - Arthur would come when he was ready.
On our way back home from church, my contractions got a lot closer together, so we decided to head to the hospital. By the time we arrived, about 1:30 PM, my contractions were about 3 minutes apart and pretty strong. For this pregnancy, I was seeing the midwives team at Valley Women for Women, and they had recommended that I deliver at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center, since they have worked with the birth teams there pretty closely and encourage them to be supportive of more natural birth plans. I'm really happy I made this change - I had seen all the midwives at least once throughout my pregnancy, so I saw a familiar face in Laura when we got to the hospital. She was in the process of delivering another baby while I was in triage, but came in to check on my status shortly after we got there. I was 90% effaced, but dilated only 3 centimeters. Luckily, my blood pressure was normal. They didn't want to admit me until I was further along, so they let me and Chris go walk around for an hour to see what would happen. I was happy to do a little walking, and Chris and I enjoyed some laps around the maternity waiting room atrium. At the end of the hour, my contractions were a lot stronger and closer together. When Laura checked me again in triage, I was at 5 centimeters, so they went ahead and checked us in and moved us to a delivery room. By this time, it was about 4:00 PM.
I labored in there almost 2 hours before starting to feel ready to push. I had requested only intermittent fetal monitoring, so Laura used a doppler to check in on Arthur's heart rate every 30 minutes or so - everything was going great. I got to move around, try out different positions, and just focus on getting ready to have a baby. Laura and the nurse were very unobtrusive, checking in every now and then but generally just letting me labor away. Laura sat and watched me for quite a while - she had a very calming presence and offered some suggestions about different positions when I asked for advice. It was very peaceful to me.
I started feeling ready to push a little before 6, and unlike with Elmer, Laura just encouraged me to listen to my body and push when I wanted. She suggested that I kneel on the bed and hold on to the back of the bed (it was inclined up) for support when I wanted to push, and that was a birthing position that really worked for me. I could relax forward onto the bed in between contractions, and I felt like I could really push when I needed to. Chris stayed close, offering his encouragement and support, and near the end, he held my arms to give me a little more leverage for pushing. Finally, Arthur was born at 6:33 PM!
They immediately helped me turn around and lie down and placed Arthur on my chest. He was all white and wrinkled and looked like a little troll! I just held him for quite a while, as they cleaned me up and the nurses got all the baby things ready to weigh, measure, and bathe him. As with Elmer, we had a short list of names to choose from - again, all family names. Chris wanted me to make the naming decision this time, so I decided on Arthur Henry. Arthur was the name of Chris's paternal grandfather, and Henry was my maternal grandfather. Arthur just seemed to fit him best.
Chris cut the umbilical cord, and they took Arthur to measure his statistics while I went to the restroom. He was 7 pounds 3 ounces, and 20 inches tall, almost a pound and a half heavier than Elmer was! After I ate a quick meal, they moved us to our recovery room and we were left alone. Chris went home to sleep after 9:00 PM, and Arthur and I did our best to sleep in the hospital, which is not easy in my experience.
I didn't need stitches, and Laura didn't recommend post-birth pitocin, so this time I didn't need an IV or any special care. We had let all the nurses know that we wanted to be released from the hospital as soon as possible, so most of Arthur's screenings, circumcision, and evaluations were done before noon. Chris, Elmer, Miriam and Wayne came to visit us in the morning, and then went home for lunch and naps.
Chris came back in the afternoon to wait for us to be released. The last thing to do was the newborn blood test, which they want to do 24 hours after birth, so we were waiting until 6:30...and then still waiting, and still waiting, until 8:00 we requested that someone please come and finally do this test. A nurse from the nursery finally came, and we were set free to go home at last!
Aside from the delay in being released, this was absolutely the best possible birth experience I could imagine. Everything went smoothly, the midwife and birth team were fantastic and supportive, and Arthur was as healthy as can be. I'm so thankful to have another wonderful son in our family!