I predicted in my last post that my next would be a birth story. Well, I was right! On March 10th, we welcomed our third son, Wallace Glenn, into the world. I have thought about writing up his birth story every day since, but I have needed some time to process it. Truthfully, I probably need more time, but I am so antsy to share! So here goes nothing.
I started having some on and off contractions in my 38th week of pregnancy. A couple times I thought I might be experiencing early labor, only to have the contractions fade away. I decided to stop working right at 39 weeks, primarily because I commute about an hour each way and didn’t want to risk going into labor there and trying to get home. Also, I felt like I needed some time to separate myself and my pregnancy experience from my clients and theirs. I wanted to have time to reflect on what I hoped for my own birth experience without others’ stories dancing in my head.
We were lucky enough to have my mom be willing and available to camp out at our house starting on Sunday. So Monday and Tuesday Marshall stayed home from preschool and had some fun playtime with Mom and Grandma. Wednesday we sent him to preschool so that I could have a day to just rest and he could have some time with his friends. By then, I was feeling crampy nearly constantly, but nothing was strong or regular enough for me to be convinced that it was the real deal. At times I was feeling pretty discouraged that I may still have two weeks or more of discomfort and false alarms. My midwives and doula reminded me that the uterine activity I was experiencing was not being wasted and instead was preparing my body for true labor. I sure hoped they were right!
My mom and I sat around and chatted for awhile Wednesday morning and then ran a few errands. After lunch I took a short nap and had a long, hot shower. We picked Marshall up just a little bit early from school. He and Grandma played while I made taco salad for dinner. I took Marshall upstairs for his bath and bedtime routine that night. After tucking him in, I came downstairs and started casually glancing at the clock with contractions, realizing that they seemed to be picking up just slightly in frequency and strength. Sure enough, they were coming about every 4-5 minutes, and they stayed that way for the next hour and a half. Because they weren’t much more uncomfortable than they had been, I wasn’t convinced that they would continue. However, I gave one of our midwives and doula a heads-up before going to bed.
I was able to sleep, or at least doze, for the next couple hours. Around 12:20am I woke up with a pretty strong contraction. And then there was another. I got up to the bathroom and had another. These felt like legitimate labor contractions. Woohoo! So I went to the living room and sat on my birth ball and started timing them. I was contracting every 2-4 minutes, and they were lasting about 45-60 seconds. I woke Jon and my mom up and had them start busying themselves with putting the mattress protector on, filling up the tub, and making food for our birth team. I threw on a bikini top and gown between contractions. At some point, I called our doula and asked her to come on over. I paced around the house for a few minutes and then ended up in the bathroom leaning over a short cabinet and swaying back and forth. It wasn’t long before I felt planted in that spot and unable to do anything else. I really wanted to get in the tub, but it was nowhere near being ready for me.
At 1:15am, my water broke. It was such a small trickle that I wasn’t sure that’s what it was. But the trickle continued, and right away my contractions seemed much, much stronger. I yelled to Jon to call the midwife and let her know we were ready for her to come. I was still planted in my spot in the bathroom. My vocalizations with contractions became much louder, and I was quickly feeling out of control. Everything seemed to be moving way too fast. Jon was trying to comfort me with some light back massage, and I snapped at him to stop touching me. He was giving me cool cloth after cool cloth, and those were lovely. Somewhere around 1:30am I started feeling like I needed to push. I was in utter disbelief. But soon I was on my knees hanging onto the toilet on the left and the sink on the right and yelling for Jon to get chux and towels. There was no denying it. This baby was coming. Pushing was not an option. My body was doing it, whether I was ready for it or not.
At 1:41am, Wallace Glenn was born into his parents’ hands. On the bathroom floor. Before anyone from our birth team arrived. He had one loose loop of cord around his neck that I slipped over his head. And then Jon helped pass his body through my legs, and I brought him to my chest. I dried and stimulated him with a towel while Jon called our midwife and let her know he was here and crying. Both of our midwives and our doula showed up very soon after and helped us move to the bed.
Wallace and I spent the next couple hours skin-to-skin and nursing with Jon at our side in the bed. Marshall (somehow) slept through the birth, and we opted to let him sleep awhile longer. Our birth team checked in on us from time to time and ensured that Wallace and I were both doing well. They cleaned everything up and brought me drinks and food. It was such a relaxing way to recover and settle into this new relationship. After awhile, I got up to the bathroom and even hopped in the shower for a quick clean-up. I was impressed with how good I felt. Of course, I suppose that’s to be expected after such a short labor! Our midwife then weighed, measured, and assessed Wallace. He was 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and he was 20 inches long. He looks nearly identical to his big brother, Marshall, and he has his daddy’s ears and mommy’s toes.
Soon after, the house was quiet again, and we were on our own with this sweet new person. We sent a few texts, made a few phone calls, and then brought Marshall down to our room to meet his brother. While the births of all three of my sons are some of the most amazing moments of my life, introducing Marshall to Wallace ranks right up there. He has been so excited to meet his brother, and he has been so patient waiting for him to be born. I can’t wait to see the bond these two boys create with one another. We are so proud to be their parents, and our hearts could not be fuller.