At 6:37pm Saturday, May 8, Little Leeli arrived on the scene of our very busy house. I have said all along that she was a surprise and her arrival was no different.
Leeli's due date was two days before the big Arlington Homeschool Bookfair. This is one of my favorite times of the year and I really wanted to go. Since we're changing direction with school next, I was hoping to get there and take advantage of fair discounts and free shipping. There was an added bonus to this year. We were going to meet a family that we had befriended online as they are convention representatives for Rosetta Stone. That was what I really wanted to do. I had been praying for a while that God would allow Leeli to come early so that I could make it to the bookfair for all the reasons mentioned above. That was not His plan but He did answer these in a different way.
We arranged to meet with the mother/daughter team coming to Arlington on Thursday before the bookfair opened. They spent the day setting up and then they were going meet us for dinner. We drove to them so they didn't have to maneuver through too much Dallas rush hour traffic. But the morning of this meeting, I woke up with fairly consistent contractions and bloody show. They weren't hard to work through. Throughout the day, they slowed down so we decided to do anyway. Of course, being in the bumpy van made everything start up again. They weren't hard contractions but they were starting to require a bit of concentration. They stayed fairly consistent through dinner and into the evening but finally fizzled out. I did have trouble sleeping through the night but once I got up there just wasn't any thing left.
When I woke up on Friday morning, I debated going to the bookfair. I had slept on the couch with a few contractions through the night. I didn't want to drive an hour away and then have something happen. But when we finally realized that I really wasn't doing much so we decided to just pack the whole family up and go get our books. This is not something we'll ever do again until everyone is much older but it was kind of fun having everybody there. They all dressed in a green shirt (their choice) in order to help mom and dad keep track of everyone. I was able to get all my books and a few extras and all with no contractions. I was still having bloody show but nothing else.
We came home around lunch and everyone took a nap. As I woke up I started to have contractions start up again but they just weren't regular enough to time them. They were, however, requiring more of me. I was getting irritated with noises around me and just wanted everyone to go away. Underdog started a movie and got dinner for the kids. It was also our date night. We get the kids dinner and sometimes they do a movie. Then they go down a little earlier to bed. Sometimes we cook dinner at home for ourselves and other times we order out. That night, Underdog went to get Jason's Deli so I could have a California Club sandwich and a salad. But as the evening progressed I just didn't want to do anything but sleep. Eating just made me nauseous anyway. About 45 minutes into our movie and a few bites of my meal, I went to bed.
The night was quite restless for me. I didn't sleep much between the contractions. They just simply weren't something I could time though. There was so regularity to them. I would have one then go seven minutes then have another and wait for another 15 minutes. In all reality, that is quite typical of my labors. But once I got up on Saturday there just wasn't much going on. By mid-morning I felt like I was going insane and I called my midwife to tell her so. She wanted me to find a way to relax and get some sleep through the afternoon. I agreed and set out to do that. I was still having contractions and they were taking concentration but still no regularity. I was starting to feel them in my back but not bad enough to need help to get through them. My plan for the day was to relax a bit (shopping on ebay :) and then spent some time with my family, including my parents, brother, his girlfriend, and my baby niece. My brother and his family had come down to visit for Mother's Day and hopefully see the new cousin. I was excited to see them all.
Just before my family arrived, the baby started moving in a way that was causing intense pain. These were not contractions, although the movement often caused a contraction. I got in a warm bath to see if it might calm her down and stop some of the pain. But nothing helped. By that time, the flood gates opened up. I started crying uncontrollably. Underdog finally came in to see if I was alright and I just cried. I wanted the pain to stop. This wasn't labor pain. I could handle that (for the most part.) These were sharp, sharp sensations that wouldn't let up. Then a contraction would come on and make it all even worse.
I finally got most of this to stop so I went down to join my family and hold my niece. She's beautiful and looks alot like I remember her dad looking (at least in my 5 yod memory.) I talked for a bit with my mom and Carrie and then the baby started moving again. I was rather embarrassed and rushed out of the room. I was crying and Underdog had to help me up the stairs. I had another contraction when I got upstairs. I decided to try and start my nap. About 20 minutes into my nap I had a contraction that I didn't think I would make it through. The contractions were still coming so far apart though. I am thinking that they really were at about seven to eight minutes apart. Underdog took the kids out of the house so I could get some quiet but there would be no nap. I finally called him to come home. I needed help. Length between the contractions is typically what you would see in early labor. You definitely wouldn't see that spacing in transition but the contractions felt like transition. I really was beginning to feel like I was insane.
I called Rose Marie, my midwife, she recommended I get in the tub to see if that might slow things down. She felt that perhaps I was just so overly tired from having walked the day before and not sleeping that my body was overreacting. So I got in my birth tub. It didn't help though. Underdog got home and we decided that it would probably we best for the kids to go to my parents house. So they came back to get them and decided without me to take overnight clothes just in case. By this time it was about 5 to 5:30pm. The contractions were so hard. I was just about ready to give up. Underdog called Rose Marie and they decided to put me to sleep with alcohol. YUCK!!!!! I could barely get the drink down. I finally gave up. I was done and I told Underdog so. He was to take me immediately to the hospital so I could get pain relief and sleep!!! He didn't go for it but humored me. He wanted me to take a nap so he got me out. I found out later that he told Rose Marie that he thought I just needed sleep. He was right to think so. That is what I thought as well but the contractions wouldn't let me.
Now there is something I must explain at this point. I have very specific signs of coming to the end of transition and very close to dilating completing. First of all, I am usually done, get me to the hospital for pain relief. Secondly, I hate wearing clothes at this point. I am an extremely modest person but there is something about giving birth in your element that makes me want nothing to do with clothing. Midwives see this alot so they don't think anything of it. So I had hit two of the signs. The third is crying. Well, I had started doing that much earlier in the afternoon. Finally, I get the shakes really bad toward the end. The problem with all this is that I had ALL the signs of transition BUT the contractions were still seven to eight minutes apart. Even my midwife didn't think anything was going on except exhaustion on my part. I just confused and honestly afraid this was all in my head.
So I was on the bed after getting out of the tub and the contractions are coming really hard. I needed pressure on my back which I actually remember hurting more. Then I felt the strangest sensation. . . I felt like I needed to push. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! I had no idea where I was in the dilation process and I didn't want to do anything wrong to hurt myself. But it wouldn't go away. The only way to make things feel better was to push just a bit so I did. Then I felt something strange. It was bag of water. Then it broke. That was it. That usually means that labor is imminent. There was no turning back. We called the midwife and I got back in the tub.
You must understand something else. My water doesn't usually break until near the end. Now I was really confused. These are some hard transition like contractions coming every seven to eight minutes. That was the consistant time of them ALL. I got in the tub and suddenly things changed. I wasn't purposely pushing but my body was. I was getting really scared. I thought I could feel a head. Panic begin to set it. Underdog was amazingly calm and he called the midwife.
We found out later that Rose Marie called another midwife, Pam, who lives about 20 minutes from me. My midwife was 20 minutes from me at that time as well. It just so happened that the other midwife had just walked out of the movie with her daughter was 2 minutes from me. I call that God's grace. To be honest, I interviewed this midwife a couple of years ago and was hoping Rose Marie would think to call her. I trusted her very much.
So the weird pushing sensation wouldn't go away, the contraction were changing, my back was screaming at me and I am screaming at baby to stop moving. Yes, the movement from her was starting again. I knew what that movement meant though. She was readjusting for the final decent. I was scared to death. I am home alone with my husband in a full tub of water and this baby was coming with NO MIDWIFE. Pam walked in started getting gloves out and towels ready. Then it hit!!!! That sudden feeling of GET THIS THING OUT OF THERE. There was no stopping now. I had passed transition without even knowing it. Pam barely had time to get her gloves on before I had pushed her out. She was arriving with just as much surprise as when we found out about her coming last summer.
Miss Leeli (that will be her blog name) was wrapped in her cord several times AND holding on to it. Dad was ready to catch if necessary but he was glad he didn't have to. It took a bit to get her unwrapped. The amazing things is that Pam did not bring her up out of the water until she was unwrapped and she floated her to me to grab. Water birth is amazing. Babies don't take a breath until they hit air. As she was coming up her eyes were wide open. Several months ago I was at friends house to help with her older kids while she was birthing to her baby. When we all finally got to go into the room I made a comment about how alert undrugged babies were. She was puzzled at first having had all EIGHT of her babies at home. But her midwife confirmed what I said. The drugs that are given to moms in the hospital do indeed cross the placenta and it makes for VERY tired babies. I have had 3 babies this way. All I remember if that they simply wanted to sleep. Imagine my surprise when I realized that babies really are born very alert and ready to interact with you. Leeli was as alert as any baby I have seen and she's still that way. She's not having to work the drugs out of her body.
Leeli was born at 6:37pm. She weighed 9 1/2 pounds (my prediction) and had a 14 inch head (another one that I called.) She was 21 1/2 inches long. She has a full head of beautiful black hair, much like the color of her daddy's hair right now. When I first saw her I thought she looked alot like Si-Bay. They both have a perfectly round face and pretty little almond eyes. On occasion I will see some of the Pee-Poohs face. And then both my mom and I can see alot of my grandmother's face in her. My grandmother had alot of Cherokee Indian in her so she had really high cheek bones. I see that is Leeli's face. I expect she will change over time but for right now, I am just having fun trying to determine who she looks like and when.
The aftermath of the birth was a bit trying for me. My blood pressure was very low. I lost just a bit more blood than they initially thought. I was very dizzy as well. At one point I ended up getting sick to my stomach. Nothing made me feel better. All I wanted to do was sleep. The one thing I needed to do more than anything was empty my bladder but I couldn't. It simply took me forever. Until I was able to do that I was going to stay sick and dizzy. So I was finally able to "run" with help to the potty and finally to empty my bladder. But I was still so dizzy from the blood loss that I had to crawl back to my bed. I can only imagine the sight. HA!!!
I did eventually get to eat and keep food down. By 10pm I was just simply ready to go to sleep with my baby girl. She had other plans though. When I finally was able to think straight after getting out of the tub, I nursed her for the first time. She is truly a champ. They was very little help needed to get her latched on right. Thus, it's now her favorite past time. And that was all she wanted to do that night. She's good at nursing lying down so I was able to get a little sleep. It also didn't help that Underdog was instructed to get me up every two hours to empty my bladder until my milk comes in. URGH!!! So between that and her wanting to nurse all night, I didn't sleep much.
The recovery hasn't been hard at all. I am still a bit dizzy when I stand up so Rose Marie wants me resting alot. I will go to the chiropractor on Thursday for an adjustment and to get Leeli her first adjustment. The rest of the family is in a bit of teezy but that is to be expected. The next several weeks are going to be quite an adjustment for us all. But I thankful for the timing of her birth. It the start of our summer session so we will use that as a time to do a bit of school as well as adjust to Leeli's new presence in our home. I am so looking forward to her first year with us.
We said this last time with Pinky Poo, but we are done, really. We thought we were after Pink. We are pretty certain unless God has other plans, that we are truly done now. My body is tired. And I am ready to move to my next stage as a mom. It's the first time both of us have been on the same page with a decision long before we ever discussed it. And we believe we are in the will of God. All I can say is that this was one of the best ways to end this stage of my motherhood. I started my motherhood out on a pretty spring evening in May nearly 11 years ago. That one was a surprise birth as well considering her due date was in June. I ended the maternity stage of my motherhood on a beautiful spring evening as well finding a surprise involved. Those in between have been full of fun and adventure. I am so excited to see what God has in store for the next stage of motherhood and fatherhood for us. And I am thankful that I get to do it with the greatest husband in the world and SEVEN of the most awesome children God could possible bring into our lives. Thank you, Jesus, for the blessing of my family.