And could this little one be any more of a lesson in accepting things the way they are, and not being in control is just fine? What a lesson in trust (and patience) she has been already, barely a few hours old... She started teaching me before she was even born.
After peaceful slow labour all day, as soon as the children went to bed the contractions started coming one on top of the other. It was the most intensely I've ever laboured, and I wanted the pool up fast! This felt *fast* and I spent most of my time crouching leaning down on my elbows to slow the contractions a bit and give myself space to breathe. We called the midwives about then, with the pool half-full and my mum on her way already, about 8pm I guess. It felt like the contractions were still a few minutes apart but having gone from slooow to full-on in a matter of minutes my body was obviously as impatient as my mind.
The midwife came then, and I nearly sent her away again when she spoke to her collegue and said "don't rush, she'll be a while". Argh! That was the last thing I needed to hear, and everything felt so fast (um, I said that already, right?) I ended up clinging to Martin in the pool saying, "I can't do much longer, it won't really be much longer will it?!"
With every contraction he was applying pressure to my lower back and it felt so GOOD, every time he went to get more hot water (yes, we played that game again!) I ended up shouting for him to come back! I tried to drink but was just sick, so laid off that idea. Hey, this birth story has alll the nice bits left in. ;)
After this point I have no idea of time at all. It felt at the time like it was about an hour of sets of back-to-back contractions and very little pause between, but actually I'm told it was three (three!) hours like that. I felt pushy for most of that time too, but was convinced I had ages to go yet. It was very very hard work by then, Martin was IN the pool (not allowed to stop massaging my back) and the water was nice and hot. I was swinging between "labouring beautifully" ie breathing hard, rocking my hips, feeling spaced out but on top of the world, and just whining (I can't, I don't want to, why is it so SLOW?!).
For a while we had one of those strange conversations with the midwives where they totally flipped out at the idea of lotus birthing, I discussed it between contractions for a good half hour, and finally ended up snapping and said, "look, it's my decision and I will make it at the time, I've heard your advice and now I DON'T WANT TO DISCUSS IT!!" Actually this was about the hardest I'd ever laboured with any of my children, and I was really furious that I was being asked to justify myself during contractions. Martin stopped them asking any more questions after that and the mood in the birthing room settled back to comfortably semi-festive (with my complaints and heavy breathing as constant background).
Then, unmistakably, I knew I was pushing whether or not I wanted to. Really? Now? I was convinced I had an hour left at least (I think I'd talked myself into thinking it couldn't possibly actually be nearly over, I'd been basically in transition for hours already and was tired out)... After a couple of contractions on top of each other like that, pushing but not really doing the work conciously, I could feel the head and mum ran to get Jenna. Before then I'd felt too fragile to be comfortable with her being there, but now I knew I was very close.
Having her there was magical. As I pushed the head out I heard her gasp and exclaim, "our baby!" and a moment later as the body was born she said, "the baby swam out BEAUTIFULLY!"
I held a tiny little fat wrinkly newborn body for a moment, long enough to see that we had a third daughter (WOW!!) but the little body was very limp and the little eyes didn't open. She started to turn blue and we realised that the cord was vey very short and not pulsing, the placenta had come away too soon and hadn't fed her for those last couple of pushes. So we cut the cord quickly and she was revived a moment later. Through that brief scare we were all totally calm, though I think the midwives both panicked a bit, and Martin and I just looked at each other and said, "she's OK, she'll breathe in a minute". And she did.
I held her back in the water and snuggled her close. Her hands and feet are wrinkly and dry, but her little head was very vernix-y and she is SO ROUND, a little ball of plumpness! She's a good bit bigger than either of the others was, well cooked little mite that she is. Jenna had a little cry now that we'd had a girl, just what she wanted, and she got a little cuddle too. She hasn't stopped telling her how much she loves her, and how glad she is to meet her!
Morgan met her new sister this morning, in our bed, and they nursed together for the first time too. Rowan has a good strong suck but is quite sleepy and won't feed for more than a few sucks at a time. We're keeping at it though, with Morgan cheering her on - she keeps coming and saying, "good girl baby Row-na, more mummy moolk" (also keeps calling her "Re-an" lol, I think this name might take time to stick for my teeny toddler!). In fact, the first thing Morgan said when she saw her was, "baby - from there!" pointing at my stomach. Followed by, "baby sad, have mummy moolk".
And here she is. Perfect, complete, and strangely alien! I actually have a baby, she's really here!