Today is a special one in our family – there are three birthdays. My sister and I had babies on the same day. She had a little girl in the morning, and I had our Micah late the same night. My cousin’s daughter was born on the same day but several years earlier. Cool, eh?
Except for one little problem around twelve to fourteen weeks in my pregnancy with Micah the pregnancy was very straightforward. Until I got to the last trimester. That’s when I started experiencing depresssion. Everyone knows about postpartum depression, but I didn’t know about antenatal depression.
One problem I was facing was where I was going to have this baby. I wanted a homebirth, but we had moved an hour and a half away from my midwife, and her clinic rules did not allow her to come to me. I couldn’t have the baby at my parents’ home because they had cats. I didn’t want to be fighting allergies and trying to labour.
We checked out a basement birthing suite in the house of a local doula, but I felt uncomfortable with that option even though it was a nice place. I said we would go there though since I wanted to have a “home” environment.
Finally at my midwife appointment two weeks before my due date I told my midwife I was finished. I just needed to have the baby. I couldn’t go on.
She suggested a “stretch and sweep”. She said if my body was ready it would work, if not…Well, I didn’t want to consider the “if not”. That was on Thursday. She did the stretch and sweep and some contractions started but nothing regular. I came back Friday morning for another with the same results. She said we could do one more in the afternoon, but if nothing happened she wanted me to go home for the weekend and rest, and we’d talk again Monday morning.
By this time I knew my sister had had her baby, and I so wanted to have mine too. Not just for the cool factor of having babies on the same day. I just wanted my baby.
After my husband and I left the midwife’s office Friday afternoon I was beginning to have more regular and stronger contractions. We went to a doughnut shop and I had a bagel. Then we decided to walk around a thrift store. I remember hiding in the clothes during contractions. I also remember buying a little Sunday suit for a toddler.
We called the midwife to tell her that the contractions were regular and strong and to discuss another problem. I just could not face going using the birthing suite at the doula’s house. Thankfully my midwives are set up for births at their clinic for situations like mine. So we headed over to the clinic while she called in my second midwife and a student midwife who would help where she could but mostly observe.
It was after hours so Hugo and I sat in the waiting room, and I laboured quietly while the midwives prepared the room where I would give birth. I was so worried about getting everyone there and everything set up and having the labour stop even though the contractions were pretty regular. I was actually praying for contractions. I can be so paranoid sometimes. Sigh.
Around seven things picked up, and it didn’t take long for the contractions to become fierce. That’s the only word for them. The one drawback to the clinic was that there was no tub or shower to help manage pain.
Earlier I had spoken to my midwife that I really wanted my husband to catch this baby. We had tried with every baby so far, but always by the time I reached the point of birthing the baby I had too strong a grip on my husband’s hand and didn’t want to let go. My midwife said she would help us make this happen this time. She did. The student midwife ended up being the one who nearly had her hand squeezed off.
As typical for me my contractions started to double and triple peak after my water broke. The pain seemed to never stop with very little break between. I knew I had to be in transition, but it seemed never ending.
My midwife wanted to check my progress but with so little time between contractions I didn’t want her to. Finally she told me that if I let her check me she would let me sit on the birth stool something I really wanted for the birth. She wasn’t crazy about letting me do this because this was my sixth baby, and she didn’t want him to come too quickly. Anyway, she told me to use the bathroom first because I hadn’t for a while.
I must have had about three really hard contractions in the bathroom by myself just gripping the support bar. It almost makes me cry to remember all of this. The pain was the most intense I had ever experienced.
Somehow I managed to walk the few steps to the birthing stool, but there would be no checking. As soon as I sat down I yelled, “I’m pushing.” With one mighty push my baby was born. My babies always come very quickly with only two to three pushes, but Micah was the fastest!
The sweet relief of holding my baby, no more contractions, and almost as soon as my baby was born I felt like a weight had lifted off my shoulders. The depression was gone.
When my husband called my parents’ house to tell our children they had a new brother, my oldest son who was nearly eight cried because they finally had another brother. About an hour later our three oldest children came to the clinic to meet their new brother.
Noah cried again when he held Micah because he was so happy. He also picked out red socks for Micah to wear.
My husband and I went to a hotel that night while our children continued to stay with my parents (Remember the cats? I still didn’t want to deal with my allergies.)
After a couple of days we went home. By then I knew I had to come back into the city soon to fix my son’s tongue-tie, but I felt like I could deal with anything now that my depression had lifted.
Micah had lots of hair and the older he became the longer and curlier it grew. I was so sad when we finally cut his hair when he was nearly three years old.
He was also my only thumb sucker. He gave it up on his own around seven months, but until then he went back and forth between either thumb. He really had no preference for one or the other. It was so cute because it was so unique in our family.
Micah is eight years old today. He has an enthusiastic personality that knows no strangers. Right now he’s dealing with curing his dyslexia through a set of exercises that he has to do every day – he never complains and approaches each session with enthusiasm.
I love his joyful outlook on life. Of course, he also drives his siblings crazy because he’s at the age where that happens. He’s the leader of the pack that includes his two younger brothers. Most times they play together in perfect harmony. Anything he does is done with energy and joy.
I am so excited to see what Micah will be like as he grows up. This I know – whatever he does will be done with joyful enthusiasm.