Arthur’s Birth Story

by Marta Thunder

My third pregnancy was easy. I had been going to the gym, finally getting back into a nice workout routine with weights and running. I felt really great. I don’t know if that helped with feeling so well in the beginning, but I just felt like I had a lot of energy. 

We spent time with family one weekend late in April. My pregnant sister-in-law was in town and we chatted a lot about pregnancy. I had a feeling I was pregnant again. I had an insane appetite, and was peeing more than usual. But I wanted to wait until the weekend with Family was over before I tested.

Monday arrived and I was too anxious to wait any longer. After the kids went down for their naps I decided to test. Sure enough, there were the two pink lines. I was pregnant! I remember instantly feeling super excited, like silently happy yelling in the bathroom.  I calmed myself down enough to do a quick due date estimation search online January 6th, a Christmas baby for sure.

With my two previous pregnancies, morning sickness started at seven weeks. This time I didn’t feel any nausea until around nine weeks, which caused me to doubt whether I was actually pregnant or not. I tested again, positive. I was able to manage my nausea pretty well by eating small protein rich meals often.

I always seem to doubt whether I’m actually pregnant or not regardless of how many pregnancy tests I take. The first prenatal appointment, which includes listening to the babies heart beat, is what has always put my uncertainties at ease. 

My pregnancy progressed, and things went well. I enjoyed my monthly appointments with my midwives. I had a relaxing hour drive each way and I delighted in listening to classical music. It was a blissful three hours kid free. I’ve grown to really love spending time with the three midwives in the practice, and I was so happy to work with them again.

As the months moved on I kept pondering, “What were we thinking, adding a third kid to this craziness?”. I was thankful for every month of pregnancy I had remaining. It meant there was more time for my wild, sugar and spice seventeen month old daughter to be just a bit older.

December arrived and we got closer to Christmas and I wondered if we would be spending the day with family, or be snuggled up at home with a new baby, but Christmas came and went. Soon it was January and I was shocked to still be pregnant. I had scheduled a prenatal appointment for January 4th which I was sure I wouldn’t need, cause I would already have a baby. But I was wrong, no baby yet. So to the appointment I went.

The next day our public library was having a kids program about sea creatures, we made plans to attend. It ended up being an unusually warm day for the beginning of January, so we walked there. Once the program was over we headed out and decided to walk around downtown and along the river. On our way back, I started to feel some contractions, but I knew they could just be from the exercise. We made it home, and checked the distance, around four miles walked!

My friend and birth photographer, Kari had texted me and asked how I was feeling. I told her about the contractions, but just kind of brushed them off. The contractions faded as the evening wore on. I woke up around 2am and was having some mild contractions. I decided to time them for a bit. I tracked them for about two hours until they weren’t accurate anymore because I kept falling asleep. I figured I should get rest if it did turn into the real thing.

When I woke up in the morning the contractions continued. I finally contacted the midwife just before 11am on January 6th, my estimated due date. We decided to prepare, as I was pretty certain this was the beginning of labor. I gathered things to send the big kids to Josh’s parent’s house. My contractions slowed down as I was busy packing. After the kids left and I showered, the contractions picked back up. 

Korina was the first midwife to arrive around 2pm. We chatted a bit and the second midwife, Christie, arrived shortly after. We prepared a few things and chatted some more. The photographer, Kari arrived around 3:45pm. 

We all hung out for a bit as I worked through contractions and did a few last minute details. The midwives set up the birthing pool, and prepared their things.

My contractions started to intensify. I decided I was ready to get into the pool. It felt so relaxing to be in hot water. I found that I was most comfortable relaxing through the contractions on my hands and knees. I don’t remember how long I was in the pool before I started transition. Based on the timing of everything it couldn’t have been very long. Once I was in transition I started to do low tone vocalization during the contractions. I remember feeling a bit self-conscious about making noises because my friend was there. At first I made a lame attempt to vocalize, but was feeling awkward. Christie helped by starting some low tones, and then I just embraced it, and settled into managing the contractions again. 

I don’t exactly remember what all happened between the beginning of transition and pushing. The next thing I remember is involuntarily starting to push. Once my body was telling me to push, the midwife checked to see if I was all the way dilated, I was at ten centimeters. I tried to relax through a few more contractions, but my body was pushing, so I started to push. I remember it hurting so much, and just feeling like I needed to stand, like somehow standing would make the pain go away, and the baby come out. I was making a mixture of a yell and scream. Gosh, that was hard work. I was kneeling when I pushed the head out, and then moved to an almost standing position to push the rest of the way. 

At 5:38pm Christie caught the baby and I instantly sat down in the water. I was so tired and in pain. The baby was handed to me and I cradled it to my chest and just breathed through the residual pain. While I was still calming down the midwives pulled off the birth sac that was on my baby’s head. It was born in the caul! I looked down at my sweet baby. I remember commenting that it was still a little peanut. I thought it would be big because it wasn’t early like my other babies were.

After a moment I check the gender. 

It was a boy!

 Such a sweet, perfect little boy. I remember his forehead being really wrinkly. It was the cutest thing. We stayed in the pool for a little while, and then Josh cut the umbilical cord. I handed our son off so I could stand and make my way to the bed.

After settling in on the bed they handed the baby to me. I put his first adorable cloth diaper on him. I latched my son and he nursed beautifully. That is the way I remember our sweet Arthur Lee’s birth. Surrounded by love and care. Born on his estimated due date, in the caul, and 7 pounds 13 ounces of tender chubbiness. 

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