Monday, February 11th, 2019, was my last day of work before maternity leave. I had planned on taking a few days off before my due date, the 17th, to spend time with my sister, who was arriving in the afternoon of the 12th. I had high hopes of meal prepping, deep cleanings, taking some much needed relaxation from the busyness of work, and heck maybe even a pedicure before my first baby arrived. I remember sitting on the couch around 7pm, feeling a slight tensing and discomfort come and go periodically, convincing myself that it was just braxton hicks. I had been experiencing braxton hicks occasionally for a few weeks now, but never felt this same sort of discomfort. After a few more of these “braxton hicks,” sitting was becoming much more uncomfortable, so I decided to get up and walk around a bit. I remember leaning over the edge of our kitchen counter, not saying a word to Caleb (my husband), because I didn’t want to sound dramatic since I “knew” this was false labor. I mean, they always tell you that for first pregnancies, babies are more often late than early or on time. I had intricately planned my sister’s trip up from Washington to include the possibility that this baby could come at 42 weeks, and I needed her to still be here. As I stood in the kitchen, with these mild waves of discomfort continuing, my eyes met Caleb’s and he immediately said into his phone “Hey guys, I have to go, I think my wife is in labor.” It would be fitting that the evening of my last day of work would also be the evening my labor began.
My two children were such incredibly different birth experiences.
My daughter took her sweet time. I had some mild contractions the first day. We went walking and even out to the "last supper" for Thai food. I had to concentrate a bit every 10 minutes, but that was really a breeze. I called Johanna around 8pm to let her know things were starting. From then it was another 33 hours until we met Claire. I tried to sleep but around 2am it was too intense for me to relax. I had to be on all fours for every contraction. I got into the shower. I spent the whole next day laboring at home mostly in the shower. My husband, Elm, brought me snacks and made all the phone calls.
Pregnancy was uneventful in a good way. Although I moved quite a bit slower, I stayed active, hiking, mountain biking and camping through the ninth month. Come to think of it, our pregnancy was eventful in that, during the last month we sold a house, bought a house and moved. We were planning a home birth, but didn’t have a home until the final hour. That kept things exciting
I waited and waited every day after the day I was able to have my planned Birth here in Juneau. I expected to go early, I wanted to be done. But every day there was nothing more than Braxton Hicks and then another day would come. I love being pregnant but with a 3 year old and not being able to do much anymore I was pretty done.
I chose to have my fourth baby at the birth center rather than the hospital like the other three, because they offered more maternal control over prenatal care and delivery than other options. Since this was my fourth child, I felt I knew my body well enough to choose my own level of care.
Our baby was a complete surprise; sort of. We had been preparing for the eventual arrival of a baby, and so when the third pregnancy test was finally conclusive, we were happy, but scared. We didn’t know how to be parents, and despite how many nieces and nephews we had, I didn’t understand pregnancy nearly as well as I thought I did.
It was a beautiful sunny Tuesday, one of the first sunny days of the year where you could actually feel the lights warmth. My due date was 6 days away, and I knew that as a first time mom I was likely to go over. I was taking advantage of the time to wrap up loose ends that needed to be taken care of prior to our daughter’s arrival. At my prenatal appointment that morning I had Chelsea check to see if I was dilated or effaced at all and I was only a fingertip dilated and 30% effaced which was no progression from when I was checked the week before. I had not had the most pleasant pregnancy, but had finally surrendered to the idea of going the full 42 weeks.
Uri came to this world the usual way via natural birth. Born at Juneau Birth Center with very caring midwives, Uri had no complications. Stephanie, his mother, did everything she was told and made herself as comfortable as she could during the delivery. We came to the Birth Center Saturday night after 5 pm and Uri was born at 10:01 pm January 28, 2017. He weighed in at 7 1/2 pounds and was 21 1/2 inches long. A healthy and big baby.
How I met Uri
It was about time to greet Uri to this world. I was 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant and my body was more than ready to push and bring my bundle of joy into my life. I remember I couldn’t move with the same freedom than I did when I was only 7 months pregnant, but I worked hard until the day before I delivered my little one.
The hospital in Petersburg doesn’t deliver babies anymore (I was born there), but my husband has family in Juneau, so we decided to go there for the birth. Initially, I had several reasons to choose the Birth Center for care: several friends had successful birth experiences there, I liked the idea of a water birth, and the knowledge that the hospital was moments away in case of emergency was reassuring. I saw my regular doctor during the pregnancy and everything progressed smoothly, but always felt like I should have more questions. The one rough patch had to do with blood sugar. Apparently, sneaking in lunch while at the doctor’s office is a recipe for abnormal sugar results and gestational diabetes screening to rule that out- luckily everything was fine.
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