Go back and read from the start.
“Well, shit,” I thought. “I wanted to move back to the town home, but not like this.”
I was immediately frustrated and overwhelmed. Moving at 32+ weeks pregnant seemed like an awful idea. Brock and I immediately agreed that we would hire a moving company, and a cleaning company for BOTH houses. There was a small moment in time where Brock was hoping we could clean and turn around the townhome for another renter, but when we walked through it after our tenants moved out, it became abundantly clear that we would not be able to move someone else in without extensive work done. Our renters had lived in our home for just over four years, and had not treated it well. I walked through in tears – the house was so beautiful when we moved out.
There wasn’t much we could do, besides a thorough cleaning. We weren’t in a position to spend the money to paint or replace the floors or any of the appliances. I spent the next several weeks packing everything in the rental we were living in, while also living the good life with three kids under 5. Lots of feeding, lots of whining, and lots of butt-wiping. There was an entire chunk of time where all three of my kids were well toilet trained, regular, and unable (or unwilling) to wipe their own bottoms. Choruses of, “WILL YOU WIPE MY BUTT?” would ring out of my house all throughout the day.
I packed and parented and cleaned. Finally it was moving day, and the moving guys plus Brock loaded up all of our stuff, drove it to the new house and unloaded. It happened quickly and easily. Just like that we were in the new place. I hired a cleaning company to clean the townhome before we moved our stuff in, but it was still pretty atrocious. I also hired a company to clean the rental that we had moved out of and I still had to spend several hours there every day, wrapping up and getting us truly OUT. I was 36 weeks pregnant and massive…ly overwhelmed.
I was tired. I napped a lot.
I have reached that point in pregnancy where I feel so very torn. I will be #36weeks on Monday and I believe in pregnancy. I believe in trusting bodies and building babies and not rushing. I don’t want to complain, because those things matter to me. I am not in a hurry… But I am SO uncomfortable. Baby in my ribs and pain in my pubic symphysis. My underwear don’t fit and my bra band cuts into me, and no position save sleeping is comfortable. Heartburn. All the time. I have gained nearly 40lbs this pregnancy, and I struggle with that. Nothing I own fits me. I am not in a hurry, but truly, truly I believe it gets like this at the end so that labor will feel like a relief, and not something to fear. I will not rush you, these last weeks, but I can’t wait to meet you #sweetallender4
Moving in was just as exhausting and frustrating. I had the DESIRE to unpack and organize all of the things. I had the NEED for my space to be ready before the baby came. But I only had an hour or two of good energy each day. In the end, my mom sent me the money to hire an organizing company. They sent three ladies out for 4 hours, and in that tiny chunk of time we got my WHOLE house unpacked, organized, sorted and put away. It was like a Christmas Miracle in June. I was finally in the right mental space to have a baby.
Then, my due date came and went, and my daily updates consisted of not much more than, “Yup, still pregnant.” We spent a lot of time in the pool across the street, and a lot of time trying to figure out whether or not I was actually in labor. I had a TON of prodromal labor. Contracting and getting excited every evening, texting with my midwife until I finally would disappointedly decide just to try to go to bed. I was never tired of being pregnant, nor in a rush to get the baby out – I was just anxious about going into labor without enough notice to call my midwife and have my help arrive. I called her out several times for false alarms. Whoops.
Finally, on June 28th, six days past my due date, I texted my midwife in tears. I had been awake, contracting all night and unable to sleep. It didn’t feel like labor, I didn’t feel like I was doing ANYTHING, except NOT SLEEPING.
(The entirety of Rory’s birth story is written out here, with lots of incredible birth pictures, but as I have before, I’ll do a quick run-down.)
My midwife told me she felt like the baby was trying to get in a good position and recommended I hang out in knee-chest for a few contractions, and then she was going to head over to check on me. She arrived at 10:30, and we chatted for a while, but my contractions weren’t doing anything. She suggested I lie down and try to rest, and she would go out for lunch but stay in the area. I tried to rest, but I absolutely couldn’t relax. I was so frustrated, agitated, excited. While she was gone, I tried a few different positions to get the baby to really engage, and suddenly my contractions were different. They had more bite to them. It felt like we were definitely in the real thing, but I didn’t want my midwife to come back too soon. I did NOT WANT things to peter out again. Brock watched me through my contractions and was sure it was time. He took my phone and texted, “Please come right now.”
She came back and called out the rest of the birth team (her assistant and my photographer,) and we started filling the birth pool. I was rocking and moaning through contractions when we realized there was a hole in the bottom of the pool that was allowing water to slowly fan out from underneath. It didn’t take us long to get it patched, but the adrenaline and stress knocked me back out of labor. I sobbed with disappointment and frustration.
It was 7pm and I was not in active labor. My birth team all went out for dinner together, and suggested Brock and I go for a walk, or rest, or have sex… anything we could think of to get labor going again. We tried all of them, and then I tried the engagement position again. It worked. The contractions were back, and hard and heavy. My team returned at 8:30 to me in very active labor. Tons of moaning, swaying and position changes. At 10:30, I was 8cm dilated, which I found hugely discouraging at the time but it was really good progress.
Finally, I had had enough. I asked to be checked again, and my midwife said there was a lip of cervix there. I had had an anterior cervical lip with all three of my prior babies. It had always had to be held out of the way for the head to come down. She asked if I wanted her to hold it out of the way, and I didn’t want her to, but I knew it meant that the baby would be born if she did, so I said yes.
She held the cervix through a contraction, and then the pushing urge was there, immediately. I pushed and my water broke. Pushed again, and the baby crowned. Another, and the head was out. Fourth push, and our fourth child was born.
The baby took some time to transition, and needed some breaths to help inflate his lungs. It only took a few moments, and then he was snuggled sweetly into my arms and we were a family of six. A whole family. Complete.
Life was about to get so much more beautiful, and so much more difficult.
To be continued…
Move on to the part Thirty-four.