This story is shared by permission from Erin, a second-time JJB mama.
On the morning of June 29th, I was 41 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I was still feeling good physically but drained by the constant "he's not here yet?" comments. I had an appointment with my midwife Karen who confirmed that all was good with baby and me. We discussed strategies and created a plan to get the baby to come - ideally before the holiday weekend. She recommended an acupuncturist that would do a home visit and to use a double breastpump after the appointment.
The acupuncturist started the treatment around 4pm and was aggressive with stimulating the needles. I was actually a bit sore when she finished. I rested for a little bit and then began pumping (5 minutes on and 5 off). While pumping around 5:30pm, I felt a little crampy. I sent text messages to Karen and my doula to let them know. My husband asked if I wanted to go to dinner and I told him that I would rather stay home because I definitely felt uncomfortable. The cramps turned into contractions that I could actually time at 7pm. They started off coming every 5-7 minutes and lasted about 30-45 seconds. I sat down to dinner with my son and Brian and we talked about how the baby might be coming soon.
Patrick said he wanted to stay home but I convinced him that a sleepover at his friend's place (one floor up) was a good idea. Because in my head, who knew how long things would take and although bedtime is pretty easy with a 6 year old, it would have still taken my husband away from me. I hugged him goodbye around 8pm and decided to take a shower. As Brian was setting it up, the contractions were coming on strong. I could no longer talk and needed to hold onto something to steady myself.
Although it felt nice to shower, the contractions were coming about every 2 minutes and making me feel shaky so I quickly got out. Despite only being in there a short time, we think my water broke during that time. Brian called Ashley, our doula, and asked her to come. After putting on some clothes, I went into our living room and tried to figure out the most comfortable place to deal with the contractions. During my older son's birth, I had labored on the birthball with my head leaning on the edge of our couch. I couldn't imagine sitting on anything so decided to try the cat/cow position then I moved to resting my head and arms on our coffee table.
I called Karen around 8:45pm and told her that the contractions were very close together and still lasting about 30-40 seconds. She said she'd rather see them lasting a minute and coming every 3-4 minutes in order to be more efficient and give me a little rest. She stayed on the phone with me through 2 contractions to hear how I was coping with them. I couldn't speak but wasn't vocalizing much either. She asked me to call back in 15 minutes.
At that point, my husband started filling the birth pool. I remembered that I needed to call Karen back, but couldn't say or do anything else but try to deal with the waves of contractions. She called back and she and Brian decided that she should come.
At 9pm, Ashley arrived. She quickly started helping me find comfort methods. I decided to lean on the birth ball instead of the table. She was putting a cool washcloth on my neck and soft hot water bottle on my lower back. She also had me smell some essential oils. My husband was massaging my back in between contractions. I also grabbed onto him and our coffee table during contractions.
At 9:45, Karen arrived and I told her that I already felt the need to push. She wanted to hear the baby’s heart rate first. She was having a hard time finding it in the position I was in so she asked me to sit up, still on my knees. Moving even that small amount was so hard. She found the heart rate but didn't like how low it was. She asked me to lie down so she could see where he was and told us that he was “right there". I asked if I could get in the pool and Karen said no. She still didn't like how low his heart rate was. In a stern voice she said, "we need to get the baby out now!"
I was lying on a plastic shower curtain and some chuck pads. I couldn't find the traction to push, so my midwife and husband were helping to hold my legs as I lay on my side. Again in a stern and now urgent tone, Karen said, "you need to get on your knees again. We have to get him out quickly." Everyone helped me flip around and then gave me the physical and emotional support to push him out. Brian kept saying "you're doing it. We're going to meet our baby so soon." I pushed with everything I had and know I was making a lot of noise. It's a good thing we put a sign on our apartment door to tell people not to worry.
His head came out with his right hand balled into a fist right next to his cheek. Shana, the assistant midwife arrived right at that moment and Karen told her to prep the oxygen for the baby. At 10:17pm, I birthed the rest of my son. My husband said the song “Maybe Sparrow by Neko Case” was playing - she's my favorite musician.
He immediately wailed and was perfect! He didn't need oxygen and his heart rate was great. They put him right on my chest and I immediately noticed how much he looks like his older brother. We didn't have his name fully figured out so we all started calling him Patrick Jr (my older son's name). My husband held me as we looked at him in amazement.
I birthed the placenta about 20 minutes later. My midwife checked me for tears. I had to have an episiotomy with my older son so I was worried about tearing more easily during this birth. I did have a small tear (probably because of his little fist) but Karen didn't think it was worth stitching up. We then moved to my bed where the baby continued to rest on my chest and try to breastfeed a little bit. We kept him attached to the placenta for at least an hour.
My husband let our friend, who was watching our older son, know that the baby was born. She quickly prepared miso soup and onigiri for me and was the lucky first visitor. She got to see my husband cut the umbilical cord and our midwife weigh him (8lbs 8ozs).
Everyone left us to snuggle in our own bed around 12:30am. I slept with the baby on my chest for the rest of the night. I was still so full of adrenaline that I didn't sleep much but it gave me time to settle on his name - Finnegan Linus. We wanted to use my parents initials F for Frank and L for Laura. We felt only an Irish name would work considering our names - Erin, Brian, Patrick and Rauri (the dog). My mom's maiden name is Lipsius. I thought Linus seemed similar to that and my husband has such a sentimental connection to the Peanuts.
In the morning, Patrick came home with his friend Nina and discovered that his brother was here. He ran down the hallway and said "my brother my brother". My heart is full and happy now that we're a family of four!