Ok, admittedly I'm VERY very behind, but all truth be told, I've been just a tad busy lately :).
The 23rd was indeed the day; I had contractions almost all night (got an hour's sleep a couple of times) and they gradually got stronger and stronger toward morning. I got up at 3:30 to eat some breakfast and was still very able to manage the contractions as they came. I kept track of them in my Palm with a program specially for that. Finally around 5:15 I was so drowsy I thought I'd try lying down again so I went and lay down on the couch in the family room. Dh got up to use the restroom a little while later and came looking for me. So since he was up, I went back to bed. I got a little more rest (the 2nd hour's sleep I think) and woke up when Eli did just before 7. I got up and helped Eli get breakfast and dressed...
Then around 8 I went in to take a shower and suggest that Dh start inflating the pool (we set it up in the family room). I had a banana with p-nut butter to eat and a glass of milk. Then around 9 a.m. I was feeling tuckered out again so went to lie down on the couch. I had called my midwife at 7 a.m. after what I thought would have been at least 9 hours of sleep for her, but turns out she had to be at another birth the night before from 12 midnight to 6:30 a.m. so she had just gotten to sleep (I felt bad). So then I called the other midwife and she said she's be on her way. She and the apprentice got here around 10 and by then things had gotten more serious. I was quite uncomfortable during each contraction, but they were still not real long at this point. She checked the baby during a contraction and she was doing fine. I was dilated to 5cm and -2 station at that point.
I was given the green light to get in the pool if I wanted to and oooooh, it felt SO good to get in. The water was delightfully warm and my contractions did slow down a little bit and were much more tolerable. At least at first... Then around 11 the contractions started getting downright painful. I couldn't help but groan thru them (though I'm always very ladylike if I do say so myself, LOL; Dh says I make it look easy... whatever!). I kept thinking "I can see how women want epidurals"... and "I just wanted this to be OVER!" There weren't many positions that were comfortable for me. And then at one point I had to get up to empty my bladder and had several contractions on the trip to the bathroom and back, which was NO FUN. I finally managed and back to the pool I hobbled.
Sometime around noon, I started feeling like I was getting close to transition and/or pushing stage. I checked myself and could feel quite a bit of head, still in the sack. I couldn't tell if I felt cervix or not. I asked the midwife if I could start pushing and she said "listen to what your body is telling you." So I started trying little pushes for the next 3 or so contractions. Then I got serious and on the next contraction (about 12:15 p.m.) I gave one good long push and out popped her head. Dh said she was blinking her eyes under the water :) Then on the next contraction I pushed the rest of her out and Dh caught her and confirmed right away that she was a SHE :) (She was born at 12:17 p.m.) The kids got to witness her entrance into the world from the doorway of the next room (they didn't really see too many details tho!).
Missy (short/nick for "Miss Magoo", lol) was covered in vernix and looked little. I didn't think she was a 9 pounder like I had been expecting. She didn't have a lot of hair, but 5 fingers, 5 toes (per hand and foot that is, lol), 2 adorable little ears, 2 pretty eyes (which we still don't know what color they'll be; kind of a dark grey/brown/blue/green color right now, lol, could be anything but for now I'll put my $ on brown), chubby little chin and knees..., and a precious little face. She cried as soon as she was out of the water, but then settled down. I kept her warm in the water and tried to stimulate her a little just to hear her cry some more (and clear out any wetness that might be in her lungs...). She had passed some muconium at some point in the past, but she never appeared to be in any distress, though we watched her carefully. After just a few minutes she showed signs of being open to nursing so I helped her latch on and she did great. Because she was nursing so well, I stayed in for a while longer. Then Dh cut the cord and took her so I could get out and take a shower. After I got dressed I came back in and nursed her some more. Then the apprentice did the newborn exam and she checked out beautifully. I caught it all on tape.
Here are her stats:
20.5 inches long
8 pounds, 9 ounces
born at 12:17 p.m. on November 23 (her due date :)
after 10 1/2 hours or so of labor (but only 2 minutes of pushing and 2 pushes to get her out)
I was SO glad when she was out, let me tell you. I was NOT having fun the hour or 2 before she was born.
After she I was born I basically felt fine, though a bit tired and a little "peekid" feeling. The midwife estimated my blood loss at 4 cups so I made a point to eat iron-rich food the few days after she was born to help me feel a little more perky. I felt shaky right after getting out of the pool and was a little unnerved by that, but that didn't last long and went away after a few minutes. Dh had done well to keep me well hydrated with electrolyte drinks all during labor. I ate a good lunch after the midwife and apprentice left, then tried to take a nap as Missy was zonked out after her trip; however my brain was so hyped up that I couldn't drift off. But I guess I did get some rest. Gigi held the baby the whole time I was "napping" which was a little over an hour. She didn't want to get up until I got back and my mom started talking about going to Wal-Mart for a few things we needed ("Can I go, please?!?" lol).
We were so pleased with the outcome, another little girl (awwww) making our tribe an even Boy/Girl/Boy/Girl. We couldn't have planned it better if we'd tried (we did sorta try for Gigi, but the rest... no). I think everyone was secretly hoping we'd have a girl so that Gigi could have a sister. I was also very relieved to see that she was normal and in good health as I'd had that "irrational fear" all during pregnancy that something might be wrong. This was partly fueled by the knowledge that I had been exposed to x-rays when I was holding Eli for his arm x-rays (this was before I knew I was pregnant) and also because I'd used a heating pad on my back one night when I was newly pregnant (also before I knew). So I am very grateful and thankful that our little girl is fine.
Since then we've been battling thrush/yeast which has been no fun at all. I'm taking probiotics to help my body fight it. I thought that I was over it, but now am feeling shooting pains in my milk ducts (a sign of ductal yeast) that I'm hoping is not yeast. Also Missy's tongue does have white on it that won't wipe off which is a sign of thrush so I don't know for sure that it's over. I may have to start my grapefruit seed extract regimen again (groan!)
Missy started smiling around 3-3 1/2 weeks, and is developing really great head control, she doesn't like it when we try to put her head down on our shoulders, she wants to be looking around. She started making little cooing noises last week which is really too cute.