It’s been 7 weeks since my little Finn-ster was born, but it seems like it happened just yesterday…
The night before Finnegan arrived, I was laying in bed complaining to my husband Donncuan about how I thought the baby was never going to come. “The baby will be here tomorrow,” he said to me. I rolled my eyes, rolled over and went to bed. Around 1 a.m. I woke up to contractions lasting 20 seconds, about 5-10 minutes apart… Dammit, I thought to myself, Donncuan was right! The contractions were so strong that I could not sleep through them, so I went downstairs and watched that Chaz Bono documentary on Netflix. The doc was a good distraction, but the contractions were still very strong.
At 3 a.m. I decided it was a good time to call my midwife Aly and let her know my contractions were regular. Aly told me to get some rest and call when things changed. I tried to take her advice and laid down in bed next to my peacefully slumbering husband… Sleep wasn’t going to happen for me! At 4:30 a.m. I woke Donncuan and told him the contractions were too strong for sleep. I then phoned my mom and she asked if she should come over. I replied, “I kinda want my mom.” Mom was there for my labor with Charlie, and there is a certain comfort that she provides me (no offense to Don, but sometimes one just needs one’s mommy!). I waited on the couch and watched the news when my mom arrived at 5:10 a.m. Donncuan rolled out of bed and began filling the birthing tub.
It was nice to just sit on the couch and talk with mom and Donncuan while we watched the morning news. It provided a good distraction for me while my contractions got stronger. Around 6:15-6:30 a.m. things started to really pick up. I can’t remember if it was mom or me who called Aly to tell her to come over, but we let her know it was time. I looked at my mom and said, “I think I should move upstairs.” The birthing tub was upstairs in the extra bedroom, and I knew that because I started moaning through the contractions, I had better move to the birthing area! It’s funny how instinctual it felt for me to move upstairs (like my body was telling me this baby is coming, get to where you need to be safe and comfortable), because it didn’t take long before the cursing started… The contractions were lasting 30-45 seconds and coming 2-4 minutes apart.
Mom woke Charlie before I had the chance to wake him from my screaming/moaning/cursing, and brought him in the extra bedroom to say hi real quick before taking him downstairs for breakfast. I was so happy to see his little, sleepy face, even though I was in so much pain. The contractions were coming on faster and more powerful than I had remembered with Charlie’s labor. I was on my knees, elbows resting on an exercise ball, hands clutching the edge of the birthing tub, leaning toward the tub during each contraction thinking that would help me not feel as much pain. I could hear mom giving Charlie his breakfast and Donncuan preparing the room and tub for labor.
Meanwhile, mom was on the horn calling my father to come pick up Charlie to take him to his Auntie MacKenzie and Uncle Kyle’s house. During this time, I thought about my sister Chastity. I was wondering what time she would show up because she was going to be my birth photographer again. I texted Chastity around 3 a.m., but had not heard anything from her.
It was 7:10 a.m. when my midwife Aly arrived. Aly took no time to get her equipment/supplies ready, and called on both my mom and Donncuan for the remaining birthing supplies we needed that I didn’t have in the birthing room yet. As Aly called out to Donncuan and mom for receiving blankets, water, Gatorade, etc., I would chime in and tell Donncuan where he could find each item. It was another welcomed distraction from the pain for me.
I distinctly remember the moment Aly dipped her hand into the birthing tub and declared, “oh, we don’t have time for the tub.” A little part of me cried inside–my water birth with Charlie was so wonderful, I wanted to experience that again, but this baby had different plans! The contractions became really powerful at this point. Aly was so wonderful to me, leaning in close to me after a contraction to tell me I was doing great and that she knew that it hurts, but that baby was coming. I could hear my that my father arrived to pick up Charlie and I thought to myself, he’s gonna hear me swearing through this next contrac—-“SHHHHHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT! Shit! Shit! Shit!” (Mom later told me that, like Charlie’s birth when dad heard me screaming over the phone, he couldn’t hear that.) I remember thinking I didn’t know how much more of the contractions I could handle. The contractions were so fierce and sharp, such a departure from my contractions when I labored with Charlie.
Dad and Donncuan were outside buckling Charlie into the car when Aly called out for Donncuan. Mom popped her head into the birthing room and said, “What do you need?” Aly proclaimed, “I need Donncuan!” Baby was coming NOW! I remember feeling like I had to go #2, but there was nothing I could do at that point in the labor about it. Hey, shit happens, am I right?
Donncuan raced up to the birthing room and my water broke. I remember how intense it was once my water broke–it was like BOOM!–baby’s head was right THERE and ready to come out. I screamed hard. It was hurting so bad and I wanted to be done. I pushed with everything I had and then some. Baby’s head came out. Aly had to maneuver the baby’s shoulders a little bit because he was stuck a little bit. I remember Aly telling me to put my left leg up, and then her hands pushing my leg up so I could get better leverage with pushing the baby out. Donncuan says, “push!” Aly says, “gently, slowly….” And I’m all like, I’m pushing as hard as I can because this contractions is telling me to! One last push and baby’s little body fell out and into Donncuan’s hands; 7:35 a.m. baby is born.
Baby immediately began crying and I was so thankful and happy. Aly said, “reach down and grab your baby.” I remember thinking how in the world was I going to do that?! I was still kneeling, with a death grip on the birthing tub. I figured it out quickly, reaching down I grabbed my baby and held it to my chest, crying, looking at my mom exclaiming, “MY BABY! Oh, I’m so glad it’s over!” Then it hit me, “She missed it!” I was referring to my sister, Chastity. She didn’t make it and I felt so bad for her. I knew her excitement for this baby’s arrival.
A couple minutes had passed before I thought to check baby’s gender. I looked down, peeled back a leg, and saw… A BOY! I think I said something along the lines of, “There’s a penis, it’s a boy!” HAHA!
After Donncuan and I got situated on our bed and began enjoying our baby, Chastity arrived. I’ll never forget the look on her face as she entered our room and looked at me, then at Donncuan, then back at me and saw I was holding the baby–utter disbelief and totally let down! She was happy he was finally here, but she was sad and upset that she missed the birth; but, that’s how it goes. Babies wait for no one, and Finnegan Leo Dunlevy was no exception!