Rewind back to Sunday the 28th of August.
I wasn't that keen to go to church - everyone is always well-meaning and it's lovely to know so many people care about you and are thinking about you, but it's pretty tiring answering the same questions over and over again: "You're still here?!" "Still in one piece?" "How overdue are you now?" "Hanging in there?" "What are you still doing here?" (My personal favourite was "When are you going to be induced?") But anyway, I braved it and made it through. Very thankful to the kind ladies who remember what it's like to be very pregnant who just asked how I was doing and if there was anything they could help me with. Wonderful :) We had a normal, lazy Sunday afternoon - I think it included a nap - and then I went to evening church while Hayden stayed home to give the kids their dinner and put them to bed. Yes, he is awesome. :)
I came home from church pretty quickly after we were done. I just felt like I wanted to be home, which was pretty normal for these late stages of my pregnancy, but I remember really feeling a pull to be home, rather than just not being bothered going out! I don't remember what we did together that evening - I did make sure we both had something substantial to eat "just in case" we had to wake up and labour that night! We were both in bed by 9:30pm.
Just as well, because 2:50am rolls around, I wake up and am pretty sure I'm having contractions! I kept quiet for a bit, just watching the clock, and they were coming every 5 minutes. I woke up Hayden and told him I was pretty certain that this was it! A trip to the loo to confirm some early labour signs - yes, this was it! I wanted to try and rest a bit still, so I tried laying down but, like I remember with Elliot, the contractions felt twice as bad as when I was sitting or standing so that didn't last long!
We waited a little while, maybe 20 minutes, before calling anybody to come because I wanted to be sure we were well into it - in the middle of the night, you don't want to wake people up if you're not imminently about to deliver! Once I was sure things were progressing - contractions had moved to about 4 minutes apart - I started the round of phone calls.
First up was my sister-in-law Sarah. As the one with the longest to travel (Pukekohe to Hamilton) we wanted her to have the most notice! Sarah had also had a super-awful flu virus, so we needed to assess how she was feeling and if it was wise for her to come. I called her (and she sounded absolutely awful on the phone, poor thing!) and she decided she'd come - yay, happy dance! I've tried to think up a way to explain just how special it is for Sarah to be there at the births of my children, but I can't articulate it. I think she knows - maybe she remembers both of us tearing up in the middle of a family get-together as we talked about it once!
Next I called my Mum to come and get the kids. Maybe they would have stayed asleep throughout the whole thing, but I didn't want to take the chance that they wouldn't and have them wake up at some crucial moment and not being able to concentrate on delivering this baby because I was trying to reassure a scared, clingy toddler! So Mum got straight in the car and headed over.
Lastly, I call my midwife. "Sue, I'm in labour. We're progressing well, contractions about 4 minutes apart. I don't think you need to hurry, but I'd appreciate if you could head over now because I'd love the extra support," is something like how our phone call went. Later she told me that she hung up and said to herself, "Actually, I think I do need to hurry!" Read on to find out how true that was! It was about 3:45am now.
Mum picked up the kids - Elliot woke right up and was very excited to be told that the baby was coming and he was going to Oma's. I think he was more excited about going to Oma's! I texted my sister Sarah in the UK to let her know things were happening. We had organised that she'd call me and we'd chat for a while to distract myself while Hayden was filling the birth pool and getting the kids organised, because I knew there'd be no-one else there just yet.
Sister Sarah (as opposed to sister-in-law Sarah, who is still on her way to our house) called at about 4am and we chatted for half an hour. At this point I was in my pyjamas with a hot wheatie bag on my back and leaning over a swiss ball/exercise ball, belly hanging down like the big weight it was! Every time I had a contraction I'd put the phone on the ground and call Hayden to put pressure on my lower back. They were getting closer, maybe 3 mins (Hayden was timing them, I didn't care at that point!), but I was still able to just breathe deeply through them without needing to vocalise.
At 4:30am I decided that I needed to concentrate on labouring, so Sarah and I said goodbye and hung up. This is the point that the labour train goes full steam ahead, ready or not! Pretty quickly, contractions are coming really close together. I think I managed to make it to the loo to empty my bladder in between contractions, and Hayden managed to make it outside to turn off the tap before I called him back to put pressure on my back again - he didn't have enough time to shut the door behind him though and I could feel his anxiousness that the neighbors would hear that one! (He shut it after it was over.)
The pool is ready - full enough and warm enough - but my contractions are so close that I can't get up and climb in. Here is where things start getting pretty desperate! All of a sudden - literally, from one contraction to the next - I feel the urge to push. That uncontrollable, unstoppable NEED to push that baby down! Hayden told me afterward that this is where he started to get worried that we'd be delivering the baby by ourselves because our midwife wasn't here yet!
I desperately wanted to get in the pool, so I seized the chance the millisecond a contraction finished, peeled off my pyjamas and jumped in. Well, not jumped in actually. Awkwardly clambered in, perhaps. Ah, sweet relief. I LOVE being in the water during labour. You wouldn't think it would make such a difference, but it really does work as a pain reliever. I love being cocooned in the warmth - I think of the water as my safe place. Ha ha, that sounds ridiculous, but I can't think of another way to put it! I feel like I coped the best with this labour out of all three - I remember thinking in the middle of it all that I wasn't really being very loud. I was using my energy to get my baby out, I guess! Hayden has said the same thing - that I was the quietest with this one. Must have been because I was so over waiting for him to arrive that when he did, I just wanted him out, no nonsense! :)
The time now is about 4:45am. I'm in the pool, pushing with each contraction, and Sue, my midwife, arrives in the driveway and spends 5 minutes wrestling with her big home birth bag (containing everything we need to keep us safe and healthy, including Syntocinon, oxygen and resuscitation gear) to get it out of the boot of her car! She said she could hear me from outside and knew Baby was just about here! So Sue makes her way inside as I have a few more contractions. I can tell Baby's not far away from being born and I remember saying, "I don't feel ready for this!" It was going so fast that I hadn't had time to wrap my head around the fact that I'd be holding this baby soon! Sue said, "Well, your baby is!" and that was that - another push or two (or whatever - it went fast enough that we could have counted all the pushes, even from before I was in the pool, though we didn't) and our baby was born! 4:54am - 25 minutes after hanging up the phone to my sister! She didn't believe it when I told her that later.
Minutes-old Tristan Charles
4:55am sister-in-law Sarah walks in the door! She said she got the door and "heard that noise" and knew that he had been born. I'm gutted that she missed it, but SO glad that she was there right away to meet our fresh baby boy and help with the aftermath (you know Mums, the glamorous part!). We were making jokes afterwards about the placenta: Sarah is studying to be a midwife - her dream for a long time and I'm so proud of her because she's doing awesome and going to make the most amazing midwife! - and she had to do a placenta poster later that day (or was it week?), so I said she could take mine and get top marks for having a fresh example! Yuck. :P
Anyway, afterwards was much like my other two - out of the pool (so awkward!), placenta delivery (least favourite part), cuddles with a fresh baby (my favourite part!), Syntocinon injection to help my uterus get back to a more acceptable size (ouch!), more cuddles - skin to skin - and our first breastfeed. Then our little just-had-a-baby routine: Milos and Mars bars! And of course the phone calls to our families to let them know of the newest member.
After getting all sorted, I got into bed with our wee Tristan for some rest while Hayden got the place all tidied up and emptied the pool, then went down and got us McDonald's for breakfast! Yummy!
And that's pretty much Tristan's birth story!
(For such a short labour I still managed to write a fair amount...)
Now we have a 2.5 week old precious baby boy whom we love to dote on and enjoy cuddles with. I can't wait to see what his personality turns out to be like, which of his siblings he'll look the most like and what he'll end up doing with his life. We praise God for the gift of another wonderful son and thank Him for taking care of us so far.