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July 4th, my due date, seemed like it was going to be an uneventful day. I was supposed to work that afternoon, but I called in. I said, "Even if I don't have this baby any time soon, I'm just "done". A friend came by to pick up the kids for the afternoon so Chuck and I could take it easy.
Sometime in the afternoon I started having contractions about an hour apart. At about 7 p.m. they were still about 45-50 minutes apart, but I called the midwife to put her "on alert". When I had to leave a message on her cell phone I knew that we had best be prepared to go it alone- again! Chuck started timing the contractions at 8:37 and they were coming every 13 to 17 minutes between that time and 10:25. At about 9:00 I called and left a second message for the midwife. I was having no problem breathing and relaxing through them, although I was feeling a lot of pressure in my back. I quietly offered "in advance" everything that would occur in labor to Jesus through Mary, for our Baby to be born safely.
Mary Mae was still up at 9:30, so she and I took a little walk around the yard. There were four of the neighbor's bunnies outside, and we watched the sunset together. When we came back in I sat in the recliner with her. Chuck told her, "Baby is going to come out." She hopped down off my lap and stared at my belly wide-eyed. Then she lifted up my shirt and peered expectantly at my belly button. She had been asking for weeks when baby would "come out", and finally the time had come! Chuck and Raechel managed to get her to bed sometime shortly after that.
At about 10:30, things picked up the pace dramatically. My contractions went from every 15 minutes to every 4 minutes, just like that. We didn't bother timing them after that. I took a shower and spent quite a bit of time in the bathroom. I remember thinking of my hospital labors where I was confined to bed, unable even to empty my bladder. I thanked God that I was home! The back pressure was very intense, and Baby kept moving around, which only made it worse. I joked with Chuck that we only had so many minutes left to produce a 4th of July baby. Shortly after midnight, Chuck set everything up in our room and went to tell Raechel it was time.
As I hit transition it felt like there was hardly any break between one contraction and the next. My back "pressure" was now "pain" and it was constant. Even with Thomas, who was posterior, I don't remember feeling that kind of back pain. I was kneeling on the floor against the foot of our bed (same spot where Mary was born), but I lowered down into a squat with each contraction. I remembered that in labor with Thomas the midwife's assistant told me not to try to arch my back away from the pressure, so I leaned into it.
As transition moved into the pushing stage, everything started to blur. I had no idea where Chuck or Raechel were or what they were doing. With one long pushing contraction, I heard Chuck say, "There's the head. Eew, no, that was the bag." He later told me that the water bag popped all over his hand. I really was in "some discomfort" (as my sweet hubby has mentioned on his blog post) and determined to get it over with quickly. With the next round of pushing, Baby was all the way out. There was a few seconds of silence; I turned to see Chuck holding our baby in his hands, face down. I asked him if the cord was "fat", and then we heard that most wonderful sound in the whole world- Baby's first cry. He flipped baby over and said, "It's a girl!" The amazement in his voice is a priceless memory; all these months we thought baby was a boy!
He passed her to me. The afterbirth came out very quickly as we dried her off, checked the time (12:28 a.m.), clamped and cut the cord. I looked at Chuck and said, "Well, Daddy, what's her name?" "Lucy Marie." She was looking pale, so we used the oxygen and she gained color quickly. Raechel was a little timid at first, but she held her new baby sister while Chuck helped me up off the floor. I think I lay in bed for a few minutes, then wanted a shower. The midwife arrived while I was in there. Lucy was 8 pounds, 5 ounces and 22 inches long. Sweet girl, she insisted on keeping her hand(s) over her face while being born; that's still her preferred sleeping position. We are all very grateful to have another daughter with us!