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  • Cindi Denbow

Birth Story of Luke

Luke is our 5th full term pregnancy and our 6th baby. He was conceived when Sarah was just 9 months old, the soonest I have ever gotten pregnant postpartum. It wasn't a surprise but wasn't exactly planned either. At the time, our PCS date was up in the air and could have been right around his due date. We found out later during the pregnancy that we wouldn't be moving for a while. So, bonus!

I thought Luke was a boy from the positive pregnancy test. My belief was partly based on the idea that conceiving on the day of or after ovulation is more likely to result in a boy, and partly based on me not being as nauseous as I was with my girls during the first trimester. I was not overly nauseous with my first child, a boy. Ryan has been hoping for another boy basically from pregnancy number 2 so he always thinks it's a boy. He didn't even remember the girl name I chose and we agreed on, so I told him he would just have to be surprised if we have a girl. I never got the 20 week anatomy scan so we didn't find out the sex.

Since my last two babies were 17 and 18 days past their due dates, I was expecting another late baby. Unlike with the last two when I felt strongly that they would come when ready, I felt strongly that Luke should come out. I was GBS positive for the first time and wanted to make sure I got the antibiotics prior to birth, and I just felt like he was ready to be born.

My midwives and I agreed for them to come over, give me my first dose of antibiotics, and break my water. Water breaking spontaneously is how labor began with my last two and I felt that breaking it manually was very likely to induce labor. I was already 5-6 cm dilated at the time they broke my water. What I didn't expect was how fast my labor progressed! Shortly after my water was broken, I picked up my toddler and set her on my belly, which I often did in pregnancy. More water gushed out and I think she pushed Luke down more. Then I went to take a shower and labor contractions started. I didn't get to shave my legs.

My midwives left after administering antibiotics and breaking my water, and returned about 2.5 hours later. I was in active labor at that time. After about another hour, I was given my second dose of antibiotics (two doses are ideal for GBS positive moms). I'm 32 years old and this was the first time I had ever had an IV, but it was super simple and non invasive and didn't bother me at all.

Like with my last few babies, I spent the time prior to transition vocalizing through contractions and leaning over while standing. I don't feel that this part of labor is painful. My cue that I'm heading towards transition is that I want to lie down on my side and put a cold washcloth over my face. That's usually when I want to make sure Ryan and the midwives are in the room with me. That part of labor is uncomfortable but manageable to me. I don't like second stage, or "pushing" but I haven't pushed on purpose since baby number 2. I kind of avoid the baby coming out part, but it's inevitable - and thankfully short lived! Second stage lasted maybe 5 minutes. Five minutes of pure pain. So that part sucked, but Luke was born healthy and I didn't need stitches. All in all, 5.5 hours from breaking my water to Luke being born. The other 5 kids all slept during this time. They were around earlier since we broke my water at 5 pm, but Ryan fed them and got the little ones in bed at 7 as usual then the older ones at 8:00 and 9:30.

Third stage, when the placenta comes out, isn't my favorite, but the hard part is definitely over by then. I don't do anything special with my placentas, but they are pretty neat to look at. Luke's cord was short just like all my other babies' cords so he couldn't really nurse until the placenta came out. He latched right on and has nursed well since.

My other babies were between 8 lb 11 oz and 9 lb 7 oz, and we were all shocked to discover that Luke was born 10 lb 10 oz! I didn't believe it, so we weighed him on my baby scale, too and got the same result. He was definitely ready to come out!

The older kids all met Luke when they woke up the next morning. They all love him. Some kid always mentions "the next baby" right after I have a baby. Kind of makes me sad to think that someday there will be a last baby, and we never know which one will be the last one. Pregnancy isn't easy, birth isn't easy, and parenting a bunch of little kids isn't easy, but there is nothing I would trade it for.

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