Cora Lee Miller was born August 15, 2007 at 5:25 a.m. She was born at home in our living room in a big tub of water, and I can't imagine a more beautiful and gentle way to bring her into the world. She weighs 8 pounds, 3 ounces and is 21 inches long - a big, perfect, healthy little girl.
Tuesday night I started having some contractions, but nothing really time-able. I read for awhile, sipped a glass of red wine, and went to bed around 10:30. Isabel - our dog - woke me up at 3:00 to go outside. I got up to let her out when I realized I was having some pretty strong contractions so I timed them - every 4 minutes. I woke Andrew up about 3:15 and we called our midwife. He said to wait an hour and call him back and let him know how things were going, whether I was progressing at all. At 4 am I called and let him know contractions were about 2 minutes apart, if that, and very strong, along with some bloody show.
Hard labor was just starting about then. Andrew helped me get into the tub. I must say, I will NEVER give birth out of water again. The relief when I got in was instantaneous, so much pressure relieved. It didn't take away the pain, not by any means, but it sure did help tremendously! So I held on to the edge of the tub and sat on my knees, biting the foam on the side of the tub through the contractions. I got pretty nauseous and actually threw up a few times into the trash can Andrew was holding for me. Throwing up actually helped me get through a couple of those contractions. It was amazing how fast the time flew from 3am to 4 am and how slooooowly it went from 4 to 5. We called my mom and let her know she ought to come soon, and kept in touch with Bill, who was driving as fast as humanly possible all the way from Montrose, about an hour and a half away if you stick to the speed limit. He didn't. ;o)
Chloe woke up about 5:05, I was rather noisy and loud and she heard me. She was a little nervous, but held on to Andrew's leg and stood there with us. My mom came right after Chloe woke up and took her in the bedroom, and Bill showed up right after that. He checked me, found my water sac right there, and could feel the head. He told me as soon as my water broke, her head would come down and she'd be on her way out. He guessed about 10 more minutes. He went out to the car to get a few more things, and my water broke when he walked out the door. My water breaking was more relief - just felt like a little bubble popping inside of me, I couldn't feel a gush or anything since I was in water. But there was lots of relief! At that point I reached down and could feel her crowning. Bill made it back inside just in time for me to push her head out. We called my mom and Chloe to come back and they did. Then one more contraction and she was out!
She didn't start breathing right away and made us a little nervous, but with lots of rubbing and a bit of oxygen from the mask and she started crying and breathing just fine. It took us a few minutes to even look at see if she was a boy or a girl! We stayed in the tub together till I birthed the placenta, and then went into the bedroom where we could all snuggle up. She stayed attached to her cord for about an hour before they cut it, making sure she got all the good stuff out of it.
It was just the most amazing, perfect, wonderful experience. At one point, right around 5:00, I did say to Andrew "Remind me that I don't want to go to the hospital and get drugs." He reminded me and I agreed. It was hard - what labor isn't? But to have done it at home that way is something I will never forget, and something I wouldn't trade for the world. It felt so good to get out of the water and just get in bed and love my baby and my family. Everything was so relaxed, there was no rush, the most important thing was for all of us to be together and enjoy those first moments with our new little girl.
Two days later, things are great. Cora is nursing like a champ, practically 'round the clock, trying to get my milk to come down. She is just so beautiful, we all sit and just watch her sleep and smile at each other. I'm pretty sore, but really am recovering quickly. I was up walking around within an hour of her birth, though most of my time is spent laying down in bed with her or sitting in the recliner. I'm happy to report that I didn't tear at all - almost certainly thanks to being at home where there was no pressure from doctors for an episiotomy or to hurry and push her out.
Chloe is already a wonderful big sister. She is so, so happy that we have a little girl. She loves to hold her, and give her snuggles and kisses on the forehead. The only thing she doesn't like is the umbilical cord stump, and she'll tell you all about it! But she's been great from the beginning. I was so worried about having two, being able to share my love between them after having only Chloe for so long, but that just all disappears when the second one is born. You can just feel your heart growing with love for both of them.
And Andrew. Oh, what a wonderful daddy and husband he is! To see him with Cora just melts my heart - he is a natural. So sweet and gentle, and the smile on his face is one of pure love and joy. For the past two days he has cooked, cleaned, waited on me hand and foot, and spent plenty of time cuddling up with his new daughter. So happy am I to have him as the father of my child, and to have been able to give him this amazing gift. We're so happy he'll be able to take plenty of time off work to spend at home with us.
Thanks to all for the sweet comments and congratulations. I probably won't be able to message everyone back, but I appreciate your kind words!