Jackson was due on June 24, 2001. After eight days of waiting, my midwife told me that I was only 1 cm dilated and we scheduled an ultrasound for the first day of my 41st week of pregnancy.
The night before the appointment I went to bed feeling a little different, but didn't want to let myself think I was in labor, so I went to sleep. At 3am on July 2, I got out of bed to use the bathroom and I suddenly felt fluid running down my leg. I ran into the bath and looked at the fluid on the floor, relieved that it was clear. I told my husband James that my water had broken and he sleepily replied. We called our midwife and she told us to time the contractions and meet her at the office at 8am. We called our parents and told them that this was the day and we'd let them know when to head to the birth center.
I ate some eggs and toast and told James to get some sleep while I timed contractions. They were about 3.5 minutes apart, lasting from 30 to 45 seconds. I went into the baby's room and sat in the rocking chair while the contractions grew stronger. Finally I took a shower and moved into the living room, moaning through the contractions.
At 7am I woke James and told him that the contractions were 2 to 3 minutes apart and I could hardly speak through them. He called the midwife and she said she'd come right over to check me.
James loaded up the van and I worked on staying focused. The midwife showed up and I was 3 cm. She said to head up to the birthing center and she'd meet us there.
At 8am we took off. The birth center is 25 minutes north of us, and I labored in the back of the van while James missed the exit, turned around and we arrived at the center. I didn't necessarily want to arrive because I knew there was no turning back, but James reminded me that our baby Jack was coming.
We chose the room farthest from the waiting room and our parents showed up. I took another shower and labored on the birth ball while James rubbed my back. At this point I was still able to rest between contractions and it was going great. Our room was private, bright and sunny with a jacuzzi, shower, and a big bed. I alternated between the shower, birth ball, and toilet.
At 10am, my blood pressure was a little high, so Sharon, my midwife had me lie on my left side on the bed and she checked my cervix. I was 4.5 cm, and this was the moment that I decided to go home and come back another day. Sharon said, tough luck, honey. You aren't going home without your son. That helped me regain my focus and get back to labor.
James was awesome. We had a great nonverbal connection and he was so supportive. At 12pm, Sharon told me that if I was 6 cm, I could get in the tub. She checked me and it was tub time! I was really excited to get into the warm water and let it relax me. The water was soothing, and although it didn't take the contractions away, I felt much more relaxed. James knelt next to the tub and I squeezed his hand during contractions (breaking all the blood vessels in my face and arms) and hissed through my teeth to manage the pain.
At 1pm, I was checked again and was almost complete. I started yelling that I wanted to push and Sharon said to hold out a little longer. With the next contraction, my body took over and I swung my leg out saying, "I'm pushing" and Sharon said to go for it. I was able to push for as long and often as I wanted. Pushing didn't feel good and even burned a lot, but it felt great to be doing something.
Sharon wanted to change the water, so I got out of the tub and continued to push on a birthing chair and watched the head crowning in a mirror. I got back in the tub and after 45 minutes of pushing, Jackson Greene was born into the water at 2:56pm. He and I cried for about 10 minutes and I felt great! Like waking from a dream.
After six hours of celebrating with our family and getting to know Jack, we were sent home to spend our first night together at home. He nursed great and has been a dream ever since.