I called our midwife, Robin, about 6:30 am to let her know that something was possibly happening and we might be having a baby that day. At seven o'clock Matthew got up to go to school, and when Matthew gets up, everyone wakes up. Isaac and Melissa had both thrown up at least once the night without our knowledge, so I bathed the kids while Jonathan got out the carpet cleaner and washed some more laundry. At this point my contractions petered out.
Robin arrived about 9. All of the vitals looked good, baby sounded great, and my cervix was at 4 centimeters and "mushy." Robin relayed some stories of women who'd gone into labor only to have it stop and resume another day. "Call me if things pick up again. I have a prenatal appointment way out in Seguin later today, but I don't want to leave town if you go into labor." It's a deal. I said goodbye to Robin and decided to take a nap since I'd been up with sick kids the night before and with contractions in the early morning. Jonathan originally planned to go to Austin that day, but decided he should stay nearby and work from home, just in case.
Jonathan called the midwife. For my benefit he relayed my message that I didn't want to be a "watched pot," and that "it wasn't an emergency," but Robin must have sensed the urgency in his voice because she decided to come. "I can just be in another room if Rachel prefers." About twenty minutes later I was convinced too, and asked Jonathan to call Kathi who'd offered to watch the kids for us. When talking to Kathi, I noticed he seemed a bit flustered--he gave her the old gate code. I told him and then laughed as he looked at me sheepishly. "Is the midwife coming?" Jonathan assured me that she was on her way.
For this labor what I needed most was the light embrace or touch of my friend, companion, and lover. Unlike other births I didn't feel the need for massage or counter-pressure; I just needed him- and he was there.
It helped to make soft "Ah" sounds during the peak of the contractions, so that is what I did!
Melissa wandered in and out periodically. She had so many things to discuss and questions galore. "Umbilical is a funny word huh? I used to say bilical, but that's not right. UM-bilical. What's this for? Do you like origami?" She was a welcome distraction. You can't get too serious or grumpy with a happy six year old in the room.
A small push was all it took; the membranes broke, and the water gushed into the toilet. It was nice and clear with flakes of vernix. Then the nausea hit. Joi was prepared with wastepaper basket. I wasn't bothered though since I was expecting it (I've thrown up in my previous labors too), and it meant that the baby was coming very, very soon.
I waited for a contraction to come, stood up and PUSHED. I could feel her head moving down. Instinctively I reached down and cupped my hand to receive her. I felt her head swell and grow into the palm of my hand. Incredible! The contraction ended, but the pressure was too much and I pushed some more. Paused. Another contraction came on the heels of the last, her head crowned, and then was out! Still there was a great deal of pressure and I was momentarily baffled. Melissa and Isaac were born with one good push, but I had to push again to get her generous shoulders and chest out. I thought for sure I had torn since this was the first time I ever felt that "ring of fire." To me it was more like a ring of stinging- but I was wrong. No tears! The whole "pushing stage" took a total of 2 minutes. She was fairly quick.
I looked down and saw her for the first time.
We let the kids know that their little sister was on the scene. Kathi brought Matthew and Isaac upstairs. (Unbeknownst to me, Melissa had slipped into the room as Corinna was being born.) Kathi exclaimed, "I can't believe you've already had the baby! I didn't hear any screams or anything!" Corinna had a pretty peaceful birth. The midwives said that neither she nor I had to work too hard. I still thought it was definitely work!
Melissa cuts the cord. She finally got the little sister she'd been wanting!