Jenn and Ben decided to use a midwife and have a home birth, if at all possible. They researched the options carefully and prepared themselves for that special day.
On Saturday, December 10, 2011, at 3:15 AM, my cell phone rang. As it would happen, I was just getting ready to go to bed, but I saw the number and picked up right away. "Hi, Jenn, what's up?" Jenn calmly told me that her water had broken.
I had a great deal of trouble getting to sleep that night, though Jenn had insisted I should wait to make the drive until after I'd gotten some sleep. She assured me she was not yet in labor. I did get about three hours of sleep and then was up, preparing for the trip to participate in the birth. Jenn had decided she'd like me to make a big pot of spit pea soup while we awaited the new arrival, so, as I headed out of town, I stopped at the local grocery store to pick up the ingredients.
The drive was beautiful. Though it was well into December, the temperatures were more fall-like, with a crisp blue sky and bright sun. I took pictures along the way, wanting to remember the weather the day my first grandchild was born.
|Heading out of Gloucester|
|A Peaceful Two Lane Road|
|Lovely Trees and Fences|
|Glorious Blue Skies|
|Arriving at Ben and Jenn's House|
When I arrived, early afternoon, they were still waiting for "real" contractions to begin. Jenn and Ben had decided they'd take this time to find a Christmas tree and decorate it -- their first Christmas tree in their new home. So we all got in their van and headed out to find the tree. It didn't take long and within a couple of hours we were back at the house, the tree trimmed and in place, and strung with Christmas lights. Decorating more would have to wait until later.
|First Christmas Tree|
We ate the split pea soup I'd made, and decided to go to bed early, hoping Jenn could get some rest while the contractions were still irregular and tolerable. I slept until 5 AM when I awoke to the smells of delicious Italian food....it seems Jenn had slept until 1 AM and awakened with regular contractions...so she decided to make eggplant parmesan... perfectly logical, right?
Through the morning Sunday, December 11, the contractions continued but were still not very close together. Her midwife visited a couple of times, measuring her progress and ensuring that Jenn and Ben were the ones calling the shots on how long to wait at home before deciding to transfer to the hospital. Because Jenn's water had broken, there was a real time limit on how long they could wait, as the baby was no longer protected by the amniotic sac and risk of infection rose with every hour that passed without giving birth.
Finally, after baking chocolate chip cookies, going for a two mile walk with Ben, their dog Talice and me, Jenn went into hard labor. I was given the job of official "timer." Using my cellphone timer, I kept track of each contraction, how duration, time lapse between contractions, etc. We notified the midwife that Jenn was in real labor, and she returned to the house for the third time that day.
|Along Our Two Mile Walk|
|Jenn and Ben Working Through Contractions|
|Tired but Tender|
|Talice, Ever Vigil|
|Eloise and Ben (Papa)|
Baby Eloise came into the world weighing 7 lbs 10 1/2 oz and measuring 19 inches long. She was healthy and alert from the start, but because of the long duration in the ruptured amniotic sac, she and Jenn had to stay two days at the hospital. Meanwhile, I returned home the day after Eloise was born.
|Holding Tight onto Papa's Finger|
And, back on the old farm, we have the animals snug in their winter quarters, the house is inching closer and closer to "livable" and we are bracing ourselves for the "real" cold weather which is, no doubt, just around the corner.
|Goats and Chickens -- Happy Together|
|Wintery Sky Over Farmhouse|
|Judy Stacking Wood|