Sunday, August 18, 2013

Max's Belly Departure

Long post alert. But, as with the other two kiddos, I want to document the experience for Max and myself. And, despite my worry that people are going to think I'm completely granola, I've decided to share all the details - including that we did it at home. Read on if you're interested.. or not if it's TMI.

Reader's Digest Version:
I spent the entire week before going on walks around the neighborhood to start up labor, but as soon as I sat down, the Braxton Hicks would go away. My water broke at 10:15 pm on Sunday night (that's a first!), and contractions started at 11:00 pm. I got into the half-filled tub (we ran out of hot water!) at about 1:45 am and the midwife showed up ten minutes later. After 3.75 hours of labor and 2 pushes Max was born!

All the Fine Details:
I had it in my head that this baby was coming on August 8th, even though I wasn't due until the 13th. Lots of Braxton Hicks started on Monday night and I got really excited thinking that I could go into labor a whole week early. I walked around the neighborhood then went to bed, but slept soundly all night. This happened over... and over and I started getting frustrated because nothing was happening and everyone was calling to ask me for updates. My continuous answer: not a single thing.

Friday, August 9:
I had an appointment with my midwife. I was hoping that she would sweep my membranes to stir something up and hopefully get things started. When I got there, she said another one of her moms was a week and a half overdue, and she didn't want to do anything "artificial" in case she compromised her attendance at one of our deliveries. She said in all of her years delivering babies, if the babies were left to decide when to come they were considerate of each other's timing. Interesting, but disappointing. Especially when she checked me and said I was only dilated to a 1 and it would be hard to do a sweep anyway.

Sunday, August 11:
The Young Women in our ward were assigned to speak today about Girls Camp. I thought I got out of the assignment because I would have a baby by then. When Sunday came, I debated about coming to church because I felt guilty. I decided to go, and during Young Women's (we have backward's church with Sacrament meeting last) I got persuaded into speaking anyway. I even mentioned at the beginning of my talk that hopefully standing at the podium would be the ticket to jump-starting my labor.

After church we went over to Justin's parent's house for dinner. Something told me to take the kids' overnight bag with us, so we threw it in the trunk. After dinner, around 7 pm I got up from sitting on the couch and thought my water broke. I felt a gush, but it was pretty small. I called my midwife, Rebecca, and she said if it was my water that labor would start within the next four hours. If not... maybe the baby just peed my pants for me. (Embarrassing!) We hung out until 9:30 pm waiting for something to happen so we could leave the kids overnight... but nothing. Not one single contraction!

We put the kids to bed as soon as we got home, and when I stood up after reading Harvey his bedtime story I felt another small gush. I ran to the bathroom and then I knew my water really broke. Luckily I made it off the carpet and onto the toilet! I called Rebecca again, and she sounded encouraging - telling me we would probably have a baby on Monday. But since there were still no signs of contractions, she told me that now would be the best time to take a nap and to call when I wanted her to come over.

I made Justin vacuum the living room, lay down a painter's tarp, pump up the tub (Rebecca had dropped it off, along with a bunch of other stuff at around 36 weeks), and hook up the hose to our bathroom sink. Meanwhile, I unloaded/loaded the dishwasher, and headed to bed. At around 11:00 pm I started to feel contractions, but they were really mild so I just laid in bed and timed them on an app on my kindle. After about an hour and a half, I got sick of laying there, so I went downstairs with Justin. We chatted a bit, but I didn't feel like things were far enough along to wake Rebecca up and have her come over. Justin asked me if I felt like watching the recorded Breaking Bad episode we had on the DVR, and I thought it might be a good distraction to pass the time.

Monday, August 12:
I lost interest after a while, when the contractions started getting a little more intense. I sat Indian style (on a towel) on the couch, and I had to lean my head back, close my eyes and breath through the contractions. Justin gave me a Priesthood Blessing, and I felt calm about the whole thing. He said a host of angels would assist in the birth of our baby, and reminded me that I could call upon the Holy Ghost any time I stood in need of comfort or strength. I finally called Rebecca because the timing of the contractions were getting pretty close: 1 minute long and about 3-4 minutes apart. She said she would head over, and told us if the tub wasn't already filled to get started.

As soon as we came upstairs the contractions got more intense and I told Justin I wanted to get in the tub as soon as possible. We hadn't really thought the hot water situation through - our water heater had a 50 gallon capacity, and the tub held 100 gallons. I got in with the water level just below my belly button and used a glass to pour the warm water on my belly during each contraction. It actually wasn't that bad - the feeling of the pouring water was both relaxing and distracting from the pressure and felt really nice. Rebecca arrived at about 1:55 am, and set up all of her stuff. I was kind of oblivious to everything, just focused on staying relaxed. She used her baby waterproof doppler to check the baby's heartbeat and figure out his position; still on the left side, so we knew we had some labor time. Justin turned the water heater all the way up, and once the water was warm enough we turned the hose back on. It was perfect timing because at that point pouring water from the glass wasn't quite fast enough - I wanted continuous warm water, so I just took the hose and held it right above my belly.

Justin and Rebecca kept a cool washcloth on my forehead, and fanned me, or gave me ice water to keep me cool. The only really negative thing was my face started feeling really tingly - kind of like when your foot falls asleep. I asked Rebecca about it and she said sometimes people feel that way after getting too much oxygen in one area. I guess I was really getting into the breathing thing. After a while, Rebecca asked me if I had gone to the bathroom in a while, and I thought I could get up and pee so she helped me out of the tub and we walked to the bathroom. A very intense contraction came on pretty quickly as I sat on the toilet. I had to lean over the counter because I felt really dizzy (the tingly feeling around my eyes), and kind of nauseous. After what seemed like a really LONG and intense contraction, I felt the urge to push. I told Justin and Rebecca and they quickly helped me back into the tub. As soon as I stepped into the tub, I knelt down and leaned on the wall of the tub and the urge to push came again. Rebecca got out her doppler to check the position of the baby, but after one push I could tell that the baby was crowning. I just pushed one more time and he was out!

When we pulled the baby up out of the water, Justin asked me if it was a boy or girl... and I told him to let me catch my breath. I knew before I sat down and checked him over that he was a boy, even though I was sure I was having a girl almost the entire pregnancy.

Max Justin Keetch
2:42 am
9 pounds
22 inches long

Max didn't cry right away, and when he did it was almost like he was saying "hi" rather than crying because he was unhappy. We snuggled in the water for a while, then Justin cut his umbilical cord and held him while I got out of the tub. The poor kid didn't like all of the flash photography in his first minutes. After we stopped taking pictures, he tried opening his eyes but even with the lights dimmed all the way he would squint then quickly squeeze his eyes shut again.

Rebecca checked us both over then cleaned everything up and left to let us sleep around 5:30 am. The kids woke up around 8:45 am. When Harvey came in our room I told him that the baby had come last night. He got a really big smile on his face and asked, "Where is she?!" I wish I had my camera ready for his first peek at baby Max; a sweet little smile crept up on his face as he looked at his new baby brother, then he turned to look at me. It was precious.

After Justin got Avery out of her crib, I got the camera but I didn't have the best angle to get their reaction.

In hindsight.. a video would have probably captured the whole moment the best. Oh well.

Avery was especially enchanted with him. I thought she might be jealous, or cranky about the whole thing, but she wanted to hold him and didn't want to give anyone else a turn!

Max's grandparents came over to meet him, and when my mom showed up with balloons, Harvey asked where the gifts were. And that reminded me that we did have gifts to exchange! The kids had each picked out a baby toy to give when he arrived...

 and Max came into the world bearing gifts as well. He knew Harvey would love some new Hot Wheels...

... and he thought Avery might like to feed her baby dolls while I fed Max. She wanted to feed Max herself.

It has been kind of crazy readjusting to baby stuff, and adjusting to 3 kiddos, but we are loving every minute. We are officially outnumbered!! Luckily, we have great family and friends who are so willing to help out; we're so grateful for them!


  1. Congratulations Tiffany!!! He is a beautiful baby boy :)So happy for you and your family! And somehow I didn't even know that you were pregnant!!

  2. He's perfect, you are amazing and you have a beautiful family. I'm so happy for you guys. Baby #3 was my favorite time at newborn stuff. I hope you love it too, if not I'm 2min away and will take the bunch of cuties.

  3. I'm so glad everything went well and I'm especially glad that Avery is digging the whole big sister gig! If you haven't figured out the crib thing yet, I may be able to loan you ours when the bassinet goes away. Malia has surprised us and is sleeping in her big girl bed most nights. :-)

  4. I am so happy for you!!! He is a cutie and I love Avery's face when she is looking at him! And how cool that they slept through the whole thing and woke up to a very special surprise.


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