Our sweet Mason was born on November 19th at 7:35pm. After lots of conversation and heavy thought, Roberta, JP (my husband) and I had decided to induce my labor, due to the combination of my being group B strep positive and my history of rapid deliveries. If our baby was born before I had been given the required 4 hours of antibiotics, Best Start’s policy was that our baby would have to be transferred to the hospital for 2 days of observation. We wanted to avoid that, and therefore agreed to be induced.

Monday morning we went to Best Start Birth Center at 9:30am for the first round of antibiotics. It took seven tries to get it in, sometimes my veins just don’t want to cooperate! I was excited to hear that I was dilated to 4cm, 100% effaced and had a bulging water bag. We were done with the antibiotics at 10:30, so Roberta told us to come back at 2:30 for the second round. Back at home, I ran laundry, and tried to keep myself busy. After already giving birth to three children, I knew exactly what was ahead of me, and it was hard to keep my mind clear. Before I knew it, JP was saying, “it’s 1:40pm we need drop the kids off and get going!” So we headed off to our friend Caroline’s house to drop our kids off. She lived just a few minutes from Best Start, so she would be able to bring the kids as soon as the baby was born.

We arrived at Best Start at 2:30pm, my mom was already in the waiting room, she beat us there! Right away, I was given another dose of antibiotics, luckily this time we got it in on one try. I was excited to hear that the upstairs birthing suite was finally ready to be used. I had planned to deliver in the front birthing room, where both Blake and Marlie had been born, but the lure of the huge tub upstairs was too great. We would be the first birth in the upstairs room! At 3:30pm Ruth broke my water bag, and it was an instant flood.

When my labor was induced with Blake and Marlie, it took 8 hours and 9 hours before any contractions started. I was a little worried that it would take just as long for something to get going with this labor too. Luckily, the time seemed to go by quickly sitting around and chatting with my mom and JP. At 5:30pm, I still wasn’t in labor and had only had a whopping 4 contractions. They weren’t even as uncomfortable as the Braxton-Hicks I had the night before, how disappointing! JP and mom were getting hungry, so I asked Ruth to check my cervix, just in case. Nothing had changed and I was still only dilated to 4cm. My mom left to get her and JP some Mexican food. I didn’t feel like eating, and was actually really tired from not sleeping much the night before, so I laid down in bed and tried to nap. It was hard to sleep because I kept needing to get up to use the bathroom, but in between my bathroom trips I at least got to rest a little.

At 7:00 on the dot, my mom and JP were talking about something. I was half-awake listening to them, still laying in bed. All the sudden I had a monster contraction, and I mean the kind that makes you yell for your midwife (which is exactly what I did!) My mom went running out and got both Roberta and Ruth, who came flying in the birth room. Ruth checked me and announced that I was 8cm dilated!! All at once I started shaking, and couldn’t control it. My back was killing me, so JP climbed in bed and sat behind me so I wouldn’t be laying flat on my back. Roberta turned the water in the bathtub on. I thought for sure that huge bathtub wouldn’t fill up in time for the birth, but at 7:15 it was full and I climbed in. The warm water helped me relax a bit, but I was still pretty freaked out, due to everything happening so quickly. All I could think of was the scene in the theatre production of “Wicked” where the character of the midwife is running around the stage yelling, “The baby’s coming…and it’s unnaturally green”. Leave it to a dancer to be thinking of theatre during her baby’s birth!

I didn’t really push, it was more like I hung on for dear life, as our sweet baby busted his way out at 7:35pm. (I asked JP why there weren’t any “half in half out pictures” of the birth like with our other kids and he laughed and said “It’s because one second I saw the top of his head, then his whole body was out! There was no half in half out!) Ruth lifted him to my chest and boy, was he unhappy to be here! He cried and cried! I thought I probably tore due to the rapid delivery, but was happy to hear that I didn’t even have so much as a skid mark.

After a few minutes, I realized that I hadn’t checked to see if our baby was really a boy, like the ultrasound had said. I peeked under the blanket, and indeed I had just delivered our 3rd son. I climbed out of the tub and into the bed with our new baby. Our friend Caroline brought our 3 other kids to come see him, and what excitement there was in the room! They crowded all around him, touching his little hands and feet. “Is it really a boy?”, “How much does he weigh?”, “What’s his name?”. They had a flurry of questions. We all talked for a few minutes and decided to name him Mason Reed. After lots of hugs and kisses, my mom gathered up our older kids and took them home to her house for the night.

Four hours after Mason’s birth, JP started loading up the car to leave. It was foggy and damp out, when we climbed in and, headed for home. It was surreal, driving down the freeway at midnight, with our 4 hour old baby in the car. I had never brought a baby home at night, and it was different. It felt like a good secret, one that you didn’t want to tell anyone, and that you wanted to keep all to yourself. I hoped our anxious neighbors wouldn’t hear our car and that we could sneak in the house unnoticed. I was so happy to get home and climb into my own bed, with my husband and my baby.

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