06 November 2014

The Birth of Streiter Teagan

Pronunciation Tip: Streiter rhymes with "writer"

* * *

By the time you’re on your third baby/pregnancy, it’s more than slightly tempting to think you know the score when it comes to pregnancy and birth. You’ve done the big thing not just once, but twice already, and the expectation is that you’re not likely to encounter anything new, especially when your first two experiences were fairly consistent with one another.

At my first consultation with our team of midwives, however, one told me that third pregnancies tend to be strange.

However anecdotal this information might be, it was true for me and was evidenced at no moment as much as it was in labor and birth.

At our checkups starting several weeks ago, our midwives would review with us when they wanted us to call. I heard Contractions every seven minutes, lasting one minute, for one hour often enough that it seemed unlikely to forget it.

But they also told me this: This is your third baby, and you know what’s up. If you feel like you’re close even though it’s not fitting a pattern, then we want to be there.

When I woke up on Saturday morning (November 1), I could tell that things felt different, and noticed some positive symptoms of progression toward labor and birth, but they weren’t the kinds of things that were definitive as far as counting on a timeline of events is concerned. I had just passed the 39 week mark in my pregnancy, and had mentally prepared myself to go at least as long as I did with Austen, who was born at 41 weeks, and with whom I had a number of instances of false labor leading up to the time she was actually born.

I felt contractions on and off all day, and we even started timing them a few times. They were scattered: 3 minutes apart, 12 minutes apart, and everywhere in between. They were lasting 30 seconds, they were lasting a minute and a half, and every length in between. They’d stop, they’d start up again. I’d feel them and know what they were, though they weren’t uncomfortable at this point.

The last thing we wanted to do was wait around the house wondering if this was labor or when it would start if it wasn’t, so we decided to get out of the house and ended up going out to eat at our favorite burger place. Contractions were still coming on and off, but with no discernable regularity in their spacing or length. They were mildly uncomfortable, but I had no problem walking, talking, or enjoying my dinner.

We put Austen to bed about an hour or so later than normal, and once our bedtime routine was completed (about 9:30), I got into bed while James helped me through some guided relaxation exercises. I was still contracting, but they were still all over the place – 3 minutes apart or 4, 8 minutes apart or 11. They’d last 30 seconds or 2 minutes and everywhere in between and they felt like they were doing something, but it was still unclear to me whether or not this was labor.

A little after 11 o’clock, I opted for a bath and that’s about when things started feeling intense. I had trouble speaking through them, and I started losing the calm, relaxed demeanor I had been determined to maintain. They were still all over the place – 7 minutes apart, 10 minutes apart, 8 minutes apart, 30 seconds long, and one that was 3 minutes long – but I was finally approaching a place where I was convinced this was probably the real deal. I had never had a labor like this before – labor with Ewan and Austen had followed a fairly regular and predictable pattern as we got closer to birth, and the spacing and length of the contractions I was experiencing this time around threw us off.

We hemmed and we hawed about calling. It didn’t seem possible that the intensity I was experiencing could accompany false labor, but James’ memory held a slightly different narrative.

After one particularly long and intense contraction, we looked at each other and asked, “Should we call? Is it time to call?” still not completely sure of whether or not we would be having a baby soon.

About half past midnight, we called the midwife and she asked about the spacing and length of the contractions. I told her about how they were all over the place in terms of spacing, and how their length had been timed at anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 minutes up until the moment we had called. I told her about the symptoms I had noticed that morning and what I had experienced throughout the course of the day, and she said she was coming.

I was so relieved.

But in my mind, I entertained just two possibilities: 1) Either this was labor and I was still several hours away from birth, or 2) It wasn’t labor and they’d go home and I’d have a baby another day.

They arrived about 45 minutes later. I had moved to the bed, lying on my side, breathing through another contraction. When it was over, they checked my progress.

Here we go, I thought. They’re going to tell me to stop playing jokes on them and call them when I’m really ready to have a baby.

Instead I heard this: You’re ready to push.

What? I was stunned. Shocked.


Time stood still for a few seconds while I attempted to digest this information. On the next contraction, get ready to push.

Mouth still hanging open, eyes wide with incredulity. I can only imagine the look on my face. Ready to push? That wasn't a possibility I had entertained even remotely.


“I wish I had a picture of that moment after we told you. You were in complete shock," the midwife told me later.

He was born about 30 minutes later, and about 45 minutes after their initial arrival.

We never thought to photodocument any of this experience (like we did so thoroughly with Ewan and Austen’s births), uncertain as we were it was the real deal. So there’s one photo of me holding him, just moments after his earthside arrival. (It’s certainly not the prettiest picture of me, but I’m going to let you guess how much I care about that.)

the one and only photo from the birth of my third child
Streiter Teagan
Born 2 November 2014 @ 2:05 am
8 lbs 7 oz, 21.5 inches

“I’m so glad we called when we did!” I said over and over and over.

And so here we are, two (living) children at home, adjusting to life together. We’re encountering some expected challenges and adjusting to our new normal. Austen’s so sweet with him, saying hello and asking how he’s doing, giving him kisses on the head and patting him gently. She’s very excited and proud of her new baby!

streiter3 streiter1 streiter_triptych streiter2

I couldn’t be happier. All things considered, the labor was quick and easy, and I feel pretty darn amazing. Streiter has a mellow temperament and took to nursing like a champ, which is something that was so frustrating and difficult and tear-filled for me for the first three weeks or so of Austen’s life.

We’re all so in love with our little man!

(Oh, and I should also mention: Austen was home the entire time and slept through the whole thing! She's a rock star.)