Apr. 4th, 2011

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Exactly one day ago, as I begin writing this blog post, Connor Paul Bouchard came into this world, caught in the loving hands of two of his parents, while a third held his mother, safe and strong. We were surrounded by a top-quality, professional staff, made up of midwives, nurses and our doula, who did everything correctly, and everything we asked. Connor's entry into this world went exactly as we wanted, with minimal intervention, surrounded by love and full of hope for the future. His life officially began at 5:04pm on April, 2, 2011, in the Wesson Building, Room W1823, at Bay State Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts, United States of America, North American Continent, Earth, Sol System, Milky Way Galaxy.

This blog is meant to be the story of his birth. It is, obviously, from my point of view. You'd have to ask Connor for his, and since the only language he knows at the moment predominant pertains to breastfeeding (which consists of various noises and sucking motions, up to and including full throated cries), mine will have to do. You can also ask the other three parents what they think, but that's for them to tell.

I'm going to pick up the story not with his conception (there are grandparents reading this! Dirty minds, the lot of you...), or with the bulk of the pregnancy. The best place to start is the last full day Connor was in his mother's womb, April Fools' Day, 2011.

Aimee's due date was March 30, last Wednesday. We'd all secretly hoped that she would give birth early, and we've all been anxiously waiting for the big day. So for most of the last three weeks, every little exclamation from Aimee was met with the same question, "Are you OK?", from one or all of her partners. How she didn't kill any of us is testimony to her prodigious patience, a trait that will serve our family well as we adjust to life with a newborn baby boy. She'd been having Braxton-Hicks contractions (a painless sort of contraction that is essentially the uterus getting "warmed up") fairly regularly for a few weeks, and was just as anxious, if not more so, to get it over with.

Good thing I'm not on the floor of the Florida state house. I hear "uterus" is now a dirty word there. Funny things happen when you aren't paying attention to the world.

Friday began like any other day in our household. Two of us went to work; Mich at the store, Ian at the office. Aimee was already on maternity leave (as much as anyone that is self-employed can be), but nonetheless did some work-related business throughout the day. My schedule this semester has me home two days a week, Monday and Friday. In the middle of the day, Aimee had a well-visit with our midwives, to see if anything was going on. Since we knew we were so close to baby-time, I elected to work from home on a paper for class, and drive Aimee to her appointment.

She decided to go with a midwife service here in Springfield for our pre-natal care. She's a bit hippie (in the 60s way, not the Beyonce way), and so are midwives by definition, so it was a good fit from the very start. This particular service was connected to BayState, and of the hospitals within easy driving distance of us, it made the most sense. It's big, lots of resources if you need them, and only five minutes or so from home.

At the midwife appointment, Aimee was between one and two centimeters, so all of the practice her uterus had been up to was doing something. The nurse cautioned that things could stay like this for a few more days, or she could suddenly open up and give birth in a few hours. With that in mind, we went home. Aimee scheduled herself for a massage at a place in Northampton that specializes in working with pregnant women. I drove her up, and she met Ian and Michelle up there for dinner. I choose to go back home to keep working on my school stuff. I actually had the most productive day I've had this semester on my "big project", getting out almost three full new pages and a slew of minor edits.

The girls got home around 8pm. Ian had an errand to run, so he got back later. Not long after that, at around 8:25pm, Aimee gave out an exclamation that was not as little as before. Then another. She was painfully cramping along with the Braxton-Hicks contractions. This was something new.

It suddenly occurred to us that maybe we should time them. The first one we marked was twenty minutes between cramps, then half that, but we weren't very good at keeping track. Like a good geek girl, Aimee got this little app for her iPhone that created a log of her contractions. Push a button to start the timer, push it again to stop, and it created a handy dandy log of your use. She fired it up and started using it to get good data.

Her contractions (if that is what they were) were six to eight minutes apart, thirty to fifty seconds in duration. If this was early labor, we knew it could be a long process, or even stop. Ian and Mich went to bed, determined to rest in case it was the last good night's sleep they'd have in a while. Aimee was too uncomfortable to really sleep, so she and I bunked down on our sectional, watched movies, and settled in for a long night.

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tehuti

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