One more contraction, and our baby was out, a successful and stunningly uplifting home VBAC.
"It's a boy!" the midwife said, her first words in a long while, as his body popped up to the surface.
Although his head had emerged with the cord wrapped around his neck, the midwife had reached into the birth tub to check on him, felt the cord pulsing, and knew he was OK. All through the two hours I spent kneeling in the water, she never once told me to push. And I never did. My body did the work on its own and I let everything take its time. I think the reward was in not needing a single stitch.
I sat in the tub holding him, transfixed, looking in his dark eyes, his hair curled from the wetness. He was breathing just fine, very alert, not crying, checking out his new bedroom, moving his eyes across the room. His body, covered with creamy vernix, was incredibly soft and I held him close. He took to nursing like a champ. My husband finally decided it was OK to take a picture (maybe I will post one tomorrow)and we all rejoiced in the moment.
A couple minutes later, our second midwife, who had gotten caught in a construction tangle on the turnpike, arrived -- deflated she had missed the birth.
All seemed well. But where the heck was the placenta?