My precious little man James Liam got here Monday the 3rd of January, at just before 3 a.m. I woke around midnight with leaking waters, and it was all done before 3!
I was just 38 weeks by dates, but dates were based on 3 very irregular periods and no ultrasounds, so dates, schmates.
Contractions started after I went to the bathroom right then and some water fell out, and got right down to business within 15 minutes, couldn't talk through them by half an hour. Midwife would be there in an hour.... then it went from raining to snowing, and she ran half an hour later... she got here with me just about in transition, holding the bathroom faucet like a lifeline, up on my toes, with knees bent, hollering and groaning for dear life. The woman who was going to film the birth had turned her phone off for the night, so she missed the whole thing. Pity, but things happen.
It was intense beyond belief... all the normal power and sensation of a longer labor, sort of condensed. It rocked my world, far beyond the 10 lb HBAC I had previously. The birth pool was ready, just about right after I got the first hollering/groaning pushing urge, which in this particular case, did not ease the intensity one bit; I just survived it because I quite literally didn't have any other option. That was how transition was the time before, but this got right to that point sooner and with less preamble. (not trying to scare anyone from natural birth, but not going to sugar coat it either)
The birthing pool helped a smidge, but not nearly as much as it had the time before, when I was able to get in sooner...the pushing just came so fast and furious that there was no time to relax or take it easy, even by getting in the pool. I leaned over the side, and gave myself over to the pushing, which felt to me like a football was trying to bust through my rectum with each push, but I couldn't stop it or slow it, could only bear down with all my might while it happened, cooperating with it even though I felt I would break. My left leg was stuck out semi-extended behind me, and I kicked and scrabbled with the force of each push. Then I reached down to touch my clitoris as the football in my rectum started coming out the vagina! I had read that touching one's clitoris can help, and it did... somehow it helped me feel like I was opening myself instead of being burst open by some extrapersonal force, and that made it more manageable somehow, made me feel I was organizing my body into a unison directed by my own actions. My other fingers were there at the opening when I felt it part wider and felt a tuft of hair on soft, wrinkly skin. Then another surge and push, and a bigger patch of hair and head. Then smaller momentarily, then bigger yet again. Again bigger, no longer concerned about the pain because this was it, the end of it was coming! The ring of fire happened for me this time, even though it didn't last time with the en caul birth. Suddenly the large wedge of head and hair was an entire head! I could feel it was indeed anterior!
But the body didn't follow automatically. The midwife suggested a change of position, and I sat up and leaned back instead, and another push or two, and out came the whole baby! I could hardly believe I had done it! I glanced down at the baby in my arms, as the midwife slipped the cord off from around, noted it was long and had a true knot in it, and then I saw scrotum and penis. "It's a boy!" I said, realizing that all the while, we thought it was a girl, and suddenly feeling no surprise at all that it was a boy instead... suddenly it was as if we had known all along, as if he couldn't possibly have been anything else. I was glad I was the one to announce it, and to birth him into my hands.
He wasn't crying though... peaceful. Then maybe too peaceful... he was floppy. The midwife urged me to talk to him, rub him, hold him upright, and as I had seen in birth videos, and maybe on instinct, I held him up by the armpits and he responded, but still hadn't taken a good breath... I glanced at her face, all business, and my husband's, scared. I wasn't scared... it was like I was waiting to see, not believing it would be anything bad. She held oxygen near his face, I remember loosening the knot anyway though it did not seem tight, and then she blew a couple of puffs into his mouth and nose after vigorously suctioning him.
Then all was well, he breathed, cried just a bit, and we all laughed and smiled and loved and cuddled the now quite pink baby with the still-dark face from the pushing. Time sped up to normal, my 3 year old son was whooping with joy that he had indeed gotten the brother he wanted, my DH brought down our sleepy 6 year old daughter who joined in the smiles and kisses, and it was celebratory.
Eventually we made it to the bedroom upstairs, still trailing that long cord that was cut from him but dangling from me, and it took me a good long while to birth the placenta, with the same awful rectal pressure... wonder why? But not much else mattered because I had my perfect beautiful little 9 lb 22 inch son in my arms. He hadn't been interested in nursing yet, but the hour mark was approaching so I concentrated on getting him interested, when it seemed like he wanted to sleep instead. Once he did start, he latched on like a vise and nursed rhythmically and contentedly, and expertly, though with a lot of extra suction!
As with my 10 lb HBAC son, I had torn, again superficially but long, all the way to the anus, yet only skin-deep. A couple of sutures that had me cussing and arching half off the bed because Lidocaine barely does anything for me, and we were done. As for dates, he was born liberally covered in vernix, with long fingernails, 36 cm head and 35 cm chest, and perfectly mature. They noted his enormous feet and hands... I was surprised that the booties were too small, and the footprints measured a full 3 1/2 inches long! Wow! Big hands, feet, and *ahem* like his Papa, and Papa's small, neat ears to go with it! Red in the whites of his eyes from the intensity of pushing, but they say that is harmless, and heals.
And that's the story of my sweet Baby James and his whirlwind labor and birth. This time, I was blessed with a very content, easy baby, and an ample milk supply by the second day... a first for me, maybe due to PCOS, but this time I was taking cinnamon, chromium, and stevia...I may never know if that's why the milk didn't take forever to come in this time, but I will always be grateful it came in so quickly and easily, and am amazed so far at how easy-natured this little guy is.
The fact that he was floppy at birth and benefited from stimulation, oxygen etc translates to some people as evidence of reason against homebirth, but I know that such an unforeseeable event would be handled in the same way in a hospital, as it was handled in my home with the skills and equipment of my midwife, and that if that had not worked, the transfer time in my case (to a hospital less than 5 miles away) put us at no disadvantage for being out-of-hospital to begin with. The advantages of undrugged natural birth were enormous, and hospitals are still there for true emergencies if they occur... but being in a hospital as a prophylactic measure, does not guarantee that every emergency is handleable or will be handled best in every case. It does, however, preclude natural unmedicated birth and uninterrupted bonding, most of the time, even in what would otherwise be uneventful births.
Now off to resume enjoying the most peaceful, enjoyable, relaxed Babymoon I ever had, with my silky-haired beautiful new baby son, my precious Sweet Baby James. What a gift!