Remember this post from a few weeks back? The one about how I was 38 weeks and had a terrible chest cold and was also feeling random, low, powerful contractions? Turns out they were the real thing....after a while we figured hmm, maybe we should call my midwife...and she came and checked me...and I was about ready to push out a kid! Here is my birth story...please forgive typos and capitalization...it was typed one-handed while nursing. :)
tuesday i was sick as a dog and miserable. i started feeling so short, crampy-ish contractions that i chalked up to prelabor. i just tried to ignore them and focus on getting better. they continued off and on all night and into wednesday. i met with my midwife for my 38 week appointment wednesday afternoon. i told her about the contractions and she also explained they were my body warming up for the big event, encouraged me to just practice relaxing through them and know that each one was one fewer i'd have to have later. i was still feeling feverish and coughy and sick so after we got home i took a little nap. the contractions felt stronger and longer but i figured it was just my uterus being irritable due to me being dehydrated a little from being sick. a lovely family from our small group graciously brought us a meal for that night just because being sick and pregnant with a sick family is hard. after i woke up from the nap i was hungry for the first time in days so i had two big bowls on potato soup and some salad and some water. the contractions were really getting annoying, like i needed to concentrate and breathe through them, so out of curiosity i began timing them. they were consistently 1 minute 45 seconds long and well, these suckers hurt. they were around 15 minutes apart but they were sometimes as close as 11 minutes and then they'd space back out to 16 minutes. i figured well, real labor contractions would be regular so these must be more prelabor. i called my midwife at 10pm and told her what was going on, and she gave me some ideas for relaxing so i could hopefully get them to stop. well, we tried everything so finally i just tried to go to sleep around 11:30. i felt bad for tim because he had a 102 degree fever and needed to rest, but as time went on i could no longer cope with these prelabor contractions without coaching. i was frustrated because i wanted to sleep but every time i'd begin to drift off i'd have another doozy of a contraction and it would wake me up. finally around 2am i told tim to call my midwife. i was really discouraged because if these were just prelabor i didnt feel like i was handling them very well and i knew i needed rest to not only get better but to actually give birth whenever i went into labor. my midwife said that these sounded like maybe the real thing and to call her when they got closer together because they were still irregular and anywhere from 13 to 9 minutes apart. then i called my mom and asked her to come get sam. i said, look, i am not in labor, but i cant sleep and tim and i both need rest so we needed someone to watch sam the next day so we could try to get better. my mom came to get sam around 3. i had been trying to just lie down and relax but i could no longer lie down thru the contrax because it made it hurt worse. so i moved out to the couch and every time i'd have a contraction i'd have to get up and rock my hips. it was literally the only thing that helped. i'd get on all fours and just swing my hips. after my mom arrived i asked her to stay up with me for an hour so tim could get some rest. i figured even if i was in labor i'd have a long way left to go and i needed my poor, feverish husband to be able to support and coach me through real labor. i was pretty grumpy with my mom and probably mean. not good. but...i was probably in transition, because about an hour later, around 4am, i started feeling vaguely pushy. still not knowing for sure if i was in labor, because my contractions were only 10ish minutes apart, some as close as 7 minutes, some as far as 13, i had tim call and tell my midwife that i was feeling vaguely pushy. she said she would come right away. at this point i had my mom get sam up and leave around 5am. my midwife arrived around 530 and asked if i wanted to be checked. i figured...well, ok. i told her that i was going to be so made if i wasnt in labor. i honestly thought she'd check me and say i was 1 to 2 cm. even though i felt like i couldnt sit down because there was a kid right there. i was so surprised when i was fully effaced and dilated with just a stretchy anterior lip. so surprised. i got a little break here -- the "rest and be thankful stage" as ina may calls -- so i just chatted with tim and marisol. i joked with tim that it was a good thing we were having a home birth because if we were going to the hospital according to emotional signposts --excitement in early labor, seriousness in active labor and self-doubt in transition -- and labor patterns he'd be catching the kid by himself at home. i really could not believe i was almost ready to push. of course i was only 38wks2days so i wasn't really expecting to be in labor either. after a while i had a few more intense contractions but i didnt have an overwhelming urge to push yet. i wanted tim to press on my hip bones really hard though during the contractions -- henry was coming down through my pelvis and i think tim pressing helped my pelvic outlet open. this wasn't a conscious thought though during the moment -- it just felt good. same with rocking and swaying my hips during active labor and transition -- just doing what i felt like i needed to do. God is a wise creator -- he made our bodies with innate wisdom. you just gotta learn to listen to it. at some point i started feeling like pushing, so i did. pushing actually felt really good until his head started to crown and then i sort freaked a little. i was on my hands and knees pushing and i said oh it hurts and i'm scared and began praying in earnest oh jesus help me please. tim and tuesday, the other midwife who was there to assist marisol (i dont know when she arrived...) jut encouraged me gently and prayed for and with me. i knew that not pushing doesnt make the pain go away, so i just pushed. i dont know long i pushed, not very long, tim says maybe 20 minutes, and then our swet boy was born! tim caught him as he slipped out of me. i turned over and saw him. my first thought was oh! how beautiful! thank you, jesus! and then, oh, he is tiny. compared to big old chunker sam, i knew little henry would be lucky to break 7 lbs. his apgars wre great, he pinked up right away. we tried to get him to latch while we waited for the cord to stop pulsing and for the placenta to be born. my placenta was tiny and not in great shape -- i think the stress of being sick made it so my body focus on my organs at the expense of my placenta. so since it wasnt doing a great job anymore my body threw me into labor. no worries...he's healthy and fine and my body did what i needed to do.
1. it really was easy. i mean, there were things that were hard but by just listening to my body (and being in an environment where i was allowed to listen to my body), so much discomfort was diminished. i could move around, eat and drink (I had a turkey sandwich and drank a lot of coconut water, and also had some strawberry yogurt right before i began to push), just be myself. i wasn't on edge or worried or stressed (other than being sick) and it just felt so natural and normal.
2. i am so thankful that God lead us to marisol and lead us to home birth. i know that if we have any other kids we'll do it this way again.
3. i really feel awesome. i feel empowered and strong. i feel love for my sweet family of 4 and i feel equipped to handle the challenges of mothering 2 sweet boys.
4. tim has been amazing. he said he was amazed at how fast it was. he says catching henry was one of the most incredible moments of his life. and i will say that the moments right after henry was born were just amazing. the oxytocin rush that you get from birth is seriously like...trippy. it's other-dimensional. you feel so much love and joy and overwhelming emotion.
5. birth is worth the pain. it really is. the pain all serves a purpose, and given a chance to listen to your body and do what you feel like doing makes it like...an athletic event. you push yourself, you hit a wall of being not sure, you push through it (literally) and you overcome. it's just amazing. i highly, highly, highly recommend natural birth (and home birth) as being one of the for sure "worth it" moments of your life.
we are so in love with our sweet henry. and we have loved seeing sam instantly love his brother. our hearts are full and our cup runneth over.