LL’s birth story
Followed by a miscarriage in March of 2010, LL’s pregnancy was comfortingly uneventful. I found out I was pregnant in August of 2010. I chose a fairly intervention-free homebirth MW with a good deal of experience. Pregnancy was pretty intervention-free. My EDD was April 12.
LL was born on April 11 at 1:53pm after 8 hours of labor (4 hours of early labor, 3 hours of active labor and one hour of pushing). My first birth, 9 years ago, was 18 hours with 4 hours of pushing – homebirth transfer after 2 hours of pushing with no additional interventions in the hospital.
By week 39 I was still very comfortable, baby was moving from LOA to ROA and I felt as though I could go another week at least. I wanted to wait until 40+4 for my sister to arrive. Labor began around 39+1 days with an hour of contractions one night. On Saturday, April 9 I worked like a mad woman on the house and proclaimed it “ready for the baby”. I had another hour of contractions that night. I had a bit of bloody show that morning but no contractions all day. Part of me felt that labor may be coming and I should “get some more things done” but I decided (thankfully!) to take a nap from about 2-4 that day. I made a pot of healthy soup. I had a little bit of show the rest of the day and then some very mild contractions around 6pm. We rushed to get DC in bed and I managed to cancel carpooling for the next day.
At 8:30 I called the MW to let her know I was pretty sure I was in labor but not ready for her to come yet (I did not want the MW there early because that happened at my first birth and I think EVERYONE got tired out). I felt as though I would be calling her before “a decent hour” the next day and wanted her to have a heads up. Also, her assistant was bringing a birth pool from about an hour away so I wanted her to have a heads up too. I guessed at the time that the baby would be born around 10am.
DH and I set up the bed, made a very strong RRL tea (which I could only drink a little of) and did a few other things. I was having pretty strong contractions between the activities. I had a longer list of things I was going to do in early labor but it turned out that I didn’t get much of an early labor. I think it was from about 6-10:00 but I didn’t really acknowledge it until about 8:30.
At 10:00 I called my MW to have her come. I told her that I wasn’t timing contractions but that they sometimes felt like they were coming one on top of another. I had vomited once sometime before calling her and was feeling pretty active. I don’t know if I could have talked through contractions at this point. I had had a bath, which did not slow the contractions down and passed a large bit of mucus – I guess the plug.
Around 11 the MW assistant arrived and I was in active labor but able to sleep pretty soundly between contractions. I think this went on between 10-1am. I was alone and did not want to be bothered. At some point I was getting pretty uncomfortable but was worried I was not far along because no one offered for me to get in the pool. Turns out the pool was blown up but the MW assistant had forgotten the hose. I was relieved that it wasn’t that I was too early to get in the pool as I was significantly worried that I was still very early in labor similar to my first birth. Then, I heard the MW assistant tell DH he could call SIL and my mom, which was another indication that I was getting somewhere because I had told the MW assistant that I only wanted them there for very late labor. I had no cervical checks through the entire labor, which I had decided early on to forego thinking that they would really take me out of myself and make me too focused on the finish line – another reaction from my first birth.
The MW arrived around 12 and they started filling the pool. SIL arrived at the same time. I had a small amount of amniotic fluid – clear. I was quite vocal by then and I think close to or in transition. My mom arrived at 1 and I got in the pool. It was really, really nice!! More than the water was the comfort of being in a little padded cocoon. I thought often about how hard this labor was but how much harder it would have been without the pool. I really liked the pool.
My daughter woke up sometime shortly after 1pm. SIL was given the job of caring for DC. DC didn’t like the sounds I was making and didn’t want to be in the room. She covered her ears, went downstairs to watch TV with the volume turned way up.
Transition was HARD. Way harder than I remember with DC. I kept asking if it was this hard the first time. I did get a break between contractions but when they came on they were so, so painful. At least they had a good wave pattern and I had read a great article on being however you want to be at birth so I felt good about just letting it all out verbally. I screamed, yelled “ouch”, wined, cussed – you name it. I did not, however, wake the neighbors, which kind of makes me worried about anyone screaming for help in my neighborhood. I have no idea how long it lasted and I’m guessing it was fairly short…it seemed like forever though. I drank mostly ice water. Loved the straw. Loved holding someone’s hand. Liked being verbally encouraged.
I started having these weird body crunches. I didn’t know what it was. At one point there was what seemed to be a long break between one contraction(by long I mean maybe 1-2 minutes). Perhaps this was the famous rest period between transition and pushing? The hour was probably about 1:15. Maybe? Within time I realized that these crunches were my body pushing the baby from up high in the birth canal. I did not feel ready to participate in the pushing. The MW assistant was feeling a little around my vaginal opening and I hated being touched. It would close me way up and shock me.
I felt the “ring of fire” and was so, so relieved to find out we were so close! Yay for the ring of fire!! The baby was in the birth canal and her head cold be felt an inch or so up. At this point I sort of got the feel for pushing (though I never really got it the way others describe). I would push and my anus would balloon out first – like a baboon I was thinking. Then I would feel a connection in the birth canal. I could move DC several inches (or so it felt) and then she would slip back up. This went on for a while – maybe 10-20 contractions. I didn’t mind it. It felt like I was stretching (which was good because I had an episotomy scar from my 1st birth). The baby’s head would come WAY out and then slip back in. One strange thing was that the baby was moving in the birth canal, which was super shocking and uncomfortable.
I felt her head and thought I felt the caul but figured it that was it they would have told me. I remarked that she was bald. She felt slimy – more so than I would have expected. Turns out she was born in the caul and my mother says it was very tick. DH said she looked like a robber. DC came up for a quick view but waited in the hall – a bit scared or the whole scene. She saw the baby come out of the vaginal opening but did not want to stay for the birth. The MW assistant suggested I bring my leg up (I was on all fours) to a sort of high racers squat. That helped quite a bit. I comforted myself knowing that I still had so many reserves and was close to the end. That was quite a change from DC's birth. At some point I FINALLY got the baby's widest part of her had out of the vaginal opening. Her head got stuck half in and half out for 2 contractions, which was stressful. I pushed harder than I would have liked because I could sense that the MW did not like the head being stuck like that. I pushed her out and she came like a fish.
I turned over and she was limp. MW immediately started mouth to mouth, yelled for stethoscope and oxygen. Assistant gave oxygen, heart rate was good. The started suctioning DC. She was still limp but had good color. It was scary. I sat in this weird back bend to give them slack on the cord and watched. I heard DC cry. MW assured me that baby was going to be OK. It was a scary 5 minutes or so. DC let out a small sound during suctioning. Then another and another and then she cried. YAY!! Everyone was very relieved. She cried for a long time, which was great after seeing her limp. I realized the water was cold and DC was half in half out. We had the heat turned up but we rushed to get warm. We got into bed and got DC warm. Baby's 1 minute apgar was 5 / 5 minute was a 7. I was very thankful to have had a MW with quite a lot of experience.
In the mix I started cramping again – probably 10-15 minutes after birth. I passed the placenta on the bed just as the baby was starting to calm down. People were buzzing around. DC came to see the baby at some point, people got me a drink and some food, people were tending to the baby…doing all kinds of things that are a blur.
The baby calmed down fully and it was clear that she was fine. She nursed – kind of. People started cleaning up, breaking down the pool and etc. I felt pretty good. I peed and MW checked on me. I only had two small stitches to repair toward the back of my vaginal opening. The Lydocane was painful but no big deal. Stitches were easy. I had superficial tear on the side of my vagina that needed no stitches and has not bothered me.
We moved downstairs to our bedroom. It was nice to completely change scenes! Our bed was all nice – still had the plastic, which turned out to be a good thing. It was nice to “make a mess” that first night w/o worrying about the bed at all.
Baby had her newborn exam. 8lbs 3oz.
I felt like I was bleeding quite a lot during the newborn exam. I got up to pee and felt faint. I had to get on hands and knees. I got in the bath and bled a lot. I requested uterine massage, which helped me pass a big clot. I felt like that helped. I knew I would not hemorrhage but I did feel as though I had lost more blood than “normal”. In the end I was worried about bleeding though the night and didn’t want to worry so I opted for an oral pill that starts with an M (myrsopol) or something. I don’t know if it helped but my bleeding was manageable.
Baby is lovely. She took about 60 hours to pass meconium, which was worrying on its own. When she did pass it she passed just a tiny stain on the diaper. Then she did not poop again until day 4/5. I was very worried by that 4th night and made an appointment with the pediatrician the next morning. Baby pooped an hour before the visit.
Baby is nursing well and my milk came in on the 3/4th day.
Now we’re all good and enjoying this time.
Thanks for letting me share!! I hope you have a wonderful birth…