By 37 weeks my husband Sean and I had everything ready and organized for a home birth. But there was plenty of time and I was still fairly comfortable.
At my midwife appointment 4 days prior to my EDD, I had Heather check my cervix. It was ripe and ready but only one cm dialated. I was not terribly disappointed I knew it meant very little but thought it would be interesting to record.
The night of the 9th I decided to start taking things into my own hands. I had had my placenta encapsulated from Quinn's birth and still had some left. After checking with our doula Alissa and Carrie (placenta pro), I decided to begin taking some hoping it may help begin contractions and ease labor. This is unresearched territory for placentas but in my mind made sense. I took one dose before bed and fell asleep. The next day I continued with my placenta pills hoping they were doing some good. I also continued drinking red raspberry leaf tea and I ate a whole pineapple! I walked a few miles in the morning and again that afternoon. By 10pm my mother and father in-law left our house and I mentioned I was feeling crampy so they should get a good night's rest in case we needed them soon.
As we settled into bed around midnight I finished my glass of wine and Sean gave me a very relaxing massage made complete with an orgasm. This was the final trigger. An hour later I was in the bathroom as my body prepared with one final "cleanse" and began either strong stomach cramps or the first contractions. At that point I wasn't sure so I went downstairs to make some tea and settle my stomach. I sat drinking tea realizing these pains were gentle but quite regular. The contractions began around 2am at 4 minutes apart. They continued this way for two hours.
These two hours of gentle contractions were almost blissful. I was so happy to know I was in labor and our little girl was soon to be in my arms. I lit candles, listened to my labor music, drank tea and bounced on my ball. At one point I reflected on the beautiful strong women in my life that have helped shape me as a mother. I spoke to my baby and assured her we would do this together and it would be okay.
I called the midwives at 4am to give them a heads up. Heather was on call and said to call the minute things got stronger.
Soon after the phone call, they did! As the contractions grew stronger I had a need to walk and get some air. I walked laps under a cloudy night sky in our courtyard. It was silent and peaceful but things were picking up so I went back in, tiptoed into the bedroom and lit some candles to gently wake Sean and tell him we needed to make the bed. He awoke and started quietly making preparations without waking Quinn in the next room.
I called Heather directly and she said she would be on her way. Sean called his mother to ask her to come over for Quinn. Quinn woke up and I carried him downstairs away from what I expected would be a noisy birthing room. It was difficult to lay down and comfort him through those 4-5 contractions. I told him his sister was coming to meet him today and he grabbed his ugly doll and gave it a big hug. This was such a comforting gift to me that he was happy and excited! Sean came down to wait with him and I ran up to draw a warm bath. At some point I also called our doula and she was on her way too.
I was only in the bath for about ten minutes with the waves riding deeper through my body. I forgot how hard this was. I asked Sean for a bucket I was sure I was going to throw up. I didn't. I tried to focus on long deep breaths and stuck my tongue out on the exhale. Sean poured warm water over my back. The midwives arrived and checked the baby's heart rate as I tried to breathe through another wave. The heart rate was good. One more contraction and all of the sudden I needed to push. Already? This was fast the midwives hadn't even set up. Heather asked that I get out of the tub and come to the bed. Sean tried drying me off and I stumbled over on the bed on my hands and knees, gripped the pillows and started grunting and moaning for the next few pushes. I felt that little ring of fire on the first bed push and was frightened of the pain. At first. It took a moment to accept and know this was the way to the end. I pushed again and tried to visualize myself opening up wide. I let my throat go to do whatever it needed, but I never felt out of control like I did with Quinn. The midwives encouraged me and said how productive each push was. Someone placed her hand just so it felt like she was keeping my bottom from ripping wide open. It helped immensely. Sean rubbed my back and whispered words of love and strength. I pushed a few more times and felt her head come out. Wow. Relief. But her body was still in. Two more rounds of pushing and she released me. She gave a shout of joy or surprise! What lungs! I grabbed her wet slippery body from below and held her close.
Her cord appeared short at first so it took a moment to turn around with her in my arms and place her on my chest. She was beautiful! It was 5:31am just 3.5 hours from the first contractions.
Heather soon asked me to give a push to birth the placenta. That seemed foreign. Wasn't I done pushing? Oh yeah. She made a grunting sound and it made sense again. I gave it a push and out it came like a huge blob of butter. I had a minor tear that took two stitches. Baby was latched on within twenty minutes. Quinn came up with grandma and met his little sister. We were all amazed and falling in love!