I went to my last prenatal appointment at the birth center on the afternoon of Friday August 5th. According to my ultrasound, I was 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant. I still felt mostly content being pregnant. The only thing weighing on my mind was the fact that no matter what day the baby ended up being born, Robb would have to start college again on August 22nd. The appointment went well. I discussed how I was trying to enjoy the pregnancy because it was my last, and one of the amazing student midwives Sophia offered to give me a belly message. She did some wonderful visualization during the message that really helped calm my anxiety about the labor and birth. "Everyone at your birth is going to be on your side. Your baby knows when the time is right." I think being able to relax is what put me into labor.
I came home from the appointment and decided it would be a good time to make a big pot of chili to freeze. I had contractions on and off, but that was nothing new since I had been experiencing false labor every night for weeks. We had a pretty relaxing evening at home and I had a very restful night of sleep.
I woke up the next morning around 7:15 am and felt a mild contraction. I was still for a few minutes to see if it continued, and sure enough I had two more contractions about 2-3 minutes apart. I nudged Robb and let him know that I was sure I was in early labor. I went to the bathroom and had some bloody show. Real labor at last! I was feeling very grateful to not have to worry about packing a hospital bag or deciding how long to labor at home. I called my midwife Darynee to give her a heads up that I was definitely in labor. The contractions were close together which is typical for my labors, but they were far from painful at that point. She told me to call her back in an hour unless something changed.
I started wandering around the house to make sure everything was in order and where the midwife would expect things to be. Robb sprung right into action like I knew he would. I didn't have to lift a finger the rest of the day. He brought me my birthing ball and I started bouncing through contractions, hoping that gravity would help make some progress before the pain really set in. The hour soon passed and I called Darynee to let her know that I'd like for her and her two students Sophia and Gabi to start heading over. It seemed like only a few minutes passed before they arrived and I felt a sense of relief to have them all nearby. Since I woke up in labor I didn't have a chance to make breakfast, so they made me scrambled eggs and toast and I ate it between contractions.
Around that time, we found out that the hose we bought to fill up the birthing tub wouldn't connect to any of the sinks or showers in the apartment. Robb and Aidan started filling it with plastic bins of hot water. They must have carried 100 gallons of water between the bathroom and the tub before my labor was over. I don't remember what time I got in the tub, but I believe a few hours had passed and I was starting to have trouble breathing through contractions on the birthing ball. Once I stepped in, the relief was instant. The next several contractions were hardly noticeable.
Robb was doing a great job of "keeping the house stable" in his words and taking care of the kids, so I decided we didn't need anyone to come over and help with them. He picked up lunch for everyone from Quiznos and came into the room often to check on me. It gets hazy once the pain started growing in intensity, but I do remember him coming into the bedroom and saying "No progress?" to which I replied "What the f***? Of course there has been progress! *pause for contraction* Sorry, sorry." The poor guy probably didn't come back as often after that.
At one point I started feeling like the pain was reaching a level I couldn't cope with for long.
Me: "I don't know how much longer I can do this."
Darynee: "You're doing great."
Me: "But why don't you bring epidurals with you?"
Darynee: "It's better for the baby this way. You're doing great. I bet your sister would be proud of you."
I thought to myself: Okay, okay. Maybe I don't need an epidural, but this really hurts. This is never going to end. I'm going to be in this pool in pain for the rest of my life and eventually I'm going to die. Don't feel sorry for yourself. You can do this.
Me: "If you break my water, will it hurt more?"
Darynee: "Usually things get more intense after the water is broken."
Me: "Will it be over sooner?"
Darynee: "I can't guarantee that."
Me: "What happens if it doesn't break?"
Darynee: "Then the baby will be born in the caul. Did you want me to break it?"
Me: "I'll think about it."
I thought only a few contractions passed, but afterward Darynee told me it was a few hours before I asked to have my water broken. Once it happened, I felt an overwhelming urge to push. I was reclining against the edge of the pool when I started to push and I think Darynee could tell that something wasn't right. Someone went to get Robb and Darynee told me to lean over the edge of the pool and lift one leg up. Before I knew it Robb was in front of me and all I could do was push and scream. I felt the head come out and I started yelling to Darynee "Pull it out! Just pull it out!" Robb says that I tried to sit down at one point when the head was already out and he was worried that I was going to break his neck. I remember standing up and yelling more and screaming and pushing. Finally, baby was out. I turned around and lifted up his leg. "A boy! It's a boy! You have a son. It's Augustus. He's real." I felt such immediate relief.
It turns out he had shoulder dystocia, but I didn't know until it was over. Darynee handled it so well that I never knew there was a problem. He didn't start breathing right away, but he didn't require any oxygen, just stimulation.
I'm still in disbelief that I gave birth to a baby over 9 lbs in our bedroom. I didn't have any medication, not even Tylenol. I did it all on my own (with support from my wonderful husband and my amazing midwives). For the first time, I have no regrets about my birth experience.
Augustus is perfect and we're so grateful to have him complete our family.