Monday before Thanksgiving started by being woken up in the very early morning hours by my first “real” contractions, as opposed to the many BH I had been experiencing for the past month. They were very irregular, but I also noticed that I was starting to lose my mucous plug, something that didn’t happen until almost a full day of labor with my first birth, so I was excited. I took my son to daycare and came home, by the time I showered the contractions had stopped. I excitedly bounced around the house wrapping up tasks and waiting for things to pick up. They didn’t.
I spent much of the day debating about having my mom drive the 4 hours to come stay with our son, but worried she’d be here all week driving me crazy waiting for labor to start and decided we could deal with labor starting in the middle of the night (we had a friend lined up locally to take him if needed, and figured he’d sleep through at least the early labor). My last labor was about 30 hours so I wasn’t worried about things happening too fast.
Sure enough, around midnight I started watching the clock and had a consistent hour of contractions 10 minutes apart. I was too uncomfortable to stay in bed, so I got up to be able to move through the contractions. They were about a minute long and completely manageable, but not super regular (5-10 minutes apart, some intervals even 15 minutes)… for hours. At 2am I woke my husband to start setting up the birth pool. The contractions were still at the same level, I just thought it would take forever to set the pool up.
Once the pool was set up, I started relaxing in the pool and breathing through contractions. Because the baby was posterior, I was mostly on my knees leaning over the side. I started making plans with my husband about getting the toddler out of the house and calling the midwives, etc. I now realize I was a little too concerned about being polite. I wanted to wait until 6am to call our friend for our toddler and 7am to call the midwives because I knew I was still in early labor and had hours of work ahead of me.
My son woke up at 5am and my husband told him what was happening. He came to me and asked where the baby was J. I got out of the tub to get a snack and cool off a bit, still breathing through the contractions, but felt them getting stronger. My friend came to pick up my son and I talked briefly with her and sent my son off to play. Next my husband called my mom to come (4 hours away) and the midwives. I talked briefly with one of the midwives and told her things seemed to be going slowly and that I could still talk through contractions. This was around 7am. I told her I’d call back when things started picking up and either the contractions got closer together or I had to start vocalizing through them. She warned that that could happen quickly this time around…
Soon after that, I started feeling nauseous and went to throw up. I threw up a few times and then felt better. I got back in the tub. The contractions really started picking up at this point, and this is the pattern that my last labor followed (throwing up to active labor to water breaking to pushing took about 9 hours last time). Since this was immediately after calling the midwives and telling them everything was chill, I told my husband to call back and tell them things were picking up and that they should just come over. I didn’t trust myself after my first birth where I had to try hard not to have the baby in the car on the way to thee hospital! In a sequence of small mishaps, the midwives took an hour and a half to get to us instead of half an hour. My husband’s call went to voice mail as the midwife was in the shower, the second midwife had car trouble and needed to be picked up, etc.
The contractions got much more intense and I had to call my husband to apply a lot of pressure to my lower back and hips. I started vocalizing through them, trying to remember to stay in low tones but I also started thinking (and saying?) “oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck!” They started feeling like they were just coming one after another, like I was strapped to the front of a train. Then I felt a strong and distinct pop as my water broke and I got a little panicked as the midwives still weren’t here and it was at this point in my last labor that I started to feel like pushing.
The contractions definitely ramped up to a new level of intensity and I told my husband to call the midwives back to find out where they were and tell them to hurry! They told me (through my husband) to get out of the tub and lay on my left side. As the urge to push came over me, they instructed me to pant or puff very small exhalations through each contraction. It was at this point, when I expected them to be walking in the door, that we found out they were still 20 minutes away! I never thought I’d make it, but they and my husband did an amazing job of coaching me through those 20 minutes.
Eventually, they arrived and quickly set up to deliver the baby. They checked on the baby’s heartbeat and assessed her position before instructing me to push with the next contraction. I did not like laying down anymore so got up onto all fours. I expected her to come right out as my son had, but it was definitely more work to push this baby out. The midwives were so helpful in talking me through the pushing and helping the baby out, I definitely give them some credit for the fact that I had absolutely no tearing with this birth. She was almost a pound bigger than my first and was born with an arm up by her face and her cord wrapped around her shoulder. I was surprised to learn that even though it felt so much harder, it was still only 11 minutes of pushing. And, to put things in perspective I have been comparing the very similar pattern but much accelerated time that this labor took compared to my first. This time it was 2 hours from throwing up to active labor onset to pushing!
We were thrilled to learn that she was, in fact, a girl, which we had suspected throughout the pregnancy but been unable to confirm via ultrasound. We were very surprised to see a very full head of dark hair! She was a little bit gurgly so the midwives laid her down with her head below her lungs to expel some fluid. They filled her lungs using the mask but no oxygen and soon she pinked right up and her lungs sounded clear. She rooted around to nurse within the first hour, and I was up showering after about 2 hours. The midwives started laundry and made us breakfast before weighing and measuring baby and tucking us all back into bed.
There are so many things I love about her birth, even though it was scary at times. My husband was much more involved this time (I told him to go to bed during my first labor and that I’d call him when I needed him), and loved the homebirth experience so much that he chose our daughter’s middle name to be the name of our street. Her first name is both for the flower (we love nature names) and Greek mythology (goddess of the rainbow, messenger to the gods), her brother is Jasper Apollo so I think they go well together! And if I ever have another baby, the midwives and I have agreed that they'll just camp out at my house as soon as I'm in labor!