My birth story might be of some encouragement or source of inspiration for some people, so I wanted to share with everyone here. This is my third baby, but my first homebirth. I've had a OOH birth center birth and a hospital birth prior to this. So here is our story of how our little one came into the world!
I had been having some prelabor signs starting on July 28th. Crampiness, back aches, and lots of loose bowel movements. From there on I had contractions off and on for days. My due date was August 2nd and by Wednesday night I was anxious. My other babies were born the day after their due date and three days before respectively. I kept worrying this one would be my curve ball and I's be pregnant come mid August! Wednesday night my DP and I opted for a "natural induction" of sex, which was really helpful in relieving my crampiness... until about 4am when I started some ctx about 5 minutes apart and a little pink bleeding. I called my midwife and she said to call her back in about an hour unless things changed. I decided to try and sleep and snuggled up with my 2 year old and DP. I slept waking every 30 minutes to get through a ctx.
At about 7:30 I woke and my ctx stayed irregular and far apart. I tried not to be dismayed. They were anywhere from 10-30 minutes apart and varied in intensity. We decided to go for a drive and get breakfast. Ctx in a public place are kind of awkward! I went to the bathroom at the bagel place and lost my mucous plug. A good sign!
I called my midwife for a pep talk. I work as a doula and I could hear myself giving the same advice, though it is infinitely harder to take it when you're the one in the frustrating situation! My midwife reminded me that this could go on like this for a long time or a short time, we just don't know, and that it is so important to keep your spirit up and body rested/nourished. I drank tons of water, RRL, ate like I normally would but with HIGH protein focus for energy, and really tried to "ignore" the ctx as much as I could. I made an appointment for acupuncture for the afternoon in hopes of getting my labor kicked over to active. My husband dropped me off at acupuncture at 3:00, the needles were in by 3:15, and I was asleep within minutes! Even though I had several STRONG ctx during the acupuncture, I felt more rested than I had in days. The practitioner left the needles in and allowed me to sleep for about an hour. When he came back he mentioned two of the needles had fallen out during my nap and he said sometimes that means that the qi is flowing well and the point was no longer needed. We made an appointment for the following day just in case.
I came home and ate dinner. My ctx stayed irregular but mostly around 20 minutes apart. At about 6pm they were 5 minutes apart again for around an hour with back and booty pressure both during and in between, but they spaced out again to 20 minutes. I contacted my midwife via text, we had been texting all day, and I told her "I don't know what I'd tell myself if I were the doula. I am getting so worn out on this start/stop." By 9 or so they were about 10 minutes apart and the strongest they had been. My DP had put our littlest to bed and our oldest was visiting with his cousin. I told him that he should just hang out, watch TV or something, and not to worry about me. I really felt emotionally against a wall and needed some alone time. Poor guy, he said he felt so useless and I tried to reassure him that he was awesome and I just needed to be alone and quiet with myself and this baby. I was so exhausted at that point too. I texted my midwife again and said "All I wanna do is sleep, but I can't in between. Laying down they hurt so much worse. I am propped up in bed with about a million pillows." The ctx were still irregular anywhere from 10-20 minutes apart.
Until they weren't. At 10pm my DP came in because I was starting to "sound different," he said. I needed to get up and got into a modified all fours position, kneeling at the side of our low bed with my head and arms over some pillows and a pillow under my knees. I was starting to moan through the ctx and they were around 5 minutes apart, though they were only lasting about 30 seconds. At 10:30 I felt a POP and a little gush of fluid. My water broke in my other labors much further along in the process, during pushing, and this felt much higher up. It felt like a bubble bursting inside of my belly. Such a strange sensation! I told my DP that I thought my water broke and wanted to the bathroom and check the fluid. I sat on the toilet and the fluid looked clear to me on my pad. But, sitting there I felt sooooooo much pressure. I stood up and leaned on the bathroom counter. At that point my legs were shaking, I was freezing cold, and the ctx felt like one on top of another. I immediately told my DP to call our midwife, but I was convinced that it could still be hours. I figured it just was more intense with the waters broken. Both my previous births were long and hard active labors with lengthy stalls at 8cm and cervical lips at 9/10cm, so I was just expecting that to happen again. She said it could take her up to an hour to get here and I told DP to blow up/fill up the birth tub. Then I started feeling nauseous and sweaty. I told my DP to call our midwife and let her know that she should get here as fast as she could. He also called our sibling doula to come at this time in case our littlest woke up.
Our two year old woke up at this time because I was reeeeaaaally vocalizing to get through the ctx. I was scared she would freak out, but she sat on the couch with a blankie and pillow and just said "mommy working hard? get the baby out?" She was SO good and sweet! Now, the birth tub was another thing! The air pump wasn't working right and my poor DP was freaking out. But, he got it working and started the tub filling. My ctx were right on top of each other and it was so hard to labor like that alone in the bathroom. My doula brain kept saying this is transition and my mama brain kept saying it was impossible, I still had so far to go. My DP got the tub filling and came into the bathroom with me. I was having trouble breathing during and catching my breath in the few seconds between ctx. The pressure was all encompassing. I vomited once and my midwife walked in the door- thank god!!! I felt like I needed to poop and sat on the toilet. As soon as I sat down the need to push was overwhelming. I told her I needed to push, asked my DP to grab pillows to put behind me on the toilet, and she asked me scoot forward to the edge of the potty. She said it was okay to push and I kind of asked in a panic if I was ready and complete, she said to just do what felt good to my body. I pushed and could feel the baby move down. I pushed two times and our sibling doula showed up and said the pool looked JUST deep enough to get into, kneeling and just covering my bottom and a bit of belly. We walked to the tub where I pushed one big push and out came our baby girl into my hands at 11:38pm, about 10-15 minutes after my midwife walked in the door! The second midwife came about 20 minutes after she was born.
I had a tiny tear that needed a couple of stitches just because of where it sat on my perineum. Her head was perfectly round with no caput or visible molding because she came out SO fast. Her face was barely puffy or swollen.
After my first two births that were 20 hours of active labor (7 hours stalled at 8cm, 1 hour of pushing) and 14 hours of active labor (2 hours stalled at 8cm, 1 hour of pushing), I would have never expected things to happen like they did. This time was a long latent labor phase that took a lot of emotional work to get through, but it wasn't physically draining. A fast moving active labor is a blessing and a curse to be honest. It was hard to work through physically because there was no real build up of intensity, it was just hard and fast. Emotionally and mentally I didn't trust that was what was happening either, I was kind of in a state of shock. All that being said, I think the takeaways from this birth experience for me are:
1. You never know when latent labor will kick over to active labor.
2. Acupuncture for giving your body that nudge is very worth it! Even if just for the peaceful nap it tends to bring!
3. When having a drawn out latent labor phase, try as much as you can to do normal things you enjoy, take cat naps and rest tons, and really nourish both body and soul.
4. A hard and fast active labor is actually more intense than a longer active labor. Your body and spirit kind of have to rush to play catch up.
5. SET UP THE BIRTH POOL WAAAAY BEFORE YOU THINK YOU NEED IT!
Lots of labor dust to all the ladies waiting for their babes to come into their arms