Connor's due date was Oct 4/12 and I had been planning a home water birth since about May. My husband was just as excited as I was and we both agreed it was exactly what we wanted out of our birth experience. I loved my midwife who was very experienced with home birth and was very excited (though anxious) for labour - even though I was a first timer!
My due date came and went, and we started having the "post date" talks at my midwife appointments, which terrified me. I really didn't want to have an induction, have to completely change my birth plan, and try and deal with pitocin while attempting a natural birth. I was prepared and trying to keep an open mind about possibly having to transfer to the hospital while in labour - but I didn't want an induction when my body was showing no signs of labour.
On Oct 7/12 (Thanksgiving Sunday here in Canada), I cancelled going to dinner at my grandma's because I was extra uncomfortable and didn't feel like socializing with the family. Luckily, my husband was on the same page so we just had a quiet dinner the two of us. Around 3pm that afternoon I felt the MILDEST of period cramps very sporadically that I couldn't even describe as a contraction. But it made me think maybe labour was approaching in the next few days. That night, at 10:30pm I started feeling period cramp contractions and realized this might be it. I had a bit of a bloody show in the toilet, and the cramps were coming semi frequently. I ended up having full fledged contractions all night, my husband would wake with every one and rub my back and we were excited and scared that it was the real thing. He timed each contraction and after a night of no sleep we called my midwife around 6am because the contractions were about 3 minutes apart.
She was surprised they were so close together since I could still talk to her on the phone. She later told me she thought these contractions were just effacing the cervix, and not being fully productive. She came by to check on me around 8, I was 3cm dilated, she told me to take some gravol and get some rest, cause it could be a long day.
I had contractions all day long, and strong ones, and my husband was there for every one. I let my sister and mom and know I was in labour, but it was slow going, but we did think it would be sometime that night that we would meet our little boy. I checked in with my midwife again that night but although every contraction was painful, I could still talk in between and wasn't seeming to progress as much as she would like. She said I would probably notice the contractions getting stronger when the sun went down, and to call her again if there was much of a change. Again it was a sleepless night on the Monday, and the contractions were much worse than they had been on the Sunday night. Still not any closer together, and every now and then were erratic (6 mins, or 7 mins apart). They picked up in the early hours of the morning on Tuesday so we called the midwife around 5am and she came over at 6:15am, I was 5-6 cm dilated, so we got to setting up the birth pool and she set up her bags to stay for the rest of the labour.
My husband got some rest at this point while my midwife stayed with me while I went through contractions and we watched The Office. She checked me at 8:15am again and we discussed breaking my water to move things along as long as the baby was in a good position and I was 6cm. We did break my water at that point to try and get everything progressing quicker. The contractions did get stronger so she said I could go in the pool at any point to get some relief. I got in the tub around 10:30am and although it felt awesome, my contractions started slowing down and labour was not moving along.
After sitting in the tub for about an hour, my midwife approached me to discuss the possibility of transferring to hospital to get the pitocin drip to progress labour. She thought that possibly the cord was wrapped around the baby or being held under an arm or something and my body was protecting itself by not letting labour progress. At this point, I was exhausted and decided that maybe it would be best to transfer to speed things up, but I was still going to attempt an epidural free birth.
We got to the hospital (worst car ride EVER!) and I was immediately hooked up to the drip, but they start at the lowest possible dose at this hospital to try and ease you in to the contractions. It wasn't to bad in the beginning, it just felt like my own contractions but getting a little closer together. I bounced on a birth ball for a while, tried getting on my hands and knees, but with the continuous fetal monitoring it was difficult to position myself. Around 7pm I was about 8cm dilated, and my midwife suggested I lay on my side through contractions for a while. This was the most painful part of the entire labour, but the most productive. The contractions were continuous and intense, and I had to be coached through each one by my midwife. I could tell they were moving the baby down, but they were HARD to get through. She had me completely relax my body while the contraction peaked and breathe through it, which was the hardest part, then I could push all my breath out as the contraction came down. I went through these for about an hour and a half, at one point I did say, "I guess it's too late for an epidural, eh?" And she said, "Technically no. But it will take you longer to get to the pushing phase. But you could definitely still get one to dilate you the rest of the way." I didn't really say much so she said, "Do you think you can do it without the epidural?" And I just said, "Yea." So we kept going. She checked me again around 8:30pm, I was 9cm with a bit of a cervical lip that she pushed out of the way. I started feeling pushy so my husband and my mom both took a leg and I started pushing at 8:48pm.
It took me about 15 minutes to get the hang of pushing, I wasn't holding a push for long enough and I was breathing out too quickly. Once I got the hang of it he started to come out much faster. It was encouraging to hear my friend and midwife (my girlfriend was there video taping) saying they could see the head because I knew I was getting closer. Finally I heard, "his head is out!" and I didn't even feel it that badly, a bit of the ring of fire but not as bad as I expected (I found out later my midwife gave me excellent perineum support and I would have barely torn if that had been the end of it, even with his big head!). But suddenly a bunch of nurses rushed in and it became a bit chaotic in there, and another woman was pushing on my pelvis and telling me I needed to PUSH! I didn't really notice this at the time until I thought back on it after. He had shoulder dystocia, so they had to do 3 maneuvers to get his shoulders out and THAT is where my third degree tear came from.
He was born at 9:30pm and immediately put skin to skin on my chest and he looked BIG. I apparently did a little scream of excitement and wasn't even aware of all the nurses and midwives still rushing around me. I pushed the placenta out about 10 mins later and ended up having a post partum hemorrhage.
Everyone commented on how big the baby looked so we made guesses on his weight. They had to deal with my hemorrhage for a while first so when we finally got to weigh him everyone was surprised that he was 10lb 8oz! I certainly didn't expect a baby that big! I had assumed he would be around 9 lbs.
Labour was 47 hours in total and I could not have done it for that long without my husband coaching me through contractions at home and my midwife supporting me so much once we transferred to the hospital. I don't regret the decision to transfer to the hospital at all, but we will still be planning a home birth for the next baby (just hoping that one stays under 11 lbs).