The Birth of Jack Andrew
Jack is a week old today at 11:59 am…and I finally have found the time to write our story. Saturday morning (39 weeks 1 day pregnant) at 4:45 am I woke up, and felt wetness like I had peed… (my water had broken but I wasn’t very familiar with the feeling b/c that had never happened with my older children until active labor). I went to the bathroom and on the way there a little more fluid leaked out and then as I sat down a steady stream poured into the toilet, but I was also peeing, so I still wasn’t sure what was going on. I remember sitting on the toilet in complete disbelief. I sat there for what felt like 5 minutes…I checked the color of the fluid (clear) and smelled it to try and figure out if it was pee…. I just sat there and sat there—I think I was quietly laughing. Finally my husband came in and asked if I was OK…and I then I told him that I thought my water had broken. He was excited, but I kept saying I just wasn’t sure. I laid back in bed and within a short period of time…the contractions started. They were a little more painful than Braxton hicks and the pain slightly intensified over time. My husband started keeping track of my contractions and then he downloaded an app to keep track of them (LOL). They were about 3 minutes apart for about 1 ½ hours….and then they stopped. We laid in bed for awhile, but then decided to get up and move into the living room. My husband started rushing around packing last minute things we needed to take to the midwifery center. I kept begging him to be quiet b/c I didn’t want our older boys to wake up too early. I called my sister (also my doula) and my mom (she was staying with our older children while we were at the birth center) and told them the situation so they could drive here.
My sister said that it was common for labor to halt when the sun comes up and that it would probably start again later this afternoon or early evening. She encouraged me to be active and go about my daily routines. So, I ate a big breakfast, did some laundry, I think I cleaned the kitchen, and then took at shower. I packed up my last minute items. Then I laid down on the couch in hopes that relaxing would start labor back up again. By 8am my husband paged the midwife and asked her what to do. She said to try the breast pump, walking, enema, and/or castor oil….whatever we felt like, just not all at once. She said, “definitely start doing something b/c I don’t want to have to start pitocin at 10:00 tonight”. I couldn’t deliver in the midwifery center if my water had broken and I hadn’t delivered within 18 hours. (But, the midwifery center was in a hospital, so my midwife could accompany me to labor and delivery and deliver the baby there with the midwifery center nurse.) That immediately stressed me out and pissed both me and my husband off. Why would you mention Pitocin to a mother that obviously wants a natural birth, in the 1st phone call?? Maybe she was trying to scare me into making sure I worked hard to start contractions?? At that point, I told my husband that I was staying home and having an UC before I would be induced. He agreed and said he was completely on board. I knew multiple women who had safely delivered their babies up to a week after their water had broken. I felt that being induced with pitocin was more risky than the risk of infection for me and the baby. My sister was on board too.
So, we started trying to encourage labor…. We walked around our neighborhood—it was a breathtaking fall morning. The air was crisp and the sun was bright. My husband and I had a great time J Then we tried the breast pump. This really helped bring on strong contractions that I had to breathe through….but as soon as I stopped, the contractions would stop soon after. Once my sister got to my house, we tried the water enema (she knew how to do them and we had never done them before), but I had been having diarrhea all day so there really wasn’t anything left. J She said that in some cases they are so effective that the baby is born immediately…but that didn’t concern me since I was considering an UC anyway… hahaha
At around 3pm I was tired and took a nap for about 2 hours. My midwife called to check up on my and suggested we come in to the center so that she could check to see if forewaters were present. We agreed that getting out of the house and away from the commotion of our children….maybe would help get me into a better place for labor.
We arrived at the center at around 7pm. She said there were no forewaters (?) and I was only 3 cm. I tried the birthing ball, yoga, and then I started walking with my sister while my husband took a nap at my urging. We walked and walked and walked for several hours. I knew that I had to move to labor and delivery at 10:30 unless birth was imminent. The walking eventually caused what I felt like were very mild contractions. Then I started having constant cramping in my lower back. At 10:30 my midwife checked me again (at my request) and said that I was 3-4 cm. At that point, I knew that I was not going to go into labor and that I was going to have to check myself out of the hospital and go home. I was very disappointed, but I knew that I was not going to be induced. So, we gathered all of our stuff and started walking down the hall. Literally as soon as we entered the hallway, I had a very strong contraction. My sister said that I had 2 contractions on the 1 minute walk to the new room. The contracs didn’t stop…Once we got to the room, they had to hook me up to fetal monitoring for 20 minutes and my midwife hooked me up to the hospital grade breast pump. I was still having strong and painful contracs, but I wanted to do the breast pump just to make sure. I remember that my sister held one pump and my husband held the other while I vocalized through the contracs (funny image to picture). My midwife walked in soon after and turned off the pump, exclaiming that it was not needed anymore. She recommended I lay over the birthing ball in the bed- which felt great- while my husband and sister vocalized with me so that my voice would stay low. I remember saying “oooooopen” while I vocalized after hearing other mommas doing it. By 11:30- an hour after arriving in labor and delivery- I told my sister and DH that I couldn’t do it anymore and it was too painful. (I was thinking I might be in transition since I knew that mom’s often say that “they’re done” at that point). I told them I wanted my midwife to check me so that I would know I was progressing. I was 8! At that point I knew that I was going to do it and that the baby would be born soon. Soon after, I was laying on my left side- I couldn’t move- and I kept reaching down to hold my butt cheek up b/c I felt so much pressure and pain. DH noticed this and when they held my leg up he could see my underwear bulging—at that point he exclaimed that I was crowning. Then, I got to experience the urge to push for the 1st time (the last 2 I was coached to push b/f I felt the urge). I spontaneously started pushing and gave birth at 11:59am. My entire active labor was 1 ½ hours… it was amazing. I cried and cried and gave thanks over and over. It was fantastic. The aftermath was not so great. Because he was born so long after my water broke, the nurses and pediatricians were freaking out with taking constant temps, bloodwork, etc…. I know they were just doing their job, but they created a cycle of fear that resulted in a cycle of needless tests and monitoring. I was able to keep the baby in my room, but they took him a lot to do all this stuff. I was not worried at all and had mother’s intuition that he was fine. Oh- and a night nurse was completely rude about my choice not to bathe him. I keep rehearsing the letter that I am going to send to her. In the end, it was a fantastic experience and the negative part is all we needed to give my husband and I the wisdom and confidence to know that we will never birth in a hospital again (unless there is emergency of course). Homebirth...here we come!
Jack Andrew 7 lbs 12 oz 20 1/2 inches