Would any of you 2+ timers like to reminisce a bit and share your birth stories?? I don't know about anybody else here, but I am [obviously LOL] a birth junkie and LOVE to read birth stories, along with re-reading my own. I feel like I learn so much just from others experiences (the good and the bad), and it gets me excited to think of my turn coming again (Lord willing!!).
Anyway, I'll share mine- well, DD1's is a quick synopsis since I never really typed up a "birth story" for her, considering it was a pretty typical medicated hospital birth!
***DD1 (Feb. 2006)***
My next births were pretty different...obviously not because my first experience was a "bad" one, but just because I knew I wanted something different. Kinda like I just knew there was "more" out there to be experienced. Which was true...;)
***DD2 (May 2008)***
I woke up around midnight *hoping* I could consider myself in labor (I'd had several days of hours of mild, but real- not just braxton-hicks- contractions over the past few weeks), and while I was slightly crampy and having some braxton-hicks, I considered it nothing out of the ordinary and went back to sleep. Right at 3 a.m. I woke up again to just a tight stomach, got up to go pee, and instantly started having mild contractions. So I sat down to the computer to time them, pushed the spacebar a mere 2 times (was on Contraction Master), and realized how pointless it was- these were real, already painful, and for the first time I had no doubts that I was in labor. (for the record, I had been about 3 cm dilated for some time now)
I sat on my exercise ball for a while (the best money I've ever spent at Ross considering it's officially been a God send through 2 pregnancies now!), then I got in the shower for a bit. I knew that would "kill of" the contractions if it wasn't the real thing, and at that point I figured if that pain wasn't real, I wanted it gone so I could go back to sleep. Nope, it stuck around, and actually increased by the time I got out. I was having to concentrate and breathe through them already, so I went in to the bedroom and told DH...although he didn't really wake up. I went back to sit on the ball in the bathroom and just breathed through contractions. At about 4:00 I tried yelling at DH to wake up, hoping he could bring my the iPod with my "labor worship" songs on it, since I was already at a point where the thought of getting up and moving just sounded miserable. He never heard me. LOL Finally he came in a bit later on his own because DD had woken up.
I continued to labor by myself...lots or prayer and worship got me through contractions. I'd thank God for each break...I never really experienced breaks in between contractions with DD1, so it was so neat to see how God designed labor (when it happens on it's own, of course) in just a way that when you think you can't do it anymore, the contractions let up and you get a rest. It was so cool because God gave me comfort in the littlest things- like some contractions were too much for me to think of anything but the pain during, so I'd feel inclined to read a few verses from the Bible, and usually I couldn't concentrate on the words or get my eyes to really focus, but I'd read anyway, and it was crazy how much that took away the pain.
Soon DH came in and asked if I wanted to call the midwife and I said no. (My midwife knew there was a possibility of us having the baby without her there- a door I wanted to comfortably keep open as well, as to do all I could to make sure this birth left me with no regrets...not that DD1's did, but I just felt more "on top" of things this time. But to top it off, it'd take her about 2 hours just to arrive here after we called (God bless her for driving all the way over here since we've moved and gas prices shot through the roof!)) So I continued to breathe, pray, and work through contractions on my own. Can I brag for a minute?? I vowed not to fight labor at all, because I wanted things to work "correctly" and on their own time...well I can officially say I didn't fight ONE SINGLE contraction (with DD1 I was terrified of each one and really held back). In fact, with each one I just did whatever my body was "telling" me to do- whether it was to just simply breathe through them or to actually bear down to some extent.
I called my mom around 5 a.m. to ask if she'd come over to watch DD, who was showing NO interest in going back to sleep. Mom arrived about 15 minutes later and occupied Ivey for the rest of the morning. She, as did DH, figured I still had quite a while left because I was laboring so quietly and "calmly" (apparently) and it hadn't been very long since it started (ha! they weren't doing the work!). About 3 hours into the process, around 6 a.m., I started to have occasional contractions to where the ONLY relief I would feel was if I pushed a bit with it. I knew they weren't "pushy" contractions, and I knew the possible consequences of pushing unecessarily and too early, but I figured it wouldn't be relieving to do so if it was wrong. Not too long after, when I stood up to re-adjust my position, I noticed I was having some bloody show, which made me feel like I was finally making a little bit of progress! Then I started getting clammy and shaky and sort of "gone" in between contractions...in hindsight it was definitely transition, but at the time I wasn't sure just because my contractions still felt the same and I figured no way was I that close.
Things kept up like this for a while longer. Around 8:10 my mom and Ivey left the house to go to Weiser, again, thinking I still had a while left. Right after they left I realized my lower back was killing me (it'd hurt quite a bit plenty of other times during the process but I could usually find a way to relieve it), and I was slightly concerned about a positioning issue, so I figured I'd tried to get down on my hands and knees, or at least lean over the ball, in case the baby was presenting posterior (I'd tried laboring in that position earlier and it only took one contraction to realize how awful it felt!). Literally the instant that I got down on my knees and leaned over the ball, and Luke walked in the bathroom, I felt a pop and a gush, and my water broke...I asked DH if the fluid was clear of meconium, he said yes, and then got up and ran off. LOL He went to call his mom to have her come back, and to let my mom know she should probably turn around. Having my membranes rupture naturally was such a strange sensation- it gave me instant relief from so much pressure, but that only lasted seconds and then all of a sudden the pain was just as bad, if not worse. And then I felt it...that crazy pushy feeling. As soon as I mentioned to DH that it felt like I had to go to the bathroom, he realized how close we were and how seriously fast things were going. About 1 minute after my water broke I couldn't stop my body from pushing her out. It was insane. I thought the contractions were painful, but having her come out SO fast was seriously freaky- there was NO in between. I thought I'd be able to feel her descend, but nope- she went from one place to the other in seconds. For the first time during the whole labor I was yelling "Ouch ouch ouch!" and trying so hard to hold back. I felt like I was going to tear into a million pieces. Her head came out in one push. Praise God DH was right there because things went TOO fast for me to have caught her on my own! He checked for a nuchal cord- none- and I was able to reach down and feel her head (again, a different experience from with DD1...very cool!). Before another minute was up her body was coming out in one more push and my mother-in-law came in right then. It was seriously maybe 3 minutes tops from my first push to having her out! My mom had turned around and had been sitting in the driveway with DD- she had NO idea it had gone that fast! She came in right after the baby had been delivered.
So our second little girl entered the world at 8:20! She took a while to pink up and had some mucousy breathing for a while, along with having passed meconium right after she was out...we're pertty positive all of that is attributed to her VERY rapid birth. We weren't very concerned about her breathing as it just took a little longer than normal but her cord was still pulsating and we had no intentions of clamping and cutting anytime soon. We did suction her unlike we'd planned but it worked out. I started nursing her as soon as possible and she was a champ from the start...she has a better latch than her sister who's been nursing for almost 2 1/2 years!! LOL
I nursed her for a bit while waiting to deliver the placenta...and oh my gosh, I think once she was out and the "best" part of labor was over, that made the contractions that were trying to get the placenta out even worse! Oh my, they hurt! It took about 45 minutes to get the placenta delivered- it was pretty clotty upon inspection but otherwise looked good. (I had NO idea how big that thing was!) Shortly before that we cut and clamped the cord (it had stopped pulsating) so I could change positions, and DH took her and weighed and measured her- 7 lbs 12 oz and 20" long. (7 oz and 1" bigger than Ivey...although you'd never know!)
She's a doll- dark complected like DD1, and a head full of dark hair. Loves to nurse and would stay latched on all day long, which DD1 isn't too happy about. She's SO mellow compared to her sister- she actually sleeps and cuddles. VERY strange, compared to DD1 who was too alert, independent, and on-the-go from the moment she came out!! Oh, and it's quite convenient that she was born on the same day of the month as her sister.
Overall, it was an incredible experience. I praise God for allowing us to do that...for it to be something I shared only with my best friend- my husband. I know he was nervous (considering it was his wife and baby and not just some patient!), but he was SO amazing and encouraging. I am so blessed. He never once made me feel uncomfortable during those last few minutes of the birth when I felt so awkward, and he was so helpful throughout the entire day- he constantly supported me (physically and emotionally), he set/cleaned up, he did the laundry, he cooked breakfast for everyone, and he just took such awesome care of all 3 of us.
So that's the story of our unassisted "assisted" (by God!) birth. It was an amazing, blessed experience, and while it was definitely more physical work (albeit shorter than my last labor), I'll take that birth over a hospital birth again any day. Just goes to show that God knows what He's doing/has done...he designed our bodies to create, carry, and give birth to babies, and there's no reason it can't still happen naturally and safely outside of a hospital. Thank you Jesus!!
***DS (March 2010)***
Monday night (3-1) I went to bed at around 10:30 with mild, irregular contractions. Like always, I prayed they would turn into the real thing, but having had so many nights (and days) of even stronger, consistent ones, I wasn’t about to get my hopes up. I had some homeopathic remedies that were intended to help pick up contractions and labor, so I continued taking those in hopes that they would help me get a regular pattern established.
At 1:30 they were a bit stronger but still not coming regularly or doing anything that was convincing to me. DD2 woke up shortly after so I went back into bed and nursed her back to sleep. That was at exactly 2 a.m., and that’s when I consider my labor to have started, because HOLY SMOKES, that kicked things into gear! (I’ve nursed through 2 pregnancies and never had nursing pick up the contractions like it did then!) Even though I was still a little doubtful at the time, I decided to call DH home from work (he was on a 24 hour shift until 8 a.m.), feeling guilty to probably be waking him from sleep to possibly another “false alarm”. But he said he’d come home anyway. Then I called my mom over, again, feeling weird and guilty knowing full well that this could be just like the other nights where after 4-5 hours of contractions like this, they could then stop completely and I’d feel dumb. But they continued, and I got in the shower once I was off the phone in order to “test” the contractions. As soon as I did, both girls woke up and wanted in with me, so I ended up holding DD2 the whole time and trying to entertain DD1. Wasn’t very comfortable, but at least I got out of the shower knowing for sure that the contractions weren’t about to stop.
DH came home shortly after we got out and my mom arrived next. DH also called his mom over from across the road. So we officially had a “birth team” ready to go. The girls, of course, stayed awake for quite some time (DD1 did the same thing during DD2’s birth…clearly laboring in the middle of the night does not work towards my advantage!), while I labored quietly in the bathroom once again, and just like last time, on my exercise ball. It always seems to be the most comfortable place! I was feeling really good, a lot more chatty than I expected to be each time someone would pop their head in to check on me.
I checked myself a few hours later, around 5 a.m., and found I was VERY obviously complete, which made me feel pretty excited, as I thought the end would be right around the corner. I had expected to reach that point quickly since I’d been 4cm and about 80% effaced for weeks, and then 5cm by the time I went into labor…I do all that “fun” stuff early on, though it’s not like it means anything actually HAPPENS early for me! Baby had been at about a +1 station before labor, and still felt close to that point when I checked. But I was relieved to feel “so close” to the end. Ha…now I feel silly about that!! Little did I know…
With DD2’s birth, I felt “pushy” fairly early on, and I knew it was okay to bear down with contractions when it was what brought me relief. Her birth really taught me to listen to my body. Again, I had expected things to be similar with this baby. So thinking I was complete, I kept expecting to have contractions that would feel better when I’d bear down during them, but it wasn’t happening. I also noticed that I couldn’t get quite as comfortable on my beloved exercise ball anymore, so I moved to my hands and knees, secretly hoping it would produce the same result as it did with DD2- instant rupture of membranes and then 3 more minutes and baby would be out and we’d be done. Wow, I was TOTALLY wrong, once again. Nothing happened, it was just more uncomfortable. I checked myself again trying to get some idea as to what in the world was going on. It was SO disappointing to feel NO change. Baby wasn’t any lower, and everything felt exactly like it did about an hour ago. Not good for the birthing “energy!”
At this point I was just plain discouraged. I felt like I knew and had tried all the “tricks” for getting a baby to descend, and baby was already optimally positioned (had been for some time and I could definitely tell that he still was) so to not be feeling that head get any closer made me feel really upset. I just started begging God for something to happen, saying “Please Jesus!” during contractions. I knew that He would give me a “heads up” if something was wrong, and I didn’t get that feeling at all. I was confident that everything was fine, so it was confusing to me as to why this baby wouldn’t just descend and come out! The contractions were still coming regularly and intensely, so it’s not as if my body stopped working…it just didn’t seem to be serving any purpose. I was starting to get physically worn out. DH came in around 8 a.m. and helped me labor from there on out. He would put pressure on my hips (something I’ve never needed before, but we figured it might get that head to budge), rub my back, and it was jus t wonderful to have his support (much to my surprise, as usually I prefer not to be touched or spoken to during labor). He filled the tub for me and I tried to labor in there for a bit but that was only comfortable for a short time, then I got back out and onto the ball.
Then, I “re”transitioned. I had already been there done that with transition without “losing it”, but at this point I was so angry and frustrated that I told DH that I wanted to go in and get an epidural. I didn’t REALLY want one, but if this was how this labor was going to continue, I wanted pain relief. I knew, though, that already being complete, I wouldn’t get an epidural even if we did go in, and they’d likely send me straight to the OR and section me for one of several unnecessary reasons. So I figured I could get around that by being a little creative…instead I asked DH to call work and have somebody drive one of the ambulances out, since I KNOW they carry Stadol and Nubain. Thankfully he knows better than that and told me no, that he knows I wouldn’t really want that, and he forced me to get up and try a few more laboring positions again, even though they put me in killer pain and seemed to result in no further progress. In every position I tried, he pushed on my hips with every ounce of strength he had (poor guy, I was pretty demanding!). Yet nothing changed. And I was hurting. Badly. Despite the pain, God is good, as always, and continued to provide me with a nearly pain-free position that I could always return to whenever I felt as if I couldn’t do it anymore. I would sit on the edge of the ball and push my legs into the bathroom cabinet and lean over the countertop…in that position I wouldn’t get nearly as frequent of contractions, and they were only mild ones. Not good for making progress (or should I say, ATTEMPTING to make progress), but the Lord knew it was exactly what I needed to “recharge” and keep going. Luke had brought home a small oxygen tank as well, just to have on hand (isn’t a medical family wonderful?) and he gave me some at this point, which was actually nice as it, in combination with my “happy place”, sort of allowed me to “drift away” for a short time.
Throughout all of this DH kept asking if I thought I could break my water. I knew there was enough of a “bulging bag” that I COULD, but I couldn’t reach very well in any position that didn’t make me feel like death, and I was also slightly terrified at the thought of breaking it and not being close to the end of labor…I’ve had an intact membranes labor and a ruptured membranes labor, and lemme tell ya, intact membranes makes ALL the difference in making things bearable!!!!
Our last attempt was me standing, leaning over the sink, while again he pushed my hips together. It hurt like heck, and eventually I said we had to stop because it was just hurting too badly. I returned to my “comfort” spot on the ball and asked DH to refill the tub with warm water for me. He did, and I tried to get back in it. Once I was in I felt comfortable, though contractions were miserable (I can totally see why people choose waterbirths…though I can ALSO totally see why most get a nice big comfy inflatable pool over a small, hard bathtub!!). I was just plain irritated at this point and feeling quite hopeless. I kept trying to find a position where I could reach in and break my water but for some reason it wasn’t coming easy, and the two fingers I COULD reach with had nearly non-existent finger nails to do it with! Then, through the open window above the shower, I heard my mom take off out into the field with the girls on the four-wheeler. I sorta joked with myself in my head that the baby would come now, because last time DD2 was born only minutes after my mom drove out of the driveway (thinking it would still be some time before the birth). Turns out I wasn’t the only one who had those thoughts as my mom and the girls left.
The contractions I was having in the tub were pretty darn intense and I would check between each one to see if I could break my water. I could only reach from one side at a certain angle, and although it took several attempts, I finally pinched it and was able to rupture all the membranes. It brought immediate relief from the pressure, and I yelled at DH to tell him I’d finally done it. He instantly went barreling out the door to flag down my mom so she wouldn’t miss another grandchild being born…and through the window I could hear her come flying back so fast on that four-wheeler that it was almost comical. Good thing, because while I was thrilled to feel that now unmistakable, uncontrollable urge to push this baby out, at the same time I was a little hesitant because this was the one most painful part of DD2’s birth- the one part that came so fast, the one part where I actually made any noise (“ouch ouch ouch ouch”, to be exact!), and the one part where I really felt as if I had NO control over the situation. And this time was no different. As everyone made it back into the bathroom just in time (DD’s included), I was on my knees in the tub and so determined to just get this baby out at this point. I still had no idea what size of baby was going to be coming out, so I just did my thing and listened to my body, bearing down with all my strength even though, like last time (and I’d say the “size” situation compensated for what should have been more comfortable in the water!), it hurt- stung and burned- like nothing else in this life. The wonderful thing about being in that tub, though, was that I could be in a position to birth and catch this baby myself this time! Something I’d always pictured being able to do. I felt as the little (ha! So I thought…) head emerged and kept pushing with everything I had in me (quite literally, I guess! LOL) despite what seemed like the very real risk that my entire body could split apart in several places at once, and then the head was out! Such relief for a moment, though it came with the hesitation of knowing I had to do that all one more time to birth those shoulders. At the time the head didn’t feel particularly large or anything…though of course, when a human head has just emerged from that area, I don’t suppose it’s ever going to feel SMALL!!
I got that second urge to push and I did it, again, with everything I had left in me. This baby was coming out NOW, I had waited long enough. I still had my hand on the head and was able to catch the body as it easily slid out after that (umm, “easily” as in “when I picture it in my head”!!) and DH helped me lift our little (ha!) baby onto my abdomen and I was finally able to sit down and feel relief and joy. It was 11:00 a.m. on March 2nd, my grandpa’s birthday, and now my son’s as well.
I didn’t even look to see whether the baby was a boy or a girl…I had assumed all along that it as a boy (as did most everyone else), so it was no surprise when DH announced it casually. My sweet baby BOY was finally here!! Everyone kept commenting on his size, but he just felt like a new baby to me. He pinked up in decent time, while also giving us a good first cry. DH did give him a little bit of blow-by oxygen since he had it available and it seemed to help the little man perk up a bit…can’t blame him for taking his time, he couldn’t possibly have been comfortable in there over the last 9 hours…or gosh, the last few MONTHS! I held him and tried to get him to latch on and nurse but he wasn’t quite ready, which was fine. He snuggled up against me and I rubbed his back as we wrapped him in a towel and the two of us sat in the warm water while his cord continued to pulsate.
Meanwhile, my “audience” was wonderful. I’m so glad my mom was able to be there this time. And while we hadn’t planned for them to see the birth (though hadn’t tried to avoid it, either), my DD’s were THRILLED to witness it. They were both very interested (DD1 moreso in the cord than the baby at first- we’d done a lot of talking about belly buttons over the last few months) and I’m so glad they were able to share in the experience. God is so good!! DD2 was so excited, practically bounding over the edge of the tub the whole time. Quite literally, actually, as eventually she started to stick her legs (still fully clothed) into the water. This royally disgusted my sweet husband. He may be an EMT and see the most disgusting things ever, but for some reason, a tub full of “birth” water didn’t sit well with him. We all thought it was quite hilarious. Wish I had a picture of his face as we actually let DD2 get IN the tub with me. While it’s not something I would have pictured myself doing in the past, it was a VERY special time and it was so sweet to feel myself “expand” as a mama right then and there, and to have all my babies close to me during such an intimate moment.
After about 30 minutes or so, little man’s cord had stopped pulsating and my mother-in-law clamped and cut it. I wanted to focus on getting the placenta out now since last time it had taken a while, and let’s face it, no one wants to sit through those extra contractions longer than they have to. So since the baby wasn’t quite ready to nurse, I handed him to DH and everyone but my mother-in-law moved to the living room. She stayed with me as I moved around, trying to work with the contractions to expel what felt like it might as well have been a twin left inside of me. We had a lovely conversation about God “assisting” my births, and after about another 20-30 minutes I felt the placenta coming and pushed it out. Yes, it WAS practically a twin. Huge. At this point, having all of the “bulk” out of me, finally a lot of my questions as to why the heck I hurt so bad and was so uncomfortable during this pregnancy were answered. That baby and that placenta…holy flippin’ smokes. That’s all I can say.
While I was finishing up that part, everyone else was in the living room taking bets on his weight. I refused to let them weigh him until I could witness it. So I went in the bedroom and dressed myself (ahhh…I LOVE those “first moments” after giving birth, especially after a particularly large and painful pregnancy this time), and came back out and we put him on the scale. He weighed in at a whopping 9lbs 10oz!! (my awesome husband guessed that exact weight!) And at 22” long, the little guy’s stats fit right in with the rest of the boys in the family, almost to the very ounce- in other words, thanks to my mom and MIL, I think I’m destined to always give birth to boys of similar size.
The rest of the day was beautiful. Just like after DD2’s birth, family came and went throughout the day. There is no way to accurately describe the joy and simplicity surrounding a homebirth. Life returns to normal very quickly, and it’s just so much more comfortable than a hospital. I have physically recovered quite quickly and easily, and have actually had more energy than I did after my shorter, quicker birth last time. I didn’t end up with any tears (amazing, if you ask me…or if you’ve SEEN his head!!), and sure the afterpains are killer (K.I.L.L.E.R. I’ve had to refuse to let DD2 nurse all but a couple of times since he’s been born, which has been difficult for her but she sure is a sweetie), but I feel great overall. We named our precious little boy “C”, and he’s doing wonderfully. He was down to 8lbs 15oz the morning after his birth, and now that he’s nursing more frequently and my milk is in, I’m anxious to see how he grows compared to the girls. His big sisters are just enamored with the little guy. DD1 is my “little mother” and DD2 is just plain happy to have a baby in the house. They’re both great with him, very helpful and [so far] very sweet and gentle.
I can’t stop praising God for little (big?) “C” and this experience. It’s left me a little “shell shocked”, but hey, God created me for this, remember? (that’s me telling myself!) Once again I was able to go through the process that God specifically designed my body for, and I just can’t get enough of His awesomeness. God is so good. So so good.
One other tidbit...both of my unassisted births were castor oil babies. ;) But my Bishop scores have been crazy high and I used the stuff responsibly so I felt very comfortable with it. Oh, and it wasn't a miserable, potty-centered experience either. ;)