My water broke on April 15th around 5:30 in the morning. I wasn't sure at first if that's what was going on. I was only 36 weeks and 2 days along, so I was in major denial and scared. My husband came in to the bathroom and I told him I thought my water had broken. He was supposed to go out into the field for military training that morning and be gone for the next 10 days or so, but let his chain of command know that we needed to see the midwife before he could go. I tried to go back to sleep, but was so worried that I couldn't relax.
At 7 am I called my midwife and we talked about what was going on. She said it definitely sounded like my water had broken and that it was up to me if I wanted to birth with her or go to the hospital since the baby was a few days shy of being term. I made plans for my husband and I to meet with her at her farm after dropping my older son off at school.
My mom was driving up that day anyway to stay with me while my husband was gone. She wasn't sure what it was, but she said she'd heard something in my voice that made her think I needed her to come up. I called her right after I got off the phone with my midwife and asked her to leave earlier in the morning if she could and explained what was going on.
I spent the next couple of hours reading studies and statistics on the outcomes of late preterm babies. We then met with my midwife and discussed her experiences in this area and made the decision to go ahead with our plans to birth out of a hospital setting with the understanding that a hospital transfer after the baby was born was a very real possibility. We did not do a vaginal exam, but did test to see if it was in fact amniotic fluid that I was leaking. (I was still hoping that it was not. My first son was born en caul, so rupture of membranes was not something I'd experienced before.) My husband then let his CoC know that he would not being going in to the field.
After that we went to pick my son up from preschool and shop for some last minute items that I thought I still had weeks to get together. Wal Mart was a really uncomfortable place to be. It seemed huge and too open. I just wanted to get home.
When we finally got home, I went to bed, listened to Hypnobabies for a while and dozed. I had 4 light contractions during that hour. I got up and my husband took our son to my friend's house to spend the night. When he got back we went for a walk around the neighborhood. My mom arrived at my house while we were walking, so when we circled back to my house she kept walking with me and my husband went back inside. Came home to find him vacuuming and cleaning. I told him I appreciated it and he said "Hey, I live in this nest, too."
We all just hung out and my husband went to pick up take out for dinner. I kept having light contractions every half hour or so and decided to go to bed around 9:30. At 11 the contractions had gotten stronger and woke me up. I started watching the clock from bed, and by 1 am, I had to get up and walk around. Phil got up and came down stairs with me. I was pacing the house from front to back and our dog was trotting right alongside me. It was so sweet. I think she realized something was going on. She always becomes hyper protective when I'm pregnant, so she's pretty tuned in.
Pretty soon the contractions were strong enough and close enough together that I thought we should get ready to go. Phil called my midwife and we headed to her farm at 4 am. When I arrived, labor had slowed down a bit as I expected it would. My midwife checked me for the first time and I was in between 4 and 5 cm dilated. She suggested that I take a nap while I could. I laid down in a bedroom and Phil and my mom found places to relax in the sitting room. I dozed for about an hour and a half, but by 6 am, I wanted to get up. I got a granola bar, sat on an exercise ball and turned on the Grateful Dead channel on the satellite radio we'd brought along. After eating, I walked a bit and tried to eat an apple. Only had a few bites and needed to get back up and walk more. The contractions were getting stronger and closer together. I finally got to the point where I needed to get into the birthing pool.
The water felt amazing and really helped with the contractions. I'm not sure how long I stayed in there, but I did get out a few times to go to the bathroom. My midwife's assistant came while I was in the pool. Things started getting really intense and I asked my midwife to check me again. Everything was moving much slower than it did with my first birth and I was starting to wonder why. She checked me and I was 7 cm dilated, but my cervix was back further than it should have been and I was not dilating evenly. My midwife thought the baby's chin wasn't tucked and that he was applying pressure to my cervix unevenly. She wanted to see if we could get the baby in a better position by doing hip rotations. I laid on my left side, with my right leg bent and propped up on three pillows. During contractions she would push on my sacrum and pull on my hip and kind of move my pelvis back and forth. (Not sure I'm describing that right.). After doing that for a bit, she checked me again and I was almost complete. During a contraction she moved the one side where the cervix had a lip back. That was the only time I was on my back for a contraction and it was extremely painful.
After that, I started hugging my mom while standing and rocking during contractions. I kept moving my hips, almost in a figure 8 and it made the contractions more bearable. Phil kept getting me water, Recharge and coconut water. At one point I was sitting on the bed and just put my face into his neck and hugged him. I tried using the birthing stool but it was not comfortable. The assistant suggested Phil press in on the sides of my hips during contractions, but it felt way better for him to put pressure on my lower back. I was getting really intense back labor.
I got back in to the pool and just draped myself over the edge and stood on my knees. I said "I'm starting to feel like I can't do this, which must mean I'm getting close!"
The contractions were so powerful and I was having some that would piggy back on top of each other and peak twice without a break. I was looking forward to pushing, thinking it would be a relief, but when my body started pushing, it hurt just as bad, if not more. I felt when my baby cleared the cervix and made it in to the birth canal. Intense is the only way I can describe it. Much different than pushing my son out whose water bag was still intact. I could feel all the limbs and bones. I would have to back off pushing because I thought I would tear. Earlier, I'd mostly wanted to be left alone during contractions, but while pushing I wanted to hold on to someone's hand. I pushed and stopped, pushed and stopped. Finally I decided that I didn't care if I tore, I just needed to push the little guy out. I pushed really hard and his head and (I think) his shoulders came out. The assistant told me to cough and I coughed about 3 times and the rest of the baby came out. He was posterior (which is why things were taking so long and pushing was so much harder) and did a somersault coming out! Phil caught him and the midwife unwrapped the cord around his neck. I'd pushed for 11 minutes.
He started crying and was put right on my chest. He was born at 10:31 am. He had a 7, 9, 9 on his APGAR. He did not need any help breathing! He was tiny at 5lbs 15 oz and 18 3/4 inches and covered in vernix. After a minute, my husband took him so I could get out to deliver the placenta. We did not cut or clamp the cord for 2 hours after birth, but wanted to get out to get the baby and I dried off as maintaining temperature is a concern for early babies. I got in bed and cuddled with the baby on my chest. After a bit, my midwife suggested I stand up and push out the placenta on the birthing stool. It came right out and was wrapped in a chux pad. I got back into bed and the midwife checked me out. I had a very small tear inside, but it didn't need stitches.
Then I just watched the baby who was very alert. He started to nurse right away, which was a huge relief. I was determined to breastfeed, but knew it may take more effort if the baby had an immature sucking reflex. (That has proven to be a non-issue! Malcolm is attached to the boob 24/7 and hardly lost any of his birth weight! Only 2 oz!) We brought the radio in the bedroom (where the tub had been set up) and Phil, my mom and I sat together marveling over the baby. 2 hours after birth, Phil cut the cord. Malcolm and I then got into an herbal bath. After we got out, my midwife did the newborn exam. He was perfect. No trouble with breathing or regulating his temperature, nursing like a champ.
We were able to go home after about 3 hours. It was such a relief. I had been so worried about whether or not he would be ok. Whether I was making the right decision to birth out of a hospital setting. In the end, I thought that birthing with my midwife was still the safest thing I could do for my son, but there were still a lot of what ifs going through my mind. I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that I had my son so early. I'd only be 38 weeks 2 days from now. It was not even on my radar since my previous pregnancy had lasted 41 weeks and a day. I keep wondering if there was something I did or didn't do that caused my water to break. I know it's a pointless thing to wonder, but it's hard to not feel guilty about being unable to keep my baby inside longer. Enough about that, though. He's here and he's healthy. My midwife came by Friday to check on us and we took Malcolm to the pediatrician on Monday. Both agreed that he was perfect and amazingly alert. Edited by PhilsBabyMama - 4/26/13 at 6:27pm