First off, I just want to say that I do not recommend unassisted childbirth (UC) for just anyone. You have to be willing to take on a whole lot of responsibility (something I strive to do in every aspect of my life), not to mention a lot of doubts thrown at you from other people. I believe a successful UC starts with a healthy body and is fueled by a strong body and mind. It is not something everyone should do, but it was the choice that my partner, Taylor, and I made very early on in pregnancy and I am so grateful that we chose this route. I don't think I am better or stronger than any other mother out there, this was just the way that felt right and true to myself. Each woman must make these choices for herself and I respect each and every woman for being true to herself and doing what she is comfortable with when it comes to her body.
That said, I can't say I really birthed unassisted. I had both Taylor and my mom with me for the majority of both labor and birth. I honestly don't think I would have made it without their support.
Sunday morning I woke with bloody show and was excited to think that the super moon was doing it's magic and possibly getting things started. I had mild contractions on and off throughout the day, but nothing painful nor frequent. I sent Taylor off to work at about 4pm and told him I would call if anything picked up. By 9pm I was starting to have contractions every 10-15 minutes, but still painless and at most only 30 seconds long, but by midnight I started feeling more and more discomfort with each contraction. I decided to get in the bath, mainly because I wasn't able to sleep and I felt I needed to get some rest if things were speeding up. Contractions were coming every 5 minutes while in the bath, but they weren't getting any stronger. Taylor got home just after 1am and I told him to sleep while he still could. I tried to lay down with him, but contractions kept coming and out of the tub they were getting more and more intense.
I already had some uncomfortable hemorrhoids from the days before and the contractions all felt like they were coming straight from my anus. I actually didn't even want to tell anyone that I was in labor because I didn't feel the contractions so much in my uterus and thought maybe this was just really crazy indigestion mixed with hemorrhoid pain!
I fell asleep at about 2:30am and was woken by such an intense contraction that I shot out of bed and headed for the bathroom. Contracting on the toilet was so painful. Went back to bed, fell asleep, and again was woken by a contraction that made me jump up. When I laid back down I noticed it was only 2:45! Well, at least I got 15 minutes of sleep. I decided this was real and got in the shower. I put a yoga mat on the floor and just sat with the water pouring over me. Sitting on my butt hurt, squating hurt, so I was mainly on all fours. I really started getting into the contractions in the shower, moaning, breathing, starting to feel my cervix open (yay, it was really happening somewhere other than my ass!). I stayed in there for about an hour before I decided maybe I should wake someone up. Woke up Taylor and told him I was really in labor and just needed him to be with me. He sat behind me through a few contractions, touching my back, and I was worried he was going to fall back asleep (I actually think he did momentarily). I had a moment of fear......is he going to be ale to be here with me for the long haul?
Taylor got up to do pushups to wake himself up and make eggs and bacon for sustenance, I went down to wake up my mom. I felt like things were really heating up and I was already stressing that I hadn't slept. The sun was rising, everyone was setting up, I was contracting away. I got in the shower again while Taylor sat outside the shower trying to make me laugh and have regular conversation with me. It was getting harder and harder to focus on anything but my body, even in between each rush. I can remember my mom and Taylor talking to each other about things to do with me or try to have me do, almost as if I wasn't there, and honestly I wasn't really there as I had no ability to talk back to them. I just moaned and either nodded or shook my head at their suggestions.
I honestly felt like the biggest baby through a lot of the pain. I couldn't sit, I couldn't squat, I could barely walk, all mostly because of the hemorrhoids. I had many many moments of thinking I wasn't going to make it any further, that there was no way I would be able to birth this baby. I was tired, even falling asleep from time to time when contractions slowed for a few moments. Taylor told me it was cute how I would be moaning in the middle of a rush, then suddenly snoring before being woken by another contraction and moaning again.
Contractions were on top of each other by a little before noon. Water hadn't broken yet, but my cervix was completely dilated (wish they had gotten a picture of it, but my mom and Taylor told me I had a purple line all the way up to my low back!) and I was feeling the urge to push. I've been told by many mothers that pushing feels good, like a release or a pleasant change after contractions. I wish it had been this way for me! Pushing was excruciating and exhausting. I couldn't get into a good position, I couldn't breathe well with each push. After pushing for maybe an hour my mom could see the water bag slightly bulging around what she could see of the head, so she decided to help me out and break the bag with a crochet hook. She was so amazing, so casual, so calm, so skilled! Waters broke and things started moving much faster, but still took another hour before I got his head out. I had laid down on my right side, Taylor behind me, my mom holding my top leg so I could push against her. She kept rubbing coconut oil on me and Taylor was holding a compress against my hemorrhoids (honestly, I think pushing would have been much less painful and I may have been able to push him out more quickly if it weren't for them, it felt like my anus was going to rip out at any second). Pushing the head out felt like it took forever and it burned like nothing I've ever felt before. As the head came out my mom felt to see if the cord was wrapped around the neck and it was. After getting his left nuchal hand out, she told me he was a little blue (later they told me he was bright purple!) and I asked if that meant we needed to get him out quickly. She said yes and that I needed to get up to let gravity help me. I didn't think I could move, but my mom grabbed my top leg and arm and told Taylor they needed to get me up...fast! I was totally confused, but this comment made me quickly jump to my feet. I squatted and Casus quickly slipped the rest of the way out of me. What a feeling!
He was blue, but pinked up quickly. Had a little mucous in his throat, but made his little kitten cries within moments. Got skin to skin contact immediately and he latched on quickly (although we are still working with nursing now, he may be tongue tied).
Born at 2:32pm on June 24th, Casus weighs almost 10lbs! Can't believe I made such a big, healthy, beautiful boy! I have no tears, I think due mainly to the coconut oil. The placenta took a while to come out. Funny thing, I'm saving the placenta to be encapsulated, so after we cut the cord I am sitting over a glass bowl trying to get the placenta out, but it's not moving. Taylor and Casus laid down to nap and all I wanted was to snuggle up with them, but I had blood all over my legs and the umbilical cord dangling between my legs. So I sit on the bowl on the side of the bed, lean my head on a pillow and fall asleep. Not sure how long I was sleeping, but I woke up and the placenta wasn't out yet and I start whimpering a little. Both my mom and Taylor ask if I'm okay, if the placenta is out yet, and right as I'm saying no the placenta ploops out into the bowl. Not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't that feeling! Big placenta to go with our big baby! All in tact, looks good and healthy.
Such an incredible experience! Casus seems to be healthy and happy. We all slept most of the night, only waking to change his meconium filled diapers a few times. He's latched on really well maybe 4 times now and nursed for about 10-15 minutes each time, but most of the time I put him up to my nipple he crinkles up his nose and looks a little disgusted with the idea of breast feeding. He will get a good suck going for just a few seconds and then get frustrated and back off. We will figure it out! I'm trying to stress or worry about it just yet.
We couldn't be happier. Taylor is totally in love, it's really beautiful to watch him snuggle with his baby. I am resting, trying not to walk around too much as it hurts my inflamed nether region. Ah, Baby Bliss