The Swift Birth of Sophia Violet Lewis
post #1 of 9
7/1/13 at 10:03am
We closed on our new home Monday the 17th of June, and started moving in that same day. My parents were up from Missouri to help out and were hoping that the baby would be here before they left to go back. Tuesday morning around 1:30am I awoke to a pretty painful contraction, but the next one didn't come until 20 minutes later, and the next one was 10 minutes after the previous one, and the next 20 minutes after, etc etc. I tried to sleep through them, but around 4 or 5am I realized that I simply could not get comfortable enough to sleep. I also realized that for some reason lying down brought on the contractions worse, but if I was up and moving they weren't so bad. I ended up calling our midwives later that morning after going to the bathroom (and still having some contractions) and seeing tiny bits of mucous plug on the toilet paper.
One of our midwives told me that basically what would happen is that the contractions would either keep building and I would go into labor that afternoon, or they would break for a bit and then labor would begin sometime that night... but within 24 hours I should expect to go into active labor.
My husband and my dad had taken the Uhaul we'd rented back to our old rental home (about an hour away) to quickly pack up the last load of stuff, so I was home with my mom and my 3.5 year old daughter. When I called to tell my husband about the 24 hour prognosis, he and my dad hustled and got back in time to unload the truck, and to find me pacing around the house having stronger contractions. I told my husband, Ryan, that he should fill up the birth tub now, and he rushed around trying to get things set up for the home birth and unload the truck. Add to this that we had to have the Uhaul back by 2pm or else we'd get charged more, and it made for quite a whirlwind of a scene.
They finished unloading the truck around 12pm, which is exactly when my active labor began (although I didn't know that yet). I had a contraction at exactly 12, and I had to lean on our dining table and breathe through it. Five minutes later, another one came... then five minutes later another, and I had to have Ryan press on my sacrum to help with the pain. It was at this point that I decided to call the midwives. All throughout the pregnancy they had told me that if I had contractions that came every five minutes and continued for an hour to call.... I had only had three contractions that were five minutes apart, but intuitively I felt like I should call. After asking me a couple of questions, Ellie announced excitedly that she felt I was in active labor, and that they would be over in about an hour and a half.
When I hung up with her I breathlessly called my good friend Celena, who was going to come and serve as our doula, to let her know the news. She told me she'd be over around the same time the midwives showed up.
As everyone scrambled around getting this and that ready, I pretty much stayed at the dining table, bent over at the waist and trying to relax. It was decided that my parents would run the Uhaul back while Ryan stayed with me since things seemed to be progressing quite fast. At one point I didn't want to deal with the contractions at the dining table anymore, and I announced that I was going to get into the shower. They were definitely stronger at this point and I was vocalizing through them when I heard voices outside the door. Ryan told me later that the midwives had flown up the driveway like the Ghostbusters and rushed inside with all of their equipment, which made for a pretty hilarious visualization.
After a minute or so, Donna - one of the midwives - appeared outside of the shower curtain and asked how I was doing. I told her I was alright, but the contractions were definitely getting stronger and more painful. She stayed with me while I breathed and moaned through a few more, and rubbed my back comfortingly. Whenever I would start to moan, she would nod and say "Good, good....." and just those simple words made me feel more confident in the whole process.
After being in the shower for about 45 minutes I told Donna that I thought I should get into the birth tub. This proved to be yet another intuitive call. I have heard that once a woman gets into a tub of hot water, it actually slows labor down a bit. I don't know if this is true for most women, but for me it certainly didn't seem to be the case. Granted, when I submerged myself it felt so much better during contractions, but they were still strong and I definitely still had to breathe and moan through each one.
Our daughter got into the tub with us and happily swam around, stopping to touch my arm and look at me whenever a contraction would come on. Celena was there taking photos and watching everything unfold, Donna offered me water and did occasional checks on the baby's heartbeat, and Ellie massaged my back (Ryan had started rubbing my back, and it was fine for a few contractions, but then the rhythm was off and I had to ask him to stop) and protected my perineum as I opened to allow the baby to come.
My moans got louder, and to me I thought I was screaming through the most intense parts; at one point Maya (our 3.5 yr old) got a bit overwhelmed and left the room, but after Celena spoke to her and explained what was happening, she came right back in and stood in front of me and let me hold onto her when I needed to. She was such a huge help, and I was so happy she wasn't afraid and stayed with me for the majority of the time!!
Finally I knew I was nearing the end... and I was so grateful because I honestly felt like I couldn't do it anymore. It all happened so fast, and the sensations were so intense that it was just too much: The ring of fire is real, ladies... good lord. And I was totally surprised by the "urge to push." I have - since experiencing it firsthand - resolved never to call it an "urge" again, because what it really was was my body forcing itself to push in huge bouts of what felt like dry-heaving. Basically, as I was "moaning/yelling" those moans/yells involuntarily undulated into the dry-heave/prolonged grunting pushes that moved the baby down. It was absolutely bizarre!!
It was almost funny because I reached down to try and feel the baby's head twice... both times it felt like I could feel a silver dollar's worth and that was it. I kept thinking "Oh my god, it's going to take so long to get this baby out!!!!" The third time that I felt, however, I could feel almost the whole head. By this time I was up on my right knee with my left leg stretched right out to the side in the birth tub. Ryan was behind me to help catch the baby; Ellie was still protecting my perineum while also helping to catch the baby; Donna was encouraging me by saying "You're doing it!!"; Celena was taking tons of photographs, and Maya was next to me on the outside of the birthing tub, watching with half curiosity and half concern, I think.
Finally I felt like I couldn't possibly stretch anymore, and I felt the head coming out. The amniotic sac was still intact when the baby's head emerged, and broke only once the whole head was out. With one more contraction the body slipped out as well and our baby was born!! Ellie lifted the baby into my arms and I knelt down and held her, incredulous that I actually did it!!
The midwives had me sit back against Ryan while the placenta was being delivered, and that poor man just about ended up passing out from overheating: he didn't realize he was sitting right against the heating element at the back of the birthing tub, and the water was pretty warm anyhow. Ellie said "Hey, it's the least he could do after what you did!" Lol!
We were both in quite a daze over how fast everything happened: 2 hours and 25 minutes from the start of active labor until the placenta was delivered!!! It took us a minute to even remember to look and see what sex the baby was... a girl!!!! This was another shocker, because only three people felt like it would be a girl (Celena, Maya, and at one point during my pregnancy, me), while everyone else - even the midwives - guessed it would be a boy.
My mom and dad ended up getting lost on their was to the Uhaul drop-off, and missed the birth. I know they were pretty disappointed that they missed it, and honestly I was too, but in a way I feel like maybe it happened for a reason. It might have been too many people in the room, or - since they've never seen a homebirth before - maybe they would have been a bit nervous about what was happening... I don't know, but they both fell in love with her when they finally got back (right before the placenta was delivered) and laid eyes on their new granddaughter.
Getting into bed with Sophia (whose name we didn't decide on until a couple of days after she was born) was one of the most wonderful feelings ever. We spent the rest of the day there (well, I did... Sophia definitely got some snuggle time from her daddy and the rest of our family who was there). We took our time having her weighed (6 pounds, 13 ounces) and measured (19 inches long). She was so calm and when she wasn't sleeping she was wide-eyed and alert.
After the experience of an induced, epidural, episiotomy, hospital birth with our first daughter, getting to experience a natural birth at home with no drugs and no interventions was a true blessing and I am SO glad we chose to do it this way. It was truly a beautiful - if not seriously intense - experience that I will hold dear to my heart always and forever.
post #2 of 9
7/1/13 at 10:19am
post #3 of 9
7/1/13 at 10:34am
post #4 of 9
7/1/13 at 12:46pm
post #5 of 9
7/1/13 at 9:15pm
post #6 of 9
7/1/13 at 9:41pm
post #7 of 9
7/2/13 at 10:21am
Beautiful story! The way you described your body pushing, was exactly what I experienced. SO intense. I also felt like I couldn't stretch any more! I laughed when you said "the ring of fire is real" I didn't have that ring of fire pain with my first, but it was SO real with my second.
Thanks for sharing! Sounds like a wonderful home birth experience!
Thanks for sharing! Sounds like a wonderful home birth experience!
post #8 of 9
7/2/13 at 3:11pm
Lol, yes they got the Uhaul back on time, they just didn't get themselves back in time!