our birth stories
Porter Emery Oct 3rd 2:44am at home
I had relatively strong contractions for WEEKS before this baby finally decided it was time to make a mad dash for sun light. After an evening of the same cramping back ache contractions that I had by then gotten very used to I went to bed on Wednesday night. At about 1am I woke up to more of my "regular" contractions and I needed to pee but I just kind of laid there for a minute putting it off. Then I had one contraction that was strong enough that I jumped up and flipped onto all fours on the bed. It was still mild enough that I could breathe through it so once it was over I got up and went downstairs to pee and politely asked the baby to wait til morning and went back to bed. As soon as I laid down I had another all fours contraction at which point I said to DH "I should have just stayed downstairs" not wanting to wake up our son. By this point it was about 1:30am so I went down and got out a timer and attempted to start timing contractions to decide if I should get DH out of bed and call the doula.
My husband fortunately got the hint without my help and came downstairs at 1:45am and took over timing. My contractions started getting way stronger and were lasting 2+ minutes each and were back to back. I had one extra strong one and thought I'd check for blood. When I wiped and saw a bit of blood I told DH to call Our doula immediately. This was about 2:15am. When she heard that #1 the contractions were so strong/long/close together and #2 I told her I felt like I needed to poop but was afraid to she made a mad dash for our house and got here within a few minutes. Afterwards she told us that as soon as she walked in the door and watched me for a couple minutes she knew we weren't going to the hospital (which is 45 minutes away). She said "this baby is coming wicked soon" to which both DH and I reacted by thinking "time to get in the car" she didn't want to freak us out so instead of saying no, this baby is coming right now! She said "why don't I check you before we get in the car". She didn't even have a chance. I had one more insane contraction right then and she told me to relax my bum. Did i mention that these contractions were blindlingy painful. I was so scared of the drive to the hospital because i knew it would be absolutely unbearable. I felt like I was pooping so I asked her if I could move to the toilet before a check and she helped me to the toilet and told DH to call her midwifery partner and "bring stuff". I literally pushed twice and then felt him crowning. She had turned around for a minute to grab a receiving blanket or gloves or something but I yelled for her and she rushed back without anything to help me stand up and push the baby out with a couple more contractions. My mom had just come downstairs and DH just rushed back into the bathroom when he was born. At 2:44am. So there were the five of us hanging out around the toilet. My doula's midwifery partner arrived a few moments after the birth and they moved me over to the couch so they could check us out and wait for the placenta.
After talking it over and calling my hospital midwife we decided to stay put and not drive anywhere. The placenta was birthed about 30 minutes later. I didn't bleed or tear. My doula and her partner are incredible and they made what could have felt like a scary emergency into an amazing relaxing experience. My hospital midwives were basically like "okay, see you in 4 weeks for your postpartum check" so my now homebirth midwives have taken over immediate postpartum care for me and Porter. Did i mention they are amazing?! I didn't intend to have my baby at home but I can't imagine it any other way now. It was perfect.
I guess that wasn't so short even though the whole drama unfolded over the course of about an hour and a half.
So, as you know, watching your due date come and go makes a mama miserable. On Sunday, at about a week overdue, I had one moment of being cheered up when I got a suitcase from my ex full of my sons' cloth diaper stash inheritance! I had figured he threw this stuff out 5 years ago, out of spite, but luckily he hadn't. Here's me with my 41week (almost) belly & having gone through the suitcase.
There were quite a few hand crocheted booties and hats my mom had made, and a ton of investment piece hand knitted wool soaker/longies/outfits I had bought for the boys throughout 2003-2008, all of which are perfect and ready to go for their little sister! The hand stencil dyed organic fitteds (about 6) still had awesome elastic, and the other 6 had no elastic to speak of.......a couple of the dozen AIOs were ok, but mostly those had holes and shot elastic as well. They might be ok backup diapers for when I am pretty much 100% sure there won't be a poop or will be only a solid poop situation, and snug elastic isn't so important. Anyway I already bought her an entire cloth diaper stash so now we have more than an abundance:
Now here's me lounging on the sofa earlier on Sunday with 8year old son and cats, still no signs of labor besides a tiny bit of white plug in the morning (actually both on sat & sunday mornings right after drinking red raspberry leaf tea.)
Now, on Monday very early in the morning (pre-5am) I sense in my sleep that something started to trickle, like I sprung a leak. My pjs were pretty wet in the crotch when I finally got out of bed a few hours later to check it out, odorless, clear liquid, nothing like mucus. I decide to wait and see what happens, but I go and rent a TENS machine to practice, since my best friend said it really helped her during the last birth. The water keeps trickling so I call the hospital and they ask me to come in and have the fluid swabbed and checked. They test it but say it's not amniotic fluid, most likely very clear liquidy mucus plug coming out, and they determine I'm 100% effaced, anterior, and 2cm dilated. I was heartbroken as I had been 2cm dilated over a month earlier and I had had so many contractions in the weeks since and had hoped I was more open. However, the progress was all in the effacement, as I had still a couple cm length at my 36 week dr check, and it was all gone, so I should have tried harder to be excited about that. I guess I was just hoping for more!
By the time we got home, I noticed the contractions had been quite regular, every 8-25 minutes for a couple of hours, so we tested out the machine and it did help during these mild but painful contractions, and the trickle had turned pink. I figured the vaginal exam had made me bleed a tiny bit. The contractions never got closer together and even seemed to get less frequent at our normal bedtime, so we just went to bed. By the end of my first cycle of sleep (midnight-4am) I got up to go to the bathroom and noticed they were on hiatus, and I went back to bed. The trickle of fluid never ceased though, like I had a tiny leak at the top of my uterus and every hour or so a tiny spurt would come out. I just wore a maxi pad. I stayed in bed and tried to sleep but couldn't fall back to sleep until 7am but grabbed another sleep cycle and got out of bed at 11am. No contractions, so I showered, had breakfast, and watched a movie and watched the trickle situation. By 1pm they started up again and were at least every 10 minutes, usually more like every 6, but with 1 or 2 pauses (14 or 22 minutes between). I stared writing them down and I almost always was able to count to 45 seconds, up to 55 seconds during a contraction. Occasionally they were only half a minute and less intense, but usually they were pretty darned catch-my-breath-close-my-eyes (and use the TENS machine to cope) in intensity.
After a couple of hours, I noticed they were every 4 minutes so I told DF to come home when he could. He didn't manage to leave early but anyways after 5pm I had quite a consistent log going, but not getting to one minute in length quite yet or any contractions that really made me feel intense about getting to the hospital. We texted the doula to let her know that things might happen that night. I decided it would be more fun to try to go to dinner and a movie and distract myself through this prelabor or early early labor, so we sketched out a tentative evening date agenda..... but then at about 7pm I made the decision that things were too regular and too painful during contractions to enjoy any sort of evening plans, and I had a feeling that things were going to happen soon, so we headed to the hospital. It's a 35 minute drive and I have a history of fast births once things get going so I just wanted to get that drive out of the way and see what the situation looked like when I got there. I guess I was definitely hoping that when they checked my cervix it would be the case that the 8 hours of contractions would have done tons of progress and I'd be at 6 or 7cm and almost ready to give birth. Here's me having just arrived and being strapped to a fetal heart rate monitor. I'm huge and miserable and wanted to get the show on the road.
However, shortly after that photo I was told that I was still at 2, my cervix was exactly the same as 24 hours earlier before any of these regular, unpleasant contractions. I was a stormcloud after that, just faking politeness at my DF and Doula, who tried to cheer me up. We got into a hospital room and tried to figure out a way to wait the hours out until things really vamped up from the early labor stagnation I was in, to full on active labor. We watched netflix on my DF's crappy work laptop he had with him, and investigated food options. I had eaten before we left, but as the clock got to 10pm and then to 11pm I realized I wanted some creature comforts like a hot meal, someplace comfy to relax, a decent movie to try to distract myself with, anything to help the hours just freaking go by until we could move on to real business. However, we were in a small town area and although DF headed off to drive around and search for something open, he found nothing and came back empty handed. The entire hospital was relatively shut down except for the maternity wing, so no facilities within the hospital either. They had a snack fridge but I just didn't want what was in there, I didn't want to bother unless it was something satisfying. My contractions kept at the same frequency as they had since the afternoon, and it was midnight and decided to let the midwife check again and do a very gentle stretch/sweep. She checked my cervix which was at 3cm and did such a gentle stretch for 2-3 seconds that I didn't even feel it, and then I waited for things to kick in. After another hour nothing had changed and it was midnight! I got sick of trying to be social with my DF and Doula and just wanted to weep with frustration but felt that I couldn't as I was sort of the center of attention to a little drama there in the hospital room, and I didn't really feel comfortable enough with my doula to just weep in front of her from frustration and anger/irritation/desperation like a little kid not getting her way, so I decided that things were just not happening and she should go home and get some sleep in her own bed and we'd let her know when things were really in the active stage. I then had a cry as soon as she left, and released all my sadness about my body simply NOT doing what I wanted it to do, and putting me through such a long wait for this labor to truly kick into gear. I was also very, very tired, for some reason and felt like I needed to either sleep or give birth. I wanted my own bed. After discussing it and crying in DF's arms in the hospital bed for awhile, I decided we would go home and come back in the morning. I put on my coat and shoes but the next contraction was much stronger, at that point it was a bit after 1am. The next several were quite a bit stronger and I realized there was no way I could go to the parking lot and get in the car, or even out of the building down the stairs. I took my shoes off and asked to get into the tub and we started making our way towards the tub. I wasn't able to make it very far, by 1:30 my water had broken and the contractions started coming so intensely I just lost it and started blubbering and begging for help. I felt pressure against my bowels and asked if they could somehow quickly empty my bowels, as if that would be the solution to everything. Or anything. The contractions became so intense and sometimes without any break at all in between, so they offered me gas and air. I was panting too shallow to really get any benefit from. I used the TENS for every contraction but I noticed with horror that the contractions were totally painful also in the front and not just in my lower back anymore, so they weren't exactly offering much of a relief. Some, but not much. I lost my mind with fear, as I had just been told less than an hour earlier that I was at 3cm, and the idea that I had "so far to go" at that level of pain just made me lose all morale or faith in wanting a natural birth. I knew logically that some women can get to 10cm in no time from whatever point, but I was scared to death that I would be the exception and it would just hurt that much for hours. I told them to arrange for narcotics, an epiural, a spinal, whatever.... so they made phone calls and arranged for a dr to come to the premesis (the 2-3 women there were all midwives, no doctors in the building, but some available on quite short notice on call). I managed to get into a position so they could check my cervix again (at my request, I needed to know!), which was very very hard to do, any sort of movement was next to impossible, nothing felt ok, I was just writhing like a woman being stuck with a hot poker, and there were literally only 0-10 seconds of rest between the contractions, so getting a cervical check was truly difficult. However, I was told I was 9cm! It was 2am at that point, and they called the dr who was just about to walk into the building and told her to go home, and they frantically got a position to help me birth thrown together. By 2:15 I managed to get into a bed that had been adjusted up to a sitting position with stirrups, and I sat there and they told me I could push. I didn't want to, even though the urges came strong. I was afraid that if it hurt so badly without pushing, that pushing her through my birth canal would....I don't know, kill me. I was so scared that if I gave it all I had and it took a long time, I would die from pain. My mind raced for guarantees that it would at least be fast if I pushed, so I screamed and begged for them to use the vacuum to suck her out. They told me just to push-- that she was ready and coming. I never stopped screaming my refusal and requests for them to help me somehow, but nonetheless I gingerly allowed myself to attempt pushing her out. The reactions from the midwives and what I could actually feel myself, was quite amazing, I could really feel her head stretching me and crowning, and the women's relaxed attitude about it happening so great was encouraging, like maybe I could do this, so I just screamed and did it. By the third push at 2:30 she came out and.....OMG, I feel I have never felt so relieved and elated in my life when they put her on me and instead of being in the throes of Hell, I was on the other side and felt amazing & had a baby on my chest. I have had the physical relief from a very intense birth before with my first, and I recognized that amazing pleasure of relief that physically the horror was over, but I didn't get a baby on my chest after that one, he was whisked to the NICU. I had my baby nearby with my last birth at home, but it was a relatively gentle, non-intense experience, and I had my mom take him right away so the midwife could stitch me up and leave---then my 1 year old woke up as I was being stitched up, so I went to go comfort nurse him back to sleep and I didn't have a chance for another hour to bask in the glow of my newborn and by then I don't know, the moment of sheer amazement and exhilaration and relief and adrenaline had sort of passed. Maybe a homebirth with siblings, parent, and a midwife eager to get home isn't for me, as I felt like I needed to continue to play hostess. But anyways, this time there was nothing I needed to do, nowhere I needed to go, I just lost my mind with euphoria laying right in the spot I was in (they removed stirrups and added an extra leaf to the bed so that I could lay and be comfortable), nursing my new baby and admiring her ....and feeling so so so so so happy that the ordeal was over. Bliss. I called my mom and told the good news. She pooped on me but I didn't care, we were a mess of fluids but the midwives just put warm blankets on us and it didn't matter, and after about 45 minutes the placenta (600 grams) finally came out and they stitched me but very gently and I felt no pain. 4 stitches, but I never stopped enjoying my baby. The midwives were really really awesome.
Finally after a couple of hours, I gave the baby to my DF to go get her cleaned up and weighed and checked out a bit, and I had a shower and got dressed into my own clothes (I never wore a hospital gown). Shockingly she still didn't cry, she was peaceful these entire first hours. The midwives got us a snack and pushed two hospital beds together for the three of us to lay down in, and we napped for a couple of hours. Then we woke up at about 7am, we got a hot breakfast, a dr checked the baby, and we packed up and headed to the car. This is baby in the wrap for the first time, leaving the hospital at just about 12 hours from the time we originally arrived, around 6 hours from the birth:
And here are some photos later that day with her brothers and I on our living room sofa.
I honestly felt like this hospital that is so natural-birth-supportive (although fully willing to let the mother opt for meds if she wants to, assuming there is even time for that) and so full of warm and dedicated staff, who was so obliging to our birth plan and our desires to leave right after (I would compare this place to a free standing birth center in the US, it was so not hospital-like) , was an even better option than a homebirth for us, as nice as the creature comforts of home are. Things were just not 1000% organized to make me feel like I could shirk every single other responsibility and just focus on the birth. Houseguests, a midwife who is in a hurry to get in the car and leave so wants to stitch you immediately and not very carefully in terms of numbing you properly first, and especially very young siblings who may cry and distract mommy from her main priority, are pretty distracting. Then again, it was such a relaxed, gentle, relatively low-pain birth experience, that perhaps that huge crescendo of relief at the end would not have been there anyways, no matter what the scenario. But it would have been nice to just hold and stare at my baby for as long as I wanted after, that was the one thing that I got to experience for the first time this time and I am so glad! What a beautiful moment, I will never forget it. Or the pain! But... an hour of pain, even mind-blowing pain, was a totally reasonable price to pay for such a perfect baby girl.
Kudos if you got this far! Oh yeah, 9 pounds 5 oz!
This is kind of scattered.....
Tuesday October 2nd.
The day started off like any other. We got up early to tend to DS' needs. We were still in the cleaning phase of getting the house ready (We figured we had a least a week left seeing I went full term +5 with DS.) We picked up my FIL and went to a meeting at 12:30. I remember feeling baby a lot that day. Her little feet were moving about and I just couldn't help myself from rubbing them. Immediately following the meeting, I went to see my rolfer for a body work session. I had quit working (I'm a pet groomer) so I wanted to make sure that my body was in good working order for when the day arrived.
I was having some sacral issues with my hip. Any type of internal rotation was killing me and also my left arch was sore anytime I took a walk. Walking was also causing some unusual tightness on my inner thighs especially in the pelvic region. I also told him about my abdomen. I was having trouble laying on my left side most of the pregnancy. It was as if the baby wanted to defy gravity and fought it the whole time. I was uncomfortable but not intolerable.
He released my abdominal first. I can't believe how good it felt. When I stood up, my belly was "bigger" and the baby had dropped. I had so much energy coming out of there, he had to smudge me with sage. I truly wish I had taken before and after pictures for the crazy comparison. He finished the rest of the session and I set of for home. The rest of the day went on as if it were just any other day. I was kind of hoping that maybe his work would set things in motion and that our little one would be born on the the 2nd (our son was born on 8/2.)
I put DS to bed around 9 or so. He still nurses down and that usually takes about an hour. We nursed throughout the whole pregnancy without triggering too many braxton hicks. I thought there was something "defective" about me because all my nursing friends would tell me how awful the braxton hicks were while the toddler nursed. That night around 10pm, I began feeling what I thought were pretty intense BH contractions. I had in the back of my mind from the intensity and the pattern, that this might be the real deal. They were about every 5 min or so which clued me in that they might not be BH at all. I told DH what I thought. Then I started needing to poop frequently (like three times in one hour) which is another clue for me. Around 11:15 or so I put in my hypnobabies tracks and started to time the contractions which were coming every 4-5 min for a minute a piece. I had to send DH to the store because we didn't have all the supplies we needed for a home birth. We still needed diapers (oops) and a hose to fill the pool. He ended up picking up a few groceries as well which was a good move on his part.
He returned home around midnight or just a little after. I told him where I was at and questioned if we should call the midwife. I didn't want her to come out and have to spend another 20 hours here (like last time) till the baby arrived. My contractions were 2-3 minutes apart at this point and still pretty tolerable. With my last birth, this is where they stayed until I delivered. They never got crazy painful or one on top of another and it seemed like we were headed that way this time too. I called the midwife to give her a heads up. She said it sounded like it was time and that she was going to take a shower and get her things together and head out seeing it was about an hours drive.
DH put the groceries away and asked if he could lay down till the MW got there. I tried to do the same because I was already sleepy/tired. I prayed for strength and selfishly asked for the labor to not go on all night. I tried to get some rest on the couch but only lasted about 3 contractions. They were just too uncomfortable if I was sitting or laying down. With the last one, I sprung up because I felt like I was going to pee myself so I ran to the bathroom but nothing came out.
The MW arrived and heard me vocalizing. She said "Oh, I like the sound of that." I was actually utilizing vocal toning which I had taken a class on to deal with the contractions rather than it being true primal vocalizations. She listened to baby, which sounded great, and took a quick set of vitals. She asked if I wanted to be checked but I didn't have time to answer because I ran off to the bathroom again to throw up. She followed me into the bedroom with her things to try and get set up. Her assistants hadn't arrived yet so she asked DH to record some things and help her with her supplied. With the last vomit coming out, I had an involuntary pushing contraction and my MW heard it. She said "that sounded a little pushy" and I confirmed her suspicions.
DH was still trying to finish blowing up the birth pool and asked if I wanted it filled. I really wanted a water birth seeing I didn't deliver in the tub last time. As he was doing this,
I got on the bed and the MW checked me. She told me that there was no cervix around the baby's head and that I could push whenever I was ready. I praised God for the speedyness of it all and got out of bed. I made it a few steps and told DH to forget the pool, we weren't going to make it. He came over and helped the MW place chux on the bed and floor and with with the first involuntary push, my water broke. With the next push, she crowed and her head came out, and with one last push, out she came. The rest of the team arrived right as she was being delivered. It was 2:20 am.
All in all, the MW was there for not more than 20 minutes prior to her arrival. In hindsight, DH was so relieved he didn't have to deliver her. I got up onto the bed and they put her on my chest as best they could. She had a relatively short cord. The cord took a good, long while to stop pulsing before we were able to cut it. The placenta delivered without incident. We were in snuggly bliss. She started searching for my breast almost immediately. We snuggled for a good long while before the newborn exam was completed. They brought me food while they cleaned up and then said their congratulations and went on their way about 5 am.
This birth was so different from my last. It was fast, the recovery was so much better. I had 2 micro tears which didn't require stitches and zero swelling and no real hemorrhoids to speak of, which was a concern, and I will never complain about not having them. She is such a mellow baby. To this day, she still hasn't had a crying spell. Her brother just adores her and is even willing to share the boobs. We are truly blessed!!!
Birth story with lots of photos posted!
I had a stretch and sweep on Saturday 28/9 just after lunch and was 2cm dilated already without any work, it was hilariously re-scheduled by my darling husband so he didn't have to go to work the following week, luckily we get royal treatment from our midwives and she was happy to come and do it. I then walked around the house for 4 hours to get things moving there was also skipping which felt bizarre and would've looked hilarious but I was determined to have it work. I had contractions on and off all Saturday evening, which was exciting, we decided to head to bed at about 11pm just in case. Managed to get 2hours sleep before being woken up at 1:10am by a pretty massive contraction, so it was up out of bed for me. I got up and started wandering around the house tidying a few things up, and clearing the dining room for the birthpool to go there. It was daylight savings that morning too, so I got to watch the clock on my iPhone tick from 1:59am to 3am completely missing the 2's. I woke my husband James at 3:30am to which he rolled over and snuggled the pillow and said "just 5 more minutes please?" It was so cute so I left him for another little while. When he got up and I was folding towels in the lounge, we cleared the rest of stuff from the dining room and he started a fire and went to start blowing up the birthpool..... With his mouth. I was like What??? and he said what? I asked what he was doing, he said blowing up the pool ( the pool is huge holds 650ltrs of water ) I was like where's the pump? I didn't get one, I was like why? We need one, he thought we'd not had one last time.... Yes we had. Bit of brain fog. I cried and said there was no way we'd be able to use it if he had to blow it up using his own steam it just didn't seem possible. But in the end it was the only option and he only got dizzy a few times Lmao. At 5am once the pool was up and James was boiling water on the stove I was pacing around and contractions were about 2mins apart, our midwife had said to call at 5mins apart because I needed anti-biotics for group b strep. But at the time it was so early and I just didn't want to bother her, but James laughed and Said darling you need to call they're coming pretty close together now. She arrived at 6am to do the anti-biotics. Then she went back to bed here for a while in our son Lucas' room as he was in our bed. The boys got up just after 8am and we just went about our usual morning stuff, breakfast and getting dressed, and the boys were bouncing off the walls when they saw Glenda our midwife and all her gear in the house. So James walked them around the corner to his mums so they could play while I concentrated on the contractions which felt reasonably strong but were only 5mins apart at that point, they continued to taper off, which felt a little disappointing at the time and I was starting to get tired. Glenda went home for a shower at 10am and I decided to have a sleep. Woke up at half 11 and thing had basically stopped, Glenda was back at 12:30pm and I climbed the stairs a million times and did laps through the house, I did a bit of skipping, lots of rocking and dancing. I felt slightly disheartened that things had slowed.James had the pool super hot at that point so I was happy about that. Glenda checked me again at 12:50pm and I was 5cm and contractions were beginning again and my water broke. Haven't had them go before when I've not been in the pool and they went with a number of gushes. Felt rather icky. By 1:40pm our back up had been called and things were in full swing and getting strong and fast. Transition had come so quickly, I got James to call the boys at his mums so I could talk to them I just needed to tell them I loved them and let them know that their sister would be here very soon. More pacing followed and then at just after 2pm I was in the pool, which was heaven 2nd midwife arrived at 2:07pm according to my notes, at which point I was involuntarily pushing with my midwife asking me what was happening, to which I was saying I wasn't sure, but I thought I wanted to try pushing. 6 pushes later our precious girl was crowning, I turned from my hands and knees to somewhat sitting so that James could catch her and and at 2:17pm he caught her entirely by himself and put her on my chest. I was so in awe that she'd come so quickly. And so so happy. We stayed in the pool for ages, it was lovely and warm and she had her first feed there. She was covered in vernix and looked so cute. She's such a lovely little thing. My smallest bub by far. Milk came in quickly as she fed solidly for I swear the first 22 hrs of her life. So we had milk pretty quickly. Katherine is 2 weeks 3 days old today and we are so in love with her, she's very content, feeds amazingly and doesn't sleep to badly either. I feel so blessed to have three beautiful children!