Hey all, I haven't been exceptionally active in the community, I'm a big lurker :), but I would still like to share my adventure of a birth story if that is ok. My fourth daughter (and first "homebirth") was born Sunday morning at 12:15 on the floor of our minivan. After 21 hours of slow-progressing labor, we were attempting to transfer to the hospital when Odessa was born.
This is cut and paste from my livejournal:
Last night when I was falling asleep, I started going over it all in my head. I think that before that, I was still too much in shock to process anything. I couldn't quite even make a connection between the trauma and excitement and the new, perfect baby girl that I have in my arms.
Ugh. Here goes.
On Saturday, October 8th, I woke up at 3am, irritated as hell. I was having a contraction and also some irritating dream that Luna's teacher was trying to make something that started with 'C' and the girls were arguing over whose teacher was better and whose teacher said what. I laid there in bed for a few minutes trying to figure out why I was so irritated. After pondering for about 5 minutes, I got hit with another contraction and all of a sudden I understood. I WAS FINALLY IN LABOR. I laid there in bed for a while and felt the contractions coming and going for the next hour or so. They were very regular, not too intense, but I was unable to sleep through them. I had been talking to Sol and suggested that we get up and do the things that needed to be done. I needed a shower, the bathrooms needed to be cleaned, I wanted to eat something, etc.
So we got up, had some eggs, I took a shower. Contractions were still very regular, but very short. I walked around a little bit, the girls got up. I was pretty exhausted from my hospital adventure from the night before and was now running on about 4 hours of sleep over 2 nights and the excitement of having a baby. My memory is a bit fuzzy at this point, but I played a video game for a while, puttered around, timed contractions. Then I laid down on the couch and had a nap for about 2 hours. I was able to sleep through some of the contractions, but dozed around the more intense ones. When I woke up, things had stalled quite a bit, but I was still definitely in early labor. Slowly, but surely, the contractions started coming closer together and were much more intense, but never got longer. At around 12p, I called the midwife to let her know that my contractions were very regular and close, but not gaining in length. I would say that between 12p and 3, the contractions were coming every 1 and a half to 3 minutes and lasting 25-45 seconds. At 3, I was discouraged and very, very tired. Even though the contractions were very short, they were intense and instead of coming in waves that built up, peaked, and ramped down, they seemed to start out intensely sharp and painful and then ramped down almost too quickly into nothing.
Before we even told the midwife to come, I started being negative. I was so discouraged by the contractions. I felt like they were ineffective due to their short length. I was also VERY bothered to be laboring during the day. Everything seemed loud and normal and intrusive. The neighbors were outside, people were mowing their lawns, the girls were bickering, etc. I retreated to our bedroom and closed all of the curtains and hung blankets. I thought that maybe if the mood was quieter, I could get some more work done. I sat in a rocking chair for a while, I sat on the birthing ball for a while, I got down on all fours for a while. I didn't stand or walk much because the contractions were hurting SO bad through my legs and hips. I told Sol a few times that I was too tired for a homebirth. That I couldn't do the work and that I really really wanted to do this in a hospital. So I heard him tell the girls that and their reactions broke my heart. They didn't want me to have to stay in a hospital, they wanted to meet their sister right away, etc. He called the midwife and she arrived soon after. Her attitude and excitement was uplifting and I became recommitted to staying home. I asked her for a vaginal check at this time because I was SO cetain that nothing was going on. I was encouraged when she said I was a 4 that could easily be stretched to a 6-7. Nice!
After that, I decided to get in the tub and try some squatting positions. So I ran the water and the midwife and her daughter (also a midwife) went downstairs to hang out with the girls and with Jodiann (my friend here in Michigan who was here to watch the girls and be labor support) Sol hung out with me while I was in the tub. My contractions started getting longer and stronger and there was some speculation that the baby would be born before dark. After a while though, I was again to the brink of exhaustion. I wanted to transfer, my contractions were coming on top of each other and I literally could not change positions because every time that I did, the pain would literally make me scream. I asked for another check and this is when things got discouraging. My cervix was dilated to an 8, but was not moving back with the contractions. Her head couldn't come down. So we tried a few contractions with the midwife holding my cervix up at an angle to see if that would facilitate any movement. The contractions where she first held the cervix out of the way were amazing. I could actually feel the effectiveness of these contractions as opposed to the others. But still, it was taking forever, and things were not changing, and the midwife can only sit there with her hand in your vagina for so long.... So I asked about options. Getting out of the tub was out, standing was out (I admit to being completely irrational.) Breaking my water was out. Then in. So the midwife broke my waters and I felt indescribable RELIEF. It poured and poured and poured into the tub. Everything felt more effective again. And I could breathe for the first time in months. I had loose skin on my belly!
But I was exhausted. Sleeping between contractions now, and having a hard time controlling myself through the pain. I had no downward pressure from the baby and the never ending pain with no light at the end of the tunnel was beginning to TERRIFY ME. Nobody could reassure me that the end was imminent because she was still so high.
I couldn't stand or even get off of my side in the water. The pain was too intense and I was just. too. tired. Not for one second during my natural, waterbirth with Daphne, did I feel such excruciating sharp pain. So I started begging, crying, screaming for the ambulance. The midwives told me that an ambulance wouldn't make it soon enough, that if we transferred, we would have to go by car. And that we wouldn't make it. Then I heard one of the midwives say that we had plenty of time and the baby wasn't coming down anytime soon. So I started crying and screaming through contractions. Thereby making every single contraction completely ineffective. They tried to make me calm down. I started screaming out the window. I screamed, 'Help! HELP! Somebody help. I'm trapped, call 911!!!!" Sol, at this point, started taking me seriously and getting me out of the tub. Which hurt. Really really really bad. I guess at this point it was about 11:30. The girls were asleep and I was screaming through every contraction. Since my life was just one long contraction, I screamed ceaselessly. Sol and the midwives managed to get my soaking wet, bleeding body into a nightgown, underwear, and into the back of the van. And at this point folks? I was already pushing. Couldn't stop. I was bent over pushing, screaming at Sol and the midwives to hurry. I needed to get to the hospital to get pain relief. Needed to be knocked out. Everyone else could deal with anything else, I needed to be gone.
Sol drove the 8 miles to the hospital at approximately 100 miles an hour. I was falling all over the floor, screaming and crying and pushing and pushing and pushing. In the brief seconds that I wasn't pushing, I was crying , 'please no, please no, please no.' over and over. The midwife told me that if I wanted my c-section, I was going to have to stop pushing. And that if I didn't stop, the baby would be born in the car. And that if I felt a baby in my underwear, that I needed to take my underwear off. Tough love, y'all. Midwives have it.
Then it happened. I felt the baby in my underwear. The midwife yelled at Sol to stop the car. He jumped out and ran around the side while the midwife grabbed her bag. I was up on my knees with my arms between the girls car seats in the back. My legs were sealed shut. The midwife (all of 4ft tall) and Sol were able to flip me over and pry open my legs. Where I screamed like a ninny and pushed out my baby's giant head. Sol held everything together and delivered Odessa ALL BY HIMSELF. And all of a sudden, it was ALL OVER. She was born! I was holding a baby! The pain was gone, my throat raw. Vernix everywhere, blood everywhere, baby staring at me. Oh. my. god. I just had a baby in a van.
Odessa Lark Pauline born 12:15am, 10lbs 2oz
Then the midwife says CHEERILY(!) "GREAT!!! Now lets go back home and get you guys cleaned up and in a comfortable bed!"
So we did. And recovery has been pretty hellish. Can't believe I had another ten pound baby. I can't believe that we transferred to the hospital basically because my fear of more pain. And by doing so, I put myself in about 10 billion times more pain than I have ever feared. But as Sol pointed out, maybe the car ride shaved off 2 hours of labor - or maybe I could have had her in 10 more minutes at home if I could have just stood up for a few minutes. We'll never know.
My labor with Odessa was much more similar in pain to my labor with Luna. And they're my 10-lbers. So maybe that has something to do with it? I don't know. All I know is that I JUST HAD MY LAST BABY and am feeling pretty damn good about that.
I'm not sure I'll be writing a part 2, but I might have more reflection later. I don't know.
This was taken shortly after we arrived back home. Our postpartum herbal bath :)
My husband wrote up the story from his point of view as well : http://www.badassdad.com/2011/10/badass.html
I.......wow. This story made me flash back to the utter terror and panic I felt during the unending pain of DD's birth.
I...never want to give birth in a moving vehicle!
You are a hero, Mama.....she is gorgeous and you made it through!! What an awesome story to tell her!
Beth . wife to DH and Mama to DD1 (May 1-09) and DD2 (Nov 2-11)
Wow, what a story! Thank you for sharing, and congratulations!!! All the best to you as you process this experience and fall in love with your new family! Congrats!
Oh.my.god. I was scared through most of it and laughing through some of it. What a crazy ride you had there. I'm glad your baby girl came out healthy! Congrats!
Nicole Busy with my two boys. The 'big boy' too. Oh, and a sweet baby girl, born at home in October.
Wow, congratulations! What a story, thank you for sharing it. You told it well, too. She's lovely!
What a *crazy*, *intense* story!! Thank you for sharing it in such detail! How amazing. I had to laugh that you went as far as transferring as to have your baby in the van, and then just turned around and went back home. That's what I'd do, too, but the whole attitude of it was funny to me. I like your midwife's style. ;)
Congrats, and welcome, Odessa! What a beautiful, big girl!!
SAHM to Melinda (Oct '03), Jacob (Aug '05), Alex (Apr '08), and Malcolm (Sept 29, '11)
I agree with everyone: wow. One of the most riveting birth stories I've heard. Scary, funny, and oh, before I forget: Congratulations!
Making a March 9th sandwich with a Halloween filling.
Holy cow, Randi... What an amazing story. I just read your husband's account on his blog and it had me in tears. What an incredibly strong couple you two must make. Enjoy Odessa and your family of 6, and give yourself a huge pat on the back for what you've gone through. And your husband? He's awesome. What a guy.
~Iris~ Catholic mama to DD1 11/15/05 * DD2 04/28/08 * 06/23/2010 * and our little rainbow DS 10/07/11
Thank you everyone for your kind words. I hope that someday, I feel more like a rockstar, and less like a mama who lost control of it all, lol.
Recovery is getting better - I didn't tear?! And I am really, really enjoying this sweet, little sleepy thing.
This is an amazing story and you are a total rockstar. IMHO it's fine to lose control in labor. You rolled with it and you got the job done, and now you've got a beautiful healthy baby. Totally fantastic, mama.
Baby girl arrived 10/11/11