This is pretty disjointed, as I've been interrupted by a baby or a toddler a million times while I tried to get this down.
Darwin is my third baby. My first was a planned home birth with a transfer in very early labor for thick meconium. My second was a home birth, that was rather a disaster (although everyone came through it healthy and whole) that left me feeling incredibly let down by my midwife and extremely sad and angry about that labor, birth and postpartum experience. Knowing this would absolutely be my last time ever giving birth, I hoped very much for the peaceful, uncomplicated home birth that I had attempted twice before. But, knowing how unpredictable birth can be, I also worked on being prepared to accept things not going according to plan and being okay with that.
My estimated due date was Saturday, 10/1. I had been having prodromal labor off and on for about ten days and was just DONE DONE DONE being pregnant and felt so ready to meet my baby. I had seen my midwives on Wednesday and I was 3 to 4 cm dilated and 80% effaced, so I know the prodromal labor was doing something.
Saturday night, contractions started about an hour after I went to bed, as they had many times before. It felt like more of the same and after so many nights like this, I had gotten good at making myself sleep or at least try to relax deeply. It took me a while but I finally fell asleep sometime after 1:00 am.
I woke up in the morning feeling exhausted and cranky. And with absolutely no signs of labor. Aside from a few chores, I spent most of the day in bed, catnapping and relaxing and being grumpy while my husband, Josh, took care of our two kids.
I sent a text to my midwives' assistant who is a friend of mine, around 12:30 PM that read, "OMG, WHY AM I STILL PREGNANT!?!?" She sent a few texts with some encouraging words and promised me it would be soon.
Around 2:00 something, my toddler woke up from a nap and I brought him in to bed with me and nursed him for a long time while I dozed. I realized I was having pretty steady contractions, but I assumed they were just from nursing my DS and they would likely stop as soon as he stopped nursing. He got up around 2:45 and I continued laying down for a while and noted that the contractions had lightened and spread a lot.
I got up to pee and while I was sitting on the toilet I felt the very distinctive "pop" that I'd felt twice before when my water broke with each of my other kids. Except there was no gush of fluid, nothing happened at all. I sat there very confused for a bit, even saying out loud, "Well then, what the hell was that?"
I think I determined that I must've been mistaken and that there was no such pop and decided to do some cleaning in my toddler's room. I was in there for a couple of minutes when Josh walked in at the exact moment I took a step and felt a tiny trickle. I stood there very still, bracing myself for a gush. I told Josh that I thought my water might've broken, but I wasn't sure, which was really odd to him because his past experience involved lots of gushing. I went about picking up and felt nothing, no contractions or fluid leaking for ten minutes or so. But then, another tiny trickle and another and another. And a contraction and then another ten minutes later.
I called one of my midwives at about 3:45 to tell her I was pretty damn sure it was my water. She asked me a bunch of questions and said she was going to pack her car, but wasn't coming yet, that she would call me in an hour to check in and that I was to cal her if things picked up significantly before then.
I called my brother, who was taking the kids to his house for the birth, to tell him to come. Josh and I had made an "early labor to-do list" that we started tackling. We added last minute items to the kids' already packed overnight bags and got DS's extra car seat from our storage room. I made something to eat for myself while Josh worked on the list.
I noticed my contractions were really picking up in length, intensity and frequency. I started timing them with an app on my phone. I was beginning to lean over on the dining room table when they hit. They were starting to hurt.
Our apartment door buzzer sounded and my daughter went to answer it just as I felt a contraction starting. I managed to say, "Wait! Wait! Don't answer the door," because for whatever reason I really did not want my brother to walk in in the middle of that contraction. When that contraction peaked, I finally had the gush I had been wondering about. It was pretty epic, too. So my brother walked in to me standing in a massive puddle. He took the car seat out to his car to install while my husband got towels and dry clothes and helped me to the bathroom. I had a few more really strong contraction in there and saw on my phone that the last few were 4 minutes apart. I also was having some bloody show.
My brother came back in, and I quickly hugged and kissed my kids goodbye and sent them on their way. Things were getting serious and I was really ready for them to not be there.
Josh and I put the plastic sheet on the bed and a fitted sheet over that and then DH started to set up the birth tub.
My midwife sent me a text, asking how things were going. I wrote back that things had really picked up, ctx were 4 minutes apart and I was having bloody show. She texted me back about 90 seconds later that she was in the car and headed my way and to call if I felt pushy. She was about 45 minutes from me.
I started to get a little freaked out that things were getting so intense so fast. It had only been about 90 minutes since my water broke. I wanted to slow things down a bit if possible, so I decided to get in the bath while Josh worked on the birth tub. I lit some candles and turned the lights down low and got in the bath. It felt really nice and I was able to get really relaxed. The contractions were just as intense but it felt like they slowed down a little.
Josh had the birth tub inflated and started letting it fill. He came in and kept me company. He answered a couple of calls from my midwife, T and my friend, the assistant midwife, R, who were both struggling to find places to park in my congested Chicago neighborhood. They asked him to call immediately if I felt like pushing and they would just double park.
Josh was a little perplexed at their repeated insistence about this. My last labor was 30 hours. Josh was like, we've got loads of time!
T ran her equipment in and went back out to continue the search for parking. I got out of the bath to pee. I found that it felt really good to lean over our big vanity in the bathroom. I just hung out there for a while, while Josh rubbed my back.
A little after 6:00, T and R had successfully parked and arrived. T listened to the baby through a contraction and for a bit after and said he sounded great. I asked her to check me and she found me to be 7 cm! The tub was full and Josh had turned down the lights and lit candles. I turned on the playlist I had made on my iPod that was docked on the stereo. I got in the birth pool and it felt amazing. I leaned over the side and drifted in to deep labor land. T and R unpacked and set up their equipment and had Josh fetch various things for them, but I was mostly oblivious.
At some point I got out of the tub to pee. Do most women just pee in the pool? Because if I were to ever do this again (I won't!), I think I would just piss in the tub.The walk to the bathroom felt a million miles long and the contractions outside of the water, after having been in the water, were overwhelming to say the least. It was the only time I yelled or cursed during the labor. I yelled, "Shit!" With each of the three or so contractions that hit while out of the tub.
I got back in the pool and my calm returned and within moments I felt like pushing. With the next contraction my body started pushing. T and R could both tell from the sounds I was making that I was pushing and they put on gloves and pointed a flashlight in to the tub. Josh later reported being confused about why they were doing what they were doing; in his mind the birth was still hours away.
I had a moment of panic after that first pushing contraction, wondering if I should have T check me again to make sure I was complete. Before I could finish that thought, another contraction hit and I felt the baby's head come down in to my vagina and that solved that dilemma! I pushed two or three times through three contractions total and our baby (boy!!!) was born at 7:17, less than 4 hours after my water broke!
He started crying right away and proceeded to cry for about 45 minutes. He seemed furious about it all. I pushed out the placenta maybe 15 minutes later and then gave the baby to my husband so I could get out of the tub and in to bed.
My last midwife abandoned me at 45 minutes postpartum and behaved in an extremely cold and uncaring manner. T was so loving and kind to me. She helped me out of the tub, walked with her arm around me to my bedroom, took a towel that had been warmed on a heating pad and gently dried me off and then tucked me in to bed (from the waist up, at least, she still needed to examine me). It absolutely brought tears to my eyes, and still does, to have been cared for so warmly.
Josh brought our son to me, where he continued to squall. After some time he settled down and latched on and stayed latched for an hour!
During that time, Josh made some pizza, we called friends and family, and T and R cleaned up. That was another issue leftover from my last birth: our apartment was Trashed after the birth, absolutely trashed. Josh spent hours cleaning up. With this birth, by the time the midwives left the only evidence of the birth was the baby.
We all ate some pizza and then the midwives did a newborn exam on the newly named Darwin. We were all completely dumbfounded when he weighed in at 9 lb. 12 oz. I had measured right on throughout the pregnancy and he honestly didn't look that big when he came out. I almost wondered if her scale was not working correctly or something until we went to the ped later that week and he was just a few ounces under the birth weight measured by T.
Around 11:30, T and R said their goodbyes to us and Josh, Darwin and I settled in to bed, marveling at our fast, easy, wonderful birth and our beautiful new son.
Wow. Beautiful story! Our first birth was a homebirth, and while it did not end in a transfer, it was not a great experience. Homebirth doctors not caring for me throughout as I would expect and poor aftercare. So I understand completely what you were talking about! I'm so glad that changed this time around for you! We're hoping for a better experience this time too... Enjoy your month old babe!
Me (30) and DH (30), DS (7/1/08), DD (12/1/11) and expecting a new little boy end of January 2015!
We also had a HB but not in a birth tub. Our house has an old jacuzzi tub where I labored. I peed in it a few times. A few times I vomited and many times.dry.heaved, and when things were coming out my.mouth it was much easier to pee. Especially while vomiting. I also peed when I got out of tub on the toilet but every time I sat on the toilet I'd get a contraction. Going to the bathroom is supposed to.be a relief!
Anyway, thank you for sharing your beautiful birth story.
Wonderful story! Worth waiting for. Darwin is an awesome name! I'm so happy that things went so quickly yet also gently. And you had great care.
I pooped but didn't pee anywhere but in the toilet. I pooped a couple of times--no biggie!
Making a March 9th sandwich with a Halloween filling.
thanks for writing this and sharing it. I can relate to it taking forever to get the story written with older kids in your life.
and what a lovely story it is, I am so glad you got to have such good care and such a great experience for this third birth.
dissertating mom to three