A bit of background: Before I had Elliott, I had been a doula for about 5 years and a Hypnobabies instructor for about 3 years. We struggled with infertility that whole time so there was such mystery to me surrounding childbirth, even though I worked in the field and loved my job. I always hoped I would be able to experience pregnancy and childbirth but didn’t know for sure if I would get the opportunity. When we finally got pregnant on our 5th attempt at IVF, the first thing I remember thinking was, “I’m going to finally give birth to a baby.” I had a perfectly healthy, although physically difficult pregnancy, dealing with nausea the entire 40 weeks.
I was due on January 28th, the day before my 35th birthday and on Feb 1st, I still had no signs of my birthing time beginning. My brother and his wife called to see if there was anything going on and I told them there was nothing – not a single birthing wave. But I was fine waiting for the baby to come whenever he or she was ready. I was 40 weeks and 4 days and agreed to a non-stress test at 41 weeks so that’s the only thing I was dreading a little. Otherwise, I was completely fine waiting. I remember looking at the clock when I got off the phone with them and it was 9:30pm. I felt my pelvis ache when I got off the phone but it passed. I asked my husband if he would read me a Hypnobabies script. I had been mostly listening to the scripts on CD during the maintenance phase of the program. But I loved hearing him read the scripts to me more than listening to them on CD so I was glad he agreed to read me one. It had been a while since we had done that. We probably finished the script at about 10:30 pm. I remember feeling my pelvis ache twice during the script. After the script was over, we turned out the lights and I had another ache in my pelvis that came and went. I didn’t think anything of these aches because they felt nothing like how anyone had ever described birthing waves to me. To me, it felt like someone was tightening a vice on my pelvic bones. I just figured it was pregnancy discomfort, as I was pretty miserable towards the end of my pregnancy. Then I had another sensation and decided to look at the clock, just to see if there was a pattern. It was 10:59. Another one at 11:09. Then around 11:25. Then 11:34. I got up to use the bathroom and had some bloody show. I hadn’t had any spotting throughout my pregnancy so that was definitely different. I came back to bed and told DH that I thought someone might be starting. He went back to sleep and I spent the next half-hour or so just sending my anesthesia to my pelvis and relaxing through the waves. I got up a little after midnight to call the midwife and give her a head’s up, even though I felt silly for calling her so soon. I went back to bed and relaxed through the waves and got up a few times to use the bathroom, only to see more bloody show. I called the midwife back around 3am to tell her the waves were still coming and seemed stronger and closer together. I tried to wait as long as I could to wake up DH but after I called the midwife, I woke him up and told him I thought I needed some help. The midwife said to try a bath so DH ran a bath for me. I got in and laid on my side and he put the CD player in the bathroom so that I could listen to my Birthing Day Affirmations while he rubbed my lower back, as I was starting to feel discomfort in that area along with my pelvis. Then I would turn on my other side for a while and do the same thing. I felt like I was relaxing very well and just saying, “Ahhhh,” during every wave. At that point, I was making noise because it felt good. I decided to get out of the bath after an hour or so and tried a few birthing waves leaning over the side of our bed and on my hands and knees. Around 5am, we called the midwife again. She asked if I wanted someone to come be with me but I told her I could call her back in an hour. I called her back in 45 minutes! I told her I probably needed someone to come check on me, as things weren’t slowing down at all. I realized now that I was making noise because I HAD to. I had DH call my mom and tell her to come (she had about an hour drive) and to call my fellow Hypnobabies instructor, Susan, who was going to be at the birth. I wondered before the birth how I would feel about having people around me while I was in my birthing time but in that moment, all I knew is that I wanted all the help I could get! My mom thought we were going to call her back later to tell her to definitely come but when DH told me this, I told him to call her back and tell her to definitely come now! It seems like everyone got to the house around 7 or 7:30. I can’t remember who got there first but by that time, the midwife’ assistant and Susan were there, faces smiling knowingly at me! The midwife’s assistant asked it I wanted to be checked and I told her I wasn’t sure because I was worried I wouldn’t be very far along. I asked her what she thought and she said she thought it would be a good idea to see where I was. So she checked me around 7:45 or so and I was 6cm! I had never been so happy as I was to hear that! My birth team started getting the birth pool set up and DH rubbed my back and butt through each birthing wave. I finally got in around 8:30 or so. I hung over the edge of the pool and the water felt so good. I had little bites of bagel and cream cheese in between birthing waves and plenty of water. DH, Susan, and my mom were all surrounding me. I was still breathing deeply and Ahhh’ing through the birthing waves. I felt like I got louder and louder as the intensity of the waves built up. But I was focused on relaxing. Pretty soon, I started to feel my body bear down and I let the midwife’s assistant know. She called the midwife to give her an update. They were trying to figure out if she should leave the third-time mom she was currently with or stay with her. So the midwife’s assistant asked me to get out of the tub to get checked, so they could make a decision. I was fully dilated and it was about 9:00am. I got back in the tub and they called the backup midwife, who was about 45 minutes away. The midwife’s assistant told me to still try not to push but let my body do the work. I think that was partly because she wanted the backup midwife to get there but mainly to just allow for a gentle second stage. I was a little confused about what I should be doing so I tried not to add to my pushing but my body was definitely pushing. It was getting harder to try and relax but I felt where the baby was inside of me and I could feel that he or she was making progress downward so that was inspiring! At one point, I felt a little pop inside and I think that was the hindwaters releasing because I could still feel the forewaters very taut around the baby’s head. The was so much pressure that I thought about asking the midwife’s assistant to break the forewaters but right when I was thinking that, she said how good it was that they were there to protect the baby’s head. The midwife’s assistant let me know that the baby would be crowing in the next few birthing waves. I don’t remember feeling a ring of fire – just intense pressure as he or she crowned and I let out my only shriek as the baby’s head came out, although I had to be told that that’s what had just happened. The baby didn’t wait for the next birthing wave but came out all at once instead. The midwife said, “There’s the baby,” and nudged him or her between my legs. I turned around quickly and brought the baby up out of the water as I sat down. I looked and said, “Oh! It’s a boy!” He was making noises and had a great heart rate. DH said, “You caught him yourself!” We couldn’t believe we were holding our baby boy after waiting so long for him and that everything had gone so smoothly!
4 years and 5 IVF cycles in the making, Elliott was born at home in water on 2/2/11.
Congratulations! What a great birth.
Alicia, wife to an loving and faithful DH, and mama to three fantastic though nutty children (cs, then a fast HBAC, then a fast VBAC!!). Planning a third VBAC, again at home, in February 2016.
I love this story. It's sweet, and peaceful, and beautiful. Congrats on your baby boy!
Wife to DH , mom to DS (4/09), and DD (8/11), and crafty and hardworking in my own right! In my parenting journey I've , , , , and. To each family their own!!
"There are words for people like me, but I don't think there are very many."
Thank you for sharing your storie, Jamie! Elliott's birth will always bring tears of joy to my eyes. You were amazing in your strength and peace as you worked with him and Jeff to become a family. I am truly blessed to have had the honor of witnessing your transformation to a family.
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