The birth of Genesis Rose (Gigi)
My due date was June 1st 2011. This was my 6th pregnancy, 3rd planned homebirth. I secretly wanted a UC and even prepared for one until I finally secured my midwife at 33 weeks and with DH showing signs of not fully liking the idea of another homebirth for whatever reason, I didn't push it and just didn't give UC another thought. Okay, well actually I daydreamed about it a lot, like baby coming too quickly so we didn't have a choice. How often does that really happen though? Still, I could dream.
I had been having some prodromal labor for the last two weeks which was completely normal for me as I had it with the last 3. Baby being posterior just like the last three probably didn't help. I had managed to ecape back labor all 3 other times and was hoping this time would be the same. Perhaps, that is why I didn't worry about positioning too much after she turned from breech to vertex at 36 weeks.
After one scare of not feeling her move for 12 hours, and another of labor staring one night and not being able to reach my midwife until the next morning when labor had just completely stopped, I was ready to have this baby already.
Saturday the 4th, I had taken 2 tbs of castor oil just to kind of get cleaned out and maybe, kick start some contractions. The last time I had taken such a small amount I didn't even get diarrhea so I didn't think it would do much. By 9pm that night contractions were about 5 mins apart but tolerable. Surely this wasn't actual labor because at 5 mins apart, they are supposed to hurt worse. Then I remembered that mine always start really close and just get more intense. Pretty soon I was feeling them deep and low. They were those deep pelvis squishing kind. Thats when I first tried the midwife. No luck. As time went on and they got worse, me being here alone with a toddler since DH was out that night for his sister's B-day (but in constant communication through text) I was getting antsy. I kept telling DH that I was fine and he didn't have to come home but secretly I wondered. The pager number listed on midwife's voicemail came up "out of service" and soon, her phone stopped ringing at all and kept going stright to voicemail. Now I was aggrivated and nervous. I never got her that night but took a long hot bath and the contractions subsided. I got to sleep after DH got home around 2:30. Around 5:00 am they woke me up again. Off to the bath one more time. I managed more sleep and woke up to a calm uterus. As relieved as I was, I was just as annoyed at the realisticness of this "false labor". I blamed myself and the use of even such a small amount of castor oil. After all, that had to be it.
As the days went on, I noticed a very slow progression of things such as finally losing little shreds of mucus there and there, increased BH contractions and baby decending lower and lower into the pelvis making walking downright painful.
Tuesday the 7th, something just felt "right" about going into labor. I told DH I think this is the night. I have no clue why, there were no physical signs of anything more than what I had been having at that point but I just felt good about it. At the same time, I told myself, even if I go the full two weeks and a few days late, that is still right around the corner so I may as well just enjoy the anticipation. I did wake up with liquid stools again, but at this point, it was less than promising as it was nothing new. Also had a few sporatic contraction throughout the morning but nothing to even pause over.
I decided I enjoyed torturing myself and took a tbs of castor oil again around 1 pm. I was so uncomfortable as baby was so low and posterior at this point that I was having pretty bad sciatic pain shoot down my left leg and buttocks. By 4 pm, the castor oil hadn't even produced a bowel movement so I went for my 2nd and decidedly last tbs of the icky stuff. By 6 pm, at least it was once again causing a few minor contractions here and there, even if they weren't regular. I called my mom to come over and just help out for a little while and have dinner with me since DH was working the evening shift and I was having a few contractions. Neither of us got too excited. She knows the drill.
We watched a movie and I tried timing the contractions I was having but they were very irregular and each one was different in intensity. They ranged from 3 to 20 mins apart, lasting 30 seconds to 2 minutes, a few having double peaks. A few would be strong enough to have to focus on, others barely noticeable. I called the midwife and she believes the start and stop dance my body was doing was from malpositioning, a nuchal hand, a a cord around neck, but probably the posterior position keeping baby from applying the pressure the cervix to get it going. She suggested open knee and chest positioning with some pelvic tilts to help. I didn't bother immediately, I just went back to the movie and the pains fizzled yet again. I told my mom she could go ahead and go home because nothing was going on really. DH who wasn't due to be home until 12 got home early around 9:30. For the past month or so I have had the usual pregnancy insomnia and DH of course is blessed enough to be able to fall asleep the moment his head hits the pillow. Tonight however, I didn't bother getting the remote, I was strangely tired and passed right out.
...And the excitement begins
Woke up about two hours later around quarter to 1 am. Just another pee trip that would require great effort and planning since my SPD was practically dibilitating and rolling out of bed was a near impossible feat. After walking like I had two broken hips to the bathroom, I peed and waddled back to the bed. Instead of trying to ease back in, I just did a little hop and twist to get into position. I had done this a few times and realized that the quicker I moved, the less it hurt for some reason. However, when I got into position and put my handy pillow betweeen my knees, I noticed I had some horrible pain. It felt at first like a combination or a contraction and a pulled round ligament. I assumed the quick movement triggered more of the contractions from earlier. I moaned and grunted in aggrivation through it and expected it to go away like usual. However, it didn't. It would go away for a few moments, then come back. I figured I must still be in a bad position. (This is where it's obvious I am at that point where I have given in to perpetual prodromal labor and am in denial this could be real.)
I soon gave up on finding the position that would make it stop and knew I had to do the hot bath treatment for my irritated uterus again. Surely, then I would be able to get some sleep. I filled the tub, contracting all the while and when it was deep enough, laid on my side to get as much of the warmth over my belly as possible. It did seem like some of the intensity subsided but unlike all of the other times, they didn't stop. I had enough sense to bring my cell into the bathroom with me and by now (only 10 mins had passed) I was worried it was real. I was feeling so out of control that I didn't even care if it was a false alarm, I was calling the midwife. I had been hesitant the past incidence of false labor as I am always so concerned about inconveniencing others. I didn't care this time.
Would you believe she didn't answer? I called back 4 times. I didn't panic. Surely, she was just slow to wake and get back to me. Sure enough, she called right back after the 4th time. I told her how I got up to go pee, got back in bed and the pain started and they just keep coming. She told me she started dressing as soon as the phone rang and it was me, she knew it would happen fast and she was on her way.
I yelled for DH from the bathroom but with our loud AC on in the bedroom he couldn't hear me and I couldn't move. The contractions were right on top of one another. Finally I let out this weird animalistic yell that happened to sound like his name and I heard him answering in question. I yelled for him to "help me" and he came in and asked how. "I don't know!" is all I could say and I wouldn't be able to answer another question until it was over.
I did manage to tell him to fill the pool. Thank goodness that day I had super nesting kick in and had attached the hose, put the other end in the pool, and all the had to do was turn the knob to "hot". I guess subconciously I knew this was the day and instinct told me I needed to prepare since DH isn't as quick under pressure. Had I not set it all up, we never would have gotten it filled in time.
Though all he had to do was turn on the knob, he still managed to need to ask me 4 or 5 questions to which I became highly irritated and could only say "I don't know, just fill the pool!" Meanwhile I leaned over the sink in the bathroom and opened my eyes after another contraction to see my iphone laying there. Of course, I had still to call my mother. I call and she answers (a little after 1 am) as if she was wide away and it was mid day. "Are you in labor?" she asked. "I think so." My mom jokes even now about my uncertainty despite the pain I was in. A week or two of false alarms and prodromal labor will do that to ya.
Within 2 more minutes, the water was flowing into the pool and I jumped in. I sat there through several more contractions that rocked my entire existance. I tried to remember the technique I had found so useful during my last birth of just relaxing every muscle in my body instead of bracing for it and tensing up. I even added some visual imagery to the mix, or tried to. Each contraction though was like a huge chalkboard eraser wiping away every pretty scene I put together in my mind. Instead of escaping from it, I had to join it. I had to become deeply aware of everything that was going on in my body and found I was "coaching" myself internally. "Just relax, let it happen, it will be over in a moment, don't fight it" my own internal midwife chanted softly to me.
I was laying back in the pool against the built in seat and the moment I was in between contractions, I decided to check myself. Yes, I was still scared this wasn't real or that it was but it was already this intense and I was no where near close to being finished. I reached right inside and felt a bulging bag surrounded by just a centimenter of very thin cervix around it. Not sure whatever happened to that mucus plug or spotting, or any other signs of dilation but it was definitely happening anyway. Okay, so finally, I had no doubts. This seems silly to me now.
After each wave of pain, I could return for a few brief seconds to reality and communicate again. I yelled at one point that the water got too hot and was burning me so I jumped to the side and leaned over the edge. He quickly adjusted the temp. I automatically assumed I would deliver on my knees leaning over the side since that it was worked last time. Semi-reclining in the pool just didn't give me the same sense of control.
Before even getting up to the side, I had noticed that with each contraction, there was this slight relief that was brought if I sort of pushed with each. Not actual full blown pushing, but the effort it takes to pee, just relaxing the pelvic floor but with a slight push. Again, just like if you were peeing. I knew that meant something.
Sometime during the next contraction my midwife must have called and either my mom or DH talked to her because as I came back to reality again, they told me she was about 15 minutes away but the birth assistant would be there in 5 or so. However, with the last contraction, I could already feel that start of the "feeling pushy" phase. In my experience, within 2-5 minutes of that first feeling, baby is out.
"The baby is going to be here before her then!" I said. My mother and DH just stood there and watched me from the side of the pool. With the start of the next contraction, I felt the head nearing the perinium. I held back from pushing full force though and just gave little controlled pushes. I am not even sure why. I don't think I conciously decided to do it, my instincts just took over. With the next though, I was pushing and supporting the head not to come out too fast. There was no time for the "ring of fire" as she was just barreling out and I was managing somehow to control it somewhat. Within seconds the head was all the way out. I had a much needed moment of pause and felt the very thick membranes and just wiped at them but they felt much to strong to break. I couldn't speak to DH or my mother who were still just standing there watching me. I wondered if they could see the head was out. I almost tried to give another push but it felt wrong and I could tell the shoulders hadn't rotated yet.
I had so many thoughts rushing through my head at once. Should I tell my mother to jump in and catch? Last time my midwife had been behind me the moment I said baby was coming and she delivered her. I was on my own this time though. Then I remembered that the baby shot out so fast from my body last time, the midwife didn't actually catch but had to back up and scoop him out of the water. Of course! I was in water. No one had to catch, the water would do it. Not that they asked, but I just held my hands up and told her and DH to "Just stay right there!" They had made to attempts to move though.
My mother craned her head to see behind me and said "Oh what's that?" I assumed she noticed the head, but instead, quickly answered herself with "Oh, that's poop." I just yelled "And? It happens!" Leave it to my mom who is known for her diarhea of the mouth, haha. With that, I felt for the first time in all my births, the rotation of the baby inside of me and I instantly pushed again and felt each of the shoulders dislodge. I believe I never noticed this before because I had a midwife there who was in charge of getting baby out and would have told me to stop pushing or whatever had there been an issue. My only job was surviving the pain. I was on my own this time though and had to be keenly aware of myself instead.
I no longer had my hands there supporting the baby but held on to the side of the pool. I didn't think to check for a cord or anything, she just shot out in the same fashion as her brother had and I quickly turned and lifted my leg over the cord in one swift movement and scooped her up from the water and brought her to my chest. "What do we do?" my mom asked me. I started barking orders firmly but calmly asking for a recieving blanket which I immersed in the pool of warm water then covered her back with it.
There she was. That same purplish pink babies are in that first minute after birth. She gurgled a bit and was already breathing. She sounded like she had a bit of mucus in her airways but for some reason, my mom couldn't find any of the 3 bulb syringes I had around the house even though I know I put on in the birth kit. She had a head full of black hair. I was filled instantly with smug pride at finally having the UC, however unintentional, that I had always dreamed about. I then saw the membranes floating in the water like a large deflated balloon. They were indeed thick and my water didn't actually break until after her shoulders were delivered and only then because the placenta was still attached to the uterus but the baby had pulled the bag out so as she shot out, the membranes broke away and she carried them with her when she flew out. I lifted them up and felt them and they were so different from my past placentas. These membranes (the actual bag that held baby) weren't thin and fragil feeling but actually felt strong as a latex balloon. Strange.
Contractions soon started back up though very muted compared to the ones that brought forth my daughter. They were painful though so I asked my mother for 800 mg of ibuprofen and took it before the placenta was even delivered. I tried giving little pushes but was very cautious. I had a prolapse and a postpartum hemmorhage last time and was determined not to have either this time. I had about three contractions, each more painful than the previous when I felt the urge to push again. It was also very mild compared to the supernatural force which was the previous urge to push.
I gave a good steady push and felt it sliding right out. It didn't rise the surface though and I tried scooping it up and felt deja vu. It was still connected by membranes on the inside. I couldn't believe this happened again. This is what happened last time and it took 15 minutes of "coughing" and getting on a birth stool, to detatch it and then I bled. A lot. I asked my mom to call the midwife but she couldn't figure out my iphone and I grabbed it from her. I told her about the retained membranes just like last time and she instructed me to do a lot of coughing to try and get them out and that the birth assistant was at my apartment complex but didn't know which building was mine. I told her the number and got off the phone. Coughing did nothing so I decided to just let the assistant help me when she came inside. I kept watching the water get darker and darker but still felt fine so I wasn't too concerned.
The assistant, Kristie, was in within another minute and asked about time of birth and we all realized we forgot to check. However, it had only been 5 minutes or so since the birth and based off the time I noted when going to the bathroom and time I called midwife, we realized I had only labored 30 mintues and she was born approximately 1:30 am.
Kristie had me stand while holding baby and supported the placenta in the pain with chux. She had the give a few good coughs while pushing at the same time and within 2 little coughs, it plopped right out and we moved me and baby to the bed and we nursed instantly. Midwife arrived then and they decided to delay all exams after just giving my bleeding, perinium, and baby a once over, and just let us nurse while she was still in her quiet alert phase that comes right after birth. No tears, skidmarks, or anything. I wasn't even swollen. My bleeding was minimal, though I kept asking midwife to check me after each little gush I felt. I was so paranoid about bleeding again. She noted that I wasn't even swollen. Also that baby didn't have any molding what so ever. I guess there was no time.
An hour later, baby started getting sleepy and she started the newborn exam where she realized she still hadn't cut the cord. I was hoping that this wouldn't cause the horrible jaundice we had with my last, since the jury is still out on whether delayed clamping is connected to jaundice. We had to guess on apgar scores based on my opinions of her upon delivery. She was quite fussy and still wanted to be suckling on something. She already had that intense sucking need just like her brother who also couldn't get through the newborn exam without my finger in his mouth. She was abolutely perfect. DH joked about her complextion as she was so much lighter than out last. She looked completely caucasian, where her brother, had been quite a bit darker at birth. I reminded DH that with parents of two different races, it's a genetic lottery and sarcastically appologized for my strong genes. He laughed and then commented how much she looked just like her brother..."The white version". He thinks he is funny.
I got up and got to pee and get a bit cleaned up. As I re-entered the room, the warm, rusty smell of blood hung heavy in the air with the birth pool still full. The midwives couldn't get the siphon to work and one more time, DH had to empty the nasty pool bucket by bucket. He still shudders remembering last time. I felt so bad for him knowing how much he hated this. The midwife did had a sump pump but the other birth assistant had it. He said he saw this coming and just shook his head and dutifully got to work.
Besides peeling and flaking like crazy, she is perfect. I left my birth in God's hands this time and prayed that I would have an amazing birth this being my last and secretly hoped for a UC but with DH not being on board with that, and not willing to go against him and sacrifice having his support when I needed it most, I left it up to God. I suppose he answered my prayers. I am so glad DH agreed to let me HB again though we had to pay out of pocket when insurance would have covered a hospital birth for free. I know he will never understand why it was so important to me, but he agreed all the same. I would not have made it to the hospital and would have either had a roadside baby, or a UC with no supplies here and no nice birth pool for that awesome waterbirth. I can't wait for her to get older and tell her her amazing story.
born 1:30 am
Wednesday, June 8th
8lbs 12 oz
19.5 in long
mama to the Brady bunch 3 boys, 3 girls.
DS Jan '02, DD Jan '04, DD Oct '05, DS Spt '07, DS Jan '10, DD Jun '11 Our
Wonderful story!! I really liked how you talked about knowing that you were on your own and being very aware of what was happening inside you. Congratulations on your UC! She's beeyootiful!
Maria , wife to A , mama to DS M 8/09 and DS L 6/12
Everything will be ok in the end. If it's not ok, then it's not the end - Paolo Coelho