Tessa Ann Dodson arrived at 1:45 pm on Friday, September 23rd, 2011. She weighs 8.1 and measures 21" long.
Another homebirth... it's amazing. I feel so blessed to have been able to provide our babies such peaceful births and our family such amazing opportunities to witness God's miracle in action. This would be our 5th birth, 4th homebirth, 3rd up/uc (unassisted prenatal/unassisted childbirth) and our first daughter. If you love to read birth stories, you can read our first uc with Cougar here, http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1076565/solo-uc-waterbirth#post_13661934_Cougar
and our 2nd uc with Cannon here, http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1149284/cannon-christian-s-uc-waterbirth
Contractions woke me up at 2 am on Friday morning. I was not anticipating a birth this early in my pregnancy, my last birth came almost 4 weeks beyond this point. I had been having decent contractions for the last few weeks, so I was hoping these ones would dissipate like the others had because we had a busy few days ahead of us; our homeschool co-op all day on Friday, my 9 yr old's football game on Saturday, lunch planned with friends Saturday afternoon, birthday plans for my 11 yr old Saturday night, a dirtbike race on Sunday and gymnastics on Monday! The only bonus about a birth on Friday was that my husband came home from work a day early (Thursday night) and would be able to be there for the birth and the rest of the weekend. Apparently him being there was the only cue my body needed to start labor.
I was timing contractions on contractionmaster.com and they were only 3 minutes apart, that was a little alarming since I still had so much to do, luckily they were onlly 30 sec long for several hours which allowed me the time I needed to clean the livingroom and kitchen, bring in the hose, pull out and organize my birth supplies and recheck all my checklists.
By 6 am I was getting pretty tired. I thought that since the contractions weren't that intense, maybe they'd space out a little if I went and laid down, possibly catching up on some badly needed rest before the big event. I laid down until 7 when my husband woke up, no sleep for me. He met me in the hallway asking, "Are we having a baby today?" It was really a rhetorical question and his way of being funny, the scene in the livingroom made it quite obvious I was planning on welcoming a baby into our home that day. When I was up earlier, I couldn't figure out how to attach the hose to the kitchen sink to begin filling the birth pool so he got started on that. When my oldest son, Caine, woke up to start getting ready for school, he found me and said, "Why is there a pool in the livingroom???" I asked him if he wanted to stay home for the birth that day and he said no, I wasn't surprised, babies aren't really his thing. Then Al and I went to wake up our next oldest, Cassius, to see if he wanted to try to get a ride to our homeschooling co-op or stay home and wait for the birth. He LOVES babies so I was, again, not surprised when he said he *did* want to stay home for the birth. I encouraged him to go anyway thinking it would be well into the evening before we had a baby and that it would be a long day of waiting for him. But he insisted on staying home and I'm so glad he did or he would have missed it!
Al tried to keep the 3 boys that stayed home busy (Cannon 2 yrs, Cougar 5 yrs, and Cassius 9 yrs) so I could labor alone. Al did great, but I had lots of visits from my littlest one throughout the day. He seemed curious, we explained the baby was coming and that was good enough for him to go on about his business and check back later.
I made my way around the house, laboring in my bed, laboring in Caine's bed, in the livingroom chair, on the couch, and finally by 11 am, I could wait no longer. I told Al to finish filling the birth pool so I could labor in there. Once I got in the water, the contractions slowed down a lot, one of the downsides of laboring in water. But in this case, the break was very much welcome and I took the opportunity to take a few little cat naps resting my head on the edge of the pool in between contractions. Once I was feeling rested up a bit more, I got out to speed contractions back up. I was still pretty tired, however, so I just laid on the couch next to the pool wrapped in a towel. When I couldn't tolerate that anymore, I got back in the water and stayed there until the birth. My contractions were super strong by that point, but there was still a big gap of time in between them, I'm guessing maybe 4-5 minutes apart. I kept thinking that I should reposition or try walking around to speed things up, but I was just zapped for energy and stayed put instead. I was also quite discouraged that I had not lost my mucous plug yet, something that had always happened for me before contractions even started. My water had always broke before as well, once with a big gush before contractions started with my first birth and the others were just a trickle of water prompting contractions, but always early in labor. Neither of those had happened yet and I was beginning to wonder whether I wasn't as far along as I thought. Then I started getting all the crazy thoughts that come during transition, right before the pushing stage... 'maybe I have 12 more hours of this, maybe the baby is transverse (sideways) and I'll have to transfer to the hospital, maybe we should call the midwife I had lined up for backup care...' and then the next contraction my body started pushing. I just have to laugh because this train of thought is so typical during transition and I've experienced it with every birth, but it always freaks me out when those thoughts start running through my head. That's when I know it's time to pray for guidance and wisdom. I decided to wait for one more contraction before making any hasty decisions and that was all it took for my body to tell me it was time to push this baby out. My vocalizing turned into small grunts, which in the next contraction turned into bigger grunts and just as I started to feel the pressure of my bones moving apart within a few more contractions, I felt a huge POP and the baby move down significantly. My water had broke! More confirmation that things are going along just like they're supposed to. I reached down and felt a couple inches of what seemed like the top of a baby's hairy head, but it's always hard to tell with all the squishiness. The next contraction came and didn't let up until her head was completely out. I took a quick breath and told Al it was time to go get the boys and within a few seconds the next contraction was here. While Al stepped out of the room to tell the boys, her whole body came in one looooong push and I could feel her under the water reaching for me with her tiny fingers. As I was lifting her up out of the water, the boys came in with Al. Right away Al asked if we had a boy or a girl, I told him I didn't know and I was too tired to check. After a few minutes of just watching and marveling, I lifted her up out of the water and Cassius said we had a girl. We were all a little dumbfounded, I really thought we'd have another boy. But we were delighted, of course, and talked for a couple minutes with the boys about having a sister now. I had her wrapped in a wet blanket and a hat and was trying my best to keep her body down in the warm water, but the placenta didn't seem to be coming too quickly so I had Al help us out of the water onto the couch. We waited there patiently for the placenta, talking and videotaping. The cord was pretty short so I couldn't move her up past my lap and I was hunched over trying to hold her. I wanted to wait at least a few hours to cut the cord, even Al encouraged me to wait, but we were approaching 45 minutes since the birth and still no placenta. I know that this is still in the normal time frame for a placenta to deliver, but for me they've always come easily within 10 minutes. I was starting to feel a little lightheaded and knew I'd continue to lose blood until the placenta came. I made the decision to cut the cord in order to hand the baby off to Cassius so Al and I could work on getting the placenta out. Al asked Cassius if he'd like to cut the cord, but he declined, lol. Afterward I was able to stand up and push a little to see if the placenta had detached, nothing. I was losing a lot of clots and feeling worse by the minute, so I had Al call the backup midwife and explain what was going on. She recommended some gentle cord traction while pushing on my uterus. I tried that and got nothing. We called her again and she said to try pulling a little harder, but carefully. I had the cord wrapped around my hand a couple times for leverage since it was so slippery, I was pushing on my uterus with one hand and pulling the cord with the other. Then I felt something tear in the cord and knew I had to ease up a little. I had Al standing in front of me to help keep me standing upright, I kept bearing down and finally with some more cord traction it plopped out onto the floor - right next to Al's bare foot. I thought he would die from horror. I sat back down and inspected it thoroughly, it seemed to be completely intact and judging from passing hardly any blood clots since the birth, I'm guessing I was right. Finally I could get in the shower and clean up! Al held the baby while I dressed and made it to the bed. I made some phone calls and pretty much stayed in bed the rest of the day. I thought I'd go right to sleep based on how tired I was during labor, but my adrenaline got the best of me and I didn't sleep a wink.
Today she is 3 days old and she just lost her cord stump! The recovery after this birth has been so much better than my last birth, what a relief. I'm still having a normal amount of contractions, but not the debilitating ones that radiate all across my back and knock the wind out of me. I haven't felt lightheaded at all like before. I'm still needing to rest quite a bit, but at least I can get up and leave the bedroom. I'm feeling better every day, my milk has arrived and Tessa is one happy baby when her belly is full.
Thanks for reading and God bless,
Congratulations! What a great story!
SAHM to Abraham (9) Gillian (5) Adrienne (3) and baby boy coming in October!
Always missing our Gianna, lost during fullterm labor (8/23/04)
Sticking together through the good and the bad with dh of 10 yrs!
Love the story! Congrats!!!
I must say, I'm terrified of cord traction, actually I'm also terrified of trying to make the placenta come out when it's not "ready" after both of my uc's (which followed a d&c and I feel caused scar tissue that made my placenta "stick to it) I had retained placenta and though I felt I just needed to stand up and let the gravity pull it out my mom always freaked me out and fear took hold that I would tear my uterus and hemorrhage!