While my sweet baby boy lies beside me I realize that the best time to write his birth story is one day after his birthday. The memories are fresh, raw and so surreal. I am posting this on his 2 week birthday. :) Hubby and I had been planning a home birth from the beginning – before we ever got pregnant, in fact. It was never something we had to discuss much, strangely enough it was almost a given for both of us. Two standard, hospital born babies just knew they wanted to do it the old fashioned way.
On Tuesday night, when I was a mere 38 weeks and 6 days, I began leaking small gushes of fluid throughout the night. I only got up twice to check but affirmed that it wasn’t pee, but a sweet almost chlorine smelling clear liquid that could only be amniotic fluid. That and the fact that it was coming from my vagina and definitely not my urethra. J I called my midwife the next morning to let her know, and she told me she would come check on my late that afternoon. That day my sister and I went to run errands, picking up groceries mostly, and she kept telling me to stock up, that I could be having a baby soon. I was clearly in denial – I hardly bought anything – even with the gushes continuing as I walked through the stores. Went home later, rested, and our midwife came over around 5:30 to confirm that my waters were leaking – meaning labor could start at anytime or not for a few days. I knew I didn’t want to wait around for the slim chance that I would have to be induced in a hospital if labor didn’t start on its own, so that night I began researching some acupressure points to get labor going and hoped for the best. I pressed some points, rocked on my birth ball and sat on the midwife’s birth chair she had left for me.
After a yummy dinner that night, I went to bed only to wake up to mild contractions a couple hours later. At around 1am they were too hard to sleep through so I timed them, noticing that they were pretty consistently 15 minutes apart. I got up, went downstairs, lit some candles and paced. I cleaned the kitchen a bit too, but mostly paced. They then became 10 minutes apart and I realized I needed to rest, so I went back to bed and slept between them. I got back up around 3am, realized that I needed some counter pressure on my lower back to work through them, so I finally woke my husband up at about 5:30. We lay around a little more and got up for the day at 7, and at that point they were 8 minutes apart and getting stronger. I decided to call my sister who was going to be my doula to let her know what was happening and she came right over, helping us clean and time the contractions. Around 9am they were 5 minutes apart, for an hour, lasting a minute, so we called our midwife who came over shortly after.
To be honest, from then on time is a bit blurry to me. I paced the house, walked around outside, got in the shower, laid down, and basically worked through contractions the best I could. At some point my mom came over, and her and my sister and husband worked together making a great birth team. I got my first vaginal exam I think around 2pm, because I felt ready to get into the birth tub. She checked me, listened to his heart, and then leaned down to my face and told me he was posterior, and I was 5 centimeters. She told me later I was actually only 4.5, but she didn’t want me to feel defeated. At that point I didn’t feel disappointed that I wasn’t dilated enough to get in the tub, but had a bit of tension around him being posterior. All pregnancy long he had floated between posterior and anterior and I just wanted him to stay put. My whole life I have heard my mom tell my birth story, where I came out posterior, and she recalls this pain vividly even today. I think I carried some fear around that.
My mw then told me that we needed to start doing some exercises and techniques to try and turn him. I was open to anything at that point, so instead of getting in the tub she had me lay on my hands and knees with my bottom in air and face in the bed. I did that for at least 30 minutes, through very intense contractions, holding my husband and mom’s hand through all of them. After each contraction I was very nauseous, and threw up a smoothie I had drank earlier that day. My mw then told me I could get up and suggested I get in the shower and do some side lunges onto a stool through contractions, which did not sound like something I would be able to stand, but I did it, with my husband spraying water on my belly and back through every contraction. At this point, I cried. I looked into my husband’s eyes and told him I was scared – and he looked straight at me, no hesitation, and told me I could do it, that if anyone could do it it was me – and that I already was doing it. I moaned through contractions in the shower for what seemed like ages but was probably only 30 minutes. It was hard, but the warm water in the shower did feel good.
The next stage of labor was by far the hardest, and one of the most vivid memories of the day for me. my mw had be lay on my left side on the bed and work through contractions this way – laying down was something I was not interested in doing, but turning this baby was something I was determined to do. So for the next 45 minutes I moaned through the most overwhelming and painful sensations I have ever felt my body endure – the contractions were long and from my toes to my head. At one point I looked up at my mom for the first time in hours with a pleading look, what she described as me asking her to ‘make it stop’, which was hard for her to see. I could literally feel the baby moving through the birth canal with each contraction, and at the end of those 45 minutes I told my mw that I felt more pressure in my bum, a heavy sensation. My mw then gave me my second vaginal exam of the day, and announced that I was 9.5 centimeters dilated. Again, she later told me I was actually 10, but said that with first time moms she doesn’t want to say ten so that they don’t feel that they have to start pushing if the sensation to push isn’t there. So, I made it through transition, turned my baby, and was fully dilated!
I got into the tub at that point, and was immediately blown away by my body’s desire to push. At first I thought I should take it easy and enjoy the warm water for a while, but I couldn’t resist. My body began to push through each contraction, and it felt really satisfying. My body wasn’t pushing super hard at that point, I just started grunting and realized that my body was starting to really expel this little person. I would put one leg up, get on my knees, on all fours, and realized that the most intense pushing happened with one knee up, although it wasn’t the most comfortable. I knew this was good though. I remember my husband leaning down with me telling me how good I was pushing and saying ‘push push!’ I looked up at him and said, ‘I’m not pushing, I’m not doing anything, my body is!’ he stopped telling me to push, and just told me how great I was doing. After about an hour in the tub the midwives suggested I get out of the water to let gravity help, and before I did, I reached up into my vagina to see if I could feel anything – and about a half an inch up I felt a soft squishy head, and that was so amazing. I loved it. it gave me strength.
I moved to the toilet at that point and straddled it – and while I didn’t want to be out of the water, I felt so productive on that toilet – my body relaxed and pushed like crazy through each contraction, and I kept reminding myself to focus the pushing in my bum and not my vagina. I pooped in the toilet and brought his head almost all the way out – so at that point the mw wanted me to get off the toilet and deliver this babe somewhere else. I was so excited. I got up off of the toilet and walked three steps before having an intense contraction that stopped me in my tracks. I froze, put my hands on my knees and my body pushed like crazy. I could barely walk with a head between my legs. I made it to the side of the bed, pushed for about 5 more minutes before the head came out, with some pretty crazy grunting screams from me, and then the body slid out soon after. That was one of the coolest feelings I have ever felt. Immediate and beautiful relief! The cord was around his neck, so they removed it before his body came out, and his little hand was by his face, causing a small skid mark for me and a little scratch on his face too! He was so floppy when he came out – they had me get onto the bed and put him on my chest right away to stimulate his breathing. He eventually pinked up and coughed and cried, and I was enamored with the whole thing. They gave me some herbs right away to reduce any bleeding, and about 20 minutes later I delivered the placenta in one push and hardly bled at all. We climbed into bed, toasted with some champagne, and he latched right away. It was bliss. The best day of my life, I have never felt more alive. Honestly, I can’t wait to do it all again.
january 5th, 4:53pm
6 lbs 8 oz
love of DH and mama to DS born 1/12
Congratulations! As another first-time mama hoping to birth naturally at home, your story is so moving and uplifting. Go, mama, go!
Married to my sweetie and enjoying life with our fabulous dog. Expecting #1 in August 2012!!!!