Well, I think it is time to finally write this story down. It has taken me a while to process Rory’s birth. Not because it was traumatic (like my first two deliveries) but because it was so very close to perfect that I still tear up thinking about it. I wanted a home birth so very badly with my first two, I even planned a UC with my second, but my water broke days before he was born and after two days of waiting for labour, I decided to be induced (the induction never worked…but I went into labour once they turned the drip off).
But Rory’s was different. I found a midwife, and awaited the blessing of finally experiencing the home birth I always wanted. My midwife warned me that 3rd babies often come fast, and that hypnobirthing babies come easy. I felt perfectly prepared and supported to actually make this happen. At just over 36 weeks I started noticing gentle contractions periodically throughout the day. These were different from the practice (Braxton-Hicks) contractions that I had been having for weeks. They would build up to be around two minutes apart…then would stop for the evening. The next day the same would happen…and the next day. By the third day of this, I was starting to feel a little uncertain as to whether these were all just a figment of my imagination. I decided to just keep busy. We went out for dinner a lot, walked around the mall, took the kids to the park, and cleaned the house. I get bored easily at the best of times and waiting for a baby could have taken its toll on my mind if I hadn’t kept active.
At 36 weeks and 6 days, I took some lemon verbena to help move things along. The next morning at around 11 am my water broke. Luckily I was already in the bathroom! I put on a chunks pad and told my fiancé that today was definitely the day…baby was on her way. We updated the midwives, and told them that we would call once contractions started getting intense. By noon I didn’t really feel like I was having regular contractions and was starting to worry that it would be another birth experience like my 2nd. I told my fiancé that I wanted to go for a walk. He and I (and my sister in law who was due around the same time as I was…who was also our birth photographer) came along to capture the journey. On the walk contractions picked up. Slowly and gently at first, but then to the point where I would have to stop walking through them and close my eyes. None of them felt intense, I just wanted to be peaceful through them. At the end of our walk I sent my fiancé out to take the kids to the park while I went fabric shopping (I love sewing so fabric can distract me at almost any moment). I can remember buying much, but walking the isles I only felt a few contractions. I drove home at around 5pm and felt like the contractions had stopped.
I got home and started to prepare the house for labour. I put towels in the dryer, got out the garbage bags, tidied my room where I planned to deliver, and had a snack. I was soooo hungry all day and relived that from home I could eat whenever I wanted (with my first two I went over 24 hours without anything to eat…no wonder they were each over 20 hours of labour!).
After a couple of hours, irregular contractions had resumed. My fiancé and the kids came home at 6pm and at 7pm I finally felt like I was actually “in labour.” I had yet to experience any “pain” and the hypnobirthing was definitely paying off. I was relaxed and focused. I had my fiancé call the midwives at 7pm, and by 7:15 they had arrived. As they set up, I rocked and breathed through contractions. By 7:30 they were ready to check me. I was almost fully effaced and didn’t want to know how dilated I was. I felt knowing would be counterproductive. I decided to stay in bed in the position I had always done my hypnobirthing visualizing in. I breathed through contractions in a side laying position for a while and everyone left the room while midwives started filling out their paperwork. After around 20 minutes, of socializing upstairs, everyone returned. Things were really getting going. My older children came down for a couple of minutes but complained that it was boring, so they went back upstairs with their aunt.
By around 8:15 I started making some vowel sounds with my breathing through contractions. I hadn’t planned this, but it felt really good to do. I settled on making a long and low MA sound. It felt the best out of all of them. Pushing the air out slowly was easier for me with the focus on making the sound as long as I could. By 8:30 I felt there was a slowing in my contractions. I felt more aware and talked a bit. After a few minutes, the intensity began. I found I had to take 2 breaths through each contractions and went so deeply inside myself mentally, that I was not really aware of what was going on around me. I felt like I was riding a cresting wave and just trying to keep my head above water. Despite this intensity, I was still not in pain. The intensity was in my focus and the feelings within my body, but none were bad. At one moment I realized that I felt nauseous and remember telling myself, this is transition, baby is almost here while at the same time wondering if I would make it through.
The midwife had been instructed to never check me during a contraction, but insisted on checking me after a few minutes of these transition contractions. At the end of the check I had another intense contraction and was told I could push at any time (after around 10 minutes since the start of transition). I said I planned not to push until I felt an unbearable urge to do so. So, I kept breathing through contractions. I could actually feel her moving down through me with each contraction. This was so new to me as with both of my first two I was induced and had an epidural.
The feeling, although new, was right and good. Until she crowned! Good lord! Burning ring of fire indeed! By the time her head was visible and touchable, I wasn’t feeling the intensity of transition quite so much. I was more aware again and was ready to get this done!...without pushing. However once her head crowned I remember saying out loud (one of the few times I spoke throughout the labour) “THIS PART HURTS!” I braced myself as the pressure from her head reached the tightest point, then slowly eased back to the bed. With the next contraction her head was born. With the next contraction I felt that urge to push, and her first shoulder appeared. With the next contraction she was out. The slithering feeling was odd but welcomed. At 9pm she was placed immediately onto my stomach while I breathed in pants. It was done!
After two hours of what I could actually call labour, there she was! The midwife covered her with a blanket and rubbed her back. She pinked up and opened her eyes within minutes, cuddled up to my chest. Little Rory was perfect. I held her to my nipple and she nuzzled and licked it for a few minutes. Then she latched! My first two were groggy from the drugs and didn’t nurse for several hours. She was a ferocious eater from a few minutes old (and still is two years later). After some bonding, the cord was cut by my 8 year old daughter (daddy chickened out). One of the midwives looked her over, while the other encouraged me to deliver the placenta. With three or four pushes, it slid out and thumped onto the bed. I got cleaned up and was helped to sit up in bed. I was soooooo hungry. I asked my mother in law if she would grab me a snack. She brought me down some pizza and I ate as the midwife diapered Rory and brought her back to me. I nursed her again and she stared up at me alert and calm. We all enjoyed popsicles and reveled in the beautiful little girl in front of us. I was energized from the experience, not tired and sore. It was the birth I had always wanted…it was perfect.
As we prepare for our next little one’s arrival in 4 short months, I feel prepared. I hope for another slow and gentle early phase, and another quick and mainly pain free active phase. Let’s see if I can relax through crowning this time!