With this being my fourth birth and my second unassisted birth you'd think I would have known what to expect. Well lets just say ...always expect the unexpected!
With my last baby I had had very traditional OB prenatal care until we moved to a new state when I was 7.5 months along...you can read the birth story here
. This time around I felt the need to have prenatal care but didn't want to use an OB. There is only handful of midwives near me and only one that accepted my healthcare. I went with the one who was covered by my healthcare. Visits with her were what I called "drive bye visits" I waited to see her for 30 minutes to an hour and then went back, peed in a cup, got weighed, went in the exam room and waited another 15 minutes, got asked a series of silly questions, listened to the heartbeat, and was sent on my way. That amounted to an hour or so of waiting for a 5 minute visit with the underpaid OB (i.e. the hospital midwife). Not sure why I continued to see her throughout the pregnancy despite the fact that she spewed ridiculous crap at me at many visits (like I needed to stop nursing my toddler by 18 weeks or I was risking my unborn babies life), except that my instincts told me I should go. The only test we consented to was the 6 week and 20 week ultrasound, which was done by a perinatologist because of my daughter’s conditions. Through out the pregnancy I felt like the baby was healthy and the outcome of the birth would be good. However, I had a nagging feeling that this baby would be BIG and that I may have some complication...but it would resolve itself. The midwife scoffed at my suggestion that I was bigger than with my last 3 or that the baby was unusually big or that my instincts were anything but whiny complaints.
The midwife estimated the babies due date to be December 2nd at the 6 week ultrasound and the perinatologist estimated it to be December 9th at the 20 week ultrasound. I gained a total of 55 pounds from my 6 week appointment to my 40 week appointment. I didn't have any real discomfort or "problems" except that the baby felt huge and there was a very sore spot under my rib cage.
Now for the fun part....
I had a couple of days of thinking THIS IS IT! I wasn't sure if I should expect the same type of labor (menstrual like cramps with a quick transition) or something different. All the false alarms felt very different from Lucy's birth...they were actually painful contractions and were regular at short intervals but they stopped after a few hours each time. My December 2nd due date came and went without any sign of baby. I got paranoid that maybe he wouldn't come on his own. The midwife even tried to convince me that being my 4th birth my uterus was worn out and wouldn't be able to maintain productive contractions and that I "needed" her to break my water and have a pitocin drip to get things moving along. Of course I laughed and refused even considering that as an option. I did however try every trick the book to get labor started. NOTHING worked. I had OMT, Chiro adjustment, spicy Thai food, spicy Mexican food, fresh pineapple, sex, nipple stimulation, walking, jumping on the trampoline, blue/black coshosh, rubbing castor oil on my stomach ( I couldn't make myself drink it), not to mention I had been taking Red Raspberry Leaf & Evening Primrose Oil.
On December 9th (my original due date) just like with Lucy...I started to feel the menstrual like cramps, followed by a feeling of urgency. This was around 7 PM just after dinner. DH lit candles, ran a bath, turned on Sade (music), and got all giddy with excitement. We didn't tell the kids anything, as I didn't know if I'd be in labor for minutes, hours, or days. By 8 PM the cramps required a bit of focus and were coming at exactly 8 minutes apart. I was amazed that my body was so punctual :LOL I decided to get in the tub about 8:30 when the cramps moved to 6 minutes apart. I was very talkative and was thrilled that things were going so well. DH was a sweetheart and listened to me talk like an auctioneer (really fast) about everything under the sun. By 9:30 the cramps were full on contractions every 3 minutes. I got out of the tub and went to the toilet and then back to the tub. I began my primal roars (and the kids realized what was going on - DH made them stay at the bathrrom doorway because they were WAY too hyped up and we needed to focus) when I re-entered the tub and DH began asking what I wanted him to do. I kept saying "I don't know - nothing" Then the question changed to what do you need...and my reply every time was "sleep...I just want to sleep - make this stop so I can sleep" I could see that DH was feeling a little helpless so the next time he asked I said "don't ask anymore - just do what you want" Well he did...he saw I was hot (the heater was on but I didn't want it off - despite how hot I was) and he got a cold wet towel to wipe my face....the first time he did it I hated it and was mad but a few seconds later I motioned for him to do it again...I went back and forth between loving it and hating it 4 or 5 times (I feel really grateful to have such a loving and patient partner). About 9 PM I could feel the head ready to come out...I told DH and he again asked what I wanted him to do ..."nothing" I was on my hands and knees and DH was trying to help support my body by putting his arms under my arm pits and pulling my body up. The head didn't just pop out like it had with Lucy...it took 3 pushes and the entire time felt like it was impossible and wasn't going to ever come out. It finally came out and I was shocked at the size and weight. Of course the contractions didn't give me a break - they came right away and I sat through 2 before realizing I had to push the body out ( it had slid out right after the head with Lucy). With the next contraction I began pushing...it felt utterly unproductive. I felt like I was getting nowhere. After 3 contrax and pushing with all my might...I declared "I can't do it - he is stuck" DH said well what are we going to do " I said "I don't know - I just want to sleep" The next contrax came and I again attempted to push out his body....when I was unsuccessful I put my hand under the water and felt his head again - it was heavy and limp and I wondered in the back of my head for a split second - if he was OK. I said another contrax was coming and all of the sudden DH jumped in the tub - got behind me (I was beyond mad at him for this...I didn't want to move and not so fast and why was crowding my space - this was hard enough - I mean like HE knew what I needed - right !?! i was wrong I am eternally greatful he did it and don't know what the outcome would be if he didn't) flipped me backwards (I was on my hands & knees) and got his legs under me (to lift me off the bottom of the tub) and when I began to push he used all of his force to push my shoulders - causing me to push my feet on the end of the tub ...this resulted in much more force and after 2 pushes at 9:15 PM his body emerged. I picked him up and again could barely open my eyes...and just like with Lucy I said "he's not breathing - is he ok?" DH assured me he could see him breathing and he was fine. He let out a cry and I was relieved. He was very purple...but pinked up with in a minute or so (didn’t take long). I sat in the water - despite the fact it was cold and murky waiting for the urge to push out the placenta....it never happened. 25 minutes after the birth I'd had enough of the cold dirty water and the cord had stopped pulsing so I had DH cut it and I got in the shower. At almost an hour after the birth there was no sign of the placenta and only mild cramping...baby had nursed a twice for just moments so I decided to try again. He nursed for a good 15 minutes but still no urge to push and no placenta. I felt fine but I knew the placenta was supposed to have been out by now. I started researching and of course all the medical info said I would hemorrhage or get toxic shock syndrome etc if it was not out within an hour - it was almost 2 hours. I was barely bleeding and felt physically & mentally fine...none of the symptoms of a dire situation. I decided that if I saw lots of blood or felt sick I would call the midwife or go to the hospital. After about 3 hours and lots of blue/black cohosh (which again did NOTHING) I decided to instant message a friend and see if she had any advice. She was shocked that the placenta was still in and decided to IM a friend who'd had a UC birth to see if she had any advice....luckily she did
she said to walk around for 5 minutes and then go pee....sounded WAY too simple. I did it anyway - even though I didn't like it (I just wanted to sit LOL). I went to the bathroom, sat on the toilet - NOTHING....I made myself pee (it didn't feel like I needed too) and decided this was yet another silly idea that wouldn't work. I stood up and felt a weird sensation - took one step and the placenta literally fell out onto the floor. IT WORKED (thank goodness for instant messenger, good friends - and ones that stay up really late ! It was 3 AM)
Since he was born on a Thursday and I didn't want to go anywhere Friday - we scheduled a midwife appoint. & pediatrician appoint for Monday. By Monday I realized that although I don’t tear (thanks to the water/tub - I am sure) I had huge PAINFUL external hemorrhoids (they were so painful I actually considered going to the er over the weekend) and I was VERY glad to have made a midwife appoint. and that I had a care provider to go to. She examined me and said everything looked great and she was impressed and my hemorrhoids weren't THAT bad ( I can not imagine how they could be worse- I would die) and gave me a hydrocortisone cream prescription for them ( it was like heaven in a tube and made them disappear QUICK). She also said DH should be a midwife ( later ont he pediatrician made the same comment LOL). She weighed my older daughter holding my son on the adult scale because she wanted to know how much he weighed as she thought he looked big ( DUH - I've been trying to tell you all along) and we hadn't weighed him yet. We all guessed around 8 pounds...which would have been fairly big compared to my other three that were all around 7 #. The adult scales said almost 11 pounds...the midwife was sure it was wrong and held him in the air and said probably 9 pounds but call me and let me know what the pediatrician weighs him at. We left and went straight to the ped office. They were shocked at his size and weighed him .................................................. ......10 pounds 13.5 oz. He likely weighed over 11 pounds four days prior when he was born. Despite the fact that he was in the 90 & 95% on the growth chart and showed all signs of good health the ped tried to tell us that because we left the cord on more than a few minutes (25) that he had "too much blood" which is what was causing his skin to appear red. After scaring me (though I thought it was a load of crap the minute she said it - the new mommy had to worry a little) she tested his blood and deemed him healthy and free of this horrible blood disease.
Since his birth I have been told by a number of midwives and the pediatrician that I am lucky....that his shoulders were likely stuck and that he could have had broken bones, died, or been brain damaged not to mention I could have hemmoraged and died etc. etc. etc. I have heard stories of women whose babies were "stuck" and the trauma that they and their babies were put through. I call this an UN-complicated birth because I did not perceive the birth as complicated...it was a normal natural process that required me and my DH to use our instincts and to follow our path without being hindered by expectations or averages or standards. It may have been hard to deliver him and the placenta hanging around for so long might have been a bit worrisome BUT it was nothing we couldn't handle. I realized after Lucy's birth that UC saved her and I from a whole lot of unnecessary stress and trauma....I now see that once again with Damien.
4 days after his birth he gained 6 oz. He is already 13# at 3 weeks old