Sage Lillianne was born at 6:20 p.m. on July 14, 2005. She was about 8.5 pounds and 22 inches long. I was exactly 41 weeks.
I had an appointment with my chiropractor on July 13. He used a new technique on me, something he said some doctors swear by for helping labor get started. I left his office feeling really good, but different somehow. I was having contractions though they were no different than the ones I had been experiencing for the four previous weeks. Dh and I went to lunch at a local soup and salad bar, then he took me home and I took a long nap with my two year old ds.
I was still having contractions when I woke up but I didn’t pay them much attention. I had had so many disappointments over the past four weeks thinking labor was starting that I was done even speculating about when it might happen. I think I really needed that release, to just let go of my expectations and let my body do its thing. That evening was pretty uneventful except for the contractions, which I didn’t time, but were probably 10-15 minutes apart.
That night we all went to bed around eleven. Long after dh and ds fell asleep I was still wide awake. The contractions were a bit more intense at that point but still nothing more serious than I’d experienced on and off during the last month. I don’t know if it was the contractions that kept me from sleeping or the insomnia that I’d dealt with throughout the pregnancy. I finally decided to get up and spend some time online. I posted on MDC, whining a little about the contractions and the lack of any real action. I also read several encouraging articles about birth, including quite a few unassisted birth stories. That was really inspiring and I felt so ready to birth my baby.
At about 6 a.m. on July 14 I felt I’d better try to get some sleep because I was exhausted. I went to bed and cuddled up with my son. I must have been asleep within a few minutes. I got a few hours of really deep, dreamless sleep. At around ten that morning ds woke up. I had a hard time coming out of my deep sleep, but when I did I realized the contractions were still coming and they were stronger than any I’d had before. I was thrilled. I still didn’t want to get my hopes up though, so I went about making breakfast and all the usual things we do in the morning. About an hour later I got online to talk to dh through the instant messenger and tell him he might need to come home from work. He got so excited but I told him I still wasn’t sure and that he should just wait until I knew for sure. He had a few things to do, so he said after he finished up he would come home. He kept asking me how far apart the contractions were, but I didn’t want to time them. It felt wrong to me to put significance on measurements of any sort. So I guessed that they were anywhere from 5-10 minutes apart and told him so.
I got off the computer and sat down with my son to watch TV with him. After a few minutes I decided to try some different positions and see if any of them were more comfortable. I got on the floor and tried hands and knees, which was always so nice during pregnancy, but didn’t feel right then. It didn’t help that my son thought it would be fun to climb on mama’s back. Nothing else I tried felt right either so I went outside with ds to get some fresh air and sunshine. It was hot, probably over 100 degrees with the heat index, so we didn’t stay out more than 30 minutes.
Dh got home at about 2 p.m. and brought food with him, which I devoured. He set up my birth pool in the bathroom and I got in. It felt so wonderful. Dh lit the sage and lavender scented candle we bought for the birth, turned the lights off, and put on the music I had picked. It was so relaxing that soon I realized I wasn’t feeling the contractions anymore. I still wasn’t entirely sure I was even in labor so at that point I thought it was just another false alarm. I started to get discouraged, but then I decided I was having a baby that day no matter what it took. I got out of the pool and that was all it took to get the contractions started again.
Ds needed a nap, so we all got in bed. I thought it would be nice to get some sleep too but the contractions were finally strong enough that I felt it was time to get back in the pool. Dh got up and asked if I needed anything. He made me some fresh lemonade and a plate of fruit and cheese. While he was working on that a thunderstorm popped up. It was so cozy sitting in my birth pool listening to the sounds of the rain and thunder. I felt so full of peace and contentment.
Sometime between 4:30 and 5, ds woke up and joined me in the pool. Soon the contractions were strong enough that I was making a low moaning sound through them. Ds kept asking if it hurt, over and over, and I had to wait until the contraction was over to answer. In the few minutes I had between contractions I was smiling and happy.
Ds finally got out of the pool to watch a DVD so I was alone again. During each contraction I would get up on my knees and put my forehead on the side on the pool. Dh brought me some cold washcloths to put under my forehead and that felt so good. I knew I didn’t have too much longer. I was definitely feeling some pain but overall I felt everything was just exactly as it should be. I had half expected to panic when I hit transition. Instead I was calm. I stopped thinking and went totally inside myself.
I think it must have been around 6 or shortly after when I started pushing. Even though I knew I didn’t have long left, I was still surprised that I was ready to push. I didn’t question it though and started pushing with all my might each time I felt the urge. With one contraction I pooped a little bit. I caught most of it and tried to toss it in the toilet but I missed. Dh came in and I told him about the poop and asked if he’d clean it off the floor. He did and then got a strainer (which he later threw away) out of the kitchen to fish out the rest of the pieces from the pool. After that, Dh was in and out, checking on me and trying to talk to me, but I was very inwardly focused and couldn’t form the words to tell him I didn’t have much time left. I don’t think he realized I was pushing. I had one hand over my vagina and perineum and I felt myself opening and her head descending. I started to push at my perineum, trying to push it back over her head. I didn’t make a conscious decision to do that—I felt almost wild and my instinct was to get her out as soon as possible. I do wish I had tried to slow it down though instead of hurry it along because I ended up tearing.
Dh walked in and sat down and asked me if I could feel anything. I tried to say yes, the baby was coming, but I still couldn’t speak. Her head was crowning and I was feeling that burning sensation of stretching. I gave one huge push and her head popped out. I sat back on my knees and dh said I had the most surprised look on my face. I guess I was a little surprised that I had really done it and that it wasn’t scary or as painful as I remembered my first birth being. The rest of her body slid out and I brought her up out of the water and held her up to look at her. She turned pink really fast but she had a lot of mucus so I used my mouth to suction out her mouth and nose. She was really alert and calm. The mucus made her breathing a bit labored, which had me a little worried, but I knew in my heart that she was ok. I tried to get her to nurse but she didn’t want to. So we just sat in the pool staring at each other for a few minutes until I felt the placenta was ready to come. I sat up on my knees again and gave a slight push and it slid out.
At some point dh brought ds in to see her. He seemed mildly interested. He wanted to get in the pool with us but I didn’t want him to because it was pretty bloody and the placenta was still floating around in there. It was then that dh noticed she was a girl. I hadn’t even thought about looking. He told ds he had a new sister. Ds seemed to think that her name was sister and never has used her real name.
She started nursing while we were still in the pool. I was feeling so blissful so we just sat there and nursed for probably 45 minutes. About an hour after she was born dh cut her cord and we got out of the pool. I took a shower and then we got in bed and she and ds both nursed. Dh made me some eggs and they were wonderful.
I am still in awe of my birthing experience. It was so perfect. So much different than the birth of my son, who was born in a hospital. Sage is also a much happier baby than my son was and I can’t help but think that has something to do with their drastically different births. I only wish I could have given my son this kind of birth.