My first birth was in the hospital due to baby deciding that 29 weeks was a good time to come. You can read the birth story here
. This time around, I went basically full term (36w6d). Assisted homebirth is illegal in my state, so I crossed the state line to a "birth house" just 15 minutes away. It was a great experience. Here's the birth story:
Tuesday night, Oct. 31, I was awoken suddenly by reflux that I apparently breathed in. I was coughing frantically, trying to clear my throat. I finally got it clear and drank some water, but I still had a horrible burn. I'd had this reflux the night before (first time the entire pregnancy), but this time it was worse since I'd breathed it in. Yuck. I drank some milk and ate a bit of peanut butter, then decided to sleep in the recliner until things digested a bit more. That was around 10pm.
Around 12:30am, I woke up for a normal pee break. I came back to the chair and then sat for a bit to see if my reflux was gone so I could go back to bed. It was gone, but I did have a little bit of period-like cramping. I'd had this 2 weeks before when Aaron dropped a bit, so I figured he was just dropping a little more. I was also feeling a little "weird", and the thought crossed my mind that I could be pre-laborish.
I went back to bed and slept another couple hours. From about 2:30am-3:30am, I got up to pee a few times, getting occasional cramping again. At 3:30am, I started getting those cramps at a regular interval - every 5 minutes. I timed them for a good 30 minutes. Then I went back to bed. At 4:15am, I decided to go ahead and wake DH. I told him I'd been having contractions every 5 minutes for the last 45 minutes. I think he was in shock.
DH was supposed to go out of town that afternoon for an overnight trip, and I was 36w6d, and I had said I felt like he wouldn't come yet. Well, this proved me wrong!
We both went back to sleep for a while, or at least tried to. Around 5:30am, DH got up to shower. I was now contracting 3-5 minutes apart, and I was feeling like we really needed to call my parents to come watch Joshua. They live 45 minutes away, and fast labors run in my family. DH got out of the shower, and he called my parents, then called the midwife, K. K had just gotten home from a previous birth not long before we called. The other family was still at the birth house, but she headed up there to get them moved out of the main bedroom. Turns out that the other lady was due 2 days after me, so both the late Nov. folks were going early!
My mom got to our house around 7am or a little before. At this point, I was contracting about every 2-3 minutes. The toilet was my "happy place", so I'd been laboring there most of the time since getting out of bed. I'd eaten a piece of toast and some grape juice for breakfast, but wasn't real hungry.
We hopped in the car and headed for the birth house. Now I kicked into active labor and the contractions started getting more serious. The ride was not real fun. We got there, and I got back on my happy place. LOL. They setup table cloths in the main bedroom and got out the birthing stool. I sat on that, occasionally getting up to walk around. I'd wanted to use the birthing pool, but the previous lady had used it, and it was going to take some time to clean it out and fill it up. They'd already started working on it. I agreed to get my dilation checked so we'd know if it was even worth trying to set it up. I was 5-6cm and *very* thin. My cervix was way high up, and K was having trouble reaching it, but it was super super thin. We decided to try filling up the tub. I didn't feel like I was in transition yet.
K went to get DH some orange juice, as his blood sugar drops easily. K's apprentice, C, was there now, and she was sitting in front of me as I was on the birth stool. DH sat on the bed behind me. Suddenly, my body started pushing. I was kind of shocked, as I'd not gotten an "I can't do this" feeling... I'd just had a "I hope this doesn't last much longer" feeling, which I guess was transition.
I told C that my body was pushing, and her eyes opened wide. DH asked if he should call K, and she said yes. So he called K, and she had just pulled into the Piggly Wiggly parking lot - she turned around and came back. K said C could handle the delivery of this one (C is a good friend, so that was totally cool with me).
C listened to baby's heartbeat with the doppler. It had gone down to 70 as his head was molding. They pulled out the O2 and had DH hold the tube up near my nostril. I breathed it in and it felt SO good. I'd had sinus trouble all pregnancy, so I think I was needing a little help getting enough O2 in me. A little while later, C listened to the baby again, and his heartrate was back up to 120. We kept the O2 going as needed.
The pushing phase was totally different from my previous hospital birth. No one told me when to push or for how long. In fact, no one told me to push period! C just said "Let your body do the work" everytime I had a pushing urge come along. I let my body do it all - I didn't actively try to push. And we had long periods of time between pushes. I'd grab my water bottle and chug during those times, and also sniff some O2.
Finally, Aaron's head came out. I got to feel his head and look down at it. I remember commenting that it was squishy. We waited for my body to do another push. Finally, it did, and at 8:30am, his body came out. C helped me pick Aaron up. His cord wasn't real long, so it was a bit of a challenge, but we did it. DH helped pull me backwards onto the bed so I could lay down. This was a bit of a feat, juggling me, baby, and cord. We managed to get me comfortably on the bed. Then we waited for the placenta. It took about 25 minutes for it to come out. I actually had to push that, and I'd thought the pushing was over. LOL. Finally it came, and I was able to get more comfortable on the bed. We did cut the cord before the placenta came out, since the cord had stopped pulsing. This made it easier for me to hold baby.
Aaron was 7 lbs 4 oz, and 19.5" long. This birth was much easier and less painful than my previous hospital birth of a 3 lb 13 oz baby... I didn't even feel as much ring of fire this time. Being able to sit upright during labor was super helpful, and being able to let my body do the pushing instead of listening to doctors/nurses telling me when to push was also super helpful. I had a small 1st degree tear, along the same line that I tore last birth (because of the stupid directed pushing). K said it didn't need stitches, so I opted not to get any. That has also helped recovery greatly - I really feel good, whereas last time, it was 3 weeks before the stitches fell out and I finally felt good.
All in all, my "homebirth away from home" was a wonderful experience. I hope that my state will legalize midwifery before my next baby, so I can avoid the car trip and stay at home, while still having K and C in attendance. But this experience was wonderful, and so much better than my hospital experience.