The Birth of Logan Vail - waterbirth UBAC!
I had a pretty easy pregnancy this time compared to the long hard pregnancy with my son that resulted in an unnecessary cesarean for posterior position. I was sick throughout the pregnancy with Gage, gained over 50 pounds, had bad doctors, and then a 21 hour labor followed by the surgery; not fun.
We planned this baby to be about 18 months apart from our son and thankfully we got pregnant on the first try. I then proceeded to have a super easy pregnancy with a total of 12 pounds weight gain, no sickness, and only my usual back and pelvis pain that I get at the end of pregnancy. We had no ultrasounds, tests or medical interference which I believe was a huge part of why I had such an easy pregnancy: no stress.
At just before 35 weeks of pregnancy I started having some intense contractions while I was out of town with my husband and son in New England. It was a little scary but the contractions stopped when I took a nice hot bath or rested and we were able to make it home safely. These bouts of contractions kept happening until around 38 weeks and I was convinced that I’d have this baby early instead of at 41 and a half weeks like with my son. After a few weeks of this I just got annoyed being in labor every day or two for several hours, but it eventually died down and my November 19th due date came and went…and went…and went…
I was very frustrated and grump at 41 weeks 3 days, which was November 29th, that was the time I’d had my son and I was peeved that I was going even further past than the first time. But all that day I had some regular, but easy to handle contractions that of course went away around early evening. I had some Del Taco for dinner and around midnight that night also had some mashed potatoes, pees and a soy BBQ riblet since I don’t eat meat.
On November 30th, 2006, which was the next day I went into labor, or the night before depending on how you measure it. Like with my son I woke up in the middle of the night, at about 2:45am just like with Gage. I had to go to the bathroom a lot and felt pretty well emptied. I wasn’t having much bloody show or mucous at all but I didn’t have much with my son either, I tend to lose that stuff in little pieces over many weeks.
I had planned to let my husband sleep as we had only gone to be about 2 hours before, but within about 10 minutes of going to the bathroom I had pretty intense contractions that were only manageable by standing and swaying my hips and moaning. I woke up my husband because it felt like transition already and told him to get up and inflate and fill the birth tub. It took almost two hours to get the pool ready, the La Bassine, which I highly recommend for labor and birth. I spent those two hours laboring on the couch, briefly on the birth ball but that was too uncomfortable so I eventually moved to the toilet where I felt almost unbearable pressure and intense contractions. This was also the time when I learned that I am a “puker” in labor. I had thrown up a lot during my labor with Gage and thought that might happen again so kept a bucket nearby at all times…good thing I did….as I puked about four times before I even got in the pool and several more times once I got in, though thankfully into the bucket and not in the water.
Ken (husband) kept saying the water wasn’t hot enough yet but I didn’t care and got in anyway. It felt fine to me, more than fine, it felt like I had just stepped out of hell right into heaven. I went into a semi-floating hands and knees position and kind of looked like a big round frog but it felt so wonderful. I guess relaxing really helped because pretty soon things picked up and I had almost no break between contractions. I became panicky a few times because I had convinced myself that childbirth wasn’t painful and was pretty shocked when it was! It did get easier when I calmed myself down but there is no way that what I was experiencing was not pain. I could manage it, but it was unbelievably intense and I found myself wanting to know how much longer this could go on!
At one point I used some deep moaning and affirmations while I rested my head on the edge of the pool and managed to relax myself to such an extent that I wasn’t prepared when the next contraction hit and I slipped into the water face first and made a hilarious gurgling sound and then looked at my husband and said, “shit, I almost drowned” in a monotone voice and then went back into my “zone”.
I felt a lot more pressure but not what you would call the standard urge to push that everyone talks about. I just thought at that point, maybe if I give a few small pushes it will speed this up and I can get some sleep, ha! I was really tired at that point, I don’t know why on earth I’d think I’d get more sleep once I had two kids under the age of two, but I digress.
So I did a little pushing and I got my wish because the result was that pushing actually became the only way I got any relief at all. A few times I felt panicky again, wondering how long this would go on, and worrying about another long posterior labor, especially when I briefly experienced some rather excruciating back pain. The back pain only last about two contractions and I think it was the baby turning. Soon after that I was squatting and pushing to alleviate a contraction and my water popped dramatically! I don’t think it made a pop sound as I was under water but it made some sort of weird noise that I think maybe only I was able to hear from within myself, and the water had a few tiny particles of stuff but not really any meconium, something I also had with my son. Oh my, after the water broke I felt such intense and delicious relief. It only lasted about 10 minutes if that but it was awesome and I rested some, downed some juice and took some Bach’s Rescue Remedy just in case.
This entire time Ken had been heating big pots of water on all four stove burners and pouring it into the pool to keep things warm, and emptying the cold water. He was so awesome. He gave me little pieces of bread when I asked for them as by then it was all I could keep down, and kept me supplied with water and juice constantly. Unfortunately when the contractions resumed again I wanted him with me in the water and he kept trying to get out and put more hot water in and I told him I didn’t care how warm the water was and to stay with me…actually I think I yelled this in between grunts and a few obscenities but oh well. He looked cute in his swim trunks. We could hear that Gage was waking up on the baby monitor but things were too far along to go get him and he hung out in his room playing with the little music toy we have for him in there.
It seemed like forever but it was only about an hour between when my water broke and when the baby was born, wow, pretty good considering that last time I had a cesarean after pushing for almost 5 hours with the baby never coming down. I’d forgotten the two steps forward one step back rule with pushing. I was hoping to not push as I’d also let myself believe that the baby will come out on their own even if you don’t. I’m sure that’s true, however I am also sure that there was absolutely no force in the entire universe that could have stopped me from pushing at that point, it was as urgent as vomiting or any other immediate bodily function, I could not stop it and I had no desire to. I remember reaching down and feeling something, I couldn’t tell what it was and freaked out a little thinking it was a knee or arm or something impossible to deliver. It was of course the baby’s head and I just couldn’t tell yet. It was so frustrating to push and feel the head come part way out and then go back in. It seemed like forever but this probably only happened maybe 5 times.
I think I rushed things a bit too, but like I said, there was no stopping the force, and had there been someone there who had told me to pant or blow instead of pushing I probably would have dunked them and held their head underwater. I felt the ring of fire sensation a little bit but for some reason decided to use some bag balm (the stuff for chapped cow udders) and spread it all around my perineum, actually I had my husband do this as I was squatting and using my hands for support and also dealing with a really horrible leg cramp of all things. Eventually the baby’s head came out about halfway and I felt intense stinging around my urethra, I could tell I either tore or was about to tear, it felt very wrong but I also couldn’t stop the pushing because it was so uncomfortable with the head halfway out like that so I pushed harder than I thought I was capable of. My poor husband, he had his hands palm up and I pushed down on his hands with mine when I pushed, this was EXTREMELY helpful for me as it guided my pushes downward and really kept me focused.
When the head was all the way out I asked him to take a picture because I thought that was really awesome. The photo is blurry though since it was underwater, but at least we have it. I was so happy at this point. Then I felt a bizarre sensation and yelled at Ken to stop what he was doing; he swore he wasn’t touching me at all and I realized it was the baby turning inside me, how amazing! I really felt like there was no way I could do this anymore and I’ve seen hundreds of birth videos and it seems all women do this exact same thing at this moment. The first shoulder was out and I barely pushed and begged Ken just to pull “him” out, haha. I was convinced that even though I knew in my heart this was a girl, that we would have another boy and would have all boys for some reason. Anyway, as I was doing my freak out the baby popped right out into Ken’s hands under the water! He lifted the baby up and asked me to move the cord, as cords around the neck were a big concern for him. The cord was actually just across the chest but I moved it and he handed the baby to me.
Oh my God! I didn’t even check to see what sex it was I was just so happy. I was holding my baby, my beautiful pink, crying, perfect baby right there in my arms without any insiders and people doing things to us. Ken was silent and just looking at me, I remember us both saying something like, “I can’t believe this, look what we just did, and we did it!” I checked between the legs and said, “Oh my God, we really had a girl!” I checked a few times actually just to be sure. We said hello Logan Vail and put a towel over her. She looked up at me with one eye open, and then slowly opened the other one. She stopped crying pretty fast and just stared up at me. It was Thursday, November 30, 2006 at 8:31am. When we weighed her later the scale was off, but she was somewhere near 8 pounds and 20 inches long with a 35cm head circumference.
The after pains were pretty intense, I wasn’t expecting that at all, I didn’t have them with Gage but I was pretty messed up after I had him so who knows what went on. Logan nursed almost immediately and stayed latched on for 2 hours just looking up at me content. We changed the towels a few times to keep her warm and Ken put the herbal afterbirth bath stuff in the tub with us. My labor was less than 6 hours total!
The placenta came out in one big push about 15 minutes after she was born but stayed there on my perineum. It seemed stuck to something inside and we were afraid to pull on it so I let it be thinking I’d get another cramp and push and it would come out, but it didn’t. I waited 2 hours and found it too impossible to stand and get out of the pool with it hanging like that. I reached up gently and felt around and gave a very tiny tug just to feel around what was hanging it up and felt that it was just some membranes so I pulled it out. It came out easily and everything was in one piece and I was very excited to get out of the water. At some point Ken got Gage and he had breakfast in his chair and looked down at Logan and I in the pool. He just ate his banana and cereal while I nursed his new baby sister.
We wrapped Logan in another towel and put her in the big bowl with the placenta while I went to the bathroom and got cleaned up some. I was afraid to look at my vagina and a little worried and horrified when I had to pee so badly and couldn’t, but I was able to push a lot out manually and as the swelling went down I could pee fine on my own. Then I put on my cozy robe and hung out on the couch with Logan and had a huge meal, though I don’t remember what it was, and downed a lot of water. I had a weird sloshy feeling in my belly and lots of after birth pains and cramps but I felt pretty awesome.
We had considered doing a lotus birth but found that the placenta and cord (which was very short) were too cumbersome to deal with and cut it about 14 hours after the birth. It dried up by the next day and the stump fell off on the third day. We didn’t put anything on it to speed up the drying, we just left it alone.
I did end up with a tear to my inner labia up near the urethra; I’m hoping it will go back together on its own. I also tore my perineum a little bit but didn’t even notice until 3 days later and it’s healing up nicely with no stitches or interference. I took some Epsom salt baths early on and put some comfrey herbal bath in the water too the first few days which really helped. Two weeks later I feel pretty great and am already fine with both the kids.
It was such an amazing, healing, liberating birth I almost mourn the fact that it’s over with. I already can’t wait to do it again. We are filled with love and joy. Welcome Logan Vail.