This is a really long birth story, but I wanted to try to include all the detilas. I just wanted to warn you before you get started!
Landon’s birth story begins a few days before his birth. I went to the midwife for my weekly appointment on Tuesday. When she took my blood pressure, it was a bit higher than normal. I wasn’t too worried, and she said she would check it again at the end of the appointment to see if it was still high. Later in the appointment, she listened to the baby’s heart rate and then asked if I wanted her to check my cervix. I said yes, so she did and said I was about two centimeters dilated. While she was checking the cervix, she could feel the baby’s head, which was amazing to me. As she touched his head, she had her student midwife listen to see if the baby’s heart rate accelerated while they touched his head and poked him from the outside. After spending about 5 or 10 minutes doing that without hearing the heart beat accelerate, they got a little worried. They checked my blood pressure again, and it was still high, so they wanted me to go in for a biophysical profile just to make sure everything was ok. They also drew some blood to make sure everything was ok with me. By this point, I was very concerned and asked what the worst case scenario would be if the BPP didn’t turn out ok. She told me that they might have to consider taking me in to the hospital to help get labor started. Since I was planning a homebirth, I was worried that I might actually have to go to the hospital.
After the appointment was over, I drove across town to get the BPP done. Luckily, everything looked great, and I got to see my little boy on the ultrasound again! When I got home, I called my midwife and she confirmed that she had talked to the radiology clinic and everything was fine with the baby, but she was still concerned with my high blood pressure. So, she told me that in order to be able to have the homebirth I had been planning, I needed to make sure I took it very easy and spend lots of time laying on my left side and drinking relaxation tea. I started doing that right away and set up a relaxation station in my living room complete with books, knitting, magazines, and the remote for the TV.
Up until this point I had been talking to the baby and telling him to stay in there for as long as he needed to. I told him that we were completely ready to welcome him whenever he chose to be born, but to take as much time as he needed to grow. After this scare, I started telling him that maybe he needed to come out soon and that we would love him and take care of him out here. I didn’t want to keep worrying that something wasn’t right with me or with him. If he was on the outside, I would be able to see that everything was ok.
On Saturday my husband, Tyson, and I went to a party at a friend’s house to watch the big state college rivalry football game. There were about 30 or 40 people there, and quite a few of the women were pregnant or had just had babies. So, I spent most of the afternoon talking about babies with various people, eating a lot of food, and watching football. Toward the end of the party I started to feel kind of icky and achy. I figured it was a signal from my body that I needed to get home and rest so I told Tyson I wanted to leave. We stopped by the grocery store on the way home to get our food for Thanksgiving, which was coming up on Thursday, and some other essentials.
When we got home, we unloaded the groceries and started to put them away. I bent over to put some food in the pantry and when I stood up I felt a huge gush. I told Tyson that my water had just broken. He asked if I was sure it wasn’t pee. I told him I was pretty sure because it felt completely different, but I went to the bathroom to check. Sure enough, my underwear and pants were soaked and it didn’t smell like urine. Since I was GBS positive, my midwife had told me to page her as soon as my water broke so she could come over and give me the antibiotics. I told Tyson to page her while I tried to clean up all the water. She called us back right away, and told me that she would be over in an hour, but to try walking around to see if contractions would start. She said she figured they would arrive, give me the antibiotics, and tell me to go to bed to get some rest.
Once I got off the phone with her, I decided to call my mom and tell her my water had just broken then Tyson called his mom too. That was a huge mistake, because even though they promised not to call again until they heard from us, the phone ended up ringing and ringing through the last hour of my labor while I was pushing! I am never calling family at the beginning of labor again! While I was talking to my mom, I walked around the house and, sure enough, the contractions started up. When Tyson got off the phone with his mom, I asked him to time a few. They were about 2 minutes apart and lasting about 35 seconds. About 20 minutes later the midwife and her student arrived. They asked about the contractions and decided they should probably stay and start setting up their stuff instead of telling me to go get some rest!
They unpacked their things and helped Tyson make the bed with the plastic sheet. I could still talk through my contractions, so I hung around them and helped tell them where things were. I told my midwife that the birth tub was supposed to be delivered the following morning, so I guess we weren’t going to get to use it after all! She is friends with the woman we were renting it from, so she called her and got her to bring it over right away. Unfortunately, she got lost on the way to our house, and Tyson ended up having to go meet her and bring her back with him.
While he was gone, the midwives started my IV antibiotics. By this time, my contractions were starting to get more intense. I got on my knees with my head buried in the rocking chair in the baby’s room and rocked through the contractions while one of the midwives held my hand with the IV in it so I wouldn’t pull it out accidentally. I started vocalizing through some of the contractions when they got really intense. I was able to keep my sounds nice and low, and my midwife was very encouraging. Once the IV was done, which I think took about 40 minutes, I got on the bed and struggled through some contractions lying on my side because the midwives thought that might slow them down a bit because they were very intense. It helped for about 5 contractions and then they picked right back up. I realized I did not like lying down, but they encouraged me to stay that was for a few more. Through all this Tyson was helping to get the tub set up and filled with hot water. I found out later that they hose wouldn’t attach to our sink very well, and they ended up boiling pots of water to help fill it. Eventually one of the midwives got the hose to attach correctly and the tub filled quickly after that.
This is when it all starts to get a little hazy. I think I was checked when I was still on the bed and told that I was about four centimeters dilated and 100% effaced. The midwives were happy with that, but I had been hoping for a little more dilation since things were so intense. Not too long after that, I got in the tub. I was expecting instant relief, and it never really came. I think I would get a birth tub again because it was a good tool for labor, but it never gave me the relief I expected it to. Anyway, I labored on my hands and knees in the tub for a while, then in a squatting position with Tyson supporting me. I know he was in the tub with me at one point, and I relaxed on his chest between contractions. I was still vocalizing through them quite a bit. It really helped me, and I realized that if I stayed on top of the contractions they were manageable, but when I didn’t focus on them they were pretty awful and I suffered through them. I was able to keep reminding myself that each contraction would only come once, and then I could try to do better on the next one.
At some point, I was checked again and was told that I was six centimeters dilated. I continued to labor in the tub, getting out a few times for trips to the bathroom where I labored on the toilet and in the shower, and I labored on the bed a bit too although that didn’t feel very good so I always ended up back in the tub because I kept expecting it to offer that wonderful relief everyone had told me about.
I guess the tub must have helped relax me a bit, because soon I started to feel pushy. The midwives checked me and I was about nine centimeters, with a bit of a cervical lip. I was told not to push so that the lip wouldn’t swell, and to try lying on my side to get the lip to go away. My body was pushing in earnest and I was fighting it with everything I had. Tyson got back in the tub with me to help coach me through breathing away the pushing contractions and support me while I was on my side. Every once in a while I just couldn’t stand that position and got back into hands and knees. At one point, the midwives tried to get me into a lunging position to get rid of the cervical lip, but it hurt too much. They tried to get me to lie on my side in the bed with my knee pulled up to my chest as well, but that was also unbearable. During this they started trying to get me to go pee because I had been drinking so much water and they were worried about my bladder getting in the way of the baby descending. It was miserable to sit on the toilet when you are trying not to push, so that didn’t work out too well.
It was the most awful sensation to feel a contraction coming and know that your body is going to push with everything it has while you fight it with everything you have. I know I spent many, many contractions yelling “No, no, no!” because I was fighting my body so much. I felt bad because everyone was telling me not to push but I was doing it anyway with most of the contractions. It’s hard to fight such a strong instinct. Tyson was doing his best to help me breathe them away, and some of the time it was successful. The midwives also helped as much as they could, but I was pretty miserable. At times I thought that I would love to have some drugs, but then I realized that would involve getting dressed, driving to the hospital, getting admitted, and then giving birth there so those thoughts didn’t last long.
At one point my midwife let me push for a while and she tried to push the lip back over the baby’s head, but it didn’t work. It was painful, but not nearly as bad as trying to fight my body. The pushing was a wonderful relief, but I was worried I would make the lip swell up and then have to fight my body for even longer. For about three hours I fought the pushing contractions and then they checked me and the lip was gone! They told me I could start pushing with the contractions, and I was thrilled!
Right before I was told I could push, the third midwife showed up to help with the birth. It was about 4 or 5 a.m. She had gotten a full night of sleep, so she brought in some fresh ideas about how to help me cope with labor and she tried to get me in a couple different positions. She also kept trying to get me to pee, but it just wasn’t happening. They were worried that my full bladder was getting in the way of the baby descending and told me that I might eventually need a catheter. By that point I didn’t really care, because I was sick of trying to pee and not being able to. I eventually did end up having the catheter while I was pushing, and it wasn’t bad at all. It was nice to not have to worry about not being able to pee and just focus on being able to push.
I pushed for about two hours. I pushed on the bed for a while, pulling my knees back. I got sick of that, and got back in the tub where I pushed on my hands and knees and squatting with Tyson supporting me. They checked the baby’s heart rate about every other contraction, and he sounded great through the whole thing. The midwives told me I was pushing great, and that kept my spirits up. After about an hour of pushing, I told them my muscles were getting tired, so they had me sit on the toilet. It had been horrible when I was trying not to push, but it worked great now that I could push with the contractions. I think that really helped move the baby down. I was surprised at how long I spent pushing. I had always thought that I would give a few good pushes and the baby would be crowing. Apparently not.
Once the baby had moved down significantly from being on the toilet I got back on the bed. I pushed some more squatting on the bed with Tyson propping me up from behind and one of the midwives holding my arms from the front. That was also a very effective position. They put a mirror down so I could see the baby’s head in it while I pushed. It was very odd looking – not at all like I had expected. After a while pushing in the squatting position, I leaned back on Tyson and propped my legs on two of the midwives. I pushed with everything I had because by that time I was ready to get that baby out of there! He started to crown, and that was such an intense stretching sensation! The midwives coached me to give little gentle pushes to ease his head out. I kept saying “Ow!” but it was mostly because the stretching sensation was so intense and I just wanted it to end. Once his head was out, I gave another one or two big pushes and out he came. It was such a relief to have him out! I was so glad to have the whole thing over. It was 7:59 a.m. on November 19, almost exactly 11 hours after my water had broken.
The midwives put him immediately in my arms. He was screaming and pink right from the beginning. He got a 9 on his one minute APGAR and a 10 on his five minute APGAR. I talked to him for a while as he continued to cry and he eventually settled down into making disgruntled baby sounds. One of the midwives told me that he was telling us his story of the birth, and it definitely sounded like that! His head was very molded and bruised, probably from all the pushing both before and after I was able to push. Tyson was completely freaked out by his molded head and the midwives kept reassuring him that it was totally normal. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing and then Tyson cut it. We decided to name him Landon Bennett. We tried to get him latched on to nurse, but he wasn’t very interested so we focused just on getting to know him instead.
I was able to hold my little boy for over two hours after he was born. The midwives examined him right on my chest and let me and Tyson bond with him. Eventually I did have to get up to go to the bathroom and get cleaned up a little bit. Then Tyson held him while they checked me for tears. I had torn a little bit, but it wasn’t bad enough to need stitches. I was really swollen, but otherwise I felt great and elated in spite of being pretty exhausted. We took all the messy sheets and the plastic sheet off the bed and then our little family snuggled up in it. Then the midwives weighed and measured Landon while I had something to eat. He was seven pounds, ten ounces and was 19 ½ inches long. When that was all finished, the midwives left and we all took a nap together.
Even though parts of my labor were rough, I am so glad we had him at home. He is a calm and mellow baby and we are enjoying him very much. We had a hard time breastfeeding at first, but when my milk came in we figured it out and now it’s going well. Landon is one month old today, and it’s gone by so fast!
Thanks for making it this far
. You get rewarded with a picture!
Landon on his first day: http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g1...1/IMG_0975.jpg