Ronans Unassisted Birth Story
It began on Dec. 9th, with some good Prodromal labor, petered out, picked up again the following Saturday, petered out again. By the time Dec 22nd rolled around, I was 40w6d and didn’t think I was EVER going to have this baby! I had contractions that night steadily 5 or so minutes apart from 5pm on. I just went to bed, since I was fully expecting to be let down again.
I woke up at 4am with some nice contractions. They kept me awake. Around 6am on the 23rd I got up to use the bathroom, and had bloody show. I’d been gradually losing my plug for weeks, just no blood. I knew today would be the day.
We got up, and just had a pretty normal day. I had contractions pretty steadily about 10-15 minutes apart, and they certainly caught my attention when they came. My sister was out of town, and was supposed to be back in the afternoon, and I really wanted/needed her to be there for Brecken (19m), because he still wakes up a lot at night, and I needed to know that Nathan could be with me, and Brecken would still be taken care of.
My sister and her boyfriend arrived sometime late afternoon, I don’t remember exactly when.
Around 6pm I was ready for some solitude, so I went upstairs to our bedroom, and just layed down. Nathan was making some dinner, and Jess (sister) brought me some apple slices and cheese. I just labored by myself for awhile, and Jess came to periodically check on me.
Some time around 7:30 or 8pm, I told Jess to tell Nathan that when he was done eating he needed to fill the tub. I hadn’t realized that they were JUST starting to cook dinner. I waited and waited for him to come up and start getting the tub going. Finally I called down stairs, and told him he needed to fill the tub NOW, because I didn’t think it was going to be that much longer.
My contractions weren’t really coming that close together, maybe 5min or so, but they were strong.
He got the tub filled up, and I got in sometime around 9 or 9:30. I wasn’t sure if it was “time” yet, because “they” say you are supposed to be dialated 5+cm before getting in the tub, at the risk of stalling labor. But, I felt really ready, and because I wanted to labor in the tub so bad, I figured even if I wasn’t quite to 5cm I’d get there quickly. I certainly didn’t want to have a long drawn out labor like I did with Brecken.
I wasn’t in the tub that long when I started having those contractions that end in a little grunt. I thought surely it was too soon for me to be on the verge of pushing! I mostly just tried to breathe through it, and really focused on “breathing baby down” that I had read somewhere.
Nathan came up at some point when I had started having the grunty contractions, and I told him he needed to stay with me. He told me he needed to finish eating so he could have energy. I told him he better hurry up!
He hadn’t been up with me for more than maybe a half an hour or so, when I was really getting the urge to bear down. I started getting a little freaked out though, because I started seeing blood, and I didn’t think you were supposed to bleed until after the placenta had come out. I was scared and frustrated because I did NOT want to transfer to the hospital, since my last experience was so awful, and I thought I was pretty close. I felt to see if I could feel the head. No head.
My legs were starting to get really tired, as I’d been kneeling over the edge of the tub for most of my contractions. I decided to get out, and go sit on the toilet. I guess I was in there for 30 or so minutes Nathan said. It didn’t feel that long, but every time I was going to get up, I’d have another contraction.
Finally I was able to get up, and walk back to the tub. I was still seeing blood, but I could DEFINITELY feel that the head had really dropped down while I had sat on the toilet.
I got in the tub, and figured I’d give it another few contractions, before talking to Nathan to see about going to the hospital. Apparently he had been taking notes, and was giving me the run down on how long I’d been in the bathroom, and how far apart my contractions were coming. All I could think was “I don’t give a Sh*t!!” Well, one or two contractions later, I had the urge to really push, and something (the rest of the mucous plug I think) shot out of me, literally like a cork out of a champagne bottle. I felt it pop, and it exploded into the tub. I was looking down because I wanted to see how much blood was coming out.
After that, I felt for the head again, it was RIGHT THERE only as far in as the middle knuckle of my middle finger. I yelled at Nathan “I feel the head, its right there!” I wanted to push him out so fast! I was so eager to meet him. But I reminded myself that I didn’t want to tear, and to just take it easy. Nathan reminded me to keep my noises low. I pushed slowly for the first few contractions, and then I could feel that the head was ALMOST out so I gave a long slow push to get it the rest of the way out. I was expecting that he would torpedo out of me the way Brecken had, but he didn’t. Nathan was saying, ok baby, his head is out, you’re almost there. I had a little break from contractions, and I rested. It couldn’t have been more than a minute or two, but I needed it. With the next two contractions I gently pushed out his shoulders, and he shot into the water.
He was all kind of sprawled out and very purple. I reached down and pulled him right up, I guess Nathan helped me, but I don’t remember. He had been filming since I told him I could feel the head. As soon as he was up, I said “It’s a boy!” and we all laughed. We figured as much.
Nathan handed me a towel for him and I started rubbing him, and waiting for him to take his first breath. It was probably 2 or 3 minutes before he gasped, and cried. A little nerve racking, but I knew to expect it, plus he was still attached to the placenta, so I knew he was still getting oxygen that way. He cried for a few minutes and really pinked up. He didn’t latch on RIGHT away, but just sort of nuzzled my breast while we were in the tub. It was just 15 or so minutes shy of Christmas Eve.
I felt my belly to see if it felt like there was another baby in there, for a minute I thought there was, and I felt again, but no, my belly was soft. I was thankful.
I waited for the placenta to come out. I had the urge to bear down, and I did, but I just passed a VERY large clot of blood, no placenta yet. A few minutes later, I pushed out the placenta, and then Jess and Nathan helped me out to the bed.
We cut the cord sometime after that, and Ronan started nursing like a champ. I was really bloody and wanted to rinse off, and get settled back into bed.
I felt REALLLLY dizzy. I had my sister bring me a towel, I told her I was feeling really faint. I thought I was going to pass out. The shower didn’t do much good, since I was still bleeding a lot.
I went to lay down and ate and drank. I had to use the restroom again, but felt really dizzy when I sat up. I was starting to get scared. It had been nearly 3 hours since the birth and I was feeling really bad. I told Nathan, that he should go cut off a thin slice of the placenta from the meaty side, so I could put it under my tongue, just to be safe. For those who are curious, it just tastes like blood. Gross, but better than having to transfer.
I started feeling better right away after that. My bleeding dropped off. I still felt really weak, though.
We didn’t weigh Ronan until the next morning. He was 9lbs and 7oz, quite a fatty compared to Breckens 7lbs and 12oz, but MUUUUUCH less painful to birth. We still have to measure his head and length, but his head I think is smaller than B’s was.
All in all, it was a really wonderful experience. It was super intense, especially those last few hours that labor really kicked in. It was really wonderful to just be able to stay home, and welcome our baby into the world. I will never give birth assisted again, barring an unforeseen complication.
It was an incredibly empowering experience, both for myself as a woman, and for my husband and I as a couple.
Alyssa, wife to one, mama to 2 boys, 5.5 and 4. Living and learning on our little farm.