We called our midwife, Pat. She offered to come out and check me and we agreed. I had not been checked at all this pregnancy but with all the pressure I was unable to relax and rest. I thought if she checked me and I was 5 or less cm I would be able to relax knowing I had some time before ‘real’ labor. Pat got here around 11:15pm and found me to be 4cm.
This brought me some relief as I felt I could get some sleep now. She asked if she could listen to the baby with the doppler (we had not used it at all this pregnancy) since she didn’t have her fetoscope with her. We agreed but I told her she’d probably get better tones if she put it up my butt because the baby was so low and still posterior.
Pat offered to stay but it seemed silly to have her there without ‘real’ contractions.
Just as she was walking towards the door I had a contraction. It was pretty strong and lasted nearly two minutes. Again, she offered to stay but I told her to go, she left near midnight.
The next contraction came six minutes later. I was already tired and knew it could be a long night so I rested and even dozed between contractions. This worked for about an hour then I had a contraction that was noticeably stronger and had to get out of bed and move around.
I paced the house a few times and then settled in front of the computer and used an online contraction counter to measure the frequency and length of my contractions. I really wanted my husband, Ken, to sleep as long as possible knowing I would need him later. My goal was to let him sleep until 2:00am.
By the time I started timing my contractions online they were 5 minutes apart and were two minutes long. They got closer together and stronger pretty quick. I was relieved that this labor was obviously going to be longer than Avery’s 45 minute labor but it certainly wasn’t starting out as gently as Kerianne’s 6 hour labor.
At 1:30 I had to get up from the computer to deal with my contractions. I made it to our room and sat on my birth ball while leaning on the bed. My second contraction there hit at 1:38 and I had to vocalize through it waking Ken. He sat up and asked if I had been laboring since Pat left and I told him yes. He asked if I wanted him to call Pat back and I said YES, and Jen too. Jen is a friend and professional photographer that we had hired to document the birth.
I don’t think calling them was the wrong thing to do since the contractions were so strong and Avery’s birth had been so fast but in retrospect I wish I would have waited at least an hour so Ken and I would have more alone time and Pat & Jen wouldn’t have been here so long.
I sat in front of my birth alter - it is a small table covered with fabric from my Blessingway - there is a painted picture of me on canvas by Stephanie, A small canvas picture from Traci that says "If you're handed it, You can handle it" that I gave Traci at her Blessingway, a floral wreath for my hair made by my friends daughter, I held my crystal rosary for a moment, put on the beaded necklace from my BW and lit the candles. I then lit the candles in the bathroom, bedroom and family room. The house was full of flowers Ken bought me just days before. It was quiet and the lit candles glowed in the darkness. Ken started my music, the atmosphere was so calming with the scent lavender wafting in the air.
Jen got to the house around 2:30 with camera and equipment in hand. It was nice to see a friendly face. I was surprised she beat Pat.
Pat got to the house around 2:45. This is our third birth with Pat and it is always such a joy to have her in our home. She brought in a birth stool, her equipment and started setting up. I sat on the birth stool for a while and had a few contractions there. Pat was very encouraging during contractions and really wanted me to get up and walk. I told her that walking didn’t sound like much fun. At this point I was feeling a great deal of rectal pressure and sitting on the ball was my favorite position.
After some more encouragement I agreed to walk the length of the house. Ken and I were holding hands (I was wearing one of his X-large tee shirts) and we walked out of our bedroom into the family room and towards the kitchen. I made it to the kitchen tile and had to lean on the counter during a contraction. After the contraction I said I’d try to make it to the tile in the foyer. I made it to my office and had to lean on the half wall separating my office from the living room for another contraction. After that contraction I decided I was done walking!
We made it back to the bedroom and kind of slow danced for a while. This was a nice compromise, I was vertical which is what Pat wanted but I wasn’t walking which I hated. During this time Brielle, Pat’s assistant, arrived she was behind me and I said “who’s that?” The only other person I was expecting was my good friend Stephanie but we hadn’t called her yet (she was our support person for the kids). Pat joked that this is the first time I have given her enough time to call an assistant.
I remember looking at the clock and asking someone to call Stephanie, I’d guess it was around 4am, the girls get up very early and I wanted Stephanie to be there if they got up at 4:30. I’m not sure who called her but I think it was Jen.
I’d guess sometime between 4:30-5:00 I wandered into the bathroom which is my sanctuary. Our master bath is painted a deep purple/plum and has the words Yours ~ Body, Heart & Soul painted along the ceiling line in dark brown painted by Stephanie, there is a large picture window with a gorgeous valance made by my friend Traci. The three of us spent an afternoon making over the master bath to surprise Ken during a business trip. My belly cast from Kerianne’s pregnancy is mounted on the wall above the tub with pictures of me very pregnant with Avery along side the cast. There are flowers on the vanity and candles everywhere. This is my favorite place. I stood at the vanity and had a couple of contractions and then said I wanted to get in the tub, that was fine with Pat and they started the water. It seemed like it took FOREVER for the tub to fill. During my labor I was drinking water with a Smooth Transitions tincture as well as Bach’s olive tincture to help me remain calm (I was hoping anyway). I prepared another glass while the tub was filling.
I got into the tub and it was just lovely, the water felt so good and it gave me a much needed break from the powerful contractions. During this time Ken was concerned I got into the tub too soon and was worried my labor would stop. It’s a good thing he didn’t voice this concern to me! After laboring in the tub for a while sitting semi-reclined and ‘indian style’ Pat suggested I get out of the water and sit on the edge, I told her NO. Ken suggested I change postion to squatting or all fours (concerned my contractions were spacing out). I chose all fours. I had a nice cushy mat in the bottom of the tub so that came in handy. As soon as my bottom was out of the tub gravity was working again and I was more uncomfortable during contractions but I knew I needed it so I stayed in that position through several contractions. It felt better for my back since I had a great deal of back labor due to baby’s posterior position but I felt less in control so that bugged me a bit. However, I felt the longer I was in this position the better my chances of baby turning anterior. At one point between contractions I was feeling very tired and my upper body was fatiguing, I said “I want to take a nap” and everyone started laughing which really pissed me off! I said “I’m not kidding!” During the labor between contractions I did a great deal of analyzing which is really different for me. I was trying to figure out if I had already gone through transition. I had the hot/cold thing going and I had already had the shakes but I hadn’t felt nauseous or thrown up (fine with me) nor had I gone through that panicky stage. But I couldn’t figure out if I had already gone through transition why didn’t I feel pushy??? While laboring Ken had put a towel over my lower back and bottom and poured water over me during contractions which was really nice.
When I was still on all fours I tried to force pushing to see what it felt like but because my body wasn’t ready to push it didn’t feel like anything. I have read several birth stories of women birthing on all fours but that never seemed like something I would want to do and I was right. I felt as long as I was on all fours I wouldn’t feel pushy.
I went back to a semi-reclined position and it didn’t take long before I started feeling pushy. I gave a few half-hearted attempts which probably helped baby move down just a little. Then I remember one contraction where baby really moved down and it felt like this big ball was going to come out my butt! I said “I’m DONE!” I was wondering if baby was still posterior and if it would get worse as the large part of the head had to pass my tailbone???
Almost immediately the need to push was overwhelming. I started pushing and felt the head fill my vagina, the pain was intense, I was VERY vocal. Ken would remind me to take a deep breath but always at the HEIGHT of a contraction so at this point I said “Enough with the ‘take a deep breath’!!!” He apologized. I said something like “Let’s finish this.”
I put my chin to my chest, held my breath and pushed as hard as I could. Pat told me to feel for my baby but I had my hands on either side of the tub holding myself up and couldn’t figure out how to let go. I said “Ken!” and he jumped at the chance to catch another of our babies. I pushed the head and shoulders out at the same time. Pat noticed a cord around the neck and unlooped it. Pat told me to feel my baby and I was able to reach down – I felt head, shoulders and the cord. I was sure baby should be out already and wanted to yell for someone to just pull it out!
I pushed two more times and Ken helped me bring the baby up to my chest at 6:02am. What relief! Baby came out anterior (I think the all fours really helped). Baby was curled up on my chest. And from the waist down was covered in thick vernix. I reached around to try to feel the sex but I hadn’t figured it out yet. Ken took a peek and said “Guess what, it’s a girl!” I had spent my entire pregnancy thinking I was having a boy – silly me. I asked someone to get the other kids. Cory was awake, his bedroom is over the bathroom and he heard me, Brendan (she was born on his birthday) and the girls slept through the whole thing. They were all very excited to meet their new little sister.
We named her Lilia Joy – my paternal Grandmother’s name was Lilian and Ken’s Grandma’s name was Joyce (we lost her in November) so it was perfect for this new wonderful member of our family.
Lilia latched on right away and nursed for 2 hours! We drained the tub, I delivered the placenta while still in the tub and we wrapped it in a chux pad. Pat and Brielle helped me out of the tub to the bed. We just sat there and admired her.
Pat and Brielle started cleaning up. Jen took some pictures of the whole family on the bed. Stephanie made breakfast for the kids and helped the boys off to school.
After two hours we were ready to cut the cord so that Pat could do the newborn exam and weigh her. I cut the cord, a first for me but it just felt right. Pat gave her a thorough exam. I really had to go to the bathroom so Brielle helped me get there. I swear I peed for at least a minute straight! While in the bathroom someone called out 9-3! I said “She weighs 9-3???” Wow! She was a bit smaller than Avery but she just didn’t seem that big to me. More surprising is that she was 22 inches long!
I got back in bed, Jen had to leave to get home to her family and Pat asked me if I was ok for her to leave – she had another Mama in labor. Brielle stayed with me for a while longer to make sure I felt well and had everything I needed, she left around 10am.
My Mom’s flight was arriving at 11:30. We had friends offer to pick her up but I wanted her to hear the news from Ken or myself. I knew she would be disappointed that she just missed the birth.
Stephanie stayed with me, taking care of the girls until Ken got back from the airport with Mom. When they got home both Lilia and I were napping but it was so nice to have her here.
The pics in the slideshow are no longer crisp - not sure if it's a Google thing or what but it was hard for us to find a host that would support the whole thing.
Midwifery Student and Mama to 2 daughters and 3 sons.
I have given birth a variety of ways and I am thankful for what each one has taught me.
I told my husband a while ago that I would want a video, too. He thought it is odd. I told him that we had a video made on our wedding and that the birth of our first child would be a moment even more special and I would want it on dvd to watch it again and again. But we are not sure who could help us? My husband cannot make it, that is for sure
How did you do it? O, and please please please tell me the name of that second song. I am so in love with this song. I want to hear it again and again. Is there a cd with it on?
Congratulations to your wonderful baby!
Thank you very much!
We hired a friend who is a professional photographer - she took all the pictures and put together the mantage and set it to the music we gave her.
I am a private birther - this is the most people I ever had at a homebirth and I thought it might bother me but it didn't. We absolutely LOVE the end product - it cost us $500+tax and she gave us two DVDs set to music and another DVD that has each individual picture on it so we actually own the pictures and can have prints made if we want.
The second song is 'Who You'll Be' and was written and sung by a Mama I went to college with. I bought her CD two years ago and when we were looking at music it just seemed to fit and she was happy to let us use it. Her name is Kiersten Venezia and her website is www.KierstenVenezia.com the CD is only $10 and she ships it directly from her home.
The other songs:
#1 - Somebody by Depeche Mode
#3 - We've Been Waiting for You by Carolyn Arends
#4 - Seven Years by Norah Jones
Honestly, I would recommend a photographer rather than a video. We look at this over and over - it tells the whole story in 16 minutes where a video would be HOURS long and get boring. It's the same with our wedding pictures - we look at the pictures all the time but we never watch the video.
Canadian mama to A (C/S May 2004) and R (induced VBAC Dec 2007) expecting #3 in July. Currently obsessing over permaculture, photography and beekeeping.
Congratulations and enjoy. I love the videos
Be still my beating uterus: Men with chest hair holding newborns!!