the short version…
07.11.07, 2:43am (wednesday), born at home, drug free, outside in the hot tub under the stars, 7lbs 13oz, 21.5" long, 13.5" head, labor started at 9:30pm (tues)
friday the 6th i was 38weeks 6 days pregnant, the longest i'd been pregnant as my first two babies came at 38 weeks and 38 weeks 5 days. that afternoon and evening, i had some irregular contractions and thought i might be getting close! we filled up the hottub just in case and i called my midwives to let them know what was going on. paula suggested i just go to sleep to rest up and when i sat down or layed down, the contractions stopped, so it was just prelabor – but we were excited that we might get a 7.7.07 baby! saturday my inlaws came up for the weekend and nothing happened while they were here besides regular braxton hicks while walking. monday and tuesday, same thing...i saw the chiropractor monday afternoon because when i had a lot of lower back pressure and wondered if maybe my pelvis wasn't quite lined up right – she adjusted me and i felt better right away. tuesday afternoon the boys swam in the hot tub and i relaxed in it, and then we drained it because we didn't want bacteria to start growing.
tuesday night we put the boys to bed and had sex to try to get labor started. at 9:30 i noticed a good, crampy contraction on the underside of my belly, definitely felt different than the braxton hicks i'd been having. a few minutes later, another one and then another one. at 9:50 i decided i better watch the clock to see how they were going, 9:57 another and 10:04 another. i told bri this might really be it, let's see what happens in the next half hour. at 10:30 we decided to fill up the hot tub, that didn't take long, but heating it up would take about 5 hours. contractions had kept coming 4-7 minutes apart, 30 seconds – 1 minute long. i put towels in the wash and we watched an episode of six feet under.
at 11:30 i told bri he better start putting buckets of hot water into the hottub heat it up – we thought we'd be able to hook up the hose to the hot water on our washing machine, but we never tested it and he couldn't get it to unscrew to hook up the hose. i went to the bathroom and noticed a tiny bit of bloody show and said this is really it!! i decided to call the midwives but couldn't get a hold of them! i kept calling paula's home and cell and christa, the apprentice, her home and cell as well. i thought maybe they're at another birth and hoped they'd call me back soon. at midnight bri asked if we don't get a hold of them are we doing this unassisted or do we go to the hospital? i said i'm definitely not going to the hospital!
it wasn't until 12:20am that i got a hold of a sleeping christa and she said she'd call paula to see what was going on. paula called me back in a few minutes apologizing, she didn't know what had happened, she had her phones right there in bed with her and actually right before christa called, she woke up with a funny feeling, looked at her phone and saw the missed calls from me. she asked how long i thought it might be based on my previous labors and i said maybe 3 hours. she said she was on her way but had to stop at the office for her birth bag.
at 1am i started to stop and focus and breathe through the contractions, i didn't have to, but it felt better to. christa arrived at 1:10, checked baby's hb and then checked me. she said my bag of waters was bulging and she couldn't really tell how dilated i was, she thought 5-6cm. paula arrived at 1:30 and checked me during a contraction and said i was a generous 8cm. she asked if i wanted to break the water and i said no. i asked if i could get in the hot tub and she said definitely! it felt so good in there! the contractions slowed down a little but they were lasting longer, at least a minute each. i was in the middle of the tub on my hands and knees and i'd rock back and forth and breathe through them. i was starting to feel a little bit of pressure. in between contractions, i'd chat w/ the midwives and brian. we talked about gardens and the weather – the crickets were chirping and brian had taken down the tarp that he put up for shade in case we had the baby during the day – it was very peaceful under the stars. bri set up the video camera on the tripod and i asked him if he would want to get in and catch the baby. we had planned on him taking pictures all along, but it hit me that it would be way more meaningful if he was in there to catch the baby than take pictures, lol! paula and christa were inside setting up so i asked paula to come tell us what he'd need to do to catch. she said it's pretty easy and talked him through it. christa said she'd take pictures unless paula needed her, so it was perfect.
around 2:30, paula offered to check me again, i said sure. she said i was complete and asked me to push a little during the next contraction to push aside a little cervical lip. we did this for two contractions, it was kind of hard to push because i was hanging on to the edge of the hottub w/ just one hand and the rest of my body was just floating, i didn't have much leverage to push – but it worked and she said to try to keep that pressure down in between contractions and i could push during the next one. brian got in the tub at this point. i wasn't sure which position i wanted to be in to push. my water had not broken yet so paula said she'd want me close to the edge if he came out in the caul so they could break it.
i decided to try squatting in the middle, this was perfect. i pushed through a few contractions and then i could feel his head move down and my water broke. i had one hand down there and could feel his head come so close to crowning but as soon as i stopped pushing i felt him move back up, that was a strange feeling! the next one i pushed his head out, paula told brian to gently push his head down a bit to release the shoulder and told me to push...the contraction was over and i didn't feel like pushing anymore! she said i had to because the baby needed to come out, so i did, lol! it was hard! out he came at 2:43am! i pulled him up to my chest but the cord was short, we noticed he was kind of tangled in it, half around his neck and down through a leg. he wasn't making any noise and both bri and i asked if he was ok. paula took him and kinda held him upside down and rubbed his back, he started making some noise. she gave him back to me and was telling us to just hold him by his head and let the rest of his body float in the water to get him to breathe, we were both a little dumbfounded and it took a few times of her telling us this to get what we were supposed to do. finally we got it and he took some good breaths. then she said i could hold him to my chest and see if he'd latch on but he wasn't interested yet. i felt a couple more contractions so we cut the cord, bri got out and took curran, i stepped out and squatted over a bowl to birth the placenta. paula told me to visualize releasing and not being pregnant anymore and to gently pull on the cord and out came the placenta, that was cool to do it myself.
we went inside, paula and christa went to the kitchen to do paperwork and gave us some time to ourselves. curran still wasn't latching on, so paula suggested holding him upright, as soon as i did that, he started rooting and then latched on. they came back in to weigh and measure him, gave him a little bath, bri dressed him and i took a shower. paula checked me for tears and found none. we had pretty much decided on curran but didn't know if we were going w/ reed or charles for the middle name. we decided to go with reed. they wrapped up the placenta, put it in the freezer and said goodbye.
i really couldn't imagine a better birth, everything was just perfect! throughout my pregnancy i told myself that i wanted to be more aware, more present this time around. dade was my first natural birth and while it was wonderful, my natural coping instinct during his birth was to go inside myself and i felt afterwards that i had somehow missed it a little because i wasn't fully present. i wouldn't have been disappointed if this labor had been the same way, but i'm very pleased that i really got to experience it if that makes sense. i was totally aware of his head moving through the birth canal and pushing him out.
i felt very prepared for this birth, mentally and spiritually, as well as physically. i'd even say it was virtually pain free right up to the point of pushing him out, which wasn't really painful, just hard. paula said when i was in the tub in transition, i was laboring like a typical woman in early labor. i like giving birth, i think i'm pretty good at it and would do it several more times if pregnancy wasn't so hard on my body.
big brothers are in love w/ their new baby. estin is just as gentle as ever and dade is a little wild man – he comes close to rub curran's head and then runs away squealing. he is nursing great and gaining weight, at 5 days he was almost back to his birth weight. he's very strong, already holding his head up. sleeping good, i hope that keeps up! the name curran is a maiden name on my dad's side, coming from ireland in the late 1800s, it means hero…reed was my grandpa on my mom's side.
just found out yesterday that my neighbors heard me give birth, haha!
pulling him out of the water
in daddy's arms
Mountain Biking Mama of 3 little beans, . Epumped 22mths for dd1 (2006)
Nursed my babe, dd2 (2008) until self weaned at 3yrs. We survived a major nursing strike.
Awesome for Baby #3 who turned out to be a (Aug 2013)!
I'm wondering if our neighbors will hear too. Did they say something to you?
CONGRATS on a wonderful birth!
I'd love to learn more about preparing the hot-tub for HB.
Love the name too!
HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys: 03/02; 09/04; 09/07 - and Eliana, 11/13/10!
Founder of Houston Birth Alternatives: Be Informed, Encouraged, Supported birth support group and aspiring midwife.
Best wishes with your beautiul family!