3 years later...I am revisiting my last birth getting ready for my 3rd. And I finally put the photo montage
My last birth experience was perfect. Labor was peaceful and the birth was exhilarating. I want to really appreciate what I experienced and remind my body what it is capable of.
Contractions started late Friday night, 6 days before my due date. I was holding my 2.5 year old daughter on the couch asleep, trying to get some "last minute" alone time with her. 10 minutes apart, and they lasted most of the night. I felt great and had no labor at all on Saturday, so we just got the house ready for a homebirth. I had the exact same experience Saturday night with the contractions ending in the morning on Sunday. I noticed during the day on Sunday that I had bloody show each time I went to the bathroom. I mentally started to plan on having the baby soon. Sunday night I had more contractions 10 min apart, and went to bed with my husband and daughter and forced myself to sleep through them.
Stronger contractions started around 6 am Monday morning. It was too uncomfortable to stay in bed, so I got out of bed and made breakfast and sat by myself in the kitchen. My husband got up and ate with me. He secretly timed some contractions while we talked, and told me later they were coming 5-7 min apart. I told him to call out of work, and I told my mom, who was staying with us, that things were picking up.
At 10 am we called our midwife, Darlene, our doula, Agnes, to give them the warning, and we had the birth tub people come by. From 12-1pm, while they were setting up the tub, my labor totally stopped. I think I was too busy chatting with the ladies setting it up. After they left, my husband and I took a walk and my mom took my daughter to the park. Then I took a nap with my daughter for a couple of hours.
At 3 pm Darlene popped in too see how things were going. She was concerned about a possible breach, and checked me to discover that the baby was head down, but posterior. I was having back pain (and this confirmed why), but I wasn't too concerned, and was excited to hear that I was 3-4cm and 100% effaced. She left and said to call her when we needed her.
Of course, everything picked up as she was pulling out of the driveway! But we labored comfortably on our own until about 5:30. Agnes stopped by then, and was followed shortly by Darlene, Christy (student midwife), and then Michelle (backup midwife). Our little house was feeling quite full, and I loved it. As we labored on the birth ball, our living room was filled with comfortable conversation and laughter. Between contractions it seemed like a strange yet wonderful party. At 6pm I asked Darlene to check me and I was 6 cm. They teased me about labor not being hard enough and told me to go walk up and down the stairs for a while!
Back labor became increasingly difficult, so Darlene and Agnes suggested some techniques to turn the baby. Amazingly (to me--I'm always skeptical), my back pain lessened and labor really sped up. By 8:30 pm I was getting very tired, so my husband and I got into the labor tub in our kitchen. It felt wonderful – for a few minutes my discomfort completely disappeared. Then I entered transition and everything really intensified. As if on cue, all of the women in the house slowly seemed to drift into the kitchen. By the time the toughest contractions were coming everyone had formed a sort of circle around the tub. They spoke soft (and much needed) words of encouragement, which reminded me of chanting from which I could take bits and pieces of strength. It was powerfully supportive (And I'm not the type that thought she would go for ANYTHING that could be described ad "chanting").
I soon began to feel like pushing, but Darlene recognized that the tub water was too cool. (Somehow I'd knocked off the heater.)I had to get out of the tub. Moving was the last thing I imagined myself capable of doing, but Darlene looked serious and I trusted her. We made it to the bedroom just as the next contraction hit, and three pushes later (at 10:52) my daughter was born. She was 8lbs. 8oz and 20 inches long, and face down! As I held her, the room was filled with smiles and conversation and the atmosphere was almost festive. I was very glad to be in our bed from which I did not have to move, and all the other procedures were completed right there. We went to sleep with both our daughters feeling loved and victorious. It seemed like our baby had been born during the course of a very normal and “routine” day.
In the end, the hardest part of my childbirth experience was saying good bye to Darlene at our six week visit.
We named our daughter Mia, because I felt this birth belonged entirely to me. With the amazing support of my husband, Darlene, Agnes, and everyone else, I was able to do what I always knew my body was capable of. Mia’s birth was more beautiful and enjoyable than I ever imagined birth could be. I am still shocked that this birth story is actually mine, and I am REALLY hoping for as wonderful of a birth for our new little one in February.