First off, to God be the glory for this amazing experience!! I'm so grateful for the way things went, and I'm thrilled to be able to officially share the story of our "unassisted assisted birth"...read: just me, DH, and God.
I woke up around midnight *hoping* I could consider myself in labor (I'd had several days of hours of mild, but real- not just braxton-hicks- contractions over the past few weeks), and while I was slightly crampy and having some braxton-hicks, I considered it nothing out of the ordinary and went back to sleep. Right at 3 a.m. I woke up again to just a tight stomach, got up to go pee, and instantly started having mild contractions. So I sat down to the computer to time them, pushed the spacebar a mere 2 times (was on Contraction Master), and realized how pointless it was- these were real, already painful, and for the first time I had no doubts that I was in labor. (for the record, I had been about 3 cm dilated for some time now)
I sat on my exercise ball for a while (the best money I've ever spent at Ross considering it's officially been a God send through 2 pregnancies now!), then I got in the shower for a bit. I knew that would "kill of" the contractions if it wasn't the real thing, and at that point I figured if that pain wasn't real, I wanted it gone so I could go back to sleep. Nope, it stuck around, and actually increased by the time I got out. I was having to concentrate and breathe through them already, so I went in to the bedroom and told DH...although he didn't really wake up.
I went back to sit on the ball in the bathroom and just breathed through contractions. At about 4:00 I tried yelling at DH to wake up, hoping he could bring my the iPod with my "labor worship" songs on it, since I was already at a point where the thought of getting up and moving just sounded miserable. He never heard me. LOL Finally he came in a bit later on his own because DD had woken up.
I continued to labor by myself...lots or prayer and worship got me through contractions. I'd thank God for each break...I never really experienced breaks in between contractions with DD1, so it was so neat to see how God designed labor (when it happens on it's own, of course) in just a way that when you think you can't do it anymore, the contractions let up and you get a rest. It was so cool because God gave me comfort in the littlest things- like some contractions were too much for me to think of anything but the pain during, so I'd feel inclined to read a few verses from the Bible, and usually I couldn't concentrate on the words or get my eyes to really focus, but I'd read anyway, and it was crazy how much that took away the pain.
Soon DH came in and asked if I wanted to call the midwife and I said no. (My midwife knew there was a possibility of us having the baby without her there- a door I wanted to comfortably keep open as well, as to do all I could to make sure this birth left me with no regrets...not that DD1's did, but I just felt more "on top" of things this time. But to top it off, it'd take her about 2 hours just to arrive here after we called (God bless her for driving all the way over here since we've moved and gas prices shot through the roof!)) So I continued to breathe, pray, and work through contractions on my own. Can I brag for a minute?? I vowed not to fight labor at all, because I wanted things to work "correctly" and on their own time...well I can officially say I didn't fight ONE SINGLE contraction (with DD1 I was terrified of each one and really held back). In fact, with each one I just did whatever my body was "telling" me to do- whether it was to just simply breathe through them or to actually bear down to some extent.
I called my mom around 5 a.m. to ask if she'd come over to watch DD, who was showing NO interest in going back to sleep. Mom arrived about 15 minutes later and occupied DD1 for the rest of the morning. She, as did DH, figured I still had quite a while left because I was laboring so quietly and "calmly" (apparently) and it hadn't been very long since it started (ha! they weren't doing the work!). About 3 hours into the process, around 6 a.m., I started to have occasional contractions to where the ONLY relief I would feel was if I pushed a bit with it. I knew they weren't "pushy" contractions, and I knew the possible consequences of pushing unecessarily and too early, but I figured it wouldn't be relieving to do so if it was wrong. Not too long after, when I stood up to re-adjust my position, I noticed I was having some bloody show, which made me feel like I was finally making a little bit of progress! Then I started getting clammy and shaky and sort of "gone" in between contractions...in hindsight it was definitely transition, but at the time I wasn't sure just because my contractions still felt the same and I figured no way was I that close.
Things kept up like this for a while longer. Around 8:10 my mom and DD left the house to go to her house, again, thinking I still had a while left. Right after they left I realized my lower back was killing me (it'd hurt quite a bit plenty of other times during the process but I could usually find a way to relieve it), and I was slightly concerned about a positioning issue, so I figured I'd tried to get down on my hands and knees, or at least lean over the ball, in case the baby was presenting posterior (I'd tried laboring in that position earlier and it only took one contraction to realize how awful it felt!). Literally the instant that I got down on my knees and leaned over the ball, and DH walked in the bathroom, I felt a pop and a gush, and my water broke...I asked DH if the fluid was clear of meconium, he said yes, and then got up and ran off. LOL He went to call his mom to have her come back, and to let my mom know she should probably turn around. Having my membranes rupture naturally was such a strange sensation- it gave me instant relief from so much pressure, but that only lasted seconds and then all of a sudden the pain was just as bad, if not worse. And then I felt it...that crazy pushy feeling. As soon as I mentioned to DH that it felt like I had to go to the bathroom, he realized how close we were and how seriously fast things were going. About 1 minute after my water broke I couldn't stop my body from pushing her out. It was insane. I thought the contractions were painful, but having her come out SO fast was seriously freaky- there was NO in between. I thought I'd be able to feel her descend, but nope- she went from one place to the other in seconds. For the first time during the whole labor I was yelling "Ouch ouch ouch!" and trying so hard to hold back. I felt like I was going to tear into a million pieces. Her head came out in one push. Praise God DH was right there because things went TOO fast for me to have caught her on my own! He checked for a nuchal cord- none- and I was able to reach down and feel her head (again, a different experience from with DD1...very cool!). Before another minute was up her body was coming out in one more push and my mother-in-law came in right then. It was seriously maybe 3 minutes tops from my first push to having her out! My mom had turned around and had been sitting in the driveway with DD- she had NO idea it had gone that fast! She came in right after the baby had been delivered.
So our second little girl entered the world at 8:20! She took a while to pink up and had some mucousy breathing for a while, along with having passed meconium right after she was out...we're pertty positive all of that is attributed to her VERY rapid birth. We weren't very concerned about her breathing as it just took a little longer than normal but her cord was still pulsating and we had no intentions of clamping and cutting anytime soon. We did suction her unlike we'd planned but it worked out. I started nursing her as soon as possible and she was a champ from the start...she has a better latch than her sister who's been nursing for almost 2 1/2 years!! LOL
I nursed her for a bit while waiting to deliver the placenta...and oh my gosh, I think once she was out and the "best" part of labor was over, that made the contractions that were trying to get the placenta out even worse! Oh my, they hurt! It took about 45 minutes to get the placenta delivered- it was pretty clotty upon inspection but otherwise looked good. (I had NO idea how big that thing was!) Shortly before that we cut and clamped the cord (it had stopped pulsating) so I could change positions, and DH took her and weighed and measured her- 7 lbs 12 oz and 20" long. (7 oz and 1" bigger than DD1...although you'd never know!)
She's a doll- dark complected like DD1, and a head full of dark hair. Loves to nurse and would stay latched on all day long, which DD1 isn't too happy about. She's SO mellow compared to her sister- she actually sleeps and cuddles. VERY strange, compared to DD1 who was too alert, independent, and on-the-go from the moment she came out!! Oh, and it's quite convenient that she was born on the same day of the month as her sister.
Overall, it was an incredible experience. I praise God for allowing us to do that...for it to be something I shared only with my best friend- my husband. I know he was nervous (considering it was his wife and baby and not just some patient!), but he was SO amazing and encouraging. I am so blessed. He never once made me feel uncomfortable during those last few minutes of the birth when I felt so awkward, and he was so helpful throughout the entire day- he constantly supported me (physically and emotionally), he set/cleaned up, he did the laundry, he cooked breakfast for everyone, and he just took such awesome care of all 3 of us.
So that's the story of our unassisted "assisted" (by God!) birth. It was an amazing, blessed experience, and while it was definitely more physical work (albeit shorter than my last labor), I'll take that birth over a hospital birth again any day. Just goes to show that God knows what He's doing/has done...he designed our bodies to create, carry, and give birth to babies, and there's no reason it can't still happen naturally and safely outside of a hospital. Thank you Jesus!!