This is the birth story of my ds, born unassisted on 4/05/2008. I finally got it written up with all the details.
I had an unassisted pregnancy. At 25 weeks I saw a midwife due to my concerns about a low placenta. I had spotted twice, very lightly, and wanted to see if there was anything she could tell me. It was sort of a stressful visit, she couldn't determine through doppler that the placenta was low, and told me my dates were off or my baby was "big" by a month. That threw me for a loop, since I had been charting and was very certain of my dates. I decided not to establish care and just go with my instincts.
My FIL had passed when I was 20 weeks and we had to move my MIL in with us ASAP. We were having a house built to merge our families, so this was an unexpected addition and quite stressful. Our house was very small and had an incredibly small bathroom, and 5 people now living in it. I didn't feel comfortable birthing in that house with my MIL ten feet away and constantly in and out of the bathroom. Our new house was slated to be finished about two days before my due date. I kept hoping I would go over so I could birth in the new house. But I had a back up plan to go to a hotel if the house wasn't finished.
As it turned out, I went into labor at exactly 37 weeks. I was SO disappointed to see bloody show. I had felt the baby drop about 36 hours previous to that, and lots of other signs of impending labor - nesting, cramping, losing the mucus plug. I was in total denial. But when I went to use the bathroom while we were out shopping, I had to accept reality and prepare to birth that day. We went home and dh got online and set up a hotel reservation for a hotel right across the street from the hospital (if I had to birth in a hotel it might as well be close!) and packed up the car with my two birth tubs - one for all the labor stuff (chux pads and towels and a shower curtain for the bed, scissors and cord clamp and whatnot), and the other for baby/postpartum stuff (change of clothes, maxi pads, baby clothes and diapers). We also got the special bag of new toys, books and dvd's that we'd stockpiled to keep dd entertained while I labored. I labored at home for the morning (I'd noticed the show at 10:30 a.m.) and then got dd down for her nap (she nursed throughout the pregnancy) for a couple of hours. I got up on my birth ball for the last hour of her nap. After she woke and ate and we finished packing the car with blankets and pillows and the birth ball, we headed out, telling my MIL that we were going to the hospital and we'd see her the next day. To his day she thinks I had the baby at the hospital - she never would have been okay with UC.
We got to the hotel at 4 p.m., and things were starting to kick into high gear, so I sent dh to check in while I stayed in the car with dd until he got the room key. Then we got ourselves situated and by 4:30 I had all my supplies set up, my own bedding on the hotel bed with a shower curtain over that and then towels and chux pads on top of the curtain. I labored on my birth ball while dh slowly went through the goody bag with dd. Eventually they got some Beatrix Potter dvd's going on his laptop and they were quiet.
After a couple more hours I started feeling ready to hit transition. I had repeatedly asked dh to turn up the heater in the room, but suddenly I was hot and took my nightgown off. I got down on the floor, on a chux pad, leaning upright against the bed. I was moaning through the contractions, which were getting really intense, and I had to tell myself not to fight the sensations. As they got more intense I would low sort of. Then my calves started to cramp up really bad and I had to pee but couldn't get up, so I went on the chux pad.
All of a sudden I felt the urge to get on the bed, and I took my birth ball up there for some reason, thinking I could lean over it. But that wasn't comfortable so I tossed it down again. I wanted to lean up against the headboard, but I didn't want my water to break over the pillows, which weren't covered, so I stayed upright on my knees. My water broke and it was bloody but clear of meconium. Even after all the research I had done I'd never read about blood at that point, but my blood pressure had been fine throughout labor,and ds was about to crown so I decided to keep going. I reached down with one hand and felt his head as it started to emerge. I said positive affirmations "Yes, baby," as his head came out. I felt his soft, wet hair with my hand as there was a pause.
Dh says when my water broke, dd (20 mo at the time) became aware and a little concerned for me. She went up to the foot of the bed and watched as the baby's head came out. So they got to se ds's face before me. He said she cried a little and said "Baby!" but wasn't hysterical - he said it was exactly how he himself had cried when she was born. In that moment, I said to dh "I think the baby is dead," (it was my only real fear, that I would lose the baby during labor) and he said "I'm scared." But then ds's body turned and he slipped out into my hands and immediately I knew he was okay. He was pink all over, and very calm but definitely breathing. I touched his face with a bulb syringe to see if there was any mucus that needed to be suctioned, but he fussed a little and I could hear that he wasn't juicy at all.
I wrapped a blanket over him and myself and cuddled up with him. Dh carried dd around the side of the bed and they got a closer look at the baby. I waited forever for my placenta to deliver and tried squatting and going to the bathroom and it wasn't happening. The afterpains were strong. After 3 hours we cut ds's cord so dh could hold him while I showered and tried to pass the placenta. Still not happening. There was almost no blood and my uterus was staying firm so again I tried to be patient. Finally at midnight, after 5 hours of waiting, I broke down and called my former doula for dd's birth, who was a mw in training. She offered to stop by and check on us so I agreed. About 1 in the morning she got there, looked at me, looked at the baby, said we were fine. The placenta was detached but not coming out with gentle traction so I wanted to keep waiting. She said if it hadn't delivered by morning to transfer. She left around 2 a.m. and I went to the bathroom once again and when my bladder fully emptied, the placenta came out. I still have it in my freezer. I'm going to plant it under something this spring. We think since it was indeed a low placenta (I found it later in pregnancy by listening to it with a stethoscope), that it took longer for my uterus to clamp down and release it fully. It may have even been a slight partial previa, which would explain the blood I saw mixed with the water when it broke, but it was very little blood and without an ultrasound I can't know for sure.
I was so happy that everything was done! Dd and ds tandem nursed on and off all night and I dozed but didn't sleep too much - both because of the labor endorphins and because I wasn't in my own bed. In the morning dh took all the tubs full of towels home and got them going in the wash, while my sister stayed with me and the kids in the hotel room. Then we checked out and went home, and I had a very sweet babymoon.
Isaac was 6 lbs. even, 18.5 inches long. He was tiny but fully cooked, no vernix, and when the mw checked his hands and feet, the wrinkles were all there (apparently early babies' hands and feet aren't wrinkled the whole length). He's a happy big 20-pound 7 month old now! It was a wonderful labor and birth, a great pregnancy too. I feel very blessed.
Mom to DD ('06) and DS ('08)