The morning before DS was born, I was having a lot of Braxton Hicks (at least that’s what I was pretty sure they were, as that’s what I had experienced a lot for weeks), and every time I had a contraction, I had to pee, and I was peeing about every 10 minutes. The prodromal labor slowed in the late morning and then stopped for a few hours. It picked up again as I was nursing DD to sleep for our nap, and I don’t think it ever really stopped until he was born. It was light enough, though, that I was able to sleep. Thankfuly, both DD and I took very good naps that afternoon.
That evening, I finally dug out the pool from DD’s birth and put it in the box of birth supplies along with the tarp that we planned to put underneath the pool. The midwives planned to let me use another pool during the birth, but all I had so far was the pool liner. A lot of babies were born with our midwives in the couple weeks before and needed the pools. They had planned to give us the pool and supplies at our appointment the week before, but there was another mother in labor during my appointment, so the midwife who had the pool supplies in her car was already helping her while the other midwife handled my appointment. They had said that the pool liner in my birth kit could work with the pool from DD’s birth, so I pulled it out as a back-up just in case. I also decided that it was about time we got back in the habit of making sure the living room floor was clear before bed at night, and I made DD pick up her toys before bed.
Our bedtime routine was to all get in bed at 9:00 for some quiet reading and then turn out the lights at about 9:30. I think we were a little late on both counts. As we were finishing up getting ready for bed, so probably about 9PM, I noticed that the contractions were getting stronger. I was pretty sure that the baby was posterior, so I had DH do the rebozo technique on me to try to get him to turn, but I’m not sure it helped. I still felt a lot of little baby parts all over the place. After he was born, there was a position he layed in when we set him on the bed. His elbows were pointed back with his hands pointed forward, and his knees pointed forward while his feet pointed back. I was sure he was OP, but in hindsight, he must have been OA and digging his elbows and feet into me. While we were reading in bed, I asked DH to try timing my contractions. Some were 30 seconds long, some a minute. Some were 3 minutes apart, some more like 6. We declared that they were still irregular and went to bed.
When we turned out the lights, the contractions got stronger. As I lay next to DD, waiting for her to fall asleep, I started timing the contractions myself. They were about 3 minutes apart and lasted about 30-35 seconds. Daylight savings time began the day before that, so 9:30 felt to DD a lot more like 8:30. She normally takes about a half hour to fall asleep by about 10, but what was 10 before was more like 11 that night. It didn’t help at all that I kept turning on the back-light on the clock to time my contractions. It was indeed 11 before DD calmed down enough to convince me that she was asleep, and I jumped out of bed to call my midwife. Moments later, I heard DD and DH talking in the bedroom. DD was still awake!
I called the midwife, and she was surprised to hear that I was in labor. I had an appointment scheduled for the next day, and I considered joking with her about moving my appointment up some, but I didn’t. We decided that with regular contractions like that, I was indeed in labor, but it was probably early labor because the contractions were only 30 seconds long, I could still talk through them, I hadn’t seen any sign of my mucus plug/bloody show, and I thought you were still posterior. She told me to check in with her in half an hour.
I busied myself with preparing my birth soup and let DD get up. DH tried unsuccessfully to sleep and got up to set up the birth supplies. He put paper over the living room windows to give us some privacy, set up the tarp and blew up the pool and the floating chair. DD had a lot of fun playing in the pool as DH blew it up and after it was all blown up. She kept climbing in but needed help getting out. As I worked in the kitchen, my contractions got stronger and closer together, but they were still pretty short. I vocalized through them, but it wasn’t difficult to cope with them. DD kept asking what I was doing when I was vocalizing. DH finished up my soup while I called the midwife again at about 12:30. While I was talking to her DD climbed into my lap to nurse, and I had a stronger contraction. The midwife asked if I wanted to get in the pool if I could, and I said, “yes,” so she said that she would start making her way over here. She lives about 40 minutes away.
After I hung up the phone, I went to the bathroom, and finally, there was part of my mucus plug along with a little bit of brown blood. We called our parents to let them know that I was in labor. I tried to nurse DD to sleep, but I definitely needed to vocalize through contractions, and that made helping her relax too difficult. I went to the bathroom again, and there was more mucus plug and a red bloody show.
DH took DD to bed to try to get her to sleep, but she wanted me to come to bed too. I was in the bathroom, coping through contractions on the toilet, just wondering how long it was going to be before my water broke. I listened to DH explain to DD that I would be there soon just as I felt a little bit of feeling of wanting to push? It couldn’t be... but the next contraction, it was there again, but stronger. I told DH I was pushing, and he started taking pans of water to fill the pool. With another contraction or 2, the bag of waters was hanging out of me part of the way. I told him to stop filling the pool and come.
DH had visions of you being born into the toilet, and he helped me onto the floor and held the bag of waters for me as I pushed through a few more contractions. I really didn’t want to give birth on the bathroom floor, but I felt stuck, unable to move somewhere else, and I couldn’t let DH move either. I wanted my midwife to be there, but I was afraid that even if she came, DH wouldn’t be able to leave me to answer the phone. I wondered why she wasn’t there already. DD stood next to me and rubbed my back some. It was very sweet. I got a good break between contractions. I crawled into the living room and sent DH to call the midwife again. DD tried to climb on my back as I crawled.
Almost as soon as DH got back from talking to the midwife, I had another contraction and pushed his head out. The bag of waters broke as he was being born. DD stood a little bit behind me, giving me space. I think she got a little scared, but only for a moment. I had another moment to breathe before I pushed his body out with the next contraction. DH and I picked him up and said at the same time, “It’s a boy!” He didn’t start breathing and crying right away, which is normal, but I was a little scared. I asked DH to go get the suction bulb from DD’s birth, but when he brought it back, the baby was breathing already. I wanted to lay back so that he could nurse, so DH got some pillows to put on the floor behind me, and he took the pool liner out of the pool to drape over the pillows for me to lie back and got a towel to put over us both to keep us warm. DH went to check the time, and it was 1:38 AM. We counted back a few minutes and decided that you were born at 1:35 AM.
DD came and snuggled and nursed. I think it’s funny that she was the first one to nurse after her brother’s birth. At some point, she stepped in some of the birth fluids and didn’t like that, but she liked the baby! She kept saying thing like, “The baby came out!” and “He’s so cute!” and “I have a brother!” and she would nurse and touch you gently and say “Ohhhh” as you cried.
The midwife showed up shortly after he was born. She helped me deliver the placenta. Just as I decided to move to be more comfortable on the couch, DS decided to latch on and try to nurse a little. He latched and let go a couple times, and then we moved to the couch. The midwife examined the placenta and showed it to DD. She offered to have it encapsulated for me since she missed your birth and talked about the things that can be known by looking at the placenta. She said that it looked like the placenta of about a 7 lb baby and that it looked like he were a little bit early. The break in the bag of waters was on the side, so she guessed that our placenta was not positioned at the top of the uterus, but a little bit lower.
After quite a while of snuggling and nursing on and off, we decided that it was time to start getting me cleaned up. When I got up, my bleeding was more constant than it should have been, so the midwife had me lie back down. She explained that the uterus starts to contract down from the top, and then it works its way down. If my placenta had been positioned lower in my uterus, it would take longer for my uterus to contract down that far, which could explain the bleeding, and I’d be fine if I just lay down for a little longer before getting up again. Otherwise, this was unusual. I could tell she was wondering if I needed a shot of pitocin. I asked that a smoothie be made for me with a little bit of our raw placenta. It’s impossible to know whether it was time or the placenta that did the trick, but the next time I got up, the bleeding was better, and my bleeding from there on out was much less than average. This could also be attributed to constant nursing by both DD and DS.
The midwife got me all cleaned up and stiched up and took all the laundry home to clean. I feel like she was there for the parts that I needed her, and I’m really not unhappy about the way it all went. Since the birth, I have felt intense feelings of being pleased with my husband, and a lot of it has to do with how well he has been taking care of me, but I think some of it is the fact that he was THE ONE there for me at the birth. Nursing has been going really well. DS regained his birth weight plus in just over 3 days.
What an amazing story - you write so calmly and it was wonderful. Congrats on your birth and enjoy your babymoon!
Lindsay: DS#1 (06/06) DD#1 (09/07) DS#2 (10/08) DD#2 (06/09). AND A BABY DUE NOVEMBER 2013
Lovely birth story JMJ. I find it amusing how many similarities there were to my DD1's birth, considering how much you've made fun of me for it in the past. :-P
Superhero and mother to Peanut (03/20/09) and Twig (01/20/2012). Fighting for the rights of mothers out there who and much more!
Haha, lactatinggirl! I take it all back. I thought about you and your DD1 at the time and was very thankful that I was able to enjoy snuggling with my kids while I waited for my trusted midwife who came in and calmly cared for us post-birth. I was amazed by how peaceful it was, with everyone there knowing that what we did was perfectly normal.