She is here! And what an entrance she made. She was born at 5:45pm, in our front yard. Under a pine and a maple tree, so perfect! She weighed 3680 grams on our scales, and a few hours later the midwife's scale said 7 lbs 14 oz. She is 22 inches long.
In the morning, I started out with contractions that weren't really strong yet. I had a coop pickup scheduled, so I went out by myself to pick up all the stuff, and I did have contractions during the trip, but not that many, and not that strong either. I was wondering whether those were 'day before' contractions or 'birth day' contraction, I wasn't sure at all.
I had more contractions at home, but still not sure whether this was it or not. They were reasonably strong, but I knew that going into labor the day after losing my mucus plug was a bit soon for me, and I just didn't believe this was going to be it. So I spent time planting more of my seedlings, thinking that those contractions felt pretty strong, but I was still in denial.
I had a prenatal at 1:45pm, everything was fine. I measured even less than last week, 35.5 cm, and the midwife said that the head was nice and low, so there was no risk for cord prolapse. I was spilling a bit of sugar, everything else was fine. Baby's heart rate was 140, my weight was 155 lbs, 6 lbs down from last week, which seemed unlikely, so we just blamed the scales LOL. I had about three contractions in the forty minutes that the prenatal lasted, but I could just breathe through them, didn't need to vocalize yet. Dh was there too, and we talked about the upcoming birth and wondered when it would happen. I declined a vaginal exam, I really wanted this to be a hands off birth. I was tempted to find out how dilated I was, but it just didn't feel right to do a vaginal exam during this birth.
Came back home at 3pm, stepped out of the van, and had a monster contraction hit me. Had to lean on the van and vocalize. Hmmmm, maybe this was going to be real after all? The kids came over and wondered what I was doing, I explained to them after the contraction had ended. Another one hit soon, and I figured I'd better call my support team and dh. The mil-s told me that they didn't want to be at the birth, but they didn't want to leave either. I had arranged for some one to take them sight seeing and to his house, but they refused to go. I wasn't in the mood for fighting about it at that point, labor was too well established already.
I called my other labor support friend, left a message, she wasn't home. Left a message on her cell phone too, and hoped for the best. The contractions kept coming, so I wasn't going to make any more phone calls.
I went into the front yard, and sat down on the grass next to the driveway. Away from the mil-s, waiting for dh to come home. Contractions came hard and fast. I never timed them, but they can't have been more than a few minutes apart and lasted pretty long. Vocalizing and relaxing worked great though, could handle them easily that way. I felt that this might not be a very long labor, things were definitely progressing nicely. In between the contractions I talked to the baby about what a beautiful day it was, and how wonderful it would be to be born today.
Dh came home, and sat with me. I told him that I wasn't going to move, this was a perfect place to have the baby. He knew better than to argue with me ;-) My friend S arrived, and joined the circle. She said that it sounded like I was meditating, chanting 'oooooooooohm' I have to say that it felt like meditating too. During a contraction I would withdraw in my own world, just me and the baby, and everything else would fade in the background. I would hear people talking, the kids playing, the catbird singing, but I would be inside myself, riding the contraction, getting closer to this baby's birth. Things weren't painful yet, but I did have to concentrate.
Kate came to tell us that she needed a bandaid for her foot. I told her to go inside to have the mil-s take care of it, since I really wanted my labor support. Dh and S weren't really doing anything, but being there, but I found it reassuring to have them around. Kate grumped for a while about it, but finally went inside to get that bandaid.
Contractions got stronger and longer, and I told them that I hoped this was not going to take long. Things were moving right along, but vocalizing still worked great. I just had to spend more and more time vocalizing, and had shorter breaks in between. Contractions often were almost on top of each other.
I moved to the pine tree, so I could have something to lean against during my contractions. I was fearing that my other friend would miss the birth, but there she was! She arrived with two of her kids, so we were up to eight kids now. The kids were playing and running around, I was in my own world with my baby. Kate came over, because she lost the bandaid which was on her foot. She whined till some one took her in to get another bandaid.
I wondered about the time, but didn't want to ask. I was so immersed in the birthing that I didn't really want to know the time, the birth had its own flow. External time didn't have much meaning any more, I was really living in the middle of birthing time now, in the middle of accelerating and ebbing contractions. I knew I was getting closer and closer to meeting my baby.
Another friend came over with her 2yo and newborn, she has had home births too, so she was not shocked at all to see me there in the front yard. Or if she was, she was polite enough not to comment on it LOL. They didn't stay for long, the 2yo had his own agenda. But for a little while we had 10 kids at the birth :-)
The vocalizing was making me thirsty, and I drank water in between the contractions, but still kept having a dry throat. Dh had gotten the rubbermaid tub with birthing supplies, because it was clear that I wasn't going to move anymore, I felt too comfortable leaning against the pine tree, being sheltered by a maple tree. They got a pillow from inside too, to help me be even more comfortable, although I was starting to reach the part of labor where comfort wasn't really possible anymore. Contractions came on top of each other, almost no breaks in between. Kate came over after losing yet another bandaid on her foot, I have no idea how they solved that, I was too focused on the birth.
Things were getting hairy now. The vocalizing didn't help as much anymore, I wasn't comfortable anymore, and I felt thirsty, and drinking didn't help. The contractions were just too close together, and too strong and the baby wasn't there yet, and I wanted it to be over. NOW! Or at least the pain to go away. If I had been in the hospital, this would have been the time that an epidural would have been a major temptation. I was at the point that I said that I couldn't do it anymore, that it just was too hard, and although I did recognize that this most likely meant that birth was close, I still felt discouraged and almost like it would never happen.
The vocalizing stopped working and I started screaming and chanting 'Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit' The boys later told me that they had wished I had used some more creative curses, so that they could have expanded their vocabulary. I have no idea how long this phase lasted, in hindsight I don't think it was that long (maybe 10 minutes??), but it felt endless while I was in the middle of it. I had moved to hands and knees position, and I was alternating inwardly between 'Get out, baby, get out!!!' and 'I want the pain to stop!!!!!!!!' I pushed and screamed and pushed and screamed and suddenly I felt that she was coming out. FINALLY!
Her head was half out, and I just continued pushing and we got the rest of her out. No way I was going to blow to cautiously get out her head and body, I was way past the point where I could have done that. Dh caught her, S suctioned her, D slipped the cord from around her neck. And there she was! I heard D exclaim 'It's a girl!' I turned over and looked at her, she was perfect. She pinked right up (within 10 seconds) and started breathing. I was sooooo happy that she was out D said that her water broke while she was coming out, she saw the bag of water first, and then the baby appeared. She had a hand next to her head, I am wondering whether that was why it hurt so much in the end.
I was in awe, she was born! Perfect and healthy! I was so relieved it was over though, somehow the last part was extremely intense. The thought went through my head that I was very happy that this wasn't twins. Never thought that with any other pregnancy, but somehow this time, it hit me with a sense of relief, that I would not have to push out another baby LOL. I still had a placenta to push out, but for now we were focusing on the baby.
She was breathing quietly and serenely for a few minutes, and then started crying. I offered her my breast, but she wasn't interested yet, so I just sat and snuggled and was happy that she was out. I just looked at her and enjoyed how everything was totally right with her and with this birth.
I was hoping the birthing of the placenta would be easy, but it wasn't as easy as I had hoped. I still was not comfortable, and the contractions started up again after a while, strong enough to make me vocalize again. We did cut the cord, and I handed the baby over to Sander, so I could concentrate on the placenta. I asked Erik whether he wanted to nurse, but he looked at the bloody chux pad in the grass and declared that there was too much yuckiness to nurse! LOL So much for that idea.
I called my 'on line reporter' friend to tell her that the baby was born and whether she could post it to my journal. We called the midwife to tell her that the baby was born, but still waiting for the placenta, she was very happy to hear from us and said that she had had the feeling that it might happen today. Then we spent more time waiting for the placenta, I was not very patient anymore at that point. I just wanted it to be OVER! The contractions weren't supposed to hurt as much anymore, and I couldn't get back into my birthing trance, I was just finished with it all. I had done my job, why did I have to push out another thing???? LOL
The interesting thing is that the thought of uterine rupture did not cross my mind at all during labor, but now during this waiting period, I started worrying about placenta accreta or percreta. During the birth I didn't have any wavering of my confidence in my body and my baby, but now I suddenly started wondering. Not really worrying very deeply, but I definitely was thinking about it. I kept trying to push, but nothing happened yet, apart from some clots. No excessive bleeding, so no real reason to worry.
Finally the placenta decided to be born, phew. It was accompanied by a HUGE blood clot, about orange sized, wow. It was about an hour after the birth, which isn't a lot when you look at it objectively, but it felt a lot longer. I was very relieved when it all was over, and I moved to one of the lawn chairs, so I could sit down, relax, and try to nurse the baby again. She had been fervently sucking her thumb and her fingers while waiting, so we figured she might be ready. And she sure was. Latched right on and nursed like a champ.
My friend with the 2yo and the newborn baby came over too and handed me my first new baby present. Before the placenta even was out. So nice! It helped to keep my mind off the worries and the waiting :-)
I liked how the birth went, it was totally right to do this outdoors. I had had such an connection with the outdoors this pregnancy, the beaver pond, the deer, the gardening, the hiking, that this birth fit right into that pattern. The pine and the maple tree protecting me. The woods in the background, the catbird and the yellow-bellied sapsucker an auditory part of the birth. I had the perfect support team, with dh, two friends, and eight kids, all part of the birthing circle. I am glad we did this unattended and I still think about how I have no idea how many cm I was at which point, and when the pushing stage started. Instead, this birth was very much a continuum, moving from start to finish at its own pace, without any outside interference.
I had wondered about getting a fetoscope to use during labor, or maybe just use our stethoscope, but I had been worried that we wouldn't have been able to find the heartbeat, even when things were going just fine. That would have worried me a lot, so I decided against it. It turned out that she was moving and kicking a lot during most of my labor, so I never ever worried about her, she communicated very clearly that she was doing just fine.
The midwife came over later that night to do her newborn exam and to check me. No tears, and she agreed that the baby was perfect. My blood pressure was 108 over 80, but my pulse was very high, 120 bpm, so she told me to rest and push fluids. I think it was mostly leftover adrenalin from the birth.
The baby's hair seems darker than the others. Weird to have a non-blonde one. She is still nursing great, and it's Sunday now, and my milk is starting to come in. I think I'll wake up with Dolly Parton breasts tomorrow.
It was a fast birth in hindsight, timeless while in the middle of it. I knew for sure it had started at 3pm, she came out at 5:45pm. It was a very intense birth though, contractions close together and strong. But it was all worth it, to be able to hold my perfect little girl in my arms now!
You can see pictures at http://o-scientist.blogspot.com