Wow ya'll, sorry for taking so long to update but what a WILD ride it's been.
As some of you know I'd been having major issues with prodromal labor, it was just starting to get to me. On Thursday I had an appointment with my mw and we talked about how a lot of it may be spiritual/mental in nature and I needed to get some stuff sorted out within myself as well as telling the baby that it was ok for him to come. He was also all bundled up and flopped over on the left side with his head buried in but not pushing evenly, if you can envision it. She thought it could be days or even weeks yet, there was no way to know. Fair enough, so I waddle home as per usual, two days over due and having occasional, light BH type contractions as had been the norm for weeks now.
That evening I was laying in bed, trying desperately to do my usual nightly meditation and ignore the back spasms. I started talking to him and really put it out there that we were ready, we loved him and that I was ready to deal with the pain of labor. I envisioned going into labor and how it would go, water birth, no tearing, etc. At the end of it, I envisioned holding him and him meeting his family. Just then he pushed himself up several inches, right into my breastbone (he had been positioned at least four fingers below for months now). He twisted as he turned so that he was lined up perfectly, then used his legs to RAM himself deep into my cervix, setting off a monster contraction that was so strong I couldn't breathe. After it finally passed, I struggled up to go to the bathroom, where another one hit. DH and DS1 were sleeping, so I let them sleep and went into the lounge. I walked around for about an hour and a half with The Princess Bride on in the background, snacking a bit and watching them go from 5 minutes and mild to 3 to 4 minutes and intense. When my water started dribbling I decided it was time to get DH up. He called his mom to get the Bear and I called my mw. Little man had decided that he was coming tonight!
After Bear and MIL (who was very excited) were packed off for the night DH and I ran around getting everything on the list (yay for the list!) ready. The mw arrived and started in on her notes and setting the birth pool up. Within a few minutes of her coming and Bear leaving the intensity ramped up and I stopped being able to do anything other than concentrate on them. Poor DH was running to get stuff done and having to zoom back whenever a tightening hit to apply counterpressure. I literally could not have done it without him and his support (and strong arms!), it was the difference between being able to deal with it and not. I was draped over the birth ball by then and my mw was eyeing me up as she desperately tried to get the pool ready. I was really wanting the water and hitting transition (shaking and vomiting, oh joy) so we fired up the big bathtub. The pool would have been deeper, but it all worked out.
Within a few minutes of getting into the tub I was feeling majorly pushy. I flipped over onto hands and knees and started to push with the contractions, then two or three times per contraction. It was insanely intense and I was noisy, absolutely bellowing. Very primal stuff, it seemed to hurt worse when I was quiet so I wasn’t quiet. Definitely glad the homebirth sign was up on the door or someone would have called the cops to see if I was being murdered. That said, there was a very peaceful few minutes where everything just stopped for a bit and I lay my head down and almost slept for a bit. When Bear was born I had been utterly exhausted and was slipping in and out of this dream state where I could see this beautiful mountain and clear lake. For just a little while I was back there, gathering strength.
About 20 minutes into pushing, I reached down and could feel his little head about an inch in. DH asked if I could feel his hair and I said that I didn’t know (it took a while to click why I couldn’t). A few minutes later and he was crowning. DH was rubbing and pushing down on my back as I pushed and my mw was guarding my perineum. It felt like I was about to rip up front, so I applied pressure near my clitoris, tried to help the stretching a bit and backed off of pushing partway through crowning. My mw was reminding me to breathe through them and I was chanting, “relax” to myself like a madwoman. He slid back in for a second, and then I pushed until he was out up to his lips. I looked down with the next push to see him emerge, still in his membrane. It burst as his feet came out and then he was there at the bottom of the tub. My mw said, “Pick up your baby!” and I scooped him up. He came out of the water making funny little monkey sounds and looking right up at me. Like my first son he was able to hold his head up and made lots of eye contact from the start. It was a 3 ½ hour labor, start to finish! I was so out of it that it took a while for me to realize that he'd been born en caul, which is so cool!
We snuggled up and waited for the placenta to come. It took a bit of effort but finally came, though there were some trailing membranes that the mw had to twist, but it eventually popped out in a decent amount of time (as opposed to the two hours it took last time!). It was a real production getting everyone out of the bath and to the bed. DH and the back up mw laid a trail of towels and plastic to the bedroom where I perched on the edge of the bed holding little man and the mw had the placenta in a bowl. We got all snuggly and warm and waited for the cord to go flat. The mw handed DH the clip, which reminded me that I had wanted to use kete again, but I’d forgotten to mention it. Thankfully he accidentally closed it up and I piped up about the kete. She didn’t have any made up but thankfully we had flax plants in the back yard. She sent DH out for some leaves and then sat and stripped the flax fibers down to make the cord. It smelled lovely and is extra healing when fresh, so it all worked out. It was rather surreal, sitting there naked with my new baby, bundled up in blankets while these wonderful women set about the work of birth so cheerfully and naturally. DH tied the cord with the kete, which was beautiful. It was fitting that he should be the one to do it again.
I’d talked to my mw about preparing the placenta to be consumed and she and the backup midwife, who is new to the profession, set off to inspect it and get it ready. They brought it just in the nick of time, too. The initial rush of adrenaline was wearing off and I was starting to get shaky. I can’t explain how much better I felt within minutes of consuming that first bit of placenta. It was like having the life infused back into me. The afterpains were greatly diminished, as well.
We were tucked in safe and snug and tried to rest for a while, though I was too excited to really sleep. MIL, her sister (who I hadn’t seen in years and had both grown her hair and lost a bunch of weight, I didn’t recognize her at first! I wondered who this was, lol) and Bear showed up around 2. He hadn’t believed that “his baby” had finally come until he walked in and saw him. His whole face lit up and he sprinted over to see and touch him. It was gorgeous.
Unfortunately later on we had a bit of a scare with the littlest man and his breathing. He started grunting and indrawing and was wheezing. We talked with the mw and agreed that he needed to be checked out. So it was off to the hospital for us. They agreed that he sounded odd and decided he needed to be kept in for observation. They offered me a room in the maternity ward and wanted to keep Tristan down in the NICU. That wasn’t going to fly. DH and I stayed down there with him, trading him off from lap to lap until about 3 am, though I did take two 30 minute naps upstairs in the ward. Then DH simply had to go home to get some sleep so he could get Bear sorted out in the morning with a relative (DH’s little brother was watching him). So I spent the rest of the night sitting up with him. The upside was that we got breastfeeding going really well, I didn’t have much else to do! His O2 saturation never dropped, even when he was having one of those odd spells of breathing. All of the noise was determined to be upper respiratory and he seemed to improve after being suctioned (which was awful, poor little guy). He was 100% improved in the morning and we were discharged, with the theory being that he had retained mucus from the birth and nasal passage swelling. The next day the culprit finally passed. He started wheezing again and I had a look inside his nose, and low and behold there was this long, thick, hard boogery thing. I pulled it and about a half inch or so came out, but there was more in there. A few saline drops later and about 5 sneezes and 2 inches of this nasty, thick, fibrous string of *something* emerged. It was about the diameter of his nasal passage, so it would have been close to a complete blockage. He’s not wheezed since. The mw can’t for the life of her figure out what it is, since it doesn’t seem to fit the bill for vernix and it has to have been in there since he was in utero.
Anyhow, he is just gorgeous. Happy, settled and nursing like a little madman. You can see the line where he was squished down into my pelvis. His little ears are even flat on top from it, lol. It’s been fun watching his face fill out and his interest in the world. We had a quick field trip to see big brother’s swimming lesson and he just snoozed in his sling, oblivious to the world. I’ll get some photos up, he’s a handsome little devil.
Sorry this is so long, but you know how it is. You just want to tell the world.