Julia Penelope Cook arrived, at home, on Saturday, November 28th at 10:08 a.m. She weighed 10 pounds, 4 ounces.
I’d been waiting “forever” for this labor to begin. I was 4 days past my due date with an induction scheduled in 4 days. I was devastated with the thought of having an induction in my future when I’d put so much time and effort into planning this homebirth.
Contractions started Friday night on a very small scale. I’d had this happen so often in the last week, I tried to put it out of my mind. By about 1:30 a.m. they were strong enough that I got out of bed and went downstairs to the “birth room” where the bed was set up. I wasn’t really sleeping and I didn’t want to bother Tom. I dozed off and on but was feeling enough discomfort that I couldn’t sleep. About 3 a.m. I started timing contractions while watching T.V. They were about 10 mins apart, varying in length so I wasn’t SURE this was real labor. At about 5 a.m. I got in the bath tub and laid on my side and tried to doze there a bit.
At 6:30 a.m. I was certain this was true labor and the contractions were very painful. I called my midwife and told her what was going on. She said it sounded like I was in early labor and that I should try to get some sleep. She was right, of course, but my laboring mind was frustrated! There was no way I could get any rest! I walked around, lay in the bed, and sat on the birth ball. These pains were getting serious and very close together.
At 8:00 a.m. I called the midwife back and could barely talk even during the breaks between contractions. I had one on the phone that she had to patiently wait for me to finish. I told her I needed her to come. The pain was very intense and I was worried about how long I could keep this up!
I was experiencing back labor for the first time in any of my labors. I’d always heard it was painful but didn’t understand how it could be worse than a regular contraction. Now I knew. I got in the shower and kneeled on the shower seat with my back under the hot water. The combination of leaning forward and the hot water on my back was great.
Tom came in and out of the room asking if there was anything he could do and I’m afraid I was a bit snippy and said “No way.” He would bring the kids in occasionally and explain that I wasn’t feeling well but things were going okay. Later I found out they were watching Ninja Turtles and my yelling was timed perfectly with the fight scenes.
The midwife arrived at about 9 a.m. and was quietly setting up her supplies and talking to Tom while I “did my thing” which consisted of me leaning forward on the dresser and swaying my hips. I did that and alternated with sitting on the toilet. Those were the only two positions that felt good. The midwife tried to get a heart rate while I was leaning forward and couldn’t so she had me lay down on the bed. That was excruciating! She was quick and helped me back to where I was happier. A little bit later she asked if I wanted her to check my progress. I said I was scared because the pain was so horrible and I’d be so upset if I weren’t progressing. At that point I was wondering how I could go to the hospital and get an epidural. I just didn’t think I could take it much longer. At that point my legs were shaking and although I knew that can be a sign of transition, I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
I was back on the toilet and my water broke. There was some mild meconium staining but the midwife saw and said things looked fine. Soon I told the midwife that pushing felt good. She asked if I felt “pushy” and I said yes and she said to come over to the birth stool and do what I needed to do. I almost cried and said “Is it really okay to push?” She said yes and I tried to yell for Tom to tell him to call my sister-in-law, and my mom. He got on the phone and Chrissy came right over but my mom wanted to let her cake finish cooking for another 10 minutes. (She lives about 5 minutes away.) Julia was born withing 12 minutes.
I sat on the birth stool and started pushing. I had the urge but not a strong one. It wasn’t as welcoming as I’d remembered it from my first birth. I pushed with the urge but it did hurt. Tom called the kids in but when they saw what was going on they laughed and screamed and ran from the room. I pushed and she came down and, boy, did I get that ring of fire! It was intense. The midwife then asked me to stand up, which I did with help. After a second or so, she asked me to get on my hands and knees at which point I gave her a skeptical look about being able to do so. Everyone helped me get down on the floor. I was still pushing but I knew she was working to help the baby out. She had to put her hands in there and dislodge the baby’s should from my pubic bone. After that, Julia slipped out and she laid her on the floor. She passed the baby under my body and everyone helped me sit back on the birth stool and hold the baby. Just then my mom walked in! She missed the birth by seconds. I was so happy at that point. The feeling of relief of having that baby out was overwhelming.
I sat on the stool for a bit while the midwife dried the baby in my arms and listened to her heart. She really didn’t cry much and I kept asking “Is she okay?” and the midwife kept reassuring me everything was fine. After a bit, the back-up midwife arrived. We were all laughing about how she’d missed the birth because it was so fast.
They all helped me move into the bed so I could relax and hold the baby and eventually deliver the placenta. As she was born, the baby was pooping everywhere! When I was holding her she was still pooping all over my shirt. After a bit, the cord was clamped and Tom cut it. My son declined! The midwives did their exam while my mom brought me a clean shirt and a dryer-warmed blanket to cover me. Someone warmed my lobster bisque and brought me a bowl of it.
Julia did have mild shoulder dystocia and so her right arm got a “bruise” across her upper arm and she wasn’t using it. It was determined there was no fracture and the midwife instructed me on my options. We pinned her arm to her side and it would heal on its own.
The midwife weighed her and said “10-4, good buddy”. She offered to add an extra ounce if we wanted because of all of the meconium she passed right after birth.
They wrapped the baby and Tom took her out for a tour of the ground floor and to meet other family while the midwives helped me shower and get dressed. I sat in bed with the baby while they examined the placenta. The midwife asked if anyone wanted to see it and the little bathroom was crowded with a dozen people checking out the placenta. My brother snapped a picture of it and texted it to my younger brother along with a “vomity” sound effect. I think my younger brother was a bit surprised to get that picture. They cleaned everything up and everyone said their congrats and good-byes and were gone in a few hours.
Mama to 4.