The biggest difference between this morning and previous mornings was that I was suddenly feeling at peace with "being pregnant forever" and focusing my mind and energy on positive things rather than every other negative/frustrating thing going on. I attribute some of that to spending time the night before looking through the book "Birthing From Within" again and journaling. I had also decided to turn my birth art doodle into a labour project that I could work on in the early stages.
Jonas was dropped off at school at 8:30am and I got ready for my 10:45am midwife appointment.
My appointment was like any other appointment; uneventful. Nothing going on with me or baby that was of any concern and we spent some time chit-chatting. I actually joked about how that day was a good day to have the baby. Jonas would be starting mid-winter break so I wouldn't have to pull him out of school for family bonding time since the break would allow us a full 5 days together. Jane, one of my midwifes students "went on record" to say I wouldn't make it to my 40 week appointment which apparently she rarely does.
On the way home from my appointment I stopped by the craft store to get what I needed for my birth art/labour project. Up until this point I had a few very random contractions. I didn't pay a lot of attention to them, brushing them off as more braxton hicks, so my best guess is that I had been having one every 45-60 minutes since I had woken up.
Once home I cleaned up from the night before, took the dog for a short walk and tried sitting down to relax and read. It wasn't happening. I had my craft stuff on my mind and decided I wasn't going to wait for labor to do my project and began working on it.
Around 12:30 I became ravenously hungry and started stuffing my face as quickly as I could get food into my mouth and chewed just enough that I wouldn't choke on it.
Around 1:30pm I notice that I started having non-painful contractions, so I do what I always do to "test" them to see if it's possible they could be the real-deal. I drank a bunch, I was already eating food, changed activities, laid on left side, etc... nothing seemed to be stopping them so I continued working on my project while timing contractions. They were anywhere from 3 - 8 minutes apart and lasting anywhere from 20-45 seconds. I wasn't overly excited about them and assumed that the irregularity was more predominal stuff and that they would go away. I put them out of my mind as much as I could while still paying enough attention to time them.
I texted a good friend of mine (who I was planning on using as a back up here if needed) at 2:30pm a picture of my contraction chart, but was still brushing it off. Despite the fact that I know every labor is different, everything I knew about my previous labor wasn't playing out the same way so I had convinced myself that I couldn't possibly be in labor. Queue massive denial here.
I left at 3pm to pick Jonas up from school (luckily only 5 minutes from my house) and when we returned I called Mike to ask him to come home because I "didn't feel like dealing with Jonas while trying to figure out if I could be in labor or not and I'd rather him not have to drive in rush hour 'just in case'". Contractions were still pretty irregular. I had a serious problem telling Mike "I'm in labor" when I was completely in denial myself. He tried to brush me off as just being tired (which to his credit I did ask him to come home early a handful of times for that reason - though I never used contractions as an excuse). He said that if I really needed him to come home that I needed to tell him. I replied, "I'm pretty sure that's exactly what I'm telling you" and hung up on him.
That probably should have been another sign, but I was obviously still in denial.
Mike called at 3:30 to tell me he was on his way and I decided to jump in the shower with Jonas as my last ditch effort to see if the water would stop the contractions.
I spent about 30 minutes in the shower. After the first 20 minutes I had a sense that the contractions had evened out. At 4:00 I got out of the shower and began timing them again. 5 minutes apart, lasting about 35-40 seconds. Mike walked in the door at 4:25, we chatted for a few and I decided to call my midwife, Suzanne.
[Everything next happened so fast I had to look at my phones call log to get the times.]
4:33pm was my first page to Suzanne. At some point between 4:25ish (my last timed contraction) and being on the phone with Suzanne, my contractions jumped from 5 minutes apart to about 2.5 minutes apart (she was timing them while we were talking). I was still fine during the contractions for the most part and was laughing/joking around so she said she would send Jane and Megan (another lovely student) and she would come up after her 5:00 appointment.
Got off the phone, had my first extremely painful contraction and squatted down. My water broke and I yelled "oh sh*t... my water just broke. I need a towel".
Contractions were just about one on top of the other at this point.
4:38pm paged Suzanne again and had another contraction. Realized Mike hadn't brought a towel so I yelled again "I need a f*cking towel NOW". (A good sign I;ve hit transition...ha.) Talked to Suzanne who was now running out of the door.
I assumed I still had a little time because I had yet to poop and barf myself, which happened right when I hit transition with Jonas, so at first I thought the urge to poop was going to be the beginning of me releasing my bowels. Little did I know that the urge was the baby.
Immediately after sitting down on the toilet I HAD to vocalize through contractions. I have no idea what I sounded like, but Mike said they were very deep and growly (and if I were an animal he said there is no way he would have come anywhere near me...lol).
Jonas started crying until Mike reminded him what we had talked about and let him come see that I was actually ok and just making the noises I needed to (we had talked a lot about what could happen prior to the birth and watched a lot of birth videos on youtube).
Right after Mike let Jonas see me, then left, I had another huge contraction and instinctively moved my hand to my vagina where I felt the beginning of his head coming out. I applied counter-pressure and yelled "his head is coming" and Mike came back into the bathroom.
Me: *points at phone*
Mike: You want your phone?
Mike: What do you need?
Mike pages Suzanne while I have another contraction that moves his head out completely.
I yell again that his head is now out, Jonas runs in to see and Mike shows back up at the door.
Mike: Do you need off the toilet?
Mike: Do you want me to catch?
Me: NO!!!!!! OUT!!!
They stood in the hallway.
I felt baby turn and then his shoulders slipped through so I reached my other hand down to catch him. Sometime between 5:00-5:05pm, he was out completely.
baby's cord was around his neck so I unwrapped it, brought him to my chest and stimulated him. It was only a few seconds before he started moving around and squeaking.
I'm not sure how long Mike and Suzanne had been on the phone, but by the time I took a breathe and really realized what happened I could hear them talking.
I moved to the bed with baby still attached and waited. At some point I spoke with Suzanne about how I was doing.
That was a totally amazing, extremely intense, experience. There is no argument that my hospital birth doesn't even compare to this one and even prior to giving birth this time I was sure I would feel that way. What I didn't know was how different it would be instinctually. With my hospital birth, I never once felt like instincts took over. I did what I was told, despite having been well-researched and "knowing better" (for example, pushing when I was told, not when I felt my body push). I even had an unmedicated birth, but I never felt the baby move/turn... or every millimeter of movement as he descended, I didn't feel powerful or strong and was even extremely scared at one point.
This time... I didn't *think* about anything. Everything that I did had no thought process behind it... I just did it. I was never scared. I never pushed once, my body shoved the baby out in 3 contractions. Having instincts take over like that is such a surreal experience.
Labor from start to finish was about 3.5 hours.
7 lbs 6 oz
Baby Liam - a few hours old
Big brother Jonas singing to Liam
- Jen, Mama to DS1 (02.04.05) and DS2 (02.11.10) & baby #3 due in early January 2013
I know what you mean about a difference in births. Mine was still in the hospital, but with a hands-off midwife, and it was amazingly different!
Welcome to the world, Liam!
We almost ALMOST named our baby Liam. That was the plan, until the actual birth when DH said "no... I think I like William" (close enough) so william it was
he also weighed 7lbs 6oz...
I also had a 3.5 hour labour...
and MY name is Susanne... almost like your midwife's.
But anyways. Congrats. You're body definately knew what it was doing
Judy, wife to my Catholic deacon husband ... homeschooling mother to my four girls and now a BOY!!! Forever remembering our loss (8/11) .
Great job, mama! You have two gorgeous boys!
HeatherB ~ mama to 3 wonderful boys: 03/02; 09/04; 09/07 - and Eliana, 11/13/10!
Founder of Houston Birth Alternatives: Be Informed, Encouraged, Supported birth support group and aspiring midwife.
Erin, Catholic mama to three sweet boys: Ambrose (11/06), Peter (3/08), and Joseph (9/10) and a sweet girl, Charlotte (7/12/12).Joyfully expecting #5 April 2014!
I know I've already told you this, but you did an amazing job.
Violet Lane Birth Services Doula care and placenta encapsulation serving Seattle to Mount Vernon