I had been having prodromal labor on and off for a couple of weeks, with a lot more intense contractions starting and stopping all week before he was born.
So the Thursday before he was born, they started back up again, and I thought, no big deal--we've been doing this all week. My mom was in town, and she and my sister took dd for a trip to this local kid's place. My sis called and asked if dd could stay the night with her cousins (yes!), and dh and I took advantage of our time alone together enjoying spectacular 3rd Tri lovemaking (no really), and heading out for what we knew might be our last chance for a date. This was around noon.
5 or so, we were at dinner, and I was feeling ctx throughout the whole meal, different and exciting ones, but I still was not convinced as they weren't really painful, and I could still walk and talk through them. I was feeling my cervix open up though, and my uterus further pushing the baby down (as had been happening a little at a time all week).
So dh and I headed out to mini-golf! Thinking that walking around and being upright might help things along, if they were indeed along. They were indeed! I managed to kick dh's tail at the game all while in early labor
This whole time, dh and I are laughing and really enjoying each other's company, pausing every once in a while to look at each other and think about if we should be calling the midwife or not. I was worried about her getting here on time (she lives 3hrs away) as I expected a quick and easy labor
By the end of the mini-g game, I was having a few ctx that I had to slow down through, but I could keep walking and talking. Now dh and I are tossing around to go home, fill up the pool and call mw or wait and see longer?
We decide to take in a movie: Inception. Great movie. I'm rocking in the theatre chair through the film and squeezing dh's hand to let him know when a rush comes. I noticed it was freaking him out at how many I was having, so I quit squeezing his hand and just enjoyed this feeling of secretly making labor progress here where no one else knows it.
Anyways, we get to the last 15 mins of the movie, and I get ROCKED by this crazy intense ctx! I had this vision of myself climbing up the back of the chair like a cat clawing her way up a tree I'm pressing my hands into my lower back for counterpressure and could.not. sit still.
DH looks over and says (for like the fifth time during the movie) 'do we need to go?' and as soon as I can talk again YES! So we're running out of the theatre in the last minutes of the movie and I can see us running out of there with my giant belly silhouette---what a kick for the people in the theatre that woman's having a baby! Is there a doctor in the house?
Still don't know how it ended.
We call the midwife and get in the car---I'm moaning through the ctx on the way home. We get home, scramble to pick up a little, and start filing the pool. I'm all peaceful and in love A little after midnight now.
Way too excited to sleep, I lay in bed and wait for the mw and assistant while dh conks out in dd's bed. I set up a birth nest on the floor in our room and one outside the pool downstairs.
The birth ladies show up and tell us to lay down and get rest. Right. I genuinely did try and sleep, but I really thought it was going to happen FAST and that we'd have a baby by dawn. As dawn rolls in, I realize I may be in for the long haul and manage to sleep btwn ctxs. We all are sleeping all over the house at this point.
The rushes are always irregular in length and space between, some very intense, others not so much. I'm just rolling with it.
By 7:30 I get up, brush my teeth, and am ready to have a baby! My lovely birth ladies are positive but reserved about this happening quick. DH is still sleeping, and I head downstairs to the shower and am making lots of progress bearing down with the handrails and letting the hot water hit my back during the peak times. OOooooooOOOoohh! Getting deeper with the vocalizations and using them more to cope. Finally get out coz I'm feeling overheated.
I am making lots of peace inside about letting go of my expectations for his birth...M and A are giving dear, dear, dh and me lots of space to do this in an unhindered and loving way. They make us breakfast and leave to go get coffee and tell us to call with updates.
This time alone with dh was really great. The ctxs are still irregular in length and spacing--I'll go up to 15 minutes in between, sometimes I swear a lot longer. We're not timing or checking anything around here I'm really having to WORK for this, not like dd's birth at all. Lots of nip stim, bouncing on the birth ball, moving from upstairs to down, STANDING really brings them as does sitting on the toilet (way intense, though!).
Dh and I lay in the birth nest and cuddle and kiss. He rubs me all over. He is so sweet and wonderful and everything I need him to be. We make out like teenagers in love and use arousal and lots more nip stim and cuddling. Contemplate making love but the thought of intercourse during one of the rushes is not very appealing. Kissing through the ctx just like Aunt Ina says to do :*
At some point here, I am lying on the floor nest by myself and pushing my feet hard against the dresser during the contractions when I hear/feel a pop! my water breaks! Cool! That never happened with dd! There is quite a lot of fluid, and I tell dh to get me a towel and text our attendants. Around 11 am.
Water is clear, and we continue on as we were, still moving up and down the stairs of our tri-level. They keep saying, you can get in the tub anytime, and I keep saying, I want to save it for when it's really intense, and I need the help coping more.
I'm still chatting and walking around and not yet in laborland--eating chocolate pudding and drinking lots of water and Recharge. I'd be downstairs talking to the midwife or her assistant, kind of in hostess mode, then I'd realize, what am I doing? And go upstairs with dh to get some more work done.
I had to really keep working at it with the nip stim and active positioning the whole time. Talking to baby and myself, open, open, down, and oooouuuuut! The ctx still irregular, intense, and coming in clusters---a handful here, then a break, then again, then a break. They vary a lot depending on what position I'm in.
Staying mostly standing and bearing against furniture until I get tired, then switch to lying down, they slow, and I can rest. So I was able to pace myself a lot---not at all like the ride I expected; I had a lot more involvement in deciding how this would happen than I really thought was possible. Pretty cool.
I love my midwife and her assistant. She never pushed checking my "progress" as we all had faith that with the intensity of ctx, there's no way we weren't moving forward.
Finally I'm moving into lala land and decide to try out the pool. They are getting really intense and dh is giving counterpressure to my back. Trying to stay open and breathe and really relax, but it's hard for me because I am definitely having to moan and breathe through some pain. This birth is giving me lots of back labor, even tho baby is in ideal positioning (tho I think his chin was not tucked?) Otherwise I stretch out in the pool on my back and flip to hands and knees when I feel them starting.
I have been feeling the baby moving through the whole experience, and I feel like dh, baby, and I are communicating and working together and just really locked into exactly where we should be. We have been Ohm-ing our way along since early that morning, and dh's big deep sounds help me a lot. Feeling the baby moving the whole time reassures me that he is okay and involved in the process, though my mw is doing heartrate checks periodically for him, and his heart rate is peaceful and steady, staying between 125 and 145 the whole time.
I don't know how long I was in the pool. I remember looking over and seeing my mw with her knitting and feeling really great about that---like Clotho and Lachesis and Atropos were right there in the room with us. DH took a break, and mw assistant came over and gave me blessed arnica massage on my back. Still lots of back labor which we all were a little puzzled about*
This is where I think I hit transition. I'm holding dh's hands and looking around and I'm just so happy. Crying happy tears and smiling laughing and being in the moment and so happy to be here and doing this right now.
These ctx slow down again and I decide to get out but don't really know what to do now. Mw suggests the shower again as I was really moving along in there earlier followed by a nap for everybody. So down the stairs we truck with several stops to bear against the wall on the way. One time dh walks ahead of me too fast, not realizing how it's going at the point when a tough one hits, and I'm clinging to the wall and calling him, and mw assistant comes to my rescue and let's me hang against her tiny strong frame and ohhhhhmns through this one with me.
Otherwise, dh has been my everything! He is awesome, and was there with me leaning against him for pretty much all the really hard ones he holds me up to help me squat over the toilet and pee because sitting on it is waaaay too intense of sensation.
The shower rocks us! They are really strong while I'm standing. The heat gets to me, and we get out. Back up two levels again M and A are sweetly napping when we get out, and so dh and I have peaceful private rest time again, up in our bedroom.
I'm on the bed, he's on the floor bed, we're both sleeping quite soundly btwn ctxs again. They have slowed down again, but I think finally keeping a steady pace. More intense than I thought possible without being in the pushing phase. I'm on my left side, and I signal dh when one starts mounting coz I NEED really hard counterpressure on my hips for each one.
He's pushing down HARD on my right hip through a really strong rush when POP!! my water breaks, again!* This time it's HUUUGE and hot and everywhere. Dh had involuntarily jumped back and shouted out when this happened, and M comes rushing up the stairs, what happened?!
My water broke, again! I can't NOT push now! I'm laying on one side and feeling really tense in my body, wanting to get in another position but it's too hard to move. I tell Mw this and she can see from my body that this is not a good open position for my baby and asks if I can get to all fours.
Wow, flipping over was hard! My body was tapped out and exhausted by this point. I'm on all fours and my arms and legs are shaking. I can feel the baby's head moving toward my yoni. It HURTS! It does. I wanted pain-free birth, but this labor was tough. I stayed open and relaxed as much as I could, and it still hurt.
His head rushed to my yoni so fast that I didn't have time to slowly stretch out. I know I'm going to tear if I push right away, and ask for the hot compresses (in pretty broken detached language, but they understood). I can feel the pressure in toward the top, up by my urethra. I see this sunburst pattern in my mind of how the pressure was bearing down to tear, and I know exactly where to hold the compress and give counterpressure.
It doesn't feel like the cloths are really relieving the pain much, but I persevere in holding one above my yoni, and my mw has one below. I felt like I needed a little time here for it to stretch out, and that's what I tell them 'I just need a little time'.
For some reason, my mw is getting a little rushy here and want me to push him out right now. Maybe she saw smth I didn't that caused her concern, but I know the baby is okay. He's crowning, and they want to check heart rate, but it HURTS to have anything touching my belly so I say please don't the baby is all right.
She says, you can reach down and touch your baby, how do you want to catch the baby, and I say I want dh to do it, so dh is supporting baby's head as mw is coaching him. She wants me to push, and I want to rest and let it stretch a little.
I guess they could see his head, and his skin looked really pale, so that was why she wanted him out right away. I push during a ctx and then feel the head slip back up afterwards, darn. They sneak in a heartrate check and find that baby is fine, just like I said.
Next rush/push, the head is birthed just past the nose, and a lot of fluid comes out of the mouth and into the nose. One more push and the rest of the head, purple and scrunched up (I have a picture to prove it) Then again, and both shoulders at once, no tuck and spiral, then I feel the whole body slide out, it felt so cool!
Mw supports baby's body as dh supports his head, and they pass baby through my legs, and I hold my little one for the first time. Thankfully, I can be on my knees and off my arms now, I was shaking so hard I thought I'd collapse. I had just enough energy left to bring this little one across.
Baby's cord is too short at this point to be laid on my chest. Dh says 'what is it, a boy? or a girl?' I get a glimpse first and tell him, a boy! We look at each other and kiss. I am holding him kind of hunched over on my thigh, and he is crying LOUD and telling us all about his side of the story He was very very white but obviously breathing and responsive and very present. 4:55 pm. His cord is thick and strong and beautiful.
I manage to get him into a cradle hold and the placenta must've moved down more, because I'm able to turn and sit against the wall and hold him close to my chest. He is already rooting around and making his little grunting noise that we love. They wave the oxygen in front of him a little anyways and we just hold him for a while and glow.
No urge to push the placenta out, and I'm not worried about it. Baby has his first nurse. I feel my uterus clamping down, but still no urge to push. My mw I can tell is uncomfortable with the placenta waiting, but it was still less than an hour at this point.
I carry the baby and the mw and assistant help get me with a chuck pad under to our closest bathroom where I sit to let gravity help the placenta. Still not pushy. Mw gives me one dose of Angelica tincture and literally seconds later, plop, the placenta falls in the toilet (yuck, I'm going to eat that later!).
We move just as awkwardly back to the bed with the placenta in a bowl and wait a little longer for the cord to finish it's job. When it's white and limp and no longer pulsing, mw ties the cord off with umbilical thread as we cannot find the cord button things and dh cuts the thread that connected my baby to me for all these months.
The ladies disappear downstairs for a little bit and dh, our son, and I are alone together. Dh is holding him for the first time when he lets go of the meconium, and it is a lot! So we are a bloody poopy mess and all in love. Dh wipes our son down and has to strip down to his boxers coz of the poo. So we're all naked in bed when the mw and assistant come back up to check on us. We all take our time and just relax before they give him his post-birth check (he's perfect and strong and beautiful), 7lbs10oz, 18.5in long, 14.5cm head circ. The baby has nursed several short times by now. Then they put the soup in the fridge on for us, and leave us home together, healthy and happy.
I get a quick shower, and we take our time calling anybody, and dd is the first to see him. I have this huge adrenalin rush and think I was actually dressed and up on my feet when my mom and sis brought dd to us. Finally got my post-birth meal at this point. I felt great. Two tiny sideways tears on either side of my urethra, just like I thought.
I could not have envisioned a more perfect experience. There's nothing at all that I would change about my son's birth. I feel so blessed and happy to be here with my family together.
**The only bummer/weirdness: my mw and I talked the next day about how my water broke twice--not just a leak and then a bigger leak, but two pops and GUSH, and she thinks I had two bags, one smaller than the other. At the beginning of this pregnancy I kept having this *feeling* that hey, maybe there's two babies . . . and then at one point I had a lot of pain consistently in the right upper uterine area, and I just didn't feel the two-ness anymore. The right is the side that ds was NEVER on; I think that may have been his sib's spot. My mw thinks that another fetus may have been there early on but got "re-absorbed" but the amniotic sac remained. This is the only reason that I wish I had maybe got an early ultrasound, to confirm if there were two. So that is the only shadow on this whole pregnancy and birth.
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.
That must have been weird to find out about a second sac.
Paula, mama to DS M (7/2010) and Watson (1998) and welcoming baby Penny (8/1/2013)
DD, 8, DS, 6, and Baby DS born July 1, 2010 Married to DH for 10 years!