7 lb 11 oz
born 8:52am on 10/5/2010
Friday night, Oct 1st, I experienced my first labor contractions. They were light, widely spaced, and went away after a few hours. I knew labor was still several days off but I was excited to experience the first signs. The next day I called A, one of my midwives, and let her know I was probably a few days away from having a baby. I continued to have periodic contractions, sometimes a few hours of regular, but light, contractions over the next couple of days and I started to have show on Sunday. Each night I went to bed expecting to start labor but I wouldn't quite pick up a pattern and then the contractions would go away.
Mon afternoon and evening I had the sense I could easily stimulate active labor but I found I was content to let things progress as they were. Even though my contractions weren't "labor" contractions, they were still producing changes and I was still able to remain well rested. In the evening I hopped into a warm bath to try stopping the contractions before bed. While I was in the bath I got a call from my midwives. They were labor sitting a woman with a history of precipitous labor so I was doubly glad I had not done anything to stimulate labor.
Through the night I had periodic intense contractions and a bit after midnight I woke to some strong contractions that were maybe 15 minutes apart. I took the opportunity to try Hypnobabies. I'd not really tried the full hypnosis previously because the contractions were so far apart and I didn't want to remain focused on them. Now I figured it would allow me to remain relaxed and rested. I spent a little more than an hour relaxing through intense contractions using Hypnobabies before falling asleep. I woke up in the middle of a strong contraction and coped by telling myself "open" and using the Hypnobabies' "peace" cue. While saying "open" I felt my cervix open up and contractions immediately came on strong and close together. I labored alone in the dark kneeling against the headboard in bed for a while. The contractions were intense but almost pleasurable and I looked forward to finally meeting my baby soon.
After an hour or so I remembered that I'd promised to call my midwives as soon as I had a regular labor pattern. I got my husband, who'd been sleeping in the other room with Rowan, and we cuddled and kissed for a few minutes before I called my midwives. They had just left their other mom after her labor had petered out and were on the way home.
I moved downstairs, as we'd planned, to avoid waking Rowan. I labored on my knees leaning over pillows on the couch. The contractions started coming back-to-back and very intense so I found myself vocalizing loudly which unfortunately woke Rowan up anyhow. He was a little overwhelmed at first but I cuddled him between contractions and reminded him how we'd talked about Mommy working very hard to help the baby come out and how Mommy would have to be very loud sometimes. He settled down in his "nest" and labor picked up some more though I was still chatty between contractions when the midwives arrived. They suggested that the forward leaning position wasn't applying the baby's head to my cervix very well which was leading to the very long and painful contractions. I moved to sitting on a birth ball and found arching backwards during a contraction helped relieve the pressure on my hips and my contractions became a more "normal" length.
I went upstairs to the master bathroom to use the full bath to pee and didn't feel like going back downstairs, so everyone transferred everything upstairs to prepare to birth in the bedroom. I thought a time or two about having my husband inflate the birth pool but actually getting in water did not sound that attractive to me. As labor got more intense I did bring it up, thinking that anything that helped the pain would be nice, but D, one of my midwives, discouraged it. I now think she was expecting a big, posterior baby. So I stayed laboring upstairs and my husband kept videos going downstairs for Rowan and everyone took turns looking in on him.
Around 5am my midwives got a call from the husband of their mom with the history of precipitous labors. It went something like "she wants you to come out now. Oh, nevermind. The head's out." So A went to provide after care. At 6am my husband called a family friend, another homebirthing mama we'd arranged to come take care of Rowan during the birth. We'd thought she was with family up in Maryland but it turned out she was just down the road when we called. This was probably good for D's nerves considering she was getting antsy that I would start pushing while she had no backup.
When my friend, S, came in, my contractions were spaced out and I was joking between them. I didn't think about it until D said something later but I guess it was a classic "rest and be thankful" phase. With Rowan, I'd had to work hard to get his head off my pubic bone but I'd not had any real pain to speak of other than the normal stretching. This baby descended into my pelvis without working at it, but it felt like it was hitting every bone on the way down. I had one contraction where I completely lost control. I'm not sure how I would have handled more than one like it. Fortunately I felt him shift at the end of the contraction. There was no pain for the next couple of contractions, then the pain went to my hips, then to my back. It was very different from my first labor.
A arrived back not long after I began to push. Pushing was also different from Rowan. I did a lot of screaming and saying I couldn't do it and trying not to push. Everything was excruciating. A asked if D had checked for a cervical lip, which we hadn't done. So I laid down and sure enough, I had an anterior lip. D held the lip back with the next contraction and baby's head finally came past it. I ended up staying laying down though I'd previously planned to push upright.
S continued shuttling downstairs to take care of Rowan. Apparently even with all my screaming he made a couple of comments about Mommy working very hard but otherwise remained absorbed watching The Lorax. I finally really started pushing -- mostly while yelling and arching -- but still actually pushing and the baby really started coming down. Baby's head finally started emerging and D commented that nope, baby was not posterior, though it occurs to me now that the big change I felt could have been the baby turning.
I heard D say the head was rotating, then "shoulders", and then she started reaching inside me to manipulate the baby. I started fighting A as she pushed my knees apart but finally figured out what was going on when I realized D had said "McRoberts". The baby came out very quickly once I figured out what was going on I stopped fighting and really pushed.
My first thoughts when they placed him on my stomach were "Wow, the baby sure is purple but at least not white" and "That is not a big baby". I checked the baby over and found we'd had a baby boy. He was born at 8:52am, a little less than seven hours after I started having regular contractions, and his APGARs were 9 and 10.
D started looking very concerned again and telling me to push the placenta out. We'd talked about third stage previously so I knew that I'd started loosing blood. I pushed as much as I could without contractions while A started giving me Shepherd's Purse. I eventually got the placenta out and the baby latched and my uterus started tightening up well. Talking with A later, while it would be classified as PPH by definition, with my excellent hemoglobin levels and overall health I never even felt light headed.
We rested for a little while with the baby nursing well before D started examining me. We found I had a tear that was maybe a third degree but internally was offset in an odd way to make aligning the tissue more difficult. D felt the repair was beyond what she was comfortable with considering it could potentially affect my long term sexual health. We made the decision that I would go with A and D to the hospital while baby Osric would stay at home with my husband, Rowan, and S.
The hospital took a while to figure out what to do with me even though we called ahead so we get home until close to 4pm. A and D went to get something to eat and S finally headed home to her kids while my husband took Rowan out to grab something from the store.
So while I was sitting all alone nursing Osric I started getting very concerned about his breathing. It was very snorty and he seemed to be working at it. When D got back she listened to Osric's breathing and also noted he was having retractions (we'd listened to his breathing earlier before I'd gone for stitches and it had been wetter than we'd liked but had been clearing up). We called my family practice to try to get in before they closed but they gave us the name of their on-call doctor at the hospital.
We drove up to the hospital (a different one than before ... this one about 45 minutes away) and they had everything arranged for us to go straight back to see a doctor and a neonatologist. Long story short, they observed him for a while and ran a chest x-ray and released us that night. Osric had some upper respiratory fluid and his lungs could be clearer but it was probably because he hadn't been crying much. Overall they were very supportive and it wasn't a horrible experience, but it was still very stressful transferring to hospitals twice in the same day after the birth.
On Wednesday I went in to the hospital out patient clinic for my Rhogam workup and then on Thursday I went in for my Rhogam shot, so Friday was my first day at home with my newborn. Fortunately my milk has come in well and he's working hard at putting on the pounds. That he's nursed well through all of this has been the one bright spot in it all.
At my first post-natal I talked to A about the shoulder dystocia and the PPH. She said that she'd talked about it with D and they'd thought it was outlet dystocia. I've never heard of that as opposed to standard inlet dystocia. She said it seems to be typified by a very painful second stage which would fit with what I experienced. It does seem odd given how smoothly pushing went with Rowan. Osric's head did measure bigger than his brother's and he did not have any molding to speak up. Either way, I'm glad we resolved whatever was going on very quickly and the baby was not adversely affected.
Loving DH , raising DS1 (01/08) and DS2 (10/10), caring for x 3 .