Mothering Forum banner

Istra Isabel's fast & easy home water birth ~long~

1242 Views 8 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  MrsMoe
On the afternoon of Saturday May 28, the phone rang. I checked the Caller ID and saw that it was my Aunty Priscilla. She had been trying to locate a baby car seat in Hamilton, which had been promised us, but hadn't yet found its way to a useful proximity. Maybe she had news? Even though I was curious, I contemplated letting the machine get it; I didn't want to tip anyone off as to what was going on in the labour department yet. May 28 was 10 days before my official due date; I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up, but I had been feeling contractions since 5am on the day before.

Honestly I wasn't really sure anything was up myself and it was just around the time that Aunty Pris called that I started to have the inkling that something really was going to happen, and soon.

When I woke up at 5am on May 27 I was having some minor back cramps-feeling mostly like menstrual cramps. I remembered at the time that my mom-in telling me about her own birth experience-told me that if I started feeling crampy like I was getting my period that I should call the midwife because that was how her labours started and she had pretty fast births with both me and my sister. Even though this came to mind, I pushed the thought away just because I was so far from my due date and I just assumed that the baby would come either closer to that date or late. When I went to the bathroom, however, I saw that I was bleeding a little bit and this actually frightened me. I thought to myself, "no, not yet! This isn't happening now!" I took a dose of Rescue Remedy (a herbal relaxation mixture) and was able to calm down sleep for a while.

Upon waking, I started telling Tim about the contractions I was having, but he interrupted me talking about something else. I let it drop for a while and then brought it up again later. He seemed mildly interested, but a little bit more so when I told him about the blood. The contractions I was feeling at this point continued to feel like menstrual cramps, mostly located in my lower back. They were easy to ignore despite the fact that they were coming every 10 minutes or so when I timed them. I decided that probably labour was not immanent and I proceeded to do some cooking and baking for the freezer so that we'd have some food on supply for when the baby really decided to come. I made 2 batches of oatmeal cookies and I made 2 homemade pizzas. The 27th went by otherwise without incident and that night I continued contracting regularly, but pretty much painlessly.

I had a hard time sleeping through the contractions. I ended up getting up at around two in the morning just because I couldn't lie there through them any more. It wasn't that they were painful, they were just distracting and I couldn't drift off. I got up and ate some of the cookies I'd baked and some toast and read message boards online for a while. Then I decided to go lie on the living room couch and listen to the Birth Guide CD that came with the Hypnobabies program that I'd been doing. I figured that would either get things going in earnest, or relax me enough that I could sleep. As it turned out it did the latter. I listened to the 35-minute script twice and then went back to bed, where I finally drifted off.

On Saturday May 28th, I woke up with noticeably stronger contractions. They were still not what I would call painful-just annoying. Tim and I timed them for a little while that morning and early afternoon after Tim wrote a computer program to timestamp each one at the beginning and end and then display the collected data. At first the contractions were around 5 minutes apart, but only when I stayed in one position for long enough to establish the pattern. If I got up and walked around, they changed. By the mid to late afternoon they were picking up in intensity and duration and the space between them was getting shorter. In light of this development, Tim and I decided to go shopping. We went downstairs to the IGA and bought all kinds of things that we thought we might need for labour and to feed the midwives when they came, not knowing how long they would be here. When we got back, I set to work cooking up a large batch of chili, leaning on the counter during the particularly strong contractions. It was around this time that Aunty Pris called.

After I got off the phone, we called our midwife, Elizabeth, to let her know that things were happening. We still weren't really sure what was going on, but the contractions seemed close to following the "5-1-1" rule we had been taught, so we thought it wouldn't hurt to give her a heads-up and see what she thought. On the phone, she commented that I seemed to be "in good spirits" and told us to keep timing the contractions and call her if things got more intense. She said that if we didn't call her, she would check in with us "around bed time" as babies usually like to come after dark. After checking in with Elizabeth, Tim and I watched a little bit of a documentary on Killer Whales and I sat on the exercise ball and did hip rotations, which really seemed to help with the intensity of the feeling in my back. At this point, however, the sensations weren't only in my back, but also in my lower pelvis and it felt almost like an electric charge in the very lowest part of my uterus. I assume now that this strange feeling was my cervix dilating and effacing. I spent a lot of time on the ball, but also got up and walked around for variety, and leaned over the couch when the feelings got too intense to tolerate standing up completely. While leaning over the couch I did a slow hip shimmy as I'd been taught in belly dancing class and this was very helpful in keeping me loose and relaxed. Despite the intensity of the sensations, at the time I really felt that it wasn't as painful as I'd been told and this convinced me-as it did Elizabeth-that I still had a while to go before the birth. This thought-that the actual crucial moment was still relatively far in the future-helped to keep me calm and optimistic.

Elizabeth called back at around 9pm and I talked to her on the phone again. I could tell that she was trying to assess the intensity of my labour by talking to me. When I had to stop talking to her briefly through a contraction, and she asked, "so are they all short like that?" I could tell that she didn't think that I would be having the baby any time soon. I admit that I wouldn't have believed myself to be in active labour either, as I was still pretty cheerful and talked to Elizabeth on the phone almost as if I wasn't in labour at all. We hung up the phone after concluding that we would just keep timing the contractions and call her back when things were more intense. After I got off the phone with Elizabeth, however, I went into the bathroom and found that I'd started bleeding quite heavily and I had Tim call her back right away. When I talked to her on the phone the second time I could tell that she still wasn't convinced that I was in active labour and she only agreed to come once I mentioned that there was a "dark clot" in with the blood that I'd just passed. She came, it seemed, mostly for the purpose of checking just to make sure that the dark clot didn't have anything to do with the placenta.

Elizabeth arrived around half an hour later and did a cervical exam on me-I was at 8 cm already! I think she was surprised; she'd observed me sitting on the ball, breathing through contractions but otherwise making small talk with her and appearing to be very relaxed for someone so close to transition. By this time, Tim-who was in charge of the birth pool preparations in our planned waterbirth-pronounced that the pool was filled, but the water was a little bit too hot. So he emptied some of the water and refilled the pool with cold while I sat on the ball with Elizabeth in the bedroom. Around fifteen minutes later the pool was ready and I got in. The water was just the right temperature and such a relief, though when my first underwater contraction hit I happened to be sitting directly on top of where one of the waterbed heaters was placed and very nearly burned my bum. I tried a few different positions in the pool-like floating belly down-but found that gripping the sides of the pool with my legs stretched out was the best. I believe I was only in the pool for a few contractions before something changed and I started to feel my uterus pushing downward at the tail end of every contraction. This sensation-feeling like my body was doing something completely out of my control-was a little bit alarming even at this early stage and with each contraction the feeling of my uterus contracting and pushing down got stronger and stronger. It was during one of these early pushing contractions that my water broke, expelling little bits of vernix which floated to the top of the pool. I called out to Elizabeth, who was in the bedroom organizing her equipment and she came and monitored the baby's heart rate in between contractions. When the next contraction hit Elizabeth encouraged me to "follow my body". The pushing contractions were extremely intense and probably the scariest part of labour. I was so thankful to have Tim there beside me, holding my hand, and Elizabeth (who was frantically rushing around trying to get her equipment organized) coming into the room to encourage me and let me know that what I was doing was good.

With each contraction my body pushed probably around three times and with each push I could feel the baby inching closer and closer to the outside world. It was hard work even though I wasn't consciously controlling what was going on. After just a few of these contractions I was so tired and overwhelmed by the power of what was going on with my body. About ten minutes into this process, Elizabeth decided that things were progressing more quickly than she anticipated and called the secondary midwife, who usually comes in time to monitor the fetal heart rate in between contractions and then take care of the baby once it is born. My secondary midwife was supposed to be Katrina, but she was off call that weekend, so instead Elizabeth called Sarah Wolfe and Katrina's student, Jenny. Five minutes after Elizabeth made the calls, our baby was born.

It's hard to describe the moment of her birth because I was so consumed by the overwhelming pushing feelings. I did not fight them; I was very aware that I couldn't fight them even if I wanted to. In this process of surrender I think I actually temporarily forgot why all this was happening, and so when Elizabeth said to me after one contraction, "reach down, Selena; feel your baby's head!" and I reached down and felt a strange, soft round thing it registered only in some remote corner of my mind that was my baby's head. The part of me that consciously reached down was simply obeying orders in hopes that complete surrender would end the whole process. Thankfully, only a couple more pushes were needed to birth the rest of the body and then Elizabeth scooped her out of the water and put her on my chest. She was immediately pink and screaming, scoring a 10 out of 10 on the APGAR test. Even with a screaming baby on my chest it took a moment to remember why all this was happening. When it finally registered that my baby was on the outside and I was looking down at her as Elizabeth covered her with blankets, I was filled with complete awe-both for her and myself.

A few minutes after the birth I remembered that we would need to document the time of arrival. I asked Tim what time it was, but he didn't have a watch. Elizabeth then told me that the baby was born at 11:29pm, only around an hour and a half after she arrived at our apartment. Elizabeth then cut the baby's cord and helped me out of the pool and onto the cushions we'd set down on the floor beside it. About five minutes later, I birthed the placenta, which came out complete in a rather abrupt gush that thankfully didn't require any work at all.

Jenny and Sara arrived shortly thereafter and were surprised to find all of us camped out next to the pool, with all the work done save for the examination of the placenta and the newborn exam. I was helped up and out of the room and to bed, where I rested while everything went on around me. The midwives did their paper work, weighed the baby (she was 7 pounds, 14 ounces), examined and assessed my postnatal condition (no stitches required) and then left Tim, me and the baby to our own devices by around two in the morning. Elizabeth warned me that I might not get any sleep for staring at the baby all night. I thought that that was pretty funny and very unlikely, seeing as I was exhausted; but that is exactly what I did-I laid there until dawn just watching her little face and listening to her tiny noises as she slept.

See pics on our Birth album .

More pics on our blog
See less See more
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Priceless. And she is absolutely precious!
selena thats such a wonderfrul story, beautifully told, thanks for sharing.
Beautiful story and beautiful baby!! Congrats!!
Beautiful story! How sweet! Enjoy your baby moon!
See less See more
What a beautiful birth you and Istra had. I loved reading it. Thanks for sharing, Selena.
You did an amazing job! I enjoyed reading your story. Your baby is just beautiful -- reminds me of my DD when she was new.
See less See more
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.