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I suppose cannot call his birth a true UC because my wonderful friend and doula Lisa (MDC moderator lisamarie
) was there. I also cannot call it an unplanned UC either, because I had repeatedly said that I was not sure when/if I would call for assistance when I gave birth. Something inside of me knew that I was on my *own* and I liked that idea. When it actually came down to it, I did decide that I wanted the help of my midwife and doula because I started to feel like I was in uncharted territory because the beginning of labor felt so different than I expected. So I suppose that it was some sort of cross between a homebirth and an unassisted birth. Anyway, you want to look at it, I would not go back and change it if I could!

Alexander Joseph's birth- April 15th, 2006

After weeks of "prelabor", I had begun to get rather frustrated that I was almost 42 weeks pregnant and close to having to transfer my care from the homebirth midwives I adored to some random OB and have a hospital birth. I decided to go ahead and take castor oil on Saturday April 15th, at 11 days overdue. Actually it was the same "induction" that helped my friend Jesse (indiegirl) have her daughters Zoe & Ellie. I had read their birth stories a few times to prepare myself before I gave birth and had high hopes that it work as well for me after Jesse had convinced me it was *magic* stuff
. First I downed a castor oil 'shake' (OMG that was vile!), then it was time for the required sex, hot shower and a long walk. I will spare you the details of how miserable I was during all of that because of the milkshake
I got really pissed off that I thought it didn't work because I wasn't getting any 'contractions'. I even thought about calling Jesse and telling her how dissappointed I was about it and that the baby was just never coming out.

We decided to keep walking since the midwife said she was at another birth and didn't want me to do a second round of the induction yet. So Zak & I went walking in the harbor and I felt like my bladder was irritated or something. I was really getting ticked off that I made myself nauseous drinking that stuff and all it did was make me feel bad. So we went home and after drinking some water & sitting down I felt pretty good so I told my mom (who was watching Anna) that we should go to the store to get food for Easter. This was about 5:15pm or so, and my mom did NOT think this was a good idea. She was afraid that I was going into labor and didn't realize it. I convinced her that I was fine since I wasn't having contractions yet. I called Lisa to let her know what was going on, but told her I thought I was fine but hoped I might go into labor later in the night or something. So we went to Safeway for groceries at 5:30 and I was MISERABLE! I suddenly felt like I couldn't walk and so we hurried up and went home. I still wasn't convinced that anything was happening it just felt like I had some bad reaction to the castor oil. We got home around 6pm and I decided to take a quick shower to see if that made me feel better.

Zak realized that I was having cramping sensations about 2-3 minutes apart consistently and he decided he was calling Constance- our midwife, and Lisa. Since I knew Constance would want to talk to me, I got out of the shower. I was able to talk to Constance on the phone just fine between contractions (which apparently for me really doesn't mean much LOL!) so she figured she had some time and said she'd call back in a half hour. I still wasn't convinced that this wasn't another round of false labor. At first I started out sitting on the birth ball, then ended up squatting through a few ctx, thinking I might have a long labor ahead and that this might help speed things up. I decided that I was getting really uncomfortable and wanted to take a bath and I figured if it was false labor again it would go away. I sat down in the bath as it was filling and was pretty much paralyzed with a strong contraction and yelled for Zak. He helped me out of the tub and I decided that yes, I probably was in labor.

I was really excited because I felt like I'd been waiting forever but alot nervous that the contractions were really taking my attention at this point, especially since I thought I was still very early in labor. I got dressed again and went to check on Anna and my mom who were dying Easter eggs for the next morning. They were having a good time, but as soon as I walked into the kitchen and had said hello I had another strong contraction. My mom was starting to get a bit worried at this point since she saw how much focus it was taking me already and how close together they were getting. At this point I pretty much walked out of the kitchen, told Zak to set up the birth tub & the bed NOW and jumped in the shower. I have no real concept of time from here on out.

I know Lisa told me that she got to my house at 7pm and I was in the shower at that time, I don't think I had been in there very long before that but again I have no clue on timing. I was letting the hot water hit my lower back with each contraction, rocking my hips, staring at my recently painted red toenails as a focal point and saying 'ooooooh'. In my head I was focusing on saying 'open' at the peak of each contraction and trying to let my body stay completely relaxed.

Thinking back now, I feel really silly thinking that I was in 'early labor' since it was obviously taking me great focus with each one! I remember getting out of the shower because the water was running out and Zak wanted to fill up the tub for me. So I got out, Lisa wrapped a towel around me and I sat down on the toilet. I was getting really frustrated because I wanted the tub filled up right then because I knew it would help me feel better. At some point Lisa turned off the bathroom light and turned on the small lamp that I had put in the bathroom a month before just in case I wanted to labor in the bathroom (intuition maybe?). The dim light made the atmosphere seem calmer but much more focused. I was again starting to get nervous that the contractions were taking so much out of me and that I was still in 'early labor'. I started having to move back and forth from leaning over the bathroom counter and sitting on the toilet, all the time moaning in deep sounds. I focused on letting my body relax and open and remembered Jesse telling me 'Trust that your body was made to do this'. Suddenly I realized that the contractions were getting much more intense in the peaks, and I was leaking fluid during each one and I was having less time between them to regain my focus. I don't think I truly believed that I was actually having my baby until I noticed the fluid with each contraction.

From the time that I noticed that my water must have broken it pretty much kicked into high gear. I didn't really feel like I was coping well anymore and I kept telling Lisa that I needed to go to the hospital RIGHT NOW for an epidural because I was a big wuss. I remember Lisa asking me if I felt pushy and I told her no I didn't, but thinking back I was feeling pressure which I thought was normal, since I'd felt that way with Anna early on because she was posterior (Alex was not posterior, he was Left Occiput Anterior-the perfect position- which I attribute to frequent chiro visits). I was getting very annoyed that Zak was running around frantically, but I think that he was focused on getting everything ready since he figured that as soon as the midwife got here I'd probably give birth soon after that. Lisa told Zak that she thought he should call Constance again ASAP (this was at 7:50 according to Constance's voicemail). I know at some point I felt a burning sensation and felt like I had to pee so I sat on the toilet. Suddenly I was pushing and had absolutely no control over it. Lisa sat in front of me, looking into my eyes and tried to have me blow instead of push. That lasted all of 2 breaths, then I was grunting again. Lisa let Zak know what was happening and asked him to grab some towels and gloves because the baby was coming right NOW. I was freaking out after that contraction, thinking that I was pushing but not fully dilated and completely overwhelmed at how strong my body was making me push. With Anna's birth the pushing sensation had come over me slowly and it felt like it gave the contractions purpose. This time it was like a freight train and I felt like I was going to explode. After the second pushing contraction Zak ran back in with the towels right as Lisa was telling me to check to see if I could feel the baby. He was only about 1 1/2 inches from crowning!

At this point between contractions, Lisa asked me if I was okay with her catching the baby because she had never done it before, or if I wanted her to call someone (meaning 911). I know I said some form of yes it was okay, but it never crossed my mind that we needed anyone else right then. I had complete confidence that everything was normal and that someone better be okay with catching the baby because he was gonna come out soon and I didn't want to have him be born in the toilet or on the floor! With the start of the next contraction my body started to push again and his head started to come out. I started saying in a high pitched voice "his head's coming out! Help!" Zak and Lisa tried to get me to get off the toilet but all I could manage was to scoot off the toilet, half standing...and out he came in one big motion! Poor Lisa got quite splattered by the majority of his amniotic fluid but she caught him right before he landed on the floor. Lisa told me that I said "he's here!" but I also remember saying that he looked just like Zak (Anna looks like her daddy too) and I noticed that he had a dimple on one cheek. She handed him up to me as I sat back down and we realized his cord was kinda short so it was rather awkward. Alex started crying almost immediately, but sounded rather mucuosy so I told Lisa where I had a new bulb syringe in bathroom drawer. We suctioned his mouth and nose and watched him turn a nice shade of rosy pink. Lisa looked at her watch and said he must have been born at 7:59pm. Zak ran out to the other room to tell my mom that her grandson had already arrived and that we were doing fine. When he came back, the 3 of us just kinda sat there dumbstruck, but all very grateful that everything seemed to be going just fine. I tried to nurse him but since the placenta hadn't come out yet and he had a short cord it really didn't work. We thought about cutting the cord since I wanted him to nurse ASAP to help the placenta come out and prevent any bleeding problems. That was always my biggest concern in a rapid birth- bleeding problems, but I had felt somewhat prepared by my reading. I asked Lisa to check his cord to see if it was still pulsating and it I decided that cutting it would be a bad idea. I was getting a little nervous that I was bleeding alot and the placenta hadn't come out yet, so I tried other methods to get it to stop. My mom came in and said on the handout from the MWs about sudden births that I should try to squat over a bowl to deliver the placenta. So I ended up doing that next to the bed and out it came right away. I'm proud of my mom that she had the calmness to go and figure out what we should do next, I actually kinda thought she would be freaking out and call the paramedics. Strangely, we all kept fairly cool heads and just tried to make sure we were doing everything we should.*

Zak snuggled with his new son, while my mom helped me go to the bathroom. I realized I was feeling rather lightheaded so I decided to lay down and wanted to nurse my baby. Zak and Lisa helped lay him down next to me and he latched on like he knew exactly what he was supposed to do. This was an absolute miracle to me, as Anna had so many difficulties learning to nurse which made her newborn days a nightmare. Zak called Constance's pager again and left some sort of message that said "Umm...your late. The baby is already here. We're doing okay, but please call when you get this message". I think he didn't quite know what to say!

Constance arrived at 8:30, and asked what time the baby had been born. When we told her about a half hour before her jaw dropped. She said she typically has one birth a year that she misses but she's never been that late and walked into the baby nursing and the placenta neatly in a bowl. She confirmed that I had a tear right along my episotomy scar and a little bit beyond it, which I expected might happen, especially since he was born so quickly with me standing upright. I got cleaned up a little, everyone else cleaned up the mess a bit and we let the family members in the other room come into visit (my brother and my mother-in-law, Debie had arrived at this point and were waiting with my mom and Anna). So they all came into see our sweet baby boy and marvel at how fast his birth had happened. I was snuggling with Alex under a heating pad as he had gotten a little chilled right after birth. Anna didn't seem to care about the baby, she just wanted to play in the birth pool (which we have adorable pics of)! My mom & Lisa helped Anna get undressed and play in the pool since we figured at least someone would get to use it that way. Constance did an exam on Alex and then asked if Lisa wanted the honor weighing him. I told her to please do it, since she had played such a huge part in his entrance into the world. He weighed 8lbs 3oz, exactly a pound bigger than Anna! He was also only 19 inches long and did not look like he was overbaked whatsover, even though we were 100% sure on his conception date. I guess I just need to cook my babies a little longer than some. I guess that goes to prove that due dates are really truly just an estimate, not an expiration date.

Zak told me that Jesse had called to see what was going on since she had driven by at 8pm and seen Lisa's car but not Constance's. He told her briefly what had happened. I told him to please call her back and ask her to come over if she wanted to, as I'd love to have her presence and also have her take pictures if she could. Jesse had been my inspiration for a homebirth and a huge support during my pregnancy so it felt very right to have her there. She showed up soon after Zak called her and we laughed about her driving by right as Alex was born, thinking that I must be in early labor because Lisa was there but no midwives yet. I had my mom and Debie take baby Alex into the living room along with everyone else so I could get sewn up and finish cleaning myself up. Jesse took lots of pictures of Anna and her new brother while I was in the bedroom with Zak and the midwives. I knew how excited the grandmas were to get to hold him, and as much as I did not want Alex to be away from me for even a second, I needed some care from my midwives.

Soon I was all fixed up and ready to get some rest, so everyone said their goodbyes and Alex was brought back to me again. My mom had gotten Anna to sleep already, so that was a huge relief to me. Anna normally sleeps with us, so I was glad to know she was taken care of and I could focus on our new baby. Constance went to fill out all her paperwork, as my mom brought me a snack to eat before bed. I felt nurtured and loved, which is exactly how I think all mothers should feel after giving birth, rather than feeling violated, confused and alone like many end of feeling. Zak and I cuddled with Alex in our bed which was was so nice, and we talked about how amazing Alex's birth day had been. We talked about how it felt so right after such a natural birthing experience to be in our own home, surrounded by those who cared about us most, how it just seemed like part of the normal cycle of life, rather than some urgent disaster waiting to happen like our daughters entrance into the world. I have felt so incredibly empowered by how my son was born and as if the emotional wounds of my first birth have been healed. His birth was also in a way my own, my rebirth as a mother and a woman. I have always known in my heart that birth is natural, healthy and needs no interference, it just took this experience to make me completely believe it.

* I found out later that my mom was not quite as coolheaded as I thought! She had been frantically calling my brother telling him to come watch Anna so she could help me. She was the one who called my MIL (who is a former RN) and told her to come over, even though she knew I did not want her there for the birth. She was just worried I guess, because she comes from the mindset that birth is scary and dangerous. I was amazed that she tells people how wonderful his birth was even though it was very much out of her comfort zone. I even heard her once tell her friend that she wishes she had known about homebirthing when her children were born!

Photos from after his birth (taken by MDCs indiegirl)
Daddy telling Anna about her new brother
Itty bitty fingers
Sweet baby boy

photo gallery from same photographer (if you live in WA, she does awesome freelance photography!), at 2 months old

One of the photos from his birth announcement (with me of course!):

Finally, many thanks to Lisa for being such a wonderful labor support & baby catcher, to Jesse for her friendship, her beautiful photography and inspiring me to trust myself, to my husband who believed in me when I did not believe in myself and to the my other mama friends that who were with me in spirit along this journey. I am so very blessed.

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
It took me 4 months to finally post this story. It is so close to my heart and I just wanted it to be perfect, but I settled for just getting it done. I hope those who read it enjoy it, as I truly enjoyed reading stories such as my own when I was pregnant. I never dreamed I would have my own super fast birth story to tell!

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What a beautifl birth story! You made me relive ds2's birth, which was very similar. We didn't have time to use the birth pool, either!
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