My Birth Story | Baby #2
NOTE: As I mentioned in my last birth story, this post will discuss bodily functions (if you know what I mean). If you are at all squeamish or don't like to read that sort of thing, please click out of this post now!
I never thought I was the type to give birth without a midwife - an unassisted home birth just isn't my preferred style. Funny how life is so different than how you imagine it will be...
Saturday, February 6, 2016. 39 weeks, 3 days.
The day I went into labor started out fairly normal. I made a yummy breakfast of puffles (puff pastry waffles). In the afternoon I took a rest and did a few exercises to try to induce labor - hip rotations on my exercise ball, deep squats, rock-backs, cat-cow, butterflies, and acupressure. I had Braxton Hicks contractions throughout the day.
In the evening, we went to my family's to visit. My sisters and I decided to make molten chocolate cakes for dessert. After we took the cakes out of the oven, I decided to put Helen to bed so I could relax to eat my dessert. It was about 8:00.
Right after we put Helen to bed, I went to use the bathroom. I had a contraction that made me feel a little sick. "Oh great, now I won't be able to enjoy my dessert," I thought. But the sick feeling went away and I was able to eat the delicious chocolate cake. Partway through my dessert, however, I decided to start tracking my contractions on my phone. I was having to stop and concentrate whenever I had a contraction.
We moved to the living room and started watching random YouTube videos. I was having to stand and sway to get through contractions.
"I don't know, Reuben," I said, wondering if this was it.
At a little before nine, I decided it was time to go home. I didn't want to get my hopes up in case this was false labor, but I wanted to be home if it was the real deal. Reuben grabbed Helen (who was sleeping) and we headed home.
The car ride was not very comfortable - I like to be able to move around when I have a contraction. Slow drivers irritated me.
When we got home, I changed into a night dress - I didn't want to dirty my pants if my water broke. Reuben started cleaning up the house a bit and setting up the birth pool.
I had a bloody show soon after we got home, and I had 3 bowel movements in quick succession. By 9:45 my contractions were 2-5 minutes apart and about 1 - 1.5 minutes long. At 10:15 I tracked my last contraction. It was too painful to worry about that anymore.
At about 10:20, Reuben called our midwife (I was in too much pain to make a phone call). We were unsure if she should come yet. She asked if we could wait an hour and see what happened, and I agreed. I didn't want Rebekah to have to come all the way to our house if it was nothing.
Almost as soon as Reuben hung up, I had my first pushing contraction and my water broke. Reuben called Rebekah back and told her that we had changed our minds.
"I need help," I told Reuben.
"Do you want Audra to come down?" He asked (my married sister who has given birth at home 4 times lives in the apartment above us). I agreed.
I showered off a bit (the amniotic fluid was still on my legs), and changed into my swimsuit top and skirt in preparation for getting into the birthing pool (which Reuben was setting up).
Audra came down and started talking me through contractions and massaging my back. She and Reuben started putting pots of water on the stove to heat up - our water heater ran our of hot water before Reuben could fill the birthing pool.
More amniotic fluid came out with another contraction.
The water wasn't very warm, but I decided to get in the pool anyway. The pain was getting pretty intense. Just being in the lukewarm water helped a little.
I continued to have pushing contractions. I would grasp the side of the pool and either lean forward into the contraction or squat into it. Audra encouraged me to make low sounds as I pushed instead of panicked, high-pitched cries. All this time I wasn't sure if I should be pushing yet - was I dilated enough? But I HAD to push.
"Reuben, this is really hard," I said.
"I know, but it's worth it," he replied.
After a few more contractions I said, "I think he's going to come now!"
"That's okay," said Reuben firmly.
I could feel him crowning. I was a bit concerned because there was no sign of either of the midwives. But after a few pushes, James arrived at 11:35 PM.
"Is he alright?" I kept asking, holding his little body close. He didn't breathe right away, but he gave a short little cry.
Molly, my midwife's apprentice, arrived about 15 minutes after James was born. She said that James wasn't warm enough (I was still in the pool). We replaced the towel covering James with a fresh, dry one.
I birthed the placenta partially, but Molly said that there were some membranes still attached. She asked if it would be okay to give me a tincture. I asked Reuben what he thought, and he said he was fine with it.
After I finished birthing the placenta, it was time to move to the bed. I tried using the bathroom and taking a shower. I was shaking, but not from cold.
Rebekah checked James over and took his measurements. She mentioned that he was a "wet baby" - my labor had been so fast that there had been no time to squeeze the wetness out of his lungs!
After giving us some pointers on newborn care and making sure we were all settled in, Rebekah left.
And that's the story of my 3 1/2-hour labor. I have to say I much prefer the shorter, more intense labor. And I was so grateful that I wasn't up all night (though we didn't get to bed until around one in the morning).
Sadly, once again, labor was the easiest part of bringing this boy into the world. But that's a story for another day...