Home-Birth Story of Lewis Harwood Kerr

newbornThe story actually starts on Christmas day (of course). I was a bit tired, owing to our elder son, Arthur waking at 5 am full of excitement. We'd finished stockings and presents and were starting on breakfast before it was light. Anyhow, we went to my folks at around 10:30 for another round of presents and dinner. My back was bothering me a little, but I had been doing lots of standing. And I had the tiniest bit of pink mucous later in the day, but certainly nothing to write home about. My in-laws had come for dinner at my folks house. They were supposed to pick up my sister-in-law and her two-year-old at 7:30, but they were kind of tired, so I drove them and Arthur back to our house while my husband went to pick up his sister. He offered our house to stay at since my in-laws house is about an hour drive away, so everyone came back to our house. My in-laws were on the fold-out couch in the living room, my sister-in-law and her son were in Arthur's room (he's got a full-sized bed), and Arthur was in a sleeping bag in our room. Arthur had a hard time falling asleep, I did some putzing around in the kitchen, so I didn't get to bed until 10:30.

Woke at almost midnight (11:47 according to my husband), needing to go to the bathroom. I'd felt a little pop, but thought it was a kick. Needless to say, when I stood up, I had a few little gushes. Woke the husband, said he should try to move our son before anything else. I was envisioning a five hour labor, and didn't really want Arthur to wake up in the middle of it.

After going to the bathroom, I called my midwife. I wasn't having any contractions yet, so I said I'd try to get some sleep, and I'd call back when things started. I drank some water, and lay down. Had a few contractions 6 minutes apart, but not very strong, and dozed for a few hours. Got up again around 2:30 and decided I should eat something, so I heated up some soup and sat quietly in the kitchen. Contractions were 3 minutes apart, but not very strong. I contemplated calling my midwife again, but really didn't want to wake up everyone, so thought I'd try lying down again for a bit. My mother-in-law had woken up on one of the attempts to move Arthur (he kept on waking and coming back in with us), she was a bit shocked, but dutifully went back to sleep.

I dozed again until 5. Felt a little nauseous, and I was thinking my contractions would come back steady like they did at 2:30, so called midwife and said she could come over, but not to rush. She arrived around 5:30, by that time I knew I wasn't in active labor, I apologized for calling too early, she said no bother. Of course her arrival woke the in-laws in the living room. My father-in-law was in a bit of a panic.

The midwife checked the heart-tones; they were good. She said she'd run back home for a shower, and to call her when things heated up. My sister-in-law and nephew were up by now, and everyone was scurrying to rush out of the house. They didn't believe anything was imminent, although we did manage to talk them into a cup of coffee before they took off.

I proceeded to do little things here and there for most of the morning. I had a good breakfast, took a shower (contractions were stronger there), frosted the birthday cake with Arthur (it had been in the freezer), finished punching holes in the grandkids' calendars. The midwife called at 10:00 to see what was up, she had a 3-day checkup on a newborn in our neighborhood and suggested she'd stop by on her way to that. So she came around 10:30, checked heart tones again, and suggested we might want to go for a walk.

Actually, I took a little nap first, from 10:45-11:15. This was all so different from my first son's birth, where I'd never had a moment to think. With this, I kept on thinking -- when is this going to pick up? After my nap, got a call from a friend of Arthur asking him to come over. I think I ate a little more soup. My midwife came back, and she stayed while my husband took him over to his friend's house. We asked the parents to return him at 2:30, and told my folks to come on over then. I chatted with my midwife for a while, then when my husband came back, she went to get herself some lunch while we took our walk.

When we got back, I got in the shower, and finally things started getting a little more intense. This was probably around 1:45. I started losing track of time. Contractions kept getting stronger and closer together in the shower, so I stayed in a long time and tried to work with them. When the water finally got cold, I asked my husband to set up a chair in our bedroom backwards with a pillow and pad so he could rub my back. After a few contractions that way, I was starting to get overwhelmed -- felt like crying, a little shaky, so I asked my husband to page the midwives (they'd stopped back to drop off something with the other newborn, and were to come over right after). They were actually at our door at this point.

The baby was so low at this point, my midwife couldn't get the heart-tones without me lying down, so between contractions I made my way to the bed. Heart-tones were good, but contractions were bad here -- I never felt contractions were painful with Arthur's birth, but boy was this different! I was having a very hard time keeping it together. I realized lying down wasn't the best option, so I got up and leaned on our radiator. My midwife brought over a hot pack for my back. It felt so good, but I was really having a hard time.

I think I probably could have started pushing at this point, but I also felt like I needed to go to the bathroom, and I think that was what was holding me up. After a bit, the heart-tones started to drop during contractions, but bounce right back up after, so my midwife really wanted to check me to see if I could start pushing. I knelt on the bed, didn't feel like I could move much further, but I did take my dress off and threw up (that was actually a relief). So she checked me from behind, said I was complete. Apparently this was at 3:35 pm.

She asked me to try pushing. My husband was in front of me on his knees; I had my hands on his thighs -- this was a really good position! I started pushing (I knew I was pooping, too, but my midwife was cleaning me up), and I could feel him moving through. It was really painful, but felt really cool at the same time. I thought I'd gotten his head out. I think this must have been his head moving past my cervix when my midwife said to reach down and feel his head. I didn't really want to deal with it at the time, and started to say something to that effect, but she said "Susan, just reach down", so I did. And I felt the squishy top and the overlapping skull, and pushed some more, while she described slowly seeing his eyebrows, then his eyes, nose, and mouth. I felt an arm pop out (with my hand), and felt his shoulders moving through (with my body), then instinct took over and next thing I knew I was holding him on my chest, my midwife says she had her hand underneath him but never really held him. This was at 3:44.

The first thing I said was "Here she is!" Then I checked and realized I was wrong! He was a bit purple, and didn't cry right away, but absolutely perfect.

We rubbed him down, got a few squawks out of him. My husband went to get our son, who really wanted to see the cord. The placenta came uneventfully a few minutes later. No tears, and I am feeling really well.

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