Robinna's Home Birth Story

newbornWe had had a couple of false alarms; the most recent on the Sunday before with 6 hours of contractions 5 minutes apart that ultimately just stopped. On the Monday (Sept 29, our due date) I went in to the midwife's office and the pretty much painless 6 hours had gotten us nearly completely effaced, so we were pretty sure it would be soon. The pressure was on because my mother had already spent 9 days of her 2 weeks with us, and we all really wanted her to be here for the birth.

Tuesday night (1 day "past due"), around 9:10 p.m., we were sitting watching "Bowling for Columbine" of all things and I felt an almost audible "pop" inside. After my mother's precipitous labors (she delivered my brother in 12 contractions, me in 6, my sister in 5), we figured we'd better call the midwife even though I hadn't had any contractions yet to speak of. Got up to discover I was leaking waters, although it was the "constant trickle" effect rather than the "mad gush gotta get the carpets steam cleaned now" kind of water breaking.

By the time I got our student midwife on the phone about 10 minutes later, contractions were starting -- not too bad, definitely more intense than they had been on Sunday, but not painful, just, well, unavoidable, and I was having to concentrate and breathe through them. The midwives were to arrive around 10 p.m. and just before 10:00 I decided to go upstairs and wait for them. Not only can you not hear the doorbell from our basement TV room, but the TV noise was beginning to drive me crazy.

The midwives arrived as contractions were beginning to feel quite serious. I went upstairs to our bedroom and called my best friend Shawna to let her know that she might want to come on over, and we were planning to have her at the birth too. Cristine (our MW student) checked my dilation shortly after, and said we were at 2 cm. This wasn't technically "active labor," but by the time she told me this I'm pretty sure I was well into the active phase. She had checked me and then conferred with Anne Marie (our certified MW), then come to talk to me about what I'd like to do next. I think they were hoping I'd tell them to go home but I could feel that things were moving pretty fast and told her I was scared to for them to leave in case they didn't make it back in time. She told me they wouldn't desert me, not to worry about it. She offered to do a "stretch & sweep" but I used the excuse of another contraction to not answer the question, I really didn't want to be interfered with but at the time was still worrying a bit about wasting other peoples' time. I got over that very quickly.

That's the last thing I remember really clearly, after that it's just snippets. I remember Shawna arriving, and I remember spending most of my labor sitting backward on the toilet (leaning on the tank) with Stephen on one side of me and my mum on the other. I was singing vocal exercises through each contraction, I have to call my voice teacher and let her know that her exercises were a big part of what kept me calm and breathing and my jaw loose through labor. I think she'll like that.

Stephen figured out very quickly to take my robe off me during a contraction, and to put it back on, and a hot pack too, as soon as the contraction was over because I was shivering uncontrollably between contractions. I got in the shower briefly (for about 2 contractions) but I was so cold between contractions that I couldn't stand to be wet so I got out. For a while I worked on hands and knees on our bed, and it's around this time that they checked me again and were surprised to find I had hit 5 cm. I'm kind of amused that they didn't expect me to go so fast.

I remember Shawna coming into the room around then and I was actually lucid enough to speak to her, "I hope you're not terribly bored" I said, I kept thinking that this must seem so long to everybody else! She told me I was crazy, that she'd never been so excited in her life. I love that woman. Shortly after that I was back on the toilet -- it was a good place for me because of the constant fluid leak and I found it took all the pressure off my "working parts" and let me really relax with each out-breath. I found I needed to rock my hips a lot, and that really helped too.