My name is Iris, and I have a little two and a half month old daughter. I'm going to start with our birth story, and do an introduction tomorrow. We had a planned homebirth, with just my DBF, a midwife, and her assistant attending. It went beautifully, and I'm completely thrilled with the experience that we had.
I had been feeling like the baby was going to come at any time. My due date had passed, and I was ready for labor! Then, I came down with a nasty, nasty, cold. I was miserable. The labor that I had envisioned, the one where I was strong, happy, and focused, seemed like an impossibility. I had actually started to wake up in the morning, thankful that I hadn’t gone into labor in my state. On January 26th, after four days of being yucky sick, I gave in and took some extra strength Tylenol. My fever finally came down. DBF had an important awards ceremony to go to that night, and I decided to stay home to rest up and get well. Plus, there was no way I’d have been able to dress my gigantic belly appropriately for the black tie event!
I was 41 weeks and one day pregnant, and feeling better than I had in days! I had been having strong BH contractions for about a month, but now, they started to get stronger. DBF came home at around eleven. I told him I was having stronger contractions than I had ever had, and got into the shower. I spent a long time sitting in the tub, with the removable shower head on my back and tummy. We went to bed, but I had a hard time sleeping, because of the contractions that were coming every ten minutes or so. I was able to doze a little in between, but had a hard time getting comfortable, so I got out of bed. DBF found me a few hours later, sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace, wrapped in a blanket. He lied on the couch, watching me. He told me later, that at that point, he KNEW that I was going into labor. I tried to have him go back to bed, to get as much sleep as he could, but he wanted to be with me.
Once DBF dozed off at about 7 in the morning, I sat on the rocking chair in the baby’s room, and called my mom. I told her I was having a lot of contractions, but that they weren’t painful, just distracting. She said, “Oh, they may not ever get painful. My second labor was just like that, until the very last few contractions, where they got strong, and I pushed her out.” She suggested I call my midwife, to give her a heads up. (It must be said here that my mom’s second birth was UC. She had planned on having her husband and a midwife attend, but they didn’t get there in time. She gave birth alone on her bathroom floor! Go Mom!)
I called the MW, and she said it should be a while, yet, and to give her a call when I noticed a “marked difference” in the strength of my contractions. I convinced DBF (who of course wasn’t sleeping—he was too scared to leave me needing him) to go for a walk with me. He thought I was crazy, but he agreed. He dressed me in one of his coats, and we took a nice, quiet, morning walk through the neighborhood.
I took another shower, and DBF went to bed. I tried to sit on my birthing ball, but hated the way it felt to have all of that pressure on my bottom. I found a semi-comfortable position on the floor in front of the couch, with my head on the seat. I managed to sleep between contractions, which were getting stronger and stronger, for the next few hours.
I noticed that there was a little bit of blood on the towel under me, (I was still undressed from taking a shower.) and got very excited. Now I had PROOF that something was happening. I realized that I hadn’t eaten since the evening before. I drank some orange juice, and as much chicken broth as I could, though I didn’t feel hungry at all. I also downloaded the new Iron and Wine album, because I realized at this time that I HAD TO have it.
My memory gets quite hazy at this point. I know that I spent the next few hours moving around our apartment, when I was feeling like I needed to labor in a different position. I know that whenever DBF broke eye-contact with me when I was having a contraction, I felt like I was going to lose control.
I spent some time on the toilet, with DBF on my birth ball in front of me. I didn’t have a lot of words in me. Whenever DBF would move away from me, I would bat his hands, and tell him, “Shut up. Shut up,” making him look into my eyes. He was so calm, and it made me feel so good. At one point, I realized that my eyes were getting googlie, and rolling around a little, but I held onto his eyes, and was able to stable them.
DBF sat on a chair in front of the sink while I sat on the floor next to him. We were listening to our new album, and I was telling him every time I had a contraction, so he could time them. They started to come on top of each other, starting over again right after the one before had peaked. We were still in denial about my being in labor!
At one o’clock, I couldn’t sit on the floor any longer, so I moved to the floor in front of the fireplace. I laid down with a few pillows to prop up my belly. I got a REALLY strong contraction at that point, and started moaning, and saying DBF’s name. I said “Oh God, oh God…..!” as I felt a gush of water. I was scared I’d stain the carpet! I ran as fast as I could to the bathroom, but halfway there, I yelled, “I’m gonna throw up!” DBF tried to assure me that I wasn’t—He knows how much it scares me. I threw the bathroom rug out of my way, so I could crouch in front of the toilet without making a mess on it. I slammed the door shut for privacy, :rolleyes: and in between retches, told him to call our midwife. He’s telling her my water broke, and I’m yelling, “And she’s throwing up! Tell her I’m throwing up!” As soon as I finished emptying my stomach, I had to go #2! As I’m going to the bathroom, DBF is asking me through the door, “She wants to know if you feel any pressure on your bottom!” I had to have a laugh at that, and said something pretty crude in response.
Here's a pic of me just a few seconds before my water broke. Notice the crease on my forehead? That's from leaning against that chair for so long.
I came out of the bathroom, and got onto the phone. I realized that I was having a very nice break from contractions. As we talked, I started pacing very quickly, and my midwife asked me, “Are you having a contraction right now? I’ll wait.” I realized at that point that I was, so I put the phone down, and got onto my hands and knees on the floor. I said, “Oh ****. Nothing is making this better.”
At that point, I realized that I actually was going to have a baby that day.
Our midwife came over, and found us in the bathroom. She had me go into my bedroom so she could do a VE. I got onto my side, and made her wait for a few minutes, before I said, “You know what? It’s (the pain, that is) not going to get any better. Just do it.” She checked, and she said I was dilated to four centimeters. A mother ****ing four!! She saw the face I made at that, and laughed.
I labored on the bed for a few minutes, but I didn’t like that, so we got up to go back to the bathroom. As I got up, I caught the eyes of my midwife, who was sitting on my floor. I realized that I must look like a wild animal, naked and panting, with my hair loose and in my face and crazy. I marveled for a little bit about how little I cared about that.
I was laboring on the toilet when the MW came in, and told me she was going to go home (she lives about five minutes away from us). She must have seen on my face what I was feeling when she said that. She took DBF’s spot on the birth ball and had a little talk with me. She told me that all I had to do was open up. I was doing it fine so far; I just had to open up more. “Listen. It’s not ever going to get unbearable.” In my head, I thought. “That is total bullshit!! It’s almost unbearable right now. And I’m going to open up MORE??” Her leaving meant, to me, that I was going to be in labor FOREVER.
In hindsight, I realize that I was in transition as she was talking to me on the birthing ball in my bathroom.
I couldn’t stay where I was any longer, so we went back into the bedroom. I was in the fetal position on the bed for a bit, before I started to lose control. I was grunting, and tensing my body! After a few contractions like that, I decided that I NEEDED to stay relaxed, so I got into the bath. It took a lot of readjusting on DBF’s part before the water was comfortable enough for me. I lay curled up in the bath for about twenty minutes, contracting and holding back pushes before I realized- DUH!, I WAS PUSHING!!
The midwife came right over. She checked me, though I really didn’t want her to. I just didn’t have the voice to say no. I almost kicked her off of me as she was doing the exam. She announced very calmly that she felt the baby’s head. Her head?? :eek: She showed me on her knuckles how far in the baby was. Not far at all! Yes!
We moved to the bedroom, but not before grabbing a towel for my hair! I hate having wet hair all over the place when I’m in bed. On the way to my bedroom, I was saying, “Tell me where to go!” I didn’t want to have to move once I got there. She tried to explain that I should do whatever feels best for me, but I didn’t know. I tried to get on my hands and knees, but my belly got in the way. She suggested I get on my side, and hold a leg up. The midwife’s assistant got there as I started to push, and rushed to get things in order. Between pushes I was telling her where she could get a hat for the baby, where she could find olive oil, etc.
What really surprised me was that I had to learn how to push. I was trying to push from the front only, and close off the back. Nope. It really is just like you’re pooping, and I was very strongly reminded of that by my midwife. I was getting a little scared, and I said so. I felt like if I really gave all of my force, like she was telling me to, that I would tear right open, or my intestines would come out. So for the next twenty minutes or so, I pushed with all of my force, but was only concentrating about half of it into my bottom. The rest was coming out of my mouth, and into my upper body.
The assistant finally got everything together, and sat down in front of my legs at the edge of the bed. She saw what I was doing, and she reprimanded me! She sternly said my name, and told me to STOP using my voice. I laughed- She made me feel like a naughty child!
After that, I was able to push more efficiently. I was breathing and pushing whenever the urge came to me, probably two or three times per contraction- None of that count to ten, breaking blood vessels in your face pushing that you see in movies. At one point, she had me reach and feel the baby’s head, and I shrieked and laughed. It was so squishy! Not what I had expected at all! A few times, I got her head almost out, but then it would pop back in. The feeling of her little body popping through my pelvis was quite a bizarre feeling, and it made me laugh and scream every time.
At one point, I was getting very tired, and I saw, in my head, all of the liquid that I had let go of earlier, and I thought. “I don’t have any fuel! I can’t do this!!” And to be honest, I really wanted to give up. If I was doing anything other than giving life to my child, I WOULD HAVE given up.
Some warm olive oil and one quick ring of fire later, her head was out! I remember the midwife’s assistant saying “Just push through the pain!” as she was crowning, which, to me, weren’t the most encouraging words. “Push through”?? More like “push into”!
Then, her little body turned, and then I pushed out her shoulders! Oh sweet relief!, As her body slipped out with a big gush of water. I lay there for a moment before the midwife said, “Reach down and pick up your baby!” And I picked up her warm, wet, squiggly body and held her close. She smelled just like her father. I looked up at him, and I saw his face, so clearly that I will never ever forget it. He had tears shining down the sides of his nose, and he kissed me.
Baby had little fists, and was waving them around as she looked me in the eyes and said “Ha ha. Ha ha.” Little laughing noises! I held her as the cord stopped pulsating, and DBF made the cut. She made a little gasp, and I watched as her skin immediately started to pink up. She fed as the placenta was birthed. It actually felt good coming out after the baby—no bones!
As the baby was getting dressed, “Oh, do you two have a name for her?”
DBF and I looked at each other.
DBF took the baby, and the midwife’s assistant and I made our way to the bathroom. She tried to have me urinate, but I had somehow forgotten how to. I got into the shower, and held my belly close for a while. It was so wiggly and empty! The assistant dried me off, and put me into those sexy mesh panties, and tucked me into bed.
We all ate falafel together around our bed, as we watched the sun go down over the neighborhood through our window.
Little Paisley was born on January 27th, at 4:50 pm, after less than four hours of active labor, and fifty minutes of pushing. She was 7lb 4oz, and 20 ¼” long.
And here she is!