Home Birth Stories!

24 posts / 0 new
Last post
Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852
Home Birth Stories!

We'll post the stories here. Don't reply on them, just make comments on a seperate thread. That way, this one will stay nice and neat. Thanks!

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Lauren Elizabeth’s Home Birth Story (Angelmom/Erin)

I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions off and on from about dinnertime on May 15th, 2003. I started to feel them more as the night went on. At about 1am on May 16th, they started to hurt. I was having back pains, which made it hard to rest. I started to time the contractions at 1:22am, and they were 3 minutes apart, then they went to 4, then 10, then back to 5 and even down to 1! They would then go to 7 and even 11 minutes apart. We found out later if I was sitting, they would space out, but standing made them closer and harder. Mom went and picked Meg up at 3:30am. I called my midwife, Leslie, at 4am, but she didn’t return the call within 10 minutes, so I called my backup midwife Jaylene. Leslie did return the call, but she was at another birth and wouldn’t be able to make it. While I was on the phone with her, Jaylene left 2 messages. While I was waiting for Jaylene to come, I got a shower, and that helped with the pain. Jaylene got here around 5:15am. At 5:40am, I was 5 cm dilated. After that, Shawn called his mom to let her know what was happening. At 6am, the contractions got stronger and more regular. At 6:35am, my contractions were 2 to 3 minutes apart and lasting 30 to 60 seconds when I was standing, but would go to 5 to 8 minutes apart when sitting. At 6:40, I got into the shower to help with the pain. It did seem to help, but I had such bad pains in my hips and going down my thighs that I couldn’t stand anymore. At 6:58, I complained that my hips were killing me. At 7:10, my contractions are 2 to 3 minutes apart and 60 seconds long. At 7:20, I was 8cm dilated, so it only took me 1 hr and 40 minutes to go from 5cm to 8cm dilated!!! At, 7:24am, Susan the backup midwife was called. At 7:33am, I had pressure, it was like I had to pee very badly, so I rushed to the bathroom and my water broke as soon as I was seated! I thought that the baby was coming out, so I ran back to the bedroom. It only took 13 minutes to go from 8cm to 10cm dilated. Altogether, I went from 5cm to 10 cm dilated in only 1 hr and 53 minutes. Only 16 minutes and maybe 5 pushes later, Lauren Elizabeth made her entrance into the world. Her Apgar tests were 9 and 10. Giving birth at home was the most amazing, relaxing, comfortable experience I could ever imagine. It allowed Shawn, my mom, my sister and Emily to all be in the room, sharing the experience of Lauren being born.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Robinna

We 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 9:10pm, we were sitting watching “Bowling for Columbine” of all things and I felt an almost audible “pop” inside. After my mother’s precipitous labours (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 10pm 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 dialation shortly after, and said we were at 2cm… that this wasn’t technically “active labour”… 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 labour 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 labour. 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 & knees on our bed, and it’s around this time that they checked me again and were surprised to find I had hit 5cm. 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. J 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. I remember thinking I must be hitting transition… I had to do a lot of “thought stopping” and kept saying out loud “one at a time, just this one” and “I can do this” over and over again. My family didn’t realize that what was going on was that I was fighting with myself – I’d catch myself wondering how much longer I could do this – which is when I started chanting “just this one,” or find myself doubting that I’d could handle any more – “I can do this.” Cristine checked me again around this time and although I didn’t hear her say it at the time, I had only a lip of cervix left. My hindwaters were still intact, and she told me that the baby just needed to turn slightly and that we could help that by breaking the waters, so despite that I had not intended to have my waters broken artificially it seemed like the right thing to do. The contraction that I went through lying on my back waiting for Cristine to break my waters made me understand why women find labour so painful. It was the only truly “painful” contraction I had – the rest of them were incredibly intense and overwhelming, but pain is the wrong word for them. Pain describes a broken arm or the surgery I had when I was 18, but doesn’t *really* define what I was going through – except for that one 3-peaked contraction I went through lying flat on my back. Man oh man that one was brutal and I was really glad to get upright again! It was back to the toilet with me to let the waters drain a bit, and I had about 3 or 4 more 3-peaked contractions and started feeling a little bit “pushy.” Cristine suggested I go back to all fours on the bed, and that did the trick – as soon as I was in that position there was nothing I could do except let my body do its work. I really feel like I was a bystander in the pushing stage, all I could do was keep supplying oxygen to my muscles and try not to interfere.

The baby crowned in 18 minutes and was out in 20. No tears at all (although for some reason I wasn’t expecting the “ring of fire” around the FRONT, somehow I thought that it would only be my perenium that felt that! Silly me), just a small scrape where he had his hand up next to his face (yup, I pushed out a hand along with the head). I reached down to touch his head as he was crowning and was so amazed to find that it was pointy – I mean, we all know that the head moulds but I think I didn’t really understand until that moment how perfectly engineered this whole process is. I gave everybody a good laugh though, they told me to stop pushing as he crowned and I said “he won’t go back?”… They all laughed and Anne Marie said no you can’t put him back. I couldn’t explain at the time that that’s not what I meant, I was just damned if I was going to lose ground and let him slip back upward again – I was fully prepared to hold him there!!! But anyway the next push came and his head was out. The cord was loosely around his neck, and I was laughing while the rest of his body was born through the loop – I’ve never felt such a physical “relief” in my life, it was incredible! The four seconds that it took for them to pass him to me was an eternity. And I was so thrilled to have him in my hands that Stephen had to ask me to check the gender (the cord was between his legs).

Shawna & Anne Marie had started a batch of muffins and some coffee as I started pushing, thinking it would be a while… Shawna says she had just got them into the oven when she heard her name called in a “serious” kinda way and she got sent to warm blankets in the dryer.

45 minutes later there were six of us on our bed eating hot apple-cinnamon muffins.

Our baby boy stayed nameless for about 4 days… somehow it just didn’t seem very important. He is now Samuel (because we love it) Stephen (for his dad) Guy (to honour my family surname) and will carry Stephen’s surname, Lenser.

He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Birth Story of Lewis Harwood Kerr, born 12/26/03, 3:44 pm, 8 lbs 3 oz, 20 inches

Well, the story actually starts on Christmas day (of course). I was a bit tired, owing to DS the elder (Arthur) waking at 5 am full of excitement... we'd finished stockings and presents and were starting on breakfast before it was light. Anyhow, 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 SIL 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 DH went to pick up his sister. DH offered our house to stay at, 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 SIL 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 DH), 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 DH, said he should try to move DS before anything else. I was envisioning a five hour labor, and didn't really want DS 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, 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 MIL had woken up on one of DH's attempts to move DS (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 - FIL was in a bit of a panic. 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. SIL and nephew were up by now, and everyone was scurrying to rush out of the house. They didn't believe nothing 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. Had a good breakfast, took a shower (contractions were stronger there), frosted the birthday cake with DS (it had been in the freezer), finished punching holes in the grandkids calendars. Midwife called at 10:00 to see what was up, she had a 3 day checkup on a newborn in our neighborhood, she 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 DS'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 DS's asking him to come over. I think I ate a little more soup. My midwife came back, and she stayed while DH took DS over to friend's house. We asked the parents to return him at 2:30, and told my folks to come on over then. Chatted with my midwife for a while, then when DH 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, this was when I started loosing 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 DH 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 DH 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. DH was in front of me on his knees, I had my hands on his thighs - this was a really good position! I started pushing (TMI, and 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. DH went to get DS, who really wanted to see the cord. The placenta came uneventfully a few minutes later. No tears, feeling really well, actually.

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

Josiah Patrick Biddlecome born June 3, 2002 about 2:30pm 6lbs 15oz 19inches

My Dear baby BOY, Josiah Patrick Biddlecome, You were born Monday June 3rd, 2002, WOW! I thought something might be up when I was having contractions Sunday at church, I only had them at night before. Well, the water broke about 5:30am, I thought I had to go to the bathroom but I couldn't hold it, woke up and the water broke in the toilet, WHEW-
Then I called Daddy, My midwife (Sheri), and my Friend Jessica (who had previously homebirthed as was going to help Shery). I told Daddy that I would call him back but I forgot and went to take a bath. He got scared and called me, I didn't answer the phone so he called the neighbors. Barbara came cover while we waited for Daddy to get off work, contractions were about 10 minutes apart and 20-30 sec long.
Daddy got here later. In the mean time Barbara timed my contractions, and Al (her husband stopped by to make sure everything was ok). Daddy got here about an hour later. Barbara left and came back later. Daddy fixed himself some food and began washing dishes. Barbara came back over and washed the dishes, and timed my contractions which went from 6 min to 3 min apart, lasting about 60 sec each.
I had Daddy call Sheri again, but couldn't reach her. Jessica called and told Daddy she was coming. While I was in the bathroom for the "thousandth" time Sheri the midwife came. I laid on the bed and Daddy worked on helping to relax me, massaging my back and feet, and I tried to relax. We stayed that way for awhile until the contractions were stronger. Then Sheri checked me but had me wait to push because the cervix wasn't entirely over your head yed. This was about 11:30 or so. We eventually moved off the bed, I am not sure when it was. Sheri had brought a birthing stool. I sat on that and pushed with the contractions.
I would feel your head coming a little farther down after a few contractions and pushing. Soon I could feel your head right at the opening. This happened this way for awhile. I woudl break during the contractions and drink juice and water, and rock back and forth with my eyes closed, totally relaxed.
Sheri and Jessica went into the living room for awhile and Daddy stayed with us.
I then felt like I had to go to the bathroom, your head was very far down. Daddy helped me to the toilet. Sheri said I could use the restroom if I promised not to push, and if I "would stop pushing if "I felt the baby coming" I told her ok. And while I was there I felt you coming all of a sudden so I shouted “ The baby’s coming!”
I don’t remember moving but somehow Sheri and Daddy got me from the toilet to the birthing stool. “I don’t know if he is going to come now.” I said. I relaxed for a few seconds till another contraction. This time when I pushed there was great pressure and slight burning. Sheri said if I felt burning to stop so I would not tear. I pushed very hard and your head came out it felt very strange with part of you inside and part of you out. I was worried and said, “Is it out” “Is it ok” And Sheri said the head it’s out. Everything is fine.
I then pushed you out and you felt boney. Daddy caught you and Sheri suctioned you a bit because there was a little meconium staining. You cried out right away and I knew you were ok. They put you on my chest and I held you. I was glad to be done with that and be done being pregnant. I’m so glad to have you! I had a few small contractions then I pushed the placenta out. Daddy cut the umbilical cord. I then went and laid on the bed while Sheri checked me out. She told me I had toren, we didn’t know how bad till later. It is pretty bad, but I don’t want to go get stitches so I am going to let it heal normally on it’s own. It hurts to sit down. Later Daddy measured and weighed you and took pictures, and we called everyone.

*(Added)- I had a 2nd degree tear I think, But it healed just fine. Shery let the baby come without having me hold him there as I had been pushing so long. Looking back on it I pushed because I wanted to not because I felt I had to. Also all the pushing gave Josiah a huge cone head, which freaked hubby out, but he was fine!

Rivergallery's picture
Joined: 05/23/03
Posts: 1301

Rachel’s birth to
Isaac Wade Biddlecome
Born July 31st 9:40pm
7lbs 9oz
about 20inches

Water broke at 8:26 pm July 31st. Called Midwife Sheri and told her water broke, and that contractions were 10 min apart. She said to call back if anything changed. I told her that every time I talk to her something changes, and she said that she better stay by the phone then. I then called my parents and let them know my water broke, and then my neighbor Barbara to tell her that I might not need her to watch Josiah, she said to call if I needed her. She asked what Lloyd was doing, etc and I told her Lloyd didn’t know yet and was sleeping. She said I should probably wake him so he could call into work, I hadn’t thought of it, so I went into wake him. I said, My water just broke in the toliet, we’re having a baby, you need to get up and put the shower curtain on the bed. He said, ok and rolled over. I went to call Sheri back as my contractions were 3 min apart this was about 8:40, she said she was going to go to the bathroom and come on over. I then called Barbara back and asked if she would watch Isabelle (our dog) so that she wouldn’t bark and wake Josiah up (Our 13month old son). She said sure, so with a towel between my legs I took Isabelle outside and Barbara called her up there. I then went into the bedroom and Lloyd had turned out the light and put his earplug back in (that I had taken out), and was snoring. I woke him again and said, you better get up and get on some clothes Sheri is on her way. He said “What?” I said we’re having a baby get up. So he said, I better call Lynn who is the person at work. And he did, then went into the kitchen. I was then in the bathroom starting trying to stay on top of the contractions. I hollered for Lloyd to get the sheet on the bed. He had been in making coffee. I was so annoyed, I thought what is he doing! Anyway he finally go the shower curtain and sheet on the bed, and I went in there for a few min, trying to relax through the contractions. But it soon got too much and I hollered for Lloyd again, he came and I told him to get me up, he said how, I don’t want to hurt you I said Just lift me up. He had been trying to lift me with my hand, not pulling me up but having me help pull myself up. I then went back into the bathroom, and was in transition as contractions were right on top of each other. Lloyd was standing there and tried to be funny I told him to Shut up. He then left the bathroom and Sheri came in and asked where I was, I said I am so glad you’re here, I was very emotional at this point, but trying not to cry etc. She then asked if I was pushing and I had been, she said get off the toilet. And so Lloyd helped get me off and she cleaned up,I got to the edge of the bed before another contraction. I held onto the side of the bed, and she checked me after it stopped but couldn’t tell, she thought part of my body was the head, but it wasn’t so I checked myself, and told her, then I got up on the bed, and she tried but couldn’t tell as the cervix was way to the back. She said I could push and I did on my side for a min. But after that contraction I got up and onto the birthing stool. Sheri had Lloyd get towels, and he went in search of the nasal aspirator but I didn’t know where it was as I use it with Josiah sometimes, for squirting water, as we are potty training. When he went into Josiah’s room to look for it, it woke Josiah. So he brought Josiah into the bedroom where Sheri and I were. We told him the baby was coming he said yeah I know, but he didn’t realize it was right there. The baby was crowning right then. Sheri had me not push as he was coming so I would not tear, it worked great, NOT ONE TEAR! But it burned and was very hard not to push, his head came out after about two contractions of waiting not to push. Then they eased off a bit, and then one came and she said to push so I pushed and out he came. I sat there just holding the baby. I had Lloyd get me the phone and I called my parents and told them to come over. Another contraction came as I was on the phone, so I said ok gotta go by, and handed the phone to Lloyd who was also holding Josiah (we didn’t want him to get into the blood). and I pushed out the placenta. Sheri checked it and me and there was no tearing as far as she could tell. I said I feel like a bath, so She said well I could check you first or you could take a bath and put on a pad and I could check you then. I chose to take a bath first. Lloyd in the meantime had been playing with Josiah, but he did get to cut the cord, though he didn’t get to catch this baby born at 9:20pm yup only 1hour and 20min!!. And he called Barbara to come play with Josiah. After the bath Sheri checked me and said there were NO TEARS!, though I did have one hemorrhoid the size of a grape that and some swelling was it, so I climbed into bed and nursed the baby.

It wasn’t till August 2nd we decided on the name Isaac Wade Biddlecome.
Updated: Swelling was gone and hemorrhoid was gone after 3days!! I believe in ARNICA 

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Nolan Stewart
Dec 5, 2003 @ 1:43am
9lbs 14oz

I started having contractions on Monday, December 1. They were about 5 minutes apart the whole day and we were excited that it finally seemed to be “IT”. I was due November 23…so I was READY! The contractions slowed down in the evening so I went to bed and slept until about 8am the next day. As soon as I woke up the contractions started again: five minutes apart and lasting about 30 seconds.

I went to the midwife that morning and allowed the first cervical check: I was 4cm and 90% effaced…we expected me to go SOON and quickly. Hahaha. I had contractions all day long…easy ones though. My sister came over to hang out just in case. I took a bubble bath that night and the contractions slowed again so I went to bed.

I woke up Wednesday morning at 5am to some stronger contractions…still coming at 5 minutes apart. My mom came over that day so get things going…we went to the mall. We walked around the mall for about 3 hours…not buying anything…just walking in the warmth of the mall to get the contractions stronger. Then we came home and walked up and down the stairs of my eleven floor apartment building. The contractions got a little bit stronger…coming every five minutes and lasting about 30-45 seconds. Then, around 10pm they slowed down a little bit to allow me to sleep. I slept until about 4am then got up. I hung out with my mom until 10am when we woke Chris (my husband) up. We had plans to go out for lunch…hehehe, they fell through. Around 11am the contractions started getting REALLY strong. I needed to stop and breath through them instead of walking and talking.

I was supposed to go to a non-stress test and biophysical profile that morning but didn’t go because of the contractions. My midwife called and stressed that I should have gone but when she heard my voice during a contraction she changed her mind and decided to come over and check me.

The midwives arrived around noon. I laboured hard for the next four hours. I needed someone to hang off of during contractions…they were HARD contractions. But, I could get through them. I also made sure that I thanked everyone who volunteered their body for me to hang off of…I knew that it was hard work holding up all 195lbs of me! The best thing was when this one midwife (I had 4 there) pushed on my hips during a contraction!

At around 4:30pm we decided to check me again. I was 5cm and 100%. Not enough progress for my midwife so we decided to break my water. I crawled onto the bed made up for the birth in the spare room and they pulled out the hook used to break water. My mom sat on the bed at my head and they broke it. There was meconium in the very little fluid there. Immediately the midwives left the room to start making plans to move to the hospital. I felt so alone. This moment changed everything that I thought my birth was going to be and the left me alone, dripping amniotic fluid with my pants around my ankles. They didn’t explain the situation…they just left. Finally they came back and told me that we were abandoning a homebirth and moving to hospital. They said it wasn’t an emergency…just a precaution. I was fine then…we knew it was a possibility, especially since this was my first baby.

The car ride was the worst. I made Chris drive SO SLOW!!! Hahaha.
We got to the hospital and into the birthing room. The OB on staff (Dr. Fingers, I named him because he was a huge, black man with enormous fingers!) checked me and I was 7cm now. Too late for drugs. I didn’t want them anyway but it was nice to know they were an option!

They hooked me up to a monitor and started timing contractions. The monitor was really distracting…one of the student midwives would only look at the monitor and wasn’t supporting me, so my mom took me off the monitor and sat me in the bathroom (where the monitor couldn’t go). I laboured on the toilet for a couple of hours. I remember staring at the label on my moms overalls.

Finally, at 10pm on the Thursday I was complete: 10 cm and fully effaced. The baby was in a +2 station. PERFECT! I started pushing in a lying down position on the hospital bed. I PUSHED and PUSHED! I pushed for 3 hours. I changed positions to squatting and side-lying. Side-lying was my favourite. At that point the OB came back into the room (after the 2.5 hour mark the midwives needed an OB consult). Dr. Fingers said, “I’m just going to cut a small episiotomy.”

I YELLED, “NO EPISIOTOMY!!!!!!’.

Hahaha! He let me push for an other 15 minutes but the baby’s heartbeat was dropping. When the baby’s heartrate dropped below 50, Dr. Fingers told me he was going to cut me. He cut one episiotomy and I pushed for another few minutes but nothing happened. So, he cut ANOTHER. I pushed Nolan right out! It was 1:43am on Friday morning then.

There was a neonatal team there waiting for Nolan to be born because they knew that he would have swallowed some of the meconium in the fluid. They needed to make sure he was breathing properly. Dr. Fingers caught Nolan and was ready to hand him over to the team when my mom grabbed Nolan out of Dr. Fingers hands and put him on my tummy so I could see what I worked so hard for! He was beautiful! I don’t even remember his face…just that I got to announce for the first time that it was a boy!

They wisked him away and up to the NICU for suctioning and oxygen. Chris went with Nolan.

It took them 3 hours to fix me up. I had 3rd , almost 4th, degree tears. And I was hemorrhaging. I lost a ton of blood…they were considering a transfusion. They put me on a pitocin drip and gave me a shot of pitocin. They gave me two Tylenol 3’s, a foley catheter and a shot of demoral too. Yay! Drugs! This was worse pain than the labour!

I finally slept around 5:30am. I slept until the next morning. Then, I got to see Nolan around 6pm the next day. He was beautiful and so worth the work and pain.

There isn’t much that I would change about his birth. I had no drugs…that’s what I wanted. He was safe. And we got to attempt a homebirth. But, at the first warning sign we moved to hospital…it went perfectly as planned. I would plan a homebirth again for the next baby…but I would use different midwives.

Nolan was 9lbs 13oz and 22" when he was born.

I have to say though…the labour and delivery wasn’t the hardest part..in fact, it was fun.. The hardest part was not getting to see my baby so long after the birth and the 3 hours they took to stitch me up. That was more painful than my labour and delivery.

Ironically enough, I continued to hemorrhage so they thought that I’d retained a lobe of the placenta (one of the student midwives was checking the placenta but she mangled it so we couldn’t tell if it was all there). So, to determine whether or not there was a piece in there, they gave me an ultrasound. HAHAHA!!! I have my first ultrasound EVER the day after my baby was born. I thought it was funny.

We’re both doing great now! My poor perineum has healed nicely and my hemoglobin is back to normal.

Joined: 12/19/03
Posts: 3

Molly Anne's Birth (our triumphant HBAC)
August 31, 2004 - 8:13PM
7 lb 12 oz
20 3/4 in long

Labor began on August 31st at 3:00am when I woke up with contractions that I couldn't sleep through. I officially began clocking the contractions at 5:00am and that's the time we used as the "official" start of early labor.

According to the midwives' records active labor began at 10:00am. Up until that point we had been laboring downstairs (main floor of the house) but at that point they suggested we might want to go upstairs to the bedrooms (that's also where the bathroom is located).

I continued to labor for quite a few hours - spending nearly all of my time in the baby's room. Paul was my rock and I never would have been able to do it without him. Most of the contractions involved him supporting me - quite literally - as I worked through them.

At about 2pm I hit a point where I was so exhausted I didn't know if I could go on, but my midwife was fabulous and suggested that I try to move around more and she fed me some honey. I walked back and forth between the bathroom, my bedroom and the baby's room and did get another burst of energy.

At about 3:30pm my midwife offered to do an internal exam (the only internal done during the labor phase btw). I went ahead and let her. I was dilated to 7/8cm and about 90% effaced. That information helped really perk me up and, I believe, helped push me on toward stage 2.

At about 5:15pm my midwife sensed that I might be fearful on a subconscious level and suggested a homeopathic remedy. I don't recall what the extract was, but as soon as I took it I ended up getting the urge to push - the unofficial start of stage 2 and the delivery.

I continued to have very strong contractions and was now standing in my bedroom. During contractions I would hold onto my husband and began feeling the urge to bear down and push. This continued for about an hour when my midwife asked if I wanted the birthing stool brought in. Her assistant went to get it from the van and I changed positions and sat in the birthing stool.

During the very first contraction in the birthing stool my water broke (and squirted all over my DH) and at 6:30pm stage 2 officially began. My midwife allowed me to continue to labor in the birthing stool for a while, but noticed during one monitoring that the baby's heart tones were weakening during contractions. She decided to have me use the oxygen mask during contractions. That immediately gave me a burst of more energy and brought the baby's heartrate back up to about 120 during contractions.

At some point (and I don't recall exactly when) the midwives decided we weren't making adequate progress pushing in that position and they suggested we move to the McRobert's position. This involves the mother lying on her back with legs supported by labor assistants and pushed up and open (imagine a crab on its back). My midwife had a length of fabric and she held one end while I pulled the other during contractions. It helped me to gain more momentum with the pushes and allowed me to keep my body relaxed and only use the muscles I needed to push with.

Molly decided to be born with her right hand tucked next to her head. In retrospect we believe that's why stage 2 was so long. Once her head and hand were delivered the other hand and shoulder came out quickly. She quickly opened her eyes and stared directly at my husband! We have a fabulous photo of Molly alert and greeting the world with only her head, arms and torso delivered. She took a moment or two to finish the delivery and in the next contraction her hips loosened and she was born.

The midwives immediately placed her on me and we spent about an hour or so snuggling while I delivered the placenta and we waited for her umbilical cord to finish pulsing before it was cut.

Overall we labored for about 15 hours when you use the 5am starting point as Molly was officially born at 8:13pm.

I had three small tears - two internal and one external - that didn't require stitches.

It was hard work (that's why it's called labor) and not without significant pain, but it was the most exhilarting and empowering experience of my life. I didn't realize until it was over how much of my DS's birth experience had been missed.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852
The Birth Story of Olivia Anne Archer

The Birth Story of Olivia Anne Archer

I awoke on Thursday May 6, 2005 with mild contractions 8-10 minutes apart and about 45 sec. long. but kind of irregular. I woke up, took my shower, dressed, went grocery shopping and spent the day pre-cooking some meals. I had spoken with my midwife to plan our 40 week appointment and we decided since I had hardly slept in 4 nights between all the illness and rib pain that I'd take an Ambien to help me sleep. Kyle, my husband came home from work and we left to go down to the house we are selling to water the new sod. (this has become a nightly adventure) We headed home (1/2 hour drive) and my contractions had picked up to 5 minutes apart and were demanding a bit of attention. Kyle dropped me at home to crawl into the tub and ran to Walgreens to pick up the prescriptions. He called me from the pharmacy and told me they weren't called in. I called my midwife back and she had fallen asleep with her daughter and forgot - oops! So, I gave her an update and she said she'd call them in. Kyle came home in the mean time as the pharmacy was swamped. My midwife rang me back at about 8:00 and wanted to come over and check me out before I took anything. So she came at 9:00. She watched me labor in the tub. I would get the strangest picture in my mind each time a contraction came. It was a 40's gangster-type man in an old 4 door car driving down a long driveway, pulling around and then driving away again. Weird! I got out of the tub. We listened to the baby through several contraction and babe was responding well. She checked me and I was 90% effaced and 2cm dilated. We decided it was going to be a long night and that the baby would probably come sometime over the weekend - but that to take the Ambien anyway and get some good rest. So I ate something, took the tablet and she left. Kyle and I crawled in bed and I was in excruciating pain in the water bed - so we huddled up on the love seat and slept the night away upright in the living room. I awoke at least ever hour peeing and in significant pain. At about 5:00 am I couldn't take the pain anymore. So we went into the front room where the tub was and I got naked and got in it and hung over the side. The water was such a great relief. Kyle put my music on and lit some candles and I tried to zone out. He rubbed my hands and the back of my neck through the contractions. By 6:15 the spacing was getting tighter together and that car image was gone (I guess the driveway got too short ) The pain was getting worse and I asked Kyle to phone our massage therapist and ask her to come and help - so he did. I started feeling really grunty and an uncontrollable urge to push. I reached down to kind of check myself and felt something soft and squishy. i was worried - definitely NOT head, hands, or feet....and I thought Oh my GOD CORD! I told Kyle to call Cossette (our midwife). he did and she was on her way. Margaret, our massage therapist, arrived and helped Kyle work with me - trying to ease the discomfort. It seemed like forever for Cossette to arrive. I don't remember her coming in. I had my hand inside myself the whole time "feeling" what was going on. She was there and hadn't had a chance to check me when I said. Oh MY... not cord....water bag. It popped in my hand as I was pushing through a contraction. From the point on I was in a zone. I kept my hand there, checking myself continuously. I was on 1 knee and squatting with the other leg, kind of hanging over the edge of the tub. My midwife's assistant arrived - but i don't remember much of it. I felt the baby's head and told everybody and I just tried to focus. I felt the head do the back and forth dance as she made her way down, as I had my hand there the whole time. ( My midwife never did check me.) Then I felt her suck WAY back in and I thought to myself "shoot...now I've got to work her all the way back down again" I felt another pop and figured it was a second bag of waters. Finally the baby began to crown. When the head was half way out I remember saying "I'm on fire!" and I turned over into a crab kind of position. Kyle helped me float by holding me under my left arm and my massage therapist held me under my right. i don't remember anything said by anyone - just feeling like there were angels all around me. The head came out and I remember Cossette telling me to wait for my body to tell me when and how to push. Then I heard her say, "Erika, put your hands back down here and deliver your baby." There was one last push and I felt her shoulders come through and she slid into my hands. What a great feeling as she squishy out! I brought her up to my chest and her eyes were wide open and her face and body were real pink. I noticed her hair right away as I had been curious and thinking about that in early labor a lot. She had just a little hair that was very flat to her head. Cossette said she only had 3-4 inches of cord and she was concerned. They clamped the stump off and the two midwifes checked the baby real good. They were concerned she may be hemorrhaging from the cord and gave her some O2. ( but she was fine) Kyle went by the baby and stroked her and I talked to her from the tub. She was looking all around the whole time and tracking my voice. After she began breathing I asked Kyle..."so, is it a girl or a boy???" we still hadn't looked! He said "I don't know" I said, "well, look I can't see." He announced it was a girl and I immediately asked - "Does she look like an Olivia?" and he said "I think so!" Cossette asked me to check myself for any cord hanging. I felt around in the water and in me and could feel nothing and told her. They helped me out of the tub to the birthing stool. I delivered the placenta and got the shakes. We looked it over and it was all very healthy - but the total cord length was barely 12inches. (I guess the average cord length is 55cm) We figured it must have broken during the delivery and luckily both ends clotted up real well and neither one of us had any bleeding. I had one small stage 1 tear and she put in 2 stitches. I took a warm shower and crawled in bed to nurse the baby and we've been doing great since then! She was born at 8:10am My midwife was at the house till noon. She helped me with nursing and we did the baby exam. Olivia was 7lbs 12oz and 21 inches long. Her first apgar was a 7 and then the second one was a 9. She has no marks on her and started sucking her thumb right away. Cossette also did two loads of laundry before she left! Big yeah there! Kyle and I had lunch and I snoozled in bed with the baby. The tub guy came at 1:00 and cleaned the tub and took it away and the whole house was put back together by 2:00. Kyle had all this energy and he wanted to go cut our grass so he did that and I was calling people from bed. His family was here from out of state by dinner time and the rest is history. We lucked out. Olivia is a peach! She slept from 11:30 till 7:30 am the first night (I won't be able to get away with that once my milk comes) We've been nursing on demand or within 3 hours since then and my milk just came in today (day 4). We're working on positioning and my nipples are a bit sore - but no horrific problems yet! What an adventure. I'd do another homebirth in an instant. The idea of going to the hospital NEVER crossed my mind and I never asked for drugs. Although I would never do it without the deep tub or without all the mobility! The water was definitely my natural version of an epidural. I'll do it again in a heartbeat (but not just yet lol )))) I love my baby soooooooooo much. Thank you for all your support ladies!

http://www.pregnancy.org/photo/data/500/1293Olivia_smiles_day_2_web-med.jpg
http://www.pregnancy.org/photo/data/500/1293Kyle_Olivia_evening_of_her_birth_web-med.jpg

http://www.pregnancy.org/photo/data/500/1293Olivia_2_just_after_her_birth-med.jpg

http://www.pregnancy.org/photo/data/2/1293Olivia_5_web-med.jpg

*6 weeks postpartum*

My MW and I sat down and compared my birth story to the notes she took. Since she never checked me...she wrote down my statements as we went along and since I remember me and not anybody else present we could pretty accurately establish a time line. In retrospect when i felt Olivia suck way in and then the second pop...that was not a second bag of waters like I had assumed. That was the point where we ran out of cord and broke it on that next push. So we figured out that she was without the ambilical cord for a MINIMUM of 5 minutes and up to 12. Cosette my MW calls Olivia her Miracle baby. She's growing awesome and was 10lbs 8oz at 6 weeks! I thank God each day for giving me the strength to ask questions and make choices. Had i chosen to alter our birth in even the tiniest way, (being at the hospital, drugs, position, people, ect.) I could have ended up with a horendous story to be sharing. I wish more women would just ask WHY? and trust their gut!

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I know I haven't posted much here (OK, almost not at all!), but that was largely due to a (thankfully) uneventful pregnancy and then uncertainty as to whether we would birth at home. In the end, the baby decided for us...

Theo Stanley Donald Korchinski

Born at home, 10:25 p.m., May 11.
8 lbs. 14 oz.
21.75 inches long
14 inches head circumference
Duration of birth: 3.5 hours

His birth story:

We did the stereotypical thing and ordered an East Indian meal for dinner, but the curry wasn't very hot (I was too worried about heartburn). We followed up dinner with fresh strawberries and I had my first contraction then. Little thinking anything was imminent, I announced to the table that "something" was finally starting to happen...Well, that was an understatement; before an hour was up, the contractions were so strong they were on top of one another and I remember thinking, "How am I ever going to be able to handle 10 or 12 more hours of this? I had better get that epidural after all!" I told DH to put the car seat in the car and call the midwife. It took the MW a whole half-hour to respond to the page, with me occasionally shouting, "Where the hell is that woman??!" (so much for a serene home birth!). By the time she phoned us back, we had phoned two local hospitals (I was registered at both "just in case") and were making preparations to get in the car. When my midwife finally called, she persuaded me to wait 10 more minutes for her to arrive and check me - she reasoned that I could be 3 cm or I could be 9 cm, in which case she didn't want to have to go out and try to find me somewhere on the road! Well, the woman knew what she was talking about...10 minutes later I felt the most incredible overwhelming push (not urge to push, you understand, I felt like I had nothing to do with it, it just happened whether I wanted to or not!). First my hemorrhoids popped out :roll:, then I shouted at DH to take my pants off as my waters broke all over my Turkish rug :shock:, then another push and I jumped onto the bed on all fours making the most unearthly noises (like what I imagine a moose in heat might sound like, although I couldn't really say...). At this point, the midwife walked in. She was on her cell phone to her partner (there are supposed to be 2 MW's present by law), saying, "It's too late, don't bother coming, the baby is crowning!" Two more of those amazing full-body pushes and some bellowing from me and his head popped out. He had one hand up by his face, which slowed things down slightly, otherwise the midwife said she never would have made it in time. One more push for the rest of his body and suddenly there was a baby lying under me! The umbilical cord was really short (only about a foot long) so I was just stuck there until they could cut it. It was the most bizarre experience of my life and about a thousand times more amazing than my first birth, which was on my back in hospital with an epidural - not that I would have done that one without the meds, though; there is a world of difference between going through that kind of pain for 3.5 hours and having to endure 12 hours or more when your body has never done it before! I am just so glad I was able to experience birth again in a different way. It was amazingly stress-free recovery-wise, what with being at home amongst family and cuddling the baby the whole time. I was up and about the same night, and almost posted about it but thought that would be a little too obsessive and managed to wait until the next morning (the computer is beside the bed where I had the baby; DH joked that we could have had a web-cam for the May ladies!). Anyway, despite my trepidations and my desire for a little girl, I am relieved to say I am absolutely in love with my new baby boy...And now when I look at his big brother I think, "Who is that GIANT?!?" - even though he's only 22 months old! This time as little bundles really does fly by fast - enjoy every minute, all of you, and a very happy belated mother's day to all!

Joined: 06/25/06
Posts: 2

Birth Story of Isabella Marie, born 12-27-99 (my first HBAC)

(This is the orginal story I wrote down a week after her birth)

I'm not sure where Isabella's birth story begins. I'd been having contractions that started and stopped for about 10 days. The night of Christmas they woke me up around midnight. I couldn't sleep through them, so sometime after 2, I got up. I had a bite to eat, read a bit and was able to fall back asleep around 4. Another false start I figured.

We went to my dad's on the 26th. I had a few contractions there again, but nothing big or regular. I napped with Abigail when we got home. My midwife called and woke me. She was at the airport and leaving town due to a family crisis. If anything happened, I should call Helen (her partner) who, by the way, was at a birth.

After napping, I had this strange need to exchange the weird Christmas presents, so off we went. My contractions started becoming more regular, about 7 minutes apart, and it was more comfortable to stop at the peak. Since the contractions has started and stopped so many times already, I didn't really believe it was the real thing, but I did call Helen about 7:30 just to let her know what was happening. She was still at the birth and wasn't sure when she would be able to leave as it looked like that mom might need to transport. She apologized profusely, but said she would call another midwife, Edie, to be on call just in case. I'd heard glowing things about Edie and knew her apprentice, Cindy, through LLL, so I really didn't mind. I'd had a really good feeling about Edie when I was interviewing DEMs, so maybe she was meant to be my birth attendant.

I nursed Abigail to sleep and realized the contractions were now about 5 min apart and much stronger in my back. About 11, I knew this was real and felt it was time to call Edie. Luis was afraid the contractions would fizzle again and tried to convince me to wait, but I really felt it was time. Helen was still at the other birth, and Edie said she was on her way. We called my mom in case Abigail woke. Mom also doubted me (being called out twice before had something to do with that I think), but I told her the contractions were different and suggested she come then. Good thing she did because Abigail woke about 5 minutes after she got here.

The pain in my back was awful. I'd hurt my back 4 years ago and the one vertebrae that was never the same is the one with all the nerves going to the uterus. Edie had suggested kneeling on the bed with my upper body draped on the birth ball when we talked on the phone. That helped with Luis rubbing my back, but I was still moaning pretty loudly. I'm not one of those women who labor quietly! It's a good thing we warned the neighbors about the homebirth. I was also freezing! I made Luis turn the heat up as high as it could go in every room and still had to have a quilt wrapped around me or I was shaking.

Edie got here while I was in a contraction and the first thing I heard her say was "Things sound like they are much farther along then they did on the phone!". She and Luis brought all of her equipment in, and she called her apprentice, Cindy. Edie was fantastic. She is a very hands off midwife. No internals unless I wanted them, gentle suggestions about things to try, but quite relaxed. She truly believes that women's bodies are made for birth and we should just follow our natural instincts.

She told Luis to go ahead and fill up the wading pool if I wanted to try that, so he did. The warm water was heavenly on my back! It felt especially nice during contractions when someone poured warm water on my stomach. Abigail kept bringing me her duckies for my "bath" and really wanted to play in the water with mama. During a couple contractions, I felt this cool little hand on my forehead; she was brushing my hair back and leaning in close to make sure mama was okay. It was so sweet, something I will never forget. I get so teary eyed thinking about that now. I had a few doubts about having her at the birth (she was only 21 months), but I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do. She had a few hard times, partly because she wanted me and I was in my own world, and partly because it was the middle of the night and she'd had very little sleep.

The contractions were getting stronger, and I got up to go the bathroom, but couldn't of course. Things are blurry here because I kept dozing between contractions. Somehow I ended up back in bed on my hands and knees draped over the ball. Someone had to push in on my hips during every contractions. Poor Luis has tendonitis in both shoulders and it was flared up already. He was hurting so much, but he gave it his all. He would also put his head on my back while pushing my hips and the heat felt great. I should have asked for a heating pad there, but never thought of it at the time. I was living so completely in the moment that I couldn't step outside of the labor and think of these things. The contractions were getting stronger quickly and I was pushing a little without trying. Since it happened so quickly, Edie asked it she could check me for dilatation. That might also be because I said that if this isn't transition, I was in trouble. I said the internal was okay. She checked and I was only at about 6 cm, but she said that didn't mean I wasn't in transition.

I knew I needed to get back into the tub and the water helped immensely. Things became much more bearable and slowed down. I could hear Edie and Cindy talking in the kitchen and knew they would suggest changing my position to help in case baby was posterior. I didn't believe she was posterior, the pain was simply from my injury, but to play things safe I knew they'd suggest this. Cindy gently suggested it about 15 minutes later. I didn't want to, but I knew it was for the best, so I said I'd get out of the tub in a few contractions. I needed the break. I laid down on my side (kind of the Bradley position) and Cindy rubbed my back firmly during contractions. During the peaks I found myself talking to baby, telling her to turn, to come down and help mama out. I remember that I was calling baby "her" even though we had not had any testing done; I'd known in my heart all through the pregnancy that Isabella was girl, and in labor I simply spoke from my heart. Things slowed down here and I got some real rest between contractions. Afterwards, Cindy told me that is was odd the way things seemed to completely stall here, but in fact my body was finishing dilating and I went from approximately 6 cm to pushing within less than 90 minutes. She said it reminded her that every labor is different and you must trust in the power of the body. You can't tell what is going on inside and this was just the right thing for my body.

After a while, things got stronger again and Edie got back up from resting herself. I was pushing (beyond my control) during part of the contractions and at one point told them I really needed to poop. Edie asked if she could check me again then. She said it was no wonder I felt like I had to poop, baby's head was down to her first knuckle. Since I was in the bed without the waterproof layer, they suggested I move to the other bed. I did and got back into the same position. As the pushing urge hit, I didn't fight it, just did what my body told me to do. No one told me when to push or for how long. Eventually I was definitely pushing. I knew I should change positions (prone is not a good position to push in), but just couldn't bring myself to do so. I was so focused, so in the moment that I just couldn't get my body to move. Edie suggested the birth ball position again to help my back and because she finds moms tear the least on hands and knees. It was like all I needed was her suggestion to make myself move. I still needed the hands on my back during contractions, though not exactly for the pressure anymore. It was the heat that was so important. I also think that the physical connection to another woman was important. Birth is women's work and not something I believe we are meant to do alone. I'd had my confidence in my ability to give birth shaken when Abigail was cut out of my body. I needed the connection. I was also still falling asleep between contractions. Luis told me later about one contraction when Edie started to ask me a question after it ended. In the time it took her to take a breath and start talking, I had fallen completely asleep again. I could hear everything in the background, but it was as though nothing was real. Baby was really moving down and it was amazing the way the sensations changed as her head started emerging. There was stretching and burning, but nothing like what I had expected. We can try to capture the moment with phrases like "ring of fire", but they don't give this moment, with it's incredible sensations and feeling of power, justice. It's something you simply must live to understand. I was talking to her again, telling her to come down, come out and meet her mama. My moans at this point had changed to a completely primal call, one that I imagine every unmedicated birthing mother must make. It wasn't a shout, not a yell, not a moan, but a primitive, gutteral noise that came from deep within me. You know what I mean if you've made the same noise during birth.

Isabella was born at 6:40 am. She was nearly born in caul! I pushed for 1 hr 40 minutes and my entire active labor was about 7 hours. I had a small tear because I just couldn't stop pushing with the shoulders and caught Edie off guard with the compress (she thought I was done pushing with that contraction). No stitches as long as I promised to take it easy for a while and keep my legs together. Isabella's cord was very short, 18 inches, and I couldn't get her to the breast until they cut it after it stopped pulsating. She was wrapped into one of our green towels and I cradled my second daughter, the first baby I gave birth to, in my arms. It was amazing to stare at her sweet face, to touch her soft skin just seconds after she emerged from my body, while she stilled smelled like birth and her skin was still damp with amniotic fluid. After a couple minutes, we looked to see if we had a boy or girl and welcomed our Isabella Marie to our lives. Abigail was so exited and proud; she kept saying "Baby! Baby!". Isabella nursed after about half an hour and has been going strong since. She was 7 lb 14 oz and 19.5 inches. She has the greatest chubby cheeks, blue eyes and a fair amount of dark hair. My only regret is that I didn't reach down and touch her head while her body was still inside me. Edie suggested it, and while I wanted to, I simply couldn't get my body to move. I know that sounds very strange, but it's true.

Part of me can't believe I really did it. In fact the first thing I said to Isabella was "We did it, baby! We really did it!" I'm so glad I wasn't in a hospital. I was very loud and someone would have tried to shush me. Plus, with the horrible back pain it would have been hard to say no to drugs. I never even thought about this being a VBAC once labor began (it hit me a few hours after she was born that I finally had my VBAC), but a hospital would have considered me high risk. Homebirth rules! I just wanted to shout from the rooftops because I felt so great. There was no comparison to Abigail's c-section birth. This is the way birth is meant to be!

Joined: 06/25/06
Posts: 2

Birth Story of Vincent Anthony 9-8-02 (my second HBAC)

this is the original story I wrote down a few days after his birth

Saturday night, I was sleeping when I woke up a little with a funny feeling. I thought to myself "I wonder if my water broke?", but I wasn't leaking and I was too tired to get up and check. I was exactly 38 weeks, and I really didn’t think baby was coming for another week or so. A little after midnight, Isabella woke up for a drink of water. I was sitting on the girls' bed when I leaked a little, so I ran to the bathroom. Sure enough, my water was leaking slightly. I woke up Luis and shocked him with the news that I thought my water had broken. I went downstairs to call Edie, my midwife. She asked if I was having contractions. I said no, but then felt a small, mild one. She said her van was packed and ready, so I told her I'd call her back when I needed her. After I got off the phone, my waters gushed out.

I now had a moment of panic. My sister was supposed to be the support person for the girls, but she'd gone to visit friends 3 hours away and hadn't left a phone number. I tried calling my mom, but she didn't answer. I convinced Luis to go to my sister’s apartment and find her friend’s number in her address book. He finally did, but couldn’t find the number. So, at 1:15 am he picked up her phone and hit redial. Luckily, her friend was the last number she’d called. He got the phone number and came home so I could talk to her. She said she was awake enough to drive down, but I made her promise to take her time. My active labor with Isabella was about 7 hours, and I wasn’t even having what I’d consider real contractions yet.

Luis remade the bed with a waterproof layer and we lay back down. He fell asleep, but I couldn’t. I realized I was hungry, so I can downstairs to have water and a snack. I got online, emailed a few customers and surfed around. My contractions were still weak, and about 3, I went back up to lie down. Around 20 minutes later, Isabella woke up again, and Luis went to give her some more water. When he came back, I felt a need to call Edie over. I told her I was having contractions, they weren’t too strong yet, but I felt like it was time for her to come over. I then told Luis to go fill up the birth pool, and I went in to sit by the girls until Isabella fell back asleep. I was rocking on the birth ball through the contractions and realized they were becoming much stronger. Within 3 contractions, I went from breathing through them to sounding fairly loudly with them. I knew I needed to go downstairs, so I told Isabella that papa would be up with her soon and I went down.

Luis was working on filling the birth pool. The faucet adapter for the hose was not in the box with the rest of the things. He had to hold the hose onto the faucet until the pool was filled. He came over to apply counter pressure for me during one contraction, and it helped a little, but I needed the pool more. I moved to laboring on the toilet in the downstairs bathroom. Luis started to come over to apply counter pressure again, and apparently I ordered him to “Fill the pool!” in an unreal voice. Shortly after 4, I decided I needed to be in the water even if it wasn’t full. The contractions were very strong and close together. Some were double peaking too, which was overwhelming. I went over to the sitting room and got in to the pool. The water felt so wonderful! I then heard Isabella start crying upstairs, so I told Luis to go get her and bring her down to the sofa with her pillow and blanket. Poor Luis was running so hard trying to do everything! He brought Isabella down and Abigail followed. The girls sat on the sofa with big eyes watching me while Luis finished with the pool. They were actually quite helpful. Abigail got me a glass of water when I needed one and Isabella turned off one of the lights. I heard a car door slam, and I had Abigail look out the window to see who was here. It was Edie, so Abigail let her in.

The pool was finally at a good level, so Luis was able to come over too. I think Edie was a bit surprised at how fast things had progressed in the 45 minutes since I’d called her. My arms and legs were shaking and I felt myself start a little pushing at the end of the contractions. The rational side of my brain knew I was in transition. I told Edie I was pushing a little, and she replied that she thought I might be. She checked baby’s heart rate and then sat quietly next to the pool. The next few contractions were extremely intense and I really worked to get through them. I couldn’t get into the perfect position in the tub, so I had Luis sit behind me to support my shoulders so I could scootch up a few inches from the back of the tub. I wanted him to get a swimsuit and get in behind me, but I didn’t want him gone that long. I started really pushing and it felt so good. Luis told the girls to stay back during one push and I yelled at him when I was done. I didn’t care where they were, but I did not want any talking during contractions! Apparently Abigail was very interested, so Edie invited her over to watch. Abigail is very proud of that!

I felt baby’s head start to come out, but then it slid back in. I cried out to him “No, don’t go back!” With the next push, his head came out. It was incredible and I am in awe of my body and it’s instincts. I started out pushing strong, then stopped and worked his head out with a combination of panting and small grunty pushes. The small rational side of me was thinking it was so neat how my body knew to work his head out more slowly. I felt his head come out and then I felt him rotate. Oh my gosh! Talk about a neat feeling. I didn’t feel Isabella do this. Edie later said that he rotated so far he almost went posterior. Another contraction hit and I worked out his shoulders the same way as I did his head. Edie quietly told me to ease them out gently, but she didn’t need to because I was already doing that. One more contraction and baby was born. Edie scooped baby up and onto my chest, covering us with a towel. I relaxed slowly and snuggled him. I peeked to see if he was a boy or girl and told Luis my intuition was right again and we had a boy. Once again Luis picked his name, Vincent Anthony, by saying hello to him.

I looked at the girls to show them their brother and saw a great sight. Both of them were wearing earmuff style ear protectors! I had been sounding really loudly again this birth, so Luis had put them on the girls to muffle the noises for them. Edie’s assistant, Cindy, showed up a few minutes after Vincent was born. Curiously, when I had emailed her back in January, she mentioned she thought I’d have a fast labor and she might miss it. She supported my back while Luis took a few pictures. My sister then showed up, about 15 minutes after Vincent was born. The water was cooling down, so I got out and pushed out the placenta on the birth stool.

Vincent was 7 lbs 1 oz and 20.5” long. I really can’t believe how fast it all went. What I would consider active labor (the working part) was 1 hour 15 minutes. Pushing lasted 12 minutes, a big change from the 1 hour 40 minutes of pushing I had with Isabella. I felt great afterwards! Shortly before she left, Edie gave me a squeeze and said how proud she was of me. So many midwives she knows are nervous about taking VBAC clients, but she knows it the right thing to do. Funny, it never occurred to me that I’d had another HBAC until she mentioned it.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I had been having contractions for a few days beforehand. On August 7th I woke up at 4am with what I thought was gas (silly me!). Everytime I would fall back to sleep I would wake up ten minutes later with the cramps again. I finally woke Josh up and told him I was having really bad gas or something but I wasn't sure. He told me he needed to get ready for work so I said okay and tried going back to sleep. Once again I was awoken with the cramps. I realized that I was probably having contractions(duh!...lol).I called Josh back into the bedroom and he sat with me for a while. He decided to stay home from work. We went into the living room and sat in there talked, and breathed through the contractions until about 8:30am. Then my contractions just about went away and we went to sleep until 10am. Soon after being awake my contractions started up again. I put off calling my midwife for quite a while until the contractions started to come stronger and they were 5 to 8 minutes apart. I called my midwife at 12pm and she said to call back in an hour and let her know if they are still regular. My doula who I was meeting for the first time that day was due to arrive at our house at 3pm and she was in for a surprise because I was in labor! When I called my midwife back a little after 1pm she wanted to wait to see if the contractions were still regular during the meeting with the doula. They stayed strong and regular. I had to hold on to dh and breathe through them. The doula was awesome and she took charge right away. We realized we weren't completely prepared for the birth of the baby and we still needed to get a few things. So Alicia (my doula) made a list of things we still needed. I mentioned that I wanted to get a camcorder before the baby was born so that I could record the birth and now I wouldn't be able to. Alicia mentioned that she has a camcorder and she would go home and get it. That was so cool of her! We decided we need to take a trip to a couple of stores to pick up the things we needed (K-Mart and Kroger). It was hard going to the stores with my contractions coming stronger and more painful. But I made it through (I didn't feel like sitting at home). When I would have to stop in the store or parking lot to have a contraction, Nevin would hug me ask me if I was OK. He was so sweet and understanding. We met Alicia back at our house at about 4:30pm. I called my midwife back and she sent over her apprentice (Tracy) to stay with me and to see how I was progressing. She arrived around 5:30. My contractions were 5 minutes apart. Tracy felt to see where the baby was and his head was very low in my pelvis. Josh set the pool up while I chatted with Tracy and Alicia and ate a sandwich. My midwife (Merilynne) arrived around 8:30pm. Merilynne checked the baby's heartbeat. Afterwards, she talked with me and gave me encouragement. Around 9:30, Merilynne suggested that Josh and I go into the bedroom and lie down with the lights dimmed to help eliminate distractions and help labor progress. During this time, the 3 of them played board games with Nevin in the living room to occupy him. After lying down for awhile and my contractions getting stronger, I decided I wanted to get up and go back into the living room (between 10 and 10:30pm). We sat in the living room and talked while Alicia played with Nevin in his bedroom. My contractions were getting stronger and closer together but we had stopped timing them at this point. I decided to get into the pool. It was so comfy and warm. It was around 11:30pm and we decided it was time for Nevin to get some sleep and we would wake him up when the time came. After Josh tucked him in he got into the pool with me. By this time my contractions were getting unbearable. At some point during one of my trips to the bathroom, I noticed I was having a bloody show. And then my mucus plug came out! During this time the baby was very active which it surprised me. I got back into the pool and after awhile I decided to get out because I felt too hot. I got on my knees, leaned over the couch and buried my face in the cushions. Soon after I was out I decided I wasn't as comfortable as I was in the pool and got back in. The midwives and doula were putting cold washcloths on my head and neck to cool me down. The whole time I was in the pool I was in one position - on my knees with my arms on the edge of the pool with my head down (I stayed that way until the baby was delivered). I'm guessing my water broke in the pool or while delivering Kieran. Throughout this time my midwife was periodically checking the baby's heartbeat. About 1:30am I started to push. It was so unbelievably painful. We lost track of time during a lot of this but at some point I could feel the baby coming down and I felt a burning sensation. I was pushing and I yelled out "The baby is coming!". Right after I said that, Josh who was sitting behind me told the midwife he saw something and it looks like the head was crowning. At this point, Alicia set the camcorder down and ran to wake Nevin up so he would be able to see his brother being born. She brought Nevin out. He was so tired he couldn't wake up! She set him down on the couch. The baby's head came out and I felt a huge sense of relief. Things started to get a little crazy at this point. I wasn't sure what was going on at the time but Kieran's hand was up by his neck and his elbow was sticking straight out. Merilynne started yelling at me to "push push, harder harder". I started to worry about why she wanted me to get him out so fast. I was pushing as hard as I could and finally he was born Aug 8th at 2:09am. Marilynne told me to turn around to see my baby. I unhooked my bra and put Kieran on my chest. I couldn't believe how beautiful he was and I kept repeating "my baby, my baby". Josh and I were both in tears of joy. I was wondering where Nevin was and he was on the couch sleeping. So I said "Nevin, Nevin, come see your baby brother...he's here!". He got up and said "He is?" in a surprised tone (I don't know how he slept through all of that commotion). Nevin kept talking about how cute he was. Merilynne asked Josh if he could see any blood (because I hemmoraged with Nevin's birth). At first Josh said no, he didn't see any blood (the lights were very dim) then Merilynne saw some blood and said we needed to get me out of the pool immediatly. This is when all heck broke loose. Josh lifted me out of the pool while I was holding Kieran with his umbilical cord still attached. I walked over to the couch and layed down. I was bleeding tremendously. I was losing so much and Merilynne was pushing down on my uterus really hard. She told me the next day that her arms were sore from it. She told me to push really hard to get the placenta out to see if that was causing the bleeding. When she realized that it wasn't the placenta causing it, she gave me a shot of pitocin and clamped really hard on my uterus with her hands. I was losing a lot of blood so she told someone to call 911 and get an ambulance over here. During this time I was trying not to pass out. Merilynne and Josh were asking me all kinds of questions. Merilynne asked me if I knew what just happened and I told her "yes, I just had a baby". I started to pass out and Tracy started slapping me on the face and threw cold wash rags on me to keep me awake. Merilynne got my bleeding to slow down. The ambulance arrived. Merilynne told them I had lost about a liter of blood and told them my blood type thinking I would need a transfusion. I was naked when the ambulance arrived so Josh ran and grabbed a t-shirt and put it on me. The paramedics put an IV in my arm and did some other things...its alll a bit fuzzy.Then they lifted me up and put me on the stretcher. Poor Nevin was witnessing the whole thing and I can't imagine how scary it was for him. While I was on the stretcher I told Nevin not to worry and that I would be OK. Merilynne kept me telling me to tell my uterus to clamp down. Josh and Merilynne came with me to the hospital while Nevin and the baby stayed with Tracy and Alicia (that was the hardest part). My arms and legs were shaking uncontrollably. I felt like I drank a couple bottles of Nyquil and it was hard for me to stay awake. We got to the hospital and Josh went to fill out paperwork. They took me into a room and started and pushing on my stomach and all kinds of other crazy things that were really painful! I was begging them to stop and was trying to push the doctors hands off of me. They gave me an IV of pitocin and the doctor stitched up my perineum. I tore inside and out with second degree tearing. After all of that drama, they admitted me to the hospital and put me in a birthing room. My hemoglobin was very low and they weren't sure if they should give me a blood transfusion or not, which they ended up not doing. I was very sad through all of this because it all happened so fast, I didn't have my baby with me and I couldn't picture what he looked like since I didn't get a good chance to see him. I felt empty and wanted my baby with me. At 9am, Josh went home and brought the baby back to the hospital where we stayed for 2 days. I could go on and on but this story has to end somewhere LOL! Eventually I was discharged and put on bedrest for while.

The hospital gave us all kind of crap for having a homebirth and even sent a social worker in to talk to us. The staff at the hospital were very rude to our midwife and she said she had never been treated so badly. She ended up leaving shortly after I arrived at the hospital. I feel like my midwife, apprentice and doula did an awesome job with everything, supporting me during my labor, assuring Nevin I would be OK, and reacting fast to the situation. I'm happy that I'm alive and my baby is here and healthy. I'm surprised if you've made it this far and if you have thank you for reading my birth story.

Kieran weighed 5 lbs. 6 oz. and was 18 and quarter inches long.
I loved having a homebirth, it was wonderful! Just wish the other stuff didn't happen.

Joined: 07/16/06
Posts: 5

Hannah's Birth Story

What a marathon ride it was! I don't think that I really expected my labor to be as long as it was. It really taught me that there are no guarantees in life. We just have to adjust to what comes our way!

It had been a tremendously grueling pregnancy, that to boot, went all the way to 41 weeks 5 days. Sometimes I thought that I would lose my mind, but I had to remember that God was in control and that no woman was ever permanently pregnant!

Well, anyway, onto the birth story... I began having mild contractions on Saturday night. I had been through so many false alarms and false hope before that, that although I dared to hope that this might be the real thing, I was still skeptical, since the day before I had hours of contractions that quit on me.

Well, my husband and I timed the contractions for a couple of hours and then decided to try to get some sleep. Little did we know that it would be the only sleep we would get for awhile! I was woken up from sleep a few times by contractions but they were not severe so I was able to get a few hours of rest.

Sunday morning, the contractions started up again. By noon they were 60 seconds long and 10-12 minutes apart. I called my midwife and updated her. She said that that sounded like early first stage labor and to keep her posted. By 5:00 PM, they were 6-7 mintues apart. Then they stalled for hours and stayed that far apart. Well, by 2:00 Monday morning, they had picked up to 70 seconds long and 4 minutes apart. So Tim called our midwife and she said that she would be coming on over.

She checked me at 3:30 and found that I was 5 centimeters dilated. I was elated. Halfway there! We continued laboring. The contractions were strong and very painful. I had to remind myself to breathe through each one of them. Our midwife was wonderful and extremely helpful--she was great at reminding me to eat and drink, to get in the bathtub, etc. She also assisted with massage and anything else that needed to be done.

By morning, our contractions were stalling again. So my midwife made me breakfast and said that after I ate breakfast she wanted me to take a walk outside. I said, "You're serious, right?" I mean, by this point, the contractions felt like I was being hit by a freight train. I could hardly imagine walking across my living room, let alone walking outside. She said, "Yes, I'm serious." I said, "Okay, I'll try." I managed to swallow a few bites of the breakfast she had made me and then got dressed and walked with my husband outside. The walking really helped the contractions to get closer together. I mean, we would be walking and I would literally fall on my side into our lawn and have the contraction laying on the lawn. They were far too strong to stay standing up. They got closer to two minutes apart, so I was walking for a few seconds and falling down into the dew soaked grass for 90 seconds.

Transition was one of the most excruciating parts of labor and delivery. However, in a couple of short hours of these contractions, I suddenly noticed that there was a lull in the action and that I actually was resting. I asked my midwife and she said that she would check my dilation. She checked and I was at 10 cm! Also the bag of waters was bulging low.

I tried pushing for awhile and pushing in the tub, and soon felt frustrated and discouraged. My water spontaneously broke while I was pushing in the bathtub. Then my midwife called me over to the birthing stool for a check and let me do some checking myself. I reached up and felt the baby's head! My pushing hadn't been wasted effort. The head was almost down to my perineum. Even though the pressure in my lower body was nearly unbearable, all of a sudden, I had new motivation. I realized that soon I could be holding my baby!

We tried different pushing positions and I soon realized that my original plan of using a squatting position wasn't going to work well, as squatting tended to bring more pain to my already sleep deprived and worn out body. So my main position for pushing was a sitting squat. My midwife was great at coaching on when to push and how to push. In not too long, I saw the baby's head at the perineum! We continued pushing, being careful to gradually stretch the tissue to prevent tearing. I would give a few pushes, take a few breaths, etc. She also applied oil and hot compresses to my perineum to increase elasticity and avoid tearing.

When
baby crowned, she probably stayed crowned for 5-10 minutes before I pushed her out. The midwife gave me instructions on how to push. She said, "Now just give a few gentle little pushes to get her head out. So I did and her head came out. The midwife very gently worked her shoulders out and the rest of her body slide out after it. We were so elated that we were crying tears of joy as we looked at our beautiful baby. Then the midwife said to me, "Ruth I don't think that you tore at all." Sure enough, after the birth, on examination, there were no tears. Tears were something that I was paranoid of, so I was glad to hear that.

After the birth while holding Hannah in my arms, I still felt discomfort in my uterus and so upon the instructions of my midwife, I pushed and out came the placenta. It was a lot easier to push out than my baby, since it didn't have bones!

Ah, sweet relief! Hannah nursed peacefully for a number of minutes after the birth. One of the sweetest things though was seeing how she recognized her daddy. Tim had read to her often during pregnancy and talked to her, and you could tell that she knew and trusted him.

Afterward, the midwife commented that Hannah looked good sized and placed her on the scale. She weighed in at 8 lbs, 13 oz. So she was a big kiddo.

Even though our birth was long and exhausting, as we looked at our baby daughter, all of a sudden we had memory loss over the hard contractions and lack of sleep, as well as all of our worry because of her being 12 days overdue. It was all SO worth it!

ErikaArcher's picture
Joined: 09/06/04
Posts: 379

The Birth Story of Olivia Anne Archer

I awoke on Thursday May 6, 2005 with mild contractions 8-10 minutes apart and about 45 sec. long. but kind of irregular. I woke up, took my shower, dressed, went grocery shopping and spent the day pre-cooking some meals. I had spoken with my midwife to plan our 40 week appointment and we decided since I had hardly slept in 4 nights between all the illness and rib pain that I'd take an Ambien to help me sleep. Kyle, my husband came home from work and we left to go down to the house we are selling to water the new sod. (this has become a nightly adventure) We headed home (1/2 hour drive) and my contractions had picked up to 5 minutes apart and were demanding a bit of attention. Kyle dropped me at home to crawl into the tub and ran to Walgreens to pick up the prescriptions. He called me from the pharmacy and told me they weren't called in. I called my midwife back and she had fallen asleep with her daughter and forgot - oops! So, I gave her an update and she said she'd call them in. Kyle came home in the mean time as the pharmacy was swamped. My midwife rang me back at about 8:00 and wanted to come over and check me out before I took anything. So she came at 9:00. She watched me labor in the tub. I would get the strangest picture in my mind each time a contraction came. It was a 40's gangster-type man in an old 4 door car driving down a long driveway, pulling around and then driving away again. Weird! I got out of the tub. We listened to the baby through several contraction and babe was responding well. She checked me and I was 90% effaced and 2cm dilated. We decided it was going to be a long night and that the baby would probably come sometime over the weekend - but that to take the Ambien anyway and get some good rest. So I ate something, took the tablet and she left. Kyle and I crawled in bed and I was in excruciating pain in the water bed - so we huddled up on the love seat and slept the night away upright in the living room. I awoke at least ever hour peeing and in significant pain. At about 5:00 am I couldn't take the pain anymore. So we went into the front room where the tub was and I got naked and got in it and hung over the side. The water was such a great relief. Kyle put my music on and lit some candles and I tried to zone out. He rubbed my hands and the back of my neck through the contractions. By 6:15 the spacing was getting tighter together and that car image was gone (I guess the driveway got too short ) The pain was getting worse and I asked Kyle to phone our massage therapist and ask her to come and help - so he did. I started feeling really grunty and an uncontrollable urge to push. I reached down to kind of check myself and felt something soft and squishy. i was worried - definitely NOT head, hands, or feet....and I thought Oh my GOD CORD! I told Kyle to call Cossette (our midwife). he did and she was on her way. Margaret, our massage therapist, arrived and helped Kyle work with me - trying to ease the discomfort. It seemed like forever for Cossette to arrive. I don't remember her coming in. I had my hand inside myself the whole time "feeling" what was going on. She was there and hadn't had a chance to check me when I said. Oh MY... not cord....water bag. It popped in my hand as I was pushing through a contraction. From the point on I was in a zone. I kept my hand there, checking myself continuously. I was on 1 knee and squatting with the other leg, kind of hanging over the edge of the tub. My midwife's assistant arrived - but i don't remember much of it. I felt the baby's head and told everybody and I just tried to focus. I felt the head do the back and forth dance as she made her way down, as I had my hand there the whole time. ( My midwife never did check me.) Then I felt her suck WAY back in and I thought to myself "shoot...now I've got to work her all the way back down again" I felt another pop and figured it was a second bag of waters. Finally the baby began to crown. When the head was half way out I remember saying "I'm on fire!" and I turned over into a crab kind of position. Kyle helped me float by holding me under my left arm and my massage therapist held me under my right. i don't remember anything said by anyone - just feeling like there were angels all around me. The head came out and I remember Cossette telling me to wait for my body to tell me when and how to push. Then I heard her say, "Erika, put your hands back down here and deliver your baby." There was one last push and I felt her shoulders come through and she slid into my hands. What a great feeling as she squishy out! I brought her up to my chest and her eyes were wide open and her face and body were real pink. I noticed her hair right away as I had been curious and thinking about that in early labor a lot. She had just a little hair that was very flat to her head. Cossette said she only had 3-4 inches of cord and she was concerned. They clamped the stump off and the two midwifes checked the baby real good. They were concerned she may be hemorrhaging from the cord and gave her some O2. ( but she was fine) Kyle went by the baby and stroked her and I talked to her from the tub. She was looking all around the whole time and tracking my voice. After she began breathing I asked Kyle..."so, is it a girl or a boy???" we still hadn't looked! He said "I don't know" I said, "well, look I can't see." He announced it was a girl and I immediately asked - "Does she look like an Olivia?" and he said "I think so!" Cossette asked me to check myself for any cord hanging. I felt around in the water and in me and could feel nothing and told her. They helped me out of the tub to the birthing stool. I delivered the placenta and got the shakes. We looked it over and it was all very healthy - but the total cord length was barely 12inches. (I guess the average cord length is 55cm) We figured it must have broken during the delivery and luckily both ends clotted up real well and neither one of us had any bleeding. I had one small stage 1 tear and she put in 2 stitches. I took a warm shower and crawled in bed to nurse the baby and we've been doing great since then! She was born at 8:10am My midwife was at the house till noon. She helped me with nursing and we did the baby exam. Olivia was 7lbs 12oz and 21 inches long. Her first apgar was a 7 and then the second one was a 9. She has no marks on her and started sucking her thumb right away. Cossette also did two loads of laundry before she left! Big yeah there! Kyle and I had lunch and I snoozled in bed with the baby. The tub guy came at 1:00 and cleaned the tub and took it away and the whole house was put back together by 2:00. Kyle had all this energy and he wanted to go cut our grass so he did that and I was calling people from bed. His family was here from out of state by dinner time and the rest is history. We lucked out. Olivia is a peach! She slept from 11:30 till 7:30 am the first night (I won't be doing that again) We've been nursing on demand or within 3 hours since then and my milk just came in today (day 4). We're working on positioning and my nipples are a bit sore - but no horrific problems yet! What an adventure. I'd do another homebirth in an instant. The idea of going to the hospital NEVER crossed my mind and I never asked for drugs. I LOVED the deep tub! The water was definitely my natural version of an epidural. I'll do it again in a heartbeat (but not just yet lol ))))

*6 weeks postpartum*

My MW and I sat down and compared my birth story to the notes she took. Since she never checked me...she wrote down my statements as we went along and since I remember me and not anybody else present we could pretty accurately establish a time line. In retrospect when i felt Olivia suck way in and then the second pop...that was not a second bag of waters like I had assumed. That was the point where we ran out of cord and broke it on that next push. So we figured out that she was without the ambilical cord for a MINIMUM of 5 minutes and up to 12. Cosette my MW calls Olivia her Miracle baby. She's growing awesome and was 10lbs 8oz at 6 weeks! I thank God each day for giving me the strength to ask questions and make choices. Had i chosen to alter our birth in even the tiniest way, (being at the hospital, drugs, position, people, ect.) I could have ended up with a horendous story to be sharing. I wish more women would just ask WHY? and trust their gut!

Sarah-Jean's picture
Joined: 10/25/01
Posts: 1335

Bit late, but here goes!

Birth Story for Ashton Spencer

I had been having contractions every 10minutes apart for about the last week or so and had just reached the stage of believing I'd never go into labour or give birth! My EDD was Christmas Day and I woke up that morning feeling a bit strange but unable to put down exactly what it was that was wrong, if anything, so ignored it.

During the day my contractions started to change and spaced out a bit further apart. So although they were more painful then before because they were around 20minutes apart I thought nothing of it and just got on with things.

By the time it got to mid-afternoon I was really tired and tried to get some sleep in but kept waking up due to stomach cramps... But again, because I'd been in pain for so long I thought nothing of it and carried on as normal.

We went to bed and watched some TV later in the evening and by 10pm I knew something was a bit off, but still didn't figure out it was the early stages of labour starting. At around 11pm I asked Martin to turn the film we were watching off (Star Wars 3) and run me a bath, and I warned him to start blowing up the birth pool as I thought I'd be going into labour soon and we didn't have a pump so Martin had to blow it up manually and I thought if he started then, then he could finish it when I went into real labour (which I thought would be several days away)...

I sat in the bath for awhile, getting more and more irritated by Martin, who was popping in every few minutes to ask me if I'd had anymore pain. By this time the contractions were coming every 6-10minutes apart and were getting more and more painful. I was having to grip the bath handles and breath through them and could see the visible signs of contractions happening when looking at my stomach.

Still I was in denial and refused to admit I was probably in labour and refused to let Martin call anyone about it as I was convinced that it'd just be a repeat of the midwives visit from a couple of nights before, where I was told despite the pain nothing was happening.

Then it all goes a bit fuzzy and I just remember Martin coming in every minute or so, looking at me, then his watch and going back out. At some point around this time he called the Labour Ward without my knowledge... I think it was possibly around 12:30pm-ish. He came up and told me what he'd done so I huffed and puffed my way angrily out of the bath to go downstairs as he said the Community Midwife would call us back.

She did, sounding very sleepy, and asked how I was, I told her I was having some pain but wasn't really convinced anything was happening and was probably just wasting her time. She said she'd get dressed straight away and come over but could she get a cup of coffee first... At which point I had another contraction and she told me to tell Martin to put the coffee on at our house!

I phoned my Mum and warned her I had the midwife coming over, but again said nothing would come of it but just thought I'd let her know just incase. Martin called his parents and made me quite angry cos he said he thought they should get up and dressed and ready to come over. Around this point I started feeling pushy and went to the loo... The midwife arrived whilst I was in there and asked Martin to help her get the Entonox into the house along with all the resus stuff. This also annoyed me but I didn't say anything.

She asked me to lie on the sofa and felt my stomach and told me I was definitely having VERY strong contractions and she needed to do an internal examination, which I consented too mainly cos I thought she'd do it and then go home as it'd be the same as before and show that nothing was happening.

She did a REALLY quick exam, (never had one so quick) and asked to use the phone. I asked her if there was a problem and she just said no, that she needed to call for a second midwife right now. Martin asked her if that meant I was really in labour and her words were “She's 9cm dialated and the only thing keeping baby in is the fact her membranes are still intact!”.

She called the second midwife out, I called my Mum, Martin called his... Then I just remember relaxing on the sofa and suddenly the pain didn't seem so bad. The midwife gave me some entonox which was a relief and took ALL the pain away (seriousely) and Martin put the birth pool down and started filling it with a bucket even though we didn't think we'd get to use it. This was about 1am on Boxing Day and whilst Martin was frantically filling the birth pool with a bucket, the midwife was setting up the baby resus area “just incase” and I was joking about how my kids keep coming later and later. (DS1 born at 28weeks, DS2 born a few days before his EDD, DS3 born on his EDD and DS4 born 1 day late!).

I can't really remember much of what happened, but the second midwife arrived and then my Mum, and Martin was still filling the birth pool with a bucket!!! At some point I told the midwives that I refused to have the baby before the MIL got there, as I was really beginning to feel like I could push him out if I wanted too. And I refused to get in the birth pool despite it being ready for me... I also remember panicking saying I hadn't realised I'd have to be naked in front of everyone and someone went and got me a shirt to wear!

As I was putting it on I had another contraction which felt really different and the midwife, who'd had her and on my stomach confirmed that he had turned his whole body and dropped down... It was a surreal feeling as I've never felt any control or any difference during my labours before.

I was finally convinced to get into the birth pool around 2am. I can't say I felt any real benefit from it as although it was all upto temperature it still felt cold and as I wasn't having any contractions or real pain at the time, I just felt wet and cold! At this point the midwife said that my next contraction would probably break my waters and he'd be born.

FINALLY at about 2:10am, the MIL got there and shortly after she'd settled in and introduced herself I had a massive contraction and my water popped and I could feel his head at the top of what I guess must have been the birth canal?

I had another contraction and began to panic as my SPD was preventing me from spreading my legs far apart and so I thought I wouldn't be able to push him out... Then as that one faded off I realised I'd have to put up with the pain in my hips if I wanted to get him out smoothly. At this point there was a midwife on either side of the birth pool, and I had my back to everyone else who were all standing quietly behind me.

At the next contraction I started pushing properly and got the top of his head out. When the contraction faded off I panted the rest of his head out, although I've got to admit the pain was so horrendousely horrible, worse then ever before, that I did end up screaming (although not too loudly!) through it.

Everyone was really quiet I think, which was fantastic for me as I completely forgot they were all there and for a couple of minutes I just washed his hair and refused to push the rest of his body out until I'd finished and his hair was clean! After I'd finished that, I started pushing again and felt his body twisting inside of me before finally sliding out into my hands. I held him under the water for a few seconds before bringing him up and giving him his first cuddle!

Magical! I can't describe the feeling of delivering my own baby... It was better then I'd ever imagined it would be!

We waited for the cord to stop pulsating before cutting it, and noticing there was what is called a true knot... I asked if this could have been a problem but they refused to answer just saying that it hadn't turned out to be so it was nothing to be concerned about.

I got out of the pool to deliver the placenta, which didn't come away complete but they wrote in my notes that it had... Grrrr... She got the main part out, then needed to pull out another bit and said it was all out, but after they'd gone I delivered some more. Also the amniotic sac was described as “ragged”.

All in all I feel really good about my birth experience, despite the fact it was far more painful during the birth then ever before... He breastfed straight away really well, is a really quiet baby and really easy to care for, so I feel really lucky! And despite all my reservations during my pregnancy that I'd never love him, it's been love at first sight and I can't bear to be parted from him!

The official stuff says my;

First stage was 4hours 20mins
Second stage was 3mins
Third stage was 8mins
Membranes to delivery was 3mins

Apgars were 9 at 1 minute and 10 at 5 minutes

Ashton Spencer Hosier
Born 26th December 2005 at 2:23am
Weighing 7lbs 9oz

ErikaArcher's picture
Joined: 09/06/04
Posts: 379

(Twin, Waterbirth at home)

The Birth of Miriam and Chloe

Sunday January 7th a day of wonder and curiosity.

I had the dates of the 7th and the 9th in my brain for weeks. Kyle would ask me; "So which is it?" And I would reply; "well, I'm not sure I just know something is happening around those dates." The morning of the 7th my girlfriend Jessica came over and did a belly cast with me. The plaster felt good and cooling on my body and the cast came out perfectly. We joked as she arranged the strips that she would probably have to drive all the way back down to my house that evening to have the babies. Self prophecy? Kyle made arrangement earlier in the week to attend a business dinner being hosted at a new Bonefish restaurant. It was VIP night before opening to the public the next day. The plan was to get a nap in (as I only slept 73 minutes the night before), do a prenatal visit in the afternoon, and then attend a fabulous dinner. So, that's exactly what we did. The prenatal went well. My blood pressure was 102/78, no protein in the urine, no swelling concerns, fundus was measuring 48 weeks and I was dilated to 3+ and 70% effaced. We went upstairs and dressed up and headed out for a great dinner. The restaurant was about 40 minutes away and by the time we arrived I was feeling contractions every 10-15 minutes. Dinner was marvelous. Kyle was invited by a rep. from work and another fellow and his wife (who was 35 wks pregnant) were in our dinner party as well. We joked all night as Kyle kept checking his watch to time contractions that we were going to have a great meal and go home and have the babies. Of course I was looking WAY preggo and the restaurant staff was asking questions and making jokes as well. At the end of the meal I was having a lot of trouble sitting still. Our hosts invited us out afterwards for dessert and coffee, but I told Kyle I thought we should head home as things were really moving along. The people we were with were shocked. They thought we had been joking all night about having the babies that night! We drove home.

Once home we told Gail things were rolling along. We took a few pictures before we changed clothes. Gail came upstairs and checked me, I was 5+ and we listened to the girls' heartbeats. They were perfect 146 and 153. Things were moving along. Gail called Diana and told her to take her time - but to head out. She had a 2 hour drive from Fairfield. I called Jessica, Betsy, Jessica F. and Cossette to tell them things were happening and to be ready for a call later, but not to jump in the car yet. The contractions were coming 5 minutes and less apart and lasting 45+sec but I was getting a headache. (probably from the glass of wine I had through dinner) I wandered around the kitchen on the phone and checked my email. It felt better to keep busy and moving. We were joking in the kitchen about the woman on TV that are yelling "give me the epidural" at 5 cm. Then I was feeling like I needed a task and Kyle got this crazy idea to make homemade cinnamon rolls. HA! So we went upstairs to put some real clothes on and we were going to run to the store to get buttermilk. Doesn't every pregnant woman in labor go to the store to come home and bake? Well, I got clothes on and then the tub started calling to me. I decided I was in the mood to eat cinnamon rolls but not clean up the kitchen. So I stripped down and crawled in the tub for awhile. I was feeling really good and zoning out but my head was really starting to pound. Gail came in to take heart tones and chart and I was finding it very intrusive. She kept flicking on the lights and making too much chit chat about it all. I was getting irritated with it. Diana arrived and I could hear them talking down stairs. I was glad she arrived and hoped she would balance out Gail's energy with some peaceful calmness. At the next charting time they both came up. Gail flicked on all the lights and I asked her to turn them off. Her reply was, "well then I can't see my chart." I replied, "I don't care about your chart." I mean really it's just two heart rates to remember! At 1:30 I had them check me again and I was 7+ I was starting to feel like I was in labor-land. My headache had progressed to a migraine at this point and I was getting tired feeling. I hadn't slept more than an hour and a half the night before. Jessica and Cossette arrived sometime while I was still in the tub. I had to go to the bathroom, so when I was done I decided to try side lying on the edge of the bed. The contractions were more intense but I was able to work through them nicely and the warm blanket felt really good. Kyle sat in front of me on the birthing ball and helped me work things through as needed. My mind was wandering a lot in between contractions. I was irritated with the charting and still struggling with people interrupting my space. I didn't like hearing them whisper talk around me, and I kept getting this sinking feeling that I shouldn't be on my side. I was feeling very negative and I knew I needed to change the energy, but I was busy dealing with a migraine and contractions. Kyle was awesome. He kept giving me liquids to drink, got me ice packs for my head, and rubbed my hands and back as needed. He tells me after the fact that he felt very unsupported b/c nobody else was helping him with me, even when he asked for assistance. I kept asking him, "Is it Ok for me to be on my side?" I think I asked him at least 4 times and I also asked Diana and Gail when they came to check on me. Everyone reassured me that it was fine and that lots of woman birth on their sides. But I continued to have a bad feeling about it and thoughts of hospital transfer kept coming into my mind. I kept shoving the thoughts aside and trying to trust in my body and "set my mind free" I labored on my side from about 2:30 till about 5. Sometime around 5:30 I heard Olivia rustle and start to wake. I had Kyle call my friend Jessica F. and she came to the house in case Olivia was to awaken. Then we decided to try a change of position. I got on the birth ball and Kyle sat in front of me to hold me up. The contractions were intense and very painful through my back. With my belly being so huge, Kyle couldn't reach my back and I wasn't coherent enough to not have someone in front of me. (the bed and tub were both the wrong height and we couldn't get anything else to work) Nobody helped Kyle with me. He went over and asked for help several times. (The other three MW's were asleep on the floor) Finally Cossette came and sat behind me to rub my back and it felt sooooo good. We talked about this later. Cossette felt very awkward b/c technically she wasn't "really" there and it should have been one of the other three birth attendants helping Kyle. She told me after the birth she felt we were very abandoned during the labor process. Regardless, I am thankful she stepped in to help. We labored like this for 2 hours. I was exhausted and a crying mess - my head was still pounding and I continued to have a very uneasy feeling about things. I was having contractions about every 1-3 minutes and lasting about a minute, but I wasn't getting the increasing downward pressure feeling I had remembered with Olivia. I took a break to go and sit on the toilet. It was now about 7am. Jessica and Cossette had gone downstairs. I was back sitting on the birthing ball in our sitting room and I remember feeling like things had slowed down. Kyle left me to go check on everything downstairs and find out what was up with Jessica and Cossette. This is when Gail and Diana came over and approached me with "two choices." I remember feeling kind of hazy and thinking to myself that it was awkward that they would come and talk with me and ask me to make a decision without Kyle there....and even more so that they waited till everyone left. They told me they thought I had two choices: 1. try a manual dilation 2. Break the bag of water on the first baby. For some reason this all didn’t sit well with me. i had a lot of distrust that either of these were a good choice. I could feel the slippery slope and sensed that breaking the bag of water might send us on a spiral towards the hospital or maybe even worse. I was very uncomfortable that they waited till everyone left. Kyle came back upstairs. He told me that Cossette though I should get in the tub. This seemed to make sense. I had tried all these other things and still hadn't done what always feels right to me (squatting in the tub and relaxing to my music). So I stripped back down and got in. The water felt soooooooo good. I was whispering so Gail and Diana couldn’t hear me to tell Kyle the "choices" they had just presented me with. Kyle said, "What are you going to do?" and I replied, "I don’t know that I trust either." I asked me to go back downstairs and talk with Cossette and Jessica about this and see what they think. He left and I sunk into the tub and thought to myself. "darn it...I'm stalling out" my contractions were fizzling out.

Kyle came back up and I told him I was slowing down. He helped me out of the tub. I dressed up warm and went downstairs. Kyle and I bundled up and went outside for some fresh air. We tried to take a walk - but it was very cold and my ears, feet and hands were going numb. I did ballet squats with the contractions and they picked up - but still no intense pressure. We turned around and came back inside and everyone took a break to eat breakfast. I was trying to gather facts from all the people, still harboring a lot of distrust in the choices I was given. We all sat together and at 8:00 decided we'd go upstairs do a vaginal check, see where I was, where the babies were and probably break the water on the first baby. Olivia was starting to wake and I wanted to get back upstairs and out of site before she saw Kyle or me. Up the stairs we went. I lied down on the floor between the tub and the fish tank, on my back. Kyle was to my right. Gail did the exam and said I was still 7+/8 and my heart sank - I KNEW all the side lying wasn't a good thing and that my gut was right, things weren't going good. This next chunk is hard for me to write. Much of it I didn't understand until after the birth. Gail didn't give me anymore information. She kept her hand inside of me and was moving a lot. It was terribly painful. I tried to zone out and focus on my music. I did well with it for awhile but then it started to seem like a long time. I started to loose it and was not coping well with the pain. I kept asking to get off my back, She did break the water and I asked if it was clear - eventually she told me it was. (She didn't break the water until about 10 minutes into this) I kept asking for a break, to get off my back, to get in the water. I wasn't getting answers. Kyle was holding my hand to my right and Cossette got down and took my hand to my left. I was sure I was breaking their hands. My mind was wandering into some very dark places. I didn't understand what was happening or what was taking so long, or how much longer. The room was spinning and I was being told to push - but had no urge to push. I remember thinking "Am I even doing this right?" "Am I even pushing?" I remember hands all over my belly and so much pain. I was screaming in pain and begging to get off my back and I felt very helpless. I heard Kyle telling me I was doing well, that I was amazing. He tried to comfort me and reassure me. The pain was awful and my mind drifted to stories from WWII that my grandfather used to tell me of torture techniques that the Japanese used. My mind was racing and grasping at something to hold onto. This went on for a long time. I remember Kyle, Cossette and Jessica offering ideas and suggestions to Gail - but she just kept deflecting them all. Finally Cossette got her to let me try a squat on the outside of the tub. I was hanging over the tub looking into the water I soooooo wanted to be in. I was trying to bite Kyle's arm and Cossette fashioned a rag for me to bite down on. I felt like I was going to pass out from the pain. All this time Gail still had at least one hand inside of me the ENTIRE time. Finally there was a pause and I felt pressure. Someone asked Gail if I could get in the tub and she said "I don’t think she can even stand up." I heard Jessica, in a harsh tone say to me. "Erika stand up and get in the water NOW." Kyle and Cossette grabbed me and I remember sinking into the water and it feeling so absolutely wonderful. I told Gail not to touch me and put my own hand inside myself. I couldn’t feel the baby’s head and I asked Cossette, "Where is she...I can't feel her." Cossette told me to wait to feel the push and she was going to come. After several pushes I felt her slimy soft head and that is when I felt the power transition back to me. I was at peace amongst the extreme pain. I was in control. I felt her head come down and tried to push gently. The crowning felt so much tighter than with Olivia. Kyle said, "Oh my God you are so amazing Erika." and kissed me." (With Olivia's birth he was behind me and never saw my body open to pass the baby with a full out view) She came out and I caught her My mind immediately said DAMN short cord. I could lift her head out of the water. I went into complete momma bear mode. I flipped my legs over the side of the tub and told Kyle to hold my pelvis up while Cossette grabbed me under the arms. Gail offered to have Kyle cut the cord but it was very awkward and he said to just do it. I caught a glimpse of my daughter who looked very pale to me, but crying strong from the second she was pulled out of the water. After the commotion I remember thinking...."ahhhh now I get a break." I put my legs down and seconds later I felt this horrendous urge to push and said aloud "Oh My God here she comes!" Chloe had no intention of waiting around. She came barreling down the birth canal crowned and 1 push later she was out. Her cord was also short, although about 1 inch longer and I could get her head above the water. Kyle got to cut his first cord. I remember Chloe was bright pink from head to toe, screaming like a banshee, and covered in a lot of vernix. They got all the cords clamped and babies wrapped and then helped me out of the tub. The contractions waiting for the placenta were very intense and seemed a lot worse than with Olivia. I pushed and this giant thing came out. I said "placenta?" and Gail said "No, that's a huge blood clot." A few contractions later the placenta came. They gave me a shot of pitocin to make certain I didn't bleed too much. I originally didn't want it unless necessary - but since I was in the water they a hard time assessing blood loss. After the placenta came I sat up ad was in a blur. Everyone seemed have left me and was attending to the babies. I remember sitting without a baby, confused, shell shocked almost and feeling very disconnected from everything that just had happened. They brought the babies to me and I nursed them both. Gail gave me a sponge bath on the floor and it took 3 people to help lift me from the floor and get me into bed. I was wiped out. Later she checked me and I had one small skid mark on the outside, but no tearing. It was a challenging birth.

Miriam Elizabeth was born at 39 weeks on 1-8-07 at 9:35 am weighing 7lbs 6oz and 22”

Chloe Lyla was born 3 minutes later at 9:38 am weighing 7lbs 4oz and 20.25”

Now to go back to the time on the floor.

I have been very upset with this portion. I have done a lot of processing. I feel like I was not given enough information along the way. Cossette and I talked and agreed that Gail did a poor job of communicating with me. Cossette said technically speaking, things had progressed past "normal" birth and that something needed to be done or we would have transferred. But instead of giving me all the facts and putting the choices in my hands, I felt over run by Gail. I tried to process with Gail and her reply was "well, it was only an hour." Ok.....well it was THE worst hour of my life. She did explain in detail the technique she used. She called it a false pelvic floor. Basically I was a 7/8. Miriam was at -2 station (so she was not engaged against the cervix, which is why we weren't getting more dilation) When she broke the bag of water it trickled instead of gushed. She had hoped that there was a bulging bag and that if it was broken the head would descend - but that didn't happen, Miriam remained very high. Chloe was pinning her in. So she put her fist through my cervix and opened like you would to hold an apple in your fingertips (palm up). This made Miriam think she was hitting bone and she began to turn (she was also posterior) Meanwhile Gail took her other hands and was shoving Chloe over. Diana took both her hands and was shoving Miriam's body (from the outside) into a more vertical position. The hour of HELL was just to get Miriam to a 0 station. Then Gail had to manually stretch the cervix from an 8 to a 10 and get Miriam’s head to stay put (this is what was happening when I was squatting on the outside of the tub). Once the head was remaining through the cervix she let them all get me into the water. The girls' heart rates were perfect through all of this. I harbor some anger with this. If she had checked me and told me ALL the facts and said to me "Erika we can either try this and it is really going to suck and it may take a long time...or we can go to the hospital and try pitocin to get things stronger." I would have chosen to do this at home first - but then it would have been MY choice and instead of feeling forced on my back being tortured and begging for relief. I would have been focused on birthing these babies and giving it my all. This has taken some time b/c initially I felt very violated and very much post traumatic stress kind of a thing. I have come to some peace about it all. I know Gail has excellent clinical skills and I don’t doubt that the technique was used appropriately. I knew when we hired her, that her style wasn’t my ideal. I had hoped the others would balance her out and frankly, I didn’t have many choices. I am sad that she didn't communicate better given there was no concern for the babies or my own health at anytime. I am frustrated that the Diana I knew during prenatal care, didn't come to our birth. She instead became a third limb and deferred everything to Gail instead of balancing out her energy. Cossette was awesome and I am so thankful she decided to come despite the licensure issues. Jessica is another story. I am angry with her for putting my babies at risk (like I said, it's another story) and basically doing absolutely NOTHING during my entire birth except watching. But ultimately I have decided that I just have to trust that everything happened the way it did for a reason. Right now I need my full energy to care for all my girls, my husband and myself. Kyle was AWESOME. He was my strength and at my side every step of the way and I know from the talking we have done that this experience changed our relationship forever.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

I would love to hear your comments when you're done reading!

Korben’s Birth Story

Born Tuesday October 24, 2006
9:44AM
8lbs
20 inches

People involved…

Jon – my baby Daddy Smile
Krystn – our midwife, CPM for 22 years
Liz – Krystn’s apprentice and assistant
Mom – my Mom, OB nurse for 20ish years
Stephanie – my sister
Deb – my stepmom
Rhonda – my MIL
Jenn – my SIL (Delaney is her 6mo daughter)
Jimmy – my little brother in the Marines
Dad – my Dad, was supposed to be at the birth
Mary – my best friend, was supposed to be at the birth

Sunday night, I started losing really pink, stringy globs of mucus. It seemed like there were gallons, and I showed Jon. Having seen cows give birth before, he said that the mucus looked exactly like what cows go through before they go into labor. This was odd, but very exciting to me! I also started getting contractions again when we went to bed around midnight. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, because I had been getting these “false alarms” on and off for at least a week. I would get contractions when I went to bed, but they would stop after an hour or so. These contractions were different – they were more regular and didn’t let up. I would fall asleep between them and then wake up and look at the clock. I started timing them around 2AM when they were about 7 minute apart. Now I started to get excited, and I couldn’t get back to sleep. During one pretty intense contraction, I punched Jon in the arm and was like “How can you sleep through this?” Around 6AM, the contractions slowed down and eventually stopped around the time Jon had to go to school. He asked me if I thought he should go, and I told him that I would feel better if he would stay home with me today. I was really discouraged at this point. I knew that it had been another false alarm, and I was really frustrated that they kept me up all night. Didn’t my body know that I needed to sleep? I was exhausted! I called Krystn for some words of wisdom, but I was secretly hoping that she would give me some magic way to instantaneously start my labor. Smile She was super sweet and very encouraging. She told me that my body was doing an incredible job because dilating to 5cm is usually the hardest part, and I was already there. She reminded me that every contraction I was having now was just one more that I wouldn’t have to go though when the “real” labor started. She told me that I needed to reset my attitude and stop thinking of these contractions as “fake labor” and start appreciating them. Those ideas renewed my faith in my body, and I felt like a whole new woman after talking to her. Jon and I both skipped our classes that day and slept peacefully until 2PM (I never would have thought that would be the last decent sleep I would be getting for a long time!).

Per Krystn’s advice, I pretty much rested all day. I kept losing huge chunks of my mucus plug, and I also had a lot of diarrhea. I should have realized that these were signs of imminent labor, but I totally ignored them since I had been overanalyzing every potential labor sign for the past 3 weeks. I reached the point where I was done searching for labor, and I was going to wait patiently until it came to me. This was a huge roadblock for me to overcome. Looking back on it, I know that my body knew what it was doing. I think that it was just waiting for me to acknowledge this.

Around 7:00 that night, I started getting contractions again. I didn’t pay any attention to them because I didn’t want to be disappointed yet again. Jon and I were in our office, and I was trying to catch up on all of our photo albums. The contractions were short but intense, and they were coming pretty frequently. Krystn said that “real” labor contractions would come regularly every 5-6 minutes and last at least a minute. Although I disagreed, Jon decided that these contractions were different, and he started timing them (on an Excel spreadsheet of course Biggrin ). I would tell him when they would start and stop, and he would tell me how long they were. I was really surprised that most of them were over a minute long. They weren’t painful, so I guess they were just easy to ignore.

After getting some stuff done at home, we decided to go get something to eat and do some grocery shopping. I had zero appetite, so I let Jon decide. We went to the Outback. I got French onion soup and cheese fries. I’m not sure why I remember that so vividly, but I do. I kept getting contractions throughout dinner. They were getting a little more intense. I actually had to pay attention to them. When one would start, I would stare at something on the wall and tap my foot on Jon’s foot. I don’t know why this was a good coping method; it’s just what I felt like I should be doing at the time. At one point, I went to the bathroom and had a huge amount of bloody show. It was different than the previous mucus chunks I lost – it was streaky and bright red. After that, the contractions picked up even more. They were coming about every 5 minutes and lasting at least a minute each. Still, they weren’t painful. They were just intense bursts of energy that I had to concentrate on. During one particularly powerful contraction, our waitress decided that she needed to tell me all about her 3 birth experiences. Jon said I looked like I was going to stab her in the throat with my steak knife.

Jon wanted to go home after dinner because he thought I was in real labor. I “knew” that I wasn’t (just like I “knew” we were having a girl), and I still wanted to get the grocery shopping done. I called my mom, and asked her about the new bloody show. She said that it was normal. I got a contraction while I was on the phone with her, and I had to breathe through it rather than talk. She said that “sounded promising” and she figured that I would be calling her around 11PM to tell her I was in labor. I just laughed because everybody thought I was in labor but me! We got all of our shopping done, and did some extra laps around the grocery store per mom’s advice. The contractions continued, and I started timing them on my cell phone “just for fun”. We got stocked up on food for the birth team and bought stuff to make Korben a birthday cake. Having that done made me feel even more ready for labor to start. Little did I know!

After we were done at the grocery store, we stopped over at my Dad’s house to visit Jimmy before he left for the Marines. His plane was taking off around 9AM the next morning, and we wanted to see his baby’s ultrasound pictures before he left. Jon and I stayed over there for about half an hour, and my contractions continued the whole time. I was hoping that I wasn’t in labor because Mary was really sick, and she wouldn’t be able to come to the birth if it was soon. When we got home and started putting the groceries away, my contractions stopped for a half hour or so. I told Jon that he was wrong, and I was right – I wasn’t in labor. About 2 seconds after I said that, they started again. Now they were 2-3 minutes apart and still lasting at least a minute. They felt a lot different now also. When I got one, I would have to stop moving and talking, lean against something, and sway back and forth. It only took about 3 of these to get my attention. It was 12:40AM when I told Jon to call Mom. She said that she would be over to check me in about 20 minutes and then we would call Krystn. While we were waiting for Mom to show up, the contractions continued at the same frequency and intensity, so Jon called Krystn anyways since her drive was long.

My Mom arrived around 1:10, and I was 5cm and 90% effaced. Between contractions, I would pace around the house. But when a contraction hit, I had to stop moving immediately and lean on somebody. They weren’t giving me much time to prepare – they hit like a train and didn’t let up until they were gone. After an hour of walking around, my legs were tired and shaky so I decided to lie down in our bed. Earlier that day, Jon and I bought a “sleep CD” that a friend recommended. He started playing this, but I made him turn it off. It wasn’t relaxing at all, and it really irritated me. I wanted to listen to the humidifier instead. My legs felt so good while I was lying down, but I just didn’t feel right. The contractions were somewhat harder to deal with, and I couldn’t relax as well. Jon was sitting beside the bed, helping me breathe through contractions. Then he decided that he wanted to lie beside me in the position that we had been using to practice our Bradley relaxation techniques. He made the mistake of doing this in the middle of one of my contractions, and when he shook the bed I “kindly” asked him to not to do that again. He maintains that I snapped at him, but I think I was as civil as a laboring woman could have been. I started to shake and get nauseated around this time. Jon asked Mom why I was shaking, and she said that it was just the phase of labor I was in. I remember hearing of the “fully dilated shakes” and I was hoping that I wasn’t 10cm yet. I was enjoying labor and didn’t want it to end so quickly! But, luckily, I wasn’t that far. The shakes and nausea marked the start of my 6 hours of transition labor. I always feared transition because women say it’s the hardest part. But I didn’t even know I was in it. Maybe because my labor was so intense the entire time, transition was what I got used to. But I know that if somebody would have told me I was in transition, I would have gotten nervous – I’m very glad that they didn’t label it for me.

Sometime during the lying down phase, Liz arrived and asked if she could check the baby’s heart. I remember thinking it was funny that she asked permission to check his heart tones. Of course she could, she didn’t need my permission! After about an hour of lying down, I decided that it was time to get up. Although I felt a little uneasy during that time, I’m glad that I did rest. I felt like a new woman when I stood back up. Deb and Steph had arrived, and they were waiting in the living room when I went back out there.

I went back to my routine of pacing between contractions and dancing during them. I think it’s funny that I wore my heels the entire time – I’m just so used to them, I can’t stand being flat footed. But the idea of a laboring woman in heels is so obscure! The swaying worked perfectly for Jon and me. I tried a few contractions using Krystn and Steph, but they were too short. He was the perfect height for me to just grab onto and dance, and his smell was familiar and calming. I remember I had a flashback of our first slow dance together, in 9th grade; who would have thought that 7 years later we would be in the same exact position, only with me getting ready to deliver our baby Smile

I don’t know why, but I decided that I wanted to try other ways of working through the contractions. Next time, I’m taking the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach. I squatted for one, and Krystn told me that that would make the baby come faster. But I really wasn’t comfortable squatting, so I didn’t do that again. Steph suggested that I sit on the edge of the couch and lean on Jon, so I tried that too. That was the second worst contraction of my entire labor. It was the only contraction that I actually moved during because I just HAD to get up. I was so unbelievably uncomfortable sitting down. I tried leaning on the couch with Jon behind me. This worked for awhile, but only if Jon’s feet were touching mine – they grounded me and gave me a new perception of where I was, if that makes any sense! During contractions, Jon would work with me to help me relax, and the one time he told me to relax my arms. Talking in the middle of a contraction was difficult, but I managed to hiss at him “I can’t relax my arms, they’re supporting me.” That was the second time that I was mean during labor.

Krystn suggested that I get in our garden tub. At first I didn’t feel like leaving the living room, but I decided to try it anyways. I knew that some women’s labors stalled out if they got in the water too early, and I asked her if she thought this would happen to me. She just laughed and said “no, your labor isn’t going to stall out.” The water felt divine. Liz had made it nice and warm, and she lit some candles that I had placed around the tub on the ledges. The environment was perfect: warm water, flickering candles, steamy air, peaceful quiet, just Jon and I. I was in a relaxed squatting position, and I would rest my head on Jon’s folded arms during a contraction. Shortly into the tub phase, I started getting contractions on top of one another and many with double peaks. They were lasting forever. It was exhausting because I had no time to rest between them. The only thing that kept me sane was Jon telling me when to breathe, when to slow down, and when to relax. He was so in tune with what I needed, even more so than I was at times. All I could do was concentrate on my heavy breathing, but I was really starting to feel worn out. The heat started to get to me, and I decided that I wanted out of the water. Between the contractions, I would try to work up the energy to stand up and get out, but there wasn’t enough time. I started to feel like I was never going to make it out of the water. It was then that I said “I think I’m actually in labor.” Apparently this was funny. Krystn came in around this time and wanted to know if I could stand up so she could listen to the baby. This motivated me, and I was able to stand and climb out.

She wanted to check me, and I was curious, so I laid on the edge of the bed. Lying down, flat on my back, was absolutely horrible. It was the only time that I remember the contractions actually hurting, and I felt like I had lost control over my labor. But when Krystn told me I was 9cm, I was glad that I let her check me. It gave me a burst of energy and I knew that I would be meeting Embie soon enough. Since I was naked, and all of our labor participants had arrived, I wore a robe out to the living room. I remember thinking that I didn’t really want the robe, but I wore it anyways. I didn’t want to shock everybody by walking out butt naked – that modesty lasted for about 30 seconds once I actually got out there Smile I walked around for a little bit while I got accustomed to the new environment. Mom made a comment that “you don’t see women in the hospital walking around like that when they’re 9cm dilated.”

Liz had set up the birthing stool and lots of blue pads in front of the couch, and I sat there to labor away my last centimeter. It was a fun atmosphere. In a semi-circle around me sat Krystn, Liz, Steph, Deb, Mom, Rhonda, and Jenn. Jon sat behind me on the couch and I leaned back on him. Between contractions, we talked, laughed, made jokes, and basically acted like it was a normal day! I kept burping loudly, and Krystn told me that that wasn’t very princess-like, but that I was allowed to do anything I wanted during labor. I decided that I needed to pee, and Krystn said that it would probably be hard for me to pee in front of all these people, so they could help me to the bathroom instead. I DID NOT want to move, so I made up my mind that I would just pee when I wanted. I did this, and felt the need to announce it to everybody as well. They all laughed, and Krystn said that I should pee a little during every contraction so that my urethra didn’t swell up. I didn’t want a catheter after birth, so I complied.

Sometime during this, I “checked out” of reality. I was well aware of everything going on around me, but I no longer participated in the conversations. I needed to focus all of my attention on getting through the contractions, which were now coming every 1-2 minutes. Then came the worst contraction of my entire labor: It was about 6AM, and Delaney had woken up so Jenn had to go up to her house to feed her. Everybody thought I was really close to delivering, so Jenn decided to just bring her to our house so that she wouldn’t miss the birth. Well, Delaney started screaming right in the middle of a contraction, and I totally lost my focus. I was brought back to reality in a millisecond, and the intensity of the contraction hit me like a lightening bolt. I couldn’t take it; I totally lost it. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, and I couldn’t get my focus back. I screamed “get her out of here now!” Afterwards, I felt so horrible about saying that! I just couldn’t control myself. That was the third and final time that I was mean during labor.

Every time I needed something, I was very polite about it. I almost always said please and thank you. Crushed up ice cubes tasted great, but I would have to spit them out when a contraction hit because I was afraid I was going to choke. A few times, Steph hit my one front tooth with the ice-cold spoon, and I could have killed her! That hurt worse than the contractions. A mixture of Recharge and ginger ale tasted great too. It helped my nausea a lot. The one time, I needed a refill, and I know that Krystn told them to make it straight Recharge. I heard them whispering and I knew that’s what they were talking about, but I really didn’t care. I drank it anyways, even though I was slightly irritated.

While I was sitting on the birth stool, still in my own realm of reality, my Mom made the comment “well if being fully dilated doesn’t make her break a sweat, I wonder what does.” Jon came back with “I make her sweat.” Everybody cracked up. Inside my head I was laughing, but I couldn’t manage to actually say anything. This was the last moment that I remember feeling the relaxed, joking atmosphere of my labor. After I started pushing, the fun came to an abrupt end.

Krystn checked me while I was sitting on the birth stool, and said that I just had a little lip of cervix left. During the next contraction, she pushed it out of the way and told me that I would probably start feeling the urge to push soon. I waited for it, but it never came. After awhile, I got impatient and just started to push anyways. I was fully dilated and getting anxious to meet this little man. I don’t know how long I had been pushing before Krystn offered to break my water. She thought that it was holding up the process, and I figured she was probably right. I was feeling like I had made zero progress. I remember thinking about women telling me how, after their water broke, the contractions got a lot more intense and painful. This was the only time during labor that I was actually afraid of feeling pain. Up until now, I had been thinking “Labor is really easy; I wonder when it’s going to get hard.” I knew that I was doing well at this point, but I was afraid of having more than I could handle. I decided to just go for it, and told her to go ahead and break it. I’m really glad that I did, because, even though it was bulging, it took her a good 5 minutes to rupture the sac. No wonder it wasn’t breaking on its own – it was really thick and tough.

After she broke my water, Krystn checked the baby’s heart tones again and told us that she thought he had the cord wrapped around his neck. Also, there was meconium in the water and his heart rate was decelerating during contractions, down to the 80’s at times. She said that it wasn’t a serious problem since it bounced back up quickly, but I heard a sense of urgency in her voice. I thought “oh shit, we’re going to end up getting transferred to the hospital.” She made the statement that I could keep easing this baby out gently, or I could make up my mind to really start pushing and get him out faster. But I never said it; for fear that I would jinx myself. I decided that I just wanted to get him out, especially with the potential cord around the neck, and I started giving every push my all.

Pushing was HARD! I never got even the slightest urge to push and I was pretty annoyed by that actually. I think it would have made the process a lot easier. With each contraction, I would push three times. At this point, Jon had switched places with my Mom, and she was coaching me. She did a great job of motivating me and telling me when to push. At the end of each one, when she could sense that I was about to stop, she would say “extra push” and I would give a few more seconds. After pushing for awhile, I started to feel like I was going to pass out. I think my blood sugar was just too low, and the physical straining put my already worn out body over the edge. When I would start to push, I would black out for a second and I wasn’t able to talk or move. It was horrible. I honestly thought that I was going to die. The birth team quickly went into action, and I was downing spoonfuls of honey, chunks of banana, and drinking Recharge like my life depended on it (I really think it did, actually). After pushing for awhile on the birthing stool, Krystn suggested we change positions. I didn’t have any feelings or urges about particular pushing positions, so I just went with the flow. I squatted for a bit. She told me that I needed to squat during the contractions then stand up in between them. I honestly didn’t think I could do that much moving. I was beyond exhausted, and I just wanted to stay squatting. Then she pulled out the “it’s best for the baby” card, and I was practically jumping up after my contractions were over. You can talk a laboring woman into anything with that line. Squatting wasn’t doing anything magical, and it was even more tiring, so I moved onto my hands and knees. That was horribly uncomfortable. Jenn suggested that I rest my head on a pillow and the birth stool. I tried that, but I still wasn’t able to effectively push in the hands/knees position. Back to the birth stool we went!

I finally started to figure out how to push once I got back on the birth stool. Krystn made the comment “You’re going to have this baby out of your butt. The sooner you realize that, the sooner he’ll be here.” That really made sense to me, and I started to find my groove. During the contractions, Jon and Jenn would help me pull and hold my legs on the birth stool and I would give it all I had. Tilting my hips up towards the ceiling really helped also. My legs were so tired and uncomfortable that I started getting the worst cramps I’ve ever felt. I swear they were worse than the contractions. In between pushing, it felt good to straighten them out, but I literally couldn’t bring them back onto the birth stool when another contraction hit. So after awhile I just kept them folded up, even though it was incredibly tight. I pushed for 3 hours, and I had no idea how exhausting it would be! During some contractions, I would pretend I wasn’t having one, just so I wouldn’t have to push anymore. Maybe if I would have had the urge, it would have been easier. Who knows!

After pushing FORVER, my hips started to hurt. I could feel them spreading, and I knew we were finally getting somewhere. Mom told me to feel my belly – it was like mush! I couldn’t even feel the baby anymore! And FINALLY he started to crown. Jon was a great coach. He kept saying “You got this, you’re almost there” and “I can see his head, just a few more contractions.” I had no idea how excited he was going to be, and I didn’t know if he would watch or not. But he watched everything. When I would look at him, the excited expression on his face gave me the energy I needed for the next pushes. Krystn was giving me a lot of perineal support with warm washcloths and massaging me with oil. The washcloths felt heavenly. The “massage” was anything but, but I know it helped me stay intact. When he really started crowning, Krystn asked me if I wanted to feel his head. I always thought that I would want to, but I honestly couldn’t move. My hands were holding my legs back, and I didn’t have enough strength to re-adjust. After a few more pushes, I experienced my only real “pain” of childbirth. I could feel the sides of my labia tearing, and I actually screamed a little. I could feel every fiber of tissue ripping, and I can still feel it now when I think about it. Everybody told me to “push through it” and I did. Looking around the room, I could see all the tears running down their faces, and finally, his head popped out! It was such a surreal sight – staring in the mirror in front of me, I could see my body with a huge baby head just sitting between my legs. It was incredible, but very dreamlike. The next contraction hit, and he came flying out. Krystn handed him to me, and I was surprised. I forgot that I got to hold him first! He was totally limp, not making any effort to cry, and his eyes were glazed over. I was scared out of my mind, but his color and heart rate were great, so that gave me some comfort. I could hear his chest rattling as he tried to breath, but I just wanted to hear him cry. My Mom started suctioning him with the bulb syringe, but he still wasn’t crying. Krystn kept reassuring me that he was fine. She took him back and started stimulating him with some rough rubbing. His cord was pretty short, so Jon cut it so she had more room to work. After almost 5 minutes, my little man finally let out his first cries. It was such a relief! Because my sugar was low, his was also. I gave him some sugar on my finger – he had quite the suck! He didn’t want to breastfeed, though. He was more interested in just licking my nipple instead. I remember just sitting there, staring at this little image of perfection. He was born with his right arm up by his head, and he actually had an indentation in his skull where his fist had been firmly implanted during the birth.

Overall, I am so incredibly happy with how his birth went. I am surprised that I did so well during labor. I kept thinking how easy it was and how much fun I was having. I never imagined that I would enjoy labor. Pushing was a different story. I think I would have been scared if I wasn’t so tired – maybe that was for the best. I loved being in my own house. I was so comfortable. I got to move when and where I wanted. I got to call the shots. I am so happy that we decided to have a homebirth. Because of his heart rate dips, the meconium, and his compound arm causing a prolonged pushing stage, I honestly believe that I would have ended up having a c-section if we would have been at the hospital. It was an amazing experience, and I will definitely choose a homebirth the next time also.

Joined: 03/16/15
Posts: 53852

Sage Elizabeth
8.9.06
7lbs, 12oz, 20.5"

The two days before the birth I was feeling great. In fact, so great that I felt that I wasn’t going to go into labor for another month or so and was perfectly fine with that. My energy had returned, I no longer had the severe pain in my pelvis and I just felt good.

Tuesday night (8/8 ) and Wednesday morning (8/9) I was pretty restless. I woke once with a lot of pelvic pain. I fell back asleep for about an hour but was awoken by a pretty strong contraction. Since I had been having moderately strong contractions, especially at night, for weeks, I just figured it was my uterus practicing some more. I got up to use the bathroom and ended up having a soft bowel movement. I went out to the living room to try to get comfortable and while lying on the couch, the big full moon shone in on me. Just then another contraction hit; this one even stronger. I literally saw the moon coming for me and welcomed it. I had one or two more when I decided I should probably time them. I got online to use the contraction log. It was a great tool until I couldn’t seem to sit long enough to hit the start button or the stop button when a contraction would hit me. I went to the bedroom to let Ray know I was having some strong contractions. He asked me if I wanted him to get up or if I needed help and I told him no and to stay in bed. About a half hour later, I decided I couldn’t time them myself anymore, so I asked him to get up. He timed them at anywhere between 3 and 5 minutes lasting around 60 seconds each.

Ray was convinced we should call Diane, but I wasn’t just yet. He called her anyway. She had just pulled up to the home of another woman in labor in Chilcoot, CA, about an hour away from Reno. She told Ray she was turning around and driving (speeding) to our house. She arrived at around 6:30 a.m. and Ray thanked her for being so fast. Meanwhile, I had called my mom, who I knew would be getting ready for work. I just wanted to let her know I might be in labor, but told her to go ahead and continue getting ready for work and that I would let her know. I guess I was in a bit of denial or doubt at this point that I was actually in labor.

When Diane arrived, she just watched me for a few minutes and then told me she was going to go get her stuff set up. I said, “Well don’t you want to check me or anything?” She said, “Nope… you’re doing just fine.” I said, “So you think this is it?” She laughed and said, “Liz… you’re having a baby today!” That is when I decided to call my mom back and just let her know that I was still going and she should come on over.

I labored most of the time in the living room. I tried the exercise ball, but found it too difficult to stay seated with all the pressure I was feeling. I mainly leaned over the back of my couch burying my face into the cushions. After about 20 minutes of Diane and my mom arriving, Willow woke up. My niece had come with my mom and Willow had heard her voice. She ran out to the living room to see a house full of people and me moaning and groaning into the couch cushions. My mom and Ray explained what was happening and that everything was ok. I had talked to her a lot about the baby coming out and she seemed to understand that it was time. In between contractions, I called her over to give her a reassuring hug and kiss. She patted my leg and said, “It’s ok momma, It’s ok!” She trotted off to go play with her cousin. The contractions were getting pretty intense at this point and I felt like I should move to the bedroom. I told Diane that I wanted to go to the bedroom, but the couch had become my home base and I couldn’t bear to leave it. We laughed and I said, “Can we take the couch with us?” She had a good suggestion to take the pillows from the couch to stack on the bed so I could use them for support. We stacked them at the end of the bed and I leaned into them during contractions, sometimes just gathering them up in my arms to squeeze. My mom held them firm to the bed so I wouldn’t lose my balance. It was then that I realized I was holding onto them for support while I squatted through contractions. I was squatting so deep I think my butt was nearly on the floor. After a few contractions like that, I felt something dripping down my leg. I was wearing a sarong and pulled it aside to find mucous and blood hanging between my legs. I decided to take the sarong off. It was then that Diane suggested she check me. I got up on the bed almost dreading to hear the number; NINE and the head was “right there.” YES! That is music to a laboring mother’s ears. I got up again to stand at the side of the bed just as a contraction started. I squatted into it and almost immediately started grunting and pushing through it. I had maybe one more contraction like that when Diane suggested I get on the bed for the next one. I climbed onto the bed and tried to position myself over the chux pads she laid out and was pretty unsuccessful. Just as I got onto the bed, another contraction hit me. Ray was at my head by now and I was in hands and knees position. I started really bearing down while gripping Ray’s waist and burying my face into his chest. Since we had planned that Ray would catch the baby, Diane suggested he change positions and get behind me. He said no and that I needed him up there. I was so grateful! I continued to bear down and could feel the baby crowning – something I never felt with Willow because of the episiotomy. Diane was putting counter pressure on my perineum and told me to breathe instead of push to allow it to stretch. In theory, it’s a great idea, but in reality, it’s nearly impossible. I tried my best not to push, but couldn’t help it. I felt the baby’s head come out, which was a huge relief. I heard Diane call my mom over to see it and she said “The baby is in the Caul!” With another push, the baby would be out. Ray’s hands were stretched out beneath me. With a grunt and a push, he pulled her forward and put her down on the bed below me, in between my legs. He said, “IT’S A BOY!” having seen the umbilical cord. I looked down and said, “NO IT’S NOT! IT’S A GIRL!!”

She hardly cried. She just looked all around. She looked so much like Willow to me, but just felt different. It’s hard to explain.

One of the best things about having your baby at home is the calmness in everything. There’s no rushing and never a sense of urgency. Everything moves at the pace set by mom and baby. Sage didn’t get weighed for about an hour. She was just cuddled and nursed for that first hour. She was never stressed, which I loved because then I wasn’t stressed. She didn’t have a bath because the vernix, which she had a lot of, is actually good for their skin. It was actually really neat to smell that distinct scent of birth for the first couple of days of her life. After I had a shower, Ray made me eggs and toast for breakfast. I spent the rest of the day in bed.

In the end, I tore right along my old episiotomy scar and had to have about 8 stitches.
Sage weighed 7lbs, 12 oz. and was 20.5 inches long.

____________________________________________________________

As I mentioned earlier in the birth story, Diane had called my mom over when her head was out and said something that I couldn’t hear and wasn’t explained to me until later. Sage was born in the Caul (with her membranes covering her face). There are numerous beliefs about people born in the Caul and they vary from culture to culture. Regardless of the culture, these people – or Caulbearers, as they’re called – are incredibly special and gifted. They’re often healers, spiritual leaders and have other special abilities. Something like 1 in 80,000 babies is born in the Caul. It just so happened that the other woman who was in labor that morning in Chilcoot, CA also had a Caulbearer. This is something I downloaded from the internet about it:

[quote]The main reason why those born with a Caul were and are held in high regard is principally due to the fact that such births can be calculated in advance and the time and place of such births predicted. This marked the birth of a Caulbearer as being of particular significance, along with the fact that such people often had peculiar abilities in many diverse ways which were not commonly found in the general populace.
Caulbearers are often found to have ability in matters of finding underground water supplies, knowing when weather patterns will change, predicting when fish and other food supplies will become plentiful.
Many are great natural healers, which trait may be manifested by the laying on of their hands, or remotely from a distance. Many are considered to have great ability in matters of judgment and ruling nations and often possess insights which are difficult to appreciate by other people.
In many cultures the Caulbearers were considered to be “Kings by right,” due to the predictive nature of their births and their leadership abilities. This is one of the reasons why certain Buddhist groups, to this very day seek out Caulbearers to be brought up to become Dalai Lamas.
Throughout history the powers that be have repeatedly attempted to destroy the Caulbearers because they were seen to be messengers sent by a higher force to guide mankind in matters both physical and of a higher spiritual nature. In ancient times they were held in high regard for their knowledge in a wide range of disciplines, and therefore became known as 'priests' which originally simply meant 'teacher.' This was long before the notion of the religious priest was ever conceived.
The Caul or Veil is sometimes also referred to as "The Veil of Tears" due to the tendency of baser types of people to attack or even kill Caulbearers, often for no apparent reason --- such as in the Middle Ages, when they were burned as witches and heretics, mainly by the Church of Rome.
Persons of negative character may often react to Caulbearers at a very subconscious level as they sense that there is something different about these people. There are many folk tales about "the curse of the Caul" which appears to come from the fallout of negative actions against a bearer of the Caul.
In many cultures around the world the Caul is more commonly referred to as " The Veil,” and the word "Caulbearer" is the usual word in English speaking countries. However it should be pointed out that the word Caulbearer will generally not be found in standard dictionaries due to repeated suppression of the reality of such people as they have often been persecuted by those who wished to become kings by might rather than by birthright.

[/quote]

Joined: 07/10/06
Posts: 3
Kai's Homebirth

Tuesday, February 27th
3:00am

I woke up to some slight contractions that didn't really alarm me at first. For the previous two days, I'd been having them on and off, so I didn't think too much of them. By around 3:30am, I noticed that they were coming in a pattern of about 5 to 7 minutes, so I decided to wake up my fiancé, Kenneth, and let him know what was going on. We stayed in bed for a while and just kept track of the timing between contractions. By 4am I was getting very uncomfortable, so we got out of bed and Kenneth made us a yummy breakfast. We thought we would ultimately get back to bed and sneak in a nap before things got started. We were wrong. My contractions were now coming at 5 minutes apart consistently. Ken and I didn’t want to call the midwife too early, so we decided we’d stick it out till at least 7am before paging her.

Hi this is Kenneth. I’m going to leave the major narration to Carmen but I thought that the birth story wouldn’t be complete without some insights from my perspective. I’ll do my best to make my experience whole to you while not jarring you too much from Carmen’s story (but that’s probably going to happen anyway). When Carmen woke up at 3am I was tired and annoyed. Not at her but at the fact that I was going to have to get up and stay up at 3 in the morning. We quickly realized that we weren’t getting back to sleep so we moved to the living room to be more comfortable. I took a picture of the front of the cable box to commemorate the time. It was 4:04am.

6:50am
We paged our midwife, Joan, to let her know that the contractions were consistent and coming closer together. She advised us to take it easy and rest and much as possible, as things would most likely take a while, and told us she would check in within the hour to see how things were going.

Hours before we called Joan we realized that firm steady pressure at the sides of Carmen’s lower back during her contractions really helped her deal with the discomfort. It may have actually been closer to outright pain, but you’d have to ask Carmen to be sure. I didn’t think Joan needed to come over yet and Carmen agreed. I remembered our teacher of our birth classes saying that when she arrives at the birth site of one of her clients it’s a landmark moment. People tend to expect something to happen once a midwife or doula arrives so she liked to get there as close to the critical time as possible. Our teacher said that the novelty of a midwife’s presence can wear off and be replaced by frustration if birth or obvious progress doesn’t soon follow.

8:00am
For some reason I was thinking that at any moment the contractions would stop and this would be yet another false alarm that would leave me feeling more frustrated than I already was. I felt crampy and had some back pain. Since this is my first baby, I wasn’t sure if what I was feeling were active or early labor pains. I was still in good spirits and was simply hoping that things would continue to progress.

Well I wasn’t tired anymore. By this time we had eaten and settled into a routine of contractions, counter pressure (me!), rest, and repeat. Since that 3am beginning the contractions had been at 3-4 minutes apart and was still in that range around 8am. During this and the next few hours I lived in 3 minute intervals. Bathroom breaks, eating, drinking, rest. All of it had to be done during those 3 minute breaks.

Sometime between 9am and 11am
Kenneth and I were communicating back and forth with the midwife on how things were going. My contractions were intensifying and were 4 minutes apart. My water hadn’t broken yet, so we all still assumed that we had a long way to go. By this time my discomfort was bordering on painful, so Kenneth started giving me massages and making suggestions on positions to try to make me a bit happier. We went back and forth between the bathtub and the living room and at some point I remember pushing up against the walls to get some counter pressure going.

Thankfully time loses its usual weight. I guess it’s like being lost in any intense task. You just don’t notice how much time has passed until you look at the clock. This is a blessing. I recommend that you don’t wear a watch during these active labor moments. Looking at a clock can be like that cervical exam to check for dilation. If it’s not as much or as late as you expected you’ll be discouraged. In this time Carmen and I focused on timing contractions and staying as comfortable as possible. For hours we didn’t even time contractions. I don’t know what we did then.

11am to 3pm
I was NOT a happy camper by this point. Kenneth was hard at work providing words of encouragement and massaging my back throughout each and every contraction. We were still in touch with our midwife but we were holding off on having her come over in the fear that it was still too early. Walking was becoming difficult and there wasn’t really anything that was taking the edge off the contractions that were steadily becoming more and more overwhelming.

Carmen is short. Not like midget short but I’m about 6’-1”, maybe 6’-2” and she’s plenty shorter than me. I mention this because my wrists were so freaking sore from pushing on her back with my palms but she was still pushing back on me with force from god knows where. Thank god I could use some leverage on her. If she was closer to my size I don’t know what I would have done. Maybe used my feet. Wow, if I had thought of that then I would have tried it.

3:30pm
Our midwife, Joan, and her assistant, Denise, were on their way over by this time. Once they arrived, Ken was able to take a quick break and run over to the grocery store to get us some snacks. Joan and Denise started getting the apartment ready by laying down pads and sheets and making me as comfortable as possible. The contractions were still at 4 minutes apart and it was taking my full concentration to breathe through them and not let the pain completely take over me.

While Joan and Denise were on their way we realized we didn’t have much snack food around so I left to get this soy protein drink that we both like and something to snack on. I settled on granola and got a coffee for Joan. I’m not a coffee drinker but would have run through traffic for a Redbull and OJ earlier that morning. Unfortunately I didn’t have one in the house but if I could go back and stock up that would definitely be on the list of things to get.

4pm to 6pm
By the time Joan did her first internal exam on me, we were both surprised and pleased to discover that I was already at a little over 9 centimeters dilated. The only thing that was slowing down the process what that my bag of waters had not yet ruptured. Kenneth was still playing the role of ‘super doula’ by providing counter pressure against the intensifying contractions. While Kenneth was focused on taking care of me, Joan and Denise were taking care of us both by making suggestions for positions and making sure we both had enough to eat and drink. We tried the tub, walking, leaning over on the bed, being on all fours in front of the couch, and even sitting on the toilet for a while. Since none of these options were successful at getting my water to break, Joan and I decided to go ahead and break them artificially. This would be the only medical intervention I would need for the entire labor.

These were the most difficult hours for Carmen. The contractions were coming fast and hard and frustration was settling in. I did my best not let on but during these times I began to wonder if the home birth would happen. For hours Joan’s instructions weren’t to push but to instead let the contractions happen by themselves. Carmen’s water didn’t break on its own so Joan punctured it, that however caused Carmen’s cervix to close up some so we lost dilation. It was a very difficult time and we weren’t certain how it would turn out.

6pm to 7pm
Holy crap-o-la! Things were so intense at this point I can’t even begin to describe what was going on. It seemed like time was standing still just as much as it was flying by. The people around me were doing all they could to provide me with support and encouragement, but at this point I was tired and starting to wonder if this was ever going to be over. After walking around the apartment and trying a slew of different positions, Joan did another internal exam which showed that I was making some progress, but not too much. She suggested I lie in the bed and try another position that would allow me to rest better between contractions (I have a feeling I was looking pretty beat by this point). She and Denise got the bed ready and helped Ken and I get as comfortable as possible. I’d started getting the urge to push a bit, so Kenneth and Joan positioned themselves so that I would have as much leverage as possible so as not overexert myself.

After hours of effort and many different positions we’ve ended up on our bed. For a time I sat behind Carmen and she sat in between my spread legs; kind of like we were sharing a sled down a winter hill. Carmen was pushing her hardest with the contractions and doing a great job. Joan told us she was making good progress and even saw the very barest beginning of crowning at times. During a push Carmen grabbed at the top of my thighs and dug her nails right in. It hurt like…well, finish that however you like; but I didn’t say anything about it. That would have been wussy considering her going through labor and all right? But I did just mention it now. It really hurt though. Anyway, this was a very tough time. We seemed really close but still weren’t done.

7:15pm
Joan did another internal exam and informed me that I was making some progress, but not too much. She estimated that it would still be several more hours before the baby would be born. Upon hearing this, I totally lost it. Tears of exhaustion and frustration poured out of me and for a very brief moment, I questioned whether or not I could do it. Thankfully, I was surrounded by positive, loving energy. I clearly remember Joan’s loving words as she stroked my hair and assured me that I could do this and that it was okay to feel all that I was feeling. Having encouraging words whispered to you at your most weakest time is the greatest thing anyone could ever do. Kenneth’s loving touches, Joan’s validation of what I was feeling, and Denise’s positive words of encouragement made all the difference in the world.

I have to disagree a little with Carmen’s recollection here. I don’t remember Joan saying it would be hours yet. Joan was of course non-committal about time but I thought she let it be known that it wasn’t going to be too much longer. Either way it was tough but Carmen was doing a great job. She doubted herself a little at this point but that was after 16 hours of hard work.

7:26pm
After pushing for what seemed like forever but what was actually no more than a few minutes, my baby girl was born. Somehow, somewhere, the strength to get my baby out took over me and suddenly there she was. There was a moment of pristine silence where everything around me seemed absolutely surreal. As soon as she was born, Joan placed her on my chest and I immediately started to sob uncontrollably. Denise wrapped baby Kai and I in warm blankets and towels that were fresh out of the oven while Joan made sure that there was no hemorrhaging and that the baby was breathing on her own. Baby Kai and I remained attached for almost an hour while her umbilical cord finished its job and was ultimately clamped and cut.

Carmen surprised us all by pushing Kai out just then. Minutes earlier I had taken a break for some water and a bite of granola in the kitchen. During that, Denise and I talked about how much longer it would be and we both hoped it would be just another hour. But maybe 10 minutes later Carmen did it and Kai was here.

The bonding that occurred that day far surpassed that of a mother and child. Words cannot describe how much more I love and respect Kenneth. Joan and Denise are now considered to be family members rather than my midwife and her assistant. After giving birth, they helped me into the shower and bathed me, an experience that was humbling and beautiful all at the same time. They helped me dress and Denise ordered pizza. We enjoyed some wine while baby Kai was weighed, measured, and received her first check-up. By the time Joan and Denise left, the apartment was completely spotless and you would have never known that a homebirth had just taken place.

The wine was my idea. Alcohol’s another thing to make sure to have on hand.

And then there were three….
Kenneth, Kai, and I were in the comfort of our home taking in the whole experience. Just that morning it was two of us and now, sixteen hours later, here we were with a precious little life that we had created out of love. She was born exactly how and where she needed to be born; at home and among people who loved her.

Joined: 04/30/07
Posts: 1

Frank "Tylir"
Born at home 2-16-07
7lbs14oz 21

I had false labor starting on the 12th then again on that night and the night of the 13thand 14th. On Wednesday night I slept through on Thursday I had nothing all day I felt wonder full, the midwifes came that evening for a prenatal, we went to bed I woke up at 12:30a.m. and had 3 fairly hard contractions 5min apart, just like on all the other nights only a little harder. I fell back to sleep only to wake up a hour latter to more contractions I waited about 20min for them to go away before I woke DH. We waited until around 4:30a.m. to let Midwife know. She said that it looked like it might be a while because my contractions weren't consistent, they ranged from 4-8min apart, and that with the sun coming up allot of women lose labor. So we waited, they didn't go away. I got in the tub a couple of times and moved around the apartment a bit took a few 10min naps in between contractions, then around noon my water finally broke.
Labor really kicked in. :shock:
At 3:30p.m. I was at the end of my strength, I was so worn out, DH called midwife told her where things were at she said she had to drop off kids then she'd be right over. I felt like pushing Surprised, DH was with me the whole time supporting me, he was the most wonderful birth assistant I could have ever dreamed of having, at 4:30p.m. DS came into this world, into the hands of his daddy (the most precious thing), he told me we had a boy put baby on my chest gave me a blanket for DS then went to let the midwife in. Wink
I'm so thankful that God worked things out , and that DH was the one to catch DS. All in all I ended up with a tear that was not even 1st degree (no stitches) DS was perfect, I loved my home birth!!!

Sarah-Jean's picture
Joined: 10/25/01
Posts: 1335

On the 16th, we went on the long drive down to Middlesex to drop back the broken birth pool we hired and all the way there in the car I was having what felt like painful braxton hicks. I didn't say anything at the time, as I was just pleading with my body not to go into labour on the M1 as they were about 10minutes apart. By the time we'd dropped the birth pool off and started heading home they were getting really uncomfortable and I had to breath through them, they were coming about every 7-12minutes apart and Martin was timing them.

Unfortunately by the time we got home and got the boys fed and settled in bed, they'd stopped again. I was really pissed off I've got to admit, and so Martin bought me a chinese take-away (my favourite!) and a bottle of rose wine to cheer me up. Don't know how but he also managed to talk me into giving his preferred method of natural induction a go, so we DTD as well. Fell asleep, nothing seemed to be happening although when I went to the loo before bed there was more of the mucous plug there but I'd been loosing bits for weeks so thought nothing of it.

At around 3am (17th August), I woke up feeling really uncomfortable and restless. Don't really know what woke me up, but I went to the loo and then got into bed and by this time felt a bit crampy so gave up and went downstairs to come online and post on the boards I visit! Just for "fun" I decided to start up contraction master and time my cramps and was somewhat surprised when I realised they were coming every 5 minutes or so. They were painful by this time and I was having to breath through them, but didn't seem bad enough to be "real" labour so I posted about them but figured it was nothing and carried on playing minesweeper!

After about another half hour I was really quite uncomfortable and decided maybe I'd have a bath. I know they say not to in early labour but I figured IF it REALLY was labour then nothing would stall it, and if it wasn't really labour then it might help ease the pain. I did think about not waking Martin, but in the end I went up and poked him to tell him I was having a bath, at which point he jumped out of bed and followed me downstairs to the bathroom on the boys floor. The bath eased the pain for about 10 minutes before they started coming back again every 4-6 minutes apart. By this time I knew it was the real deal as I could see the visible signs of contractions on my stomach, but I still didnt want to fully believe it incase it all stopped and I was disappointed again. Martin started bustling around, filling my birth pool and tidying things away whilst boasting about his amazing baby induction abilities and how he couldn't believe he'd managed to induce 3 of my labours now. Hmmm.

At somewhere around 5am, I asked Martin to call my midwife as I was in a lot of pain and also asked him to call my Mum and Rachell to come over. I was worried that they'd all arrive and everything would stop, but I didn't want to have the rush we had with Ashton were I pu off calling anyone until the last minute! I got out the bath at this point and got a nightie on although for some reason I really wanted to be naked, and went downstairs and sat at the dining table miserable because the contractions seemed to have stopped again!

My midwife arrived somewhere around 6am and unloaded all her gear into the house. She took my BP and listened to baby and everything seemed fine. My contractions were now really irregular and I was doubtful that I was actually in labour but she watched me have a couple (by which time I needed Martin to rub my back through them to ease the pain) and told me I could get in the birth pool and what would happen would happen. I didn't really feel like getting in the pool yet as I was really upset that everything seemed to have stalled even though I was still having contractions, they didn't seem that regular to me.

Somewhere around 6:30am my Mum and Rachell arrived and I got in the pool around this time as when I was having contractions they were painful and my midwife seemed to think I'd be better off in there. My contractions slowed right down to the point of feeling like they'd stopped once I got in the pool and I was now really worried and embarrassed that I'd dragged everyone out of their beds for nothing and was cursing myself for not waiting longer before calling people. Around 7am I think my contractions were around every 8-10 minutes apart and I remember they were really strong and the only way I could get through them was to lean my head on the side of the pool and have Martin rub my back. I do remember saying at one point "This is not fun anymore!". By about 7:30am they felt to me like they were back up to maybe once every 5 minutes or so and I was really having trouble getting through them.

My midwife had to make a couple of calls at some point around 7:45am and at this point Martin rubbing my back wasn't helping much and all I could think through the contractions was "I need drugs! I need drugs!" and then the minute it was over I was fine again but then I had quite a big contraction and at that point I said to Martin I wanted entonox and he went and told my midwife and she got me some. Although I didn't use it much as I wasn't having many contractions anyway it didn't seem.

During this time Raistlin had been in the room and hanging out with us, and at around 8am I remember saying how "these really hurt now" and my midwife suggested that if I wanted any of the other kids present maybe we should get them down, so we called Tristan and JJ down (Ashton was asleep upstairs with Rachell) and put some cartoons on for them.

At around 8:35am I couldn't help myself any longer. I'd been having pressure and feeling like I needed the toilet with every contraction I'd had since they'd started, but by this time I couldn't fight them any longer and started pushing. It hurt but not as much as I remembered it hurting, the main overwhelming feeling I had was that she was too big and I couldn't get her out and I couldn't do it. I remember telling my midwife that I couldn't do it and her looking me straight in the eyes and telling me of course I could! At 8:38am Lacey Rose's head was born which was a major relief and at that point my waters broke! All through the pushing I'd had my hand down there to guide her out slowly and it was quite a surreal feeling, feeling myself stretching and I remember thinking that if I felt myself tear I was going to puke my guts up all over the place or faint! Once her head was out though I couldn't seem to push her body out even though I was trying really hard and then at 8:39am she suddenly just kind of "popped" out and floated to the bottom of the pool. I was a bit shocked as I wasn't expecting her to just "pop" out and so I didn't immediately catch her, but I did grab her pretty quickly and pull her up out the water!

She was spluttering quite a bit and her breathing was a bit laboured, but that stopped after a couple of minutes and she seemed OK. I held her whilst we waited for my placenta to come naturally. I have heard that it can take a long time for that to happen but actually it only took about 10minutes although I was having trouble pushing by this stage and so had to stand up and use gravity a bit, but thankfully I didn't have to leave the pool!

At about 9am we decided we should cut the cord and so I handed Lacey Rose over to Martin, with the placenta and they wrapped her in a towel and Martin cut her cord and my midwife tied it with an umbilical tie (not the clamp!). I stayed in the pool for quite awhile after this as I didn't feel that great, I was a little shocked and didn't want to move much. They weighed her and got her dry and took photo's and had cuddles and around 9:20am I got out the pool and sat on the sofa. I was bleeding quite heavily, in a lot of pain and felt really sick, exhausted and flaky but was otherwise OK so they passed her to me and I gave her her first feed.

After that my Mum and Rachell left us to it and my midwife helped me to the other sofa so I could lie down. They seemed a bit worried as I was loosing a lot of blood and very pale and not really with it, but it wasn't enough to think I was bleeding out so we just left it to slow down of it's own accord. The midwife helped clean me up a little bit and discovered I had retained a large amount of the membranes - she got as much as she could out but we know there's still some left so we're keeping a very close eye on me for infection.

So, stats wise!

Latent labour was 30minutes (between the time I woke up and the time I realised the cramps were probably contractions!)
1st stage was 5hours and 5minutes
2nd stage was 4minutes
3rd stage was 11minutes

Martin, Mum, Tristan, Jaeven, Raistlin and my midwife all witnessed the birth.

Lacey Rose was born at 39weeks and 6days.
Apgars were;
7 @ 1min
9 @ 5min
10 @ 10min

She weighed in at 10lbs 2oz, and her head circumference was 36cm.

Her skin is peeling quite a bit, which normally would suggest she'd been overcooked, but we know that's not the case so probably just her size! She doesn't look anything like any of the boys - she's got long dark hard and is really chubby and fat!

So there you go! It's all over and it's just beginning! Wow!

HockeyTownMom's picture
Joined: 05/20/02
Posts: 417

Dylan Andrew
Born on September 29th, 2007 - Home waterbirth

I woke up at 6:30am on the 29th with painful contractions. I told Jesse he should call our midwife to let her know and to have her bring her stuff. She was heading to our house for our 40 week appointment later that morning.

Kate, our midwife, arrived at 9:15am. At 9:20am she checked me to see where we were at. To my surprise, I was 7cm dilated and 100% effaced and -2 station, contractions were 3 minutes apart. My reaction was, “wow I haven’t even done anything yet!”. Dylan’s heart rate was in the 140’s and he was doing great.

At 10:43am I got into the pool to relax a bit. I was awesome, felt better than an epidural! At 11:23am my water broke, my first spontaneous rupture and it was weird! My water was stained with meconium, but we weren’t really worried, Dylan still looked great on the Doppler. At that point the contractions were getting intense, but the water helped.

At 11:32am I got the urge to push although I wasn’t quite ready to push yet. Kate checked me at 11:39am and felt a small anterior lip and head, +2/+3 station. I also got to feel his head. At 11:48am after 13 minutes of pushing, Dylan Andrew was born into his Daddy’s hands weighing 8lb 13oz and 22” long. His APGAR scores were 9 and 10 and I avoided another postpartum hemorrhage.

The kids watched their brother being born and loved it.

It was just an amazing experience, my midwife was just awesome! I wish I would have had all the kids at home.

Dese's picture
Joined: 05/27/07
Posts: 139

I finally got it finished 3 weeks after giving birth! It's rather long but hopefully you can make it through it.

Present at birth: Myself (Amy), Matt (husband), Emily (sister) and midwifes Janet & Kelly

In the early hours of Monday December 16th 2007 I had five hours of contractions. I had been having 3-10 hours worth of contractions at a time since about 36 weeks but this was the first time I really felt like I needed a little support. I got up out of bed and went into the living room where Matt was. He was great. He rubbed my back while I hang over my birth ball and he let me hang off of him when I wanted to. The contractions tapered off enough that I was able to go back to sleep but I was happy in knowing what a great support I had in him for when the real labour began. In the morning I was feeling very tired and a bit frustrated with the stop/start contractions. I called my Mum and let her know I wasn’t up for shopping and needed to rest because of the night before. She said ‘You’re not well’ to which I insisted ‘I am not sick, I’m pregnant.’ One of the attitudes I took with the pregnancy was that pregnancy is not an illness and should not be treated as one.

Thursday December 20th was my next midwife appointment, at 39 weeks 5 days. I decided that I would get an internal (my first for the pregnancy) even though I did have a preference of as little intervention as possible. I wanted to find out that if anything was happening with all the contractions I had been having, but I was prepared to go to 42 weeks if that was what the baby wanted. So I requested an internal and was happy to hear the results! Janet said ‘holy mackerel!’ and I laughed to which she said that the baby’s head came right down so I should keep laughing and watch lots of funny movies to get the baby down further. That worked as you’ll read later! She then said that I was doing great. Sitting at 1cm dilated and could stretch 2-3cm and my cervix was 50% effaced, anterior (facing forward, the right way for the baby to come out) and soft. We went on to discuss a couple of different things and I found out that not only was one of the midwifes in the practice completely off work due to pregnancy complications, but the one other midwife was about to go on vacation. So that meant there was only my midwife available, and for her to attend my birth at home she would have to find a back up midwife from another practice in the city as there must be two attendings at a birth. Add to that the stress of finding out that because my BMI had just hit over 40 I would have to go in to the hospital to get an anaesthesiologist consult (just in case). I got so stressed out, not a happy pregnant woman! My BP was taken after that and surprise surprise it was high at 128/70. So I put that down to all the stress of hearing all the previous that indicated I may not be able to have my homebirth, as well as some stress I was feeling from family stuff. Before Janet left she suggested that I get my birth pool inflated, saying that sometimes just getting those last few things complete can help a woman relax enough to go into labour.

That night I passed a very large glob of mucous discharge which I thought was quite possibly my mucous plug. The next morning there was more. First thing in the morning (Friday December 21st) I got a call from my midwife telling me to call the hospital about the anaesthesiologist consult. I called and they said they had to get me in straight away as I was due the next day and they would be closed over Christmas for appointments until the 27th. So Matt and I headed off to the hospital. We parked a fair ways away and my hair froze on the walk to the hospital because I had had a shower just beforehand. I thought that was pretty funny! The weather warning for the day predicted 10-15cm of snow which was more stress as I knew I probably couldn’t give birth at home if I went into labour during a snowstorm.

At the hospital I registered then we had to go pay the bill since I don’t have Permanent Residence yet ($295, boo!) before we went up to the anaesthesiologist. Got in to see her and the appointment was very brief and mostly fine. All she did was ask me a bunch of questions about my medical history, have a look at my spine to see how difficult it might be to get a needle in (said it was fine), took my BP twice because the reading was high (I was extremely stressed out by all this!) and then weighed me. My BP was up to 136/87 at the first reading… basically they like to admit you once it reaches 140/90 because of the risk of seizures. The second reading was 137/76 which she said was much better. I was really upset on the car ride home from the hospital and started bawling. I kept thinking that everything was spiralling towards my not being able to have the homebirth that I’d been working towards throughout the entire pregnancy. Matt told me everything would be ok. He said that I would have the baby after Christmas and that Janet would be able to find a second attending so we could have the homebirth.

That afternoon we went out to see a movie (Eastern Promises) with my sister and also checked out the new big pet store that had opened by the cinema. Afterwards we headed over to Matt’s Mum’s place so Matt could hang out with his brothers for a few hours, one of which had just flown in from Ontario for Christmas. Emily and I watched tv upstairs and I napped a bit on the couch until it got close to six, then we headed out to go to a family friends place for the traditional get together and Christmas dinner. Every year on the Friday right before Christmas, Matt’s family gets together with theirs for Christmas dinner. It this point it was snowing quite a lot but the flakes were really small, it was more like rain. We drove down their street to show Em one of their neighbours houses with an extreme collection of Christmas lights, then we went to our friends house. Dinner was absolutely delicious, turkey and the works, and I drank a copious amount of cranberry pop (that I somewhat regretted later!). I skipped dessert and went to sit by myself in the living while everyone ate. I was just feeling a bit achey from sitting on the chair for so long, but not really having contractions, I just sort of felt like I needed to be resting. Ended up hanging out and talking with various people for awhile (it’s all a blur now!) then we decided to watch slides from when Matt and his brothers, and the kids from this family were all young. They got that all set up and we all squeezed in to the living room. It was very funny to see everyone when they were so little. I think we probably spent about half an hour laughing at all the pictures and laughing harder and harder at each slide. And that’s when it happened! I felt a gush. I sat there for probably about twenty seconds, wondering whether I should loudly announce to the room that ‘My water broke!’, if I was imaging things or what… then I felt another gush. At that point I leaned over to Matt and said to him quietly ‘I think my water just broke’. He said ‘What do you want to do?’ to which I replied ‘I better go check!’ I was pretty worried about soaking through my clothes and wrecking their furniture, so I got up (trying to be as discreet as possible) while everyone kept watching the slides and I went in to the bathroom.

It was around 9pm at this point. In the bathroom I discovered that my underwear was completely soaked with clear liquid and there was a large amount of mucous discharge on my panty liner. So the underwear had to come off. I wasn’t really gushing or trickling any more water so I am pretty sure the baby’s head was low enough to block it from being a significant continuous flow. I left the bathroom and went to stand in the doorway of the living room while everyone kept watching slides. After a few minutes Matt got up and came to check on me and we started discussing what we should do. I think everyone finished watching the slides because my sister came up to us not too long after and I told her that my water had broken. She was very excited! I got a bit choked up at that point (the ‘this is actually happening’ moment), also feeling very worried about the unfavourable to homebirth weather conditions. I decided I had better call my midwife and let her know my water had broken, and also see what she thought we should do. Janet said that I could stay there as long as I was comfortable, but to keep in mind the road conditions as far as travel time to get back home. She also said that because it was snowing so much there was a big chance that we would have to head to the hospital for the delivery and that I should prepare for that. I decided I wanted to stay for awhile because I’d been looking forward to playing card games with everyone. At that point I headed back into the living room and made the big announcement to everyone that my water had broken. (Interestingly enough, the month before at my baby shower I had said that I thought my water would break on that night while we were at their place, and it did!) It was quite funny the different reactions. Everyone was freaking out where as I was basically pretty calm. I said that the labour was going to happen whether I was ready or not and that I wasn’t stressed about it. And I really wasn’t.

So we ended up playing about two rounds of a card game (Scum or Asshole as it’s known in some less polite circles). I actually managed to win the second best position in the first round, which was neat! The contractions were getting stronger, not to the point where I wanted to make any noise but I just ended up feeling that I would be more comfortable in my own environment without everyone staring at me like I was ticking time bomb... which really got to be a little disconcerting! I think they couldn’t believe that I was playing cards while I was going into labour. I told Matt I was ready to head home and we got our stuff together and headed out. The ride home was interesting. I tried to time my contractions and they were somewhere between 3-5 minutes apart, but I was still not entirely feeling like I was in labour.

When we got home I got changed into my nightgown and was thinking about attempting to get some sleep since I knew I would need as much energy as possible. The midwife called at about 11pm not long after we got home and said that she wanted to come check on me, even though I wasn’t feeling intense labour yet. She said she wanted to take a shower and I told her to take her time, I was doing fine. I sent Matt to bed to sleep as he had been up since 2:30am in the morning. Matt was still adjusting back to sleeping nights and being up days as his holidays only started two days before and he had been working the nightshift.

I ended up on my knees hanging over my birthball in the middle of the living room. I had a ball of amethyst that I kept in my right hand and squeezed and played with while I rocked over the birth ball. I think Janet arrived at about 12:30. I had my eyes closed and I didn’t move or really pay attention to her, just kept focused on being relaxed and working through the contractions. They were getting stronger. I ended up talking to myself saying ‘Relax, relax, relax’ and throwing the occasional ‘Just breathe’ in there. One of the affirmations I had found that really resonated with me was a combination of ‘My job is simply to relax, my body will do the rest’ and ‘all I need to do is relax and breathe – nothing more’. So relax relax relax became my mantra! I drank water and at some point asked Emily to fetch me a banana which I then ate.

Janet just sat their quietly observing me, then after awhile she asked if I could let her know when the contractions started and ended so she could time them. At 01:20 she asked if she could do an internal to access where I was at, so she could figure out how soon she needed to try and find a second attending. At some point we discussed the weather and she basically said she needed to let me know that in these weather conditions it could take longer either for us to get to the hospital or for an ambulance to get out to us in the event of an emergency. She asked if she could check the weather online and found that the storm warning had been lowered, so we could relax a little bit. She asked if I was comfortable with knowing there could be that time delay and I said ‘This is what I want’. So I consented to the internal. She was very impressed and said ‘Amy you’re amazing’. I was at 4-5cm at that point (also 80% effaced and baby’s head at -1, although she didn’t tell me that until a few days after the birth when I asked to see her notes from the birth). Somewhere around this time Janet started calling around to try and find the second attending. She had one midwife who had said she would be willing, so she called her and let her know what point I was at, and basically got her opinion on the storm situation and said she would keep her posted so she could come when I was closer to actually giving birth.

I ended up having to get up and go to the bathroom a few times because my bladder was so full from all that cranberry pop I drank at dinner time. I had a little bit of loose bowel movement but I think I was honestly pretty empty because my body had been clearing out over the past few days. When I came back into the living room I decided I wasn’t comfortable on my knees anymore, so I got my pillow and leaned over the back of the couch with my head resting on it. I had my eyes closed pretty much the whole time, just blocked out the world and focused on being relaxed. Janet would come and check the baby’s heartbeat with the Doppler once in awhile, monitoring any changes during contractions. Baby stayed fine. It was during the time I was hanging over the couch that I really felt like I needed more support than I was getting. I wanted Matt to be there with me, but I knew that he needed as much sleep as possible so he could better support me in later labour. But I did feel alone or awhile there, but capable of dealing with it. I don’t know how much noise I was making at that point but Janet eventually said she wanted to get the pool set up. I tried to help out but basically just told her and Emily where they could move stuff and where everything they needed was. They got the table out of the corner, put down the waterproof sheets and got the pool set up on top of them. Janet tried to hook the hose up to the kitchen faucet but was having problems, so I said they could go in and wake up Matt. I think that was around about 3am. He got up and helped Janet get the hose plugged in and the pool started filling up, then he came and helped me work through the labour. I was having a lot of lower back pain so he started rubbing my back. I think I was a little snappy (‘Lower!, Harder, softer!’) until he was rubbing my back in the right places with the right amount of pressure, then it was great. I started feeling nauseous and while I wasn’t entirely sure I was going to be sick I got Matt to grab the bucket anyway, and then I was sick. Janet said that was a great sign that I was going into transition and I knew that also. I found it a bit embarrassing because I was heaving and couldn’t control my bladder while trying to deal with that and the contractions, so I was peeing all over the place. Janet said ‘I see all kinds of bodily fluids in this job, don’t worry, don’t be embarrassed about it’ She ended up applying pressure to some point on my wrist to try stop the nausea and it did work. I was still able to drink water from a bottle but that ended up being too much effort before too long.

Janet wanted to do another internal and I had to sort of work towards being up for it. The contractions were getting much stronger and I didn’t really want to move from where I was labouring somewhat comfortably. But I ended up laying down on the floor so she could examine me. That was the one point in the labour I really felt out of control because the pain became so unbearable having contractions laying down on my back. She checked me and when she was done I somehow managed to pull myself up off the floor and move in the middle of a contraction. The pain was SO intense I just had to get out of that position and back to my leaning. It was awful. I was like that’s it! No more internals! I wasn’t lying down again for anything. I remember thinking how in the world can anyone labour on their back, it’s agony. I was 6-7cm (still 80% effaced and baby at -1, also didn’t find that out until a few days later) and had a bloody show.

Not long after that I was able to get into the birthpool. My sister was very busily boiling pot after pot of water on the stove as the hot water tank had run out of water, so the pool wasn’t as high as it eventually ended up but it was absolute heaven when I got in. I remember warning my sister that ’I am going to get naked now’ and so I did! I can’t imagine giving birth with clothes on and I really didn’t care who saw me or have any inhibitions. After I got into the pool my contractions were very mild for about the next 2-3 contractions. I was on my knees at first as Matt and I were trying to figure out what the best position was, whether I could hang over the pool or lean back on it or what. I ended up leaning back on it. Matt sat on a chair behind me and I put my hands up over my shoulders and held onto his hands. They started making sure I was drinking water very regularly. I had a lot of frustration with the straw length, we only had really long slurpee straws, not the bendable ones that were recommended we get (forgot about them!). So it was really hard to drink the water sometimes and I was really parched. Note to self: Buy bendy straws for next time. Occasionally Matt would pull one of his hands away and I would feel panic rising and demand he return his hand. I felt I could only really focus and get through things calmly if I had both of his hands to hold. I experimented with the noises I was making during the contractions until I found what really worked, which was basically humming/singing ‘haa/hoo’ noises at different pitches depending on what I was feeling. It worked so well.

At some point I ended up going into that slightly delirious state I had heard about and seen in some births on tv. I think it was a combination of being semi-asleep between contractions and that I already have a tendency to talk in my sleep sometimes. I said a few weird things to Matt. I remember telling him to send away people that weren’t at the birth, and something about sandwiches, I have no idea! I was still talking myself through the contractions, and when they ended up pretty intense I begged/demanded that Matt tell me I could do it. I just needed him to encourage me because knowing he had faith in me gave me faith in myself. From that point onward he talked me through every single contraction. When I would start saying ‘it’ll pass’ or something similar to remind myself that contractions were not endless, he would take my lead and talk me through it also, and that really helped me.

At some point I remember silently and briefly considering what it would like to transfer to a hospital and get the epidural, and I thought I very likely would not be able to handle being in the car. Just another sign of being in transition, thinking I couldn’t handle what was happening.

Around 6am after being in the tub for two hours I first got the urge to push. With one of the contractions I felt intense pressure in my butt, I couldn’t help but push, and the pushing made me arch out of the water. Around then Janet called the second midwife she had spoken with earlier and told her she had better come on over. Janet came and spoke to me and asked if she could do an internal to assess where I was at. I said ‘I don’t think I could handle it’, and she asked if I didn’t think I could handle the labour, or if I didn’t think I could handle the internal. I said the internal, and actually thought that was a silly question, I didn’t doubt my ability to give birth at all. I just remembered how intense the pain was in the previous internal and now, having the urge to push and the contractions being that more intense, there was no way I was taking another one. She asked that I do my best to breathe through contractions and not push until the back-up midwife arrived. With each contraction I had the urge to push right at the end and really couldn’t help push a little, and I was still arching out of the water with most. I remember how strange I thought it was that I was feeling all the pressure in my butt. I had read that was what would happen, but it was just very weird to experience it and not really feel any pain or pressure in my vagina. At first I felt like I was just going to have a bowel movement but I soon realised that it was normal and got over the fear of pooping in the tub! And that didn’t happen.

The back-up midwife arrived about half an hour later at around 6:30. I remember reaching down and finding that I could feel the baby’s head, it was very soft and squishy. I told Matt then told him to tell Janet. After pushing during contractions leaning back on the tub for awhile Janet suggested that I move onto my knees. I somehow managed to do that and I had my arms around Matt’s neck at that point, or my hands on his shoulders. The contractions and pushing became much more intense, and it only seemed like 5 minutes from that point until the birth to me but it was really more like 15. Janet had sent my sister to bed to get some rest a few hours earlier, and she got up and saw the birth (she was woken up by my screaming, her words!). Baby started crowning and the pain became very intense. I remember hearing myself screaming and almost feeling outside of myself. I felt like I was tearing, and I thought ‘I am tearing’ (I wasn’t!). I hadn’t expected to feel the pain all the way around. I had gone into the labour not wanting to make a lot of noise, and up until that point I had laboured almost silently, or in the midwifes words I just sang my way through labour. I remember saying how much it hurt, that it was stinging and burning, and Janet talked me through it, explaining what I already knew… baby was crowning, I was feeling the ‘ring of fire’. I ended up hyperventilating because I wasn’t able to breathe with all the screaming I was doing, and Janet told me to breathe. She reminded me of the baby and told me to breathe for the baby. That calmed me down straight away and I was able to take in some nice deep breathes. I was really digging into Matt’s shoulders with my fingers and hands, I felt like I was clinging on to him for dear life! Then baby’s head was out! That was an incredible feeling and I could relate to reading about other women’s finding that an orgasmic release. It was a HUGE relief and an incredible feeling. I gasped and really fell against Matt, it was like WOAH! About ten seconds later baby was born with the next push at 6:58am. I was briefly a bit disorientated because it was a lot to process. I think Janet encouraged me to pick up the baby and she assisted me in doing so. Baby took a breath and slipped back under the water, and we think took in a mouthful as a result of which baby had a lot of spit-up in the first 24 hours. Then I had the baby in my arms. Very wet and slippery and wriggly. Baby didn’t cry at all, just looked around with big eyes and eventually let out a bit of a cry after having chest rubbed. I was kind of shocked. Obviously I’d been pregnant for 40 weeks, I knew I was in labour and about to give birth but all of a sudden there was a baby in my arms! I talked to the baby and asked ‘what are you? A boy or a girl?’… Janet got Matt to check and he just looked sort of baffled, he had no idea what baby bits look like and didn’t want to get it wrong. Then Janet accidentally told us by saying something like ‘She’s cold’. She quickly apologised to which I said it was ok, and I double checked, it was indeed a girl! I said ‘I knew you were a girl!!!’ but I was still quite surprised. Towards the end I had become hesitant to trust in it being a girl in case it was a boy, and I didn’t want to be disappointed either way. She was beautiful. Eyes were a very dark color, black with a slight blue tinge to them. She had a full head of dark hair, just as expected.

Janet commented on Matt crying and he said it was from hearing me scream so much, I felt bad that it had been so hard on him but so appreciative that he was there for me, he really got me through it all. I felt incredibly alert and energetic and I think I said ‘That was easy!’. I had absolutely no grasp on the passage of time so I had no idea what time it was or how long the labour had been, and I hadn’t cared about the time while was in labour. Later discovered that I was only in labour for 10 hours, 5 of which were active labour and just 1 hour from first pushing urge until birth, all of which were amazing for a first time Mum.

Baby and I got out of the pool about 1 minute after the birth. The midwifes had set up a birthing stool at the edge. I had wanted to deliver the placenta outside of the water and was fine with moving. I said hello to the back-up midwife Kelly as that was the first time I had seen her-my back had been to the room where she was sitting. The water in the pool was very red with blood and I was gushing blood (midwifes words-‘like a tap’) though unaware of it, I was focused on the baby. I was given a precautionary shot of oxytocin in my right thigh. I remember noticing my stomach and being amused by how squishy and empty it was. I also remember having the feeling of wishing someone would take the baby away because I didn’t know what to do with it. 12 minutes after baby was born the placenta was delivered. I found it very easy to push it out, I’m not sure why some women compare that to giving birth a second time. At some point Matt cut the cord but I’m not sure if that happened before or after the placenta was delivered. He hadn’t wanted to throughout the entire pregnancy, but we kind of bullied him into it!

We moved to the bedroom after placenta was delivered. Baby stayed with Matt and Emily in the living room while the midwifes assessed me. Janet examined me for tears and explained everything she was doing. I didn’t tear even though I thought I had, there were just abrasions on both sides. Both midwifes kept telling me how amazing I was, how I had had the perfect birth, that I’d birthed like it was my third baby not my first. I thought it was funny but was happy to be praised and very pleased! I was still bleeding quite a lot, soaked all the way through the first pad, my underwear, and the blue undersheet on the bed. Janet wasn’t too concerned but said that I was bleeding more than she typically expected from most white women, so she stayed beside me and monitored me for longer than she would normally. Desana was born at 6:58am and I think Janet stayed until 11am.

Desana was brought into the room and had her assessment done. Weighed and measured, everything checked. Everything was perfect, only unusual thing was that she had a non-problematic sacral dimple (dimple in the back, right above the bum). Matt said that one of his brothers had one too. I don’t know if it’s genetic, but maybe! She weighed 7lbs10oz and was 20 inches long. Janet helped me get started with breastfeeding. I had baby skin-to-skin with me and while I was feeding her she did her first poop, lovely meconium all over my arm, down my side and over the bedsheets. Naughty little baby! After everything I was so wide awake I had trouble getting any sleep at all for the first 48 hours or so, even though I was exhausted.

Overall it was an amazing experience. I am very proud of it and very grateful that my husband is such an amazing man and that he helped me birth our baby. I am very lucky to have achieved the exact birth experience I hoped and planned for. Now I hope to be an advocate for homebirth and doing it naturally, or at least be able to offer a different perspective on what the birthing experience can be to my friends and family. I do not think my birth was a fluke or that I just got lucky. I very much believe it went so smoothly because I believed in my ability to birth the baby naturally, and I trusted in my body and in the process. My midwife said I could have done it on my own. After many months of preparation there was a wonderful outcome, my beautiful baby girl!

Water broke at 9pm December 21st
Internal at 01:20am: 4-5cm, 80% effaced, baby at -1
03:35 vomiting-sign of transition
Internal at 03:50am: 6-7 cm, 80% effaced, baby at -1
04:00 contractions noted by midwife as strong in intensity, moved to birth pool
05:55am grunting sound during contraction, indicating pushing urge
06:58 baby delivered, Apgars 8 and 9
Contractions stayed at 2-3 minutes apart the entire labour, each 60-90 seconds long
10 hours total labour time

Baby Girl: Desana Rose
12/22/07 - 6:58am (CST)
7 pounds 10 ounces
20" long (51 cm), head 14" (35cm)
Born at 40 weeks even, on her duedate