At 3 weeks post partum I feel I still have a good recollection of the event and even with the memory of my first birth 4 years ago.
That being said - I want to give a little background story on my first two home births just to give some comparison.
My 1st child - Israella -
I was clueless and didn't really even know what Braxton Hicks felt like or what to expect for labor or contractions.
Wednesday February 25th 2015 at 39 weeks pregnant, during the middle of the night going into Thursday morning I was awoken by what felt like period cramps. I had a few that woke me and then I went to work for my 3rd 12 hour RN shift in a row that Thursday morning. All throughout the day I had these sensations that had me bending over in pain and thinking "I wonder what that is!?"
I was still scheduled to work the next week but I told my coworkers I would see them in 3 months. Although they didn't necessarily believe me I was pretty sure she would make her arrival sometime during my weekend off.
I called my midwife on my way home from work and she told me it could be "pre-labor" or they could be "false contractions" and that I should go home and take a bath. She said if they went away then it was false labor but if they persisted then to try and get rest because the baby was on her way.
The bath did not make the contractions stop so I attempted to rest. I fell asleep for maybe an hour or so. At approximately 2:30am I started having fairly intense contractions which made me realize "OK THIS IS HAPPENING. TODAY IS THE DAY!"
I let my husband sleep for a while because I figured there wasn't really anything he could do at that time. I labored in and out of the bath and let the jets distract me during the rushes. My 2 cats hung out in the bathroom with me as I texted with a friend and scrolled through social media. I joke that my cats were my doulas.
When my husband's alarm went off for work I woke him to tell him he wasn't going to work that day and that we'd be meeting our daughter. I soon called my midwife. This was around 6:30am. Thank goodness I still had time to go because the midwife didn't arrive until about 9:30am.
There is much to be said for all the unfortunate things with our first midwife. I gave her the benefit of the doubt multiple times from missed appointments, her getting lost a few times on the way to our very easy to find house, emails of info not sent to me and her not having a phone, among many other issues. So thank goodness all went fine that day for the birth and we didn't have any complications.
We found out a few years after my first homebirth that this particular midwife had a brain tumor so perhaps that was her issue back when she was our midwife. I'll just leave it at that for now but I sure hope she's not practicing anywhere! From my understanding she is not.
- - Back to the story - - -
I continued to labor in and out of the bath. When the midwife arrived around 9:30am she checked me and said I was further along than she had anticipated and that I was handling it pretty well. However I don't know if she told me how dilated I was or if she did I don't remember. The water and jets were definitely helping. My contractions were about 5 min apart.
Our birth tub had actually been delivered the day before but we didn't know it. When the midwife arrived she let us know the tub was on the front porch so hubby inflated it and filled it with water as I labored.
I got to the point where I wanted him to put counterpressure on my back and not worry about the tub so that was a downfall of us not knowing the pool had arrived the day before. (The midwife said she did not have any more pools available so we had to order one off amazon. Im a procrastinator and was not expecting the baby to arrive 5 days early.)
When the birth pool was finally ready I used it very briefly but was so tired by this point that I wanted to lay down on my side. I kept trying to find a good position. We tried many many positions especially while pushing to which I finally decided that hands and knees on the floor was where I wanted to be.
My water did not break until the baby came out. Good thing for having plastic all over the floor, right? I remember the sensation of crowning and pushing her head out. Once her head was out her body just kinda fell right after. They quickly handed her to me. I was still on my knees and extremely exhausted from the work my body had been doing over the course of 3 days, not to mention after three 12 hour shifts on my feet. I felt bad because I wanted to hold her but I was afraid I'd drop her. So I put my hands under her but laid her on the floor. I instantly fell in love.
We're not 100% sure what her weight was because we think the midwife's scale was off. (yeah. i know. seriously. one more thing.)
But we decided to go with 6lbs 11oz. She was 19in long with a 14in head circumference.
All in all - despite the many issues with the midwife, the fact that her 16 year old daughter was her assistant ... and that they took pictures with their phone that I never received... oh and the birth certificate took about 6 or more months to obtain - - -
the birth itself was wonderful and I am grateful to have experienced it all at home.
|Bubbe Grammy Cat (my mom) putting on Ella's first outfit. We finally called Grammy to have her put counterpressure on my back but I was already pushing when she arrived.|
|Proud daddy (I think he was tired too)|
My Second Homebirth - Ezra
(say what you wish on the fact I took castor oil - despite some belief there is no actual evidence to show that castor oil causes the fetus to have meconium in utero (first poop). - that being said - do your own research and make your own decisions for your birth and baby. I personally don't recommend any form of induction ESPECIALLY prior to 40 weeks. We really never truly know ones "guess date". My main reason for doing so was because I could tell the baby was getting fairly large and I was almost completely certain I was well over 40 weeks. Also I would rather take castor oil and poop my guts out than be induced in a hospital which could easily lead to multiple unnecessary interventions and a cesarean.)
About 2 hours after I took the 2 doses of castor oil (which my midwife knew I did) I went to the bathroom a few times and then laid back in bed. (to let you know TMI or not - the castor oil did not cause any stomach pain - just emptied my bowels. REALLY well. )
Israella (Ella) woke around 1:30am wanting "mommy milk" so I gave her a drink to get her to fall back asleep. Yes, I was still nursing my first born during pregnancy. I've run into some people that did not know you could do this but YUP! my milk stuck around and I still nursed her on average of about 3x a day. She was 2 years and 7 months when Ezra was born. (She nursed until she was 3 years and 7 months when I finally cut her off as Ezra was a year old and still nursing and I was pregnant with #3. It just became too much for me mentally although my body was trying to keep up.)
Almost immediately as Ella latched to nurse - the nipple stimulation mixed with the castor oil started my uterine contractions. They started at 3 minutes apart and kept going. They were not intense but I still figured I should call my midwife and let her know. They continued at 3 minutes apart and she arrived within the hour. They still were not terrible at this point and I don't think she noticed how many I was actually having as I was able to have a conversation with her and not really stop.
She checked me and if I remember I was about 5 or 6cm dilated. She said she was going to give me some time to myself and she would be downstairs. At some point I woke my husband before the midwife arrived and they then hung out downstairs and conversed. They knew each other previously form working together.
About an hour went by and I thought to myself "WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY DOING? I'M ABOUT TO PUSH OUT A BABY!" - haha. I guess I had progressed during that time and was hitting transition. I think I called down the steps for them or they headed up anyway. I can't remember but at any rate she then checked me and I was 9 or 10cm. (I could go look in my chart that I have but I honestly dont know where I put it after this most recent birth and Im too lazy to look for it haha.)
The other midwife soon arrived and I believe I was already pushing at that time. Again, on the floor on my hands and knees. Just the most comfortable pushing position for me.
A little after 4 am after a little less than 3 hours of labor Ezra Steven Robin Mayes arrived weighing 8lbs 7oz at 21in long with a 14in head circumference. He was 2in longer than his sissy and almost 2lbs heavier. See - I told you I could tell he was getting big!
The cord was wrapped around his neck and around his body about 8x. They said it was one of the longest cords they had ever seen. I also gushed quite a bit of blood and water as soon as he was born - which could have been the rest of the water since my water never really "broke" until the birth with this one either.
I never planned to set up a birth pool with this one so I mostly labored on the floor and then birthed on the floor. I don't think I even labored in the regular tub at all because the contractions were actually fairly tolerable up until the last 30min or so before pushing started.
My third homebirth - Elia
1. - because I thought I was past 40 weeks and
2. - because for some reason I wanted him to arrive in March and not April haha. (we have at least one birthday on my side of the family in each month except March and October.)
I took the 2 doses of castor oil around 4 and 5pm. I waited and waited. I went to the bathroom. A lot. To the point I messaged my midwife and told her I thought my rectum may fall out before a baby did. It wasn't really painful just a lot of going. (sorry TMI? - you're the one that signed up and committed to reading this entire thing. I am not forcing you to be here. lol)
Just before 11pm my 2 midwives came over to check on me because they said that castor oil can be a "silent dilator". So they checked me and said that i was 2cm on the inside and I could be stretched to 5cm on the outside. (side note- I'm not one to get cervical checks but I was slightly afraid that I may just go into labor and have him in 30-40 minutes without much time for my midwives to arrive.
Any contractions I had were very tolerable and with my last pregnancy going the way it did I was worried labor may creep up on me fast.)
I actually had a contraction while my midwife was checking my cervix and she said "you're having a contraction right now, right?" I said "yeah." she asked if I felt it. I said yeah but that it wasn't very bad. She said she probably felt it before I did.
Not long after the midwives left I started having consistent contractions at 3 minutes apart but again just as with my 2nd labor and delivery - they were not strong and very well tolerated. I let my midwife know what was happening.
I had contractions for 3 hours and decided to lay and rest around 2:30am. I fell asleep and when I woke up a few hours later I had no more contractions. My day started and nothing was happening with this baby.
- - So much for the castor oil working!
April fools joke was on me! I totally thought we were going to meet him but I am actually glad that he didn't arrive on April 1st. Now the kid doesn't have to deal with annoying April fools day jokes for the rest of his life. ha.
On Tuesday April 2nd my midwife called me later in the evening to let me know that she had contacted the woman who did my ultrasound. (I prefer to only get one ultrasound - being the anatomy scan around 20 weeks just to check and make sure everything looks good. And bonus - we get to find out the sex. I don't like surprises. Ask my mother. 😂)
With the photos I had from the US nowhere did it state an estimated due date so my midwife wanted to know if they still had my info on file. Which they did. Turns out only 9% of babies measure the same date all around with all measured body parts. Example : baby has a due date based on head circumference, baby has a due date based on femur length, baby has a due date based on chest circumference and so on .. and they average all the dates to conclude with an EDD - estimated due date.
My baby was in the 9%. All of his measurements gave the the same date. April 2nd.
So needless to say that gave my midwife a bit of relief - not feeling worried about me being "overdue" -- which she wasn't worried. We both know that babies can arrive easily anywhere between 38 and 42 weeks. But the idea of knowing we had just reached 40 weeks that day took a little stress off me which I think relieved her in turn knowing that maybe it made me a bit less anxious for his arrival.
I on the other hand was thinking - dang, had I known, I wouldn't have taken the castor oil the other day. Because obviously it didn't work. And it didn't work because baby wasn't ready. And that was totally fine with me. It was an experience had and a learning one at that!
Not that the CO experience was terrible but I could have spared myself the anxious part of the waiting and just let nature lead the way. I didn't feel that Elia was getting as big as Ezra was - which was my original concern and reasoning for taking CO with Ezra.
- - - I digress.
At about 3:30am on Wednesday April 3rd - about 6 hours after talking with the midwife about the new due date info, I was awoken by uterine contractions. They were 3 minutes apart. Apparently my magic timing. I guess I can be grateful that they start that way vs being 10min apart then 12 then 9 then so on... more like what my very drawn out first labor was like.
I called my midwife around 4:30am after about an hour of contractions. They were not TERRrrrible but they were definitely stronger than they were Sunday night after the castor oil.
She told me to call her back when they became more consistent or worsened in pain and not to get in the water until she called me back and she was on her way. I briefly questioned her sanity but I trusted her expertise.
The contractions varied between 2 and 4 minutes apart but I honestly can attribute that to me not hitting the timer as soon as they started and stopped. And regarding severity? I really had no idea how to gauge that on what she wanted. Especially when with my 2nd birth the switch flipped fairly quickly in regards to pain and then baby arrived about 30-40 min after.
We got off the phone and I walked around, stopping for contractions to focus on breathing. My birthing tub was blown up and ready, we just needed to fill it with water. I let my husband sleep a little bit more. Ella and Ezra were both in bed with daddy. The cats and dogs were available for company.
Not long after the first call to the midwife I woke my husband as I was starting to feel things get a bit more serious - pretty quickly. I asked him to fill the birthing pool and I myself was becoming pretty helpless as the contractions were getting longer and closer together. Within 45 min of calling the midwife I called her again. I said "Im not sure how bad you want these to get but I'd really like to get in the water now!!"
She said she would be on her way. I texted the photographer and told her to head over. Hubby was filling the pool with water however the hose we had was not working so he had to use a bucket. The process was slow to say the least. I soon became no help.
At one point I was on my way to the guest room to retrieve something and I was brought to my knees in the hallway with a contraction. I thought to myself "get your phone and record this so you can remind yourself you don't want to do this again."
Obviously looking back - 45 minutes, even 3 hours of pain is SO worth having a perfect miracle to hold and love and raise and I am beyond grateful for all 3 of my babies.
By 5:45am shit got real lol. I was trying to find a place to get comfortable while I waited for more water in the pool. I was sitting on the potty when I heard the midwives arrive just around 6am. I waited to get in the water as it had just become ready but I figured I'd see if she wanted to check me first.
By this time the contractions were one after the other. The one midwife came into the bathroom and I attempted to tell her they were one after the other and asking her if she wanted to check me before I got in the water. I was having a hard time talking or trying to find the time to get out a quick sentence between each contraction. At this point, sitting on the potty with the pressure of the toilet seat on my bottom I soon felt the sensation that pushing could be an option.
She had me get on the bed and she checked me. It took a nanosecond for her to determine that I was fully dilated and effaced and ready to go. I mustered up the energy to get in the water as the consistent contractions worked against any ability to walk.
The sensation of water felt so good and gave me a bit of a relief from my contractions. Within moments I felt the need to push. I'm not sure of the exact timing but it didn't take much. I reached down to feel him crowning. Unfortunately due to the water level not being high enough my midwife wanted me to get back onto my bottom and off my knees as to ensure that baby would be competely under water during exit for his safety.
|midwife was checking baby's heart rate just before he arrived|
It was a difficult transition as I felt I needed to support my butt off the bottom of the pool. I felt that sitting on it would push against my tailbone and hinder his exit and it just wasn't comfortable. As I held my bottom off the pool I soon pushed him out. She later said she thought I was going to catch him myself which I totally would have loved to do but I was trying to hold my butt up and thus my hands were busy.
|The moment he arrived|
I take that part and all of the 3 experiences and I feel I now have enough information to have the perfect home birth. I say this jokingly because we were done at 2 kids. But then hubby and I made an agreement and he got a new truck and I got a 3rd baby. With that decision we again said we were "done". However right before Elia was born my husband said he wouldn't mind another girl. Ella wants a little sister and well quite frankly I am totally game for attempting a 4th birth so I can perfect this process hahah.
I am not saying we will have 4 and I am not saying we won't. I guess time will tell. That and if hubby decides to go see Dr Snips. Ultimately it is in God's hands. We're not jumping at the opportunity any time soon of course.
In closing, I couldn't be more grateful for all 3 experiences and all 3 perfect little humans. I thank the good Lord each day for giving me these wonderful gifts and I pray to be the best mommy I can be to raise them right.
There is so much more I could say about homebirthing and options. But I leave all of that for another blog entry.
|pure bliss - Thank you, Jesus|