On Sunday morning, at 7:02, Joseph Mark was born safely at home after only 3 hours of active labor. Our home birth story had come! What a journey!
As you remember, I had an unsuccessful induction on Friday with castor oil, but Saturday was wrought with natural contractions that were simply irregular, though I figured they were doing something. The likelihood is that they were effacing my cervix, which is awesome. I was hopeful that the real thing would be soon.
On Saturday night, around 9:30p, I thought that contractions were beginning and they certainly were, but they were somewhat erratic, moving between 5-10 minutes apart for several hours. I called the midwives when they began because they desired to be there as soon as possible, since there was a likelihood of the labor moving very quickly. Thankfully, there was no real rush, as we’d later come to learn, but I’m glad they were able to safely make it.
I labored on a rocking chair for most of these hours, and slept in between contractions. It was the only place I could get somewhat comfortable, and since I had been up for going on two days, the rest in between contractions was critical.
Sometime around 4 am, I woke up and realized that my contractions had gone away…again. My husband was sleeping on the couch, and I figured the midwives were also resting in various places around the house. Disappointed that I had AGAIN called them when I wasn’t “actually” in labor, I got up to go to the bathroom. Pretty much as soon as that happened I just felt this GUSHHHHHHH!!!! My water broke, and man did it BREAK!
Since the midwives had been there and already set everything up, we had Chucks pads all over the floor, so thankfully that was not a problem, but it totally caught me off guard. This was one of those movie scene worthy “pregnant lady’s water breaks” events. It just kept coming! In all the births I have experienced, I have never had a water break like this, so I was highly amused and excited at the same time. As soon as it happened I just called out “Marilee!!! My water just broke!!!!” Okay, so now I knew I was not crazy and yes, this baby would be here soon, right?!
My midwife told me to try to lay down and rest for however long I could since my contractions were taking a break, so I laid down to do so. Within 10 minutes or so, though, the contractions intensified fiercely and soon enough I was in full blown labor with contractions every 2-3 minutes. And, man were they intense! I tend to have most of my labor pains down in my lower pelvis, hips, and the sides of my lower back, so it was a very intense period of contractions. And, since I had 10 hours of those sensations only the night before, the area was already sensitive and well-worked, so it hurt even more.
I had been thinking of not getting into the water this time with the birth because I was trying to avoid getting cold in the time after. I tend to get serious chills while in labor, so if I go from water to being out of the water, I get very cold very fast. When my babies are born in the water, I have had a harder time of keeping their temperatures at an ideal degree (we live in an older house and it is also hard to keep the temperature in the house warm enough, so this is the biggest part of the problem), so I figured staying out of the water would just help keep everything simple…I wanted simple.
But, when those contractions were going hard and strong, the water looked like a welcome reprieve. I told my husband to go ahead and get the water warmed up again and we will see if I could use it. Thankfully it did not take him very long to get it warm enough, so by 5:30 am I was in the water, which DRASTICALLY helped with getting into a comfortable position where I could just focus on dealing with one contraction at a time.
Now, by this point, I was already starting to feel some slight pressure in my rear. To any mom who has had natural childbirth, you know this means the baby is on the way shortly. So, we thought it would not be long before the birth occurred. In addition, my previous birth experience was one of a shotgun labor, so I definitely thought things would go quickly. So, I labored and waited…and labored…and waited….
By 6:20 I was a little frustrated. Where was my son?! I just wanted to meet my son. I had visions of him coming face first, or somehow turned and now coming bottom first and that this was why he was taking so long. I would whimper here and there and my midwife and husband would just remind me that he was coming and I was doing great…but it did not matter. I just wanted my son in my arms!
At 6:35am, my midwife asked if I was okay with getting out and her checking me to see what was going on, which I was more than pleased to do! So, I got out of the tub and laid on the bed, now battling between the contractions and the ferocious shivers that I knew I would experience. If you can avoid shivering during contractions, please do…it STINKS!
We changed my shirt to a dry one and piled clean, dry towels on me but it could really only do so much unless my temperature regulated, which thankfully happened within 10 or 15 minutes.
My midwife checked my cervix and could easily feel the baby’s head (yes, head…which thankfully cleared up all my fears of him coming in some bizarre and incredibly insane manner), but because of a slight head tilt he was pulling my cervix along with him instead of sliding through it, and swelling it slightly in the process. My midwife gave me a dose of homeopathic arnica, and then applied gentle pressure during contractions to help push the cervix back over the baby’s head. It took about two contractions of this and then he was through all the way.
I was waiting for the normal “I can’t not push” feeling to wash over me, but this time it never came. I could distinctly feel the baby’s head sitting in the birth canal, so I just decided, “Okay, I’m pushing!” And I did.
My midwife was caught off guard seeing him come so quickly, so when she heard me push and looked down to see him crowning, she said, “Julie! Stop pushing, stop pushing…breathe, just breathe,” which scared the living bejeezus out of me, lol. She just wanted to make sure I did not tear or anything (which I never have before), but her urgency caught me off guard. She told me to let his head stretch me, so I waited a moment and then pushed out his head, and then pushed again to bring out the rest of him. It was at this point that we learned my little man decided to come with his right arm crossed over his neck, likely because he is apparently a thumb sucker and was clearly trying to suck on his fingers or thumb while being born, which pushed his little arm up to his neck. Silly baby. Praise the Lord this is not a problem for me, but for some women, they can really get a bit torn up.
He cried immediately after being born, came right to my chest, and I just started wailing in thanksgiving that he was FINALLY here!!!! He looked beautiful and perfect and he was on the outside, in my arms, which just made everything so unbelievably perfect. I was on cloud 9!!!
He was breathing fine, though he needed to do some coughing and sneezing to fully clear his lungs. He was pink within a few minutes, and he began nursing within maybe 10 minutes of being born…yes, he latched on right away.
He weighed in at 8 lbs 2 oz, was 20.5 inches long, and had a beautifully round head. Within minutes of his birth, the rest of the kids were waking up so they all excitedly came in to enjoy their newest sibling. Our newest addition had finally arrived!!!
We have lots of video from this birth so it will take time to compile and edit it all. This is definitely a birth I won’t soon forget…my second “by land” (birth lingo for “not in water”) and first literally in my own bed. What a ride…but then again, birth always is.