Thanks to Amy and Nichol for sharing!
I am fortunate to have had the experience of birthing at home, surrounded by loved ones and amazing midwives. For this months newsletter/pregnancy blog I get to share with you all about the labor and delivery.
After a few nights and days of feeling nauseous and having my Braxton hicks feeling a bit more intense I finally felt much different Sunday night and Monday morning. After timing my contractions for a few hours and having them consistently 3-5 minutes apart and having bloody show I awoke Nichol at 6am and told her the good news. I also called my sister from LA to let her know that I was in labor and that I could be having her in the next couple of days.
Nichol went off to work and my mom came to stay with me. The contractions were intense even though I was only in the first stage. I tried to sleep sitting up as the pain intensified when lying down. By afternoon, Nichol had left work early and got everything arranged to be gone for the next couple of weeks. I was so glad to see her! We were in constant contact with our midwives, Erin and Mel, and I followed their direction to do lots of walking and squatting. Erin also came to check me. She didn’t say much so I knew it would be awhile. I told her she could go home and I would call if we needed her, otherwise we would see her on Tuesday.
We snuck in a trip to the DQ in the afternoon before picking up my sister from the airport. She had gotten one of the first flights out. After eating what would be my last full meal at the Cardinal, Nichol and I went to Minnehaha Falls and I lunged up and down those stairs with squats every few lunges. Oh, man do I hate squats and contractions! But I wanted to get that baby moving.
The night came and went. I didn’t sleep because of the pain while lying down so just walked and chatted with my family as we worked on a puzzle. On Tuesday, my midwives came to the area and ‘hung out’. We filled the tub in the morning and I used it off and on. It helped a lot with easing the intensity of the contractions. About noon on Tuesday, while in the tub, I felt a big release. When I asked, Erin told me it was my water. Oh, boy, does that change things! I had hoped to labor away with my water intact. After it broke the contractions hit a new level of pain. No more cushion to soften the blows. I asked my friend Nicole to come and do acupuncture after work that night. Thankfully, she said yes and I got acupuncture Tuesday night. It helped out immensely and I finally went into the second phase of labor! Yay! The time had to be coming near.
All night I went in and out of the tub and contracted in what ever position I could find to be the most comfortable. I had a lot of back labor as she moved around to the best position to come on out. On Wednesday, I got to experience doing all sorts of things to help with getting the labor to progress and measures to find relief. Things I loved are the shower and the tub and the goddess position modified. What I didn’t love but helped get those contractions harder and stronger was the breast pump and squatting and I think the duck walk. She was a bit cockeyed in there so we had to help get her squared away. During this whole time my support team did a great job of keeping me hydrated and proteined up! I am sure it helped me endure it all and make it through to her birth the next day. When I started getting a bit out of it the midwives gave me an amazing tincture of herbs to help take the edge off of the contractions and allow me to ‘sleep’ between contractions. I never thought a 3 hours of 30 second naps could be so refreshing.
At about 1am on Thursday morning my midwife checked me and asked if I wanted her assistance in helping move the baby past the cervical lip that she just wasn’t moving past. I said absolutely! For the next while, not really sure how long as time didn’t make sense to me anymore, she worked hard with every contraction to help baby move her still cockeyed head past the cervix. She also helped to stretch the way so she could more easily move down. Finally, she asked if I wanted to reach down and feel her head. It was amazing to feel that soft downy head. I still didn’t believe that she was actually coming. I had been doubting that she would still be an infant when she finally came and frustration that intense days were going by and still no baby. When they asked if I wanted to get in the tub to deliver her I really didn’t believe that I would be holding my baby soon. I was sure it would be yet another day!
The experience of walking with a baby in your vaginal canal is a very unique experience and not one that is pleasant at all! With lots of help I made it from the goddess position on the floor to the tub and I am so glad that I did. After a bit of time laboring there I started to feel the wonderful fabulous burn that I had read all about. I was frustrated with her going out and then coming back in. But eventually I felt a pop. I couldn’t see what was going on so asked my mom and Nichol, who was in the tub with me, to narrate. Listening as she came out bit by bit to what they saw will stay with me forever. The amazing miracle of seeing a babies head pop out and look around and then, in my case, slowly have her body slide out into your hands is something I loved to hear.
She did come out!
Although she was a little wrinkly it wasn’t because she was an old woman as I had assumed the day before would surely be what would happen. She was perfect and delightfully alert. After days of no sleep and intense laboring I was able to hold my baby and nurse her as my placenta took its sweet time getting ready to be birthed as well. Eventually we, as a family, emerged from the tub and got comfy and cozy in our bed. We did the after care there and received our first visitors.
Our much anticipated baby, Hattie Rae, arrived on May 10th at 4:33am. She was 9lbs and 4oz and was 21 inches long. Her head, chest and hips where nice and wide, accounting for why it took so long to birth her and I felt 3 distinct rings of fire. Someday we will laugh as I remind her that I had to birth her big butt.
It was long and epic but it all ended perfectly. I wish you all the birth experience that you desire. Every one of them is a miracle.
Amy originally shared her birth story on her blog here. Thanks for sharing it with us, Amy!!