An Unassisted Birth (With A Houseful of EMTs!)

There is just something special about a mom and dad just birthing their baby together.  No interference, just family and love.  But one of the things I love most about this story is at the end.  Let me just say, a man who encapsulates his wife's placenta for her is my kind of guy!  What a blessing.  


Birth of Bachman

We’ll start off on the morning of February 6, 2012.

Firstly, in case anyone was not aware, my due date was Valentine’s Day. I wanted to avoid that at all costs, so I was definitely happy when I went into labor early.

Anyway, to the story!

All week I had been having light contractions on and off…nothing that would suggest I was in labor at all, but they definitely weren’t Braxton Hicks contractions. On Monday, the 6th, I woke up around 530am to get the girls ready for the day, and I started having stronger contractions. I didn’t really think anything of it at the time other that just being aware that they were there. I asked my darling husband to get Reilly ready and off to the bus stop for me so that I could lay down and relax for a little bit while Ophelia slept.  Shortly after he got back, I got up and got myself and Ophelia ready for the day. At 38 weeks 6 days, I had been scheduled for my 39 week midwife appointment.

At the appointment, everything was normal and as planned. My pregnancy had been really low-key…nothing out of the ordinary at all…I even passed my 1 hour glucose screening with flying colors, when with my two previous pregnancies I had failed the 1-hour test. I had been contemplating getting my cervix checked again at this appointment….at my last appointment (38 weeks), I was 3cm dilated, 60% effaced and LBB was at a -3 station. I assumed that if I got checked again, I would probably be a little more effaced, but that was about it.

I decided that after the contractions I had been having, I was curious enough to get checked again. My midwife was surprised when I was 4.5-5 cm dilated. I was 75% effaced and he was still at a -3 station.
She suggested that after my appointment, I go walk around the hospital for an hour or two, get a bite to eat, then head up to Labor and Delivery to get checked out again.

I honestly didn’t think anything of it…my contractions had been tapering off all day. They were still around, but nothing that I couldn’t handle. I was still walking and talking through contractions. So instead of walking around the hospital with a grumpy husband and crabby toddler, we went and grabbed a bite to eat (Ham and cheese omelet! Yum!) and then went home to take a nap before picking up Reilly from the bus stop.

It was an awesome nap by the way. Not to mention, I didn’t really feel comfortable going up to L&D…the would have checked me and either tried to admit me for “being in labor” when I didn’t feel like I was (and possibly try to “speed things up”) OR they would just send me home, where I was going to end up anyway. I just decided that it was in my best interest to avoid L&D at all costs that day unless I was truly in labor.

So I picked Reilly up from the bus, went home and took a shower. We hung out all night….Brad had to go to work at 5pm, so the girls and I had Mac and cheese for dinner. My contractions were kind of picking up here and there, but then just dying down. Brad called me from work around 630 to let me know to time them at some point and call him when they were coming about every 10 minutes. I put the girls to bed a little after 7pm, and Brad surprised me by getting kicked out of work specifically because I was in “early labor”. It was definitely a pleasant surprise and I was happy he was there, even if I didn’t go into labor.

After Ophelia went to sleep, I decided to time my contractions, just to see where they were. For about an hour, they were lasting a minute and coming every 6-7 minutes. I went and got ready for bed and they tapered off to lasting a minute and coming every 10-15 minutes or so. I decided it was time to go to sleep…this was probably between 1030-11pm.

Nothing happened during the night. I woke up around 130am because Ophelia woke up, so I went gave her her cup. She went back to sleep and so did I. I woke up once or twice during the night to use the bathroom….ya know, all the typical stuff of a woman who’s 9 months pregnant! But I didn’t wake up to any uncomfortable contractions what-so-ever.

I woke up at 5am because Ophelia had woken up and was knocking on her bedroom door. I brought her into bed with us for a little bit…usually I can get her to lay down and go back to sleep for 30 minutes to an hour…but not this time. Not that I was complaining…I started having contractions again shortly after I got up with her and I needed to stand up and not lay down. They were stronger than they had been the night before and I decided to give it a couple more before deciding to do anything, figuring they would fizzle out again.

Around 530am, I started having painful contractions. Not that the previous ones weren’t painful, but these were like a shock to my body. They were like “Hey lady! We’re here!!” Boy were they! I had one as I was brushing my teeth that made me squat down in my bathroom to get some relief….and as I watched Ophelia copy me, I had to giggle to myself. And then it hit me that I was actually in labor and I thought “everyone needs to get up, NOW!!”

I yelled out of the bathroom at my husband who was still sleeping that we needed to get a move on with getting the girls up…get Reilly ready for school and get Ophelia ready to go to our friend/neighbors house…I would try to help where I could…which basically was me brushing my teeth and walking downstairs to get a diaper for Ophelia.

I had one contraction while I was downstairs getting a diaper. I gave Brad our friend Coleen’s phone number so he could call and give her a heads up that the girls would be on their way over shortly. I grabbed some clothes for Ophelia on my way back upstairs. I tossed all of Ophelia’s clothes and diaper that I had gathered on the bed, had another contraction, and walked into the bathroom.

Brad called Coleen and finished getting the girls ready, got all the stuff in the car and came up to get me. I was sitting on the toilet having back to back contractions with a small rest in between. I told him just to take the girls and come back for me. Walking down the stairs didn’t sound like fun at all. As he left, I asked him to shut off the lights.

While Brad was gone I only had two or three contractions, but I knew we were well on our way to baby. I had a flash of delivering baby while Brad was gone (turns out, he expected to come home to a crying baby as well). I alternated between kneeling on the floor and sitting on the toilet. Nothing really felt “good” but the toilet offered me more support.

In the back of my mind I realized that Bachman was not going to be born at the hospital like we had planned. I decided to check and see if I could feel his head and sure enough, when I reached in, he was about a fingers length up. I could feel the amniotic sack around his head and it was still intact. At least I had that going for me. I remember getting really emotional around this time. I was tired and in pain…people think that quick labor is a lucky thing, but I honestly beg to differ.

With a slow labor, your body has time to stretch out and get where it needs to go without rushing…but with a quick labor, everything is piled on top of everything else and it is intense. I remember “crying” — I don’t want to say I was actually crying real tears, but I was emotional. I just wanted all the pain to end and for him to be born. I remember trying to tell myself that labor wasn’t easy, but it was worth it.

Yea, that didn’t last more than me saying it once or twice. Guess I’m not a mantra-type person.
Around this time, I remember my butt starting to feel heavy…I think my uterus was pushing him down, not out yet, but down. Brad came home shortly after this and as soon as he walked in the bathroom he knew we weren’t going anywhere. Not just by my actions…I told him we weren’t going anywhere.

He tried to get me into the bathtub at one point…not sure exactly what the plan was. I didn’t plan on running a bath or anything. I remember we had talked about it before. Maybe to contain the mess? Anyway, he grabbed the house phone and called 911 to get an ambulance there to transfer me to Tripler.

Apparently, the woman on the phone said no toilet…but I argued against that. There wasn’t a crane that could have moved me from that spot. My water broke shortly after Brad got off the phone with 911 and the urge to push surged through me. Brad went down to meet the MP who had shown up. Bless that MP who was there…whether she was sent or she just happened to be the closest one to our house, I am just glad…she was so calm…much more calm than I think any male MP would have been and I needed that. Brad stayed with me while she went down to meet the EMTs.

My contractions were still coming back to back with small breaks in between — and I mean small…like a minute or so. I grabbed onto my husband and roared through my contractions. If that MP doesn’t have kids already, I’m pretty sure I scared her out of having any. I’m also positive that my neighbors think that someone got murdered in my house. Quiet I was not.

My throat is still a little sore from vocalizing. It was literally the only thing I could do to combat the pain. Funny enough though, at this point during Ophelia’s birth, I was telling my husband how much I wanted drugs and how much I wanted to just be done with labor. I don’t recall mentioning anything about an epidural, and quite possibly just complained about how much it hurt.

So I’m vocalizing, Brad is being my support, talking to me through contractions and all of a sudden there are at least two EMTs in my bathroom, turning on lights and telling me what to do. I yell at them to turn the lights off. They still keep trying to tell me what to do…that I need to stop what I’m doing and leave the bathroom. It goes in one ear and out the other…thankfully, I have my strong husband there.

He tells them that they won’t be telling me what to do, that I’m not only a labor doula, but this is my third baby. They got all uppity with him, asking then why we called 911 if we didn’t want their help. This part is a little blurry for me as I’m having contractions and pushing with them, making loads of noise and concentrating on birthing my son.

But from what I heard after, Brad kicked one of them out, telling him that he wasn’t going to be telling me what to do. They seemed to kind of hang around near the bathroom….which was fine…but I didn’t need to or want to be treated like I was dying when all I needed was a transfer to the hospital from my house.

Up until this point, I had been sitting on the toilet still. When he was starting to crown, I stood up and leaned on Brad. When he was starting to crown, the EMTs told me I needed to go lay down on my bed so they could deliver him. I told them I was not going anywhere and that I was fine. I’m not sure I’ve ever yelled at someone like that. I was not a happy mama…so I stood there…pushing my sons head out.

His daddy had a hand on him to catch him. I waited for the next couple of contractions and continue to push. It seemed to take awhile to push his head all the way out, but I’m sure it was only seconds.  His shoulders and body slipped out relatively easily compared to his head and into his daddies arms. Brad passed Bachman up to me as he took his first cry and then all hell seemingly broke loose around me. The light was suddenly flipped on, there were paper towels wiping off blood and fluids (not the bath towels that were actually sitting on the floor to be used), a suction bulb in his face and an EMT at my side.

All I could concentrate on was my husband, who I looked at like a drugged up teenager (in a loving way), and my gorgeous son, who looked exactly like his older sister. I double checked to make sure it was a boy too. I was smitten. The lights, the noise, the help didn’t bother me anymore…I was on a birth high like none other.

As soon as I could, I told Brad that I wanted some ice water. I was so parched. He left while an EMT finished cleaning up Bachman and wrapped a towel around him to help keep him warm. They clamped his cord and went and got daddy to clamp the cord. I don’t remember much of, if anything they said to me during this point…it was completely a blur.

If they said anything to me, I’m sure I answered their questions. All I recall thinking about was this baby in my arms and where the hell was my ice water. After they let Brad cut the cord, they wanted me to stand up to go downstairs. I stood up (I had sat back down on the toilet to let the blood fall out and…well…I needed to sit down for a second) and told the EMT that we needed to wait. I don’t recall telling him why, but I birth the placenta’s quickly after my babies, so I knew it would be coming shortly.

I was standing up, when I felt a contraction coming. I told the EMT to wait, squatted down over a towel and delivered the placenta right there. I told them specifically that we were keeping the placenta, so it needed to be contained and somewhere that I knew where it was. After that, the MP was asking about underwear and pads and pants and Brad was helping her. I put all of that on so I could go down to the ambulance. I was still holding Bachman…just completely in awe of him so my motions were kind of half assed.

I walked out of my bathroom to about 4 or 5 guys standing in my bedroom and upstairs hall way. I gave them a hearty “Morning guys!!” Out of no where I picked out the phrase “Oh god, she’s walking out of there?!” I dripped blood all over our carpet (sadly, we’ll be paying for it to be professionally cleaned now) and walked to the stairs. A firefighter asked if I needed help, but all I needed to do was hand Bachman off to his daddy, just to make sure I didn’t drop him or fall with him. I walked down the stairs just fine and climbed onto the gurney.

They wheeled me out to the ambulance. It was raining a little bit and I tilted my head up to get the rain on my face. It felt so wonderful.

The ride to the hospital was pretty uneventful. The EMT took some of my vitals and some of Bachman’s. He was pink and cozy when we got into the ambulance but for some reason, they didn’t get a good oxygen read on him, which resulted in doing some blow by oxygen. No big deal. We got to the ER where they did a preliminary exam on both of us.

They, again, got a low oxygen read on Bachman, which resulted in more blow by. For some reason, they called a midwife down to the ER to check on me. Funny enough, it was the midwife who I had seen the previous day at my appointment! She was asking me why I never showed up to L&D (which I explained to her). The question of the day was “was it a planned home birth?”

Eventually, we were stable enough to go up to the Labor & Delivery ward. Thank goodness…Brad didn’t ride up to the hospital in the ambulance with us, he had to drive and was facing the horrible morning Hawaii traffic. I figured the time it took us to get through the ER and up to L&D would give him some time to get there about the same time I did.

We finally got up there, and they started their more thorough checks on me. They made me tell them the story of what happened again while the midwife checked me over for any bleeding issues. They were a little concerned over the bleeding that was going on, but I felt fine. She examined me, and found that I had no tearing what-so-ever and the reasoning for my bleeding was that some membrane was left over inside my vagina. Turned out to be a piece of the amniotic sac that just got left behind that passed with no problems.

So no tearing, no placental problems, just some bruising on my end. I was happy with that. They took Bachman to do their newborn assessment, which included being weighed. Brad and I had guessed about 8lbs 8oz or so…between the two of us and the girls, that’s what the average would have been. Well, color me shocked when the nurse weighed him at a rolly-poly 10lbs 5.2oz!!

It totally explained why I was so horribly uncomfortable during the majority of my pregnancy. Even family and friends didn’t guess much over 9lbs! His daddy was 9lbs 6oz so we didn’t expect anything really over that.

The rest of our stay wasn’t all that eventful, minus the “breathing issues” that one nurse seemed to be concerned about (which turned out to be a whole lot of nothing, like I had assumed). Bachman nurses like a pro, I feel wonderful and, again, we were the talk of the town that night.

I have to say that it wasn’t our intention to have an unassisted home birth. And while technically, there was “assistance” there, I am still classifying this as unassisted. It was my husband and me and our baby, working together. No one touched me until after he was born. It was a shock that it happened…I honestly wasn’t expecting it to go that quickly.

I am so thrilled though that both Brad and I got to bond over the birth of our first and only son. This is our last baby. When we found out we were having a boy this time around, we decided that three was enough for our family and we are perfectly happy with that decision. This makes it even better. Needless to say, we’re both pretty damn proud of ourselves.

We had an amazing birth where we didn’t let anyone sway us from our choices. We trusted my body and our son to work together and get it done.  Brad read over my birth plan last night as we were waiting for discharge paperwork and we basically got everything that I had listed down on that sheet.
I also want to say that I honestly could not have done this without my husband. Well…I physically could have…I don’t think I would have had a choice in the matter. But he played such an amazing role that this will never be something we can forget.

Not to mention, while I was in the hospital freaking out about maybe staying another night (because of the breathing issue) he kept me sane, he took care of the girls and held down the fort, he also started working on the placenta encapsulation process.

If that isn’t love then I don’t know what the hell is.

Bachman and I are back home now…I am still blissed out on baby-having hormones. I feel wonderful…a little tired (big boys like to nurse…especially at night) and I’m sore of course, but I feel like a million bucks. I know the coming months won’t always be easy…Brad won’t be on paternity leave forever…we’ll have to go back to life and cranky kids and school and sleep issues and all that kind of normal, parent stuff. But right now, everything is perfect.

Also, any fellas out there reading, according to my husband, delivering your child is pretty much the manliest thing you could ever do. And I’d have to agree with him. (The second manliest thing according to him? Draining blood out of your wife’s placenta. Just sayin’.)

Mr. Bachman Turner (yes, after the band Bachman Turner Overdrive) clearly took care of business that morning. Well worth it. :)


Cyndel said…
Love this!!! I'm somewhat hoping for this. Hubby is freaked at the idea of home birth...he shudders at the thought of clean up. I want a home I"m thinking of 'agreeing' to another birth center birth, and just not telling anyone i'm in labor until it is too late and deliver at home...hehehe... sneaky,sneaky.
I just hate the stress of having to be somewhere in the middle of labor.
The Quinns said…
Great story! Congrats to the family- Bachman is adorable! One question, what is an MP?
Jess Smith said…
JoyfulJ, your husband doesn't want hb because of clean up? Don't the midwives take care of that? Plus, birth really isn't that messy... Maybe talk to some daddies of bb together.

This is an amazing story! Silly EMTs...
Melinda said…
MP is Military Police. Love this story!
Julie said…
My husband would have to agree that delivering your baby into the world is q u i t e the manly thing to do. (He's done it four times.)