What a fab story! A smiling daddy! A week of labor! (OK, that probably wasn't that fun for mom.) But one of the best parts.....a mom thrilled with a TOTALLY intervention free birth. I simply admire women who are able to mentally and physically handle a long labor like that. But I think it was 100% worth it for her!
Contractions started on Saturday February 4th in the early afternoon. An entire week before I gave birth (Feb 11). I could tell these were definitely different from the preterm contractions I’ve been having for months. They were strong and close together, and came very even. My midwife randomly texted me that evening to ask how I was doing, I hadn’t told her about the contractions yet… she must have been really in tune with me to know something was going on. The contractions didn’t change, but continued to come evenly and very strong. I told her I’d keep her posted. I went to bed that night with my phone by my side sure that I’d wake up sometime in the middle of the night ready to go.
It was to my surprise that I woke up the next morning around 7, still contracting. We skipped church and decided to go on a long walk with the kids. I got in the shower and my contractions picked up. After nap time Jon’s mom came and picked up the kids because it was looking like this was “it”. I was texting my midwife and some friends.
They all, including Jon, were sure that this was “it”, but I wasn’t sure. That evening I finally texted my midwife to come… contractions were picking up and become a bit more intense. After the midwives were here for a while the contractions started to slow down. I still wasn’t convinced that this was it, so I decided to have my midwife check me. This was something I wanted to avoid altogether unless medically necessary, but at the point I needed some reassurance. I was a 5, but my cervix was posterior which means it would probably be a while. After going on a walk with Jon and coming home with still very few contractions I sent the midwives home. I felt so defeated. The last thing I wanted to do was to have them come too early, and sending them home just felt like a failure.
I woke up the next day contracting the same, and this continued for several days. Sometimes the contractions would really pick up and I would think, “okay… here we go, this HAS to be it” but then I’d go to sleep that night and they would slow down a bit. Towards the end of the week I wasn’t sleeping great because the contractions were keeping me up. It was a tiring and emotionally draining week.
Then came Saturday, Feb 11. I had the same contractions waking me up around 4am and they were picking up a bit. I tried not to get my hopes up, but I couldn’t sleep or talk through these. Around 7am I started having different contractions, they had a certain kind of energy to them that the other contractions didn’t. I have never felt contractions like these before, not even when I was in labor with the other kids. I decided to get in the shower and if they didn’t calm down then call my mom to come and pick up my kids.
I’m walking to the bathroom, towel in hand, when one of these contractions hit. I had to lean against the wall because I thought I might fall down it was so intense. When it was over I took a couple more steps and had another one! I felt like I couldn’t wait, I needed to call my mom. So I did, she was on her way, and I jumped in the shower. When she arrived the contractions were still the same and I was excited because I knew this was it!
Jon helped her get the car seat situated then they were on their way. About 5 minutes later I noticed it had been a while since my last contraction. 5 more minutes passed and still nothing. Another 5 passed, then another. They were gone! I had absolutely nothing happening, not even the contractions I had been having all week long. I sat in silence waiting for another, but it never came. Jon asked me what I wanted to do, but I didn’t even want to respond to him. He asked if we wanted to go for a walk, or if I wanted to take a bath… I was just so mad I didn’t even want to speak.
I couldn’t believe that it all stopped.
We decided to go to Dillard’s and look for clothes for a job interview that coming Friday (he got the job! yay!). When we got there they were having a big shoe sale outside so I bought myself some killer 5 inch heels. While I was trying them on Jon wanted me to sit down and I told him “Why? Because it might send me in to labor?” Luckily marriage can survive sarcasm.
We picked up Subway on the way home and ate it then we went for a walk. We went on the same loop around the community center and back to our house that we always took… but this time I actually had to stop at least ten times and lean on Jon (and pray no one I knew drove by).
Once we were home from the walk I told Jon to go ahead and set up the birth pool, and if the contractions continued like they were I would get in, then if they continued even in the water we would call my midwife. I thought I wanted to wait a while before getting in to the pool, but I found myself watching over Jon while he filled it waiting for the green light to get in.
Once I was in the pool, I was in Heaven! It was so comfortable. Jon and I did a few Hypnobirthing scripts to help me relax. I was still recovering from a cold so I couldn’t breath through my nose as well as I wanted to, and the breathing techniques require you to breathe in and out through your nose.
Jon texted my midwife to let her know what was going on, I wasn’t ready to have her come yet though since I was still worried about having her there too early. A while later during a series of very intense contractions I frantically told Jon to tell the midwife to come! Please!!
While we waited for her to arrive we went through another birth script and listened to some Drew Danburry. One particular song of his was stuck in my head that day and finally listening to it helped the relaxation process.
When my midwife came she noticed that the water wasn’t warm enough for a baby to be born in to, so we had to add some hot water and boy was I hot! I was sweating so much, just dripping. The other midwife arrived, and then a little while later the apprentice came as well. They helped put icy cold washcloths on my back to cool me down until the water became a little cooler for me, which it eventually did.
*So here we are, in my living room, and me in a swimsuit hanging out in a pool of water. I rested my head against the side of the pool on a warm towel during contractions while Jon would rub my back or hold my hands or do anything else that was soothing to me for that particular contraction.
Since I couldn’t breath through my nose very well, I was having a hard time relaxing between contractions. The hypnobirthing techniques worked great during contractions, but not so much in between.
I also had this weird energy the entire time that made it hard for me to enter that hypnotic state. What worked best for me was to breath through the contractions with Jon’s support (or one of the midwives if Jon was doing something else), then between contractions just pretend I wasn’t in labor by chatting with the 3 other women in the room (while I sat there in a pool of water) and Jon. When a contraction came I leaned against the side and Jon and I did our thing, then in between I would sit up and be like “So… where were we?”
I also found it very hard to sit still between contractions, especially the further along I got. During contractions I became a lot more vocal. This surprised me since I was so quiet during Clark’s birth, but it just felt good to me to be vocal so I went with it. During contractions the midwives would remind me to keep the sounds low and towards the baby.
The room became darker as the sun went down, but we had two lamps that gave the perfect amount of light, it made the room feel very calm and serene.
I noticed the midwives slowly moving in, closer to me as I began to feel contractions that were accompanied by the feeling to bear down. My midwife was sitting on a bench to the left of me, Jon in front of me, and the other midwife to the right. I turned to my midwife and told her that I was feeling that pressure and she said, “I know, I can tell” and smiled at me.
No one told me what to do, no one checked me to see if I was “ready”. We just let my body take the lead, which was amazing! I was on my knees and holding Jon’s hands across the side of the birth pool. Jon reminded me to do the birth breathing that I wanted to do, instead of the pushing. I asked him ahead of time to do this because I knew that when I got to that point I wouldn’t be thinking about anything but getting through it.
I was worried about how Jon was doing since I was a lot more vocal this time I thought he might be concerned. My worries stopped when I heard the other midwife say “You look like a kid in the candy store” (She might have actually said "A kid on Christmas Morning" but I can't remember). I wasn’t sure who she was talking about so I looked up to see the biggest smile on Jon’s face.
I was breathing down during contractions, then somewhere in the middle of each one my body just took completely over with moving the baby down.
All of the sudden there was a huge pop during one of the contractions that made everyone jump. My baby exploded out of me! I looked down to get my baby but there was nothing there, the pop was my water breaking. I’m pretty sure I said a curse word in my head. You mean it wasn’t over yet? Ugh.
During the next contraction the head was born. This was a new experience for me, waiting for the next contraction and being able to look right down and see the head waiting on the outside. It was one of those “Whoa!” moments where you aren’t sure what to think about it, but it was certainly awesome (and weird).
The next contraction brought the rest of the baby out. I reached down and picked my baby up, my midwife untangled the baby from the cord, then I brought the baby to my chest and leaned back against the other side of the pool.
Jon said, “Looks like we have a little boy!”
I think the best part of the entire experience was sleeping in our own bed that night. It was so nice to be tucked in to bed cuddling with Jon and the baby. I’m also very glad I let my body do all of this on its own. I didn’t have my membranes stripped, I didn’t have any pitocin, I didn’t have anyone break my water, etc… it was all me. This was the first time I haven’t had any interventions like that, I just allowed my body to be amazing and do it on its own.