Our (Home)Birth Story

Our (home)birth Story
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My handsome little pumpkin is officially 1 year old today. People are not joking when they say time flies. So, as promised, to celebrate my Lucas’ very first birthday, I’d like to share my birth story with everyone. If you haven’t already, you should read my post Why I Chose Homebirth first.

As I said in my previous post, we had our first meeting with our midwife on 9/14 at 37 weeks 1 day. The very next day, I started to lose my mucus plug. Now, you Moms who have been through childbirth probably know that doesn’t necessarily mean “Oh NO’s the bebe is coming!!” but it did mean that things were happening, specifically that my cervix was probably dilating.

Clint and I were running around town gathering up all of the required supplies from lists the midwife gave us and ordered and received my birth kit. I had an appointment with the OB on Thursday, 9/20 and with the midwife on Friday, 9/21. Later that evening, a very large portion (if not all) of the mucus plug came out. Of course, it can regenerate, but I had been losing it for about a week now.

Several people kept telling me that I would probably go overdue, since this was my first pregnancy. But I kept telling everyone that I knew he would come early. I just had a feeling. My mother-in-law and boss both said that they knew I would have him early, simply because I said I would. Like I said, I’m a control freak, everyone can vouch for that.  At the 9/21 appointment, my midwife agreed with me and said she thought it may be sooner than my due date too, which was 10/4.

The next day, Saturday 9/22, when I woke up I was having some cramping. I was pretty sure it was contractions, but since I had never experienced them I really wasn’t sure. I’ve always heard that you should either take it easy or just change up what you’re doing and see if they continue. Since I was already lying in bed, I got up and showered and got dressed for the day. They stopped before I even got out of the shower. I told Clint, half joking, that baby was coming today so we better get things squared away. We finished cleaning up the house that day and had plans with friends that afternoon. I had a few contractions, here and there, throughout the day, but nothing that stuck around. Although, at the time I wasn’t sure that any of it was contractions because it really just felt like mild cramping. I did tell everyone that baby would be coming- tonight! Since this could be our last day as a childless couple, Clint and I decided to spend a little time together.  Later, we went to a sports bar to watch the Mississippi State football game. While we were there, my contractions picked up a little bit, but still only felt like cramps. We got home around 11 pm and decided to walk around the neighborhood. Once we got going, I had a lot of pain in my hips and back. Clint had to literally walk with his fist pressed in my lower back to make it manageable. I think we made two laps, which was a little over a mile, before I couldn’t take it anymore. We then decided to go ahead and lay down for the night.

It seemed like as soon as I fell asleep, which was not easy to do that late into pregnancy, I woke up with an extreme urge to pee. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom but didn’t make it. This was about 12:40. Once I got to the bathroom, I realized there was no color or smell to what I had originally thought was pee. I screamed for Clint to get up, that I thought maybe my water had broken. We were so excited!

I called my midwife and let her know. She wanted to make sure that baby was still moving at his normal rate and that the liquid from my water was clear. She told me that contractions would probably start shortly and that I was to drink a big glass of milk, eat a big meal, and GO TO BED! I thought, who is she kidding? I can’t sleep! I ran around took care of a few things and  finally climbed into bed around 2 am. This is also when the actual contractions started. Clint fell fast asleep and I drifted in and out of sleep for a few hours.

Finally, around 5:30 am I couldn’t stand it anymore and got up. The contractions hurt while I was lying down. As soon, as I got up they were much easier to deal with. (So glad I was not forced to lie in a hospital bed ;))We ate breakfast and called our parents to let them know. I did not want anyone at the house except my 16-year-old little sister, who was going to help Clint through the labor. My Dad dropped her off within an hour or so of the call. I called my midwife again sometime around then and told her I was starting to get nervous and that I would feel more comfortable if she were at my house. She showed up around 9 am, along with her apprentice. They set some things up, told Clint to start getting the birth pool filled up with water and checked mine and Lucas’ vitals. This was the first time I was ever “checked”. I was 3-4 cms dilated and 80% effaced. My midwife told me that I was too happy and smiley to be in active labor so she and her apprentice went to get breakfast. Then I started to get anxious. This wasn’t active labor?! No, I wasn’t in excruciating pain– but, I had hoped I was further along and just handling the pain well.

Around 10:30 a.m., the contractions started to actually hurt. My water was broken, which can make labor more painful since you don’t have the “cushion” from it and Lucas was “sunny-side up” which can cause really bad back labor–which I was having. Clint had to push on my lower back with each contraction to ease the pressure. I wasn’t screaming or anything, but it hurt. Clint was WONDERFUL, though. He kept doing a lot of the stuff we had practiced from the HypnoBirthing and Bradley Method books. I got nervous here and told Clint and Shaye that maybe I should have just gone to the hospital. They both looked at me like I was crazy, and said I didn’t even act like I was in pain, what was I talking about? I asked Clint to call my midwife at this point.

When they got back, she checked me again and said I was around 6 cms and fully effaced. Progress was good, but of course, I was hoping it was more. She said I could get into the birth pool at this point. Clint wouldn’t get into the pool with me and I wanted him right there for every contraction, rubbing my back and talking me through it. I really don’t think I would have stayed so calm without his voice in my ear and hands on my back. I think that’s part of the reason the pool was uncomfortable for me though, I just felt like I couldn’t get close enough to Clint. I also think maybe the water was too high because I just kept floating and couldn’t get anchored down.

In the Birth PoolOnce I was in the water, I told my midwife that I was having the urge to push, a very strong urge. She checked me again and told me that I was really close, but there was still a lip of cervix there, that I needed to wait. I fought the urge, while telling them I couldn’t, for the next couple of contractions, which were one right after the other. She told me that he was very close and had me touch the very top of his head coming down the birth canal.

Eventually, she told me that if I really needed to push, to give it a try. This is where it became really evident that the pool just would not work for me. I got out, pushed while on a birthing stool, with Clint holding my upper body, and lying in bed for a little while. I did not like being on my back, so I got up and walked around some and tried pushing in various places/positions again.

I think eventually my midwife noticed that I was tired and offered for me to lie down for a little while and push. I remember being extremely hot at this point and a cold rag on my forehead. I think it was also around this time that my contractions almost stopped. I ended up pushing sometimes with a contraction and sometimes without. Shaye offered a mirror once, which we had talked about beforehand, but I was too grumpy to tell her I wanted it. At one point, my midwife said that I needed to drink some juice or milk or something for some energy. For some reason, I chose chocolate milk. I gulped a big glass of chocolate milk. They said I would push and he would begin to crown and then stop and the top of his head would disappear. Eventually, I figured out “how” to push and it wasn’t much longer after that. Once his head was out, the midwife had me sit up some and touch Lucas. I held onto him, pushed one final time, and “caught him” and pulled him to my chest. On 9/23/2012 at 1:52 p.m., after about 13 hours of labor, Lucas Cole was born weighing 6 lbs 5 oz and 20 inches long.

5 minutes old

Birthing my son, and being so involved in the process, without monitors and IVs and machines beeping, was the most empowering thing I have ever done in my life. I truly felt like a superhero afterwards, and still do!

Next time, I will definitely have a mirror handy! I also want to try the pool again or maybe the birth stool. I’d rather not birth lying down again. I think a lot of my nervousness and anxiousness was just from not knowing what to expect, though. So hopefully, next time will be a breeze. One can hope, right?

If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive, you should check out the books I mentioned! Did you enjoy the birth of your child(ren)? Did anything unusual happen? Would you ever consider a homebirth?

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Why I Chose Homebirth…

Why I Chose Homebirth...
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Yes, I had a homebirth.

No, it wasn’t an accident.

No, we didn’t go to the hospital afterward.

I have dreamed of a waterbirth since I was 12 years old and saw one on TLC’s A Baby Story. Clint knew I had always wanted one, but said there was absolutely no way–we were having a baby in the hospital- with doctors and an operating room close by.

So when I found out I was pregnant, I did the mainstream thing, and went to the OB and started being cared for by her. I already did not and still do not like her. I mentioned trying to conceive to her one time and she told me that I would probably have a hard time nursing my child, even though I did not mention it or ask her opinion. Then, when I was around 20 weeks, I mentioned that I wanted a natural unmedicated childbirth. Her reply was that when I felt the pain, I’d ask for an epidural. And, when I told her I didn’t want an episiotomy, she told me she would probably do one anyway. Um no, I just told you I didn’t want one.

I am a COMPLETE control freak (Clint will vouch for this) and was terrified of how my labor would turn out. Yes, terrified. But, I loved being pregnant. It made me feel so accomplished that I was growing our baby with my body. I wanted to feel the same way about the birth of this sweet baby– accomplished. In an effort to be as confident as possible in our birthing plans, we started reading books. First, I read Ina May Gaskin’s book Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. I loved that book! It was a complete confidence booster. But, it also reinforced my fears about a hospital birth. Then, I bought HypnoBirthing: The Mongan Method: A natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing (3rd Edition and Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way: Revised Edition and Clint and I read through them nightly and practiced almost every single thing in each book. I knew my body could do this, I just hoped my doctor or whatever OB was on call when I went into labor would also know.

At my 36 week appointment with the OB, the nurse checked all my vitals and then told me to get undressed and the doctor would be in shortly. I answered that I wouldn’t be getting “checked” today so I would keep my clothes on. She looked at me funny and fumbled out the words okay she’ll have to talk to you about that. The OB came in and I explained that I really just didn’t want to be checked, that it would either make me antsy (if I were dilated) or disappointed (if I were not). Really, there is just no reason to be checked. You are introducing the possibility of an infection and this particular OB has broken waters before when “checking” a woman. She said that was fine, but next week we would. Then, she mentioned planning an induction within the next few weeks. An INDUCTION? I’m not even full term until 37 weeks?! She explained that yes we would wait until I was closer, but in order to ensure that she is the one who delivers, we should plan an induction. I told her that I would not be planning an induction that I would just have to take my chances. Maybe I would get lucky enough that a doctor with some bedside manner would be on call, right?

Even with all of the books, planning, and constant encouragement from Clint, he started to notice that I was getting more and more anxious about a hospital birth. I explained to him that once I went into labor, we would labor at home as long as possible before I was stepping foot in a hospital. He agreed with me and jokingly made the comment that maybe we would stay home long enough that we’d have our son at home. I took this as my chance to actually get some information about a homebirth. That was a green light, right?

37 weeks

When I was right around 37 weeks, I called and had an hour long conversation with a midwife an hour and a half from us and set up a meeting with her. She ensured me that she would be praying about whether or not she should take over my care. That evening, as I was driving home, I prayed. Not that I would get my way or that Clint would let us do it, but that God would take control of the situation and not let my emotions get in the way. I prayed that I would feel peace about whatever decision would be made. Immediately, I had a complete sense of calm wash over me. For the first time in weeks, those anxious feelings were completely gone. He is good! The next day we had our appointment, and we LOVED her. So, on 9/14/2012 at 37 weeks and 1 day, the midwife and Clint both decided that we could transfer care. I was ELATED! From that moment on, I was only excited. I knew we had made the right decision and that God had led us to the point we were at and would continue to provide.

My sweet sweet tiny little boy is growing up. On Monday, he will be 1 year old. To celebrate the occasion, I will be posting his birth story. I hope you’ll be back to read it!