May 13, 2016

8 pounds 12 ounces, 21.5 inches

Let me begin by saying that this birth was absolutely beautiful and my son even more so.  My due date was Monday the 9th.  I was feeling good up until then and even afterward. I noticed that my mucus plug was passing little by little over the few days leading up to Thursday 12th when I began early labor.  I also had the suspicion that my amniotic fluid had started to leak little by little.  It was 8PM and I felt intense period like cramps.  I called my mom to drive down.  My husband took my daughter to his parents’ house.  I knew that it was not active labor yet so I opened a bottle of wine, had half a glass and tried to get some sleep.  The contractions were waking me up, but I managed to get about 6 hours of sleep.  

In the morning, things had slowed way down.  It was a beautiful sunny day—not too cold and not too hot.  By late morning, I decided I was ready for a walk and a latte.  ☺ Outside on the porch my husband pointed out that the bird eggs had hatched.  We saw the mother feed the baby a worm!  My husband, mom and I walked to the store.  We sat in the café and laughed and chatted.  My contractions started getting a little stronger, so we headed back.  On the way back I had five pretty strong contractions.  The walk worked ☺.  

When we got back I called the midwife.   I had arranged to receive IV antibiotics during labor, so that was the next step.  It was hard while I waited for the nurse to put the IV in because I had to lie down for several contractions.  It was painful, but I just tried to act calm.  I was so happy when they finally got it in and I had the medicine in me.  It is recommended to have it for at least four hours leading up to birth.  They got it in at 4PM and the baby was born at 8PM!

I was most comfortable sitting upright on the birthing ball or kneeling with my elbows resting on the couch.  My mom and husband got the pool set up and the midwife and her assistant helped get it filled.  During labor I got in and out of the pool a couple times.  Sometimes it felt like just the relief I needed and other times it felt overwhelming and hot.  I loved being in it for the actual birth!

This baby descended fast because every single contraction I had, I was upright.  At about 5 PM, I asked for the lights to be turned off, even though it was still light out!  I couldn’t believe how intrusive they felt.  I also needed someone with me at every contraction.  Because it was the second time around, I think people thought I wasn’t as needy as I actually felt.  The words of encouragement I received during the birth telling me I was doing exactly what I needed to and everything was going well (which it was) were so helpful.  They kept me going.  I was trying so hard to stay calm and not to bite anyone’s head off.  For the most part I felt content, but sometimes when there were other things going on during my contractions, I felt irritated.

With my first child, I had a strange sequence of a yawn, contraction, hiccup, and burp! It was similar with this birth. Toward the end, instead of my usual yawn-hiccup-burp routine, I simply broke into silent tears after the contractions.  “This is so hard.”  The baby was moving fast and the pain got intense.  At one point when he was coming down the birth canal, I asked Jen for help because I felt like something was wrong, like progress had stopped.  At that point I couldn’t handle a few extra contractions that weren’t doing anything.  She examined me and found that the baby’s head was stuck under a little lip of the cervix.  She pressed on it during the next contraction and his head moved past it.  I felt so relieved.

I was laboring in the pool as I started to be able to feel the baby’s head. I was starting to get pushy, but also feeling really committed to slow things down.  I could feel his hair!  I double-checked with my midwife that it was a good position and then moved to lying on my side.  In the past I thought I’d never do any lying down position during birth, but I had heard and read that sidelying was good for slowing things down and not putting pressure on the perineum.  My husband was by my head and my mom was filming and taking pics.  My midwife was providing perineal support.  I really felt like I needed it because when the contractions came it felt like my body was turning inside out.  I liked the position I ended up in because gravity was no longer a factor and I could still reach and feel the baby’s head.  Being in the water, there was no discomfort in my upper body.  

During my contractions at the end, I was holding the baby’s head. When it started to burn too much, I pushed against it with the palm of my hand so that it wouldn’t come out too fast.  I had one very strong contraction where my body was pushing so hard and my hand was holding the baby back with all my might.  It was like my mind and my body fighting each other!  Or working together.  I kept feeling the top of his head and his tiny ear that had made its way out.  That was one of the most comforting parts of the experience.  That soft hair swaying in the water and his tiny ear.  

Finally it felt like the tissue was stretched enough and I let the head come through.  Jen guided me to push the shoulders out too.  Then, just as she was telling me to pushing his legs out, my baby kicked his feet and pushed his own legs out. Jen pulled him out of the water quickly and handed him to me.  Thankfully the cord wasn’t short and I could hold him okay.  I was overcome!  The baby fussed for two seconds then fell asleep.  He was even snoring softly.  It was shocking how peaceful he was, to the point that he was just sleeping!  I quickly gave him a little shake to wake him up.  I just needed to hear the cry and know he was breathing okay.  He was a good color and looked great.  Someone gave me a towel to keep holding him while I waited for the placenta.  That part was a little bit painful, but not bad.  Apparently it tore a little and that had Jen worried that it hadn’t completely detached.  When she looked more closely, she saw it was complete.  

My husband cut the cord.  I got out of the pool.  They got me ready for bed and tucked in and cleaned up the whole area.  Jen came into my bedroom with my in-laws and daughter to do the official weighing and measuring and checking over of the baby.  Isa met her brother for the first time.  It was beautiful.  I was so proud.

Jen and her assistants were so helpful to me during my baby’s birth!  I am so thankful that homebirth with West Michigan Midwifery is an option.  It was peaceful and everything that I had hoped for for myself and my son.