Can I just say I LOVE LOVE LOVE this birth story. That is how it is DONE ladies!
This pretty much says what I thought when I heard this,
"I just wrote my birth story. I was in labor for one hour and ten minutes. It was insane. I wanted to share it with your readers. "
"I just wrote my birth story. I was in labor for one hour and ten minutes. It was insane. I wanted to share it with your readers. "
I have to say, my fastest labor was also my most insane! And I want to share this with my readers too!
When I saw those two purple lines, my first thought wasn't "YES! Another baby!" It was "YES! Now I can have my home birth!"
Not that my three hospital births were traumatic or bad, in fact, they had been very text book and "normal", as far as a medicalized birth in the United States goes. They had all been about the same: start labor at home in the morning, piddle around the house and take care of some projects for a few hours, eat a hearty meal because I knew the staff wouldn't let me eat, make my way to the hospital when the contractions were 3-5 minutes apart and lasted for one minute.
Then when I get there, get a cervical exam, an IV, fill out paperwork, be asked a million questions, have my waters broken, get tagged and put my uniform (oh, I mean hospital gown) on, go to my room, be put in a bed with a fetal monitor on my belly, a monitor on my finger, and an IV in my arm. Hopefully they wouldn't blow any of my veins in the process, but eventually they always would, and they'd always have to come in and adjust the monitors on my belly when I moved.
A few hours would pass, and the labor that stalled a little during admittance would pick back up. I would still be in bed, and around 6 or 7 cm, ask for the needle in my back to numb me from the waist down. For me, the epidurals always work really REALLY well. Then a few hours later, after resting, someone would come stick their fingers where the sun don't shine and declare me "ready" and count to ten over and over while I laid on my back with people holding my heavy legs up, pushing until I was blue in the face, until miraculously a baby came out.
The lusty cry, aided by a bulb syringe and vigorous rub down by the nurses, I had my baby laid on my chest while the Midwife swiftly clamped the cord, it was cut, and, when I was ready, the baby taken to the warmer while I delivered the placenta and people kneaded my uterus for a good while. Baby would get some shots, a heel stick, and other routine things, and then be left with me the rest of the night.
Nurses would pop in every few hours to make sure I peed, pooped, nursed ever 2 hours for at least 20 minutes, that the baby was pooping, seeing if I was no longer numb and was able to walk, check my bleeding, etc. Then the next day, we get to wait. And wait. All day, until finally, after someone comes to tell us how to be parents and give us a stack of paperwork as big as the one I got when I bought my house, I can drive away, baby securely in the car seat. I look at my husband in the drivers seat and think...
"They really let ME be a MOM?!" And it was the most scary, awesome feeling in the world.
Fast forward two and a half years since the last time, and I'm standing in my dining room with a stick in my hand, telling my husband, ready or not, baby #4 is on it's way. My youngest son started calling him Cookie, and life went on.
I had already seen Business of Being Born and decided I wanted something different. I'd seen midwives for all my pregnancies, and had family that had given birth at home or in a birth center. I had a few new friends who were doulas, and I became impassioned about becoming one, too. The Lord told me to wait until I was done having children to pursue it, but I still continued with the DONA required reading list, learning everything I could about normal childbirth.
I read Ina May Gaskin's book "Ina May's Guide to Child Birth", and it was an eye opener. I loved everything about the idea that my body could do what it was made to do without being poked or prodded, manipulated, or any of that. I just had to listen to my body, let go, and do what it told me to. I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I had prepared as much as I could: learning ways to relax and how to birth, what to do in case of complications, watching birth videos on youtube with my children, and reading all the birth stories online I could find.
I ordered the birth supplies, found an awesome, laid back, hands off midwife, and I was ready to have a baby the way I wanted to, on my terms, without having to fight for it. Fortunately my husband understood how important this was to me and supported me the best way he could.
Waiting, waiting, waiting for what felt like forever, when really, it wasn't that long, I was still more excited about crossing "have a home birth" off my bucket list than I was about the baby. I didn't really feel bonded to him, we were fighting about a name for months. Our son was almost named Alden.
A lot of this waiting was worrisome, as dad is a truck driver and when the weather is bad, the mountain passes close and he was stranded hours away with no way to get home. The two weeks before the birth, we never knew if he would be home or not, the weather was awful. We waited until 38+3 weeks, exactly a week, almost to the hour after I had "dropped", when Grandma said "Don't you usually have the baby a week after you drop?"
We went to bed Monday night after watching some TV. Well, my husband went to bed. I couldn't sleep because Cookie was so active. I stayed up and watched more TV and eventually fell asleep on the couch. It was normal that every evening, braxton-hicks contractions (more uncomfortable with each pregnancy) would creep up and bug me for a few hours.
At 1:45 am on Tuesday, January 31st, I woke up from a dream that I had had two really painful contractions, the kind I'd been waiting for, the kind that, unlike the teaser ones I'd had for weeks, some caused by a bladder infection the week before, wrapped around my back and over the top of my belly. Those were the ones I wanted, and they were finally here. Maybe. Were they? I don't know, my labors usually take all day, so no sense in waking everyone up in the middle of the night if I'm not going to deliver until the evening, as usual.
I headed to facebook to alert my birthy friends (on a separate list with all the gory play-by-play) that I thought I was actually in labor. But I couldn't even get through the status update without having a contraction. To see what I was in for, I went to contractionmaster.com and found after a short while that all my contractions were over a minute long and were about 4 minutes apart. They sure felt like they were getting worse each time.
At 2am I went in to wake up my husband. I tried to crawl into bed, but my body was not having it. John slowly woke himself up and got dressed while I kept moving, ordering him around. I called the midwife and the photographer (our cousin who lives an hour away) right after. I had a contraction while on the phone with the midwife and she said she'd hurry. I don't know why I told her to take her time. I guess I was really relaxed! I was planning on making the bed the way the midwife specified, getting the dishes done, cleaning up the mess from the day before, helping my hubs with the birth tub, etc. You know, those early labor projects I'd done with all my other kids.
HA! hahaha. Really? did I really think I"d have time for all the last minute things I had left to do? My husband ran around the house, trying to read my mind on what I wanted him to do. He amped up the water heater, got the tub in the house and started filling it, but by this time, I was in transition. I was walking, moving, pacing. Swaying my hips side to side didn't feel as good as front to back. But it was getting harder. I could feel the baby's head in my butt, pressing on my tailbone.
I knew I was in transition, the worst part of labor, the part I'd never got through without an epidural. I leaned over the side of the bed with a chux pad on the floor in case my water broke. Breathing deeply and slowly wasn't working anymore and I had already done the low moaning thing and it was now out the window, too. I had done so much visualizing of my cervix opening like a flower before labor that I didn't think anything different now.
I was trying to stay quiet, as the kids were all still asleep, and I kind of wanted it that way. I started singing Primary songs from church. For three verses (about two contractions) of "Teach Me to Walk in the Light", I coped really well with the pain. I thought that singing was something I could do for the rest of the labor, no sweat. It was not concert quality at ALL, but it really helped me focus and relax, and the pain subsided so much during contractions when I was singing.
At 2:30am, I could hear the tub filling across the house, and I wanted in so bad, but it was too hot to get in yet. So I went to the bathroom to relieve the pressure on baby from my bladder (part of my birth plan: stay hydrated, pee every 1/2 hour). That's when I heard a "POP!" and my water broke exactly where I wanted it to: in the toilet. no mess, no fuss. Immediately after that, I was feeling the urge to push and I started yelling "OOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!!" as loud as humanly possible.
Needless to say, that woke up my oldest daughter, age 8, who had promised to help me during labor and moo with me during contractions. My younger daughter, age 5, was just behind her. My 8yo asked in the most chipper voice "what do you want me to do, mama?", completely unphased by my screaming.
She had helped pack the home birth supplies and knew where everything was. "TOWELS! CHUX PAD!" Was all I could mutter when the next contraction came on. By the time it was done, she had it laid out on the floor in front of the toilet. I called for my husband, I wanted him with me, to hold me, but when he got there, he couldn't read my mind as to what I wanted. He went back to tend the tub while I rolled off the toilet and on to all fours. He declared, "The tub is ready!" and I responded with
"I'm croooooowniiiiing! OOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!!!" I started praying between the contractions. Hubs came running "What do you want me to do?!"" CATCH! OOOOOWWW UUUGGGGGHHHHH!"
I'm sure he was wondering where the midwife was. This was NOT his job! He grabbed a towel from the good closet (knowing which supplies were which wasn't part of his training, oops). My body was pushing and I could feel the head descending through my pelvis with each push. It freaking hurt so bad. I felt that burning, but it also felt like I was going to get ripped in two. I had my hand applying pressure so that I wouldn't explode, like I felt like.
Everything was bulging and I could feel the top of his head get bigger and bigger each time my body squeezed him. I wasn't doing it, my body was. I was just along for the ride. After three contractions on the floor and the worst pain of my life, I could feel his head pop the rest of the way through and the rest of him slid right out behind, all at once, into daddy's hands behind me. The pain was immediately gone. It was 2:55am
Somehow this baby got passed under me and that rush of love came right away. I was still burning, but now I was shouting, "Ben! Oh baby! I love you! Oh my gosh, Ben! you are here!" I knelt there in awe with my family (except my 3yo son, he was still asleep) behind me. Ben was pink and breathing and beautiful. Only a tiny spot of vernix on his ear. His head, perfectly round. He was here! He gave a little cry and I checked to make sure he was still a boy. All body parts present and accounted for.
I heard some quiet crying behind me. I thought "oh, no! I have scarred my daughter for life!" But no. She had the biggest smile on her face. "I'm okay, mama, I'm just happy." The girl is amazing. She really stepped up and did just what I needed her to, what we had prepared for.
There was a knock at the door and my midwife's assistant came in as my dear husband, who has delivered his share of calves on the farm, with his nervous laugh said, "She's done! He's already here!". She later told me he was practically floating.
She gave us a quick once over and since we were fine, helped me deliver the placenta, since I was now feeling the urge to. She helped me make the trek to the bed, get changed, and wait for the midwife. She came about 15 minutes after the birth. They checked me for tears, and there were none. It was actually the first time I'd been checked at all, because cervical exams really aren't necessary, and I'd never requested one.
As we laid in bed as a family, Ben was finally awake enough to nurse, and has been doing so with no trouble since. He has a great latch. When the tools were ready, Dad cut the cord. Ben had plenty of time for the placenta to do it's job and pump all that good cord blood back into his body. We waited for a good while longer to weigh and measure so that the photographer would have something to take pictures of. Benjamin Joel Taylor was 7lbs 5 oz and 20 in long.
We hung out in bed for about an hour before I got showered and we all migrated to the living room. It was so nice to be able to walk around, use the bathroom, and eat. When I came out and saw that nice cooshy birth tub my husband had worked so hard to fill, I was a little bummed. That would have felt awesome during pushing. Our now "older" son woke up and came out with dad for some father/sons bonding time.
He was sleepy, but upon seeing his little brother, got the biggest smile on his face. When he was awake enough to hold him, Ben wiggled and his brother busted out laughing. He patted his little hands and Ben jerked with a startle. This made him laugh even harder. It was such a joy to see these brothers meet for the first time earthside. Our MWs left three hours later, and our cousin hung out with the kids and got them breakfast while we slept.
People said that I was crazy for wanting to have a homebirth. I didn't think it was that crazy. It's statistically safe and emotionally gratifying. But I gotta say now, it was crazy. It was the most crazy, intense, awesome hour of my life. Words cannot describe how it felt. A true journey in the human experience, which is what I came on earth to have. The thing about this birth is that I was so glad to have planned it for home.
Can you imagine trying to figure out if you are in labor, get ready, get the kids ready, take them to grandma's, and make it back to the hospital, check in, and get into a room in an hour? No? me neither. That baby would have been born in the car. So, I skipped the drama and stayed home. Would I do it again? If you could guarantee me that by going to the hospital I could have an epidural that enabled me to walk immediately afterward, left no sharp pain in my spine for a week or more, didn't give me headaches, and no IVs, too, I'd go back to the hospital. But that's not the way it works.
So, I trade my epidural for 5-10 minutes of sheer pain (the contractions were manageable, the pushing, OMG!), and I don't have to be poked or strapped down with monitors, or asked a ton of questions, or be separated from my family. I guess I'd do it again. Not tomorrow, but someday if...