I had been planning a home water birth for #2. My first had been born in a hospital with a pitocin drip, but pain med free, she was 9 lbs 3 oz. So we were expecting a big baby again, no problems. My first labor was 22 hours from start to finish, so I was really expecting something similar for this labor, since the pitocin wouldn't be there to speed things up, but I would be more comfortable at home and progress faster (my midwife seemed to be of the same mind, that the two different variables would cancel each other out). We were wrong!
When I hit 41 weeks, I started to get a little worried about making it past 42 and having to transfer care to the hospital. My midwife seemed optimistic this wouldn't happen, but I had also been SO sure I was going to go long before this point. With dd#1 my water had broken at 41+1 & she was born the next day. And here I sat at 41+1 again, but absolutely NO signs of LO coming anytime soon. I agreed to be checked, and she did a quick sweep just for good measure, even though I was only 2 cm, 60% effaced (after all, what can it hurt when I was past due?). On my way home from my midwife's appointment, I stopped by the chiropractor for a quick adjustment, as we were still not 100% satisfied with LO's position (she had been slowly working her way around from OP the last couple weeks), and since I was overdue, the chiro did some acupuncture and acupressure as well as adjust my hips again. For good measure we stopped and had some Mexican food as well, and I ordered mine with the spiciest sauce (hey, it was delicious, and what can it hurt?). When I got home, dh and I did the deed, joking about how it was going to be the last time for a long time, if nothing else because I was incredibly NOT sexy feeling at this point lol. I went to bed around 10 pm, and I was feeling a little crampy, but nothing unusual, especially considering the effort sex had taken earlier.
I woke up at 3:30 am to some serious "cramps." They were irregular and inconsistent, but were keeping me awake, so I took a hot shower to try to calm down so I could go back to sleep. It didn't work, by the time I got out, they were pretty consistently 5 minutes apart, but I was more than able to talk and move through them. I was convinced it was probably just early labor, especially since the cramps were so low. I remembered contractions with dd were over my entire abdomen (remember it was pitocin induced!), and I just wasn't convinced these were real contractions. I didn't want to be "that" woman that raised false alarms in the wee hours of the morning, but there was no way I was going back to sleep. So I put on some cloth diaper laundry and sat on my exercise ball and played on the computer a bit. By 4:30 dh woke up and heard me running the shower again, and joined me. The cramps were getting much more serious, and I could tell they were coming in waves now. He got in the shower with me and we talked a bit, and I was still able to talk through them, but I was starting to call them "painful." At 5 I decided it was time to call in the reinforcements. I texted my mom and told her to call into work, and called my midwife to update her on my progress. We decided she could stay at home for a little longer, but be on alert for my call. It still seemed like I was in early labor.
Only a handful of contractions later things suddenly changed very quickly. I was unable to talk to them, and every time a wave hit me I had to lean on whatever was close and couldn't even move. It was crazy intense, and I told dh to call my mom and the midwife and get them here asap. He looked at me like I was crazy, and honestly I thought I was going crazy too. There was no way things were going that fast, I must just be wimping out early. Which was weird, because I had been so cool and in control in the hospital. This time I did not feel in control at all, but my contractions were very suddenly 2-3 minutes apart. My mom came over quickly (her job was to take care of my toddler and bring dh and I whatever supplies we needed), and my midwife started headed towards my house, but she lives an hour away. Dh started getting things together to fill up the pool. At 6:20 I was leaning on the dresser during a contraction and noticed this one was very different. I felt a small gush of fluid and suddenly there was a LOT of pressure, and I told dh things were getting serious, call L and tell her to hurry. He though I was being dramatic, I'm sure, but he did, and informed her my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart and a minute long. Apparently her reaction to that was, "Oh, s***." I moved into the bathroom and found that sitting on the toilet was incredibly comfortable, and at this point I noticed my underwear were full of blood and fluid. I wanted to run another shower or maybe a bath, but I wanted to conserve the hot water for my pool. But as soon as my mother got there, things started to feel much different. I started feeling like I needed to push! I had suspected as much when I felt the pressure earlier, but I had been in denial. I immediately stood back up and tried to control myself, because there was NO way this was happening this quickly! I was terrified I was wrong, so I worked through a couple of those contractions leaning against the bathroom wall. I announced this news to everyone else, and they looked at me like I was nuts. Heck, I even thought I was nuts. I was scared to let myself push, because I was worried this feeling was premature and I might injure my cervix. Not to mention the midwife was still an hour away! But after I couple more of those contractions, I felt her slip down into the birth canal, and there was no mistaking what was happening.
I yelled across the house for dh, "She's coming, L's not going to make it! Get your a$$ in here!" I got down on my hands and knees in my bathroom leaning over the tub, and when he saw me in that position he finally realized how serious I was lol! Naturally, all my vocals had woken up my toddler, and my mother was carrying her around and calling my midwife (who was in as much shock as we were!) at the same time. My phone records show this was at 6:26 am. Dh knelt down beside me and started taking orders from the midwife to check the baby's position, and color. I was just hanging over the edge of the tub, letting my body do all the pushing. I was purposefully trying not to rush things, as I didn't want to tear, and I knew she was going to be big. I got a little....confrontational....when the midwife was instructing dh on how to check for where the cord was. I was also not happy when he started massaging tissues that he could tell was being stretched. I swear all that hurt worse than pushing! But it was for the best. This whole time I could feel exactly where she was in the birth canal, and I could feel when she slipped back up with each contraction. Then there was one contraction where I felt her crown and stick there. I waited for the next contraction, then actively started pushing. Dh helped stretch my perineum over her brow, and after only a couple pushes she slipped right out into his arms around 6:56 am!
I caught my breath for a minute, then turned around to sit on the bathroom floor. Dh handed her to me and we waited to deliver the placenta. There was quite a bit of bleeding at this point, and I think everyone around me was starting to panic, because my midwife's phone was cutting out and losing signal as she was trying to talk to dh about how to evaluate the bleeding. I was freaking out because there was a LOT of meconium on the floor where she had been delivered, but she was breathing great and very pink and vocal. The midwife later said that because the fluid I noticed before she was born was clear, and the meconium was still intact and not floating around she must have passed it while I was pushing, so her head in the birth canal kept her from breathing it in. I finally delivered the placenta, and dh caught it and my mother brought a bowl to put it in. Thankfully my bleeding slowed down a lot after I passed the placenta. I handed her and the placenta bowl to dh and got up and stepped in the shower to rinse off. I moved to the bed and we nursed until the midwife arrived a few minutes later.
I was already noticing how completely different the feeling after this birth was. First of all, I could get up! I felt great! After my hospital birth, I hurt everywhere, and was so tired I was out of it. I don't really remember the first 48 hours of dd#1's life. But this time I barely even feel like I had a baby! Since I got up after having her I've been able to move around better than I was when I was pregnant, and emotionally I feel amazing. I know that will probably change later, but for now, I'm on cloud 9! I'm not bleeding nearly as badly either.
Victoria Patience came into the world in a whirlwind 3.5 hour labor at 9 lbs 11 oz! 20.5 inches long. The midwife looked me over, and at the surprised look on her face I started to get scared that I tore pretty badly. But I had absolutely NO damage whatsoever. I contribute this to a combination of letting my body push, NOT pushing on my back, dh and how much he paid attention to the stretching tissues, despite my protests :-P
This was after a completely opposite experience at the hospital, with unnatural contractions, fighting doctors and nurses, pushing on my back with my legs in stirrups. I feel like I finally got to experience what my body was truly capable of! I am also incredibly proud of my husband for keeping his cool and being a rock the entire time. Even when things got crazy and he was up to his elbows in blood and poop he did an amazing job!