I was really excited and prepared to have a natural home birth, but it wasn't in the stars...
The night before my due date I started to feel light, steady contractions every 10-12 minutes. I was really excited, but tried not to get ahead of myself, because I knew it could be a false alarm.
When I woke up the next morning, they were still coming! DH and I went for a 3 mile walk in the park, trying to just enjoy our time as 2 together and also trying not to pay too much attention to how far apart the contractions were. My doula was planning to come over around 3pm anyway to make some padsicles (pads soaked in comfrey, witchhazel and lavender for after the birth), so I let her know that she may want to pack a bag b/c she may have to stay.
When the doula arrived, I was still able to talk and function, thoughcontractions were getting stronger and closer together.
By about 7pm everything starts getting hazy, but I'll do my best to describe what happened.
The contractions were getting super strong, but I felt great - strong, centered, and able to get through them with concentration. I was relying a lot on both DH and my doula, and we actually had a lot of fun as I progressed.
We decided to set up the pool (this was a disaster - hose adapter didnt work so we had to continuously wrap it with tape AND we thought the pool had a heater so we filled it with cool water only to find out it keeps warm water warm, but didn't heat it so we had to empty it and start from scratch with warm water.. and then we ran out of hot water).
By about 9ish my 2 midwives and their midwifery student arrived (I had been updating them since the morning). They set up in the dining room, and the doula, DH and I kept doing what we were doing in the living room.
As the contractions got heavier, things started to change. The pain went from my front to my back - I didn't realize it while it was happening, but then it became VERY clear - I was having back labor.
It hurt... the pain took over my body, I felt out of control. With every contraction I did all of the things I could think of that I had read about to get through them. I left my mouth open and loose, I breathed, made deep sounds, moved my body, said "yes" and "open."
After many hours of this (no idea of time frame), I started to feel like something was wrong. What? I couldn't tell you, but I went from doing all the things I mentioned above to screaming "NO" and "I CAN'T." No matter how hard I tried to re-frame what came out of my mouth, I couldn't. It wasn't just that, though.. my intuition was just telling me something.
The midwives were monitoring me intermittently, and they thought everything seemed normal. I started getting sick with each contraction. I barely ate or drank anything for about hours, and just couldn't get anything down.
After the midwives heard me say something felt wrong, they decided to check me (even though they are usually very hands off). We found that I was only 3 cm and still pretty firm. They wanted me to sleep, but I couldn't.
They needed sleep, and felt like I was fine, just slow to progress, so they left. Shortly after, all I know was I was in the dining room crawling on the floor screaming "TAKE ME TO THE HOSPITAL."
The midwives were called back (only one came), and we went to a local hospital to our backup midwife. I cried for joy as they wheeled me into the room. I didn't realize how unsafe I felt over the past few hours.
When I got there they gave me something to sleep and something to stop me from throwing up from the pain. They put me on pitocin and gave me an epidural. I was still only 5cm. Everyone was convinced I would have the baby vaginally... BUT the baby's heart rate started dipping to the 60s with every contraction.
The backup midwife didn't want to take any chances, and the next thing I knew I was strapped down and getting a c-section....
Samuel was born at 2:43pm on September 4th, the day after his due date. He was 6lbs 13 oz and 20 inches long. His apgar scores were 9 and 9.
My husband was with him the whole time, and my doula stayed with me while they stitched me up. Sam was in my arms surprisingly quickly, and he latched well right away.
So the birth of my son, my first child, was the opposite of what I wanted and expected, but it was the birth he needed. We found out that he changed into a transverse position during labor, and he was pressing on the cord (it was between his cheek and his hand), which caused the decelerations during the contractions. He would not have been born any way other than c-section without causing a risk to me or him.
Do I feel like my birth experience was taken away from me? In some ways yes, in others no. I spent hours in painful back labor and endured SO MUCH MORE than I ever thought I'd be able to take - I'm so proud of that. I followed my instinct that something was wrong, and I was right about it. Even though I didn't deliver him at home, I feel like in many ways I still had a home birth. Even though I didn't push him out vaginally, I faced my ultimate fear and had him surgically. I'm sad that it wasn't natural, but when I look at Sam and hold him in my arms, it's hard to feel anything but awe and gratitude.
Thank you to this community - it kept me going through my pregnancy and I learned so much from you all. Knowing you all will have prefect births, whatever they may look like. Trust yourselves.