Monday; January 11, 2010
This Monday started off like most Mondays for me. I got off work at 7am after working a 12hr night shift on L&D. The night wasn’t particularly busy. I had one delivery that I probably won’t forget for awhile. The family was very supportive and helpful and one of the CNMs came in special for her. We talked off and on about my plans for a homebirth. The family was very amused by plans, but weren’t rude like so many others.
Well, when I got home Leonard had already taken the older kids (Hannah & Amari) to the bus stop. I noticed that I was feeling some contractions off/on, but nothing remarkable. They were noticeably “different” from previous Braxton Hicks (stronger & lower), but weren’t lasting long & very irregular. I ate breakfast (waffle & eggs) with Sarah in bed and we both laid down for a nap around 10a. She’s usually bursting at the seams with energy when I get home, but this morning she wanted to nap with me. And we did nap….until 2p!
On the drive to the bus stop to meet the kids, I noticed the “different” contractions again. I thought nothing of them because I was able to nap through them and they weren’t bothering me too much now. I scooped up the kids at 3p and headed back home. When we got home the kids went to play with a friend before doing homework. I took this opportunity to take a stroll around the neighborhood. It had been freezing cold for days & it was actually pretty nice out. Again, those “different” contractions were there. Yet, I could keep strolling right through them. When I got back home, the kids were still out. So, I laid down for awhile (until 430p). I then rallied the kids for homework.
We worked on homework until Leonard got home (a little after 6p). These “different” contractions were becoming a little more regular (maybe every 10min), but still weren’t lasting long (<60sec). I decided to take a warm shower. I was thinking, "either these have to pick up & show me a sign that it is labor OR chill out!" During my 30min shower these "different" contractions were becoming more regular, but I still wasn't convinced. "Maybe it's just the nipple stim from the shower." Leonard kept checking in and asking to call the midwife. I kept attempting to reassure him that I was NOT in labor, but did ask him to get the kids ready for bed (before 7p?). I guess that was all he needed to hear. He went into full labor mode....tidying up the house, situating the kids, looking for his "what to do if the baby comes before the midwife" checklist. Unfortunately, I still wasn't convinced. I was waiting for some big blob of mucous or bloody show...just something!
I got out the shower and decided to call Adrienne (a very dear friend and L&D nurse too). I told her I wasn't sure and told her how I was feeling. She told me not to wait until the last minute because I was already dilated 3-4cm and this was my third baby. Yet, I still wasn't sure. I told her I was going to lay down and give it another couple hours. I then remembered another dear friend, Alicia. I had asked her to be present for the birth too. If this was the real deal, she would need time to prepare and get her baby girl all situated as well. So, I called her too. I will NEVER forget this phone call! Me - "Licia" (with my heavy breathing). Licia - "Hey, what's going on?" (in her soft sweet voice). Me - "I'm sitting on the toilet." Licia - "Ok. I don't think I've ever talked to you while you were on the toilet before." It was quite amusing looking back on it. I shared with her my same thoughts that I had with Adrienne.
So, I attempted to rest. These "different" contractions were regular and not letting off with a shower & rest. OK. I decided to call Adrienne back and ask her to come examine me. My biggest concern was calling the midwife too soon. I'm a L&D nurse....I should recognize labor....maybe?!?!? Adrienne was already up and getting dressed when I called back, BUT she lives 45min away! Leonard continued to ask about calling the midwife. I reassured him that Adrienne was on her way & I would call the midwife after she got there....if I was indeed in labor. I watched the clock while alternating positions between the birth ball and hands/knees. I was eagerly waiting to hop into that warm birthing pool, but didn't want to get in too soon & stall labor. The girls, Hannah & Sarah, were great doulas! They took turns holding my hands and rubbing my back. All those homebirth books prepared them well. There was no fear between the two of them.
Adrienne finally arrived about 9pm and examined me. She said I was 6cm with a bulging bag and that the head was low. I had Adrienne call Alicia & Leonard page the midwife while I promptly undressed and jumped into that pool. The water was initially too hot & Leonard began running around trying to hook up the hose to cool it off. It was a little entertaining! The water was all that I had dreamed it to be. The contractions felt less intense. I was able to talk with the girls & Adrienne in between. It was ideal! I lost track of time after Adrienne arrived. I know that Alicia arrived shortly after and Alice, the midwife, arrived about 10p.
Alice carried in all of her bags and made a place for them in the bedroom. She then dopplered the baby's heart beat. She commented that the water was too warm & my temp was mildly elevated. So, I had to get out! Oh, no! Leonard was in full affect again trying to cool the water off. While he was doing that, I sat on the toilet. The contractions were soo much stronger and came a lot more often outside the pool. Sitting there, I felt something had changed...something was different. So, I asked Alice to examine me. I laid down in bed praying that I was more than 6cm! I was! I was 9.5 cm with a bulging bag! My mind went into a tail spin. I could not believe it! (Around 11p)
Leonard crawled into bed with me. I lay on my side and wrapped my arms around his neck. I turned on my favorite CD of Praise & Worship and tried to stay focus. It was like my pain went from "0 to 10" when she told me I was 9.5 cm (note...my pain was not a 0). Christy, the student midwife, and Alicia were great with encouraging me to remain relaxed. "Open jaw...open bottom." Laying in bed eventually became unbearable and I slipped back into the pool. "Awwwwww."
I waited for this unbearable "urge to push." It never came. I started to feel some rectal pressure with the peak of the contractions and would bear down slightly. I did this for what seemed like hours, but Adrienne told me it was only 10-15 min. I could feel this bulging bag of waters at my entroitus and had even tried to rupture it myself with no luck. I asked Alice if rupturing the bag would speed things along. "It might," she said. So not what I wanted to hear. Just as she was going to do it, my bag of waters broke on its own. I could feel the baby's head come down and even feel it wiggling around (a very strange feeling). Again, something had changed...something was different. My body relaxed and I gave into what my body was doing. I stopped trying to be in control. I began to breathe my baby down like I had learned with hypnobirthing. She slowly descended over a few contractions. I could feel her head & all her hair in my hand. I got onto my knees as she crowned. I cried out for help after her head was delivered because I felt her cord wrapped around her neck. Alice & Christy quickly stepped in. She was delivered with ease and I lifted her from the water (at 1143p). She was beautiful & perfect. My mind & body was overflowing with emotions (hormones) as she lay on my chest.
My prayer had been heard & answered....my girls witnessed the birth of their sister in our home and they will ALWAYS know that they have a choice!
Editor Note: You can read more by this author at her website: http://tallahasseehuffs.blogspot.com