Sunday October 3rd,the Bundle woke us up, asking for an apple or yogurt, I can’t remember now. It was seven in the morning, I got up and got her pre-breakfast snack and noticed I was having “strong” contractions. I had been having contractions for weeks, but these were different, there was cramping along with tightening. I didn’t want to get excited, after all, it was still 5 days before my “due” date and I had lots things I needed to get done that week. After eating her apple, the Bundle and I went in her play room and played, The Man was getting ready to go to practice music for church that morning, he plays for our church’s praise team. After about an hour, I decided to time them, and they were 3-4 minutes apart. I mentioned it to The Man, but they weren’t painful or lasting very long, so I told him I wasn’t sure if it was actually happening. He left go to practice, and would come back before 9 to pick us up to go to Sunday school.
I decided to make flour tortillas for breakfast, I’m not sure why I did that, it takes me a long time to make a batch, and having only been making them for a couple of months, I’m not very good at it yet. So there I was, making tortillas and timing contractions. They stayed regular the whole time The Man was gone, when he came back, I hadn’t started getting ready for Sunday school yet. We ate breakfast, and decided not to go to class. We started picking up the house, The Man was such a good sport, he remembered me telling him that when I went into labor, I wanted to make sure the house was clean and presentable, so he picked up the living room and the bedroom while I started to wash the tiny diapers I had ready for the Pumpkin. I still didn’t accept that it could be the real thing!
Then The Man told me to call Pam, our midwife, I didn’t really think it was time to call her to come, but I wanted to give her a heads up. The Man’s biggest fear about our homebirth was Pam not making it in time for the birth, since she’s about an hour away, so he was a bit paranoid about me calling her, “If you don’t, I will” he told me. So, I called her, I told her what was going on and she decided to start getting ready and then head our way, I told her I’d hate for her to come down and me not really be in labor (I still didn’t believe I was 😛 ) “I’d rather be there early than late” she said. We continued to clean the house, then the Man left again to play music at the actual church service. I did the dishes and then went for a walk with The Bundle, she was riding in her wagon and was having a blast. During the walk my contractions got up to 2 minutes apart, sometimes less, and they were getting intense. I started to panic a bit, this might just be a fast labor! So I decided to call my mom, and let her know what was going on, I didn’t want to call her too soon, because I knew she would be a nervous wreck (and she was 😉 ). She didn’t believe me at first, I told her not to hurry but that she should plan on heading to my house, right after I said that I got another contraction that was pretty intense and I said “Okay, maybe you should hurry.” Oops and I didn’t want to freak her out 😉 I also decided to text Rachel, my doula, since things seemed to be going pretty fast, I told her Pam was on her way.
I got back home from the walk and started another load of laundry, and my contractions spread out and were not as intense, I got really disappointed. The Man came back from church and told him what was going on, then my mom arrived, and shortly after The Man’s mom came, too. Pam arrived with Jennifer, her student midwife, around noon and asked me if I wanted to be checked, I agreed, because I wanted to be certain I was in labor. She checked me and I was 3cm dilated and about 85% effaced but my cervix was still posterior, so while I had a contraction, Pam tried to pull my cervix forward to see if it would stay. Let me just say, it was one of the most painful things about the whole labor! Pam and Jennifer left to go get some lunch and she suggested I do some squats to get the baby to come down lower. After they left, I decided I’d go for a walk again, since I had a lot of activity during my previous walk. While I was walking Rachel, my doula, got there, she parked her car and walked with me. I, again, felt a bit embarrassed, like I did with Pam and Jennifer because I thought things would go faster when it first started and by that time it seemed like it would be a while.
My mom made lunch and we ate. The rest of the afternoon was basically a lot of squats and walking squats and lunges, I wanted to keep active, to help move things along. Sometimes when I would go to the bathroom I would secretly do some jumping jacks 😉 (ssshh.. don’t tell anyone!) My contractions started lasting longer, but were still not really painful, just a lot of pressure. Rachel had me squat holding on to a piano we have in our house and breathe during these contractions. Sometime in the afternoon I lay down to try to take a nap and save up some energy, but I couldn’t really get myself to sleep. I had a few contractions while I was laying down and they lasted longer and were pretty intense, it was a strange feeling, I can’t really explain it. Let me try: it was my belly getting really tight, with menstrual-like cramping on the bottom part of my belly and lower-back pain, all at the same time, it doesn’t really explain the sensation, just what was going on. So, I decided to get up and get moving, it wasn’t fun laying down.
I started losing my plug around this time, I would see a little bit every time I went to the bathroom, which was quite often since they were keeping me well hydrated! It was very exciting for me to see the plug, it was reassurance that I was making progress even if I wasn’t in pain. Pam mentioned to me a few times that I was “too happy” in labor, so I kept waiting for it to get worse. Pam checked me for the second time in my whole pregnancy and I was at a 6, I was hoping I was more, but I tried not to let it get to me. I lay down once again, I was getting tired and my legs were getting sore from walking and squatting so much, I wanted to rest for the “main event”. As with the first time I lay down, my contractions were way more intense than when standing, and walking around, I only got about two or three while I was resting, but thankfully I was able to doze off for a bit. Around 5:30 they started filling up the pool, it had been blown up and ready since Thrusday night, when we washed it and got it ready….just in case 😉
It was around 7 o’clock when the sun was going down, Rachel suggested we’d go for a walk again, before it got too dark. The Man came along, and I’m very glad he did, because during this last walk was when I actually started having “pain”. We were walking up the hill on our road when I got my first one, I had to lean on a fence or trash can –I can’t remember now — close my eyes and breathe through it. We kept walking and when I had another one, Rachel applied counter pressure on my lower back and that felt amazing since that’s where I was getting most of the pain. By the end of the walk I had to lean on The Man while Rachel applied pressure. On the way down the hill, I could feel I had to pee and it got harder and harder to hold it with every contraction, we were walking up our driveway when, ladies and gentlemen, it felt like the child pushed right on my bladder and I peed my pants. Yep, it was quite amusing, all I could do was laugh. And pee.
We went inside, I changed clothes, then Pam checked me for the third time, just to make sure my water had not broken (I was hoping it had, to make it less embarrassing for me :p) . I’m not exactly sure, but I think I was at an 8 and fully effaced. And, no, my bag was still intact. I started getting nauseous and gagging around this time, but I didn’t throw up, I also was really cold, I had to change into pants and wear a bath robe to keep warm. This is when I texted my friend Kaleen to come over, it was around 8:30 p.m., she was to take pictures of the birth. We also decided to take a few pictures of my belly and some with The Man’s sister, who is pregnant, due pretty soon. My contractions were about two minutes apart, I was able to go about as normal between them, but when I got them, I had to grab on to The Man, and try to vocalize “aaaah” while breathing deeply, Rachel was also always there to apply that wonderful pressure on my splitting pelvis. Seriously, this is a more accurate description, it wasn’t really pain, it just felt like my bones were splitting, opening up, and essentially, that’s exactly was it was doing, as the baby was making her way down.
Kaleen got there just a few minutes before I got in the pool, which was about 9 o’clock. The water was warmer then I expected, but not too warm, it was perfect. It was really nice to finally be in the pool and be able to relax….if only for a minute! I couldn’t relax when I got my first contraction in the water, I needed my counter pressure! Rachel was able to reach over and do it for a while. I think around my third contraction in the pool, I felt a weird air bubble and then The Man exclaimed “Her water just broke!” and sure enough, I look down and I see it still gushing out. I was excited, she would be here soon! Every time I would get a contraction, everyone in the room would get so quiet, it was kinda eerie to me, so I remember telling them, “You guys are too quiet,” and asked The Man go turn some music on, from our church website.
At first, I was just sitting normal in the pool, but I soon discovered that it was much more comfortable to lean up against the side of the pool during a contraction, so that’s what I would do. At some point, I started loosing track of my surroundings and just stayed inside myself, it sounds odd, but that’s what it felt like. I faintly remember Pam checking the baby’s heart rate with her doppler and then dropping it in the water, then someone asked me if I had a blow dryer, in the bathroom, in a drawer, I remember saying. I wasn’t nervous that the doppler wasn’t working, but it seemed everyone around me was. Then eventually they got it working again and they were able to check the heart rate, which was perfect.
I hadn’t been paying attention to much of the music playing, but suddenly the one playing stood out, I didn’t like it, “Babe, change the song, I don’t like that one,” I said to The Man, although now, I have no idea which song that was. So my Man did as I said. Then during a contraction, I felt my body start to push by itself, I actually said out loud “She’s pushing!”. I had read about your body pushing the baby out, the woman not having to do it, I still didn’t believe it was actually happening to me, it was awesome! After that, with every contraction, I would try to push a little bit, but I wasn’t giving in, I wasn’t pushing hard enough and I knew it. I was afraid that it would hurt, my biggest fear of childbirth was crowning, and if I pushed, I knew I would feel it. “I’m scared!” I said out loud, I remember hearing Pam say some comforting words, letting me know I could do it. I kept pushing, slowly, but I wasn’t making much progress. Then, I remembered I hadn’t put an outfit and a diaper with the birth kit like I had planned! It seemed imperative at the moment, so I asked The Man to get some from the room. I heard some chuckles and then Pam said, “He’ll get it later, we don’t want him to miss it.” I kept pushing, but it hurt! I was afraid. Then God sent me a most beautiful gift. I heard “Bring the Rain” by Mercy Me, that beautiful song that had helped me through the difficult time we went through with the Pumpkin. I heard it faintly at first, and then it got louder, and I could hear the lyrics, and a dam of emotions was about to burst open. But I didn’t let it. I wasn’t going to cry, I would be strong. God was reminding me that He was there with me. He was giving me strength. So, I began to push, really push. Yes, it hurt, but the sooner I got through with it, the sooner I would see her. Pam asked me if I wanted to reach down and feel her, so I felt in there and I could feel her head and noticed she had a lot of hair! I was zoning out between contractions, I was actually starting to dream when I would have another contraction. I could hear directions while I was pushing, telling me to relax and go “aaahh” (if you relax your mouth, it helps relax your muscles). I would start out good, but as I pushed it would hurt so my “aaaahhh” would turn into a “AAAAAAHHH!!” After my contraction was over I found myself breathing really loudly and fast. Then I would hear Pam telling me to slow my breathing down. There she was, so close to coming out, I could feel her, then while waiting for another surge, she went back up “and there she goes” someone said. I was so disappointed. So I pushed harder the next time and soon she crowned, and it hurt, but it felt so good to finally do it. Jennifer was giving The Man instructions to get ready to catch her. Another push and her head was out! They made sure her cord was not around her neck. Then another push and she came out, at 10:10 p.m. The most amazing feeling in the world. She was out. She gave a shriek. She was on my chest. Beautiful. She was all mine. And she was perfect.
She was crying and I talked to her, caressed her, telling her Mama was there. “I did it! I did it” I couldn’t stop smiling. Then I gave thanks to God, for giving me an amazing home birth, experience and a beautiful daughter. I tried to nurse her, but she was having trouble latching because she was still crying, then the cord had stopped pulsing, so we were getting ready to cut, but The Man didn’t want to do it! Silly Man! My mom was too afraid, and so was Mawni, so Kaleen did it! Then the placenta was delivered and I was ready to get out of the water! They helped me to a recliner in the living room and I fed the Pumkin. She nursed a quite a while. My mom brought me dinner and I devoured it, I hadn’t realized I was so hungry. After about an hour on the recliner, they helped me in the shower, I cleaned up and got checked out. I had only a small tear and didn’t need any stitches! We weighed the babe and we couldn’t believe it, she was 8 pounds even! My guess had been 7!
The Bundle slept through it all, she had been so excited all day, she wanted to get in the pool, but she fell asleep shortly before I got in the pool. She didn’t take a nap, so she was overly tired. She did wake up around 5:30 in the morning when the Pumpkin was crying while I changed her diaper and she was so excited. “Look who is here?” I said, she stood up and climbed over The Man, “Baby Sister?!” She kissed her, and lay down next to her and said to wanted to sleep next to her.
If God gives us more children I will definitely have them at home. It’s so nice to be able to be in the comfort of your own home, but most importantly to not be pushed with drugs, even if you say you don’t want them. It’s so nice to have a team that supports you and believes that, given time, your body will do the work it was designed to do. I had an awesome group of ladies who are experienced and knowledgeable, thank you so much Pam, Jennifer and Rachel!