It’s been 2 weeks since the birth of my 3rd baby! I can hardly wait to share his birth story. But since that was the first labor I actually have pictures from, I’ll wait until my doula is able to email the photoes to me.
In the meantime, how about I go back in time and share the birth stories from my first two babies?
Baby # 1
I woke up Friday morning after having a dream that the baby told me she was ready to come, but I was too tense. I needed to relax so she could be born. So I spent Friday doing things that relax me: reading, singing and dancing, listening to music & my hypnobabies cds, and massaged my pelvic floor muscles. That evening I had a glass of wine, pounced on my husband, then went to bed because I was feeling sick, crampy and just ‘off’.
The contractions woke me up at 2am on Saturday. They were 8 min apart, and too strong to sleep through, so I watched and waited for awhile. At about 3:30 Matthew asked if I was okay (he was in the habit of asking me that every few hours or so :P). I told him that I thought this was a birthday. The contractions were 5 min apart now. Sometime before dawn I got in the shower to try to get more comfortable. The water felt amazing! And relieved so much of the pressure. When I got out to throw up, I knew this was really it.
Matthew called the midwife-on-call, Julie, just to let her know what was going on, and I spent the morning moving back and forth between the shower and the bed, sitting on a warm rice sock, leaning forward onto a mountain of pillows. I listened to the ‘Easy First Stage’ hypnobabies soundtrack over and over, and stayed soooo relaxed. I didn’t believe Matthew when he told my my contractions were averaging 3 min apart, and 90 seconds long! Matthew was everything I needed him to be. He seemed to sense when I wanted him there, and when I wanted to be alone to focus. He reminded me to drink lots of water, kept my rice sock warm, rubbed my back and periodically timed my contractions.
Around noon I decided I would really like to go to the birth center and labor in the big tub. We called Julie again, and I tried to explain how things were going. I had to stop and moan my way through several contractions while talking to her. She encouraged us to stay home because “since this is your first baby, you still have about 24 hours to go.” I was devastated and whined at Matthew that I couldn’t do this for another 24 hours. We called again a few hours later, and I described my progress, telling her that I could feel the amniotic sack bulging out through my cervix. She again suggested that we wait, telling me that she would likely just send me home if I came in.
So I labored for a couple more hours. Then suddenly the intensity climbed. I told Matthew that this was stupid. Drugs exist for a reason and I wanted him to take me to a hospital where they could fix the pain Thankfully he didn’t listen to me! Then I got incredibly emotional and started crying. “You’re not supposed to feel this way until you’re in transition!” I whined at him… Guess who was in transition I kept chanting “Okay baby, okay. If this is what you need from me okay. Okay my baby. Whatever you need. Okay.” Matthew saw the change and decided it was time to go! It was 5:30 when he called the birth center, and Cathy, my favorite midwife, answered the phone. “How’s it going?” “Um… not so good actually.” “Well, come on in!” I love that woman.
Matthew wrapped some clothes around me, and we headed off. My transition stage was actually really funny. I kept laughing uncontrollably between contractions. It was like I was on a natural high. Everything was funny and I kept joking around. I would cry and yell during the contractions, then after they peaked I was laughing my head off. It felt like the little engine that could: all the way up I was saying I think I can I think I can, then at the top everything was different! At one point I told Matthew that I heard music, but I didn’t think it was real. And I was telling the baby to just follow the music to come out.
We got to the birth center, and Cathy met us at the door. She wasn’t the midwife-on-call, but was there on a Saturday drying herbs. “Honey, what are you wearing?” For the first time I actually looked at what I had on… a long skirt, inside-out, one of Matthew’s pearl snap shirts, and nothing under! Cathy watched me go through two contractions before we could even make it to the exam room. When she checked me, she told Matthew to go get the bag if he hurried “Does that mean I get to stay?!” I almost bawled. “Honey, you’re a 9.”
Almost as soon as I got to the birthing suite, I threw up again, which was actually great as it finished dilating me and got me through transition! It was also when my water finally started leaking. Julie came in “Oh, you made good progress at home!” And I stuck my tongue out at her as she left I was only in the pushing stage for about 20 minutes, and was actually pretty lazy about it, letting the contractions do most of the work. Through the contractions I kept chanting “Oh my baby, my baby, my baby, my baby…” By this time I was exhausted, and I hadn’t been able to keep any food down all day. I was on my hands and knees on the big bed, leaning forward onto a birthing ball which felt fantastic. Then Matthew was in my ear “I can see her head!” but I didn’t believe him at first. Then he told me “She has long dark hair! She is almost here!” I think his voice at that moment was the most beautiful sound on earth. Just before she crowned, I announced that I was tired and just wanted to sleep now. It took a lot of coaxing to get me to push her out. What finally convinced me to hurry things up was that they told me baby’s heartbeat had slowed & that I needed to get her out now. As she crowned, Matthew helped catch her while trying to hold my hand, keep me calm and encourage me all at the same time. Julie was behind me, and tried to pull the baby the rest of the way out, and I yelled at her to stop. Cathy told me to lift my leg up into more of a squat to deliver the shoulders. “I can’t!” She grabbed my thigh, pulled it up and WHOOSH! Out came baby! (Have I mentioned that I love that woman?) Most of the waters finally came out with baby as she whooshed out. She was born at 7:01 pm, about an hour after we got to the birth center.
::Insert by Matthew: When she was born her eyes were closed, she wasn’t moving, and was completely purple. She slept through the whole thing! By the time mommy got turned around to see her she had opened her eyes and was looking around.::
I turned over and looked at my baby, laying on the bed. She was quiet, just looking around at her new world. “She’s not crying!” I was really worried about it. (I think she reminded me of my mom’s stillborn) “It’s okay, pick up your baby” Cathy reassured me. I scooped her up, and she slowly started to pink up. Wide eyed and alert, she watched everyone. I told her she was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. 18 inches long, 6lbs 7oz.
They had to clamp the cord sooner than I would have liked, as I was bleeding a bit too much. But at that point I didn’t care. All I could do was look at my baby. I got a shot of pitocin to help deliver the placenta, and my bleeding was under control.
After a while the nurse brought us a birthday cake and sparkling grape juice. And they gave me smoothies and soup, which I was finally able to keep down. By the time everything had calmed down it was past midnight, so we decided to stay the night. We brought our beautiful baby girl home the next morning.
Overall, I love the labor and birth experience we had! The hypnobabies techniques were fantastic, and helped all the way up to transition. We didn’t have time for a waterbirth, but she came so quickly and easily that I didn’t mind. The staff at the birth center was wonderful. Everyone was respectful of our choices throughout the pregnancy and birth. I labored for only 17 hours. We were both healthy all the way through the pregnancy, and got to have the natural delivery I had my heart set on. I could not be happier!