My home waterbirth story

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I was reading over my birth story, like I often do just to reminisce, so I thought I would post it here. Enjoy!


On March 16th, 2007, I had my 41-week appointment with my midwife. Up to that point, I’d had no signs of labor coming at all, so I was prepared to wait it out another week or two. Everything was normal at the appointment – baby was low low low in my pelvis and in position for birth. Wantina did note some blood in my urine, and said that if I hadn’t had any bloody show, it was probably a UTI. I definitely hadn’t, so we planned to stop and get some cranberry concentrate on the way home to treat it. She mentioned that it was possible that I could have some show in the next few hours that was causing it – but I pretty much wrote off that possibility. The idea of going into labor still seemed like nothing more that a dream at that point.

That night, I went to a friend’s house for a movie and we all pigged out and shared pregnancy stories. I joked that this baby was way too comfortable and I’d decided to just raise him in my uterus forever. I didn’t get home until around midnight and finally got into bed around 1am.

At 5:30am on the morning of the 17th, I woke up to pee for the 3rd or 4th time and noticed that I was having a bit of pain with my normal Braxton Hicks. I didn’t really think much of it and went back to bed. I couldn’t get back to sleep though, and the pains were still coming, so I decided to time them. That was short-lived, however, because there was no real rhyme or reason to them and I couldn’t really tell when they started and stopped. Shelby woke up at that point and I mentioned to him that I was in a little pain, but that it was probably nothing.

I never did get back to sleep, so around 7am I got out of bed and went back to the toilet. The pains were becoming more regular, so I used an online contraction log to time them. Around then is when I noticed a small amount of bloody show, and started getting excited. The contractions were about 3-5 minutes apart and lasting 30 seconds to a minute. At that point I posted to a couple online message boards and my journal that things might be getting started.

DH came in the bathroom to check on me, and I told him about the show and said he should go back to bed because he’d need energy later. I called one of the midwives, Brandi, around 8:30 and told her that I’d had some blood and was having contractions. She asked about the intensity and I said that they weren’t bad yet. She said, “You’ll know when things change. Call me when they do!”

A little while later, Sam and DH woke up and we came downstairs to start preparing. He cleaned up the kitchen and did other random things around the house. I tried to pick up a little but the contractions were too close together and getting more painful so I didn’t accomplish much. I called my mom at that point to tell her today was probably the day, and she said she would head over. Around 9:30, DH called Brandi and let her know that things were picking up and she said she was on her way.

I decided to get into the bath for awhile and see if that helped me relax. It didn’t really help much because I couldn’t get it deep enough to cover my belly. My mom and sister arrived around then and she came up to say hi. I put her to work making up my Labor-Aid drink and continued laboring in the tub for awhile longer.

DH came back up to air up the birth tub, and I decided to get out of the water and try the birth ball. It surprisingly made things much more painful, so I ended up kneeling by the bed and leaning over on a pillow with DH applying counter-pressure to my back. This worked well for awhile until my knees got tired. I moved to the bed, and was very surprised to find that the contractions were much less painful lying down. I had always thought that being immobile would make them worse.

Brandi arrived around 11:45 to find me still laboring on the bed. She listened to the baby and everything sounded great. Kelly, our pastor, arrived around then and came up and said a prayer with all of us, just like she had done when I was in labor with Sam.

I expressed to Brandi that I was concerned that lying down would slow down my labor, since it made the contractions less intense and further apart. She said it could, but that I would need the rest anyway so it couldn’t hurt. She stayed in the room for awhile and chatted about various things. I would stop every few minutes to breathe through a contraction, but it really seemed like things had slowed down. I was starting to feel silly and worry that I wasn’t really in labor. So I got up out of bed again to see if I could get things back on track.

My memory gets a little fuzzy at this point. The contractions definitely picked back up, and I was needing to hum through them. I moved back to the bed and told DH that I really wanted in the tub, so he started filling it with water. When it was full, I labored in it for awhile, but the water really wasn’t warm enough to help much yet. Brandi wanted me to try to eat, so I took a couple bites of yogurt and sipped the Labor-Aid. I really didn’t have any appetite though. My mom had brought me a Subway sandwich but I couldn’t eat it.

Everything started happening really fast. The contractions seemed to go from manageable to extremely painful in no time. They got really bad while I was still in the tub, and I threw up a couple times. That was the worst part of the labor, I think. Dry heaving in the middle of a contraction is NOT fun at all. But I remember thinking it had to be a good sign, because throwing up meant transition.

I decided I wanted to move back to the bed. I think I was hoping it would slow things down again and give me a break. Brandi urged me to try to go to the bathroom and do another rinse (as a precaution since I didn’t get tested for GBS). I tried to, but laboring while standing up was awful and it seemed like when I moved, the contractions were constant with no breaks. Sitting on the toilet was absolutely excruciating, so I rinsed as fast as I could and jumped back up, crying that I just wanted to lay back down.

I made it back to the bed and ended up staying there for the duration of my labor. I’m not sure what time it was or how long I laid there, but I know Wantina arrived around 3pm and came in to see how I was doing. I was yelling during the contractions at that point and feeling pretty helpless. I would try to relax but it was hard. Everyone kept reassuring me and telling me how great I was doing. I remember telling DH I never wanted any more kids and that the home birth was a dumb idea. I told my mom that I just wanted to go to sleep and finish later, and that I changed my mind and didn’t want to do it at all. That was the extent of my irrational thoughts though, and I never cussed, so I’m pretty proud of myself for that!

All I could do was yell and shake through the contractions now. I threw up a few more times. I remember thinking, what if I’m only 5cm?! I couldn’t imagine doing it any longer. I sent DH down to tell Wantina that I wanted to be checked because I had to know how much longer I had to go. She came up, and we waited for a break in the contractions. But every time I would move, another one would come. Then I got a cramp in my leg while she was checking me and was wailing in pain. She was able to tell that my water was bulging and the baby was right there. Wantina asked DH to pray with me while she went to get my mom, and he said a sweet prayer while holding my hands.

They kept asking me if I was feeling “pushy,” but I couldn’t tell. I just felt lots of pressure. Then my body started pushing on its own during a contraction and I yelled, “I think I’m pushing!” Brandi said, “I think so too!” and Wantina said that if I wanted a water birth, I really needed to move to the tub. I said that I didn’t care and just wanted him out. But every time I’d try to push, I’d get a cramp in my leg, so when I got a break I shot up off the bed and got into the tub.

The first couple pushes in the tub were excruciating. I was squatting, and trying to push, but then my body would take over and it felt like it was pushing the baby out through my belly button. I’d yell out, “It HURTS! This isn’t right!” because I knew it shouldn’t feel like that. Brandi said I might have a lip of cervix left that was keeping the baby from coming down, and if I got out they could try to move it. I asked if they could just do it in the tub, because there was no way I could get out. She said probably not, but that I could try to do it myself or just try not to push through a couple contractions.

I breathed through one and it was terrible, so with the next one I had to push to relieve the pain. I tried to direct the pushing downward as much as I could and it seemed to be working. I reached inside and could feel his head right there, and that was the motivation I needed to keep going. My legs started getting tired so I had to lean back against the tub, and did a couple pushes in that position. I was starting to feel burning, so I knew he was close. Then I got another cramp in my leg, and they urged me to flip to my hands and knees. I did, and it was such a relief.

I know I was moaning through the pushes, but it really wasn’t as painful as I expected it to be. The contractions were much worse as far as pain. Pushing was a relief. It only took a couple pushes and I could feel that his head was almost out. Brandi told DH he needed to move now if he wanted to catch the baby (he was up by my head and I was squeezing his hand) but I yelled for him to just stay there. I wish I would have let him move, because he ended up not seeing the baby come out at all.

I felt a bit of burning and then just relief – the head was out! I heard Brandi say something about the cord around his neck and I think she unlooped it (they later said this is probably what was holding him back when I started pushing). I was getting no urge to push and had to wait a couple seconds to deliver the rest of him. Which was good, because it allowed my mom to get an awesome picture of his face under water. The next contraction came and I pushed as hard as I could, and felt his shoulder, arms, body and finally legs slide out. I sat back and the next thing I knew, a slippery little baby was being passed up through my legs. I pulled him up out of the water and cried, “I did it!”

I seriously couldn’t believe I had just had a baby. It was so surreal. I kept saying “Oh my God, I did it!” He let out two small cries and then was quiet and content. I rubbed his back and said, “Hi, Baby!” Brandi and Wantina were on each side of me, suctioning him and making sure he was pinking up. My mom asked what his name was, and Wantina said, “Are you sure it’s a boy?” I checked, and he was still a boy. So I got to finally announce his name after nine months of keeping it a secret. My dad, sister and brother who had all been downstairs came up to see the baby. DH brought Sam up, and he was amazed and kept saying, “Baby crying!” I kept saying how tiny he was, and DH asked Brandi her guess on weight. She said around nine pounds, which I laughed at and guessed seven. He seemed so small to me.

They all left then so I could deliver the placenta. Brandi said I could push when I felt the urge, and I remember saying, “The placenta is easy, right?” She laughed and said, “No bones!” And it was easy – just one little push and it was out. A couple minutes later, they handed me the scissors and I cut the cord – something I had been wanting to do in order to feel like I had really done it all by myself. It was amazing. I felt on top of the world.

Someone had set up my rocking chair by the tub and had it ready for us, so we got out and dried off and sat down. He latched on right away and nursed happily while DH fed me the Subway sandwich and sips of water. I was amazed by how the pain was instantly gone and I felt completely normal again – and starving! Kelly came up at that point and prayed and rejoiced with us again. I nursed Bex for 20 minutes or so, and we then moved to the bathroom to take our herb bath. Brandi left at that point to try to make it to her son’s birthday party – leave it to my baby to be born when it’s not convenient for the midwife, lol.

I got in first while DH held Bex and Wantina checked him over. She took a couple sets of footprints, measured his length – 20 inches – and weighed him – 8 pounds, 13 ounces!! I could hardly believe it. They put him in the bath with me then, and he was completely peaceful and alert and just looked around wide-eyed. We got out awhile later and moved to the bed so Wantina could check me for tears. I was amazed and so proud to hear that I had none!! Just a tiny bit of road rash that doesn’t even burn when I pee. Such a radical difference from not even being able to sit down after Sam’s birth and being on pain meds for two weeks while the stitches healed.

As of today, three days later, we are doing wonderfully. The only discomfort I’ve had is some sore muscles in my back and shoulders, and the after pains when I nurse. They’re not pleasant and I’d have to say that’s probably the toughest part about this recovery. But hey, I’ll take that any day over the mess of my first birth. The first night, I got the shakes really bad from some of the pains and Shelby ended up calling Brandi. She suggested that I try pushing on the toilet when I got a pain, and I passed a huge plum-sized clot. The shakes went away after that.

Bex is a great nurser so far, although he likes to snack and fall asleep too soon, which means he’s up every hour wanting to eat. We can work on that, though. I’m just glad I haven’t had much pain – no cracked and bleeding nipples this time! He has a good latch and my milk came in yesterday – only 48 hours after birth.

Sam loves his new baby brother and gives him kissed and hugs. He hasn’t acted jealous at all, which was my biggest fear. DH is also amazing and goes above and beyond to take care of us. Bex fusses a lot when I hold him because he knows I’m the food source, but falls right asleep in DH’s arms. Last night he cooked dinner for all three of us while holding Bex the entire time!

This birth was everything I hoped and dreamed of, and so much more. I have not a single regret. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect experience than this.

Blogged by Making A Modern Family at 6:13 PM  


What a beautiful story. I delivered my three all natural too, but at the hospital. Something about being there is just calming to me. I totally agree about the afterpains being the worst part. But anyway, job well done!

Sun Aug 26, 09:21:00 PM EDT

MomSmoo said...

Hey Alicia -- I like your story even more every time I read it.

Hope all is going well. Can you believe how big our boys are getting!!

Mon Aug 27, 08:49:00 AM EDT

Chic Mama said...

What a beautiful birth story! I decided to pop over and check out your blog after you commented on mine. I love your header logo! You inspired me to finally change mine! I listed in you in my blog mamas section and I will definitely be back!

I think we have quite a bit in common! Our parenting styles seem very similar, along with our ages- I am 23. Way to go on being a young natural mama!

I have been looking into tattoos lately a lot and I really want to get one! Are you going to post pictures of your on your blog?

Well, keep up your awesome blog! I can't wait to read more!

Mon Aug 27, 12:25:00 PM EDT

jayna said...

What a wonderful birth story!

I stumbled across your blog and I just had to let you know I'm already sucked in - I'm finding myself relating to your natural approach to parenting (always love another cloth diaper mama!). Excellent reading!

Tue Aug 28, 12:04:00 AM EDT

Sara said...

What a wonderful story. My home waterbirth was one of the highlights of my life as well. Congratulations.

Sun Sep 02, 04:14:00 PM EDT

Sara said...

What an awesome story! It makes me excited to give birth again (coming up in Feb!) also makes me want a midwife.

Mon Oct 01, 03:28:00 PM EDT

Melissa said...

Wow, what a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing it with us!
I have tears in my eyes because it brought back so many memories of my sons birth 10 weeks ago. We had him in a birth center where my sister is the midwife.
Anyway, thanks again for sharing your story.

Fri Mar 27, 04:51:00 PM EDT


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