At 5:00 he decided I was having too many contractions that were too strong, too close and lasting for too long. So he called his mother to have her come get the girls, and he called my midwives to tell them to come out. I decided I couldn’t handle laying on the bed, sitting on anything (yoga balls included) and that a shower was the solution. It kind of was.
At 6:30ish the first of my three midwives arrived. Michaela set everything up and started taking vitals, and helped me through the contractions while Jordan set up the birthing tub. Michaela asked if I wanted to be checked. During the pregnancy I kept refusing because I’d never dilated or effaced before, so I wasn’t up to being disappointed for 7 weeks. But I decided I wanted to be checked, and during the exam I mentally prepared myself, “I’m only going to be at a two, and I’m only going to be about 20% effaced…” At the end of the exam I started to have another contraction and Michaela and Jordan quickly helped me roll onto my side, which was a tolerable position. After the contraction ended Michaela informed me that I was at 8cm and 80% effaced. I then decided this was the time to called my mother and told her to come out.
At 7 am Jordan called Nikki and Lauren to come over to witness Z’s birth. Nikki is a good friend who had a homebirth of her own, and I wanted a support person who had experienced it, but didn’t necessarily have all the medical knowledge that a midwife or doula would have. Lauren was super awesome and offered to take pictures of Zachary’s birth.
7:30 the birthing tub was kind of ready. Due to my taking showers early in the labor we ran out of water quickly. But I really wanted in my tub. Even thought it wasn’t warm it still felt SO much better than being on my bed. My mom arrived around this time and Jordan put her to work boiling pots of water to bring up to the tub. Of course this can’t go off without some hitches. Like my always getting things under the back burners, so with 4 pots of boiling water it got smokey, and all the fire alarms in the house went off, including the room I was in! Jordan disconnected it for the remainder of the day and put it back together after Z was born. On my way to the tub and while I was in it I started to shake uncontrollably. I was asked if I was cold, which I wasn’t. I spent most of the labor being warm. I was then told that it seemed like I was going through transition, which I didn’t feel was accurate, I’d read about transition and besides the shaking I didn’t feel like I had any other symptoms.
8:00 is around the time Nikki and Lauren showed up, and it was then that I uttered the only swear words I would say the entire time. They asked how I was doing and I replied, “Currently I’m wondering what in the hell I was thinking!” They both smiled and Nikki said it sounded like I was on track to have a baby. I’m very proud that this was the worst swearings I swore.
10:00 Pamela had arrived by now and she wanted to check me to see where I was. I, however, didn’t want to get out of the tub. So Jordan helped me float on my back so that I could be checked. I was told that I was at 9.5 cm and 100% effaced.
I spent between 9 and 11 going on about how I couldn’t do it. And how I needed to go to the hospital. I was asked what hurt, and I replied that my back was unbearable. So between my three midwives and three support people they all took turns putting massive amounts of counter pressure on my back. I’m sure they all went home sore, but it helped so much. Before the pain in my back had been relieved I was pretty much freaking out. As Sydney was posterior and my back felt like it was on fire despite not being able to feel anything else, so I was having flash backs to that experience and freaking. I was constantly reminded that I could do this, that I was doing this, and that the pain I was feeling was my baby descending down, not him being posterior. (Although Lauren says it wasn’t really two hours.)
My mom was really funny and told me that I was doing it, and reminded me how when this was all over I would get to tell all those who nay sayed at me, “I told you so!” And then she added, “Because I know how much you love being right!” I replied that no one liked being wrong.
My midwife, Pamela, reminded me that in order to go to the hospital I would first have to get out of the tub, which I was really against, and change out of my wet clothes, get dressed, and get into the car and endure an excruciatingly painful car ride to the hospital, where I would be greeted with an OR prepped and ready to give me a c-section. This really motivated me to keep going, as I absolutely did NOT want a c-section. There was no more talk of hospitals after that.
Some time during this I noticed my contractions started to slow down. I noticed this because my relaxing in between contractions worked so well that I would fall asleep. And then be woken up with a contraction. Once I noticed I was falling asleep I asked if they were slowing down, and I was told that they were slowing down, they were only 15 minutes apart now, but that it was perfectly normal and that I should try to relax and nap in between contractions the best I could. Nothing was stopping labor now, I was told.
11:00 around this time my contractions came back to every 3 minutes and I started to feel a bit out of control. I had it in my mind that SOMETHING was wrong, not medically though, and doing SOMETHING would fix the “wrong.” Problem was I didn’t know what I wanted. So I decided to stand up in the tub during the next contraction. This didn’t work, so I was instantly back down in the water. I tried it again with the next contraction, still didn’t make it better, so I had it in my head that the problem was the skirt I was wearing. It was sticking to me (while I was out of the water) and therefore it MUST be the problem. It wasn’t, but I also had no way of getting it back on. Jordan asked what I wanted and I replied that I wanted to curl up on my bed in the fetal position and cry. So it was decided I would go lay in my bed, not in the fetal position though, but I’m sure if I actually started crying it would have been okay too.
11:30 The midwives suggested that I start pushing with the contractions. And I quickly discovered that pushing during the contractions helped my back hurt less. Which helped ease my fears about posterior babies. I pushed for a while on my side until there was this loud POP and my water broke. But I had been pushing at the time, and with the force of the contraction and the pushing my water shot everywhere. Everyone got a good laugh out of that. I always thought when your water broke on it’s own it trickled, my shot out and gushed. I was told that there is a HUGE difference between your water breaking at 2cm and your water breaking at 9.5 cm. They checked me again and Monica (third midwife) told me she could feel the baby’s head, it was only one knuckle away. And it was suggested that I get back in the tub.
12:50 back in the tub I went and I pushed. It was strange, because once my water broke all the intense contractions stopped. I had no intense urge to push, instead every few minutes I would feel my body start to push and my back would hurt again, and pushing made my back stop hurting. So when I’d feel my body start to push I would push hard.
Something awesome with this pushing experience was that I was allowed to push for as little or much as I wanted. With Sydney the doctor’s stared at the contraction machine and then told me to push and would count to ten (slowly) and if I didn’t push for a full 10 (slow) seconds I would get scolded. Apparently, holding your breath for 10 seconds is vital to delivering babies.
I was put on oxygen in between pushes, I would push for the entire contraction and then when it stopped I wouldn’t be able to catch my breath, which caused me to panic. This, for me, is another cool moment. Pamela was on one side of me holding my hand and counting my pulse, Michaela was on the other side, ready to catch Z when he came out, and also listening to Z’s heart beat in between and sometimes during contractions, and Monica was behind me (along with Jordan who was supporting me while I squatted/keeled/stood in strange positions) with the oxygen mask, helping to calm my breathing. Whenever I would start to push all three of them would back away, let me do my pushing, encourage me and then once I was done they’d resume their positions.
Another awesome thing was that when I did things that were helpful to the pushing (chin to chest, getting into a squatting position, etc) I was encouraged all around and told how great I was doing. When I didn’t do them, I wasn’t scolded or told what to do, I was still encouraged and told how awesome I was doing. Lots of encouragement all around.
1:06 p.m. I pushed really hard and all of a sudden I felt all this pressure come shooting out of me. And I mean literally, Z pretty much shot out, and was quickly snatched up by Michaela and placed on my chest. I just stared at him in shock. I did it! There was lots of cheering from everyone and me just being in shock that he was finally here.
I wanted to get out of the tub as soon as possible because it hurt to sit on the plastic floor, so I was kind of squatting while I waited for the cord to stop pulsing. While we were waiting and talking about the cute baby, Jordan excused himself to take a much needed and deserved bathroom break. About ten minutes later the cord stop pulsing and Jordan got to cut the cord, the first time he’s ever had the opportunity to do so.
When it was time to hand him to Jordan so I could get out I realized that no one had checked or announced that he was a boy. I voiced this and got a good chuckle out of everyone, my mom saying that she hadn’t checked either. So I lifted up his blanket, and sure enough he’s a boy…and he was peeing on me, lol.
When I stood up I was advised to push, and with the push came the placenta. Which was shocking to me, because I’ve never seen one. It was also no big deal after the baby was born! haha.
Then wrapped in lots of towels and blankets Zachary and I laid on my bed while everyone checked us to make sure we were okay.
Upon examination it was determined that Zachary had, in fact, gestated for 43 weeks. Apparently they have some sort of test for it? Although he is my latest baby he is my least peely baby, so apparently he liked being cooked.
From the time I had labor contractions to the time he was born was 11 hours. I had no early labor, my labor started hard and quickly, with contractions starting at every 5 minutes.
His stats were:
Weight: 7lbs 9oz
(there was some discrepancy amongst the midwives on this, as he pooped twice before they measured him, but I’m cool with this number, lol.)
Height: 19.5 inches long
Head: 14.5 inch circumference.
All in all I feel amazing. I required a few stitches, so I’m pretty sore. But compared to how I feel after c-sections, I feel AWESOME.
Jordan was amazing during this whole process. During my “I can’t do this” period he was awesome at reminding me that I could, and that it wasn’t an option to go to the hospital at that point, and reminding me why I wanted this. And about how badly my epidural experiences have been. He also held my hand and supported me the whole time, not eating or peeing for 11 hours because him leaving me would make me panic. He also was great about chasing me around the tub, from the outside because I was adamant about him not getting in it with me.
It has now been a week since Zachary was born, and I’ve had a lot of people ask me if it was worth it to have an all natural birth. And I enthusiastically say YES!!! I am so glad that I waited until Zachary was ready to come out, even if that meant being miserable and pregnant for 43 weeks. There were so many pros that I can’t imagine ever having another baby in a hospital setting (unless it’s medically necessary, of course!) I was able to hold my baby right after he was born, something denied to me in the past, I was able to get up and walk around before 8 hours later, I have been able to successfully breast feed, and I have no giant monstrous cold sores of doom that require antibiotics to go away, I also don’t have a damaged vertebrae, so I can happily sleep on my back. Those reasons alone make it SO worth it to me to have gone through the pain of an all natural birth.
I’ve also had some people ask me about “the ring of fire,” which I didn’t have. Probably due to the water. Something else I was worried about was pain in my scar. I’ve heard that a lot of VBAC moms complain of pain in their c-section scar during labor, which I also didn’t have. For which I am so grateful, because I’m sure that would have freaked me out more.
Like I said, if we have anymore babies I am so having a home birth in a tub again. Except next time I won’t take two showers prior to filling up the tub 😉 I would also have a photographer there again, because the pictures she got were AMAZING. Go check her out here. No, I won’t show the naked pictures to others, but it is so cool to be able to see them for myself. I kind of had the cheap seats at Z’s birth, lol.
(Zachary and his Abuelita, the “sight and sound of all things delicious.”)
And now that I’ve finally posted Zachary’s birth story, I’ll get up some other new posts that I’ve been meaning to do.