Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Birth Story

Baby Milo, born at home Sunday, March 10, 9:30 pm
7 lbs. 4 oz.
 On Saturday, March 9th, I was 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant. I was still working full time and the long days of sitting at a computer were exhausting and miserable. I had an easy and healthy pregnancy and enjoyed it even at the very end, but I did NOT want to go back to work on Monday.
My son's 3rd birthday party was that day. We had planned to have his party at a nearby park. We didn't want to worry with entertaining at the house since we were getting ready for a home birth. It was a beautiful, sunny day and Ollie had a great time with his friends. I took a nap that afternoon, then Drew had to go into work for a little while.  Before he left, I asked him to have a talk with Milo and tell him it was okay to come whenever he was ready, and he was welcome to come this weekend so Mamma wouldn’t have to go back to work.

That night after Ollie was in bed, Drew and I watched a movie. I sat on my birth ball and noticed I was having cramps every ten minutes.  These cramps felt different than the BH I had been having. They were definitely uncomfortable, so I was suspicious something might be up.  I texted Norma, my midwife, at midnight to let her know what was happening.  I knew false labor could go on for days before the baby came, so I went to bed without getting my hopes up.  The cramps continued all night, 6 to 10 minutes apart, but they spaced out the next morning.

We went to breakfast at Cracker Barrel and by the time we got home, the contractions had stopped.  Around noon, we decided to take Ollie to the park and walk for a bit to see if they would start up again. We walked about a mile and I had 3 or 4 contractions.  Got home, took a shower and laid down for a nap, still contracting, but they were spaced out too far to time.
The cramps continued after my nap and were getting closer together. Drew cooked dinner while I piddled around the house.  The cramps were starting to get more painful.  I told Drew I was worried because they were really hurting and my Hypnobabies techniques didn’t seem to help.  I thought about calling Norma before dinner, but wasn’t sure I was really in labor.  I kept reading some handouts she had given me describing how actual labor contractions would feel.  It said real labor pains would start in your back and wrap around to the front. I never felt any pain in my back, just intense crampiness in my lower belly.
After dinner, the cramps were consistently about 5 minutes apart, so I called Norma and she said she would get her things together and be on her way. She lives an hour and a half away and there was a big thunderstorm coming. At this point, we were pretty sure this was it.  Drew started filling the birth pool and I called my mom to come over and watch Ollie.  I walked around the house and would stop to lean on the counter and sway my hips when a contraction would hit.  I spent some time laboring on the toilet, just needing to be alone and quiet.
Things were starting to happen fast.  At 6 pm I stopped timing contractions. They were 3 minutes apart and there was no point in timing them now.  It had started to rain and I was excited that we going to meet our baby that night in the midst of a thunder storm.  I was also starting to worry that Norma was not there yet.  I was quickly entering Laborland now.  I was lying on my side on the bed and breathing through contractions.  I was in between the bed and the toilet to keep my bladder empty.  I just took each wave one at a time and breathed slowly and deeply through each one.
I had imagined that I would have an easy and somewhat pain free labor and birth. I studied Hypnobabies and watched a lot of birth videos. I loved the ones where the moms were happy and chatty and would quietly go in and out of contractions. I thought that would be me. But that’s not how it went down. I really needed to fully concentrate on relaxing in between contractions.  My eyes were closed most of the time and it was like I was in my own little bubble. Drew kept telling how great I was doing and made sure I drank water in between the cramps.  During a contraction I needed his hands to squeeze and at some point I started to “Ooohh” as I breathed.

Norma arrived at 7 and started to set up her birth supplies, while Drew made me a smoothie so I could keep my energy up.  Norma checked me and said I was at 4 cm; she could stretch me to a 5.  She could feel my bag of waters bulging and said I would have a few more contractions and it would break.  And that’s exactly what happened. I felt a pop, then water gushed out.  I was in the bedroom by myself at that moment and thought, “Crap, my water broke and there’s no one to take care of me! What do I do?”   Almost immediately, I felt a ton on pressure pushing down at my bottom.  This was the worst part of labor, that yucky, awful pressure.  Norma came back in.  I told her what happened and we decided I would get in the pool. 

my playlist 
I waddled to the pool and Drew helped me undress and get in.  I kneeled sort of froggy style over the side of the tub, gripping Drew’s hands when a wave would come. Things got really hazy at this point as I was nearing the pushing stage. At one point Drew left the room to get a cold towel for my head and my mom came in. I needed hands to squeeze so she filled in for Drew. (She told me later she was surprised how strong my grip was. Sorry Mom!)  I wasn’t in the pool long before I felt like pushing and I said so. Norma told me not to push, but my body was pushing anyway. She quickly checked me and said I was complete. More intense pressure now, like the universe was building up inside me and coming down at my bottom.  It wasn’t painful, just immense pressure. Wow.  Norma and Drew kept saying how good I was doing.  I just let my body take over and breathed and pushed, squeezing hands, eyes closed, pressure. 
The contractions were coming farther apart now, so I was able to rest in between.  Norma said the baby would be here soon, so I told Drew to get my mom (she was in bed with Ollie and didn’t want to leave him. She didn’t make it in time).  Drew was back now and soon the baby was crowning.  Norma kept telling me to reach down and feel his head.  I was in the middle of a contraction and couldn’t move. When it was over, I felt his head. It was soft and squishy and had lots of hair! I told Drew he had to feel it too.  Another contraction and Milo was born.  I turned around and Norma unwrapped the cord and put him on my chest. He was perfectly pink and wonderful and had lots of handsome, dark hair.  I don’t know how long I pushed, but Drew says it was only 4 pushes.  Milo was born at 9:30 and weighed 7 lbs. 4 oz.
I made my way back to the bed to nurse Milo and deliver the placenta.  This took awhile because Milo had trouble latching on.  Norma mixed up some herbs for me to drink to help my uterus contract.  I eventually had to sit on the toilet to get it to come out.  I had a small tear, so Norma put in 3 stitches.  My mom cleaned everything up and after Norma left, we all sat on the bed and admired our sweet boy.

All the reading and preparation paid off.  I knew it would be hard work.  I knew it would be intense and painful.  But I was mentally prepared.  I was not able to have a pain free labor, but I do think I benefited from Hypnobabies in practicing positive thinking and relaxation.  My home birth was wonderful and empowering, just as nature intended.