BC's Birth Day
SJ’s Birth Day
And then it was here. The day that was over 9 months in the making. Baby was ready. My midwife had told me months ago that the average first time mom delivered 11 days past her due date. Well, here I was, 10 days past my due date and in labor.
My husband and I had decided to have a midwife-assisted homebirth. We had many reasons for choosing a homebirth and perhaps I'll write on that topic another time (in the meantime, you can get a lot of information at http://www.mymidwife.org/About-Midwifery). We hired a Certified Nurse Midwife (the only type of midwife able to legally provide homebirth services in Indiana) and a doula, rented a birthing tub, gathered our homebirth supplies, stocked the freezer with meals, and waited. And waited. And...
We waited until April 23rd, 2012 when I went into labor. As a p.s. to that last sentence, I do find the term "going into labor" to be somewhat misleading. Labor wasn't something that started at an exact time or moment for me. It didn't suddenly hit me. Labor started like small, gentle waves that gradually washed over me, eventually becoming tidal waves. Anyway. I went into labor on April 23rd. Over 30 hours later my son was born. April 24th. 11 days past my due-date.
I had pushed for 6 hours. Six hours. I had labored and pushed standing, laying in bed, kneeling, on a birth ball, hanging off of my husband, and in the birthing tub. I ended up birthing my son on the toilet. Yes, I did. I caught him with my own two hands. Yes, I did. I carried him into our bedroom and lay in bed with him on my bare chest, my husband beside me, staring down in absolute and utter awe.
Other women have described the birth experience to me as "empowering". Like, "childbirth is so empowering." I don't know if I felt empowered. Maybe, given time, I will reflect back and see the experience as empowering. I don't know. What I do know for sure is that I have never felt prouder of myself. I have never felt prouder of myself. I also know that birthing my son was just the beginning of the most important thing I will ever do. So, here I go.
We had been given the due date of April 13th but I was convinced that SJ would be here well before that date. In fact, this wasn’t’ my first rodeo (SJ is version 5.0) I was certain he’d come in March. He didn’t! After weeks of prodromal labor I was concerned that he may just want to stay in his little snuggly place to avoid the craziness out in the world. Perhaps it was my anticipation of holding him in my arms that stopped labor when it started, or maybe his not being in the right position for birth had something to do with it. Either way things just weren’t happening.
On Wednesday, April 4th, when my husband and kids were all home for spring break I thought it would be nice for us to have a family movie evening to just relax and enjoy some time together. We popped in “The Muppets” movie and all six of us gathered in our small living room. For the first time in weeks I was able to relax. We all laughed a lot and SJ hiccupped in the womb right along with us. It was just the dose of fun I needed. Half way through the movie I started having pressure waves (Other people call them contractions but I had been studying Hypnobabies and preferred the more positive term). I was sure it was more prodromal labor and didn’t let it worry me too much.
We enjoyed our evening as a family together and went to bed at a reasonable hour. My pressure waves continued as I attempted to sleep through the night. Here’s where the fun begins…
3:00 am I get up and realize the pressure waves are a little stronger so I should probably time them.
4:00 am they are still coming consistently about 7 minutes apart. I popped in one of my Hypnobabies tracks and checked on my sleeping family.
5:00 am I woke the hubby up and said he might think about taking a shower as I thought maybe we would actually get to meet our little one soon.
5:30 am I called my dear friend, Kath, who happens to be a former Doula now RNC-OB Certified charge nurse. Power waves are more like six minutes apart at this point.
6:30 am we have moved to the 5 minute apart power waves and we decide we should probably head to the hospital (lol You think?)
You must know I didn’t want to get to the hospital too early because I didn’t want to be tempted to get drugs when the pain actually started to happen (at this point I felt pressure but no pain)
7:30 am I gathered my bags, kissed the kids goodbye and headed to the hospital. Now my dear husband had asked me to please promise him one thing… that I not wait too long to go to the hospital that I ran the risk of having SJ in the van on the way. Of course that is why I didn’t tell him that my power waves seemed to rapidly be getting closer. (They were three and a half minutes apart at this point. Shhhh don’t tell him.)
8:25 am My husband dropped me off at the lobby of the hospital where I was to meet Kath. I walked into the lobby and stood by a pillar waiting for her and for hubby to park the van. Still timing my pressure waves which were pretty much on top of each other at that point.
8:35 am Kath and I talked in the lobby about how excited I was to have a water birth and how great it was that she could be there for us.
8:40 am hubby walked into the lobby and we decide to walk to triage to get checked in. Perhaps it was my annoyance with paperwork that spurred the next moment to happen as I took one step and my water broke. Hmmm. First time that had happened to me. Things became surreal at that point. I looked at my hubby and my friend with an “uh oh I think it’s time” look. They threw me into a wheelchair and headed up to the labor and delivery floor (super cool to have my own personal nurse to escort me directly to a labor room while she prepped staff via cell phone) It was an adventurous ride to the room with power waves, laughs and a couple of wheel chair wheelies thrown in. Would have made a great scene in a blockbuster comedy.
8:45 am we were in the delivery room. I was encouraged to put on a gown so the midwife could check me. “Seriously”, I thought, “check me? For what?” I was pretty sure there’d be a baby coming out soon and that was good enough for me. I told my friend I was going to push and she said oh boy time to get into the tub (she knew how much I wanted to have that water birth).
From there on this is what I remember… feeling uncomfortable and a little unsure, Lots of pressure, no pain, A wonderful midwife that allowed me the opportunity to refocus from the wild ride I’d just been on, incredible support and love from hubby and Kath, and an inner strength inside of me that I had no idea I had.
9:29 After only three pushes with hearing a primal voice I’d never heard SJ was in my arms and all was right with the world. Yes in less than an hour at the hospital the next chapter of our lives had begun. I was amazed and felt like I could conquer the world. The rest of the day was filled with versions 1.0,2.0, 3.0 and 4.0 spending time with our new little snuggle bug. As I looked around the room at the now seven of us I suddenly had more love in my heart than I knew I was capable of! Best Birth Day Ever!