I still get emotional re-reading my birth stories, so I thought I’d share them here. This is the story of the arrival of my third child, I’ve been intentending to share it for a week now! It was written a few weeks after her birth. (Incidentally The new blog name for Baby Girl is “Ms Pooky”, it may not make much sense, but it fits her.) After having my first birth and second birth at home, home birth was starting to seem like a natural choice. I am not saying it is the right choice for everyone, but it was a great option for me.
This time we were living far from family, and in a different country (Canada)! I loved my midwife and the great pre-natal care I received, and the strangest part of it all was never getting a bill in the mail. Yeah, I liked that part!
And yes, this story has accounts of body fluids and bodily functions, so if anything like that makes you uncomfortable, proceed with caution.
We went on a long walk (about 2 miles) to the gas station to get some ice cream and get out of the house. I was feeling pretty good that day for being 4 days “overdue” and we really enjoyed the day. Everything was ready for the birth, so it was just a matter of waiting for baby to arrive.
I woke up with an anxious feeling at 4 AM the next morning, and didn’t know why. Almost immediately I got a “real” contraction, 10 minutes later I got another one and figured if I had 3 in a row I would wake my hubby. I got the 4th one at 4:30 and woke him up, my contractions kept coming and were closer to 5 minutes apart by 5 AM. I called the midwife since I had no way of knowing how long this birth would be because my last one was so fast. I had to breathe through the contractions, but nothing too bad, I packed the bag for the little girls to take with when they left and around 6:30 I called the lady from our church to come and pick them up since they were waking up already from all the noise of the midwives arriving.
I was feeling nervous since this was my first birth without any family near by and my first birth with these midwives. After the girls left I continued puttering around the house and drinking Gatorade. I was hungry, but felt nauseous as well and knew that I would be throwing up later on anyways, so I didn’t eat anything. I kind of wanted to be by myself and just breathe through the contractions, I was having a lot of back pain and I had never had to deal with that before. I found that sitting upright and rocking through the contractions felt the best for managing them, so I kept doing that and breathing through each one. I talked with my hubby here and there as he was filling the pool and loading the dishwasher. I kept worrying that maybe I wasn’t really in labor, and I had called everyone for nothing, or that I had called everyone too early and now they would be here all day. He kept reassuring me that that was their job, and that I would probably be having the baby today.
The two midwives were done setting up and sat on the couch and talked and made some phone calls to their practice to reschedule some things. My hubby said that they thought that my labor was in the early stages and that they might have to be there all day, my main midwife had a medical procedure scheduled for that afternoon, so she would have to leave by noon and they were trying to come up with a replacement for when she had to leave.
Around 8:30 AM I ended up throwing up and the midwives were very excited to realize that I was in active labor. My main midwife offered to check my dilation, and I agreed. She was surprised that I was 7 cm already, she said that I was really stretchy too, the babies head wasn’t pressing on the cervix, there was a lot of water in the bag between the babies head and the cervix, so with each contraction I was dilating more, but then after the babies head was moving back again. She thought it was because the baby was turned just a bit posterior which could explain the back pain as well. So she did a few acupressure points to get the baby to turn and I kept breathing through the contractions.
By now I really wanted to get in the pool, and since I knew I was at 7, I figured I was past the risk of the labor stalling. My midwife said that breaking my water could speed things up, but I didn’t want to since I wanted to avoid any increased risks of infection. Around 9:30 AM the contractions were starting to get really intense and about 3 minutes apart, I kept thinking that they were to far apart, but my hubby assures me that they were actually that close. My old reliable hands and knees position felt terrible for some reason, instead I was kind of in a sit/squat position in the pool and the water felt incredible on my lower back, the baby seemed to have shifted a bit, since now it was easier for the midwives to find the heartbeat twards the front.
Hubby kept holding my hands through the contractions and talking with me in-between. By now I started to moan a bit when each contraction hit and my midwife who had been saying “let me know if you want to push” immediately asked if that was a “pushing moan”, maybe she wondered if I was a silent birther or something since I hadn’t made much noise up till this point, I assured her that I was not pushing yet! I threw up again close to 10 AM and I remember telling my hubby that this was the part I hated the most, the contractions are the hardest, they are the closest together and at their hardest point to cope with, yet its not time to push yet. My midwife asked if I wanted to catch my own baby and I said yes, I’ve done that every time so far.
My midwife checked me and told me I was to 10 but had a slight anterior lip since there still wasn’t much pressure from the babies head on the cervix. At this point I remember saying that “I’m not ready” and the midwife was like “Not ready to have a 3rd baby? Or not ready to push?” And I said “Not ready for the next contraction!” By 10 AM I was having incredible pressure and was tempted to push, but tried my best to relax my body and breath through each one to let the baby move down, when I couldn’t NOT push anymore I began pushing with my body’s contractions and a few minutes later at 10:30 my water broke into the pool with a loud pop and I knew the baby was just minutes away. The midwives went to check the baby’s heartbeat and found that it was dropping, at this point my contractions were right on top of each other and I was groaning and pushing through each one. The babies head was crowning and she was on her way out.
After the head was out, the birth is usually almost over, and I remember saying “I want the baby out!” and the midwife replied “then push it out!” With the next contraction the baby wouldn’t budge, I said something like “the babies not coming, its too big” later my midwife told me that she trusted that I knew something was wrong. She thought that maybe it was a stuck shoulder so she asked me to lean back bit so she could try to see what was keeping the baby stuck, she found the cord wrapped around the neck and tried to work it over the babies head, but it was very tight, I was yelling even louder through the contractions now since the baby wasn’t budging and my midwife was digging around down there! Then my midwife said “you need to come out of the pool NOW!” And as I tried to stand up with the baby halfway out all three of them basically yanked me out of the pool and laid me on the bed.
I couldn’t see anything going on down there at this point, but my hubby said that Ms Pooky was stuck around her upper chest with the cord wrapped around her neck 1 and 1/2 times and pulling her head backwards, her skin was turning blue and her eyes were open. My midwife clamped the cord in 2 places and cut it and Ms Pooky was born. (The cord was stretched so tight that when she cut it, it whipped back and sprayed blood onto the wall on the other side of the room!) They laid her on my chest and she looked at me and struggled to get her breath, after 30 seconds of her not being able to breath, the midwives picked her up and poked her a bit and as soon as she cried (never needed to be resuscitated) they put her back on my chest. Through all of this I never felt really scared, for some reason I knew that God was watching out for my baby and that everything was fine, and it all happened so quickly. I had a big surge of adrenaline, and I actually was telling my bawling husband that everything was ok while they were cutting the cord, it was strange to have so much peace in the middle of all that.
Her cord was really short, so when it was wrapped around her neck that left no room for her to be born! That is also why her head wasn’t dropping completely down during the labor, the cord was pulling her back inside after every contraction. It was also the reason her heartbeat dropped so suddenly when my water broke, because her oxygen was being constricted from the cord being wedged like that. I am so thankful I didn’t have my water broken, since that could have turned into an emergency right away if my body had not been so ready to push her out so quickly. She was fine and began nursing within 15 minutes or so after birth and continued nursing for almost 2 hours! I couldn’t believe that she knew what she was doing that well, I usually have to coax the baby to nurse for even a short time!
Ms Pooky was born at about 10:45 AM after 7 hours of labor. She was 8 pounds 7 ounces, 21 inches long, 14 inch head. She was born on a Tuesday morning and by Thursday afternoon my milk came in, which is a record for me! It must be because this baby never wants to stop nursing! I can’t believe there was ever a time Ms Pooky wasn’t here yet! She has lots of dark hair, and doesn’t really look like either of her sisters.
This was a rough recovery (compared to my second birth), I had a lot of back pain and generally just felt achy. I also had my very first case of hemorrhoids ever (I think from her being stuck in the birth canal like that, they lasted for several months, what a nightmare that was!) We were completely exhausted the first 2 days since we had no one to help out at all, Hubby had to stay home from work and take care of the girls while I tried to take it easy. My teenage sister arrived after that and it made such a big difference to have a bit of help for the first 2 weeks.
Later I found out that both my mom (who knew I was in labor) and a prayer warrior lady from our church (who had no idea I was in labor) were specifically praying for me and the baby right at the moment that Ms Pooky got stuck!