This is quite long. But I wanted to remember as many details as possible. It also wasn’t written specifically for this blog, but I figured I should really update! It starts at 9 days overdue. I also wish I could share all the ways God worked leading up to her birth like confirming her name and such, but alas, there isn’t enough time.
Tuesday, November 18th
Had an appointment with the midwife. I expressed the desire to want to do something to get this baby moving. I really didn’t want my sister to have to continue to stay and be away from her family any longer. Also, my mom was coming into town Friday and Matt and I really wanted some family time alone before she came. So my midwife checked me (wow that hurt! Was not prepared for how painful cervical checks were!) and I was 2-3 cm dilated. However, baby’s head was not on my cervix. Because of that, we made a plan to do Miles Circuit (basically lunges, curb walking, ect) all day that day. We talked about castor oil and cohosh but I was really struggling with the idea of either.
Wednesday, November 19th
Decided to go see the midwife to see if anything had changed in regards to baby’s position and do a membrane sweep if possible. Baby’s head had moved some, as well as my cervix wasn’t as posterior. We talked and decided to do castor oil the next morning. I wasn’t thrilled, but really needed things to get moving. Continued to do Miles Circuit that day.
Thursday, November 20th
Went to bed at midnight. Bad idea! Woke up at 3am with cramps. They kept coming and I realized this was likely contractions! I hadn’t been sure what contractions felt like up until now! I got up and when I did felt a gush of fluid, but it stopped. I went to the bathroom, and then sat on the birth ball. Decided that yes, these were definitely contractions. I downloaded an app to time them and they were two and a half minutes apart! I thought that was odd because they weren’t that intense and didn’t expect them to be so close together so soon! I debated waking my husband and sister, but decided I wanted them to get sleep and wanted to begin this adventure by myself. So from 3am-6am I ate two bowls of chicken noodle soup, bounced on the ball and prayed. At one point another gush of fluid came out and I couldn’t tell if I was peeing my pants or if my water broke because it stopped.
At 6am I woke up my husband and told him he didn’t have to go to work and I didn’t have to take castor oil! Our prayers were answered! He got up and a little later got my sister up. We watched a show on Netflix that we had been watching for the past 11 days of waiting. Called the midwife.
The midwife and her assistant came over in the morning. Because the contractions were two and a half minutes apart, everyone thought things were moving fairly fast. Everyone just hung out for a while. Eventually the midwives left. I got in the tub a few times because I was SO cold! I was walking around in three layers and a blanket. Not sure why? That was definitely a challenging part for me because it made my body tense when I was trying to stay relaxed through the contractions. I spent a lot of time sitting on the ball closing my eyes during the contractions. I had done Hypnobabies, but very early on when listening to the scripts felt super annoyed! So scratch that! The midwives came back that evening. They wanted me to try to sleep (which I had done a little here and there) because I had gotten so little sleep and it was clear by now that this was going to be a long labor. I always expected a long labor…and I’m so glad I did! So they gave me some herbal concoction, and an IV. They wanted to make sure I was really hydrated. The contractions the whole time had never lasted more than about 40 seconds, and by late evening they were 4-6 minutes apart. Yes, going backwards! I probably got an hour or two of sleep without waking, which was great! But laying down really made the contractions intense so it was hard to want to lay on my side.
Friday, November 21st
By 8am, the contractions had slowed down to 6-8 minutes apart. My midwives came over and checked me and I was 5-6cm and it didn’t look like my water had broken (probably a leak that sealed up or baby’s head stopped it). They then began bringing up the castor oil. They were concerned about how little sleep I had had for so long now. And there was no guarantee this baby would come today even. I really did not want to take castor oil now that I was having contractions! My sister asked if doing lunges and such would be helpful. I decided to do that for an hour or two and see what happens (they wanted me to take the castor oil before noon). I went onto the stairs and my sister was on the phone. She had called her midwife to ask her opinion. She said her midwife felt it sounded like my body was doing exactly what it needed to. I was glad for that opinion. My sister agreed and felt I should just give it time. She put some essential oils on my feet and prayed for me. I then began doing lunges on the stairs and texted a handful of people to ask them to pray that contractions would pick up faster and stronger. I spent probably an hour and a half by myself in the basement/on the stairs. I had my headphones in and just prayed and got in a zone. This was probably my favorite time during the labor. It was hard to place my body in positions that made things hurt and to hope for things to get more intense, yet it was what I knew needed to happen. I can’t sing but I sang along to my playlist, letting go of the fact that people could hear me upstairs.
I came upstairs and sat with my husband on our bedroom floor. He was really awesome during the whole labor by the way! I had been worried, but he really was great and very present. He would remind me to breathe which was really helpful. Then he switched out with my sister. We had talked about trying to wait to get into the tub till I felt I had to get in. I didn’t feel that way, but really wanted to get in. Contractions were still minutes apart, but lasting longer and I didn’t feel I was able to handle them quite so well. We decided to see how dilated I was first. 8cm! Time to get in!
Noon: Things picked up really quickly then. I remember asking Matt to breathe with me to help me focus on making sure I was breathing. My sister decided to leave to get stuff to make me a smoothie. I had to pee and I knew it was now or never. Every time I went to the bathroom or just sat on the toilet, the contractions would be intense…so I knew this was going to be hard. It was. I peed, stood up and grabbed the shelf and Matt. They were one on top of another now and I had lost control, which was scary. This is when I said “I can’t do this.” Which I knew meant I was almost there! And Matt was so great to encourage me. Got back into the tub. Had a couple more intense contractions and then felt a little pushy but wasn’t sure. HE called for the midwife (it had been just us in the room). As she came in I had a contraction and felt my body push. Craziest feeling! I was like “Uhh I’m pushing!!” My midwife told me to let my body do whatever it needed and she would check me. I don’t remember her ever checking me. Matt texted my sister to get back asap! But I remember saying “I think she’ll have time.” Again, I felt very prepared as to what to expect…long labor, long time pushing.
12:30-3pm. Pushed. It was good to get to do something! But it hurt at the beginning of every contraction at my lower belly. It was intense. In fact, over two weeks later that is the only part of me that still hurts! I remember my midwife saying to lean back into it when pushing which did help because it freed me up to push like a bowel movement…and well, that seemed to work. I held onto Matt’s hands almost the entire time. I was hot and they kept a cold cloth on my shoulders and my head. At one point they suggested I stand and squat to push. When I did I could feel it helping, the gravity. They would have me move in different positions every now and then, including holding my legs to relieve some of that lower belly pain. I remember feeling like surely her head is crowning! But when I asked if they could see her they said no. That was discouraging. Eventually they could and they suggested I get out to push for a bit. It was really important to me to give birth in the water, so I said that and they assured me I would. They had me lay on my back with my legs up and push. I didn’t understand how that would help but it seemed like it did. I remember them telling Matt “You don’t have to look.” But he did. At this point they had me reach down to feel her and told me she had hair! Matt restated that I wanted to be in the water so I got back in…somehow! Then Matt and one midwife held me up by my arms as I pushed and the other midwife was ready to catch. By this point I could see her head almost completely out. She was facing the wrong way (ROP I believe) which caused her to kind of get stuck for a bit as she crowned. I remember seeing Matt looking emotional as he watched…this really made me push! I wanted him to get to meet her! Her head came out, and I remember my midwife doing something down there but I had no clue what. I just remember thinking “Oh good, she is going to pull her the rest of the way so I don’t have to push!” ha! Turns out the cord was around her neck and body. A couple more pushes and I hear “Ok reach down and grab your baby.” That was the best part. Bringing that baby up to me! There was really a baby!! We waited three long years for that moment and it was awesome. But at the same time, it was like I envisioned it so much, it seemed so casual and normal to me. Like yep, here she is. Her being so alert and starring right at me was so amazing. Overall, that’s how I felt about the whole experience. It was so normal. Never did I feel scared or worried. I really feel I learned to trust my body. I knew I’d be overdue, I knew my labor would be long and I’d push for a while. My midwife afterwards said she was so glad I did it on my own terms…as in with no castor oil. They joked that my body just needs to be threatened with castor oil since it worked twice! It’s funny, it felt like such a big decision to have a home birth, but during and after it really feels like no big deal. As in, it felt right. It felt normal. My husband has since told people he is totally sold on home birth when he was the one who was more hesitant about it!
She is the joy of our lives. I cannot imagine life without her now.
Here is Hope today !