So each month I hope to have a birth story from a mom that I have helped or possibly other moms that are willing to share their stories. I believe that birth stories (particularly stories of normal birth) are a wonderful way to prepare for birth. They provide reminders that birth is intense but doable, and that it can be a joyful experience for the whole family. Thanks to Helena for sharing!
I awoke Wednesday morning, January 25th , excited to hear some baby news from my sister. Our due dates were a day apart, and my sister had gone into labor the previous evening. I was 9 days past my due date, (typical for me) so I was quite happy to realize I was having menstrual-like contractions.
I had a chiropractor appointment that morning to adjust my pelvis and pubic bone, which were out of alignment due to a fall I had at 36 weeks. I tried to keep myself occupied and text messaged with my sister about her wonderful birth experience. I tried not to get too excited about the cramps I was still having, although I did text my midwife around 3pm to let her know that tonight likely would be the night.
Around 7 pm the cramps started to change. I could feel the cramps not just in front but starting to wrap around as well. I decided it would be a good idea to get the kids to bed a little earlier so that I could relax before things started to pick up. My contractions were still somewhat irregular and only lasting 20-30 seconds. Once the kids were in bed, my husband and my dad set up the birth tub. The pump that inflates the tub is extremely loud and the kids came to see about the noise. The kids were excited as they soon realized what this meant. My labor slowed down here for a while. It was 9.30pm by the time the kids settled down enough to fall asleep.
Around 10:00 the contractions had become pretty regular but they were still only lasting 20-30 seconds and I was still easily able to talk through them. I called Aly with an update and we agreed I’d call back in an hour.
I couldn’t understand why my contractions weren’t lasting longer than 30 seconds although I could tell they were getting slightly stronger each time. I kept reminding myself that I had just told my sister, whose contractions weren’t lasting “long enough” either, to listen to her body. I really had nothing to complain about as the short contractions were easy to handle.
By 10.45pm I could tell things were picking up and felt that I wanted the midwife and her student to start making their way over.
It wasn’t long after calling Aly that my contractions really started picking up in intensity, although still only lasting max 30 seconds. Sometime after 11pm, I felt like I needed the relief of the water. I labored until 11.20pm when I asked my husband to call Aly again; I really wanted to get into the tub. I started squatting during the contractions and knew I must be entering “transition stage”.
The midwives arrived about 11.30pm. Aly listened to baby’s heart rate and I visited the bathroom one last time. Then I submerged myself into the wonderfully warm water and felt my whole body just relax. In the water my uterus was able to work much more effectively. I moaned through two intense contractions on my hands and knees until Aly encouraged me to lean back and just relax. She talked me through the next contraction, reminding me to relax my shoulders and to breathe. That was the easiest contraction I had in the water.
Just before midnight Aly again listened to baby and right at midnight the wave of pushing contractions began. Three extremely intense contractions came one on top of the other, I couldn’t stay in the “lean-back” position and switched back to hands and knees. Before I knew it, our baby’s head was out (Aly and I announced that at the same time) then she gently guided baby’s body between my legs and I lifted her out of the water. I exclaimed, with a smile on my face, “uuuh, that was horrible.” The last three contractions had been so intense, but now it was over. At 12.04am, January 26th 2012 our precious baby girl, Kendra Louise, was born.
Our previous (first) home birth had also been a wonderful experience; I remember having this feeling of empowerment after our son was born. It was all new to us then and there had been a mixture of emotions, fear, nervousness, doubt, excitement, joy and, after the birth, a sense of accomplishment. This time around it was a completely different experience, it just felt so normal to be giving birth in my own living room. Once labor began there was no nervousness, fear or doubt in my mind. It felt as normal as sitting down to dinner with my family. Aly’s calm and quiet presence was comforting; I knew I was in good hands. Her faith in me and my body’s ability to birth naturally helped everything go so smoothly.