I was so excited to be having my second home birth. Though I have had seven positive hospital births, there's just no place like home!
That's quite a belly!
My mom had flown in about two weeks before my due date. She had a limited time frame in which she could come, so we opted for her to come earlier rather than later, potentially missing the birth. After all, this was my ninth baby, so it was reasonable to believe that I would deliver before my due date of March 15th. I've never gone past my due date. Don't hate me!
Upon my mom's arrival, we had some time to just hang out and do fun things with the kids. But as the days went by, I was getting antsy to get things going. Not only did I want Mom to be present for the birth, I also wanted her to be able to spend time with the new baby.
I was so torn. On one hand, I wanted baby to come when she was ready. On the other hand, I was determined to have her before my mom left.
Tuesday, March 8th, I had an appointment with my midwife and discussed the situation with her. She agreed that if I hadn't gone into labor by the next day, she would get me started on herbs. I didn't, so Janet came by and gave me herbs to help get things going.
The herbs got contractions going, but they would eventually fizzle out. I tried this for two days with no real success. I knew baby just wasn't ready to come.
Thursday, I wanted to take a break and just do something fun with the family. So we decided to take the kids to meet Daddy for lunch, and then take them to the park. We had a great time and I continued to contract regularly, but with no increase in intensity.
When we returned home, I rested a while, and then started up the herbs again. This time, the contractions really picked up. They were getting closer together, but not fully relaxing in between. This concerned me because if my uterus wasn't fully relaxing between contractions, then the baby wasn't getting a chance to recover in between either.
At this point I stopped the herbs and decided to get into the tub in hopes of slowing them down, allowing my uterus to fully relax. I called Janet to ask her thoughts, and she agreed that I should stop the herbs and get into the tub. As much as I didn't want to slow things down, my first priority was to protect my baby. Janet also said that she was on her way.
Janet and Robin, the assisting midwife, arrived about 6:30 pm. The bath helped and my uterus was completely relaxing between contractions. I was checked and dilated to seven. So even though the contractions weren't very strong, they were making progress. I knew baby was on her way. YAY!
It was a party in the house. Mom had set out a buffet of food for everyone, coffee was on, and I was drinking high doses of Vitamin C in between contractions. The anticipation was building and we were making final preparations.
Contractions. Fizzled. OUT!
What? Seven cm and my body quits?
Janet checked me again, and despite another couple hours of contractions, I was still a seven. By this time, we had put the children to bed and we were all getting tired. Janet asked me what I wanted to do. I could either call it a night and go to bed, have her break my water, or keep doing what we were doing...meaning, continue on with herbs.
I didn't like any of the choices! I didn't want to go to bed and start all over, I didn't want my water broken, and I definitely didn't want any more herbs! I was ready to have this baby, but couldn't make a decision. And no one could make it for me. I sat on the edge of my bed for about 30 minutes, exhausted and unsure, trying to decide what to do.
Janet came back in to check on me. It was about 1:30 am. Since I couldn't decide, Janet suggested that she check me again, and depending on any change, possibly breaking my water. I was still a seven, but very stretchy. The baby's head was in a twisted posterior position, which is why I was making slow progress. She just needed to tilt her head to drop comfortably into position, putting better pressure on my cervix. As Janet was checking me, she was trying to manipulate baby's head into position. She was able to move her head a bit. Fun times!
Fortunately, the manipulation put me at an eight. So Janet said, "Let's go ahead and break your water!" As much as I wanted to get this show on the road, I was scared. Remember, my contractions had fizzled out, which meant I was in no pain, which meant there was no mental working up to the intense pain of transition. What this meant was that as soon as she broke my water, I would begin labor IN TRANSITION! Moms, are you feelin' my pain here? I was tired, and afraid that I wouldn't be able to handle going straight to transition.
But, it was time to get the show on the road. I prayed for strength, endurance, and mental ability. With my loving and supportive husband by my side, Janet broke my water at about 2:10am.
As soon as I stood up, the first contraction hit with a vengeance. I stood, leaning into my husband as he coached me through. After the fourth contraction, I requested to get into the tub. I needed the warm water to ease some of the intense pain. Plus, I knew it wouldn't be long until baby arrived and I wanted to give birth in the water again.
I got into the tub and had a very intense contraction. I knew at that point I was close to pushing. I had a second contraction in the tub and was on the edge of losing control. It was hard, and I felt that the next contraction would produce the urge to push. The third one came, and sure enough, I began to grunt and push.
Typically, once I begin pushing, it's a release of the pain. It's very controlled and I know mentally that I am almost done! This time was different. It was very difficult to maintain control. I was able to ease her head out, which usually offers slight relief. But the baby never did quite get into a good position, so the pain was different. I couldn't maintain my focus. I lost it. I yelled to get the baby out!
I'm usually a quiet laborer, even during transition and pushing. But when her head came out, I couldn't handle the pain. Janet wanted to pause for a moment to check for a cord, but I couldn't. I reached down and pulled my baby girl out at 2:22am! It was finally over! I was exhausted! But she was here, our precious Amelia June!
Come on back to find out what happened after the birth in Part 2....and why my husband had to call 911.