I feel the need to preface this post with my reasons for writing a very public birth story. If you know me personally, you are aware of how private I am on everyday matters. It would not be expected for me to be so open about something so personal. I am choosing to be open about the birth of my daughter because I was helped by so many other birth stories I found on the internet. I studied home-birth vigorously for over a year (first deciding it was for us, and then for preparation) and reading many birth stories helped me get an idea of how births can go. I feel that it is helpful and therefore should be shared. I would like to state that this is a natural birth story, so it obviously will have some characteristics that others might find unsettling. Birth is a natural human function though, and there is nothing horrible or obscene about it.
I woke up a little after 9AM in bed, feeling as if I had to use the restroom. I got up quickly and pinned my legs together as best as I could as I made it across the dining room. It was there that I realized that my water had broke. My shorts were soaked and the smell wasn’t anything I had come in contact before (not bad, just distinct). I called for Mr. V and told him that he should call the midwife so we could catch her hopefully before she left for church. (I should state that it was Sunday, and usually Mr. V would have left for work around 7AM but the night before one of his coworkers thought it would be best for him to stay home, just in case.) He called her and she gave him basic instructions, “Call me when you have regular contractions. I’m going to church.” By this time I had not even lost my mucus plug, so it was very strange to have my water break before any contractions!
I puttered around some and Mr.V thought he might go back to bed since we knew it would be a busy evening. I could not sleep, and soon he found out that he couldn’t either. It was around that time (maybe 10:30) that I started having very mild contractions every 6-8 minutes. I decided to rest in bed on my side so I could watch the clock. I stayed there for about an hour and then thought I should call my parents, knowing that they would get the message after church and would make their way over afterward. The contractions slowly went on as the time passed and we found ourselves in the living room watching Star Wars.
Soon my mom arrived (arms full of nice treats) and we had contacted the midwife once more, letting her know that contractions were now closer to 5 minutes apart. It was probably around 2PM. Mr. V kept track of the contractions until they got to be around 2-4 minutes apart. I was still walking around and spending time with my family at home. I had to stop when a contraction started and I just sat there quietly, tuning out whatever was going on and breathing out slowly. My dad arrived around 4PM and soon after so did our midwife. She checked my blood pressure and watched me go through a few contractions in the living room. She was sure that I had awhile to go, and thought about leaving. It was around this time I decided to go to the restroom. Little did I know I would not be coming out any time soon!
I found that sitting on the toilet really made my contractions more intense, which is what I wanted. I was working on relaxing my entire body during the contractions and it was even easier in the privacy and quiet of the small bathroom. My goal was to make each contraction as efficient as possible, and that can not happen unless you are fully relaxed and you let your body do what it is trying to do. The last thing I wanted was to have contractions that didn’t do any progress! It must have been a while because soon my midwife came in and checked the baby’s heart with a Doppler. Everything was good. She stayed in there with me for a contraction or two and then brought Mr. V in and turned out the light. She lit a candle and left us alone.
Mr.V was wonderful. He relaxed on the floor and just hung out with me as I went through contractions that got steadily worse. We did not really talk because I was so focused on making every contraction count. It had to be around 6PM at this time. When I had a few little breaks between contractions we would talk or joke. I told him how amazing I felt when there wasn’t any pressure. I felt completely normal. Then the contraction would hit hard and slowly descend. Soon it got difficult. We weren’t talking anymore. I was getting ready for each contraction to “be on top of it” as opposed to letting it tackle me. This really helped, because by this time they were very uncomfortable and I could have been thinking, “Okay, this really hurts. This is horrible.” Instead I just focused on what my body was doing and why it was doing it. I did my best to stay as relaxed as possible.
Our midwife came in and did another doppler check. She said she was going home to eat dinner (it was 7PMish) and was coming back in one hour, but to call her if anything happens. She only lived 5 minutes away so I was not worried. Soon after she left I started feeling cold and then very hot. Mr. V would give me a towel to cover up with and then take it away. I also asked him a few times (with hand motions, obviously talking was not an option by this point) to hand me the small bathroom trashcan so I could throw up in it. Thankfully I never had to (I hate throwing up!) and I just went through the motions. I noticed after that my contractions changed slightly. They were shorter and I did not feel the need to throw up. I actually felt good enough to talk to him between them again. I asked him what time it was and he said a little after 8 I believe. He told me our midwife was back and she was calling the other one to come. At that time I had one contraction and at the very end of it I made a sound like “UH”. I hadn’t made any noise up to that point so it was weird. I felt the need to push. I told Mr. V to get her in there right now, because I wanted to push.
The midwife came in and asked if she could check me. By then I was getting worn out so I said, “Just do what you have to do.” She wanted to make sure I was 10CM before I started pushing. She checked me quickly, and it did hurt for a second but she was fast. I was ready to go and the other midwife hadn’t gotten here yet! There was a lot of shuffle at this point because I don’t believe she thought I would be so productive. She and Mr. V got everything in the bathroom because I didn’t want to walk to our bedroom. I had to get off the toilet obviously, so I slowly made my way to the floor which was covered and ready for me. They put a pillow down and I labored on my side first. I was just pushing so-so, because I remember thinking that I shouldn’t hold my breath through an entire contraction push. Soon the other midwife came and she thought I should try sitting on the birthing stool and then squatting to push. I was okay with that, since laying on my side hurt my hips while I was in between contractions. By this time I felt very tired. My arms and legs felt very weak, but now in looking back I realize that they weren’t. I had read that the blood goes from your limbs and to your womb in labor, and I’m sure that is what happened. If I would have thought of that during this part I bet I would have felt a boost of energy, since the only thing I had to associate weak limbs with was exhaustion.
Mr. V held me up from the back and each contraction I squatted on the floor and wrapped my arms around the midwife’s shoulders. I believe they were telling me how far she was and when they could see her hair. They wanted to me to touch her head a few times but I didn’t want to, since I was only focused on one thing: getting her out! I believe once she told me to “push as hard as you can” and the next contraction came and I actually pushed hard. I think it took 2 hard pushes and she FLEW out. Mr.V was going to catch her, but he didn’t get a chance to switch positions. She came out all at once. The cord (I was told later, obviously) was around her neck, arm, and belly. She was put on my stomach right away and Mr.V put on her hat. She was crying, which was a good sign. We looked at her in shock for a few seconds and then thought, we should see what the gender is! He cut her cord and she was free. Little W was born 3.14.10 at 9:23PM.
The rest of the night Little W met her grandma and grandpa and hung out in the living room with us. We both got cleaned up and she started nursing and I got some much needed dinner. We all made it to bed around midnight, safe and secure at home.