Two nights before my due date, I was having contractions and they were coming close, but I knew it wasn’t labor. However, my whole pregnancy I had been worried that the midwife would not make it to my house in time – that my baby would come too quickly. Because I was GBS + and wanted antibiotics and I was afraid of a fast labor my midwife, Diana, ended up coming to me in the middle of the night only to have contractions space out by the time she got to my house. Ooops. Even doulas are allowed false alarms.
The next day I sent my husband and son off to the dentist and I got some sleep. Once they came home it was time for naps and my husband went back to work. Lots of napping! In the late afternoon my son and I went walking around my neighborhood – curb walking – trying to get baby to come out. He thought that was hilarious. I was glad to make him laugh because honestly, I wasn’t the most friendly of mommies lately. Later on that evening my neighbor offered to watch my son for us which I quickly took them up on the offer. My husband I had some quiet alone time and ate dinner and watched some tv.
So here’s where I tell you my most appalling secrets.
At my son’s birth my hair was OUT. OF. CONTROL. And it really bothered me! It bothered me during the labor and it bothered me postpartum when I looked at the photos. I know, vain. However, ever since then I said I would make sure my hair stayed decent at subsequent births. I vowed to not get my hair wet unless it was absolutely necessary. Here’s a photo of me straightening my hair the night I had prodromal labor. Don’t judge me.
So fastforward, we picked up our son from our neighbor’s house, put him to bed and eventually we got in bed. I was contracting every seven minutes or so. Sometimes it was every ten minutes. Sometimes more. I decided to go to bed because if this was labor I was going to need rest.
30 minutes later I had a wicked contraction and I had to get out of bed to cope through it. Aha! Maybe this was it!!!! Contractions started to get more intense, and closer together. This was something different so eventually I called my midwife and told her to come over and put an IV in my arm.
While I was waiting for Diana I was prancing around the house getting everything ready. I pulled out my ginger, crockpot, got on instagram a bit, lit a candle, tidied up a bit, texted some people, etc. I was SO excited to meet my new child! My elation far outweighed any discomfort I might have had with contractions. Contractions were totally doable, I breathed through them and carried on with my life.
Diana arrived around 2 am and checked me – 7 cm! This was much better than the 3 cm I was the previous night with prodromal labor. More prancing happened, more texts and then the IV.
Eventually my birth team started showing up and I honestly have no idea who came first or what time. I had my midwife, her student, my friend, my two sister-in-laws, my husband and my photographer. And my three year old woke up at 3 am. Fun!
My husband got my birth pool filled up and I got in in. Man, are those birth pools wonderful! So deep, warm water…. ahhhhhhhhh. My pool was in my living room and so was everybody else in the house.
Every time I got in the pool I turned into chatty Cathy, which made me think it was keeping my labor too easy, so every so often I got out and went to my bathroom to pee and try to crank up my labor.
Yes, I was the insane doula over thinking her birth, side lunging by herself in the bathroom trying to make things more painful all while making sure her hair stayed perfectly coiffed.
When I think back to Eden’s birth I have fantastic memories. I wouldn’t change a thing about her birth, really. It was perfect, with the perfect people, with the perfect story and the perfect baby.
But the end… oh man. That was so incredibly intense, fast, long, horrible, wonderful, not what I expected, yet what I expect as a doula, overwhelming and slightly traumatic for me. I think I just didn’t wan to “go there” yet and write it all out.
Well, I’m going to go there. I need to write it down before I forget. And speaking of forgetting, I did start to write some back in 2013 and I’m so glad I did. There were pieces of the story I had forgotten (probably overshadowed by me only remembering only the traumatic portions of her birth) and would have left out.
Moral of the story? Write it out. You don’t have to publish it like I do, but write it out so you don’t forget. What you end up forgetting first are the happier, more enjoyable little details that make a birth story YOUR birth story.
Homebirth Stories – Eden’s Birth Part II
Ok, so we left off with me trying to crank up labor. Why I thought it was necessary to crank up labor is beyond me. My body totally “had it”. I was just trying to micro-manage my birth.
Eden was born in the middle of December and close to Christmas. I love Christmas lights and cussic and therefore I I really enjoyed having both at my homebirth. A funny memory I have is of me coping through an intense contraction and at the peak of the contraction all I remember was JOSH GROBAN belting out some loud Christmas carol at the top of his lungs.
I wanted to kill him.
I asked for somebody (ANYBODY!) to find another Pandora station… which they did. But the new station had Josh Groban on it too. WTH?
Another funny thing that happened was that we had this “debris net” which came with my birth pool kit. At some point, for some irrational reason I’m sure, while I was in the birth pool I attempted to try to “feel around” to see if I could check my cervix. All I found was bloody show, or mucus plug type stuff. My friend Denise, with comical pleasure, swiftly removed my debris from the pool. The little net came in handy! Yay! (I still have that thing. It’s hanging up in my kitchen pantry. Just in case.)
At the peak of one particular contraction I remember thinking to myself, “I’m never doing this again.” That thought made me laugh, because it was so cliché. Laughing, however, made my contraction hurt more which made me laugh more. I’m was a hot, funny mess.
I have another memory of my friend Denise doing counter pressure on my back during a contraction. We were in the bathroom and my husband came in and checked on us. Denise stepped to the side to allow Matt to take over doing counter pressure on my back during a contraction. I quickly told him to stop. It was amazing how good counter pressure felt from someone who knew what they were doing. I told Matt to hug me instead. Perfect comprimise.
So I kept laboring and doing my thing. I was SO thirsty. I kept drinking all the water that appeared in front of me (thank you birth team!). Hydration was definitely not my issue. In fact, I was in and out of the pool constantly heading to the bathroom to pee.
While I was in the bathroom I kept pooping too. I pooped a lot! I think I concerned my friend Denise… she didn’t want me to push out my baby on the toilet! I assured her it wasn’t a baby, I just needed to poop. I’m happy I got to poop a lot because I never pooped in the birth pool. (I’m always eagerly looking at the bright side of things.)
Transition AKA I’m Totally Irrational
After my contractions got stronger (3 minutes apart, 60 seconds long or so), at maybe 5 am, I asked for a vaginal exam. I was getting annoyed at my seemingly slow progress and was wondering why I wasn’t pushing. Everybody who needed to be here was here, you know? What gives? My midwife checked my cervix and I was “only” 8 cm and still at -1 station and 95% effaced”. Ugh. I was starting to get annoyed. (Looking back this was a good sign. While I was in my experience I began to think she would NEVER come.)
At some point, 6:07 am to be exact (I have a copy of my midwife’s notes), I decided I was STARVING and asked for something to eat. I was in the tub and someone put a spoonful of yogurt in front of me. I ate it. And I thought it was disgusting. I couldn’t articulate why or how it was so bad. So I told them it was… “too white”. Which was honestly hysterical and I laughed out loud. I still had a sense of humor!
So, in the same vein of being vain (I had my priorities all goofy), I wanted Eden to be born during daylight so that my birth photographer would have good lighting and therefore take good pictures. I’m insane. And vain.
At this point in my story my midwife asked me if I wanted her to break my water (and therefore have a baby more quickly… in theory). I told her to hold off breaking my water (AROM) so that she would be born in daylight. I then proceeded to ask my husband to look up on the phone what time the sun will come up. I didn’t know if I could wait.
The Dark Place
I refer to the next part of my labor as “the dark place”. 99% of women have to go to “the dark place” in order to give birth. Even if you show up to the hospital at 9 cm, I swear, you have to “turn the corner” or go to “the dark place” to have your baby. Sure, there are exceptions, but until a woman goes there I know we probably have more time.
So around 6:30 am I needed to have my second round of antibiotics. I got on my son’s bed and they placed the IV. (I never thought I would have spent so much time in my son’s room on his bed while in labor. I kinda felt bad, like I was invading his space. (Thinking about it now it makes sense why I was in there so much… because it was between the bathroom and the birth pool. Convenient.)
I’m not sure if the IV came next or the vomiting. Or if the vomiting came first and then the IV. But I remember vomiting and feeling totally desperate, terrible, experiencing double peaking contractions and crying. Ugh. It was so freaking hard. I didn’t do anything to cope “correctly” through this. I cried and white knuckled it.
I went to the bathroom and then around 7 am I gave up waiting for the sun to come up (lol) and asked for my midwife to break my water. So I got on my son’s bed again (poor kid… but he was on his way to my neighbor’s home at this point so he didn’t see this part) so Diana could break my water. OMG. Getting on my back for a vaginal exam during transition is HELL. She went in there with her cool little tool and you know what? It freaking didn’t work. She tried for like a minute and it didn’t work. There wasn’t anything to snag. So she tried during a contraction to see if the pressure would cause there to be some sort of bulge to snag and… no go.
Oh. My. Gosh. I was in so much pain. My contractions weren’t stopping. They would peak and then peak again. I cried out for somebody to help me get up/save me/whatever because I was in so much distress. After that contraction was over I did a little internal self-talk.
“Lindsey, you need to be brave. You need to get up and move”
And so I got up. And I was brave.
An Irrational Dark Place – The Best of Both Worlds
And then I got a little irrational because I decided I was going to break my water myself. While I was on all fours on the floor of my son’s room I reached down and tried to stick my fingers in my vagina to break my water. Yeah, I couldn’t figure out how to break my water. However, I did put my fingers in and I did felt her head and my cervix. Oh my gosh. To feel that sensation… it was wild. And over stimulating. And I guess motivating.
So after that contraction was over I decided to just start pushing. I figured I would break my water by pushing during the next contraction. And so I pushed.
And a trickle of water ran down my leg. I confessed to my midwife that I decided to push even though I didn’t have the urge to push and she said “OK!”. Her student midwife asked me if my water broke. I told her I thought I peed on myself. She quickly tested the liquid and confirmed it was amniotic fluid. That was 7:35 am.
Another contraction came and I felt the urge to push. That was 7:40 am.
Again, with my positive self talk I told myself to be brave and get up off the floor.
And so I was brave and I stood up. I walked over to my birth pool and I got in.
I had another contraction and pushed again. I did another vaginal exam on myself and I felt her head. She was about a finger’s length in.
I remember thinking to myself. “How can I make this not hurt?” Right then I thought “Maybe it’ll hurt less if I push gentle and slow.”
I pushed again. I was trying to be gentle. I told my midwife she was a finger tip in. And then my body took over and started pushing her out FAST. I felt inside again and told Diana she was “RIGHT THERE!!!!”. I screamed, “SOMEBODY HELP ME!”…
… and then she shot out like a mermaid in the pool.
Eden Wolf was born at 7:46 am, 10 minutes after the sun came up. I remember her feeling really warm, small and wet.
Before I got out of the tub, about ten minutes after she was born she latched on.
During the third stage of labor, I got out of the pool and went to my bed. There I delivered the placenta, rested, watched the newborn exam and was fed. Eden weighed 7 pounds 2 ounces. 20 and 1/2 inches long.
My hair looked good, right? Success!
So there’s the rest of my birth story. It really wasn’t that bad to write it out! I was able to re-live and remember many positive and funny parts of it. One thing that stuck out to me, especially in the photos, was my husband. Always being there for me. I mean, scroll up and look, he’s always there. When you’re in labor, especially when it gets hard and bad, many of us go very internal, close our eyes and have no idea what’s going on in “the real world”. But wow, I feel so loved by his steady presence in these photos. I love you baby!
I had a great time. I laughed a lot and really enjoyed myself and the company I was in.
I hate pushing. I don’t really talk too much about my personal experiences with birth in my childbirth classes, but this is my blog, and I’m just going to be being really honest with you guys. I HATE pushing. The sensation I felt both times was totally overwhelming and not what I expected it to be at all. I found it to be painful too. So there’s that.
I hate transition even more. It really sucks. Thankfully it was short. Although it felt like an eternity at the time.
I do have to say I am very proud of myself for being brave. And for somehow coming up with positive self talk and motivating myself to move and keep going. I don’t feel bad for saying I’m proud of myself. I think I earned it.