This was the second time I was invited to this family’s birth space. The first was a planned birth center birth that resulted in a transfer due to high blood pressure. When she got pregnant with baby #2 she knew she wanted a home birth, but she would never have guessed the journey that was in store. Here’s her story…
My Birth Story: Hank Warner Chesal 12-15-14
This was going to be my second natural childbirth and first homebirth – I was very excited. With my first child, June, I went into labor the day after my EDD so I didn’t expect my second child to be very far past my EDD, although I wasn’t admitting to that. I told everyone that it could still be a few more weeks, but internally I never expected that to be true.
My EDD came and went. I was fine with that. I knew I had to go into labor before 42 weeks or else I wouldn’t be having a homebirth, but at this point I wasn’t worried yet. Then 41 weeks came and went. At my 41 weeks checkup my midwife checked me and I was 2 cm dilated and 60% effaced. A few more days passed and nothing happened so at 41 weeks and 4 days I had to go to the hospital for a non stress test. All of the tests came back good (baby and fluid levels were looking good).
However I did have one high blood pressure reading of 140/85 (I had pre-eclampsia with June so I had been nervous about high BP throughout this entire pregnancy. Luckily my BP was good throughout.) I was notified that the doctor would not be releasing me from the hospital due to the single BP reading. I was devastated thinking I was going to miss out on my homebirth. I called my midwife and she told me that she believed the only reason I had a high BP reading was because I was under stress (where I didn’t want to be, in a hospital and alone because they wouldn’t allow my fiance or daughter to come in my room). She said she was comfortable with me checking myself out against medical advice to go home and monitor my BP from the comfort of my own home.
Once I got home and relaxed it was of course lower. The next day was Sunday, 41 weeks and 5 days. I was desperate for labor to begin. I was taking and inserting evening primrose oil, drinking black and blue cohosh tea, listening to the Baby Come Out Hypnobabies track, bouncing on my birthing ball, doing the Miles Circuit and still seeing no really strong or consistent contractions. So Sean, June and I decided we were going to walk all around the neighborhood. I would have random, mild contractions but nothing notable. That night I lost my appetite which I found odd and thought it was a clue of things to come but at this point I was done getting my hopes up. I was trying to stay positive for a homebirth while at the same time come to terms with a hospital birth – if that was going to be my reality, I wanted to make peace with it.
That night we went to a Christmas Boat Parade party. Sean had not been drinking any alcohol in case I went into labor. That night I told him he should just go ahead and have a drink because maybe Murphys Law would come into play and I would go into labor, So he did. Anyway, we came out and I folded some laundry and then had two grilled cheeses when I regained my appetite, Went to bed at 3am and about 5 minutes after getting in bed I felt a strong and somewhat painful ‘POP’. I ignored it, probably because I wanted to sleep. About 5 minutes after that I had a very intense contraction. The kind I experienced towards the end of my labor with June. It caused me to get out of bed at which point my water spilled on the floor (which was the popping sensation I felt).
I told Sean my water broke (he just finished taking his contacts out, lol) and he came and helped me into the shower to rinse off. The next few hours were a whirlwind. I called my mom to come over and help in case June woke up. Then I called Lorel, my doula, and Mary, my midwife. At this point I was shivering. I felt very confused about how intense things were coming on. I was afraid to ask them to come because I couldn’t believe things were happening so quickly but at the same time I became unable to talk on the phone in just a matter of minutes and soon after I started making the famous birth noises – the long, low moans. As I was making the sounds I was thinking am I somehow much wimpier than I was during my first birth. I wasn’t making those sounds until the last few hours of June’s birth. This time the moans started less than an hour after labor began.
Lorel & Mary followed their instincts and both came over. By the time Mary arrived I was 8 cm. I laid on the couch riding the labor waves that were coming so quickly I had no time to recuperate between them. With June’s birth I could NOT sit or lay down – it was like torture, I had to be on my feet. With this birth I could not get on my feet I had to be laying down and would have preferred standing on my head if I could have. The pressure of this baby without my water being intact was beyond belief.
At this point my eyes had been closed for a while – I find I cannot open my eyes when in labor. So I’m not sure of all that was going on around me. I was completely internal and just getting through it. I was surrendered to the feeling and just focusing on affirmations. Reminding myself that everything I was feeling was normal and that I would get through it and it wouldn’t last forever. A few times I started to doubt my ability to get through it (and in hindsight I find this part comedic) but I had to literally shake my head no to shake the negative thoughts out of my head. Self doubt was very scary to me. I had an overwhelming feeling that if I gave in to that doubt that it would be a devastating spiral downward into a pit of despair. The only thing getting me through it was staying positive and believing in my ability to give birth. I had to remember to focus on the moan coming out of my mouth. I put all of my attention and consciousness to the noise coming from my mouth so that I would not dwell on the sensations I was experiencing because they were very overwhelming to me.
Before I knew it the birthing pool was blown up and filled with deliciously warm water and I was 10 cm (3 hours after my water broke and just 1 and a half hours after my midwife and doula arrived). I was told to get into the pool but there never seemed like a good time to get up and get in – and Lorel told me that there would never be a good time, I just had to get up and do it. So I did. I find that when in very active labor I am VERY open to suggestion. I follow orders almost without hesitation. Which is why it means so much to have a birth team that you trust wholeheartedly.
The pool felt amazing and all the sudden my eyes were open and I was smiling. I was on cloud nine. I couldn’t believe how peaceful and calm the room felt. I started talking about how happy I was to be home and my mom even mentioned how happy I looked. So I started pushing. I was having trouble figuring out how to do it. Some moms mention how much they love the pushing phase but I am not one of those moms. I just wasn’t feeling it instinctively. And after a short while it was clear that Hank was not happy with the position I was in – his heart kept having decelerations. We tried a standing position. I was hanging all of my body weight on Sean – poor guy – while I pushed. But Hank’s heart kept having deceleration.
Hank came out and was laid upon my chest. He took a few seconds to start breathing but just when he took his first breath he opened his eyes big and looked right at me. It was surreal. At this point the entire family was there – his daddy, big sister, all four grandparents and one of his aunts. They all congratulated June on becoming a big sister and they all just stood around adoring him. Shortly after I delivered the placenta and Mary checked to see if I needed stitches. Amazingly I had no tearing.
It was even more amazing once they weighed him to find out he was 9 pounds 7 ounces!!! And the rest is history. I am still in shock and so proud of my birth story, I did it!! Again!!
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