13 years ago I had a wishful thought while laying in bed pregnant with baby #3, wouldn't it be nice to give birth right here in my own bed and not have to go to the hospital and deal with all That. It took 3 more children, 3 more hospital births and lots of unacceptable treatment for me to find the resolve and courage to fulfill my dream. Simply it started this pregnancy with being tired of fighting- tired of having to fight to be treated normal and to have a natural pregnancy and birth, to convince myself and husband this was the right choice for us this time. I am not sick nor is this an emergency- I was doing what I'd done 6 times before and had done well each time. I could do this without labels or fear. I could do this how I felt I was supposed to- peacefully at home with loving husband and supportive midwives. I could birth how nature intended me to.
It started much like you see on TV (but the ending was not one of us rushing out to the car and to the hospital, and into a room with frantic staff. It was a normal home birth, with us relaxed and able to take it as it came and in our own way)- I woke to my waters breaking at about 12:45. I thought to myself "I can't be peeing myself", sat up and felt a much larger gush. "Nope, not peeing." I stood up to go down to the bathroom and the floor at my feet got soaked. I had a passing thought of letting my husband sleep a bit longer- thinking it'd be awhile till things really got going, but quickly changed my mind, when I found I couldn't take a single step without huge gushes of water streaming down my leg. I needed help and needed to ask for it, and that's what he was there for.
"C, I'm pretty sure my water broke". "Oh!" and he was up! We made our way downstairs, to be welcomed by my eldest still awake. "Are you having the baby?" were her first words to me. I ignored her, even think I said "no" just so she wouldn't get to worked up and wake up all the other children in the house. But just a few minutes later we had to admit the lie and fess up that indeed my water had broken, and we were calling my midwife.
C put the call in at 1am. My water had broken, E (my midwife) asked a few questions to make sure that was what is was and concluded as we did, suggested we try and lay back down and rest, since contractions hadn't started yet and to call her when they did.
1:24 am the first contraction, or rush, as I tried to call them during my labor, came on. Not the hit you like a train kind but the ones you'd imagine having- the "oh this is really it" kind. They came on their own time and in their own time frame, starting at about 5 mins apart, 1-2 minutes in duration, and steadily got stronger. The rushes never got much closer together until the very end but the intensity definitely got stronger! lol
At about 1:45 am C called E back to let her know the contractions had started and they were about 5 minutes apart. She thought there would still be some time before things really got moving and stated she'd call back in an hour- or if things started moving faster we could call her back. That hour seemed to go by fast, with contractions getting stronger with each one and lasting longer in duration, they were still about 5 minutes apart though, so they did give me time in between to relax and calm (much different than the camel back contractions I had thanks to the Pit I had with most-5/6, of my other children). I started to feel like I needed to be out of the family space of the downstairs and back upstairs in the safety and quiet of my own bedroom. So we migrated there.
We knew little C would have to moved out of our room, in the hopes he'd continue to sleep (no such luck!), so my C carried him down and into our eldest's bed. There she laid with him till giving up on putting on Diego for him. She was a trooper, caring for him for the next 6 hours, until finally she was ordered to bed and our middle daughter, P, took over and she finally got him to sleep.
During the migration up the two short flights of stairs to our bedroom the rushes started coming harder, thank you stairs. And I found I also am grateful for our bedroom being in a finished attic- those dormer walls came in really handy in helping support me through some of the worst. I tried every position I'd seen or heard of to get and stay comfortable but there were only two that worked well- standing/walking while holding onto the walls and sitting on the edge of the bed or this bean bag tree stump thinging we have. Hands and knees rocking didn't do it. Laying down brought back memories of the hospital and squatting hurt my knees. Gravity was my friend.
It's about 2:45 am when E calls again to see how things are going and C tells her the contractions are closer and stronger now, with even less time in between. She's going to call her back up and start getting her stuff together and making her way over. I feel better knowing she's soon on her way. I had been feeling a bit like I had to wait, that I needed her here before letting go and moving much further ahead.
Here I want to inject a bit of praise for my husband. My man is absolutely the perfect man for me, in childbirth and in life. He knows how to anticipate my needs and support me (both emotionally and physically) fully. He knows when I need something and brings it to me, even when I don't- he never left my side during a rush. And in between he run to get what was needed- ice, gatorade, water, the tree stump. He knew to set everything out the MWs needed, and to make the bed in the 2 sets of sheets and plastic curtain. He knew when to get close to help me through a rush, or step back and not touch. He was in sync with me and I knew he was always there. All I had to do was say his name, even in a whisper. More to come on his heroic (to me) deeds.
I think very soon after this I moved from active labor into transition. I was swearing up a storm and very aware of the difference between earlier and then. Also aware of the stages of labor and when I thought I was. During my hospital births I felt disconnected from my thoughts and body, not remembering what was supposed to happen next. At home I was just more aware and able to keep in step more, no fear to creep in.
Oh I am not saying I was clear headed in the least- because I was not! I was trying to communicate my thoughts and needs but I couldn't string two words together. I was being suggested to try different positions but couldn't say "no, that one doesn't help" all I could say most of the time was f**k. But it was clear in my head. I moved from my wall support to C and stayed there. He now became my wall.
I started to feel pushy- even more than the poop feeling I had been having since my water broke. (I really needed to go but my body wouldn't let me.) And asked C to call E and see where she was. He told I was feeling ready to push and she was on her way already, this was about 3:30 am. I held it back a few more contractions, tried sitting on the edge of the bed to slow things down a bit but that didn't last long.
I decided I needed to sit. I couldn't articulate the thoughts to words that were in my head. I was feeling like everything I was trying wasn't working, comfort measures wise. And all I could get out was "I don't know what to do." C and E were so supportive, telling me yes I do I've done this before. But I was a little frustrated with myself, only because I couldn't verbalize what I wanted to say. I tried again, that I didn't know what to do as in positions and breathing. That I had been trapped in my hospital births, made to stay in bed on my side or back and being free to move and find my own positions was what was "wrong". Granted I didn't say it as eloquently as now- it came out in broken sentences, in between rushes.
(a wonderful thing about HB- Da can do skin to skin with J)
(Back with mama)
7:30 am and the other children were coming in to meet the newest member. First was P, who's the little mama of the girls. Then R, who you could tell was over tired and overwhelmed with all she was taking on- she was ordered to bed and her responsibilities handed over to P. Then T, B and O came together (the only one that slept through all the excitement was B- everyone else was up by 5 am). All thought their new brother was the cutest thing! Last came lil' C, and having everyone else come first was good because C thought J was a basketball and tried to palm him! Not what anyone was expecting.
Thank you to my wonderful Super Man husband- who for the first days after J's birth did EVERYTHING I do normally and some better than me! Who lost his job to care for us. Who is the best man for me ever. Thank you E and J- for being there exactly when they were needed and knowing exactly what to say and do and when to say and do it. For believing in me and treating me with respect and listening to me, when others weren't. Thank you to my girls- for stepping up and taking on what I knew they could. Thank you to my mother- for all her help. Thank you D- for your love and support and for trying your best. Thank you to all my mama friends- you're love and support have helped get me through, not just this birth and babymoon but life for the past almost 3 years. I love you all!