OK I’ll start off with a bit of a background. I have done waterbirth the last 3 times. My first 2 labors had pretty normal contraction patterns but the last 2 I never had contractions closer than 5-8 min apart (and often more like 10-20 min) the whole time. I used water A LOT in my first and 2nd labors mostly during transition . . . but for the last 2, because the contractions were so spaced out the whole time, I found being in the water during labor annoying because I would have a contraction then a space of like 10 min during which time I didn’t want to hang out in the water, I wanted to sway back and forth or move/walk around. So the last 2x I got in the water ONLY for the birth. Crowning in my waterbirths was always VERY intense, more so than my first land birth. I was thinking it was probably because with my first, I pushed for 5 hrs and he was crowning for a long time so I was used to the ‘burning’. But with the last 3 crowning came quicker and was super intense. But I also considered maybe it was because I was pushing against something (the water) not using gravity. So that, along with the fact that my last baby seemed to have a negative reaction to being born in the water (he didn’t act happy about being in the water, wanted out and was very ‘wet’ and grunty) I figured I wouldn’t ‘plan’ on a waterbirth this time but rather play it by ear. If I wanted water in labor and ended up birthing there fine, but I wasn’t going to make a point to get in the water JUST to birth if I didn’t feel like it. That way I could see if water made any difference in actual pushing and crowning and birth.
I was really hoping for a shorter labor. The spaced out contractions are nice, and laid back, and they make labor ‘easy’ with the big breaks inbetween, but it gets tiring laboring all day and there is SO much time to ‘think’ when I would rather just get it over with, LOL. So I was hoping that this time things would go quicker (even if that meant closer contractions with not so much rest inbetween, and I could always use the pool if needed). I was seeing a chiro again and faithfully drinking my NORA tea in hopes that baby would be in a good position and my uterus would contract efficiently. But that was not to be, apparently my body has just decided to have long, laid back labors, LOL!!
We were planning another UC, but like with the last 2, I had my midwife friend Tierney available should I need her for anything. She is so wonderfully supportive, such a blessing! I did the pregnancy myself again too, but had her palpate a few times etc. (nothing like having someone who had her hands on 100’s of pg bellies to reassure you that what you think is a head is indeed a head, LOL). Each UC has been harder. What I mean is that I was more laid back with the first one, but with each one, I get more paranoid and wondering about the ‘what ifs’. I think partly it is because I know more and sometimes knowledge isn’t a good thing, LOL!! And because the kids are older now, and are so excited and invested in it . . . and I wanted to make sure I was doing the right thing for them. So pregnancy is full of praying, reading scripture and seeking out any leading from God that maybe I should do things differently. I also keep an opened mind during the birth and am so grateful for the fact that I CAN call someone for more support (either helping with the kids or supporting Charlie or I OR being there as a midwife). Anyway, I had more herbs on hand and more information in my head on what to do should there be a problem. I didn’t anticipate a problem, but was definitely prepared should one come up. I also listened to heart tones more during this birth. Regardless, any doubts and fears I have are usually gone once labor hits and my instincts really kick in.
Unlike my last 2 labors, I was pretty much mentally ready for this one. I mean I still had stuff to do around the house, but when labor hit I wasn’t wishing for more time ya know. My EDD was the 23rd and though I had increased BH contractions I didn’t notice anything to make me think labor would be soon. On the 24th though something was ‘different’. I felt different, I was getting sporadic, crampy contractions (which I had had before, but this day I had more) and I had really slowed down. Charlie’s parents watched the kids while we got groceries (first time getting groceries alone) and I kept having to have him slow down because I couldn’t keep up . . . it was also harder to get in and out of the car. That night I was awaken by contractions a few times (not painful or anything, just ‘different’ and crampy) so when I got up the next morning (the 25th) and had bloody show, I was not at all surprised (in fact I had been checking for it the day before). I walked into the living room and said . . . “a day or 2” . . . which meant I have never gone more than a day or 2 after seeing bloody show before having a baby (and I have had bloody show before labor with all but 1 of them). I started with contractions every hour or so and they picked up during the day. I think I was able to get a nap in with Ever (though his nursing was painful and eventually I made him stop and he threw a fit and I remember being sad thinking this may be the last time I nap with just him). And I didn’t have any nausea yet so I was able to eat all day. Though I had the typical upset stomach so I was using the bathroom a lot too. I spent the day cleaning, doing laundry (clean sheets for the bed), last minute organizing of baby stuff, I cleaned some carpets etc. and had pretty good contractions throughout the day and bloody show consistently all day. I listened to the baby’s heart tones a few times and he was always very active. I talked to Tierney (midwife/friend) that evening and gave her a heads up. She told me she had a commitment the next evening (she had to give a speech somewhere) but I was sure, considering my pattern from the previous births, that baby would be born before another 24 hrs. since I was having pretty good contractions all day.
I wouldn’t have considered it active labor though till around 8 that night. With my contractions spaced out, I can’t count active labor by how far apart they are, so I have to use their strength to determine how it is progressing. Around 8 is when I was no longer able to talk through them (though I couldn’t walk through them for a while) but rather had to concentrate, sway etc. At 11 or so we put the kids in bed and thankfully things were still, at that point, where I could lie down and nurse Ever to sleep. We watched an episode of Smallville while getting the kids to sleep, and I had to keep telling Charlie to pause it during contractions (I always hate having to lie down during contractions, but when nursing that is all you can do). When we got up it was around midnight. I told Charlie I would not be going to bed and that I would love it if he stayed up too, but he could sleep on the sofa or whatever. With all of my kids I have labored at night while he was in bed, but for some reason I wanted him closer in case I needed him.
Through the night the contractions picked up even more. They were still between 5-20 min apart (averaging probably 10-15) and I started getting nauseated (which I HATE) so I took a lemon and grated the peel a bit and carried it around with me sniffing it. I had heard that it helped with the nausea and let me tell you, it really did!! I carried that thing with me everywhere sniffing it. At some point (I am thinking maybe 2am or so) I was starting to get more in ‘labor land’ and I got rid of my pants. When I am having contractions I like to relax my body completely, so often times I will just pee wherever I am (keeping your bladder empty helps the contractions to be less painful too). So I had ‘stations’ set up around the house. One behind the sofa, one in front of the sink in the kitchen and one in front of the bathroom sink. That is where I would stand when a contraction came and there were towels on the floor so I could pee if needed. Between contractions I would usually walk around, sit, or sway or ‘dance’. I couldn’t really ‘do’ anything, I couldn’t focus on any activity (like watching TV or doing work or whatever). They were still very strong but I don’t consider them painful, they just take concentration and complete relaxation. Ever ended up waking up and fussing a couple times that night, so Charlie got up and went into the bedroom to lie with him . . . which Ever was NOT happy about (he is used to me coming in and nursing him back to sleep, but there was NO WAY I could do that at this point). It was horrible hearing him fuss, so I went to the furthest end of the house so I couldn’t hear it, but he did eventually go back to sleep. Somewhere around 3-4 or so the ‘transition’ type contractions hit me. I was having the shakes (very cold) but then I would be hot. The contractions were now radiating around my back and legs and I had to moan through them (though I still didn’t consider them super painful, just very intense, requiring complete concentration and sometimes they even felt good). I would moan, whisper yes or good. I kept my face and hands and body relaxed etc. I recognized this pattern from my previous 2 labors. The contractions pick up in intensity (though not duration or frequency) and these ‘transition’ type contractions usually only lasted a few hours, then they started getting pushy then I am pushing and baby is born. I was getting very tired physically, but mentally I felt good, like I had the whole day before. I didn’t have any issues with being unprepared for labor like the last 2 (when I had wanted a few more days to finish up stuff), so I didn’t have that hanging me up. I was more in the ‘labor zone’ mentally and was spending time praying and talking to baby between contractions. And he was moving a lot the whole time so that was comforting. I watched the sun come up and was glad because I really wanted to give birth during the day (though I had wanted to labor AND birth during the day). I think it was around 6-7 that I woke Charlie up telling him I thought I would be pushing soon. The contractions had gotten pushy at the peak and I recognized this as a sign that the pushing contractions would be soon (in the last labor I had woken him up at this point to have him fill the pool, and Ever was born just 2-3 hrs later). I figured I’d have another ‘morning’ baby like the last 2. But that was not to be.
After he got up the contractions stopped being pushy and went back to the typical moaning transition type contractions for me. And thus the pattern for the next 10 hrs!!! I talked to Tierney that morning and she was again concerned about not being available for me that day if I needed her. I really thought that baby would come well before evening, or even afternoon (she would have had to leave by 4 for her speech) but she would still be 2 hrs away if I needed her. I told her not to worry, God would take care of it, if I needed her here she would be available, if not, then no worries!! He was in control and this conflict was out of our control.
That day (the 26th) felt like the longest day of my life. It was a blur really because though I had time between contractions, I was still a bit out of it mentally (couldn’t focus on much but the labor) . . . though if you asked the people I talked to on the phone they would probably tell you I sounded normal . . . but I can sound that way even between the hardest of labor contractions, LOL!! I do remember Fox News being on in the living room (had been on all night, but I wasn’t really watching it) and talk of the new supreme ct. justice nominee. I remember my 27 hr labor with Xian, but it was such a whirlwind that I had no perception of time. Arah’s birth was also 27 hrs but with the spaced out contractions (first time I experienced those), so compared to a ‘normal’ labor it seemed really laid back it didn’t seem that long. Having anticipated baby earlier (when I felt those pushy contractions) and then it not happening, made the day just drag on and on. I think another thing that didn’t help was that the kids were SO excited and anxious that they kept asking “when is the baby coming? we have been waiting SO long” and I kept saying “I don’t know, I have been waiting too, I thought it would be this morning but it better be soon” LOL!! Despite it just being family (and no midwives to ‘perform’ for) I still felt like a watched pot and I felt bad for making the kids wait so long, and that put more pressure on me. They were great though. It was chilly, foggy and rainy outside (so much for giving birth on the porch like I had hoped) and an otherwise icky day all around . . . so they were stuck inside. But they watched the Land of the Lost marathon and played upstairs. I remember them being around and asking me for stuff and me saying “ask daddy” and I remember Ever crawling between my legs during contractions and looking “up” (nice view I am sure, LOL) and daddy warning him that he better move or he would get peed on, LOL!!
Charlie spent the day doing what he normally does when I am in labor, cleaning up stuff and finishing little ‘projects’ around the house (like fixing the towel bar in the bathroom). But despite me still being relaxed, upright, moving, squatting, swaying, keeping my bladder empty, it was still dragging on. I was still moving a lot between contractions. I found myself doing these funny moves, walking around swaying my hips taking huge steps, at one point I felt like crawling on the floor so I did that . . . but only for like 20 sec. I was just SO tired!! I knew inside I needed to rest, but my body just wanted to be moving. The problem with me getting rest in labor is that the contractions were so strong I needed to stand through them. So I sat on the sofa and leaned on the side till a contraction came, then I would stand through it, and then sit back down. I did that 2 separate times for about 40 min each. By noon I was getting very discouraged!! I couldn’t eat all day (though I did make sure to drink), I was mentally and physically exhausted, I was getting the typical transition bouts of chills and hot flashes off and on during the day . . . along with nausea (though I kept that lemon handy, man I loved sniffing that lemon for some reason!). My pee towels on the floor were getting really full of pee, LOL!!! (though yes, I did use the toilet too) and I was going to the bathroom so much that I was getting sore there too (is that TMI?). I did hop in the bath once when I had the shakes, and the warm water felt great and let me rest between contractions but I HATED lying there during them (and getting up was NOT easy so that wasn't going to happen). I kept praying to God . . . I had asked for a shorter labor and this one was dragging on and on!! I mean these moaning type contractions had never lasted more than a few hrs in my other sporadic labors like this. I would reach up inside and feel the baby’s head and waterbag but had no clue how dilated I was (never cared because I never wanted to know before). I did know that baby was moving down though. Because I was picking up heart tones lower and lower throughout the day (and of course it was at times hard to walk). Baby was about to my 2nd knuckle. I kept taking Arnica just in case my cervix was swelling or something (something in my head said to take it so I did).
I remember thinking that afternoon that if Tierney was available I may would have called her to come in my weakness since I was so discouraged. But then I thought . . . "what would she do for me? An internal? I am against those!! Would she remind me that the body works? I know that too (can you tell I am a little independent at times, LOL). And I don’t really have an ‘issue’ that I think she needs to help with, nor do I really feel a strong leading from God to call her". I think He made her unavailable to me for a reason . . . so I would trust in Him, not others or even myself. I think He gives us people for support and comfort at times, but this time (as with the times before) He wanted me to look to Him. Even the times through the labor where I was in a room alone, I never felt alone. Throughout the labor, though I was discouraged about how long it was taking and how tired I was, I never once felt fear or doubt about the birth itself or the outcome (any doubts I may have had in pregnancy were gone by the time labor started, but that is how it worked the other times too) I was just discouraged it was taking so long. He kept giving me verses throughout the day. When I would think a negative thought “this is taking so long, is baby ever going to come” a verse would pop into my head "'Shall I bring to the point of birth, and not give delivery?' says the Lord." Is. 66:9a (I heard this one a lot). Or I was pacing around saying “I am so tired, I am so tired when is this going to happen” I would hear "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Josh. 1:9 and "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28 So needless to say I spent a lot of time talking to God. I remember specifically looking into the bathroom mirror saying “God, you know how much I hate the pushing part, but I am ready for it, ready to embrace it”. I was talking to the baby too. I almost felt bad for him because I knew he was working SO hard, wiggling around in there so much since labor began (something I prayed for, I want to feel baby moving a lot). I could feel his head pressing and wiggling on my cervix often throughout the day and I told him I was working hard too and trying to make it easier for him to come. And through it all, the contractions were intense but not really painful, I didn't dread them but welcomed them and was disappointed when I would get a whimpy one that wasn't as strong as I would have liked. They were just like the other contractions in my other labors and I think I know them well and am able to work well with them, plus, having the break inbetween is a nice time to ‘regroup’ for the next contraction (though sometimes I got bored waiting for the next one to come, LOL)
Finally, around 3.30 or so I said “funk this, I’m taking a nap”. I knew for a while I needed rest, but at this point I just felt strongly that I needed to lie down and sleep! So I went to bed and I did sleep. I was hit with some majorly strong contractions but I had told myself to just deal with them lying down and not get up because your body needs rest . . . and I did. I ended up sleeping an hour and ½ only waking when a contraction came but falling back to sleep shortly after. Eventually I got up when I knew I had to pee, LOL!! I am so used to keeping my bladder empty! I remembered I had a chiro appointment that day at 6 so I called them to cancel. They were great, offering to come to the house for an adjustment if I needed it!! I think the nap was what my body needed. The contractions started getting pushy shortly after I got up. I recognized the pushy sensation that I had felt over 10 hrs earlier and was SO happy it was back!!! But I didn’t make any assumptions, just went with it. If my body started bearing down at the peak while I was moaning I would let it and if it kept happening I would go with it. Eventually the peaks of my contractions were met with a grunting push and I knew for sure then that it would be over soon (or so I thought, LOL). I prayed that pushing would be quick since the labor was long, but apparently God had other plans and you know what, looking back, who am I to question Him, it happens for a reason.
I told Charlie that I would hopefully be pushing soon and when that happened we needed to have the living room ready and the kids in another room because I needed his help. I figured I wasn’t doing waterbirth because I never had the urge to be in the water at this point (and as I had said, I wasn't going to get in 'just because' this time) so I went and got the dark blue comforter I was going to be on (dark blue incase it got blood on it, and boy did it!) and I folded it up and put it on the floor in the corner of the sectional sofa. I put some chux pads on it. Got some towels, baby blankets, hats, tissue, etc. and put them on the sofa where I could easily get them if needed. I covered the rug with a flannel backed table cloth (it was ugly, but it did the job). I had my birth supplies on the table so I moved the herbs etc to the kitchen counter which was right next to the living room (I wanted to be more prepared than last time, when Charile was scrambling to find stuff because he didn’t know where anything was). I had Charlie set up the video cameras (we had 2 but one ended up being so dark it is mostly only sound). I wanted them set up in a way where you could see what was happening, but not be too graphic because I wanted to be able to show it to friends and family if possible. I also had him put on my Phil Wickham CD’s. Despite the fact that I love music and love singing, I never really listened to music much in labor/birth (except with Xian). But Phil Wickham is so inspiring and no music has touched me like his, that I really wanted it on during the hardest part of labor, which is of course, for me, the pushing.
By the time everything was finished, the contractions had pretty much become all out pushing contractions and I moved to my spot in the living room. It was 6:30pm. With my last 2 births I had started pushing standing up (because I just prefer standing) but progress had really taken off once I went to my knees. So this time I started on my knees leaning over the sofa. Contractions were still spaced out while pushing, but maybe not quite as much (probably no more than 10min apart, most closer, but not as close as in normal births). For the first ½ hr or so I didn’t need Charlie, I wasn’t getting my typical back pain while pushing. I thought maybe I was going to be lucky this time . . . unfortunately the hip spreading, paralyzing pain returned as baby got lower, and I needed him to squeeze my hips together to make it bearable. I tried to not push with the pushes, but again, it seemed impossible. The surge came, I would try to moan then the grunt took over and I just held my breath (because I couldn’t breathe) and went with it. I typically get 3-4 of these pushes per contraction. I could feel baby’s head between contractions, about knuckle in or so but it didn’t seem to be moving much (was always in the same place). I tried pushing on my knees, on one knee and one foot, and then I squatted for some (which was very intense). Each time Charlie would turn the cameras off between pushes and then back on when I called him over (so as not to waste film/tape as we didn’t know how long it would take). I would feel another one coming and say ‘ok I need you’ and he would come and apply counter pressure till it was over (or usually several seconds after it was over as the pain lingered) and I would say ‘ok’. We kind of have our routine down since this is the 3rd labor where I have needed this. Between contractions I mostly stayed on the floor and sang with the music and try to catch my breath, but a few times I would get up and walk around, get a drink etc. I noticed baby’s movements had slowed so I went into the bathroom and grabbed the fetoscope (where I had left it) and listened to heart tones (I was standing and picked them up very low, right above my pubic bone). Everything was fine. The kids were just a few feet down the hall in the bedroom watching tv and eating snacks. They would pop their heads out and ask “time yet” and we would say “not yet”. Had my contractions been spaced closer together I would have been fine for them to be in there. But with so much ‘contemplation’ time in between them, I needed the peace and quiet. At some point my water broke, that felt good. I had Charlie look and it said it was clear. It wasn’t a ton of water though, most of that came out with his head and body.
Finally after some time I felt baby’s head come to the perineum. Finally!! Oh man that familiar feeling of being ‘filled up’ down there, like a load of concrete moving through your body (ugh the worse part, can I tell you how much I hate that feeling?). With the last 2 I had a baby within a contraction or 2 of baby moving under the pubic bone and onto the perineum. But this time, as the head moved down and out, it quickly slipped back between contractions! I was like “what the heck, I have done this 4x before why can’t I get the head to stay”? This happened probably a dozen times (literally, over and over and over, horrible) head would move down and out some, I would feel that intensity down there and after a contraction it would slip all the way back. UGH It wasn’t 3 steps forward and 2 back, it was 3 forward and 3 back !! (I know because I was feeling inside after to see where the head was each time and it was in the same place despite moving so much during pushes). Talk about hard and frustrating and discouraging!!! And each one of these pushes was a sofa cushion gripping, me barely hanging on, legs slipping, just going with it kind of feeling. I was watching the video and I seem very calm, then all of the sudden my body would thrust forward with a grunt and grown, completely uncontrollable, often the contractions were met with several of these. Not every contraction was as strong though, some were kind of whimpy and didn’t do as much, but the strong ones brought baby’s head partly out and then back in again. When the head would come out and the contraction would stop I would say “stay, stay, stay” or "please stay", only to feel the head slip back in. I was trying to relax, to pant or whatever to keep the head there, to no avail. I went to the bathroom again to check heart tones, still sounded good. All the while I was bleeding some during pushes. Not a ton, but more than I typically do when pushing. There was some blood running down my legs, and a pool on the chux below me with some clots. Finally after this back and forth with one major push I thought I got the head about ½ way out (that is how it felt and I am a pretty good judge having done it several times before). This has happened before in my first 3 labors, and typically I can just relax and breathe and the head sits there 1/2 out between contractions and I push the rest of the head out in the next contraction, but low and behold, the whole thing slipped back in after the contraction was over . . . I could NOT believe it . . . so, so discouraging!! I was having a hard time keeping my footing. My knees were slipping on the ground, my feet were slipping when I tried to squat. I was hanging on to the cushions for dear life during the harder pushes. It was like it took over my body and my body was convulsing (though it doesn’t ‘look’ that bad, that is how it feels). I was sweating, shaking, I was just so tired. I hadn’t worked this hard to get a baby out since my first was born (nothing will top the 5 hrs I pushed with him).
After 2+ hrs I decided to try something different. I had seen people pushing on their backs and being more in ‘control’ and breathing baby out and I though on my back the floor would provide a natural counter pressure so Charlie wouldn't have to. So I flipped over to a simi sitting/reclining position. It was less intense and I was in more control that way, but it also did absolutely nothing in terms of helping progress . . . it was whimpy and it was horribly uncomfy on my body and back. So after a few contractions I said . . . forget this, I am just going to stop and go to bed, LOL!!! I got back on my knees, leaning over the sofa, but my body wasn’t ready to let me rest. I think it was only another contraction or 2 after that where I had the chance, yet again, to get the head out and keep it there. I had kept telling myself with each contraction that I am pushing the head out this time, but some of them just weren’t strong enough to do it. This time I had a good strong one and once again, the head started to emerge. I was grunting and pushing with it with all my might! The head was ½ way out and the contraction stopped but I wasn’t risking it again. I KEPT PUSHING!!!! Xian stuck his head out the door for the 10th time and asked “time yet” and I yelled “yes, come now” (I had to tell them because Charlie had no clue) and they all came running in. I kept grunting and pushing with everything I had, my arms clung around the sofa cushion for support, till the whole head was out! FINALLY!! man what a relief that was!!! With the head came a gush of fluid. I pushed a little more so the neck was out too. I didn’t feel a cord and Charlie didn’t see one. I waited for the body to rotate and asked Charlie what color the head was. He was like “ummm, same color as you”. With my waterbirths after the head was out it was smooth sailing! I was able to talk to the kids, move around etc, waiting for the body. But being on land with gravity made it harder. I could feel his shoulders inside me moving and it was painful (he was trying to get out, like Ever did, but with Ever it didn’t hurt). I had a constant cramp in my stomach and I couldn’t sit upright, I had to lean over the sofa. Plus, I still had the horrible back pain which with the others was usually gone once I got the head past the pubic bone. So I had Charlie still applying counter pressure. I was having a hard time waiting for the shoulders, I was too uncomfortable!! I asked Xian to get the camera and start taking pictures and I asked Charlie again to check the color of the head, which was still good. I had a few whimpy pushing urges but just decided to try to push on my own to move the shoulders, once I started pushing my body seemed to help and as I grunted the shoulders free I pulled baby out. It was hard to grab him because I was having to lean my body over on the sofa (because being upright was painful) with my hands under me to catch him. But I managed to catch him and pull him up to me! At which point Piper announced “it’s out”. It was 8:50pm, almost 2 ½ hrs since I started pushing and around 24 hrs since what I would have considered the start of ‘labor’ that baby Thrace finally made his entrance into the world!!!
Xian and Piper were right there but Arah had run back into the bedroom crying (upset about some game) and Ever followed him saying “don’t cry Arah”. Ever quickly came back though when he heard the baby crying. Man, it was unbelievable that I had done it again and thank goodness it was over!!! It is always so surreal ya know, and I still can’t believe I have done it 5x. It was hard work but I would do it again in a heartbeat! Thank God he was beautifully pink, breathed immediately and started crying like a mad man. Most of my others didn’t cry, just whimpered a little. He was a feisty little one. Perfectly pink but covered in blood! It was a bloody mess I tell ya, it was all over him and me. And of course he pooped shortly after coming out so we were covered in blood and meconium. I said “you are perfect” and I kept saying “you are so bloody”. When I looked at him the first thing I thought was “oh man, he doesn’t look like my other boys” (who all looked like clones when they came out) “he looks more like Piper” and that had me scrambling to check gender . . . I wasn’t the least bit surprised or disappointed to look up at Charlie and say “it’s a boy”.
Xian took some pictures (the ones you see here in the story) the kids were mostly keeping their distance just watching but Ever came in close to check him out (the youngest one is usually the first to do that I have noticed) and seemed very excited about his baby. He was rooting so I nursed him within minutes and he latched right on (above right, below left).
Thrace settled down and stopped crying until I had Charlie hand me a very soft towel to clean him up and wrap around him. He apparently didn’t much care for the feel of fabric on his skin because he wailed until I took it off of him. The placenta detached approx 15-20 min after the birth and came out at 30 min. I had called Tierney to catch her on her way home from her ‘speech’ to tell her to come by the house and I had to put the phone down to catch the placenta (which was tricky because I handed Thrace to Charlie but the cord wasn’t super long so maneuvering to push it out and catch it with him holding the baby wasn’t easy).
Charlie’s mom happened to call and I answered the phone and was able to tell her that I had just pushed out a baby boy about ½ hr before. Then I called my parents (all while still sitting on the living room floor). Because we were so bloody (and even though I had waterbirths before, I am sure never had as much bleeding with pushing except with my first) I had Charlie give me a dropper of Shepherds Purse just in case (have never taken it before). Then I got up to go get in the tub and cleaned up and as I was walking down the hall I lost a large clot and blood poured out. That was a bit freaky to me because I had never had that happen before. It happened like 2 more times in the bathtub and despite the fact that I never felt physically like I had lost too much blood, I had him give me some more shepherds purse just in case. I think overall my blood loss was probably only around 2 cups, but probably a little more than I normally loose. I never once felt week or light headed though so I wasn’t really worried, just wanted to play it safe. I gently massaged my uterus while in the bath tub cleaning up. After I had cleaned up I sat in the bed and we all just hung out waiting for Tierney to come. She got there around 11.30 I think. She helped weigh/measure him. He was 8.4 and 21 ¼” long with a 14” head. We went ahead and cut the cord at I think around 3 hrs (would have waited longer but it was a bit shorter than the others so harder to work around). We didn’t clamp it. She checked me for tears and thankfully I had none!! She stayed to make sure I had food etc. and then she tucked us all into bed and turned the lights out on her way out (this was like 2.30 am, the kids were awake the whole time too). We all slept peacefully that night. Nothing better than cuddling up with a brand newborn in your arms and drifting off to sleep together.
It is surreal to have a newborn again. I mean I can’t believe this is my 5th time doing this. Not the baby stuff, that all comes back to you and is like 2nd nature, but just the fact that I have had a brand-newborn (who is asleep in my lap right now) and have had this ‘babymoon’ 4x before this . . . it isn’t old, it doesn’t get old, it feels like the first time! I just try to cherish every moment. It is beautiful, there is nothing like it. It is worth every bit of hard labor, every bit of it!! A precious gift from God and I am blessed to be able to experience and feel every aspect of the pregnancy and birth. I wouldn’t trade the experience for all the pain meds in the world!
It was a hard birth, probably my 2nd hardest (Pipers was hard because all the contractions were closer etc, but this one was harder). Funny, what I realized was that the order of difficulty birthing has gone in order of baby’s size. My 2 hardest were both 8.4 with 14” heads (though Xian was longer, so technically my largest baby). Xian’s birth was still 5x harder than any of the others. Piper was 8.2 with a head just under 14” and Arah and Ever were both like 7.12 with 13 1/2" heads and were my easiest (though I think Ever’s was the easiest of them all). Could a few lbs and ½” really make that much difference? LOL!!
I wanted to try not doing waterbirth thinking that maybe not pushing against the water would be easier. But I think that the water helps me to relax more and probably aids in my pushing in that regard. It is SO much easier to find a good position and stay in a good position in the water, and it was much more comfortable in the water after the head was out!! I would definitely plan a waterbirth again and forget the dry land thing . . . it didn’t help. Though I am still unsure about having a long gap between head and body, but this time I pushed anyway and it seemed to work fine. I suppose I could always get out of the water after the head was born if I had any concerns. We’ll see.
Once again, doing it at home unassisted just felt right and normal and good. There is something special about just having family around for such a special event. God is merciful and faithful at allowing things to go well. But then again, that is how He designed birth to progress. I love my UC’s as I have felt led to do them. I am not sure if I will feel led to do UC next time. We will have to see. I have no regrets about them at all, no reason to say or think I wouldn’t’ do it that way next time. But my main concern is the kids. They are SO excited, so invested in this new baby. UC is normal for them, that is what they know too. Nothing odd about wondering around the house in labor all day and having a baby that night, LOL!! I know God is faithful but I think, what if something happened and the baby needed our attention after birth? How would the kids react to that? I know Charlie and I are prepared to handle anything, but my concern is for them. If the baby or *I* did need ‘help’ after the birth, would I want to have to deal with that myself or would I want myself and dh to be able to be parents to the kids and let someone else handle any ‘problem’. I am not sure, it is something that has been going back and forth in my mind. I feel comfortable handling any issues, but I don’t know if I feel comfortable doing that and not being able to also take care of my other kids needs in the meantime. Then again, the thought of having a midwife here makes me nervous too. I am not sure how I would react or act after having done it myself 3x before. There would definitely have to be some strict rules, though it would be nice to just have her listen to heart tones instead of me having to do it, but then I think, would I be relying too much on that? I don’t know. Something to consider and pray about. (You see, those of us who do UC contemplate MANY things in our heads. Most of us take it very seriously.) I think ideally, she would arrive when I am pushing, listen to heart tones, then pick up the camera and be photographer and only step in if there is an issue after birth needing her attention (and then if the kids needed us then we will be there for them). Or maybe she would be in the next room. I know some great midwives that I trust who would probably be that for me and whom I wouldn’t mind sharing the experience with, If I didn’t then using one would be out of the question (I won’t have a managed birth) I just need to search my heart and pray about it and see where God leads us next time.
For now I am just enjoying my precious perfect newborn, and praising God for 5 beautiful blessings that I could never in a million years even begin to deserve (and wonderfully supportive husband as well). And thanking Him for another beautiful, peaceful, gentle birth experience for my child, the way He meant birth to be.
(Video Stills from the Birth Below)