Monday, August 2, 2010

A Blissful Homebirth

The morning after I gave birth to our second child, a girl.... all I felt was Bliss. Our daughter came into this world very quickly last Friday morning, July 30th 2010 at 3:33 am.

A few weeks prior......

In anticipation of our daughter being born we planned a home birth. With our first we also had a planned home birth, but once labor got going 24 hours into it...we ended up transferring to the hospital to make sure baby was safe after deliver because of meconium issues. All ended up fine; our new baby boy didn't need any help, yet we had to stay at the hospital for 24 hours anyway....not what I planned. He was also a week over due.

So with this second birth I really wanted to stay home, and be able to crawl up into my own bed with my new baby and fall asleep right after the birth. We hired a great team of midwives and thought good thoughts about things going fast and smooth. It was hard to not compare things to the last pregnancy or birth. With the help of mental redirection by the 8th/9th month I was at ease that things would go as they needed to, and that this was going to be a completely different experience.

With my due date being August 4th, and the last ultrasound showing a rough due date of July 27th we had an idea our daughter would come sometime that week. On the 21st I started getting contractions lower in my abdomen and uncomfortable enough to get my attention. They were about a 2-3 on a pain scale, I could talk and walk through most of them. These continued for a week about every 20-30 after a few days I just thought this was warming up and stopped paying attention to them. I kept telling myself these will help me, things are thinning and opening and when the action starts I will be that much closer to the finish line. It was still hard to take this for a week or more without it kick starting my actual labor. "It could start at any moment" was in the back of my mind all day, every day. So I distracted myself with as much as I could and went about things as normally as expected for being 10 months pregnant.

The morning of the 30th was normal. My 15 year old niece (the last born girl on my mom's side of the family) had made it into town as planned before the birth that previous Tuesday, and grandma was home too, having taken the weekend off-just in case. We all sat down to watch a movie that night after dinner once Hudson fell asleep. At about 9pm, 10 minutes or so into the movie I felt some sharp gas like pains in my lower abdomen. The contractions that I had felt all week got a little stronger about a 4 now with this gas like sharp pain down low. I didn't say anything to anyone because I wanted to make sure it continued. The movie ended at about 11pm and I mentioned to my mom and Andrew, my husband, that I had 10 min apart contractions for the last 2 hours with these more uncomfortable sharp pains so we will see how things go tonight while I sleep. We closed our eyes in bed about 11:30pm and by 12:00 I told Andrew that I was getting pretty uncomfortable and didn't think I could sleep through this. Andrew asked me to put them on a pain scale and I said 6-7 and he didn't believe me and thought with my low tolerance for pain it was probably more like a 4-5 so he didn't really have too much concern at that point. By 12:30 I told him I needed help breathing and he just laughed at me quite unexpectedly (which was very unlike my husband). I asked him to get my mom and then he could try to go sleep in the living room until we knew what was happening. My mom came in and by 1:00 it was apparent we needed to call the midwives. We checked in with them when the contractions were 6-8 min apart, they said give it 30 min. and call them back. By 1:30 they were 5 min. apart a 7-8 on the pain scale and a lot of pressure in my bottom. The midwives started to head to my house. Mom helped me breath through some pretty intense contractions for the next hour and then I asked for Andrew. I needed my husband. Andrew came in and sat next to me for about 3-4 contractions, I asked for music, mom rubbed my feet and helped me breath. Then all of a sudden a panic came over me, I felt the grunting coming on....with Hudson this meant we had less that an hour before he was born. The midwives weren't there yet! Andrew calmed me down and told me it was ok and that they would be here. My mom was confident they would be there in plenty of time also but she also knew that if it came down to it, she could deliver the baby if they didn't make it (after being at the births of six of her grandchildren & having 2 homebirths of her own). I let it go for 2 contractions and then the grunting was uncontrollable. Mom helped me refocus my energy out through my breath, but all I could think of was,"Where were the midwives?" YIKES, I was panicking! They arrived a few minutes later at 3am and then I let all my worries melt away. They asked me if I wanted to be checked to see how far along I was. I thought if they checked me and I got a low dilation number, this was going to be a rough night, but that thought quickly vanished with the next contraction and because of the grunting I was sure we were close. So I said, "Yes, please check me." After that contraction she checked and said I was a 7-8, completely effaced and that the baby was really low. Hallelujah! I gave Mom and Andrew a high five and was like let's rock and roll! I was so happy! Those weeks of contractions paid off and we were so close to having our baby girl.

Then the next obstacle hit, the birth tub! If I wanted to have her in water it was going to take 20 min to set up. I had to be calm and get through these contractions so they could prep the tub. It became very obvious that the only way for the water to be high enough for the birth was for Andrew to get in behind me. This worked beautifully to raise the water level. At 3:20 I got into the tub had 3 contractions that made me swear and scream. Her head crowned and with 3 pushes she was out in my arms on my belly with my Andrew sitting behind me. He was very hesitant to get into the tub but luckily it all happened so fast he couldn't argue with his laboring wife. He was a silent trooper.

So in total from the beginning of what I would call active labor say 11pm to delivering her at 3:33am we had a little over 4 hours of a birth. Just what I wanted. I would say it was pretty intense happening so fast, but it doesn't give you time to think about it, so all in all your done and you have your baby. I am so happy how it all turned out. We got to snuggle up and be asleep as a family in our own bed by 6am that morning.

As a childbirth professional, doula, and now second time mom I think a home birth was the best place to have this experience. I strongly believe that there is way too much intervention surrounding childbirth in this country. For me I had a normal healthy pregnancy and didn't need to have hospital protocols, and routines forced down my throat during this amazing experience. I really wanted a natural, simple birth, and got a blissful one. I couldn't be happier and I am glad I can share my story.