- we were sick – who wants to bring a baby into a house full of sick people? Who wants to be in labor while you’re sick?
- John’s whole office was moving to a new location, and he was heading up most of the transfer of equipment, setting up phones and internet, and generally extremely busy.
- My mama, (who was planning on staying with us for several days after the birth,) was in the thick of a kitchen and bathroom remodel project and all the decisions involved – not a good time to be leaving the house for a week
After telling Mama how improbable and inconvenient it’d be for the baby to come on time, (trying to encourage myself to be patient and stay sane in my lumbering state,) I merrily posted the following as my Facebook status:
I wrote that status at 10:19pm. I shut down the computer, brushed my teeth, and
hopped rolled into bed. Less than 5 minutes after lying down, I felt the first one. Before 11pm, I was on my hands and knees on the floor, dealing with pretty intense contractions, (all the pain was in my back, just like it was with Katie.)
God just likes to remind us now and then that, yes, HE is the One in control.
I didn’t wake up John since I knew he wasn’t feeling well and would need all the rest he could get if this was really happening. I also didn’t want to jinx it by getting too excited.
I waddled to the living room and moved between resting on the couch and rocking on my hands and knees on the floor during each contraction. They were still pretty far apart at 5-7 minutes, but intense.
Still, I waited to wake up John. I turned on “Little Dorrit.”
What better to help you get through the long early stages of labor during the wee hours of the night than a 7-hour movie?
At 2am, apparently my laboring noises finally woke up John, and he stumbled bleary-eyed out of the bedroom, saw me on my hands and knees on the floor, and puzzled, (not to mention, half-asleep,) said, “What are you doing?!”
“Um. I think I’m in labor.”
I don’t know why I said it that way. To break it to him gently? I didn’t think I was in labor. I was in labor.
I was grateful that he was now with me, as I was really getting to the point where I needed someone to give me counter-pressure on my back.
(Both of my labors have been 100% in my back. I guess I don’t even know what a “normal” contraction feels like!)
We decided to officially admit I was in labor and we should probably finish up those last things on the “Before Baby Comes” to-do list.
By this time there was no way I wanted to do a contraction without John there, rubbing my back and giving me support. So in between each contraction, (they were still 5 minutes apart,) we worked together to get the water-proof mattress cover on the bed and change the bedding to the I-don’t-mind-if-they-get-ruined sheets.
We shoveled miscellaneous clutter from counters and dressers out of the way into boxes and hid them in the closet, (partly to be out of the way for the midwives, but mostly so our room wouldn’t look like a dump in the pictures that were sure to be taken and kept for eternity. Who wants your untidiness immortalized for eternity?)
I got into the shower to see if that would give me some relief while John finished up some things. I got out pretty quickly…it was better when John was rubbing my back.
It was exciting, bustling around in the middle of the night together. I’d yell “another one’s coming!” plop down on the floor and John would be there. When it was over, I’d get up and we’d bustle some more.
I think it was about 3am when we called our midwife, Carol. Things weren’t going too fast yet, so she said she’d get a shower and gather her things and be over.
Carol arrived about 4:30. Our chatter woke up Katie, (way too early for a sick little girl!) She caught the excitement, though, and was cheerful. When I got down on my hands and knees for the next contraction, she joyfully exclaimed, “Mama! Horsey!” and John caught her just before she clambered aboard!
Carol checked and found me at about 3cm. I’ll confess I was secretly hoping to be a little farther along than that. The contractions were still 5 minutes apart, but they were doozies!
We discovered that the baby was still posterior, most likely in part due to my diastasis, (abdominal muscle separation) from my pregnancy with Katie. This position is likely to cause back labor…check!
We’d called my mama about the same time as we called Carol, and she packed her bags and started the almost 2-hour drive! My two sisters Bethany and Susannah came with her. Two of my bestest friends were on their way, too: Amanda, (my home-birthing buddy and Hannah, who happens to also now be my sister-in-law!
My mama-in-law arrived from next door shortly before the rest showed up somewhere between 5:30 and 6:30, and we started the par-tay!
Somebody made breakfast. Ladies came and went through the bedroom as I alternated between resting in my uber-comfy rocking chair and…the floor.
Carol’s two assistants showed up sometime during that early morning, also.
We had quite the crowd.
I loved it. I know some ladies prefer to be more alone and focused in a private sort of setting. For me, it was wonderful to be surrounded by supportive people that I knew and loved.
Because of the 5 minute breaks between contractions, we were able to chat and generally have a jolly time.
I believe it was sometime around 8am when I got in the tub. I had Katie in the water and loved it and hoped to repeat the experience.
The baby, (I guess I should refer to her as Victoria, now, huh?) was stubbornly staying in awkward positions. Never quite the same, mind you. It seemed like every time we checked, she’d skooched a little that way or this way, but never to an optimal position. The hands-and-knees deal, besides being more comfortable for back labor, is supposed to help move a baby to a better position. Victoria was a determined little gal, though, and quite comfortable where she was, thankyouverymuch.
I was at 9.5 cm when Carol got a call at about noon from another client in active labor, (45 minutes away!) She rushed off to check her out, (leaving me feeling calm in the capable hands of my husband and the assistant midwives,) ended up delivering that baby, quickly wrapping everything up there, and coming back to have me with still no baby at 2pm.
I’d tried getting out of the tub and standing/squatting during contractions to try to help move baby down and get some possible pushing leverage. I could just tell though, that it wasn’t pushing time. My body knew it and I knew it. The contractions still kept up at 4-5 minutes apart, but they were getting nasty.
When Carol got back, she decided we needed to do something to help her budge. I got out of the tub and onto the bed. We decided to break my water and then we did a couple contractions on the bed while she held back the last bit of cervix to see if that would help any.
It didn’t. I could just tell that any attempts at pushing were going to be fruitless…the lil’ bugger was still stuck in the wrong position and she wasn’t coming down.
I was getting frustrated. I wasn’t so much at the “let’s get this OVER with,” so much as “can we at least get somewhere with this?” Contractions were still no closer than 4 or 5 minutes, but so intense each time, and we just weren’t getting anywhere…I’d been stuck at 9.5 cm for over two hours now.
Looking back now, I am so grateful to have been home during this delivery. At most hospitals, I would likely have been having all kinds of interventions pushed at me by this point to hurry things up. Some of those interventions can lead to distress on the baby which can land you with a C-section before you know what’s happening!
I later found out that during this time some of my labor-pals were starting to have thoughts that there could be a hospital transfer in the future. I’m glad this thought didn’t enter my head, because it probably would have just freaked me out and made me start to think of all the things that might be wrong.
All the prayers that our family and friends were sending up were being heard, however, because I just seemed to know that we could do this…it just might take awhile.
Carol suggested I get into an exaggerated ”running” position on my side for a “few contractions” as it can be helpful to get posterior babies into a better position. I had to bring one knee up towards my chin as far as I could, and the other leg backwards the other direction as far as I could.
Oh. my. word.
This was the first I had ever had the feeling of “losing my mind.” I literally had to go to another place to get through the next 45 minutes.
A “few contractions” turned into “several contractions” as Victoria would still not budge. I was so grateful at this point to be surrounded my so many loving, supporting people. Hannah was sort of my focal point, and somebody was holding my hands and there was someone supporting each foot so I had something to shove against to keep from writhing.
Just having everyone there holding me made the difference. I just might have officially gone off the brink without them.
I remember hearing a couple ladies asking Carol hopefully if I could maybe be done with that position now…I think it was pretty painful to watch, especially for the mothers there who could sympathize with my pain!
But Carol was pretty sure that this position was what would finally get the baby out, and I’m so glad she encouraged me to stay there, despite the hell discomfort I was experiencing.
She was right.
Suddenly, the baby was coming. It was the weirdest feeling to go from horrible, fruitless pain, to “woo hoo! This baby is a-comin’ OUT!”
I didn’t even have time to say anything or tell anybody what was going on. I just flipped over, (somebody must have got some pillows behind me right away,) and I started pushing that baby out.
Talk about the urge to push. There is no way on God’s green earth that I could have stopped that baby from shooting out. Less than 4 pushes later, a little before 3pm, I was pulling sweet Victoria up onto my chest and we knew we had another beautiful daughter!
Amanda later wrote about the labor, and you’ll get some more accurate details there, since she wrote it the day after (not 8 months later.) Coincidentally, she is 11…12? days overdue with her 4th as of today, which is probably why I’ve been thinking about labor which inspired me to get my rear in gear and get this posted.
When she was there with me during Victoria’s labor, they had just found out about this pregnancy. Feel free to go assure her that no woman has been pregnant forever…not yet anyways.