This is the story of my baby Paul’s beautiful home birth on the morning after his guess date, and the events leading up to it.
Wow, was that a huge surprise to us or what! My first baby was induced 12 days past his guess date and my second baby was induced 8 days past her guess date. We certainly weren’t expecting this baby to be more or less on time! We were just putting DS (4 y/o) and DD (2 y/o) down for nap/quiet time when my water broke. DH was just finishing up reading a story to DD and I had gone to her room and closed her blinds and gotten things ready for her to nap. I was walking back down the hall to the living room thinking to myself, “Hmmm, so this is the guess date. I guess if we’re ever going to have a guess date baby we’ll have to wait for another pregnancy since nothing’s happening today. Oh well, only something like 3% of babies are born on their guess dates anyway…” And no more than 2 seconds later my water broke! But I didn’t know it at the time. It felt like the baby whacked me inside with a wrench, a very weird and sore sensation I hadn’t felt before. I yelped, “OW!” and tried to describe it to DH. The next “braxton hicks” wave felt very different too. I was sitting down at the kitchen table and making out the grocery shopping list, but when I got up I started to leak a little bit of clear fluid with white flecks (vernix?). This happened with the next 3 waves, soaking a pad and then some each time. At first I thought maybe it was just the mucus plug, since I heard that sometimes it can be very watery.
DH went to get our weekly groceries, and I called my midwife at around 4:00 pm. She said it sounded like my water broke, and since I hadn’t felt baby move for a while (which was normal for this pregnancy–I guess a prenatal sign of how good a sleeper and mellow he is!) she wanted me to come in so she could listen to his heartbeat. She told us to stop by a local restaurant to get some eggplant parmesan on the way since we most likely would be trying to have this baby within the next 24 hours. WOW! That totally shocked me! I hadn’t even washed our gender-neutral baby clothes yet!! I had washed the blankets, but not the clothes. I quickly put that load of laundry on and started getting things ready for the trip to the midwife’s house (about 30 minutes away). DH got home and I quickly washed the grapes he bought and stuck them in the freezer, since our midwife suggested we have some frozen grapes on hand for the birth (and now they are one of my favorite foods! Delicious!). We called in the order for the eggplant parmesan and quickly unpacked the groceries and headed off. We were listening to Weird Al and Flight of the Conchords, of all things, on the radio on way there! Good to keep a sense of humor about it, I guess. But I did end up with some bizarre songs stuck in my head during my birthing time thanks to that! Everything was fine with baby when we got there, and we were given instructions to call every hour or two, or if anything changed, to let her know how things were going. I was also to take another dose of evening primrose oil (I had been taking 3000 mg twice a day to ripen my cervix) and an extra couple of 5W herbal pills which help prepare the body for birthing. The midwife also told me that she had been praying that this baby wouldn’t be born “late” like the others. I was really touched to hear that. I was very blessed to have a midwife who shared our faith.
We stopped by the store on the way home to get some castor oil per midwife’s instructions and some ready-made dinner for DH and the kids. As we were walking around the store, my pressure waves were getting closer and more intense. I was putting my “Peace” cue to good work! We also looked for some liquid calcium which was on the list of supplies to have ready (although our midwife told me that just having regular calcium pills was OK too). I remember swaying through a pressure wave waiting for help from the pharmacist, just smiling to myself thinking how the customers and workers at the store would be shocked if they knew I was actively in my birthing time. We picked up some Lunchables for the kids’ dinners and a sub sandwich for DH while we were there. The last few pressure waves in the car on the drive home were very “interesting” indeed! I was happy to get home and bounce on the birthing ball for a bit while DH and the kids ate their supper.
I quickly put the clean, wet baby clothes in the dryer. I called to give our midwife an update around 8:00 pm, pressure waves were about 5-6 minutes apart. She said she was on her way over, but I told her I didn’t think she needed to come just yet.
DH got the kids tucked into bed after I took my last pregnant photos with both of them. I fluttered around trying to get stuff done (blow up the pool, etc.) and then decided to take a shower. That wasn’t the brightest idea, since it depleted our hot water that we were trying to fill the birthing pool with! Fortunately we were able to get the pool filled before I needed it anyway. The midwife called while I was in the shower and told DH she was coming over. She got here around 10:30 and asked if she could check me. We live in a somewhat rural area, and I allowed her to check to get an idea of whether or not her assistant should come right over or wait a bit before coming. I was only 2 cm (she checked me the previous Friday and I was 0 cm but “soft”). My pressure waves were feeling a lot stronger, but I wasn’t having much trouble relaxing. The midwife stayed until 11:30 pm, setting up all her stuff for the birth. Then she said that the best thing is for us to get some sleep, for me to sleep between contractions if I could, and that she would go home and be ready to come back when I couldn’t sleep anymore. She told me to drink a little glass of warm OJ with 2 tablespoons of castor oil and take five more 5W pills as well as my strong brew of red raspberry leaf tea before bed.
At this point I was really exhausted. I went to bed late the previous night and got up extra early (and couldn’t sleep for over an hour in the middle of the night, being stressed out about baby names of all things!). I was going to take an afternoon nap, but then my water broke and so those plans never worked out either. Another plan for “next time” is to make sure I get to bed early every single night from 38 weeks on!
I made a little bed on the couch, on top of one of the blue pads from my birth kit, and DH slept next to me on the floor. We had the Hypnobabies birth CD playing on the kitchen radio. I dozed off for a few minutes and woke up in a lot of discomfort from a very intense pressure wave. I had been using my Hypnobabies techniques, but of course I couldn’t really focus on that and sleep at the same time. After that wave was over, I got up and tried some different positions, sitting on the ball, etc. I found that the Hypnobabies techniques weren’t helping as much as they did earlier in the evening (but they did help quite a bit, since all of those pressure waves while I was actively using my techniques were a LOT better than the one I woke up from). I didn’t want to wake up DH, since I knew he was also very tired and we had a long night ahead of us. I was feeling desperately tired, so I decided to sit on the ball and lean up against the arm rest of the couch, with a couch cushion wedged between me and the couch to rest my head on. I fell asleep for about 10 minutes and again woke to a horribly uncomfortable pressure wave. But this time I felt a little more refreshed. That mini-nap really made a difference!
I decided I really didn’t want to wake up to another one of those unmanaged pressure waves, so I got up and managed another one which was better, but still very intense. I decided things were getting really serious and I woke DH at 12:30 am, who helped me through every wave from then on. What a difference that made! With Hypnobabies, there is a cue that the husband or doula or whoever can use–put a hand firmly on the shoulder or forehead of the mom and say “Relax.” This really helped me a LOT! There were some pretty intense waves that instantly felt much, much better when DH did this. Mostly it just made them feel partially better, though (about 60% more comfortable than without). But this cue also helped me stay relaxed, which really was the main thing. Next time I’m going to spend a lot more time practicing this with him, since unfortunately I only practiced with him 3 times (and hence it only 100% completely relieved the discomfort of pressure waves about three times, ha ha!).
I called my midwife, and she arrived a little past 1:00 am. She checked me and I was at 5-6 cm with pressure waves 2-3 minutes apart. I was so happy to hear that, since I barely made it past 3 cm with my previous 2 (hospital) births before getting the epidural. And those labors were very p***ful and difficult to cope with compared to what I was experiencing in my Hypnobabies home birth. She gave me the go-ahead to get into the birth pool, so I went to the bathroom first and then got in. Since my baby was posterior, the midwife suggested it might feel good to lean over the side of the pool. I tried it for one wave, but it felt horrible! I tried a few different positions, some made the pressure waves feel better but gave me cramps in my legs. Finally I found something that worked. I was a little disappointed because the water really wasn’t making things feel much better than they did on land. And the shoulder-touch “relax” cue that DH had been using with me successfully on land wasn’t working as well in the water. I realized that on land he had been using my left shoulder, but now how I was sitting, he was using my right shoulder since it was closer. I told him “that shoulder isn’t working!” and he moved to a place that was more behind me, where he could reach my left shoulder again. But I didn’t like having him behind me versus in front of me for some reason. Thinking back on our practice sessions, I now remember he always used my left shoulder from the front during practice and never my right. I’ll make sure we practice lots on BOTH shoulders from BOTH directions if we’re ever blessed with another baby! It wasn’t long after that, maybe a wave or two, before I got to transformation.
I had 2 transformation waves and then I thought I had to go to the bathroom for #2. My midwife asked if I had any pressure on my bottom because she thought the baby might be coming soon. I said I had a little and needed to go to the bathroom. She said it might be the baby coming, and I thought “YAY!” But part of me didn’t believe I could be at that stage so soon. I was tired and the waves were intense, but I didn’t feel like I was at the end of my rope (like I’ve read in many non-Hypnobabies birth stories as a sign that the baby’s almost here). I got out of the pool, which was set up in the kitchen, and went to the bathroom down the hallway in between waves. Somewhere at this time the midwife called her assistant and told her to hurry up and get here. The assistant, was apparently on her way and almost to our house. I sat down on the toilet and suddenly I had to push! The midwife said, “You’ve got to move your hips to the edge of the toilet seat. You don’t want this baby’s head to come out in the commode!” But I had no idea how to maneuver that, so I just stood up, and I had another pushing pressure wave. I told my midwife and DH that I couldn’t keep doing this standing up, and I wanted to try the birthing chair. But unfortunately it wasn’t put together yet (it consisted of 2 pieces that slide together–easy to assemble, but we needed something NOW). So we quickly decided to run down the hall to the bedroom between pressure waves. Luckily we were prepared for the possibility of birthing on both the couch and the bed, with plastic and old sheets over both. It was the weirdest feeling waddling down the hall (naked!) with the baby’s head coming down and the midwife’s hand practically holding it in!
We got to the bedroom and I jumped up on the bed just as the next wave hit. At this point the waves were not at all p***ful–they felt so good! The urge to push was so strong that I couldn’t help vocalizing a bit, but it wasn’t due to p**n. And out came our baby’s head, while I was in the hands and knees position! I heard our midwife say something about seeing a beautiful baby, and DH said something about that too, and I thought to myself, but the baby’s not out yet, how can they say he or she is beautiful? Ha ha! Anyway, then the midwife suggested I flip over to my back to push the rest of him out, with DH holding my legs. Apparently there was a little shoulder dystocia and she thought trying this other position would help. And it did! Paul was born with the next push, for a total pushing time of 3 minutes! He was born at 1:56 am. And although I never got to listen to the “Pushing Baby Out” track, I felt absolutely no p**n or “ring of fire” as my baby was born–just relief from the pressure.
Paul had his umbilical cord wrapped once around his shoulders when he came out, and once the midwife untangled him, she placed him right on my chest. I quickly checked to see if he was a boy or a girl and found out he’s a BOY! Poor little guy was all pale gray-looking, and DH was sent out to the living room to fetch the oxygen tank. We rubbed him with some towels, and he started breathing and crying after making a few little gurgly noises, no oxygen necessary. Soon he pinked up nicely. The midwife then took a look and said, as if surprised, “Yes, he IS a boy!” Ha ha! I guess she didn’t think I could have gotten a good look in such a short time. I told DH that I was right! I had been thinking it was a boy for the last few weeks, since every time I talked about the baby I used “he” or “him” for some reason, without really thinking about it. Here is baby Paul’s very first picture, although unfortunately it came out blurry due to the low light in our room at the time (but I’m so thankful that my baby was born in such a cozy, loving environment!): http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b9d622b3127ccec793140cc02300000040O00AbMmzJuzZsmIPbz4a/cC/f%3D0/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/ About one minute after he was born, the assistant arrived. So much for that!
He latched right on and started nursing right away. We waited about 20-30 minutes until the cord stopped pulsing, and then DH cut the cord. Once Paul stopped nursing, they had DH take his shirt off and hold Paul skin-to-skin for a while, while I worked on birthing the placenta. That was such a tedious thing to do. I was so tired and just wanted to rest. But our midwife kept telling me to push. I didn’t have to work on this part of labor with DS or DD, and I was feeling lazy and exhausted! But at the time I thought maybe it had to do with wanting to prevent too much blood loss since we were at home, after all. The placenta was born 44 minutes after Paul. I was so glad to be rid of it! It looked healthy, with the cord insertion site on the side instead of in the middle like most placentas. The midwife and her assistant asked us if we wanted to keep the placenta, and we gave them the go-ahead to double bag it and throw it away.
DH got to weigh Paul, and we joke about DH “playing the Stork” like some people “play Santa” ha ha! Paul weighed in at 8 lbs 10 oz, one ounce heavier than DS was and 14 ounces heavier than DD was. He was 21.5 inches long. The midwife checked him out, and everything looked and sounded fine. Here’s a pic: http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b9d622b3127ccec792d7d3a04900000040O00AbMmzJuzZsmIPbz4a/cC/f%3D0/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/ Then our midwife asked where his clothes were, and I told her that they were still in the dryer! The assistant went to fetch them, and we went through the clothes together, picking out Paul’s first outfit. We ended up dressing him in a little green onesie with footie pajamas over it, since the baby socks were still in the attic. I secretly bought that onesie as well as another one before we even got pregnant, planning on giving these to DH as a fun way of letting him know about the pregnancy.
The rest of the morning is sort of a blur. They got me to drink various things, like a bottle of Gatorade, a glass of coke, and a glass of chlorophyll (eeewww, tastes like water out of a film canister!). And then they got me up to the bathroom, but I couldn’t pee yet. The midwife helped me take a shower, and I went back to bed. At this point Paul was fast asleep, and all I wanted to do was to sleep too. But they were bugging me to drink my drinks and eat my semi-frozen grapes, cheese sticks, and nuts. DH and I were lying in bed with Paul, while the midwife and her assistant bustled around the house, cleaning up, doing laundry, and even unpacking our dishwasher for us. It felt like the lap of luxury. After a while, the midwife told me she couldn’t leave until I peed, so I got up and peed. She gave us some instructions, and I fell asleep. She stayed a little longer and helped DH do more cleaning up. It was around 5:00 am or so when she left. DH was still bailing out the water from the pool (the pump our midwife loaned us didn’t work with our hose, boo!) and getting the house kid-friendly again. He didn’t go back to bed until after my mom arrived around 6:30 am to help with the kids.
DS woke up at 6:00 am and started talking about the baby with DH up in the front of the house. I think he must have known something was up with all the excitement the night before. I woke up when I heard him, and I called him. He came into the bedroom and his face just lit up when he saw baby Paul. It was so adorable! He is still completely in love with his baby brother. He just doesn’t like to let Paul out of his sight, it’s so sweet. One of the first things he did when he saw Paul was to hold up 3 fingers and say, “Three kids to play with!” In this picture he was counting Paul’s tiny little fingers: http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b9d622b3127ccec792b4f161f200000040O00AbMmzJuzZsmIPbz4a/cC/f%3D0/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/ It was wonderful having my mom come over to look after the kids while DH, Paul, and I slept the morning away!
I am so very thankful that I used the Hypnobabies program to prepare for my birth. Without a doubt, it helped my birth to go very smoothly, and I never want to birth without it again!! Paul is such a happy, calm baby, and several of my friends think it has to be due to Hypnobabies and the calm, loving circumstances of his gentle birth.
Thanks for reading!