Morgan Justice Lee - www.mikeandjamie.net
Charlotte > Birth Story
On the morning of Tuesday, August 14th, I woke up around 3:30am with some intense contractions. I had been having contractions on and off for a month, but these seemed different. I ran a bath and tried to relax. I stayed in for about an hour and kept having the contractions fairly regularly. I was tired so I laid back down in bed and tried to rest. I was able to more or less sleep between contractions and woke up during them. They were fairly mild, and I was easily able to manage them. When I woke up around 6:30am, I went to the bathroom and noticed I had bloody show. While I had noticed my mucus plug coming out bit by bit for the past month, this was the first time I had blood included. I was still having regular contractions about every seven minutes.
We called our midwives to tell them that we thought this was finally it. After 41 weeks and almost a full month of pre-labor signs and symptoms I was so ready. Our midwives each lived about and hour away and both had small children, so I wanted to give them plenty of time to get here. We told them not to rush, but the contractions were becoming more intense, so that if they could come that morning, it would be great. I went downstairs, and DH (dear husband) made me a nice breakfast of oatmeal. I also had a coffee and some juice. We contacted our neighbors who would be taking care of DS (dear son) for the day. We didn't want to call anyone else, as there was still a part of me that wasn't fully sure that this was it. I spent the rest of the morning eating, walking, and resting. When midwife A got to our house, she checked the vitals on myself and the baby, all was well. About an hour later, midwife B arrived. DH hung out with DS all morning as I was doing fine, and I even preferred to be on my own. About once an hour one of the midwives would come and check on the baby's heart rate and see if I needed anything. It was an unseasonably cool day, which we were really thankful for, so I was able to move freely throughout the house and outside without getting hot or sticky. I kept eating and drinking, walking, resting, and sitting on the yoga ball. The contractions were still five to seven minutes apart, easily manageable, and each time I used the bathroom there was show.
At 12:30 midwife B checked me internally to see how things were moving. I was dilated to 5cm and very soft, which was great. She encouraged me to take a walk, so DH and I got the dogs and DS and walked in the woods. It was good to be moving, and each time I had a contraction I would just hold on to DH or a tree. The only problem was that something about my body was attracting every mosquito in the state of CT, so we only styaed out for about 15 or 20 minutes. When we got back, we asked our neighbors to take over for DS as thing were beginning to get more serious. DH stayed with me and we talked and cuddled for a while. He rubbed my back and feet which felt really nice. I tried getting in the birth pool, but I felt like it just stalled my contractions. What worked better was getting in the shower and having DH direct the spray of water either to my belly or my back. At this time we also sent out an email to close friends and family letting them know that I was in labor, and that we requested no calls or visits. It was amazing how intense my need for privacy and quiet was, much more so than I had anticipated. The midwives continued to check on us every hour, but mostly we were left to ourselves which was very nice. I continued to drink, mostly Recharge, water, and smoothies made with fruit and Greek yoghurt. The afternoon passed quickly by. The contractions always stayed five to seven minutes apart, but they were definitely becoming more intense. At 5pm, I asked everyone to go downstairs so I could rest for an hour. I had spent the vast majority of my labor in my bedroom which was quiet and dark. I wanted to lay down, and put on some Dave Matthews on the iPod. As soon as I did, the contractions became much more intense and for about an hour, I did my best to work through them. DH had ordered dinner from our favorite Mexican/Chinese delivery resteraunt, and I asked DH and the midwives to come hang out with me while they ate. DS and the neighbors had gone out and about and were now at their house watching a movie. I ate some scrambled eggs with ketchup and sat on the yoga ball. I was fine and able to chat when not having a contraction, but as soon as one hit, I got very quiet and focused. Everyone in the room also became very quiet, which was nice. After we were all done eating, around 6:30, midwife B checked me again. She said I was a good 9cm and totally soft but the baby's head was turned kind of funny. I got on the bed on my hands and knees with my butt in the air to try to ease the baby back out of my pelvis just a bit to try to get the head in a better spot.
After about five contractions in this position, my water broke. To say it broke is even a bit of an understatement, it felt like it exploded. I was flooded with huge joy and relief, for some reason, the rest of the labor had been so easy, I had constantly had doubts it was for real. After my water broke, I knew it was really real. I stayed in that position through another contraction, and then wanted to sit on the birthing stool. For about half an hour, everything seemed to stop. I was able to take in some more nourishment and rest. Then, probably around 7:30 or so, the contractions became incredibly intense and very close together. I continued to breathe through them, I had used the hypnobirthing techniques I learned with my son all throughout this labor. After about 20 minutes, midwife B suggested I try to walk. After about two steps, the contractions were too intense and I sat back down. The midwives were applying counter pressure to my back during contractions and I had lost the ability to talk in between them. I would just nod or shake in response to their questions. The baby's heart rate continued to be great, so I continued to push through. DH asked if I wanted to get in the birth pool, he would need to refill it some to get it to the right height and temp. I said, "No," but then almost immediately changed my mind. I managed to walk to ten or so feet from our bedroom to the room with the birth pool and get in. I immediately began vomiting and was leaning over one side. I feel like I could have birthed the baby then, but I wasn't quite ready. Instead, I got on my back and floated in the pool for a while. HD ran the water from the hose on my back and belly which felt really good. Other than that, I didn't want to be touched at all. I just remember laying there, very calmly, talking to myself in my head but having no ability to talk out loud. I was almost putting the contractions off. I had lots of fears running through my head about being able to do what I needed to do, but I tried to just push them away. At this point I began to vocalize during the contractions, making very deep and low moaning sounds. I asked midwife A to talk to me and she told me how I was in that other world, crossing over to get my baby and bring the baby to this world. It was very relaxing. After a few more contractions I knew I was ready. I flipped back over so I was on my knees, leaning against the edge of the pool. I grabbed midwife A's hand, but she and DH switched so I could hug him and she was free to assist me in other ways. I vomited a few more times, and I was encouraged to try to force the energy down, which was very helpful. I remember saying that I felt like I couldn't do this, but knew that I could. I began vocalizing quite loudly as I felt the baby moving down, telling my self to, "Open wide," and saying, "I can do this." DS was downstairs with our neighbors and my brother who had been called in due to the late hour to help with DS. I had been in the pool about 20 minutes and then started pushing. It felt so good, my body was doing everything on its own, and I was just trying to go with it. The feeling is unbelievably intense and unless you have experienced it fully and consciously, there is no way to describe out. I was in a very bad spot in the pool for my attendants, but at no point did anyone ask me to move.
Feeling the head come out was monumental moment. I remember one of the midwives telling me to be careful, I needed to keep my butt under the water, but not be so low that the head was on the floor of the pool. For a minute or so, I could just feel the head outside of me, I felt the hair floating in the water and the little ears. The heart rate was still good, I could feel one midwife supporting my perineum, the other checking the heart rate, and DH was there giving me excellent moral support and letting me squeeze the crap out of him. The head had been out for a few minutes and I was having trouble getting the rest of the body out. I heard one midwife say I might need to get out of the pool. The was the motivation I needed, I pushed myself into a squat, gathered all my strength, and with the next contraction, pushed the rest of the baby out. I reached down and pulled the baby up to my chest. As I reached under, I thought I had another boy as I felt a penis and testicles. We had agreed that DS would be the one to announce the gender, so I just brought the baby to my chest and wrapped it in a towel. The baby was a little blue and floppy, but pinked up immediately and gave a little cry. DS and our neighbors were called up and we got big smiles and congratulations. I was sitting and leaning against the back on the pool with the baby on my chest wrapped in a towel. I turned the baby over, removed the towel, and DS announced to everyone that he had what he thought all along, a little sister.
Amazingly, on the next contraction the placenta and membranes came out. it kind of took us all by surprise as it was so fast. It was all in one big piece. I had a normal amount of bleeding. We took a few pictures and I felt absolutely high as a kite. It is amazing how once the baby is out, all of the pain and intensity ends immediately. After a few minutes, we moved to the bedroom. My brother took DS for a drive to help him fall asleep as we finished with the afterbirth events. After getting out of the pool, I was immediately hit with massive chills. I got into bed with the DD (dear daughter) who was still attached to her placenta. The midwives checked me out and then gave DD to DH and he cut her from her placenta. I had a very small tear where my previous episiotemy had been, so they put in one stitch. That was probably the most unpleasant part of the entire experience, but it wasn't so bad. DD was passed to me once that was done and she latched on immediately. We had a nice nurse and cuddle. DS came back to us mostly asleep and DH finished the job, rocking him until he fell asleep fully. We were both so charged from the amazing birth that we sent out an email announcement to friends and family that night, and finally around 2:30am went to sleep. DD had been born at 9:56pm, 9 pounds, 7 ounces, 21 inches long, 14.5 inch head and chest. Without question birthing at home in our own space was the most amazing experience we could have had.