I was very impatient to have this baby. I was absolutely HUGE, and had trouble sleeping, walking, and all. Every night I went to bed wondering if this would be the last night I would go to bed pregnant. So, April 14th (Tuesday night) was no different.
Dh R. was staying up to watch a movie (he recently bought a new stereo with surround sound and has been watching a movie almost every night). I often stayed up with him for company, but this night I felt more tired, and knew that I needed to keep my strength up. I had had braxton hicks contractions…..fairly strong ones…..for weeks, but the last couple days had been “quiet.”
I woke up around 3 am, April 15, to go potty, and felt sort of crampy….not really contractions, just “different”. I went back to bed hoping that baby would come soon, said a prayer for strength and patience, and was going to go back to sleep. I had a few more irregular cramps in the next 5 minutes, and got up again to go to the bathroom. I had a BM, and figured that it was gas after all, and I went back to bed. Upon lying down, I had 3 or 4 very strong and definite CONTRACTIONS within 5 minutes time. I began to come out of the denial stage…..and told R. (who had come to bed hours ago, but had awoken with all my wandering around) that “maybe” we would have a baby tonight!! I prayed for wisdom to tune into my instincts, and for strength to birth. I prayed for His holy angels to surround us, the house, all our children. I started pacing through the living room to the toilet, back to the bed, but not lying down, just sitting on the edge of the bed.
I was having contractions about every 3 minutes for 30 sec. It was now around 3:30, and R. asked if he should call our friend, A., who was going to be there to assist him, if needed. (she lives about a half hour drive away). I said okay, as I knew I had probably less than 2 hours to delivery. I really like to be without anyone there to make me feel inhibited, but figured by the
strength of the contractions, and also knowing A. would blend into the woodwork, by the time she got there, I could adjust or ignore her. Our 3 ½ year old son, C. was asleep on the couch, right by our bedroom door, and R. asked if he should move him up to his bedroom. I said no, because I thought that C. might wake up when he was moved, and then want Daddy (he is Daddy’s boy). I’d rather have him sleeping, and have R. available for me!
The contractions were very strong, I had to concentrate on slow breathing and riding the waves 100% during each. I developed a rhythm of walking to the bathroom (on the other side of the living room), sitting on the toilet during a contraction or two, letting myself feel open and relaxed all through my bottom, and mentally going over my body and relaxing other parts as well. I found that my shoulders and legs were often tense. Then, I would walk back the 15 feet or so to the bedroom, just in time for another contraction. There, I would alternate between sitting and rocking on the edge of the bed, or on my hands and knees rocking on the bed for a contraction or two. They were very close and strong. Rocking felt good, and helped me to ride the top of the contraction, and let it go through my uterus, while relaxing the rest of my body.
After maybe a quarter hour, I saw blood when I wiped on the toilet, and had a feeling of elation. It really IS labor! LOL, and baby is coming soon. GOOD! I talked to the baby, reassuring it that I would take care of it, and we would soon get to see one another. I also prayed. I had been having back labor, which is why I think I felt the need to do the rocking during contractions. I prayed that God would help me know how to birth, as I was certain the baby was breech. I felt at peace about this, which was a new feeling just in the last few days. I was glad to not have fear about this aspect anymore. I felt that I could trust my God, and my body.
R., during this time, had been just wandering around in the dark. The only lights were the bathroom and a small lamp in the bedroom. He would come to my side if he heard my breath catch or if I moaned. He knows that this means that I am having trouble keeping on top of the wave. He would talk reassuredly. He knows better than to touch me, but instead would be there if I reached out to him. (We have done this before, and he is SO good at reading my cues. We don’t really have to talk much. This was our third unassissted birth.) R. also had called my mother, who was to come and watch the children. I got a bit mad at him when he told me he called her. All the kids were asleep, and I hadn’t seen any need to have her there. I also felt that I had to act different or something in front of her……she got there pretty quickly, as she only lives 2 miles down the road. I was still berating poor R. for calling her without asking me first when she came in.
The first thing she asked about was “Where are the scissors?” then, “Should we boil water now?” (She was trying to be helpful, I know, but since we wait to cut the cord, and I knew I had very little time left now, I saw scissors as the LAST thing to worry about right now, LOL!) He told her to sit in the living room in case C. woke up (that is why he called her, he was afraid C. would wake, and he could tell I was getting close to delivery).
I had to walk past Mom from the bedroom to the bathroom in my little circuit, and it made me uncomfortable for a bit. I detoured off to pace the kitchen a few times, instead, but I was having the chills sometimes, and really needed to sit with the bed comforter over me every once in awhile. So I reverted back to my circuit, (bedroom to bathroom, through the living room) and tried to ignore my Mom. It worked until A. got there, and mom started talking to her. A. was very quiet, and she really did blend into the woodwork. My mom kept coughing. That bothered me. I told R. that she had to be quiet, and he went out and spoke to her. I got over being mad at my dear husband about calling mom, and just kept up with the pacing and rocking.
About 4:10…..I glanced at the clock….I announced as I went back to the bedroom from the bathroom that it would be less than an hour now. In the bathroom, I had just felt the baby move around in a very big way. I suspect this is when he moved from breech position, as from now on there was NO back labor anymore. I talked to him, and prayed for strength, as I was now feeling tired. I told R. I was feeling tired, and tried to lay down on my side of the bed, but it was just too hard to ride the contractions without losing focus that way. I had gotten so I needed to lean on R., whether I was on the toilet, or sitting on the edge of the bed, or on my hands and knees on the bed, or just standing and hugging him. I was upright, and beginning to feel a small urge to push. I felt all the way open.
Now contractions were so very close, and practically one on top of another. I prayed for a break for a breath, and God graciously gave me about 2 minutes without contractions. It was enough. I was praying for a quick delivery, too, and you just can’t have it both ways! (breaks and progress). Now it was taking all my energy to hold back from pushing. I did not know if the baby had turned, and I wanted to make absolutely sure that there was no lip, no bit of cervix in the way. I wanted R. to reach up and feel which part was presenting, but with the contractions so close, I knew that if he did, it would trigger a contraction, and would be too hard to deal with. So I did not ask. I remembered about putting hot oil on my bottom to help it stretch, and asked R. to get a sqeeze bottle microwaved…..he did, but I immediately called him so I could lean on him. I told him to have mom or A. do it as “that is what they are here for.” We never had time to put one drop of oil on me at all.
I could feel the baby moving down the birth canal now…..through the cervix…… contraction over, and rest…. asked R. for a spoonful of honey……contraction: baby moving about halfway down…..I tell R. that the baby is coming now. I am on my knees on the bed. I want to stand, but we have a king-size bed crammed in a little room, and there is about 10 inches of space to one side and the end. R. suggests that I sit on the edge of the bed as I had been earlier during labor, (I think he was thinking of how he could catch the baby, also), but as soon as I sat down, it hurt. I complained and growled through that contraction, and immediatly got back onto my knees with R. kneeling in front of me. If my mom weren’t in the living room (she is still mumbling about scissors now and again), I would have just gone in there to birth. I tell R. to send mom to her house to get some scissors, since she is so intent on having some (her husband is a barber and has some really nice stainless steel ones). He doesn’t tell her. C. is still sleeping….. During a contraction, I lean over R. and hug him tight. Between contractions, I stand up and stretch my legs by getting off my knees. All this is taking place within minutes, as the contractions are about 1 minute apart and lasting 45 seconds (so I have like 15 seconds to regroup my focus and take a breath between!). I love the sensations I am having. They mean baby is coming! I am worried about the baby falling on the floor, and am concentrating so much on keeping my bottom relaxed to stretch. The contractions are so overpowering now, I am making some pretty big blowing, moaning noises, I guess. (mom said later I was loud near the end.) I forgot about C. sleeping on the couch. I could feel the baby at the perenium now, and called out for A. to catch him! R. was hollering how to support, I was blowing and moaning, and could feel one big body part (is that the head or butt, I wondered?), the water broke with a huge splash!
A funny thing happened at this point. Because R. was in front of me, on his hands and knees, so I could lean over his back…..he reached under my belly and tried to lift my shirt to see by peeking under me what part of the baby was out so far. As he did so, he touched my stomach (he was trying hard not to disturb me!). I immediatly lost my concentration, and yelled at him “Hey! Get your hand out of there! You are worse than an OB!” and I spanked him pretty
hard on his butt. (A. said later it was funny that the worse insult I could come up with was a comparison to an OB!!!) Then the contraction did a double peak with my body just taking over and I could feel another body part coming…….how long is this baby? I wondered. It felt as if A. were pulling the baby out, as the contraction was ending, and I could still feel body coming out! I cried out, “Don’t pull! Don’t pull!” At the same time, I had what I thought was a hugh BM! R. and I heard the baby gurgle,and both cried out, “turn him over, turn him over” (meaning facedown so the baby’s mouth could drain), as we struggled to get off our hands and knees and see the baby. This was especially tricky for me, of course, with the cord between my legs!! My mom came in the room (or perhaps she had been standing in the doorway), and said “Boy that was FAST!” and we grabbed a receiving blanket and tried to wipe up poor James, who was not only wet, had some vernix on his back (A. commented on how she thought he wouldn’t have much as he was a couple days past his due date), but he was covered with my BM!
I hugged and kissed him anyway, and told him sorry for pooping all over him! We asked A. which end came out first, and she said “his head.” He came so fast, I really still had no clue which part came when. She also said the cord was around his neck once. But it never got tight. All I could do was say “Praise the LORD” over and over. We wiped up his head, R. offered me the bulb syringe we had, but I shook my head…..I saw no need for it. He was pink to his toes, breathing just fine, and wrapped up and cuddled on my chest.
In 5 minutes, I felt a surge of warm blood from my vagina and knew the placenta had seperated. It was a tight space, there in the bedroom, and the cord was really getting in the way, so R. tied it off with a new white shoelace, and I cut the cord, with some sewing scissors which we just wiped with alcohol. We couldn’t boil them, as the plastic handles would melt. (I had never had the priviledge of cutting the cord before, and I insisted that it was my turn!) We maneuvered me over a basin, and I squatted and gave a little push. The placenta came with a splash. Only then did I think to ask if anyone had seen the time of birth. Mom said it was about 5 minutes before 5 am (it was 5:05 now).
So, from start to finish, labor was under 2 hours. Since there was so much mess, with the waters breaking, blood and feces, we decided to clean up real quick before waking the other children. I went and jumped in the shower (I think my mom was shocked that I was up so soon), while the others changed the sheets and cleaned up the floor next to the bed. We wiped up James and just wrapped him in a blanket….no clothes or diaper yet. R. went and woke up
the other kids…..all came down except 7 year-old G., who was sound asleep apparently. C. stayed alseep on the couch, even after everyone was down, and a couple children tried to shake him awake!! I was feeling great…..no tears, no breech problems, and a beautiful boy.
We were all curious about his weight. C. had weighed 11 pounds, and we all thought James was smaller than that. I did say that he was pretty long, and may be hiding some weight. R. used his Eagle Scout expertise by using marbles in the corners of a receiving blanket to secure some extra shoelace so we could suspend it from a fish scale to weigh James. We all about fell over when the weight was 11½ pounds!! That was with a diaper and two receiving blankets, so we took off a few ounces for his birth weight. I did not measure him until the next day, when everyone was out. He was a good full 24″ long! I also re-tied the cord, as Rusty had left about 3 inches on, because he didn’t have room to get any closer. (When he cut it, I was squatting between the bed and dresser, in that 8 inch space.) The cord dried up very quickly, by the way, with the application of Goldenseal Powder. It came off in 6 days. My milk came in in 48 hours (that is quickest yet), and he weighs 11 pounds, 8 oz., completely nude at 7 days.
Now, as I write this, he is 10 days old, nursing well, sleeping through the night. He is a very contented baby, and everyone is in love with him. I have lost 55 pounds, which puts me ahead of when I got pregnant (I only gained 25 pounds in the pregnancy!)
I am so thankful to my LORD for being with us, and allowing us to have this gift of another son. Praise God! I know this is really long, but I hope you get caught up in the moment and see how naturally and wonderfully birth takes place, without internal exams, blood pressure, fetal heart tones, laying on your back, episiotomy, eye drops, vitamin shots, and all that jazz. If I could do anything different, I would have just R. and me there. We would have found another position where one or both of us could have caught the baby. I am disappointed that our hands were not the first ones to touch our baby. Maybe next time!!
By the way, this was my 10th baby. We had two early miscarriages (unassisted at home), one C-section, 2 with midwives at home, two planned hospital births, one planned homebirth that was transported to the hospital, and three unassisted births. Thanks for reading our story. God Bless, Karen