I woke up at 5am that morning thinking “here we go again, another false alarm.” I had been having prodromal labor for a few weeks at this point and was getting frustrated and emotional by it. I just wanted things to be real already! I got up and went to the bathroom.
Things felt a little different but I wasn’t going to put any merit to it yet. I went back to bed but couldn’t get comfortable so I decided to take a bath. It didn’t go away. Infact it became more wonderfully intense, 5 mins apart suddenly became 2 mins apart. Could this seriously be it?? My mom had flown in from Texas a week or so prior when we thought things were really going. She was asleep in my son’s room, so I let her know that I “thought” I may actually be in labor, but that she could stay asleep longer until I figured it out. I knew if I was, I wanted to eat now instead of later, so I went downstairs and ate breakfast and drank some red raspberry leaf tea. 2 mins apart stayed 2 mins apart for over an hour so I just decided to call my midwife. Midwife Amy was on call that day and she’s an hour away so she just decided to start her trip over, because she’d rather go and be here for a birth that we had all decided would be relatively quick, then not leave and miss the whole thing!
I went ahead and called my support team, my friend Maria and my doula Emily and they headed over as well. I woke up mom and told her things were “on” but I still wasn’t positive that this was “it” and needed lots of encouragement. I had been disappointed by 2 – 3 min apart waves being nothing at all several times before. But thankfully things became more intense. Things were going great. Intense, powerful, I was vocalizing and laughing my way through some of them. There’s a film called “orgasmic birth” and that’s what I felt almost. Wonderful, no pain at all. Discomfort at times but that was easily dealt with by getting on my hands and knees, rocking and rotating my hips and of course using my Hypnobabies, but what’s so wonderful is after practicing for so long and for so often I didn’t feel the need yet to recite to myself my peace cue, I just knew things were working and they were!
I was very aware during this birth and very active. I have video of me laughing through birthing waves and enjoying them. My friend Maria was laughing right along with me from behind the camera and you can see it shaking from it. Very different from my son’s birth to which I chose to rest and sleep as much as possible. Even though I had eaten eggs and toast earlier that morning, my mom was making pancakes for everybody and it smelled so good. So I ate! And I drank more tea and loots of ice water… with lots of ICE. More ICE!
So most of the birth went like this. With me on my hands and knees enjoying my very intense waves. Vocalizing and feeling so good. My son who is 15 months, snuggled and slept in with daddy. And when he awoke, played on the floor, and when I’d have a birthing wave and would instinctually drop to the floor drawing circles with my hand to help me “open” my cervix, he would come crawl over to me and laugh and play some more. It was exactly what I wanted during my birthing, to be with friends and family, and welcome our newest into a loving atmosphere.
What I found funny was I had set up this birthing room to labor in and I found myself in the dining room by the table a lot because it was right by the bathroom and I was peeing.. a LOT. All that tea and ice water, but it was encouraging somewhat and I took it as a sign that my baby was moving down.
I refused to be checked until I was emotionally ready, for fear I was a mere 3 cm. And while 3 cm means that things are moving along… I was fearful that it wasn’t real, and had to repeatedly tell myself “today is my birthing day, open open open”. The midwives kept telling me “there’s no reason by what we’re seeing that this isn’t anything but VERY real.” Which was very comforting to hear. They didn’t force me to be checked. Once it was mentioned it wasn’t mentioned again until muuuuch later. They could tell I was working hard.
At 12:50 or so I decided to get checked and I was 6 cms!!! Typing that even now brings the tears and joy I felt when I heard that. HOW GREAT! I was so amazed, and proud, and crying!!! I couldn’t believe I had gone this far and felt so good. I knew I could do it, but to actually DO it and be at that point was beyond words for me “it’s real!! it’s real!! I’m having a baby!!! Today is my day, FINALLY!”
I soaked in the birthing tub for a few hours and enjoyed my waves there. Lots of laughs and saying “oh my god”. Felt like sex from the inside out, if that makes any sense at all. Both Maria and the back up midwife (Vicki) that arrived ended up becoming so relaxed from the Deepening cd that they both passed out on my couch. I didn’t even notice. I was in my own world enjoying the rest before the finale to come.
At around 2pm I started complaining of discomfort in my pubic area and it became hard to focus. Went through the usual transitional “I can’t do it”, “I don’t want to do this any more” “It hurts, my god, it hurts”. Everybody was so great and so comforting. I decided to get back out of the tub and be checked again. I felt very, very hot and didn’t want the water any more. I wanted something cold. And when they checked me, boy was I surprised “a very stretchy 8cms!! possibly 9!! Do you want to push a little and see what happens?”
I responded with “pop my waters!!!” So they thought they had actually popped my water because a spurt came out, but it was apparently only a little layer. A couple of practice pushes later from me and it popped for real with clear fluids.
This part was very uncomfortable. I kept shaking my head no. Saying “I can’t” and “I’m done” over and over again. I didn’t want to go on. I’m glad that I had surrounded myself with an encouraging birthing support team who knew how important it was for me to be told positive and encouraging words. My midwife, at one point where I started breathing in a manner as I can only describe at almost hyperventilating, put her head against mine and said “Michael. Breathe for your baby. Long, deep, slow breaths.” And she showed me how to breathe again. The thing that helped the most was an ice cold washcloth on my pubic area where the hair and belly meet. I had my Hypnobabies on in the background but pretty much phased it out at this point. I commented that everybody was acting like it was time and all I could think about was I was only at 8cms! I had 2cms left to go, what were they all bustling around about? Little did I know, 30 mins later I’d have a baby in my arms!
Well I was verrrry uncomfy laying on the futon so I commented how I really wish I had a birthing stool to sit on. My midwife said. “*gasp* I have one in my car! I’ll be right back.”
So when she came back, I labored a bit more until I was comfy to move. said “NOW!!!” and got on the stool. That was a whole change. Uncomfortable at first because the pressure downward made more discomfort on my pubic bone, but getting through it and I *actually* felt the urge to push!!! I never felt that with my first home birth. I was just feeling so much pubic pressure at the end of that one that I pushed to get past it all and have my baby. But this time… I actually had urges to push and it felt GREAT to push.
No pushing prompts. I did it my own way with a combo of purple pushing at points just to move baby down a bit, then breathing through some and “ahhhhh” pushing when I just really felt the urge.
I birthed my baby sitting on the stool. I can’t even explain how good it felt to birth him that way. Sitting and birthing just felt so right. So easy. It was amazing. Not what I expected or even imagined, but exactly what I needed and somehow wanted. I wanted a squatting up right birth. I remember writing on my list of “wants” for this birth that I wanted to have Willem at around 3pm just so my son Roan would already have had a nap and could be there. He was born at 3:09pm.
So yeah! Labor starting at 5am and not feeling any pain only minor discomfort until an hour before birth. I’m so proud.
OH my son Roan (15 months old) did VERY well during all labor and birth. He cried when people picked him up and away from me at times because they thought he was bothering me. But the only time he bothered me was when he cried because he was picked up! There was one point during my laying on the futon after my being checked and found at 8cms and very much feeling the discomfort from laying on my back.. that I yelled out *very primal* and it scared the crap out of him. I had been very vocal my entire labor, but he wasn’t prepared for a yelp and he cried. But soon got over it and was up by me again.
I STILL can’t believe that Willem is 9lbs 5oz, 22inches long. Head Circ of 36″ and Body Circ of 38″. “not your average baby.. he’s a bruiser!” said my midwife. But birthing him on the birthing stool… he didn’t FEEL 9lbs coming out. He felt like 7lbs coming out, which is what Roan was when he was born.
Another thing that’s very different from Roan.. he nursed within the hour!! And very well indeed! Made me sooo happy.
Our little boy. =)
Originally posted on March 1, 2008