I can’t even believe it has been 4 months since my baby boy was born! But it has, and I’m finally sitting down (in the library no less… but finishing in the parking lot at chick-fil-a) without children to write out his story for you all to see.
Incase you forgot I will give you a tiny back story on what made me decide I wanted a home birth for this little blessing.
My first child was born at OU Medical Center, I LOVED his birth but there were things that in the end I questioned about having him in a hospital. First I didn’t know nearly as much as I thought I did about birth, it didn’t scare me whatsoever but I didn’t know much at the time either. In the end Caeden was delivered vaginally with the help of Pitocin because at 6cm my water broke at home with no contractions at all… I rushed to the hospital where I waited around for 16 hours before deciding to work with nature and my body and get some Pitocin while it was still night time (my midwife said it could help to start it at night instead of the day, and I tend to agree with her, but that doesn’t pertain to this story). After just 7 hours of contractions and one included hour of pushing Caeden a nice 7lb 15oz, 20 inch long baby boy was born. I wondered if I had stayed at home would my contractions have started on their own?
My second baby Sapphira was born at Balboa Medical Center (I think that it is the name, but it is a military hospital and every one calls it something different) via C-section because I was basically bullied into admitting myself due to high fluid and small contractions with the worry that would eventually turn into the serious nature of cord prolapse after my midwife decided to break my water. Sapphira is beautiful and a happy 3 year old now so the story went on to include her healthy birth. I however was scarred from the experience and honestly wanted to stay AWAY from hospitals should I have any more children.
I had an ectopic pregnancy next and ended up with a needless surgery as the baby passed on its own moments before the surgery was performed, but the experience left me healed from my previous surgery.
Then came my pregnancy with Micah, my midwife lived 3 hours away from my home but I was determined to try it out. My mother-in-law very generously bought us a fetal heart monitor so that while we waited for the midwife we could check babies heart rate at home.
I went into labor on a Saturday. Technically I started laboring the week before but I wasn’t sure and had called the midwife because I thought this might be it… it wasn’t. She came out and ended up attending someone else in my area’s birth (one she said she probably would have missed if she had not come to my house that day so I guess it was good for them).
The next week my contraction started coming on strong, I knew it was more ‘time’ than the week before, and called the midwife but was still so embarrassed that she had come all that way before and told her to just hold off on coming until I was more sure. The contractions were pretty bad, but I could still do stuff between them so I wasn’t terribly worried. I decided to go to my son’s last soccer game of the season, and while I was there I rocked and sat through my contractions but there were some highly irritating things going on around me and I just about lost control of my tongue a few times. As the game finished up I called my midwife and told her that the contractions had stopped and she said that she felt if I were able to go to my sons game I couldn’t have been in labor… and that actually made me angry at her…I was irrational and very labory but my theory about a mommy being upset during labor and stalling her own birth rang so true during this day.
That night the contractions started coming back. I went to bed and cried inside knowing that if my baby were not born before 9am the next morning then my husband would miss the birth and probably not see his son or daughter until he or she were a few weeks or even months old because of our moving situation.
Around 12am the contractions woke me up and I started timing them, I needed to make light sounds to get through them and rocked back and forth with my knees on the floor and my arms on my office chair. After awhile I went back to bed thinking they were not really getting any stronger or closer together but knowing that this baby wasn’t waiting much longer.
At about 3am I apparently woke my husband up with my loud moaning through contractions. I wasn’t really awake myself but wasn’t going through any contraction without making a lot of noise. I decided that if I went to the bathroom it would all go away so I tried and ended up crawling back to bed a few seconds later, but the bed was too high so I stayed on the floor. Patrick got my friend who was also serving as my doula and then called the midwife and gave her all kinds of misguided information because he really didn’t know the answers to the questions she was asking (he had only just woken up) so I took the phone and moaned my answers to her, and she headed to my house.
For the next three hours Neva, Patrick and I talked between contractions and I buried my face in the floor. The only remotely comfortable position I could get into was with my knees on the floor and my butt in the air and my face resting on my arms also on the floor. Neva secretly went down stairs and called the midwife, she was terrified that I was going to deliver before the midwife got there and was preparing everything she might need. She got the hot compress liquid (ginger and hot water) ready, and was told to have me get in the shower if I felt pushy because it might slow things down a little. She came back up long enough to suggest that to me and then went back to her preparations and I believe possibly freaking out a little to her husband, that or acting calm and composed so as not to freak him out too…
I followed instructions thinking that perhaps a shower would feel good, I had decided that I would try water before contractions came but had forgotten in the midst of them. I hobbled and crawled my way to the shower and was able to get in without assistance, but three contractions in the shower proved too much for me. The water felt nice, but I couldn’t stand through the contractions and my shower was a standing room only shower. I ended up on the floor, and then calling for my husband who I demanded help me into my underwear. I wasn’t going to be naked until I had to be, my house, my rules.
I got my bra and underwear on and couldn’t stand the thought of putting anything else on so I crawled to the bed again. I will mention that while attempting to put those underwear on my husband informed me I may have lost some mucus plug…. I laughed and said “I can’t see, do I need to wipe?” Poor man.. he didn’t want to see in the first place but said “I guess.”
Once in my bed (I’m positive I had help getting on it, but can’t remember, dang bed is tall when all you want to do is put your face on the floor.) I got comfy, trying to sit up when possible, and mostly not sitting up at all. I felt a bit like a dog trying to turn around to find a comfy place to be… there were none. I got a pillow under my chest and buried my face in it with each contraction. At one point I actually slept for about 5 or 10 minutes.. which should have been a clue that things were rapidly coming to a close, but I wasn’t in my mind then. Patrick rubbed my back and Neva read the bible (Psalms to be exact) while I had contractions. They were doing it all the time but I found the rubbing annoying while not contracting, and felt that Neva’s voice was going to give out before my baby was born if she kept reading when I didn’t have any contractions going. So I decided that if I wanted things my way during this birth I was going to have to be my own doula… I told them what to do and then went back into my world of birth and enjoyed the service of my very thoughtful husband and friend/doula novice. Patrick was instructed to only rub my back during contractions and to make sure it was a discernible pattern because the sporadic stuff was driving me crazy, and Neva was instructed to only read during contractions (which I later found out she was reading right through so she didn’t lose her place, but obviously at that point I cared very little for what she needed… sorry Neva).
The midwife and her assistant arrived shortly after that instruction went out. I noticed them, I wont lie, but I didn’t care if they were there or not.. They checked baby’s heart rate while I stayed put where I was, in the position I wanted to be in, and then they set up things around me, pads under my knees and gloves where they could quickly put them on, and whatever else they needed, asked me if I’d drank anything recently and whether I wanted to be checked… I’m not sure why I told them not yet, I can’t remember if it was because I just didn’t want to be touched (which is probably the case) or if it was because I was afraid I wasn’t that far along (which might also be true to some extent) I just plain can’t remember, I only remember that I said not now, and she left.
Laurie was an amazing midwife, present but not in my face. She and her assistant saw we had it under control and left the room. Initially I thought I wouldn’t want them to leave, but I had no idea what they were doing and didn’t care either. They came in to check on me and listen to the baby’s heartbeat again and asked if I felt pushy, I said I thought so, but I wasn’t sure, I think if I had been checked they would have found me at 10cm when they first came in, I feel that I had actually been in transition in the shower and just after the shower and that by the time they came I had already gotten Micah’s head into the birth canal and was just waiting for my baby to come out, but of course I didn’t know that then. Laurie asked me if I wanted to take my underwear off and I suddenly became self conscious that they were on… (this may have also been the reason I didn’t want to be checked because I didn’t want to move enough to take the dang things off) but no I didn’t want to move.
She left and with the next contraction my water broke with gusto, and shot out hitting the bed and when this happened Micah’s head hit my vaginal wall, or whatever was in his way and I shrieked from the unexpected sensation, and a little from pain he hit so hard. The midwife heard the water break, everyone heard the water break, but she was in the next room so that was surprising, maybe she heard me shriek but at the time I thought she said she heard it break. Then the pushing sensations started getting stronger, still without my help because I didn’t want to push too soon and since I hadn’t been checked I didn’t know if I was fully dilated, and clear to do so.
Laurie told me she was going to have to cut my underwear off if I didn’t move just enough to get them off, and I told her with probably a touch of annoyance that that is what she could do cause I wasn’t moving. I did feel that perhaps my baby was going to be born into them, but Neva understood my tone was serious and ran to get some scissors, which she handed to my husband saying “I don’t need the memory of cutting off my best friend’s underwear, you do it, your her husband.” And he did… and the midwife laughed.
Now free of underwear the pushing sensation (still un-helped by me) got stronger and the midwife now standing at my tail end started to say something about checking my dilation but then stopped and said “I can see your baby’s head.” she said it rather matter-of-factly like I wouldn’t have known, and I told her right back “good cause I can feel my baby’s head!” I was being cheeky but was a little relieved that though I couldn’t see anything and hadn’t been told I was allowed to push I knew what my body was doing and was doing the right things in letting this birth happen naturally, and without instruction, I could feel the burn on my perineum at that moment and was thinking about my first son’s birth and how at that moment my husband had been singing “the ring of fire”… and someone said “where is Patrick?” and Neva answered “I don’t know I’ll find him.” I panicked a little, both my helpers were gone.. but then a contraction came and I internally said “forget them, I’m not waiting, this hurts” and I allowed my body to do what it was wanted to do, and pushed (still not helping, only allowing) and there was relief, instant and satisfactory…. but what? Where was the baby I just pushed out? Surely the baby would be on the bed… what happened? The door opened and Patrick said “Is she pushing already?” Oh good he is back. And Neva answered “She was pushing when her water broke silly”, yes, they are both here, but where is the baby, I know I just pushed a baby out…? And the midwife said “She just pushed out the baby’s head, come here you can look if you want!” WHAT… that was just a head? Caeden was born very quickly once he was out he was all out… man, this one must actually be bigger… and a contraction… ohhh ouch, relax, work with it, open up…. yes relief… wait… still no plop of a baby on my bed… but seriously I’m sure I just delivered a baby! “Wow big baby, one more push, you’ve got this” Oh… so wait, I have to push out hips too? man! this one must be bigger! and then I helped a tiny bit as my body pushed out this baby and it’s hips. and a thump a very satisfactory thump on my bed (much harder than I was hoping for, I thought they let my baby hit the bed without catching, but they said they gently guided him to the bed, so I tried to believe them. Later on the phone with Neva I found out that the midwives assistant had caught and apparently lost her balance and her elbows hit the bed and that was likely the hard thump I felt). I almost immediately got up on my knees and started moving to pick my baby up. I first saw that my baby had orange hair! Yes orange, Caeden will correct anyone who tries to tell him he has red hair, and this was the shade of my new baby’s hair. And then I saw that we had a Micah, a boy! No one else saw, just me, it was thrilling, not the moment I had anticipated, I had hoped Patrick would have the chance to tell me the baby’s gender, but I really enjoyed having that moment to myself. I sat back assisted by the midwife and her assistant who quickly moved pads under me and pillows behind me and a bedpan under me, it all felt very naturally, I held my baby, no one else did, it was just me, me and Micah. I looked him over really good and said “Welcome to the world Micah.” and Laurie asked “Oh is it a boy? I didn’t get to see!”
It is important that I note that Micah Owen was born October 27th at 7:49am, exactly one hour before his daddy had to leave to catch his flight back to Oklahoma, and almost to the minute of his brother’s birth time. We had to be rather quick about pictures with daddy and our special wedding ring photo, and also with getting his weight and height before Patrick had to leave… it was bitter sweet, I was so glad Patrick had been there and comfortable with him leaving but sad that he was going… (I will also note that his leaving was short lived because the company who had hired him also laid him off on Halloween so Patrick didn’t actually miss too much, he was back in time for Micah’s first bath.
Micah weighed 8lbs 6oz and was 21.75in long… in my eyes not a HUGE baby, but a very big and long one, but if you had asked me when I was pregnant if I had a big baby I would have told you “bigger than his brother, but not a lot, and a lot longer” which turned out to be very true, 7oz heavier, and 1.75inches longer.
I think Micah’s birth was perfect… perfect for me. I don’t want to write this to sway anyone on home birth one way or the other, just to share what to me was the best birth I’ve had yet, and all on my own terms.. I think that is the most important thing, that I was trusted enough to try, and given the support and assistance when it was needed but truly able to deliver my baby without any guidance or intervention from anyone or anything, it was MY perfect birth, and doesn’t need to be anyone else’s.