Here is the birth story of Maria's fourth child:
"This is the story of our 4th child and 3rd son. It was my longest pregnancy as well as my longest and hardest labor. It was also my first homebirth, and probably due to it being a homebirth, it was my most enjoyable birth and easiest recovery.
Sunday, August 30th During the afternoon, I started to feel what I thought were early labor contractions. They were not painful, just a whisper of the sensations I knew would come. All day they came but I kept this to myself and continued on with life. I went to bed early thinking that sleep might be elusive. Fortunately I did sleep for a few hours, unfortunately I woke up around midnight for a nightly potty run and I could not go back to sleep.
Monday, August 31st The contractions were no longer whispers, but the definite tightening that signals real business. Further more, with each one I needed to go the bathroom, so for several hours I played the back and forth game between the potty and the bed. Finally around 4am I fell into a weird twilight sleep where I dreamed odd dreams that incorporated the contractions in crazy ways and I knew that today was the day we would meet our little one. I was wrong.
Once the big kids were out the door to school I went for walk. It was slow going stopping for contractions every 6 minutes or so. However, it was a beautiful morning and walking around made me feel like I was doing my part to encourage baby’s exit. Though I did worry a little about freaking out the neighbors if they happened to glance outside while I was breathing through my contractions. I would like to say Wes and I did exciting things all day to pass the time, however we mostly just hung out cleaning the house, reading books, eating and talking on the phone to family and friends. Contractions were still coming every 6-10 mins with no pattern, though the intensity picked up through the morning and afternoon. I decided to get in the tub to see what happened, especially as I needed to do my pre-birth leg shaving anyway. I figured things might slow down or things would keep moving along. Of course since I was in the tub, Wes felt the need to join me. I can’t say that having a 3 year old ram toy boats into my thighs was really all that relaxing, but we both got clean, my legs got smooth and I established that my contractions were definitely not going away.
We walked down to pick the older kids up from school and once again walking felt productive. When we got home, I sat on my birthball for a while and had Ashby rub my back. I started to feel like contractions were getting closer together so I texted Donnellyn (my midwife). She thought I should time some to see how long they were lasting. Timing contractions is actually quite a challenge when one is alone in labor and can’t find one’s watch with a second hand, so I went to contractionmaster.com. According to the site my contractions were coming every 4-6 mins and lasting about a minute.I have to admit; I was getting a little frustrated dealing with contractions and not having any one around to help the kids or me. I was also frustrated that my labor didn’t seem to be progressing as fast as I hoped. I was too uncomfortable to do much but not uncomfortable enough to be ready to push out a baby. Brian did come home around 6:30 and he watched me have about two contractions before he phoned Donnellyn and Charlotte (my doula) and told them it was time for everyone to come over. I was not sure it was really time, but Brian saw a panting wife and figured he needed to bring in the troops, if not for me then for him. Charlotte arrived first and we immediately went to walk. Donnellyn arrived about half hour later (8pm) and Lynsey (the photographer) a bit after that. After Donnellyn arrived she asked if she could check me, but honestly I was too worried to find out that I might be completely undilated to let her.
Maybe having Brian home and made me feel I could stop being mom and start being labor woman because contractions hit a regular pattern and intensity picked up. I was somewhat concerned that the baby was in an asynclitic position due to my labor’s slow start. We used some rotational positioning to see if that would encourage baby into a more ideal position if that was indeed an issue. The positioning slowed labor a bit, but eventually I made it through the whole rotation and it was obvious that afterwards my contractions were now stronger. Donnellyn again suggested doing a vaginal exam so that she would have a better idea about when to call the second midwife. I was still very apprehensive about having an exam for the same previous reason, but I did consent. I was thrilled to find out after a quick exam, that I was 100% effaced and 6cm. With this good news I had a sudden burst of energy and walked around the house with a big smile on my face. It was probably around 10pm at this point.That happy energy didn’t last long because I quickly entered the fun of transition phase. At first I was doing great, breathing slowly to relax through contractions and laboring on the toilet, against the kitchen bar, and at the end of my bed. However, within a short period of time my labor seemed to overwhelm me. Sarah, the second midwife, arrived at some point and Donnellyn suggested it was time to get in the tub, which I happily did. Once in the tub I relaxed well in between contractions, but it was hard getting comfortable during contractions. I don’t know how long I was in the tub, but the water had gotten cold and I needed to go the bathroom, so I got out. I honestly don’t know why I never made it back in, but at that point I started to come a little unhinged. I was laboring holding on the footboard of my bed and leaning over into each contraction but I no longer had any control of my breathing. With each contraction it felt like the baby might be coming out of my thighs and hips there was so much pressure there. I also had the shakes and felt like vomiting with each contraction. During this time the baby’s heart tones were getting a bit high, so Donnellyn and Sarah had me gulp a bunch of my tea. They also thought I needed some quick energy so Donnellyn spoon-fed me some honey. Yuck! I normally like honey but that was not something I enjoyed at that particular moment. However, instantly the baby’s heart rate came down and I just kept drinking as much as I could to keep it that way. I don’t recall how or why the issue was brought up, but we had a brief discussion concerning breaking my water. I immediately said I was not interested since in doula work, artificially rupturing the membranes is often the start of things going down hill fast.
Tuesday, September 1st At one point when I was really at my emotional limit, I heard Sarah, who was sitting in front of me, start to pray and then behind me Charlotte started to pray too. I loved the prayers but I couldn’t help but think, “Oh my, I must be really bad off if they have just given up on anything helping except prayer.” Donnellyn was praying too, but she also started doing some fabulous hip squeezes. They really made a big difference. I kept thinking that I must be almost complete and hoped to feel an urge to push with each contraction, but alas contraction after contraction came and no pushing urge. It had been 3 hours since I had been found to be at 6cm. Now I asked Donnellyn if breaking my water would be helpful because I was DONE. I still was not quite ready to try this option, but I was ready to talk about it. Donnellyn definitely did not push me and I think since I was still reluctant she changed the subject. Sometime in this phase Donnellyn gave me the homeopathic Rescue Remedy. I was a skeptic, but that stuff really works. Of course contractions were just as painful, but I felt pure peace for the few moments in between. I know I was really loud during this time, moaning (or singing as someone kindly put it) during each contraction. It was about this time that I started to consider giving myself a c-section right there in my room. My level of pain level was higher than with my other natural births and knowing I was reaching my breaking point, I decided it was time to pop my bag and see what might happen.At first, Donnellyn thought she would do an exam and hope my water broke during the exam. It didn’t, and she said I was only an 8 plus cm. She tried a little finger amnio breaker, which also failed to break my water. Finally she used the big ‘ole amnio hook and it STILL could not break my water. Lying on the bed having this done during major contractions was the exact opposite of fun. Sarah then took a turn with the amnio hook and she said I was now 9 or even 10 with just a lip. That was good news! Finally Sara managed to rupture my water. She just started reminding me that I might feel a change in the next few contractions but she didn’t even get to finish that thought. Suddenly the baby was in the birth canal and on my perineum. I must have made some guttural sound, because Brian, who was sleeping in the den, came running in. I knew the baby was seconds away from being born and I wanted two things…I told Brian to wake up the kids and for someone put me in the tub. I wanted my waterbirth! Donnellyn and Sarah basically ignored me because they were now busy catching a baby and I wasn’t going anywhere. If Brain had gone to get the kids, he would have missed the birth.
So, less than 30 seconds after my water was broken, Dalton made his appearance. It happened so fast that Donnellyn didn’t even have time to put on gloves. He had a nuchal cord that needed to be reduced but otherwise I received Dalton on my chest and that is where he happily hung out for a nice visit until the cord stopped pulsing and we were ready to move to the herbal bath. I don’t recall who announced the gender, but someone told me that I had new son. I don’t even think I looked to verify until later though. Dalton’s apgars were 9 and 9, and he nursed well as we lay in bed together getting to know each other."
Maria, thank you so much for sharing BOTH of your birth stories with us!
Please visit Maria at http://bellyupbaby.blogspot.com/