This little boy really messed with his mommy before he finally showed up! He kept making me think he was on his way, but when he did finally decide to come, he wasn't messing around anymore and he got here fast!
On Thursday, March 14th, I started having some cramping in the evening. This is exactly how my first labor started, so I thought it might not be too long before I was really in labor. However, the next morning when I got up and started moving around the cramps stopped and were gone the whole day. That evening they started again and in the morning, sure enough they went away. This pattern continued everyday until Wednesday, March 20th. Through these few days I had also been losing some mucus plug, so things really seemed to be getting close
In the middle of the night on Wednesday, I started having cramps that were much worse than before. I thought for sure that it was labor. . I had my weekly prenatal appointment that day and by the time the midwife arrived for it the cramps had gone away yet again. By this time, as I'm sure you can imagine, I was starting to get a little frustrated. So, when on Thursday the cramping started again, I called my midwife to see what I could do. Should we get things going for real or can we stop this? She suggested that I get into the bathtub and have a small glass of wine to call things down.
Getting into the bathtub made everything stop, but not for very long. Very early Friday morning it all started again. This time I was sure they were more than just cramps. They were stronger and longer and consistently 10 minutes apart. The problem was that they weren't changing at all. I tried getting back into the bathtub, but there was no change afterwards. Eventually they did get a little stronger and longer, but they still weren't getting closer together. I was getting pretty impatient and was really starting to think this baby was never going to come out. Then, my water broke.
Just before 5:00 pm on March 22nd, my water broke and I immediately called my midwife. After my water broke my contractions stopped initially, then they got much easier and shorter, but were closer together. Even though they weren't very long or strong, I was not interested in waiting any longer to see if I had made any progress after having false labor for week, so I asked my midwife to please come out now and check things out.
She got to the house around 6:00 pm and by then my contractions had spaced back out a little bit, but were definitely getting stronger. She asked if I was sure I wanted to be checked and I said yes, that I wanted to know if we were even close. She asked me if I wanted actual numbers or if I would prefer to just know if I was in early labor, active labor, transition, or "oh, look, there's the baby!". I opted for the latter, and she informed me that I was in active labor. My midwife called her student midwife, who had been working with me throughout the pregnancy and would be catching the baby (under the supervision of my midwife, of course), to let her know to head out. My husband called our doula and let her know it was time to head out as well.
I was pretty surprised because although the contractions were pretty good ones at this point I was still doing pretty well to stay focused and calm during them and I was completely alert and relaxed in between. I changed into what I wanted to wear during the labor and birth, we gathered up some drinks for me, put in my visualization DVD, and got to work.
The midwife and my husband started filling up the pool, but we kept running out of hot water. Labor was moving along pretty and the pool filling was not. So, we decided that it was better to not worry about the pool because it wasn't looking like we were going to be able to have it ready in time. I was not going to get my waterbirth, but that was fine with me. I was just happy to finally be having this baby.
I was doing pretty good through most of my contraction. My support team was amazing! They coached me and supported me through each surge and helped me stay focused on working with my body instead of fighting it. I was even still very alert in between contractions. I even laughed through a few contractions. I chose to listen to Rock-a-bye Baby! Queen and couldn't help but laugh when Fat Bottom Girls came on! Later, my cat came into the basement and wanted attention from everyone. It was such a different feeling to be so aware and conscious through all the labor. With my first son, I was laboring in the middle of the night and was very tired. So, for much of my active labor and transition I was a little foggy and was dozing off in between the contractions.
Then, the baby started moving around. As a result, I started to feel some very intense pressure on my right hip. It was much more difficult for me to get through than any of the contractions had been. There were definitely a few minutes there where I was not so composed through the surges, but once again my amazing husband, midwives, and doula were able to help me get back on track and pretty soon I was feeling and urge to push with some of the contractions.
It was still a little too early to push, but with every few surges I felt the need to push. When the urge started getting stronger and coming with every contraction I started moving around to try to find a position I was comfortable in. I started out squatting while supporting myself on the couch, but the baby was not having that. I moved to standing while my husband supported me, but after a little while, with all the pressure that the baby was putting on my hip, I just couldn't stand for long. I finally ended up kneeling and leaning over the couch.
By now, I was more than ready to get to some serious pushing and get this baby out. I started pushing with every urge at 8:05 pm, at 8:11 pm my baby crowned, and at 8:15 pm Benjamin Ray was born. He weighed 7 lbs 14oz and was 21 inches long.
The cord was wrapped around his neck twice and he wasn't crying, but he was breathing. His initial Apgar was a 6, which is just below what is considered normal, but he started crying and was able to latch on and begin nursing well. At five minutes, he had an Apgar of 10 and was doing great. My midwife believes he was just in a bit of initial shock from the cord being around his neck and the very quick birth.
We waited until I delivered the placenta and the cord stopped pulsing before we cut it. That was about 9 minutes after Ben was born. My husband is kind of a wimp about those things, so like with our first baby, I cut the cord myself.
Once the placenta was delivered and examined, we cut a chunk off and my doula and husband took it upstairs to make me a placenta smoothie and to make some placenta prints for me. My midwife also made an afterbirth herbal tea. I have to tell you, both were delicious. Yes, even the placenta smoothie!
The rest of my placenta was encapsulated and I really believe that it has been making a big difference in helping me with my recovery and mood. I have felt mostly great with only some very mild "baby blues". I have also had a ton of energy and have been producing plenty of milk. I would highly recommend encapsulation to any expecting mamas!
Since the birth we have just been enjoying my husband's time at home with us while we all bond with our new baby. Ben's big brother is madly in love with him and is constantly giving him kisses.
The whole experience has been incredible and I am so happy we chose to have a homebirth! It was such a calm, peaceful way to bring a baby into the world. If I have any more children, I will definitely be having them at home as well. I understand homebirth isn't for everyone, but it is an amazing option that every women should have available to them.
Thanks again to everyone for the love and support throughout this journey!
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