I had a couple requests for Simon's birth story, and since I love to read birth stories myself, I took some time today to type up the story of his entrance into the world. It's pretty long, but I didn't want to forget anything. (Enjoy, Abby and Jenny!)
Simon’s Birth Story
Early in the morning of February 18, a week before my due date, I woke up with my three year old because he wasn’t feeling well and was running a bit of a fever. I got him some water and settled him back to sleep. I was laying in bed trying to fall back asleep myself when I realized that I was having some strong Braxton Hicks/mild cramps. I glanced at the clock and noted that it was about 3 a.m. Every time I felt another cramp I would look at the clock. I realized they were coming every 5-7 minutes or so, but they weren’t very strong or lasting very long. I dozed for the next hour and a half or so, timing the contractions with the bedside clock. I wasn’t totally convinced I was in labor, but I was hopeful this was the real thing because I was so ready to be done being pregnant.
Labor with my second son had gone very quickly, so my midwife and I had agreed that I would call her this time as soon as I thought that I might be in labor. She lives an hour and a half away, so we had discussed the fact that she needed to head toward my house as soon as I was having regular contractions. With that in mind, I decided to get out of bed, have a few contractions with the help of gravity to see what happened, and give her a call. I woke Tyson to tell him I was having contractions, told him I was going to call the midwife, and that he could keep sleeping until I needed him.
I went out to the kitchen and got on the computer so I could see how long the contractions were lasting using contractionmaster.com. They were coming every 5 minutes or so, and lasting about 20-45 seconds. I was handling them really well, but I decided to call the midwife anyway. It was about 4:30 a.m. She answered right away and we chatted for a minute or so. She told me to try to lie back down and get more rest, and to call her back when they got stronger. I was pretty annoyed at her for a few minutes, because we had agreed she would come as soon as she heard from me, but I decided that I would listen to my hypnobabies early labor track to see if I could get the contractions to intensify.
I lay on the couch with my iPod and put on the hypnobabies track. I listened to the whole thing, which lasted about 50 minutes. The last four or five contractions I had while listening to the track got really strong and I was having a hard time staying comfortable and relaxed through them. Right before the track ended I felt a gush of water, so I shut off the iPod and headed to the bathroom. It was definitely my water breaking. At this point it was about 5:30 a.m. and I noted that the contractions were coming about every three minutes or so and lasting around a minute and a half.
I changed into some dry pants and woke my husband to let him know I didn’t feel like being alone anymore. I called the midwife back and told her the contractions were really strong and much closer together so she needed to come. She said she would send her student midwife, who lives about 30 minutes away and then head out herself. At this point my husband also called my mom, who was coming to get the older boys, and asked her to head to our house.
By that point I was really working through contractions. I wasn’t vocalizing yet, but I was really focused on keeping my mouth loose, breathing, and relaxing my body through contractions. I was pacing the living room floor, breathing “open” and “relax” to myself, and visualizing the contractions working to open my cervix so baby could come meet us. I was starting to get resentful that the kids were still sleeping back in the bedroom because I really wanted to labor in that space and not in our living room. Right after that they woke up, though, and Tyson got them settled downstairs watching a show until my mom could get there. I immediately headed back to the bedroom, where the contractions got really intense. I was vaguely aware of Tyson putting the plastic and birth sheets on the bed, but I was working so hard to stay on top of contractions that I barely took note of anything else. He tried to turn on the overhead lights at one point and I snapped to leave them off, but I was pretty far into labor land. I think I had started vocalizing through contractions, but I was still focused on keeping a loose mouth and keeping my pitch low so I wouldn’t tense up and interfere with my body’s work.
The contractions were coming one on top of the other and I was having a hard time getting through them. I recall one of them triple-peaking, and started wondering why I had been so intent on having a baby. At one point I thought, “I just need a break. Stop for just a minute so I can have a break!” And they did. It was so nice to just breathe for a minute.
The logical part of my brain realized I was nearing the end, because baby’s head was making me feel like I needed to use the bathroom and I was having such a hard time coping with contractions. I glanced at the clock. It was 6:15 a.m., and I started hoping a midwife would get there soon. A minute or so later I heard the student midwife come through the front door. I was so glad she was there! I was starting to feel a bit pushy, but was certain that it couldn’t be time for that yet.
The student midwife hustled into the room and immediately began unpacking her stuff. I had one or two more contractions, and then told her I felt a little like pushing. She calmly responded, “Ok,” and then she went back to her bag. I was so glad she thought that pushing already wasn’t a big deal because I felt very uncertain about it. So, I headed for the bed and took a few deep breaths to refocus myself. She took a couple deep breaths too, and then helped me get on all fours, supported with pillows. And then I started to push in earnest, because it was such a relief to be at this stage.
Somewhere during pushing my mom came and got my older boys. I thought briefly of having them stay to see the birth because I knew it would be soon, but I just couldn’t focus on anything else at that point and really just wanted them gone so I didn’t have to think about them. I heard them leave, they were both crying about something, and then quickly refocused on the task at hand.
Pushing was odd, though. It felt like I was pushing so hard and nothing was happening. I felt like the baby didn’t have enough room to come out, so I put one foot flat on the bed to open up my pelvis, hoping that would help. I voiced concern to the midwife that pushing wasn’t doing anything because I couldn’t feel the baby move down. She assured me that it was working just fine, and that he would be here soon. That made me feel so much better and made it easier to keep pushing, even though it didn’t feel quite right. I was yelling through a lot of the contractions, and the midwife reminded me to take some breaths and focus on keeping my energy in. Not too long later, I could feel his head. Within another couple pushes he was crowning, and the midwife reminded me to breathe through the contractions so I had time to stretch around him. She supported my perineum, and I breathed through a couple contractions. Then I couldn’t stand it anymore and pushed really hard until his head came out. The midwife said, with surprise in her voice, “Oh, he’s completely posterior! He’s looking right at you!” I tried to look down and see him, but couldn’t. She reminded me to wait until he rotated before pushing again, and then he came right out on the next push. She helped me guide him under my legs, and I sat back to hold him. He was born at 6:38 a.m., about three and a half hours from when I started having contractions in bed.
Yay! My baby was here! We rubbed him and talked to him and wrapped him in warm receiving blankets. It felt so good to have him out! We shifted position on the bed so I could sit supported by pillows and waited for the placenta to come. We talked about how he was posterior (a surprise to all of us) and that was why pushing had felt so funny. The student midwife said she had never seen a fully posterior birth and was so glad she had gotten the opportunity. She said when she told me she could see that pushing was working it was because she could watch his head lifting my tailbone and moving down toward my perineum in a way that wouldn’t have happened if he had been positioned properly. She couldn’t believe I had pushed him out so fast and didn’t tear at all!
My actual midwife didn’t arrive until well after he was born, since she had such a long drive, but it all worked out great. The student midwife did a fantastic job, and my midwife still got to be there for all the newborn exam stuff and to help clean up. The baby weighed in at 7 pounds, 1 ounce and he was 20 inches long. He looks so tiny to me!
It was a really intense birth, but I felt great afterward and I have been healing really well. I am so glad my sweet baby is here and we are enjoying getting to know him. He will probably be our last baby, and I’m so glad I got to have one last, wonderful, positive homebirth experience!