I want to say up front that I absolutely love birth stories. The process that God designed for a baby to enter this world just enthralls me. So needless to say, when it's MY CHILD'S birth story, I go a little over the top. So here's your warning...if you can't handle the nitty-gritty details of the birth process, stop reading now. I'm going to share the good, the bad, and the ugly of the amazing birth of David Jacob.
On Tuesday evening (May 31st) I was getting ready for bed. It was around 10pm and I went potty one last time before crawling into bed. However, this time was a bit different because on the toilet paper I noticed a little bit of light pink coloring. I've heard of "bloody show" before, but never experienced it with any of the other three children. I knew that this might mean something, but didn't want to get my hopes up. My official due date was still several days off (June 4th) and I tend to go over. So, the thought of me actually delivering early wasn't taken too seriously.
However, the next morning I went to the bathroom again and noticed even more distinct redness on the toilet paper. I went about our usual morning routine. I got the kids up and dressed and started making breakfast. I was having some contractions, but that wasn't unusual. I'd been having daily sporadic contractions for quite some time. I did, however, start to write down the frequency of the contractions at 8:17am. They were averaging about 15 minutes apart. I called the midwife to let her know what was happening and she said that these contractions could taper off just like all the others had, but to keep her informed since I'd had the little bit of bloody show.
By 10am the contractions were still coming on and they had changed to being every 10 minutes apart. I'd never had regular contractions continue for several hours, so Shawn and I started to really think today might be the day. I sent him into town to get a few last minute groceries that would be needed just in case baby did decide to come. At noon the contractions were coming every 7-9 minutes. They still weren't very strong contractions. They certainly didn't keep me from doing things around the house and taking care of the kids. They were noticable, but that's about it.
We put the kids down for a nap at 1:00 and I phoned the midwife again. She urged me to take a nap while I had the chance and call her to check back in after naptime. So, around 1:30 I laid down for my nap. I did try to doze off, but the contractions would come around just about the time that I would start to fall asleep. So, I laid there having non-painful contractions every 7-9 minutes. I was having another of these contractions at 2:10pm when suddenly my water broke. I vaulted out of the bed, grabbed the phone, and raced to the bathroom. As I sat on the toilet I called the midwife and exclaimed, "I think my water just broke!" She told me to stay calm and she would be heading our way shortly. She advised me to lay back down on my left side and wait for her to arrive. Of course Shawn was outside dealing with the animals so I made my way to the garage and proceeded to yell at him until he came running back to the house. He helped me change out the sheets on the bed then I crawled back in and began to wait on the midwife.
This was an entirely new experience for me. With the other three children, I had always had my water artificially ruptured in the hospital after being induced. As I laid there in bed I kept waiting for the first serious contractions to occur. I was concerned that the baby would be born before the midwife could make the hour long drive to our farm. My heart was racing, so I called my friend Amanda to tell her the news. She offered to come get the children and, after discussing it with Shawn, we decided that we would really appreciate that. Fortunately, I only had 2-3 extremely mild contractions before the midwife arrived at 3:30pm.
Once the midwife arrived and Amanda left with the children, my contractions picked back up to what they had been prior to my water breaking. I really believe that my body stopped the labor process until the midwife arrived and the children were gone. Once everyone was where they were supposed to be, I was ok with proceeding with the birth. The midwife confirmed that the amniotic fluid was clear, so we didn't have any worries about the baby passing meconium. She also checked the baby's heart rate and declared that everything looked and sounded great.
At 4:14pm I started timing contractions again at 7-9 minutes apart. The midwife urged me to keep myself busy with normal activities. So, I started a load of laundry, cleaned the living room and dining room, and went about preparing supper. Contractions slowly came more closely together so that by 6:00pm they were 4-5 minutes apart and starting to demand my attention. Whenever a contraction came I would have to stop my activity and breathe my way through it. At 6:30pm I had supper ready. We started to eat but I couldn't stand to sit down so I stood at the kitchen table and ate baked chicken, boiled carrots, and steamed broccoli for supper. During supper the contractions were coming 3-4 minutes apart.
Throughout the afternoon I had been writing down each contraction in my household binder where I keep my weekly to-do list. The dining room table is on one end of the room and the counter with my binder was on the other end of the room. At 6:45pm I had another strong contraction and finally said, "You know, I just don't feel like walking to the counter to write that one down." The midwife chuckled a little bit and said, "Janice I think we've established that you're really in labor. You don't have to write each one down anymore unless it helps you somehow." She urged me to try to empty my bladder and then we could check the baby's heart rate again. (It still amazes me that I was holding a new baby a mere 13 minutes after this conversation.)
I made my way to the bathroom and closed the door. As soon as I sat down on the toilet there was an immediate change in pain level. Apparently I started making noises that caused Shawn to rush into the bathroom. I had involuntarily started pushing. When Shawn and the midwife came into the bathroom I was paralyzed on the toilet. I was having an extremely strong contraction and couldn't force my body to stand up. All I could do was PUSH. I'm pretty sure I was hollering something like, "God help me!" and "I can't do this!"
After that contractions passed, Shawn and the midwife helped me walk into the bedroom. My mind was still not functioning (which is normal for me during transition) so I was more-or-less brain numb at this point. They got me to the edge of the bed and Shawn sat on the bed to physically support me from behind. The midwife had me reach down and feel the inch or two of baby head that was protruding out of me. This really reassured me because even my pain-numbed brain was able to process that the baby would be coming out soon and the pain would be ending soon. The midwife turned to grab a tablecloth for the floor at the same time that I screamed, "It's head is out!" This is the first delivery where I was actually able to see the baby's head emerge. The on-the-back position at the hospital didn't make it easy for me to see a baby being born, but this semi-standing position definitely gave me a better perspective. The midwife spread the tablecloth on the floor and caught David's body within moments of one another. All of this happened less than five minutes after I walked into the bathroom. I was immediately able to lay back and relax on the bed while holding my newborn son. The placenta emerged a short nine minutes after David arrived. David was latched on and nursing 17 minutes after his arrival.
I had very little blood loss and only a slight little tear that didn't require stitches. The recovery from this delivery isn't even comparable to the other deliveries. I flat out feel good!
David is now five days old and still doing very well. He does have his days and nights mixed up, so we're not getting a lot of sleep. The kids are being so sweet and gentle with him..even Andrew, who I was worried might be jealous.
So, that's David's birth story. I'm definitely a homebirth convert for sure now!