Bubba, our most recent addition to our family has now turned two. So, I figured it’s high time I sit down and write his birth story. To do that I am going to start a bit before the actual birth though.
Birth Options in Upstate New York
When I got pregnant with baby #4, I was clueless about maternity care in the area (upstate NY). I did not know about midwives in the area, doulas, procedures, or anything. I was honestly feeling a bit overwhelmed and out of my element. I was a pro at giving birth in Costa Rica. I knew who to call, what to do and the whole shebang. New York was a whole new ballgame.
So, I started looking on the internet. I searched Doulas, homebirth midwives, you name it. I emailed several. I heard back from a few. I called and left messages and got no response. I called one and finally got a hold of someone! Yeah! I felt like I was making progress. After telling her that I was quite early in my pregnancy but I was trying to figure out a course of action and get my ducks all in a row so to speak, she tells me that she is taking a hiatus from her homebirth practice, moving and wouldn’t be able to help me. But, there was a “but”. Whew. She was sending her clients to a nurse midwife who was just getting started in her own homebirth practice! Hurray.
Next on my list, call said nurse midwife. We talked for a good while by phone and I felt an instant connection. We hit it off right away. Bad news, she was booked for my due date window already!!! Ugh.
Around a week later, I received a phone call from her. She said she now had an opening and could take me on as her client if I was so inclined. I think I must have sighed a great sigh of relief at that moment. I finally was starting to feel like I had options. Next we talked about price. I was a bit taken aback by how much birth can cost in the U.S. Our insurance said they would cover nothing and Hubby and I discussed how we could make it work financially. She was happy to help us figure it out too, by offering us payment options. We scheduled a first visit to get a feel for her and to see if she was actually a good fit in person. Long story short, she was!
Every Birth is Different
November 28, 2015 at a little over 39 weeks, my water broke while I was sound asleep in bed. I was sleeping deeply, when I suddenly felt a “pop” between my legs and a warm gush of fluid. My pajama bottoms were all wet along with my side of the bed. I had never had my bag of waters break before transition, so this was a first. I went to the bathroom (and saw a little bloody show in the toilet), washed myself off in the shower, changed into new pajama pants and I debated on whether or not I should call the midwife.
I decided I would. It was 3:15 a.m.I was not having surges (contractions) yet, but I was in new territory and a bit unsure of what would happen next. I thought things might pick up quickly. Julie, our midwife, told me to use a maxi pad for amniotic fluid leakage and suggested that I go back to bed and try to get some more sleep. She said it could still be a while before labor actually started even though my water had broken. She instructed me to put nothing in my vagina in order to prevent the possibility of infection, since my membranes had ruptured. I got a towel and laid it down over the wet spot on the mattress and sheets. I grabbed a different blanket and just laid it over myself. I think hubby may have stirred at some point in his sleep and asked me what I was doing up and I may have mentioned my water breaking. I can’t remember for sure. I was able to get a few more hours of sleep before getting out of bed again around 8:00 a.m.
A Slow Start
I got up and made breakfast for the kids. I was not experiencing surges at this point. My midwife instructed me to take my temperature every 2 hours. This was because my water had broken, which opens up the possibility of infection which would be indicated with a fever. My temps were fine. I kept in touch with her over the phone and gave her updates periodically. I remember a conversation I had with her during one of these updates and her suggesting that I might want to try cooking a few eggs in castor oil to get things moving along. If labor did not pick up (because my water had already broken) there might be the possibility of needing to go to the hospital to have this baby. I told her I would consider it, but that at this point I wanted to give my body time to do what it knew how to do. I felt a peace about trusting my body.
At around 10 am the kids and I went across the street to my in-laws to share the news that baby would most likely be coming soon. My sister-in-law and her family were actually planning on leaving for Chicago (to head home from a Thanksgiving visit) when we announced that my water had broken! They decided to stick around a few extra days.
At around 2 pm I started experiencing mild surges every 30 minutes. Julie decided to come to our house to do a non-stress test for the baby. She lived an hour and a half away. She got there around 4:30 in the afternoon. I think I spent the better part of that day tidying up and basically “nesting”. Before she got to our house I had taken a nap for about an hour and a half. I lay down on the bed and she did the test. Everything looked great. I lay in bed with Mrs. Sayuri and we watched “More of the Business of Being Born” on Netflix. I guess watching birth videos while in labor is one of my rituals.
By 5:30 pm the surges were still mild but every 2-3 minutes apart now. Julie talked about maybe leaving and coming back in a bit when things picked up more and got more intense. However, I felt like she should stay. By 8 that evening I started to have stronger contractions and Matthew and Julie started filling the birthing tub. We had the birth room all set up with candles, towels, birth supplies and soothing music. I had requested that hubby make a playlist with harp songs that I really liked. As the tub was filling, I paced and swayed and did sitting hip circles on the birth ball. I love birth balls!
Hydrotherapy Feels So Good!
Once the tub was filled, I was ready to get in. Things had started to pick up. I got in the tub and the children wanted to get in for a bit too. My contractions were getting stronger but I didn’t mind having them in the tub. I would just pause and ride out my contraction and then come back to reality and the moment. After a bit I was ready for them to get out. It was getting late and I was concerned about bedtimes and sleep for them. Hubby left me for a bit and went to go ready them for bed. Once he had tucked them in their beds, he was free to come rejoin me in the birth. This was around 9:30 pm. Contractions were steadily getting stronger. I would gear up for riding them like a wave. Once I got to the “peak” I knew I could ride it down. I was in laborland and pretty quiet up until the very end. Breathing and low tones were great helps to me. I felt warm in the tub and hubby held a cool washcloth to my forehead while the midwife made sure I was hydrated.
Time for Baby
Right around this time I suggested that it might be time to get Mrs. Sayuri up so that she could witness the birth. All along the plan had been for her to be there for it all. Our midwife went down the hall to quickly try and awaken her but she said she would not get up. She had been feeling unwell all day with a stomachache so I think that had worn her out. Unfortunately she did not make it for the birth. However, we set up a video camera to record it and she was able to watch that later.
I started feeling pressure around 10 PM. The fetal ejection reflex was in full force. I could not hold back from the force that felt overwhelmingly intense. At this point there was not much break between these last contractions. Tears streamed down my face toward the end because I felt a little overcome. Julie reassured me that I was doing great and baby was almost here. She could see the head and reminded me to open my legs so baby could come out. After what felt like 3 surges baby #4 was out! He was born at 10:12 pm.
Immediately I held him close and kissed him while telling him “hello”. I was exhausted. He gave a lusty cry. Hubby was right behind me looking on in love. I soon began experiencing strong after pains. Everyone helped steady me as I got out of the tub while holding baby boy. He was still attached. I got out of the tub and lay down on a mattress we had set up on the floor. I delivered the placenta naturally within 15-20 minutes. We left baby boy attached and allowed the cord to stop pulsing. Hubby cut the cord at 11:03 pm.
He weighed just shy of 7 pounds.
Next morning all of his siblings met him. They were instantly smitten!