In the Beginning
This pregnancy was different than my other three pregnancies. With my boys, I never had morning sickness. This time though anytime that I would eat, I would get sick right afterwards. I wondered if maybe I was going to have a girl.
About mid way through my pregnancy, I was measuring 6 cm ahead for dates. My midwife wondered if maybe it was twins, so I went for an ultrasound. Before the doctor did the scan, I told her that I did not want to know the gender. One healthy baby was found. The doctor thought that maybe I had extra fluid, so I went for another ultrasound at an office that does more detailed scans. I also made sure to tell this ultrasound tech that I didn’t want to know the gender. My fluid levels were found to be normal and everything looked great!
On the night of Tuesday, August 5th, I woke up to consistent contractions and bloody show. I woke Chuck and told him that I thought that this might be it. By morning, my contractions had gone away. I had a visit with Robyn, my midwife, on Wednesday the 6th. She said that based on my signs, she thought labor would happen soon. Baby was laying on the right side of the womb. My due date (and my birthday), August 9th, came and went and no baby. I had contractions on and off throughout the time since the 5th. I began to wonder if I would really know when I was in labor.
Since I enjoy pregnancy and don’t have complaints, I didn’t mind going past my due date. I was feeling a little anxious when I realized that for the baby to arrive, I had the work of labor ahead of me. I had purchased an essential oils kit for labor. There were 4 different oil blends for various stages of labor. The 1st blend was fine for me to use even though I wasn’t in labor so I used at often as bed to help me relax and not feel anxious. It contained lavender for relaxation, spruce for balancing, and rose for balancing, harmony, and easing anxiety. I also prayed that God would ease my anxiety and give me the strength that I would need when I was in labor. I repeated Phil 4:13 often – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
I went to an appointment with Robyn on Wednesday the 13th. I thought when I made the appointment that I was not going to be there as I would have a baby by then, but there I was. At this appointment, we discovered that baby was posterior – baby’s back to my back. I did lots of cats and cows (an exercise that I learned in prenatal yoga) and sitting on the birth ball in hopes that baby would change to the left side of the womb. I knew that a baby in posterior position would make for a more difficult labor (back labor).
I woke up at 4 am on Saturday, August 16th. I was 41 weeks pregnant. I thought that this MUST be it. The contractions were much more intense than they had been for the last several days. I timed contractions and found them to be 10 minutes apart. Finally at 5:30, I got out of bed to eat a banana as I was hungry. Chuck woke up and asked me if everything was okay. I said, “Yes. I’m in labor.” I got out the birth ball. When a contraction came, I would get on my hands and knees and rock.
From about 6 am – 7am, I continued to time contractions. They were about 5 minutes apart and lasting about a minute in length. At 7 am, Chuck asked me if I was going to call Robyn, so I did. She said that she would be on her way. It takes her an hour to get here so I knew that it would be a while until I saw her. I called my mom and my sister, Mary Ellen, to let them know that today was going to be the day.
I had Chuck start filling the birth pool. Once he got it filled up, I climbed in. Ahhh! That felt great, but not quite as hot as I wanted it. We ran out of hot water though, so Chuck put 2 large pots of water on the stove to boil. I turned on the Hypnobirth CD that I planned to use while I labored. All of the boys had woken up and were excited that this was the day we were waiting for. Robyn’s assistant arrived soon, followed by my mom and sister, and then Robyn.
I remember feeling really hungry, but not knowing what sounded good. Chuck brought me a bowl of granola, yogurt, and blueberries. It was yummy! I only had a few bites though.
I found that to have the Hypnobirth CD help me during contractions I had to focus on listening to it even when I wasn’t having a contraction. If I tried to just listen to it during the contraction, it didn’t help me and the contractions seemed more difficult.
The hot water of the pool was wonderfully relaxing. It made me sweaty, so my birth team wiped my face and neck with an ice cold washcloth every so often, which felt great. They also made sure to give me plenty of sips of water. Brett even brought his juice box to me to share. How sweet!
During this time, the boys were being entertained and fed by my mom and sister. They would come check on me and then go off to play.
Labor is Progressing
I have no idea what time it was, but finally I asked Robyn to check me as I was curious how I was progressing. I was 6 or 7 cm dilated. I guess it wasn’t too bad, but not what I was hoping to hear. She said that the baby was no longer posterior, but wasn’t fully on the left side – but in between. I was still able to cope well with contractions.
I finally hit a point when I need more hands on support. I needed counterpressure on my back, which the assistant did. I also needed Chuck’s hands to squeeze. I remember hearing that I needed the #3 oil blend on my cloth, which I knew was for transition. I was getting louder during contractions and saying that I couldn’t do it and that I didn’t want to do it.
At some point, I started feeling like I needed to push. I didn’t like the hard work of having to push. “I just want the baby!” “How much longer?” “I don’t want to do this anymore.” “I hate this!” Then I would work really hard and push as much as I could. It was helpful to hear Robyn and her assistant saying, “That’s the way we do it. That’s how we get it done.” I was on my hands and knees while pushing. I went back and forth between feeling that I could do it and giving it everything I had to feeling that I couldn’t do it and that it would never be over.
At one point, I felt like I needed to be in a different position, so I turned to sit down. I clung my arms around Chuck’s neck and arms. By this time, Robyn was in the pool right beside me. The boys were sitting directly across from me watching all of the action. It started to burn, but I knew that this meant baby was starting to crown. Baby would be here soon!
The assistant was so helpful to get right in my face and tell me to breathe with her, so that I wouldn’t tear. It really helped me to have her right there guiding me through that moment. She told me to reach down and feel my baby. There was the head!! The boys also got to each take a turn feeling the head.
With the next contraction, the baby was out! 11:54 am I wanted to catch the baby as it emerged and I was able to do so. I brought baby up to me. I was so excited to have baby in my arms I didn’t even care about the gender. Finally after a few minutes (and much anticipation on the part of everyone in the room), I checked to see the gender. It’s a GIRL!! WOW!! What an exciting moment!
We sat in the pool for 10 or 15 minutes. During this time, the placenta came out. The cord had stopped pulsating, so big brother Peyton got the job of cutting the cord. After the cord was cut, we handed her to Chuck so that I could get moved to the couch. Once I was comfortable on the couch, I put her to the breast for her first nursing. She stayed latched on and nursing for quite a while.
My mom, sister, and Drew went to the store to get stuff for lunch. When they got back, my mom made a turkey and cheese sandwich, grapes, and veggies with dip. After the hard work of labor, it hit the spot. While I ate, the boys each got to take a turn holding the baby. Robyn also completed the newborn exam while I was eating. Apgars were 8, 10, and 10. Baby was 9 lbs even and 21 inches long.
My herbal bath was prepared for me, so they helped me to walk upstairs and get in the tub. They then handed Leah to me so we could enjoy our fragrant, healing bath together. After a while in the tub, I was ready to get out and get settled in my own bed with my new baby girl.
I should mention that Leah was born face up. She never did finish rotating to the left, but instead rotated back to posterior. My midwife said that this explained some of the intensity of pushing. While the pushing was intense, I pushed for 20 or 30 minutes, my shortest pushing time ever!
Even though labor was intense at times, I did it! It feels great to know that my body did this work. The reward of a beautiful baby at the end of the journey is pretty awesome too. I feel so blessed.