My second baby was 3 weeks early, so I was expecting my third baby ‘any time’ after that. Waiting was extremely tiring. I loved being pregnant this time & didn’t mind that he hadn’t come early, I just wished I had some idea *when* he was going to come.
On Sunday, March 1, 2009, my husband had an attack of labrynthitis (vertigo). It usually takes him several weeks to recover. Since I was already 40 weeks (or over, depending on the calculator), we knew there wasn’t going to be that much time, but I really hoped it was be at least a few days, otherwise he wasn’t going to be able to help much, if at all.
About 7:20am on March 2, I woke up to go to the washroom & felt like I was kind of damp. I stood up & gushed water all over the floor. Every step I took to the bathroom, I gushed more water. 3 labours, 3 times with my water breaking with no contractions, despite all my attempts to have it start differently. In the bathroom I quickly checked to see if I could feel any cord, since I didn’t think the baby was engaged. No sign of anything, so I figured it was fine. I put a towel between my legs, went out to the living room & called my friend, Jamie, who had offered to come to the birth, to let her know that I’d probably go into labour in the next couple days, since my water had broken. After I talked to her for a bit, I went back to bed & tried to get more sleep.
When I eventually got up, I was still leaking a little bit, but it only seemed to happen when I got up from lying down or bent over. I grabbed the fetoscope & listened for the heartbeat. It was nice & strong. I also started getting contractions around this time. They were fairly mild, I just had to pause briefly when I got one. The baby was quite active during them.They were about half an hour apart. I called Jamie again to let her know I was getting contractions, but still figured labour was a long way off, since I’d had to wait 3 days after my water broke with my second.
I spent the day mostly taking it easy; losing bits of plug all day. The contractions stayed about half an hour apart until around 10, when they started coming every 12-15 minutes. I decided to try to get some sleep. I realized it could be sooner than 3 days until labour really started, but was still hoping that I had at least another day for my husband to recover. By this point I seemed to have stopped losing plug & had a bit of blood.
I didn’t get much rest, the contractions got a lot more painful when I was lying down & started coming closer together. About 1:30am I couldn’t take it anymore. I was thinking that an epidural sounded like a lovely idea. My husband was still up, but I made him go to bed. I was still thinking it would be a long time. Getting up made the contractions hurt less, but they were still pretty painful.
Around 2:30, I couldn’t take it anymore & decided to try having a shower to see if the water helped with the contractions any. I had a waterbirth planned, the pool was all blown up, but it was in the bedroom with the sleeping kids & I really didn’t want to disturb them if I didn’t have to. So, I got in the shower. It was wonderful. Standing up was difficult, though, so I sat on the tub floor & just aimed the shower sprayer at my belly. By this point I had pretty much given up on Hypnobabies. It seemed to have helped a bit with the early contractions, but they didn’t really hurt anyway.
I stayed in the bathroom for nearly an hour. I knew the contractions were getting harder & closer together & I really wanted my waterbirth, but didn’t really want to get out. I kept hoping that hubby would wake up & come in so I could stay there while he got the pool ready, but he never did. So, I reluctantly got out of the tub, dried off & decided to try to move the pool into the living room. I wasn’t sure we’d have enough space, but was hopeful that it would fit. At this point contractions were coming about every 5 minutes, but picking up fast.
I rolled the pool out to the living room, discovered it would fit & went to grab the plastic & sheets to put under it. I woke up dh around 3:30. The thought of trying to dig out the hose & fill the pool was too overwhelming. I laid out sheets (for padding & warmth, my pool didn’t have an inflatable bottom & our floor was concrete) & put plastic over them; between contractions which were coming every 2-3 minutes by now. At some point in here (around 3:40am or so), I also called Jamie & told her the contractions were about 5 minutes apart. She said she was going to have a shower, then see if I wanted her to come up.
I thought about getting in while it was filling, but it seemed like way too much effort. When the pool was finally full (no idea how long it took, in our practice run it was 25 minutes, though) my husband encouraged me to get in. I had to go find a shirt to wear in it, since for some reason I felt really uncomfortable with the idea of being totally naked. The kids were awake by this point, not sure if it was me getting the plastic out of the bedroom, hubby getting the hose out of the closet across from the bedroom, or my moaning through the contractions that woke them, but at least it meant I could turn on the light to find a shirt. I finally found the one I was looking for & got in the pool. I think it was about 4:30am at this point, but I really wasn’t paying attention to the time anymore.
The contractions were really close together & very painful. As expected, doing the pool was about the extent of what dh was capable of doing for me with how awful he was feeling. I figured Jamie was probably on her way & just hadn’t called. Just before 5, she called to say she was on her way. I really had thought she’d be here any minute & was upset she was going to be at least 20 more minutes. H told her he thought I was in transistion. I wasn’t moaning through most of the contractions anymore, just screaming & begging dh to kill me. I was also giving deliberate little pushes on some of the contractions, just because it seemed to make them hurt a little bit less.
Ok, to be totally honest I was pushing quite hard on a couple of them. I just couldn’t handle the pain anymore. I was trying all kinds of different positions to try to get away from how much it hurt. I was really scared of a long pushing phase because I knew I couldn’t take this much pain for that long. I was also scared that I was pushing too soon since I’d only been in active labour for a few hours & I wasn’t feeling any kind of pushing urge, it just felt less painful.
I asked h to check me, since at least then I’d have some idea if pushing hard was likely to cause problems. He checked & said he couldn’t feel anything that seemed like cervix, just something jello-y feeling & possibly the head underneath. He figured the squishy thing was probably the sac. I started pushing with every contraction after he told me he didn’t feel any cervix, but I still wasn’t pushing really hard.
Sometime around here, Jamie arrived. It was about 5:20am Dh was relieved. He was starting to worry he was going to have to decide whether I needed to go to the hospital or not. In fact, just after she called, I’d told him that I was going to make her take me to the hospital as soon as she arrived because I couldn’t take it anymore.
The baby was obviously moving down. At this point, I wasn’t even really thinking about the baby, I just wanted to get rid of that feeling. It’s horrible! So I started pushing really hard, several times each contraction. I was just concentrating on pushing & so, even though I felt it, it took me awhile to realize that I was feeling a burning sensation & a little bit longer to process what that meant.
I told everyone (the kids were watching from the hall, I think my screaming had scared them a bit, especially the youngest) that I thought I was crowning. Then I reached down to feel if I actually was. The baby’s head was partially out already, with the edges of the membranes floating in the water. What I really wanted to do at this point was to push as hard as I could to get his head out & stop the burning. I also really wanted to avoid tearing.
So, despite how much I wanted the burning to stop, I slowly pushed his head out. Push, pause, burn, push, pause, burn. After about 7 pushes, his head was out. I waited until the next contraction & gave a hard push & his shoulders came out. It almost felt like there was a ‘pop’ as they came out. I think Jamie said his arm was out even before I pushed out his shoulders, but the timing of everything is a bit fuzzy. Unlike with my second, who had just slipped out on the push after his head was out, I had to push again to get N’s body out after his shoulders.
He floated up to the surface of the pool, face down. I grabbed him out of the water & brought him to my chest, then checked to see if he was a boy or a girl. I was kind of surprised to find that he was a boy, but also relieved that labour was over. It was 5:35 am, only 4 hours from when I couldn’t handle the contractions in bed anymore, even though they had still been 10 minutes apart.
I leaned back against the side of the pool and looked down at him. He was a little blue & completely quiet, which freaked me out a bit. Then I saw him move his mouth & knew he was ok. He looked up at me, then promptly closed his eyes & went to sleep. Jamie grabbed a towel & covered him with it.
After waiting for a little, I started getting a few mild contractions and decided to try pushing again to see if the placenta was ready to come out. It took a bit more work then I was expecting & as it came out, Nick woke up & cried for the first time.
Before I’d gotten in the pool, I’d grabbed some containers for things, since I knew dh wouldn’t be able to find anything with as bad as he was feeling. He handed Jamie the bowl for the placenta, which she floated in the pool while I was pushing it out. Once it was out, it was put in the bowl.
The pool was very bloody at this point & I decided I wanted to get out. I gave N to Jamie & leaned on h to get out. Then I sat down on the couch with some towels under me & a big blanket around me & cuddled my new little guy. I tried to nurse him, but he wasn’t at all interested at this point. My older boys came over to see their new brother & h started draining the pool.
Eventually we cut the cord & confirmed something Jamie thought she’d noticed earlier; there was a knot in the cord. When I cut up the placenta to dry it for encapsulation, I took pictures of the knot. After we’d dealt with the cord, I went for a quick shower to get rinsed/warm & get dry clothes on. Jamie went home about 8:30 & h & I crashed for awhile. The kids were wide awake, so I napped on the couch with the baby while they played a game on the playstation. At some point my youngest had a nap on the floor, but my oldest stayed awake for the whole day.
I don’t know exactly how much he weighed at birth, I think he was around 6lb 6oz, maybe a bit less. 19 1/2 inches long & head circumference of 13.4 inches.
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
The Doula Book: How A Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have A Shorter, Easier, And Healthier Birth
Birth is inspiring, amazing, and empowering. This website shares a collection of real natural birth experiences from you, the readers. Births the way nature intended. No pitocin. No epidural. Just the beauty (and intensity!) of the human body at work. Whether you've had one natural birth, five natural births, or are considering natural birth in the future, our hope is you will find courage and joy in these stories. Enjoy.
The Doula Book: How A Trained Labor Companion Can Help You Have A Shorter, Easier, And Healthier Birth
Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth