On Wednesday January 6th, at 5 days overdue and feeling like our baby was never going to arrive, we went in to see the midwives, who after a little check, informed me that I was 1 cm dilated, with some other good things happening down there. Now 1cm at nearly 41 weeks is nothing to write home about, but it was PROGRESS! Progress that made me feel like we actually may have this baby before it was time to register him for preschool!
That Friday we had a BPP (biophysical profile) test scheduled, which includes an ultrasound and a non-stress test, where they check all of baby’s stats and make sure everything is still OK. They look for baby’s movement, breathing, fluid levels and muscle tone, and then hook you up to a monitor to make sure baby’s heart rate is increasing with movement, etc.
Annnd….we kind of failed the test.
I remember writing my birth story with my second son, it was empowering and wonderful and completely healing from my intervention-filled first birth. This time around, I’m still in a daze from the wonderment that is my body.
I had bloody show on Friday, and contractions in the morning. After running some errands and shipping my boys off for a pre-planned out of town trip, my contractions stopped. I slept well that night, and they picked up again on Saturday. I laid around the house all day, watching Ugly Betty (great noncommittal TV programming!), snacking, baking, and blowing up my birth tub. I liked being alone, just me and my baby. I wrote her a letter, telling her about all the good things, cloth diapers, a birth tub, nursing, big brothers, etc when she decided to come and be born. I was ready.
Around 8pm, I felt my contractions picking up in timing and somewhat in strength, but it wasn’t anything to get excited about. I timed them for about two hours, and they were 3 to 5 minutes apart. I could walk through them and stand, I mostly stood and laid down when I felt I needed to.
I was due on Sunday, which came and went and by Monday I was feeling a little down that I hadn’t had ANY signs of labor (no mucus plug, no nesting, no show, etc.) When I came home from work on Monday evening I decided that I would clean the baseboards in our hallway, thinking that being on my hands and knees would be good to help baby into a good position for birth.
Once I started cleaning, signs began to appear! Bloody show? Check. Mucus plug? Check. Nesting? The baseboards looked great!
By around 11pm my contractions were about 10 minutes apart and felt like really strong menstrual cramps with a little bleeding. I called my doula who told me that I was probably in early labor and that I should try to get some sleep because my baby was probably going to be born the next day.
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.
How do you do it? How do you start to write about one of the most empowering times of your life without cheapening it or making it seem cheesy or a fantasy and unattainable to others who will travel the same road? I’m going to try.
In retrospect, I was feeling euphoric that weekend, walking outside was nice, and checking out this lizard that was crossing my path as I went to check the mail alone made me smile in this way that I knew something was up. I wasn’t going to give into it just yet, but subconsciously I knew. On Monday, August 21st, around 2 pm I was in the kitchen making some food for Aiden and myself, I felt a gush of fluid. Luckily I had on a cloth pad as I usually do because of a bout with incontinence. I went to the bathroom and peed, came back washed my hands, prepped the food some more and it happened again.
Things started the exact same way this time as they did with my first son, only difference being it was a couple weeks earlier in pregnancy. My water broke on Tuesday morning. I woke up around 3am and felt a bit damp, but figured it was just sweat since our place is hideously hot. Around 4:30am, my husband came to bed. We talked for a few minutes and I thought I felt something. I thought maybe I was losing my plug, so I went to the washroom and realized that I was getting gushes of fluid. I really hadn’t expected things to start this way and had been taking vitamin c for most of the pregnancy to try to avoid it, but was hopeful that labour would start in a few hours.
During the day on Tuesday, I would get an occasional contraction, but never more than about 1 an hour, sometimes I wouldn’t get one for several hours. Wednesday was more of the same, although I was getting one almost every hour. There were even a few that were closer together than that. I kind of lost it on Wednesday night. Between the leaking and the fear that I was looking at a repeat cesarean because labour would never start (which I know was completely irrational, but I was tired and desperate for it to start). I lost it so bad I seriously considered going to the hospital. My husband very bluntly asked me would I rather leak or be cut open again? That quickly brought me back down.
Jack’s birth story begins with Hemi’s birth story. I have always been a fan of trusting my body, so I innately prefer a natural childbirth over a medicated childbirth. With Hemi, I did not take any natural childbirth classes or read any natural childbirth books, just the took the childbirth class suggested and read the literature supplied by my doctor… beyond that, I was just going to trust my body and the process that millions of women in time have done successfully.
This method does not work well if you want a natural childbirth in a hospital. With Hemi I arrived too early to the hospital and “failed to progress” according to their schedule. As a result of my naiveté, all my fear and self-doubt buttons were pushed. I consented to four procedures (including an epidural) before Hemi was born.
In hindsight, and after reviewing the medical literature, none of these procedures were medically necessary to producing a healthy outcome. They were just things the hospital could bill insurance for.
Well, it didn’t go quite as expected. Not quite sure what I expected, but it wasn’t this.
My first, born at 39+5weeks, was a long (35 hour), drawn-out process that involved waters breaking, contractions stopping, pitocin drips, 13 hours of hard labour, Dr talking c-section, and about a half hour of active pushing.
This one… just a wee bit different.
The prior Saturday, started feeling contractions that were rather strange. There wasn’t so much any tightening, as just a surge of energy that started in my belly, and flowed up into my sinuses making me light-headed.
That night, during my many trips to the potty, I lost my mucus plug. Figured things should really get going soon.
Not so much.
I had prodromal labor for months with him so it was nothing new when the contractions started at 8pm. I tried to sleep and for the first time they didn’t stop, but got a little stronger. I got up, took a shower and begged him to let me sleep a little. They slowed to about every 15min and I got a few (restless) hours in.
I had an appointment at 9am to strip my membranes and try to keep things going. Thankfully, by 9am, I was in hard labor. I had been sitting at 5cm for weeks so when I let her check me I was happy to find I was 7cm already!
I woke at 4am with mild cramping, went to the restroom and then back to bed. When dh’s alarm went off for him to go to work at 5, I told him I was having contractions but it was still early and sent him to work. By 6:30 they were pretty strong and I called my sis to bring me into town (we were living an hour from the birth center) I got there about 9am, my midwife checked me and I was only 3ish cm. She sent me out to go walk and get food, dh and I decided to get a hotel room so I could try to rest.
We went back at 3pm and was still only 3cm, she sent me out again. Back to the hotel room where I was in and out of the shower, sitting on the toilet, moaning pretty strongly.
At 7pm Kris thought we should head back over there, she checked me again and I was still only 3cm. She had planned on sending me out again but thought I should try getting in the tub for some pain relief (7:30pm). Within 5 min of getting in, my water broke and I was an instant 5cm.
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.
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth
The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth