Baby Jane was our first home-birth and our second natural birth. Our three other girls were born in the hospital. I have always tended to go earlier than 40 weeks so when I talked to a midwife about home-birth she referred me to her back-up doctor. It was great that my birth with Emma was natural but things could have been better. The nurse was supporting me very well and when the doctor walked in he took over, did not support me, and when Emma was born I tore really really bad.
Before we even conceived baby #4 we knew we wanted something different. My Mom knew I was looking for a midwife and while I had met with one that I thought I was going to use....we moved farther away. Mom found Emily's card and I knew she was an answer to prayer. I was nervous...afraid she would not take me with my history. But to her she saw my issues as things that could be prevented by a Midwife's care. And she was right.
My pregnancy with Jane started out very good until I got sick a month into the pregnancy with pneumonia. I was very very sick. I went through three rounds of antibiotics and dealt with wheezing through the whole pregnancy. Exercise flew right out the window. Which was really hard for me as I was use to walking 4-5 miles a day.
Around 34-35 weeks I started having lots of contractions. Emily put me on bed-rest, she also gave me an herbal formula to help stop the contractions. So much better than the Procardia I had been on with Emma. I made it to 37 weeks and this is where I will start my birth story. I have never written out any of my births before so this is new to me, I don't know all the fancy terms and such so here it is in Phallin Marie Language!
The Saturday night before she was born I was awakened around 2 in the morning with pretty intense contractions. I woke Steve up and he rubbed my back through them. They were about 4 minutes apart consistently until 6 in the morning. We called the midwife and let her know but told her not to come yet until we felt we had progressed further. Amazingly I fell asleep and around 8 o' clock Sunday morning I called Mom and told her I thought the baby would be here soon. She skipped out on church that day and came over. I had contractions all day but nothing seemed to come of it. I painfully walked around trying to get things going. I felt miserable all over and my face was killing me too - I had gotten a bad sunburn on Saturday and I was as red as a beet! :) (Not the thing you want to happen right before you deliver)
I was in a bad mood and upset the baby had not come, feeling miserable and bummed. My midwife stopped in that afternoon for a visit to see how I was doing. With no more progression she went ahead and checked me and I was still just 3 cm dilated and 50% effaced. This made my mood even worse.
Steve said I needed to get out of the house, so we loaded up in the van and headed to town for a few groceries. Being huge and miserable and feeling quite ugly with my red face and humongous belly I stayed in the van while Steve and the girls shopped. While waiting in the van I saw a lady and husband with a newborn baby and this made my mood even worse. (Shame on me by the way).
My folks happened to be in town too and Dad bought ice cream for all of us. This helped some and when I got home I asked God to forgive me and settled with the fact the baby would probably not be coming for a few more weeks despite how miserable I was. So I went to bed with a peaceful spirit and around 4 in the morning Heidi woke me up at my bedside to tell me something, the minute she woke me up a painful contraction started in - so painful I could not move and much more intense that the ones from Saturday night. Steve was sleeping upstairs (my snoring was keeping him up) so I grabbed the phone to call his cell phone but I was hurting so bad i couldn't. Heidi said, "Mommy should I go get Daddy?" I confirmed yes she should!
Steve came downstairs and I told him this was for sure the real deal and 5 times more painful than the contractions from the night before. We called my Mom and then he called the midwife. The contractions were intense back labor so I was at the foot of my bed in a praying position to endure them. I clenched the comforter and tried to breath through them. Emily arrived around 4:30. Her sister started setting things up and her and Steve started filling the pool with water. They ran out of water from the hot water heater and started heating large pots on the stove to add to the pool. I waited at the foot of my bed - contractions getting much closer. Feeling as though I could not make it in between them. Emily firmly pressed her hand on my lower back and the counter pressure really helped the back labor. She knew right where to press. It was amazing and I was thinking to myself "why have we not done it this way before?"
I am guessing around 5:00 a.m. they told me the pool was ready and I got in - I was only wearing a T-shirt, I knew it was getting close so I took my bottoms off. I had never had a water birth so I was a bit nervous and didn't know really what to expect. You can read about it watch them all you want but you'll never know until you experience it for yourself. The girls had all awakened at this point of which Heidi never did go back to sleep so they went up stairs to watch a new Bible DVD I had bought them just for this moment. I knew I wanted the girls to be in the house but I also knew they had never experienced anything like this before so I didn't want them to be scared. They were so good I was so proud of them.
I knelt over the edge of the pool ( this is the one we bought Ocean Reef Inflatable Kiddie Pool) when I got in and Emily poured hot water over my back. This really did help! I was still hurting immensely but the water was a comfort measure. Steve and Sunshine were still heating water pots on the stove but as the contractions were intensifying I asked him to please come over so I could squeeze his hand, and squeeze I did.
At this point Emily was concerned that my leaning over the tub in this same position I had kept since I was in the bedroom was holding things off and that I should consider laboring in a sitting position in the pool with my back against the tub. I was scared to do so - I thought it would hurt worse but I did it and it didn't seem to hurt any worse. She always seemed to know just what to do and when to do it!
All this time my water never broke. Infact I am not sure when it broke, possibly as Jane was born.
I asked Steve to come by me now all the time and quit heating pots of water as I felt I needed him to squeeze his leg continually. My midwife checked me and I think I was 7 cm at this point. with my arm against the side of the tub I moved onto my right side, kind of laying in the tub. As I contracted I told Emily I felt like the head was moving down and that i needed to push and couldn't stop it. She said to go ahead and reminded me to breath in very low tones. The higher pitched noises you make the more out of control you become. So this whole time I was trying to breath very low, almost humming.
I was getting weak and tired and she would periodically have me sip my labor aid drink Steve had made for me the night before but I did not need. It is honey Y.S. Eco Bee Farms Raw Honey - 22 oz, lemon juice, water and liquid calcium. Liquid Calcium Magnesium Citrate-Blueberry - 16 oz - Liquid
I highly recommend it, I was very fatigued towards the end but I do believe it really helped.
I think I was kind of sliding down the side of the tub - hanging on to Steves leg and Mom grabbed my left leg and held it up as I was pushing. I was so weak I did not feel like I had much control. Emily had her hands in the water and was supporting me and told me she saw the babies head. She asked if I wanted to feel it and I said no. I just wanted to get her out and hold her. Nothing else. The holy spirit brought a Scripture to my mind right before she was born when I proclaimed to Steve that I could not do this or take it anymore..."for my strength is made perfect in weakness". I started repeating this over and over. Later I asked Steve to fetch my Bible so I could find the Scripture, I did not even know where it was or the entire verse. I truly feel God gave it to me to help me out.
2 Corinthians 12:9
King James Version (KJV)
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Heidi then came down the stairs and asked me a question, I do not even remember what it was, but I snapped back at her to go upstairs. I apologized later but at that moment I was in utter agony and could not think.
At 6:08 Jane was born after 7 minutes of pushing. (Not bad!) Emily put her on my chest immediately but not real high up because her cord was rather short. I cried and thanked God and said, "my baby, my baby, my baby". Steve grinned real big and told me I was amazing.
Emily said I should try and stand up and get out of the tub. I held Jane and carefully got out and they walked me to the bed where they helped me take off my wet shirt and put a clean nightgown on me. I then put Jane to my breast to nurse and she did immediately! Emily felt there was some blood loss so she gave me cinnamon under my tongue several times and another formula for after labor pain. The contractions I was experiening while I was nursing were super painful.
After a while she said I should try to pee, so I went to the bathroom...it took awhile but I finally did and I had bought a cold pack pad thing to put on. I did tear a bit and this felt really good on my sore bottom.
While she was helping me and the baby her sister Sunshine cleaned up the messy pool and had it all emptied and cleaned out in no time. I was so impressed by her helpfulness.
Emily told me to nurse Jane once more and put her to bed, that she should sleep 6-8 hours straight and this would be my time to rest. I did rest some but I was so excited I barely slept.
If I could recommend anything to an expectant Mom - sleep those 6-8 hours and don't do anything but nurse your baby for a couple of weeks. Try to have a helper. I wish I would have had a helper and could have rested more. After 3 weeks postpartum I re-tore my tear and had to go on bed rest again for another couple of weeks. :(
I had wanted to get some meals in the freezer but never did . I wish I would have!
Thankfully she said she didn't think my tear needed stitches just to try and keep my legs together and I made a tea out of comfrey leaves and put it in my peri bottle and used it everytime I went to the bathroom. I also made a compress with the leaves and put in a paper towel and wore it in my underwear - the comfrey leaves are amazing.
After having all three of our other children go into NICU /PICU after birth and one of those with cancer it was a blessing to deliver a healthy Jane.......truly an answer to prayer.