Homebirth of Paul Michael Leo...
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May 17th, 2010, 12:15 PM
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: New York
Birth Story of Paul Michael Leo
I woke up around 1:30am with a contraction. I thought I just had to pee, so I went to the bathroom. I actually had bloody show. That definitely threw me for a loop. I’ve only had bloody show once before, the morning of Julia’s labor and birth. Here I was at 37 weeks with bloody show… I never deliver early!!! I got back into bed, and had another contraction. I’ve had contractions before but these ones started coming every 5-7 minutes. After about an hour, at 3am I called my midwife to let her know what was going on. She told me that if things got harder or closer together to call back. I layed down and tried to rest, but the contractions kept coming. I had to use the bathroom quite a few times, and anytime I stood up or was on the toilet the contractions would get much more intense. I called my husband so that he could come home from work (he was working a midnight shift). He got home around 5:30am and layed down in our bed with Julia, while I went to putter around and time some more contractions. Contractions were now between 3-5 minutes apart. The girls started waking up around 6:30-7am and I got busy with making them breakfast, getting dressed, etc. Contractions were still there, but started petering out a bit with being busy with the girls. This has happened in all of my labors… whenever I am busy caring for the girls, labor slows down. I called my Mother in law to come pick up Lily and Julia to bring them to dance class, I was too tired to go, and Paul was a bit tired as well since he hadn’t slept since the night before, due to being at work. I also called my midwife around 7:30 to let her know that contractions were still there and hadn’t let up at all, some coming close together. My midwife decided to come over to check me out, listen to the baby and see how things were going. She got to the house around 9am. Baby sounded good, I wasn’t dilated, but baby was super low and I was pretty thinned out. As she said, this was pretty typical “Christine labor”. I have always had long labors, with my 3rd being days. Things could definitely pick up, but if this labor was following suit like previous ones, it would probably peeter out. Time would tell. Susan left shortly. Paul had a friend over working on car stuff, so Kate and I just hung out for a couple hours. My mother in law called and offered to take her along with the older girls for the afternoon so I could rest. No one really expected me to have a baby that day, but I knew I needed some rest so I took her up on her offer. Kate left with my mother in law around noon. Contractions were still coming, every 3 minutes and pretty strong once she left. I tried resting, but I couldn’t sleep. I called my midwife back and she was going to have her assistant, who I had wanted at the birth, to come over and check on me and the baby. Jenn came over around 2 and checked me… I was 2-3cm dilated now. Progress was being made, but it was slow… typical “Christine labor”. We decided I should take a bath… contractions would either pick up in the water and we’d know it was the real deal, or they would slow down. We kind of both thought that they’d slow down since I was only 37 weeks and I just don’t deliver quickly or early for that matter. I got into the tub, and initially contractions spaced out to about every 5 minutes, but they got soooo much stronger. Jenn and I were talking in between contractions but as soon as I had a contraction, I needed it to be quiet. I asked Paul to start setting up the tub for me. . Since I was so early, we really hadn’t gotten anything prepared for a waterbirth. Paul ended up having a lot of trouble getting the tub set up, it took a while for it to inflate, then a while for him to get it filled. He needed to go out and pick an adapter up, and pick Lily up from girl scouts, so he left to go do that around 4. Jenn checked me after he left, to see what these stronger contractions were doing. I was 7cm. In under 2 hours I had gone from 2cm-7cm. That was pretty unheard of for me. I immediately texted Paul and my friend Jenn who would be serving as my doula. Both of them freaked out and suddenly the idea of our impending birth became a reality. Paul got home with Lily around 4:45 and set to work on setting up the tub. Lily wanted to go back to Grammy’s house, so she called her and my inlaws came back to pick her up. Paul was pretty angry and upset about the problems he was having setting up the tub. I ended up leaving the bathroom I was in because I was getting upset, and going to to another bathroom. Jenn helped me and really put it into perspective… Paul was upset that he couldn’t do the one thing I wanted and needed. He was angry at himself for not being able to help me. Not to mention he was tired, hungry and obviously thrown for a loop since we weren’t expecting to have a baby for a few more weeks. Hearing her tell me this really helped me calm down and focus and I no longer felt upset. My midwife arrived right at 5pm and soon there was enough water in the tub for me to have my water birth. I moved into the tub around 530pm or so. Once I got into the tub, Susan checked me and said that I was fully dilated. Contractions were still pretty manageable. I loved having the minute or two break in between them. I stayed quiet during contractions and very focused. I didn’t whine, scream out in pain or anything… I needed to be quiet and focused and it really helped me cope. My friend Jenn arrived around 545pm. My other midwife showed up just a few minutes later. I remember her coming in and saying hello, but I knew I couldn’t say hello back and I felt awful. I was trying to bear down with contractions, and it felt amazing to actually feel my baby descend. I started to get a bit frustrated because I knew I had to push through the bag of water and that as soon as I did he would be here. I hear my midwife mention that the bag of water was pretty thick because it was a 37 week bag. She went to feel the bag to see how far down it was and she remarked that it was right there and his head was right behind it. Hearing that helped me muster up the strength. I pushed another couple times and the water broke. I wanted to catch the baby, but I couldn’t let go of the side of the tub, within moments his head was born and then his shoulders. Paul was there holding onto me while I picked our son up. It was amazing. I couldn’t believe it was over. It was incredibly gentle and quiet. I didn’t scream or yell, and he was born into such a peaceful place and moment. I started to cry and kept looking at Paul, saying this is our son, he’s finally here.
Baby started to pink up and cry a bit, he was covered completely in vernix and was pretty alert. I held him in the water until the cord stopped pulsating, about 10 minutes or so. We noticed how long the cord was right away and how there was a perfect knot in the cord. We had some skin to skin time. He didn’t really have any interest in nursing, he was just hanging out taking it all in. We noticed how his hand print was next to his face as well, ,he was born with his hand by his head. Once the cord stopped pulsating, Paul cut the cord and held his son for the first time. I got up out of the tub to deliver the placenta. It came out within about 15-20 minutes of giving birth. I got into bed and while I was checked for tears and whatnot, Paul and I snuggled our baby. I didn’t tear at all, and actually have had a pretty great recovery “down there”. We put the baby back in my chest to see if he’d nurse, but instead he just kinda hung out with no real interest. Since he still didn’t have any interest in nursing they decided to do the newborn exam. He weighed in at 6lbs 7oz and 20.5 inches long. We talked about the vitamin K shot, and decided to do it based on some bruising he had on his nose and face as well as the fact that he was born at 37 weeks. My midwives tend to want to do the vitamin K shot when babies are born at 37 weeks or before, so we decided to go for it. After the exam, we spent some time getting to nurse. I forget how hard it is to nurse a newborn for the first time. Its kinda like learning all over again. We nursed for a bit then when he was done I gave him back to daddy and took a shower. My midwives asked if I wanted to look at the placenta. In the past I have never had any desire to look at it, but I figured this was my last shot, that I better. I’m so glad that I did too! It was amazing. Right away they noticed how long the cord was… it was 31 inches! Can you believe it? Kate’s was barely 10 inches. The average cord length is 19 inches, so we obviously had a pretty long cord. The knot was amazing to look at and learn about. It slid up and down the cord, kinda crazy. The midwives asked me if I had been sick during this pregnancy, and I reminded them of how I had swine flu back at thanksgiving. Apparently they could see it on the placenta. They also saw the pool on the placenta where I had been spotting early in my pregnancy as well. I think it was just amazing that they could see these sorts of things. They also said that the placenta was done working, and that it was time for him to be born. He had gotten all he needed from it. They also remarked about how strong the bag of water was.
After all of this, my midwives did the laundry, cleaned up the tub and my friend made some food. I was tucked into bed by 9pm and everyone headed home. It was a great night.
Looking back, I thought I’d be upset that the girls weren’t there for the birth. The photographer I had hired also wasn’t able to make it. The birth party that had planned on coming wasn’t really there, but in the end I think it was perfect. The girls would have distracted me to no end. I really needed silence and I know I wouldn’t have had that. I kinda wish the girls would have been there after he was born, but I was also glad to have a quiet night with my husband and newborn. I wouldn’t have changed anything (well maybe Paul’s difficulty with the tub and him being so tired).
So I think that I have written it all… at least I hope I have. I have some birth pictures I’d like to share, but some might be graphic.
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