Beau Prescott's 'contraction-free' birth (x-posted from July 2011 DDC)
This is probably a little too long. Sorry, I really tried to make it shorter, but I just couldn’t leave any of the info. out! :lol:
Beau's story starts out the exact same way that Charlie's did. I'd been leaking all kinds of discharge and goodness knows what for the last several weeks, but yesterday morning (July 5th) at around 9:00 AM, when I went to the bathroom I felt a definite 'pop' and then immediately leaked through my pants. I thought that it must have been my water breaking. Charlie had a doctor's appointment that morning at 10:30, so we figured we would just swing by the midwives after his appointment and see if they could do a swab to check whether or not it was amniotic fluid. Of course, on the drive over, the leaking pretty much stopped. :rolleyes:
When we got to the birth center they said that I could quickly meet with Nicole, who is the one midwife out of the three total in this practice whom I knew the least. I'd only met with her once before for about fifteen minutes. Anyway, she did a swab, and it did indeed turn out to be a false alarm -- no amniotic fluid was detected. However, she said that since I was already there, they might as well go ahead and check the baby’s heartbeat etc. etc. They (meaning Nicole and the student midwife who was working with her) did, and they also measured my fundal height, which showed that I was measuring way ahead (41 weeks). They also tried to feel the baby’s position, but they both had a hard time telling which way he was facing. Nicole said that my uterus was too hard to really feel anything. (Whatever that means) She did confirm that he was still head down, though.
(As a side note, like I said earlier, Charlie’s story starts out the exact same way as Beau’s. For both of them, I went to the doctor thinking that I was leaking amniotic fluid, found out that I wasn’t really, then came home and went into labor on my own the next day. So I’ve discovered that the trick to getting labor started is just to have the amniotic fluid swab done! :lol: )
We came home and hung out for the rest of the day. At around 9:00 PM, I went to put Charlie to bed, but I was feeling pretty ‘off.’ I kept having these random, weird shooting pains across my pelvis. They didn’t feel anything at all like contractions to me. I’ve had hundreds of Braxton-Hicks contractions in both pregnancies, and obviously I’ve been in labor before, so I thought I knew what contractions felt like – they start at the top of your uterus, and move down, and feel like a muscle squeezing. This felt nothing like that. In fact, it hurt more than that. It felt like a knife slicing across my pelvis. When I got done putting Charlie to bed I actually came downstairs and tried to look up my symptoms online, and I what I was experiencing felt exactly like this: Pelvic Girdle Pain During Pregnancy -- Pregnancy Symptoms and Solutions -- WhatToExpect.com , so I figured that must be what I was experiencing. I went to bed and tried to get into a comfortable position to make the pain less.
However, I quickly discovered that I could not sleep through this pain at all. It came every time I rolled from one side to the other (which I do often), and after a while it started to come in recurrent waves. I found that the only way to really minimize it was to get up and go to the bathroom. I would have to sit on the toilet and just lean forward and rock there while I relieved myself very slowly. Then I would come back to bed, sleep for a bit, but soon the pain would come back again. At this point, I still wasn’t recognizing any of this as contractions, it just seemed like random late-pregnancy woes.
At about midnight my husband came to bed. I told him that I was in pain and that it was weird and that I didn’t know what was happening. He immediately panicked and asked if we needed to call the midwives, but he asks this every ten minutes on a regular basis (he’s really freaked out by birth), so I figured he was just overreacting. I told him to just go to bed, but that I thought I might not be able to make it to our appointment with our new principal tomorrow. (We were scheduled to meet him in Seattle at 9:00 AM).
For the next couple of hours I kept shifting back and forth between the bed and the bathroom, trying to keep the pain to a minimum. My husband kept waking up periodically and urging me to call the midwives, but I kept protesting that this couldn’t be real labor since I wasn’t having any contractions. I said, “I just wish I knew how to check my own cervix so that I could tell if I was really dilating and decide whether or not this is a false alarm.”
Eventually, it reached the point where after I went to the bathroom I would have to drop down on the floor and crouch on all fours to try to stretch my joints out a bit. Things were really starting to hurt, and I was starting to cry out whenever the waves of pelvic pain came. I was also starting to feel a huge amount of pressure, like I was extremely constipated, and I felt like I might be getting the urge to push (that part I wasn’t sure about, because I never had the urge to push with Charlie).
During one of my trips to the bathroom I noticed that I had a huge amount of red, bloody discharge. At that point, I woke my husband up and said that I didn’t know what was happening, that this might still be false labor because I still wasn’t having any contractions (or at least not any that I recognized as such), but that I thought we should call the midwives just in case. He said, “Yeah, I think so!” So we went downstairs and made the call. This was around 2:00 AM.
Nicole turned out to be the midwife on call. I told her what was happening, and she asked how often these waves of ‘pelvic pain’ were coming and how long they were lasting. I said “I don’t know, maybe every 2-3 minutes for 30 seconds each.” I also told her that I was feeling the urge to push. She said that she would be on her way over and would get here in half an hour. She warned me that if I felt the urge to push, I shouldn’t give in but should just blow through it (yeah, right).
My husband woke up my mom and dad, who rushed to start setting up the bed for the birth (which we still hadn’t done yet, and actually still didn’t have all of the supplies for). I retreated to the bathroom by myself (DH went outside to wait for the midwife so that she would know where to stop – actually, I think he was just trying to avoid the more ‘gory’ part of the birth). At that point it felt like I was tremendously constipated and that I needed to take the biggest poop in the entire world. There was just a HUGE amount of pressure. It hurt to sit on the toilet. I didn’t know what to do. I threw all of my son’s toys out of the bathtub, then got in the bathtub and crouched on all fours, pushing to relieve this constipation pain that I was feeling. It hurt like hell. It did NOT feel good to push, unlike what I read in the Ina May Gaskin book (with Charlie, the pushing phase had only taken 15 minutes, and I had gas and air, so I remember it being painful but not so tremendously painful). Each time that I pushed I was crying out in pain. Thankfully, even though I was in the room next door to Charlie, he did not wake up the entire time.
At one point (about ten minutes after I called Nicole) I looked down underneath me as I was pushing and this big, yellow, balloon-like sack fell out from under me. When it landed on the floor of the tub it burst, and lots of fluid came out. I thought, “Oh, THERE’S my water breaking!” Eventually, I decided to turn on the shower and let warm water wash over me as I pushed. It was a nice distraction, but it didn’t really make the pain any less.
A few minutes later, my husband came upstairs and told me that Nicole had arrived. This was around 2:45 AM, about 45 minutes after I had first called the midwives. I barked random, contradictory orders at Brett regarding the temperature of the shower water. (Sorry, honey! :lol: ) Then I asked him to turn the water off and dry my hair. He did, then he told me that we needed to move into the master bedroom/master bathroom, since that’s where Nicole was setting up. He wrapped a towel around me and helped me to stand up and walk to the other bathroom, while I nonsensically yelled that I couldn’t walk. :lol: My mom and dad were also in the other bedroom, which I really hadn’t wanted (I’m a fairly modest person), but at this point I didn’t care about much of anything except relieving the pressure that I was feeling.
As soon as I got to the other bathroom I went straight to the tub again, crouched down on all fours, and continued to push. I still wasn’t feeling “contractions” at any point during any of this, but I was feeling that I needed to push at certain moments. Nicole and the student midwife were still frantically setting up things in the bedroom, so my husband came out and said to them “Um, Nicole, I think she’s pushing!” Nicole hurried in to where I was, crouched down and quickly checked the baby’s heartrate (perfectly normal), then reached down and announced that she felt a few centimeters of head. She and the student midwife coached and encouraged me through the rest of the pushing – maybe ten minutes total. Crowning hurt like hell. When Beau finally came out, I was so unbelievably relieved. I got to just sit in the tub and hold him for several minutes while they waited for his cord to stop pulsing and clamped it, coached me through the birthing of the placenta (easy breezy compared to what I’d just been through!), etc. etc.
Beau was born at 3:09 AM, barely 25 minutes after the midwives arrived. He was 8 pounds, 5 ounces, which is more than a full pound larger than Charlie was. However, I only had one tiny tear on the inside. I feel GREAT – healthy as a horse. With Charlie, for a full week after the birth, I felt like a bomb had exploded in my vagina. It was because of the unnecessary episiotomy. Now, I’m feeling none of that. The labor was more difficult than with Charlie, but the aftermath has been a walk in the park!
I am soooooo glad that we did things the way we did. A homebirth was absolutely perfect for us. I could NOT have handled getting in a car and driving anywhere during the pushing phase, with the amount of pain that I was in. I am so glad that I didn’t have to. The midwives came to us. They did all of the clean-up (which wasn’t even that much, since I had done all of my laboring in two bathtubs). They helped Beau to latch on and get breastfeeding established right away after the birth. (We’re still having a bit of trouble with that part, but we’re working on it). They did a full physical check-up for both him and me. They did all of our birth certificate paperwork. Then, when they were done, they left, and we were able to go straight to sleep in the comfort of our own bed. Things could not have gone more perfectly.
I went this entire pregnancy without one single cervical check, ever. I didn’t plan to do it that way, that’s just the way it happened. By the time the midwives got to our house, there was nothing left for them to check! I also remained convinced to the very end that I hadn't had a single contraction at all. It really felt like my entire labor was just pushing. I guess I'll know for next time that contractions can feel different ways in different pregnancies! (Although, Nicole also mentioned that perhaps I might have been contracting during my visit earlier in the day, which may have been why my uterus felt so hard).
I am so absolutely thrilled with how labor went this time. (And so, so, eternally grateful that I decided to have the birth here instead of in China). In China they probably would have induced me or sectioned me as soon as they noticed that I was measuring so far ahead. But there turned out to be no need for it, since Beau was ready to come on his own.
Here is a photo of Beau. I still kind of think that he looks a bit more like a James Earl, but from the moment my mom and dad and DH saw him, they started referring to him as Beau, and that’s also what DH told the midwives to write on the birth certificate. So I guess it’s a done deal now.
And here is Charlie meeting his little brother for the first time. We went to Babies R Us last week and had Charlie pick out a gift to give to his little brother, which turned out to be a great idea. He was thrilled to present it to him.
Thanks for reading! I'm sure that there's more that I'm leaving out, but it's bedtime now. We've had a long day!
Re: Beau Prescott's 'contraction-free' birth (x-posted from July 2011 DDC)
congratulations. Wonderful homebirth story !!!
Re: Beau Prescott's 'contraction-free' birth (x-posted from July 2011 DDC)
what a lovely story. thanks for sharing! tears/episiotomies really do make all the difference-- i didn't "need" one with my 3rd birth, and i'm going to be so majorly upset if they do it this time-- not like we get a say in it.
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