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For several weeks I would have an overnight labor session, complete with backaches. I thought that was pretty odd because I'd never had back labor before. I tend to have putsy, but typical VBAC labors, so always expected these labor sessions to peter out, which they did. Whatever it took to get my sweet baby here. Afterall, we'd gone thru so much to get her this far.
You see, my husband and I had tried to conceive for well over a year. Back in March, I was 9 wks and 6 days pregnant, and miscarried twins. Apparently they hadn't twinned properly, because one was much smaller than the other. The miscarriage was strange, almost painless, and happened so very fast. It was over in about 30 minutes. Just not normal, as far as they go. Two months later, I looked at my husband and told him if I didn't know better, I would say I was still pregnant because I was feeling kicks! A couple of days later I took a test and before I could finish peeing on it, it practically screamed "PREGNANT" at me. We were ecstatic, to say the least. Here we had all already grieved the loss of our babies, and we now were trying to process still being pregnant. Life is sure neat!
Finally on Monday evening, the 23rd, I started contracting again, and this time they were a bit different. These contractions were starting out very strong, peaking at the beginning, and really slamming into me. I didn't have time to really catch my breath, hold onto anything, or prepare myself at all. I dealt with them as best as I could. They were coming about every 8 minutes or so and lasting over a minute. I thought that maybe, just maybe these would continue. They did for most of the night, and then petered out the next morning, allowing me to get some rest. Then they started back. They would come all day, alternating from being close together to much farther apart. They were stronger than on the previous day, and still slamming into me, not building up as they should. When they got closer together, and stronger, I called my midwife, April.
April and an apprentice midwife, Cara, came out and I continued to labor for hours. I would get slammed with a contraction and April would rub my back as I tried to cope with them. I wasn't able to relax the way I needed to thru them since there was no build up. I ate and kept myself hydrated as I continued to work thru the contractions with April's help. After several hours, I asked her to check me to see how much progress I was making. I was so disappointed to find that I was only about 2 1/2 cm. Cervix had been completely effaced for a week or so, so at least that wasn't having to be done. Since I wasn't very far along, April and Cara left and said to call when I needed them back.
I decided to call a homebirth midwife friend of mine for her opinion about my labor. Sometimes it just doesn't hurt to have another view on the situation. It turns out that Carrie had seen this contraction pattern before, and especially combined with the back labor. She suggested that I do a little diddy called 'the polar bear rock', which involves getting on the floor with my chest to the ground and my bottom up in the air. During contractions I was to wiggle my bottom from side to side as hard as I could without hurting myself. That was mighty uncomfortable, but I was willing to do anything at this point. She said she thought the baby might have a hand up by the face. She also suggested that I consider doing an enema since I hadn't had a bowel movement that day. I sent Billy to the store while I did the polar bear rock.
After doing the rocking thru several contractions, I had to rest. They are not easy to do! I laid down and rested until Billy got home. I dozed off several times, and when I woke, I realized my contractions had changed up a bit. They were going to give me more warning now, and a chance to catch my breath before they peaked.
Contractions continued and then died down a bit at bedtime. I didn't exactly sleep well, but I did rest during the night. Contractions probably came about every half hour all night long. I got up on Wednesday morning, and Billy had cooked breakfast for me. The contractions began coming a bit closer again. I labored and just hung out at the house for awhile, and the contractions again petered out. I was beginning to get frustrated with the whole process. Billy and I sat down to talk, and I told him I wasn't sure if I should be more aggressive and try to get things started. Billy in all of his wisdom told me I should go to bed and sleep instead. I think I was just at the point of not being able to really make a good decision by myself and I really needed him to tell me to go to sleep. I slept for about five hours, off and on between all the bathroom trips. Contractions started back again sometime during my nap. Billy had the kids with him, so I was able to really rest well, and finally got up because I was hungry and the contractions weren't letting me sleep anymore.
I labored the rest of the evening, with contractions coming every fifteen minutes or so. Around ten Wednesday night I called April to tell her I may need her to come and help me deal with these contractions that had begun coming much closer and definitely were getting stronger. They were coming about every ten minutes now. April said she could come if I really needed her, but she had three other moms in labor, and two were getting really close to birthing. I said I'd deal with them as long as I could by myself. When I got off the phone I told Billy April didn't want to come out here, and I just sobbed. He talked a bit of sense into me, and then we decided he'd probably better lie down for some rest because I had a strong feeling I'd need him within several more hours.
At midnight I decided to try to slow things down a bit (crazy, after all this time!) to give April more time. I ran a nice warm bath and poured a glass of red wine. I stayed in the tub for about half an hour, and contractions did slow down. I had a forty five minute break before another one hit me. I laid down for awhile, and just tried to cope and breathe. Contractions began coming every fifteen minutes, then every ten minutes. At two o'clock, I decided that I'd lie there for another half hour and then get back into the tub. I ran more hot water (I'd not drained the tub from earlier) and got in. I thought for sure I'd get another break like I had earlier. Not so this time! Contractions started coming every six to seven minutes, and they again changed. They were much more intense, lasting over two minutes, and that was in water, so I knew that when I got out they'd be even stronger.
Thankfully Billy woke up (I guess he heard me moaning thru the contractions) at three o'clock and came into the bathroom. I needed to get out of the tub at that point. By the time I made it back to the bed I got hit with a really strong contraction and had to grab for my birth ball, which was on the bed. I just held on and felt the contraction rock my body. I told Billy we needed to call April. It turns out that two of those ladies had given birth by then and she was able to come. I was starting to get sick to my stomach a bit, and called back and asked her to bring her ginger tonic with her.
I got into the bed and waited and worked thru the contractions. I was starting to really need some help getting thru them. They were getting more intense and lasting even longer now. I'd guess that they were about four minutes apart and they were two and a half minutes long at this point. I remember watching the clock and telling myself that I had to make it thru about twenty more contractions and April would be here. About half an hour after we called her, my legs began to shake uncontrollably. I couldn't remember ever having that happen, but started to think back to my childbirth classes and the papers we brought home from them. I was pretty sure this was the beginning of transition, and that kind of scared me a bit, because I didn't know how long it would last and if April would even make it on time. I told Billy to call her back and tell her to step on it. He walked out of the room with the phone, and I knew he wasn't going to call her. After he came back into the room, I told him to look at the papers from class and see if shaking means transition. He got very quiet and then I heard him say, "oh". He called April right away.
When April should have been here, according to my clock, and she wasn't yet here, I started to kind of freak out. I felt that I needed someone else here, a woman. I asked Billy to call Susan, but she didn't get up. It was about five in the morning on Thursday. I was really starting to need Billy to be there for me thru the contractions now. When one would start, I would reach out for his hands. I would hold both of his hands and squeeze and he would remind me to breathe. They were so intense. Finally, finally, I felt an incredible amount of relief when I saw April walk into my bedroom. I was so thrilled that she was here. The next contraction was easier to work thru, and I could really start to let go and surrender to the labor. This was really it! I was really going to finally have our sweet baby! As soon as April saw me, she pulled out her cell phone and called the apprentices and told them to come because things were really moving along.
Contraction after contractions rocked thru me, and Billy would sit next to me on the bed, holding my hands and just being there for me. I could feel his strength, and his confidence in my body and this whole process. I took one contraction at a time, and was really getting excited. April would rub my lower back during each contraction and she knew just where it would help the most. I managed to eat 2 yogurts and drank a bottle of water. Finally, the contractions were on top of each other with very little break between. We were getting close now! I asked if April thought the apprentices would make it, and she wasn't quite sure. By this time, Breena was up, and Billy had shown her about the camcorder and she was getting set up and just watching quietly.
I was starting to feel pushy, or alot of pressure, I wasn't sure. I just know it was very overwhelming. I asked April to check me, and did make sure to tell her I'd kick her if she said I was only 2 cm. She laughed and said she'd let me. No need, as I was 8 cm! That was music to my ears! I beamed at Billy and felt a huge burst of energy. Sometime in here, two apprentices arrived--Cara and Faith--and I was thrilled to see them! A little while later I was really feeling pushy and April told me to just do what my body told me to do. I began pushing gently if I felt that I couldn't help it. After several times of doing that, I asked her to check me again because I remembered having a lip when in labor with Hanah. As soon as she started to check me my water broke. It must have been ready to burst anyway. There was a moderate amount of meconium present, but it was not thick at all, so no worries. I was 9 cm. After a few more contractions, I got a nice long break and almost fell asleep. I knew that I was going to need that rest in a few minutes when the pushing contractions started. After my break, April had me get up to go to the bathroom to empty my bladder. I needed to push while on the way to the bathroom. Billy and April both supported me while I worked thru that contraction. I finally was able to pee, and went back to the bed. I again had to lean on the birth ball and push some when the next contraction hit me. I think at this point, Hanah and Christofer had been woken up and fed breakfast. They were waiting til they could come in and watch the birth.
I made it back into the bed, and wanted nothing more than to lie on my left side and push. I was so tired already! I pushed that way a few times, and then wanted to get up and lean on the ball again. I stayed there thru a contraction or two and then wanted to lie down again. I just couldn't find the right position, but I knew that I'd be pushing forever like this. April had me pull my legs all the way back to try to get a better urge to push. It helped, but still wasn't what my body was looking for. April asked if I'd like to try the birthing stool. I had a bit of fear about tearing at that point, but thought I could get off the stool if I didn't like it. She got it all set up and everyone helped me get onto the stool.
I waited for a contraction. Billy was behind me on the bed, just loving me. April was in front of me on the floor, and Breena was in front, to my left. Hanah and Christofer found places on each side of me, but in front where they had a great view. Cara and Faith also gathered around, and the fun really began! April checked to see if there was a lip while I was pushing. There was, and she helped to move it out of the way during three contractions. I really did not care for that. As soon as she told me it was out of the way I told her to 'get out'! I had a major urge to push now that the cervix was completely out of the way. I got busy and pushed with all my might. I felt the baby moving down a bit with each push, which was very encouraging to me. The head was not rocking back and forth, it was just coming. I pushed and pushed, and Billy hugged me and kissed me. I started getting hot so I got a cool washcloth to rub all over my face and neck.
April finally said she was seeing the head, and told Billy maybe he should get down there and get ready to catch. It's a good thing she said that because he was making me really hot with all his hugs. I asked for a fan, and a drink. I remember being so thirsty and even hungry but couldn't ask for water again. I couldn't think to ask, I could just think of the sensations and intensity of the amazing process taking place within me. More contractions, more pushing, it was just so intense. I could hear guineas outside the window, and feel the breeze coming in. I needed to get this baby out! Starting to crown, and the burning that accompanies that. The burning was so overwhelming. I grunted and panted so the head wouldn't come too fast. Just as I was about to ask for oil, April began massaging oil into my perineum and applying some counterpressure. More grunting so I wouldn't push too hard. I wanted the burning to stop. Full crown, and more burning. Then I hear Hanah say, "wow that's a big head! and then, 'there's an ear!', with so much excitement in her voice. Christofer had been looking a bit overwhelmed by all the raw primal groaning coming from his mother, but then got all excited when baby parts started to appear. I heard him announce the nose!
When the head was all the way born, April announced that and then checked for a cord. None was there and I was completely overwhelmed by the shoulders. I was leaning back and trying to escape the sensations. It was too much all of the sudden. If I hadn't been on the birthing stool, I'm afraid my legs would have snapped shut. I felt April help with the shoulders, and felt my baby slip from my body. I heard my final birth cry, heard 'it's a girl!', and my beautiful baby girl was handed up to me. She was then bundled up in a towel while we waited for the placenta to come. She was already breathing. I was given a mouthful of herbs to help make sure I didn't bleed too much. The placenta came very quickly. Christofer decided he didn't want to help cut the cord, so Hanah did it. She had to cut six times, but she finally freed her baby sister. Billy took the baby while I was helped up into the bed. My precious baby was placed next to me, and immediately she shoved both hands into her mouth. I latched her onto my breast and she proceeded to nurse like a true champ. Her eyes were open and she was so alert. She quietly nursed and looked around for almost 2 hours. We were in love. I asked if anyone wanted to know her name. Aaralyn Phoenyx. Perfect.
My neighbor Susan finally came running in, all decked out in scrubs and a hat. We all thought that was cute as could be. It was her first experience with a homebirth.
April and Faith were putting hot compresses on my perineum, and then April checked me out to make sure I didn't tear. Not even a skidmark. The midwives prepared my herb bath, and the smell was so comforting to me. I had alot of trouble getting into the bath, but had lots of help. I was really cramping something awful at that point. I thought that was so unfair, considering all I'd just done! The warm water felt great, and I relaxed awhile before my baby was brought to me. We had a nice time with her floating in the water and staring up at me. After I was ready for her to be taken out of the tub, I stayed a few more minutes and then with much help, got out and went to the bathroom to try to pee. No luck yet, but I knew I'd have to try again soon. While there, I passed 2 really huge clots and kind of felt dizzy. But the cramping was a bit better after that.
The placenta was examined in front of me, and the kids got a great lesson on it's function. April and Billy weighed Aaralyn, and announced that she was 8 pounds 3 ounces. A little bigger than I'd expected, but not by much. Faith did the newborn exam, with April looking on, and she looked just great! She was 20.5 inches long, and her head was 13 3/4 inches around.
Aaralyn Phoenyx made her entrance on Thursday, October 26, 2006 at 8:49 a.m. after her mommy pushed for 25 minutes. Life is beautiful. Our baby girl is beautiful. Our family is so happy to have shared this wonderful experience.
The best gifts we can give our children are roots and wings....Author Unknown.
Contraction after contractions rocked thru me, and Billy would sit next to me on the bed, holding my hands and just being there for me. I could feel his strength, and his confidence in my body and this whole process.[/b]
I honest to god got all teary eyed reading that. Way to be a powerhouse mama!! Congrats again sweetie
(((hugs))) and congrats. Dont you just wanna go around and tell EVERYONE you see about how wonderful your birth is?!
I remember being so excited after my son, but nothing can compare to the feeling of joy & accomplishment after having your baby at home! I hate to say it but at times I feel guilty that I love my little girls birth so much more