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On Monday night, the 7th, I was having lots of irregular braxton hicks contractions. I thought if taking a little castor oil helped things along, why not try? So I mixed up 1 tbsp with some root beer, shook it up and chugged it. Honestly, it wasn't bad at all. I didn't even taste the oil.
At 3 a.m. that night I woke up with contractions every 2-5 minutes apart. They felt like cramps and weren't very bad but definitely stronger than anything I'd had before. I sat at the computer timing them and keeping busy and they were definitely getting stronger. I phoned my midwife, Kellie, at 6:30 a.m. and she and the other midwife, Karen, were just finishing up at another home birth and would be at my house by 9. I also called my friend Mandy, who was acting as my doula. She arrived around 7:30 and helped me with things around the house and put pressure on my back when I needed it. Contractions were still the same as before and I could get through them easily just by breathing.
Midwives arrived at 9 and Kellie checked me. I was pleasantly surprised to find I was 5 cm and my bag of water was bulging, but the baby's head was still high. No surprise for me; all my babies have stayed high until the end. So they began setting up all their stuff in my basement and my husband worked on getting the pool ready. I went outside for a few walks and dealt with contractions which were still the same as before. I thought if this was all there was to labor, it was no problem! HA!
At 1 pm I was checked again and there was no change since 9 a.m. I was so disappointed. I had started to notice that the contractions were only regular if I was up and walking and they weren't getting any stronger. Kellie was reluctant to break my water because I was GBS positive and the baby's head was still high. It was a hard decision for me but I finally accepted the fact that we should just let nature take it's course instead of interfering by breaking my water. We went upstairs and ate lunch, then the midwives left to go get some sleep. Kellie only lives 15 minutes away and told me to call her in a couple of hours to update her, or sooner if anything changed. Now that I wasn't walking anymore, the contractions spaced out to every 10-15 minutes.
Mandy and I sat in the living room and discussed my options. After a lot of thinking I decided that another dose of castor oil couldn't hurt and it hadn't even caused me any diarrhea or cramping the first time. I would rather do that then something more invasive. So I took another root beer/castor oil cocktail, again 1 tbsp. Then Mandy went home as well. I called my parents and asked them to come pick up our kids who were at the neighbour's. I figured this baby would be arriving within the next day or two so it was convenient for my parents to take them already so I wouldn't have to worry about them. So they came over and got the boys and left by 4 pm.
Pretty much as soon as they left, DH and I were watching TV and hanging out when I got a strong contraction. They had not completely gone away and were spaced out pretty far but this one was different. It was followed soon after by another. After one or two more I realized things might be moving again and went to the bathroom where I found big chunks of pinkish jelly-like junk on the toilet paper. I figured that was bloody show and immediately called Kellie, telling her things had picked up again. That was 4:30 pm. She said she was on her way.
The contractions got a lot worse very quickly. For a few I breathed through them and leaned over the hassock while DH rubbed my back but that soon wasn't enough. So then I began power walking across my house and breathing and it wasn't long before I could hardly make myself do that anymore. I was going FAST! At 5 pm I was in the middle of marching across the kitchen when I felt a warm gush and my water broke! I sort of panicked because I was worried about cord prolapse and also that the contractions might now get that much worse. I ran to the shower while DH called Kellie to tell her. She was 5 minutes away. I got in the shower, undressed and turned the water on hot, then assumed a hands and knees position just in case the head hadn't come down yet. I was feeling more pressure so I wasn't too worried but the contractions kept me from really thinking anything. I breathed as best as I could and kept the shower spray on my back.
As soon as Kellie walked in the bathroom she knew right away this baby was coming fast and she didn't want me delivering in the shower so far away from all her stuff! So they hauled me out of the shower and I went downstairs. I had one contraction while she ran to grab the stuff she needed, then she checked me while I stood by the bed. I was 8-9 cm and the head was at 0 station so no need to worry about the cord. Mandy walked in and I knelt down by the bed because I couldn't think of any other position that might be more comfortable. With the next contraction I just had to push, even though Kellie kept telling me not to, I just couldn't help it! It felt so much better to push than just sit there and take the pain (I did a lot of yelling). At 5:20 she checked me again and I was 10 cm and baby was at +2 so she gave me permission to push. HA! I already had been for 5 minutes! So I kept going and I could feel him moving down.
Reid Matthew was born at 5:28 pm, a mere hour after I called Kellie to come back and only 23 minutes after she arrived. Karen missed the birth entirely since she lived further away and she walked in about 5 minutes later. I had no tears and I couldn't believe it had all happened so quickly. Especially the pushing, it was only about 15 minutes. I got into bed after a few minutes and held him and nursed him while the placenta was delivered and they cleaned me up. He was totally covered in vernix so he was not overdue at all, despite his enormous size! He also has a pretty good stork bite on his forehead but it's faded considerably since yesterday. I am so happy I got to have my home birth and it went so well. I ended up not even setting one foot in the pool because it all happened too fast! But I don't really mind; I'm just so happy to have my little boy here.
Thank you ladies all for all your advice and input throughout my pregnancy! I learned some very valuable things that came in handy.
Here's the pic and stats:
Reid Matthew, April 8, 2008
9 lbs 14 oz, 21+ inches, head circ. 38.25 cm