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I linked to this in the regular forum before I noted that there was a subforum for birth stories- sorry. I'm going to put her story here, too, for future home birth moms to read.
Our 3rd baby girl, Lucia (pronounced "Lu-see-ah") Jane, was born on October 9th, 2011, at 3:20 PM. She weighed 9 lbs exactly, and was 20 3/4" long. She was born at home with our wonderful midwives after about a 4 hour labor. My husband and 8-year-old daughter were with me, but my oldest daughter (who is in college) wasn't able to be there.
I started to suspect that labor would start soon on the afternoon of Saturday, October 8th when I noted some bloody show. I wasnít having any other new symptoms, though, just my usual Braxton-Hicks contractions that Iíve had for months. The show got a little heavier the next morning, and my Braxton-Hicks contractions were a little more frequent, although with no real pattern and not painful. Sometime after 11 am I noticed that Iíd had a few contractions in a short period. Although they didnít really bother me, I figured I should start timing them because of my history of a short labor with Athena. I started timing them with an app on my phone around 11:30, and after about 20 minutes I noticed they were about 2-3 minutes apart and lasting 30-45 seconds each. I was easily able to talk through them, but they were becoming a little crampy. I decided to call my midwives around 11:50, and they said they were coming to my house to check me because of my history.
They got here about an hour later, and at that point the contractions were just a little stronger and longer, averaging about a minute each. Within a few minutes I was having to rock my hips during contractions, so they suggested that we fill up the bathtub so I could get some relief. I asked my midwife to check me before I got into the tub around 1:20 PM. Just like when I was in labor with Athena, I was expecting to be in early labor based on the fact that the contractions were manageable in intensity, and once again I was surprised at how far along I was: 9 cm already!
Here I was already at 9 cm, and my water hadnít broken yet but the sac was bulging. I decided to get into the tub. I was expecting that my water would break soon and I would get the urge to push quickly, but I must have relaxed a little too much in the tub because the contractions slowed down for a little while. I kind of lost track of time in the tub, but I think it was shortly after 2PM that my water finally broke and the contraction intensity picked up. My daughter Athena was awesome and stayed by my side, helping to put cool cloths on my forehead to keep me comfortable while my husband took pictures. She was so excited that the baby was on her way, yet so focused on being part of the experience.
My contractions gradually increased in intensity over the next 45 minutes or so, and about 3PM I started to feel some pressure down below. I got out of the tub to use the toilet, and then got back in the tub and started to have some really intense contractions and urge to push. I really wanted to have a water birth this time- I had coached myself not to panic and get out of the tub when it was time to push like I had done with Athenaís birth. I donít get the same kind of relief that other women describe when it comes to pushing. The worst part of labor for me is the pushing stage, and I was starting to question myself about staying in the tub as the intensity increased. (TMI alert) With the next contraction, however, the question about staying in the tub was answered for me when I had a BM in the tub while bearing down. My midwives helped me out of the tub and to the bed, and since the baby was already crowning there was no time to clean out the tub and fill it up again for babyís arrival. Instinctively, I got into hands and knees position on the bed and pushed intensely with the next 3 or so contractions, and Lucia Jane was born at 3:20PM. She came out screaming, and I grabbed her through my legs and pulled her up to my chest. I was so relieved that she was here and beyond happy to hear her screaming. I swear she cried her heart out for 10 minutes straight. Athena and my husband were by my side for the whole thing, and Athena cut the cord after it stopped pulsating. I was able to nurse Lucia for a few minutes, although she mostly just played at the breast.
A short while after Lucia was born I birthed the placenta, and thatís when the trouble started. My midwife examined the placenta and noted that it was larger than usual and had an odd accessory lobe and a spot with a questionably indistinct edge, but it appeared grossly intact. I started passing several large (baseball to softball size) clots, though, and it was puzzling because my uterus was firm. I got a shot of Pitocin. One of my midwives helped me up to the bathroom a couple hours after Lucia was born, and when I stood up from the toilet I passed another large clot and almost passed out on the toilet. My midwives helped me back to the bed; my vitals were stable, but I was having loud ringing in my ears and blurred vision. They decided that it was best that I go to the hospital, and they called 9-1-1 because they didnít think I was stable enough to go in the car. I took my first ever trip in an ambulance, and had the embarrassing experience of being carted out on a stretcher in front of all my neighbors (of course, being a Sunday, almost everyone was home and came running outside at the site of an ambulance).
At the ER, the back-up OB for my midwives came to examine me. Without really warning me, and without pain meds, he stuck his hand through my cervix and determined that I had a partially retained placenta and started pulling out pieces. It was truly the most painful experience of my life and I thought I was going to pass out from the pain. He finally stopped after what seemed like forever and told us that I was going to need to go to the OR for a D&C to get the remaining placenta out. I was taken to the OR and had the procedure under general anesthesia. Luckily, the anesthesiologist asked if I was breastfeeding, so he didnít give me Versed so that I wouldnít have to pump-and-dump my breast milk. My husband and Lucia spent the night with me in the hospital, while friends watched Athena. The next day my blood work came back showing that I was severely anemic, but they opted not to give me a transfusion since I was otherwise stable and feeling o.k. I was allowed to go home that night.
We are back home and Iím feeling relatively good despite the anemia, and Lucia is absolutely perfect and has taken easily to nursing. She had her first checkup at the pediatrician at 2 days old and passed with flying colors. My midwives checked on me daily for the first few days. I wouldn't change a thing and I'm so happy that Lucia was born at home!