anniemacgregor: Benjamin's Homebirth
Wednesday, September 02, 2009 8:33 PM
"I was in shock that it was over as they passed my son up through my legs for me to hold. He wasn't crying yet, so I rubbed him and talked to him until he started to cry..."
I wasn't due until August 21, so when I started feeling contractions on August 4 around 9 p.m., I didn't tell my husband. I had been having a lot of painful Braxton-Hicks contractions and I was pretty sure that this wasn't Braxton-Hicks, but I didn't want to get anyone excited if it wasn't the real thing either.
I woke up the next morning at 6 a.m., needing to go to the bathroom really badly. When I noticed a bit of blood, I crawled back into bed and whispered to my husband, "The baby's coming." He rolled over and asked me how I knew. I told him that I was bleeding and I figured the baby would arrive by the weekend, even though I knew he would be here by the end of the day. I didn't want to get anyone's hopes up, least of all mine, but I also didn't want to appear overeager.
As I got ready for work, I could feel the contractions that had started the night before getting stronger. I decided to head to work and to come home if and when my labour really got going. We made a plan and headed out to our respective jobs. I left for my mother's house, where she would be babysitting my daughter for the day. When I walked in the door at 8 a.m., I felt something wet in my pants. I wasn't exactly sure, but I knew something had happened. I froze, looked at my mom and said, "I have to go to the bathroom." She just looked at me and said, "Okay, so go." I whispered that I was in labour and her eyes got huge. "Seriously? Since when?" I told her that it had started the night before and something just happened. I went to the bathroom and my mom confirmed that I had just passed my mucus plug. I called into work and told them that I was in labour and I wouldn't be in. They were very excited and wished me luck. My mom quickly showered and packed her clothes for the next week, since she would be coming home with me to coach and to stay to help with the baby. While I was waiting, I paged my midwife to tell her that I was in labor.
Off to the midwife's
We left and stopped by my work to pick up my stuff, then headed out to the midwife. Then came the funniest part of my birth. There had been a mix-up earlier in my pregnancy with who my primary midwife was supposed to be because a new midwife was joining the team and I had been assigned to her. Well, her first day in our clinic was August 4 and I was supposed to meet her on August 6 for a home visit. So when I walked in to be examined that morning, I met the woman who would deliver my baby for the first time. The other midwife who had done all my pre-natal care was on holidays, so she wasn't even there that day. Even though I had been upset about it before, I just thought it was very amusing at this point. Liza checked me to see where I was and I was 3-4 cm at this point. She told me to go home and relax and to page her if my contractions got closer together, although she didn't think I would deliver today. I told her that I was definitely going to be calling her later on in the afternoon. She kind of humoured me and said, "Well, it might not happen today, but you have the pager number if you need anything."
I went home and started getting my bedroom ready, changing the sheets and gathering the towels and other supplies we would need for a home birth. My mom started cleaning like a madwoman, trying to stay occupied. I tracked my contractions for about 30 minutes and by 12:30 p.m., I was 7-8 minutes apart. I stopped marking them down and relaxed for a few hours. I called my sister and brother to let them know what was happening, handing the phone to my mom during contractions because I could no longer speak and resuming our conversation in between. They both couldn't believe that I was at home and so relaxed. My sister even started laughing when I had a contraction because I just said, "Hold on." and then all she could hear was my deep breathing.
Around 3:00, I starting tracking again and couldn't believe that I was already 4 minutes apart. at 3:30, I called my midwife to let her know and my husband too. I was still just walking around my house, not wanting to sit and just focusing on my breathing and not on the pain. When I spoke to my husband, I told him to just come home when he was done work and not to rush because everything was fine. At this point, I moved into my bedroom and paced around, trying to find a comfortable position. The only thing that was working was standing and leaning on the wall or my dresser during the height of my contractions. My husband got home at 5:00 pm, followed immediately by my midwife Liza and Trina, the student midwife. We moved into my bedroom, where they examined me and said that I was now 5 cm dliated. Trina tracked me for a bit and I was 2 minutes apart and moving into active labour. I continued to walk around my bedroom, tuning everyone out and focusing on breathing. I counted my breaths to help focus and stay relaxed. Liza and Trina couldn't believe how focused I was and coached me as I got further along. They kept telling me that I was doing a great job and to keep doing what I was doing, which was exactly what I wanted to hear.
Around 6, friends of ours stopped by with their video camera and she came in the bedroom to see how I was doing. I had a really strong contraction right then and needed to hold her hands, so she ended up staying there. As I reached 9-10 cm, I got down and knelt on the floor while leaning on the birthing stool. I wanted to stay upright, but couldn't support my weight anymore. I ate and drank some between contractions, until they were right on top of each other and I couldn't anymore. I found myself in a haze of pain and wasn't paying much attention to anything but the pain and what was about to happen. Liza told me to let her know when I felt a lot of pressure, like I was going to poop.
Here at last!
When I gave birth to my daughter, the epidural had been so strong that I didn't feel the urge to push, so I really didn't know what to look for. I started to feel pressure, but it wasn't overwhelming like I had heard so many women talk about. I pushed twice, but didn't feel much movement. Liza checked me and told me that I was 9 cm, but if she broke my water that the baby would come. I just said, "Yes, yes, do whatever you have to do! Just get him out!" She poked around for a second, then I felt a massive gush as my water broke. I felt like it exploded! They were happy to see clear fluid and coached me to push when I felt the need. My next contraction was much stronger and at the height of it, I let out a scream that lasted forever as I pushed with all my might. I screamed both because of the pain, but also because it gave me a boost of energy.
With the next push, I was silent as I gave it everything and my baby's head just popped out. Liza loosened the cord from around his neck and with the next contraction I pushed one last time and he was out. Benjamin James Colin MacGregor was born at 7:24 pm. I was in shock that it was over as they passed my son up through my legs for me to hold. He wasn't crying yet, so I rubbed him and talked to him until he started to cry and get pink. Everyone was taking pictures as the midwives got me up on the stool to cut the cord and deliver the placenta.
After I delivered the placenta, I was bleeding more than usual, so they got me into bed and quickly gave me a shot of vitamin K to help with clotting. I couldn't believe what I had just done and didn't see anything but my beautiful newborn son. We brought my daughter into the room and she was so excited to see the baby, even though she's so little. I passed the baby over to my husband as we took family photos and I called my siblings to let them know that little Benjamin had arrived. We had kept his name a secret from everyone until now, so we conference called and let everyone know at one time.
Having experienced both a medicated hospital birth and a natural home birth, I would never go back to the hospital or get an epidural again. I have recovered much quicker and easier and my son is so calm and relaxed most of the time. He latched on easier and was much more alert after birth than my daughter was. I am definitely recommending it to everyone!
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