Lochlan William, 2002

This is the second of four birth stories written by a mother who has birthed all of her children with HDMC. Her other birth stories are also available here: First, Third, and Fourth

I wasn’t very happy when I found out I was pregnant this time. My dates were the same as with my first son, I had really wanted a spring baby, and I wanted to wait and see what my husband’s job situation was going to be. But it was out of my hands, and there wasn’t anything I could do so I got used to it and got excited about it. The pregnancy was uneventful, which is the usual for me. I had no morning sickness, just a little nausea, which actually lasted a little longer than just the first trimester this time. I, of course, choose the same midwife that I had for my previous two pregnancies and births. We planned on a homebirth again, this time in our own place. Not having to get in a car while in labor sounded wonderful to me.

By December I was tired of being pregnant, I was always grumpy according to my oldest son, my back hurt, my ribs hurt, and I was tired all the time. But I still loved my belly and loved feeling the kicks. Pregnancy certainly has both positives and negatives, it is hard to tell which outweigh the others. Around 35 weeks I had braxton hick contractions, I hadn’t experienced many of these with my other two pregnancies. At 36 weeks I had a home visit with my midwife. Everything was fine, and she figured she would see me for my 37-week appointment the next Saturday, I wasn’t so sure about that (my other sons were born at 36 ½ and 37 weeks) but figured I just wanted my baby badly, so that was where my feelings were coming from.

Tuesday evening of my 36th week (36 weeks, 3 days I think) I started getting irregular, but getting closer contractions. They didn’t hurt but they were definitely coming. I figured it was prelabor, and monitored them but didn’t feel the need to call my midwife. They continued the next day, stopped a couple of hours, but picked up again that afternoon when we were out at the mall getting the boys Christmas photos done. I was uncomfortable that evening and had trouble falling asleep. I noticed patterns a lot as I monitored the irregular contractions. Thursday they seemed regular, I decided to call my midwife after returning from my son’s school birthday celebration. He turned four that day, and I was really hoping the baby wouldn’t come until Friday so they could have different, although close, birthdays. When we got home I timed my contractions for a while, they were no longer regular but they had gotten more intense and they still had somewhat of a pattern. They were more uncomfortable than they had been, although not painful yet. I could talk through them, but it was usually obvious to others I was having one. I called my midwife that afternoon, and she sent an apprentice over to check things out. She basically did a normal check up, and an internal at my request. I was 3.5-4 cm dilated, 50% effaced, and the babies head was at a +1 station so things were definitely happening with this prelabor. She said just call when I felt I needed them to come, and I said we would probably see them later that evening.

My husband came home and cleaned up, I hadn’t felt like doing much those couple of days, and besides I knew that if it was early labor I would need to save up my energy for labor. Being able to get through contractions and birth my baby was more important than having my house clean. I called my midwife around seven or eight, when I was feeling like I needed to breath through the contractions and couldn’t continue conversations until after they were finished. They were around three minutes apart. Maybe five. We didn’t time them but they were pretty close. She sent the apprentice and another midwife from the birthing center, and headed over herself from home. The boys were put to bed, the youngest taken for a drive to help him fall asleep faster, and the midwives got set up. Then we all just sat in the living room talking, eating, watching television, and breathing through contractions. I knit a little bit, but had to pause during the contractions. We put on the eighties movie Girls Just Want To Have Fun, mostly because I knew no one would argue with me about it for once. Eventually I decided I wanted to take a bath, but once in there, the water was too cold so I got out quickly. My husband and I decided to walk outside a bit to help speed things up. This was shortly after midnight, I remember this because I was thinking we were safe from the birthday sharing thing finally, and hoping to have my baby soon.

This is where things got more intense. The walking seemed to make the contractions change from building up with a peak and then back down again to one long pain. My midwife had told me earlier that this might happen once I hit transition. I had not had an internal since they had arrived, and wouldn’t until I requested one. I coped with these contractions by sitting on the birth ball with heating pads on my upper thighs, someone rubbing my back, and leaning onto someone else I think. I may be confusing different times of the night, I was tired. Anyway, I remember thinking that it may be transition but how could it be transition when it wasn’t really that hard yet, and I didn’t feel like I couldn’t do it. I was still laughing and joking around in between contractions.

My doubts turned out to be right, it wasn’t transition. Around two I asked (begged) to be checked and my midwife said I was only 4.5 centimeters. I was exhausted, and couldn’t believe I had hardly progressed at all. My husband and I decided to lie down and try to get some rest. I dozed on and off in between contractions, the next hour or so seemed to pass by quickly but painfully. When we got up we found that everyone else had decided to try to rest as well. I guess I labored in my room a bit more. I sat on the edge of my bed, mom sat beside me so I could lay my head on her shoulder during the contractions and Jason sat behind me and rubbed my back. My midwife was sitting on the birth ball right in front of the bed. The others were resting still. The contractions seemed very long, almost never ending, and came one right after another. After awhile of these contractions I had Molly check me again, I was about 7.5 cm. I decided to get into the tub again for a while. I got to where I really didn’t think I could do it anymore. When I got out I wanted to be checked again and was finally complete. I remember Molly making me wait a few contractions before checking, which was torturous because I wanted to know right away.

So I began pushing. I am guessing it was probably around five, but I really don’t know. I lost track of time after getting up around three, until he was born. All my plans of giving birth squatting went out the window with how tired I was. I didn’t feel I could be that in control of being the one to catch. So for the third time I choose to give birth in a semi-sitting position. The contractions lasted forever and I pushed and pushed and pushed to try to get the babies head down and out over my pubic bone. Finally Molly suggested I try the birth chair, which worked great to get his head right there and ready for birth and they helped me get back on the bed. I reached in and felt his head at one point and that made me so happy to just feel him so close to being born. It helped me get strength enough to get through the rest of the birth. I can’t remember if it was before or after that, but at some point during the pushing stage Molly broke my waters to help with getting him out of there quicker. It took a few minutes for her to get through the bag this time though. Once he was about to crown I was ready for him and wanted to just push him out quickly so badly, but everyone was urging me to take it slowly and pant. I remember saying No and I didn’t care if I tore I just wanted him, but then I realized I DID care and I did what they were saying again. And then he was just there. His head crowned and Molly caught it, then mom reached and got his shoulders as they were born and gave him to me. After a few minutes we (well someone, I can’t remember who brought it up) decided to make sure he was a boy, but like Molly said, he has a boy face.

I held him for a while, and everyone came in to see him. They did his newborn exam, he weighed in at 6 pounds 7 ounces, 19.5 inches long.. Andrea and Deb had a placenta lesson. We had our herb baths—separately because I was in the tub before him but I kept falling asleep and was afraid to hold him in the water while I was so tired. Someone must have gotten him dressed, I think Andrea did but I’m not sure. Jeric got to hold him when I was in the bathtub, we have a photo of that. He said, “He came out” and “He’s so big” Kieran didn’t see him until 10 or 11 when he woke up. I wonder now if it would have been better for him to see him brand new, not yet dressed. He hasn’t exactly welcomed his new brother with open arms, but we didn’t expect him to.

I did NOT throw up in transition, so much for “always”. And it took me a week and a half after the birth to realize that the reason the contractions were so long & hard & intense is because of how quickly I went from 4-10 cm. Jason watched the birth this time, something he had not done before (although he was always at my side). Within the first week or two after the birth he said that he wished he had watched the other boys being born, and he feels like it helped him to bond with him a lot quicker.