Tobias Oliver, 2008

This is the third 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, Second, and Third

Tobias Oliver born @ home 5/22/2008 5:05 AM 7 pounds, 12 ounces 21 inches long

I have to start my birth story with finding out I was pregnant with mr. surprise number five, it was September and we had been at a baseball game with my family. On the way home we stopped to get our other car from their house and I grabbed a slice of dominoes pizza to eat on the way home because I was hungry. It made me sick. The only time Dominos does this is when I am pregnant, so I bought pregnancy tests the next evening and got a positive. My period was actually due that day, I hadn’t “missed” it yet. I called my due date end of May (it was officially June 1st) and took around eight weeks to get used to/excited about the idea of five children instead of the four I always thought I wanted. His tummy name was “Spring Thing” as he would be our only spring baby after four fall babes (two barely falling within “fall” at dec 19 & 20).

As I neared 36 weeks I got everything ready for baby, thinking I would have him by 37 weeks as I had all my other boys on or before 37 weeks gestation. I was open to birthing either at home or at the birth center, where there is an amazing tub I was really hoping to use for a waterbirth. The night before 37 weeks I started my lovely Prodromal labor for the third pregnancy in a row, only at first I thought it was the real thing. The contractions were regular, and even got stronger. We went out to the birth center and I was so relieved to have a longer labor than the last time. I spent several hours in the tub enjoying it until I noticed things were slowing down (I’m thinking this was around 3 AM Saturday 5/10). Got my midwife to check me and I was still dialated and effaced the same as I had been when she came by the house earlier Friday evening. Gave up, went to sleep at the birthing center (my sister & brother-in-law had come out and were with the three youngest kids in the living room, sleeping and my oldest was at his grandparents house that night), and tried to get things going the next morning. A check for position found T to not be quite ni the right spot so Molly did the cool robezo shifting thing described on the spinning babies site, that didn’t help pick things up any though. I was still having contractions they just weren’t making any significant progress. Around noon we headed home after spending twelve hours thinking I would have my baby by mothers day. We slept all afternoon and I kept hoping things would kick back in but they never did.

Fast forward through many days of prodromal labor, some stronger contractions here and there but no real labor. We saw Molly again on Tuesday 5/20 for a check up. I did not want a vaginal exam – It wouldn’t tell me anything and might just discourage me so what was the point? Everything else checked out fine (urine, blood pressure, babys heartrate) and I was measuring 30cm, Toby was low. I took the home birth kit home with me, because we knew the chance of a fast labor was high with all the prodromal labor and my history, and didn’t want to chance not having it available at home in the case that I couldn’t make it to the birth center.

That afternoon the kids and I went to play with friends, we went swimming. I had some stronger contractions that continued all afternoon, even in the pool. I watched the clock on our 20 minute drive home and they came every 5 minutes, a minute long each. Finally something regular. They continued about like that for quite awhile, and I thought it might be early labor. There was a lot of pressure and they even felt different than the ‘everyday’ contractions I had been having. I am convinced the stress of an argument with my husband about who should fix dinner (in his defense, he had a bad toothache and was on pain meds, antibiotic and had a root canal scheduled for the following week). I ended up fixing dinner, and while the contractions continued during when I got back to timing them they were shorter. And then further apart. And even shorter. I gave up, after I got the kids to bed I got a sudden burst of energy and decided the bathrooms needed to be cleaned, laundry needed to be caught up, and in the kitchen at least the dishes/counters needed done before I went to bed. I was convinced Toby would come soon, and possibly be born at home, and I needed to be ready for that possibility. (This is the day that the song “It’s Not My Time” came on the radio sometime during our drive and I got the idea in my head that my baby was sending me a message – “it’s not my time/i’m not going/theres a fear in me/it’s not showing/this could be the end of me and everything I know/oh I won’t go” you have to admit, those lyrics fit a baby taking his time perfectly! The song that came on right after that was ‘Home Sweet Home” which was a bit more hopeful – basically – ‘tonight tonight i’m on my way home sweet home’ and now you know my secret, I analyze & obsess over things way too much).

Wednesday morning I spent finishing the laundry I had started the day before, and then in the afternoon the little kids and I went to my moms house (big kids were at a movie). We stayed there all afternoon/evening and I was really hoping labor would start so we could just all jump in the van and mom could drive to the birth center. I said he IS coming tonight early on in the afternoon, with an ‘if I say it, it will come true’ mentality. But all I had was more of the same old prodromal labor, nothing regular, nothing stronger. Got the kids home and to bed, spent a little time online, and declared in my pregnancy journal that I was giving up, the baby would come when he came and it was a lot easier saying that with 37 week’ers than when they stayed in for longer but it was true and I knew it. I felt at peace with this, and I really owe the feeling I was able to generate that evening to an email from a home school group friend. She said (and I hope she doesn’t mind me “printing” her words) this – “I know it’s really hard at this late stage, but try to rest as much as possible and think of your baby utilizing every precious moment within the safety of your womb to prepare for his grand entrance into the world. Every single day makes him stronger, and the time for him to be in your loving arms is coming soon.”

As usual I had contractions, but went with the “If I can sleep it’s not labor” theory and went to bed around 12 or 12:30. I woke up at 2:30 when my husband came to bed, went to the bathroom, went back to sleep. Woke up around 3:45-3:50 because something felt weird, I was wet, and wondering if I had peed a little. I wasn’t sure, and thought it might be that my water had broken because the mucasy discharge I had been having for the past couple of weeks (I lost my plug weeks before, by the way I didn’t even write that into here anywhere yet, oops) was watery. I grabbed a pantie liner and went back to bed to sleep more, deciding if I felt leaky I would get back up and call my midwife. Didn’t happen, but I am quite confident my water did break then, there just was never a big gush (that I noticed). Almost immediately I was hit with a strong contraction that had me up on my hands and knees and deep breathing – I’m surprised my husband didn’t wake up. I went to the computer in the living room to turn it on and time contractions but after a couple more pretty quickly I returned to the bedroom to wake up my husband and then found the phone to call my midwife. While I called her, my husband called my sister and mom to wake them up to get here. It was about 4 AM. At this point the plan was still to try to make it to the birth center. I told Molly we would call when mom and alanna got there, and let her know for sure which we wanted to do. After we got off the phone I continued to try to time contractions but I couldn’t concentrate on even hitting the space bar. I didn’t want to sit on the birth ball, I wanted to be on my knees leaning over it. I told my husband forget it, call molly back and tell her to come here. I am not getting in a car.

The next hour (or, I guess it wasn’t even an hour as it must have been past 4:10 by that point) was intense. I felt really on top of things the whole time though, and every time I think back to the night there is not one thing I would change, it all went so perfectly. The contractions just kept coming. I had no clock to look at, no idea when anyone would get there, but I knew Toby would be there before morning without a doubt. Our room wasn’t completely ready for birthing in since we had thought we would go to the birth center, so Jason started very quickly getting things cleared out of it. He just moved anything in the way of where we had to put the mattress (from our sons bed) into the other room, then brought in the mattress. I had pulled out the box & bag with towels from the closet in between contractions while he was moving things and I tossed him two fitted sheets and a shower liner to put on the mattress. I also asked for my birth ball about then and put my body pillow on the floor to kneel on, putting the extra shower liner over it just in case I had been wrong about my water breaking already. I stayed on the ball after that point, with contractions coming hard and fast. At some point I muttered that Jason was getting an F in early labor support, because he was still running around cleaning things up and my back hurt (he later said I didn’t HAVE any early labor, good point). Aaralyn was awake in the other room and I had to tell him put on a video for her. He kept fussing at me for vocalizing through the contractions because I would “wake up” and “scare” the kids but I couldn’t do anything else. He also called me Dory, apparently It sounded like her whale speak. A couple of times I said “Oh baby baby baby baby” during contractions, I couldn’t even tell you why it was just the right thing to do at the time and I really felt connected to him the whole time, I knew he was coming, and I was excited. I knew I must be in transition when I started asking for my mom, when would she get there, shouldn’t they be here by now, what time was it, where were they, and when I got nauseous.

At some point before she (mom) came Jason told me to stop breathing like that (short panty breaths) because “molly said it would hurt more, remember?” I told him, Oh no this feels good right now. Not wanting to tell him I felt like I needed to push, and I couldn’t do it yet because the midwife wasn’t there. He had threatened early on in the pregnancy to call 911 if the baby was coming before the midwife and that just wasn’t going to be okay with me. So I just got through the contractions and waited. Mom and Alanna arrived probably 20 or quarter till 5. I was SO glad they were there, Aaralyn was no longer alone/scared in her room, jason didn’t have to go to her leaving me alone, etc. My legs were really hurting, I had mom rubbing one and Jason rubbing the other and a heating pad on my back. They made me move from the body pillow to the mattress, so they could both get to me easily. Jason called Molly and found out she was five or ten minutes away, and I decided I could use water now to hold out until she got there. Got in the tub kneeling with my head on a towel while he held the handheld shower head at my back. The student midwives showed up first and listened to the baby’s heartbeat. As soon as I saw Molly I was ready to get back to my room, onto the birth stool, and push the baby out. Because I had wrote out a birth plan which specified wanting to use the Birth Rite birth chair Molly had it in the room and ready for me, I sat down wet tshirt still on (I wanted in the water so bad I didn’t stop to take off everything first) and had the easiest pushing experience of all my births. It couldnt’ have been more than five minutes, Molly asked for the mirror, I thought I was going to poop and I pushed and there he was, I didn’t count pushes but it was just. fast. Best pushing experience I’ve ever had. And then he was in my arms. And the placenta came. And mom cut the cord. And we got moved over to the mattress so that my two year old could come meet her brother. We snuggled and nursed and before I knew it Molly came in saying it had been two hours already. </P

She did the newborn exam, T was 7 pounds, 12 ounces – the exact same as my youngest brother & exactly what my mother had guessed – 21 inches long. We got our herb bath, I ate, she checked me and found I tore and did a couple of stitches, T had a hard time keeping his body temp up so for the morning (until about noon) I had a heating pad on him while we snuggled & nursed. He wasn’t weighed again until 8 days later, Friday, and was 3 ounces over his birth weight at that time. The following Tuesday he was 8 pounds, 4 oz (weighed w/ clothes so probably an ounce or two less, but gaining).