I had been having prodromal labor for a little more than two weeks. Most of the time, the contractions would start at night and stop when I got up and started moving around. On two separate occasions, I felt certain I was going to be having a baby the next day until the contractions stopped a few hours after they had started. These were not the same Braxton Hicks I had been having for half of my pregnancy. These contractions felt exactly like the ones that initiated labor for my two previous pregnancies.
Two days past my due date, I sent a text to my husband at work saying that maybe today was going to be the day, as I was having contractions that weren’t going away when I was moving around. But, like the other times, they came and went, and I gave up hoping that it would happen that day.
When my husband got home from work, we went to the park with the girls. He played with them while I walked around the track. I wasn’t having contractions anymore, but I really enjoyed the time to myself to think about my baby, and I hoped that walking would help the baby get into the best position for birth. When we got home, I started having contractions again while I was getting dinner ready. They seemed slightly more intense than the other ones I had been having up to that point.
After dinner, it was 8 p.m., and I decided to start timing them. I always love timing contractions. There’s something about it that makes me feel in control of the process, and it gives me something to do. I wondered if the contractions would go away when I sat down to put the girls to bed. I sat in their room with them as they struggled to fall asleep. The contractions kept up at about 4-6 minutes apart.
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At about 9:30 p.m., the girls were still awake (fueled by the unspoken energy of imminent labor), and I decided to give my midwife and my photographer a heads up text before they settled into sleep. The girls finally went to sleep, and I started cleaning up dinner and tidying up the house. My husband had been working in the shop, and he was now back inside to help me clean up. I still wasn’t sure if this was labor that was actually going to result in a baby, but the contractions were staying consistent and seemed to be increasing in intensity.
All of a sudden, my youngest woke up needing to poop, so I went and sat down with her in the bathroom. She has a tendency to poop in the middle of the night, and it takes her a considerable amount of time. She was refusing to be done and was crying in pain from her bottom hurting. I was sitting there on the bathroom floor worried that my labor was going to stall and concerned that I couldn’t help relieve my daughter’s pain. I also couldn’t help but laugh about the ridiculousness of the situation.
My husband put her in the bath, and we let her soak for a bit, which helped ease her pain and her mind. At 11:30 p.m., she and her sister (who had woken up with the commotion) finally went back to sleep. My contractions had slowed during this time, but I could tell that I was actually in labor because my mind was having a hard time handling the different tasks.
I went ahead and told my midwife to start making her way here since it was an hour drive, and I was worried that things would pick up quickly now that the girls were finally asleep. We finished tidying up, got the bed ready and blew up the birthing pool. My midwives, the photographer and my mother-in-law all arrived, and we sat in the living room making introductions and small talk while I still timed my contractions. They weren’t changing much in time apart or duration, but they continued to increase in intensity.
I have always used the Hypnobabies program for birth preparation, although during labor, I prefer to just be distracted by everything going on around me than to actually listen to the hypnosis tracks. My plan was to get into the water before needing to push this time, so I waited until I was just at the point of unawareness that I wouldn’t care about being nearly naked in front of everyone.
My water broke almost immediately when I got in the water, and it wasn’t long before I felt the urge to push. A lot of women feel relief when they start pushing, but I do not. Labor gets really hard for me during pushing. This time, I had to push for less time, but it was still awful. My husband went to wake up the girls at this point, so they could be there when the baby was born.
The position I was in was not feeling great, and at one point, I was willing to abandon my wish to catch the baby to be in a position that would feel better for pushing. Not much longer though, and the head was coming. After the head was out, I was able to reach down and feel. It took some more work and some help from my midwife to push out the body, but I was able to grab my baby and bring him up to my chest.
That’s right, HIM. We had a boy, and we were very surprised. Due to my history of heavy bleeding, I got a shot of Pitocin immediately after delivery and was able to birth the placenta quickly and with minimal blood loss. We moved to the bed, and Roland nursed for a long time before his big sister cut his cord. My father-in-law went to get doughnuts for everyone, I got a shower and my midwives performed a newborn exam. He was 7 pounds, 10 ounces and 19 inches of sweet baby boy. He was born at 2:30 a.m., and we were all tucked in ready to try to get some sleep before sunrise feeling so thankful for yet another amazing home birth experience.