Home birth in a hurry: The birth of Eldon
My due date was May 26, so I was late as per my usual—as I had expected to be. On the morning of June 1, I woke up a bit before 6 a.m., and I was feeling some pretty decent contractions. I lay in bed a while, and they kept coming and seemed fairly regular. So, I started timing them with my handy little phone contraction timer. The duration started a bit more than 30 seconds and were consistently anywhere from four to five minutes apart. Over time they started to get closer to a minute long. I was getting pretty excited at that point. I texted my midwife to let her know what was going on. We decided to wait things out a bit and see what happened.
Around 11 a.m. they started to get farther apart. Around noon they had all but stopped. Super! My mom had come over, and we were walking around outside trying to keep them going—but it wasn’t really working. It was ridiculously hot outside; our air conditioner was broken, and it was a pretty big bummer. My mom had some stuff she needed to go take care of, so I told her to go ahead and go. I would let her know if anything changed.
Around 7 p.m. I started having contractions again. This time they were about a minute long and 8 to 9 minutes apart. Fairly strong. Then they got closer together but shorter in duration. My midwife was going to be driving by where I lived, so said she would come by to check me out. When she got there, of course, the contractions had lessened and spaced out.
She checked me and said I was about 2 to 3 centimeters dilated. She could feel his head, but he was still a little high. She also said I had lost my plug already. She asked if we wanted her to stick around or what we wanted to do. We figured she might as well go home and sleep, and we would try to also. She left around 9 p.m.
So my husband, Joel, and I lay on the couch to try to sleep. It was cooler out there, and we had a fan blowing on us. Our room and bed was way too uncomfortable. As I was lying there, I couldn’t sleep because I kept having contractions. I was messaging with a friend on Facebook, a little after midnight, as I started to time my contractions again. This time they were getting very intense and getting closer together.
They quickly went from eight minutes apart to five, then four-and-a-half. I got up to go to the bathroom, and when I got up, there was my show! Joel came walking down the hall as I came out. I was going to get in the shower for a bit because I was starting to get really uncomfortable. I wanted to sit in there and time contractions and see what happened. He sat on the bathroom floor while I sat in the shower stream and timed for me.
It didn’t take long after I got in there, though, before I told him to just call the midwife to come. I knew this was it, and baby Eldon was going to be here soon. I tried to convey a sense of urgency … I also told him to call my mom to come. It was about 1:20 a.m. on June 2 at this point.
My mom didn’t answer, so he left a message. I got out of the shower and lay on the bed in the room we set up to have the baby in. The contractions were becoming very intense, and I was starting to feel pressure. I called my mom, and she answered. She was on her way already. I told her she might have to fill in for my midwife because I just knew she wasn’t going to make it. She asked if she should call my dad to be there also—just in case, so I told her to go ahead.
My midwife lived more than an hour away, and my husband was already looking pretty freaked out at the prospect of going it alone. I was telling him he was going to have to deliver Eldon. He was not terribly excited by this! Ha! I knew everything was going to be OK, though. I felt very calm, and I was ready.
I called the midwife and asked if I could get in the birth tub. I told her it was going to be very soon. Joel started filling the birth pool, and my mom got there. The pressure was building, and I was feeling like I was probably going to start pushing soon. I remember thinking to myself that this was my last baby. I just couldn’t do this again. It was too much to go through, and I was done. In retrospect, this was a pretty clear signal the end was near!
I got into the pool, and the water felt amazing. It really lessened the intensity of my contractions, and I could relax between them a little.
After not even 10 minutes Eldon started coming. It’s crazy how when you just kind of let go; your body just takes over. It pushes on it’s own. There is nothing you can do to stop it. It does what it wants!
I told Joel he was coming. He called the midwife again, and she helped over the phone. I leaned forward over the edge of the pool on my knees, and Eldon started coming. I put my hand down and could feel his head coming out, which was very neat. It was very slippery. I pushed as I had my hand gently on him, and in between pushes I would calmly tell my husband everything was fine. It was going to be OK. It was pretty surreal.
Eldon’s head came out, and I stopped pushing. They were telling me to push, so I leaned back and pushed and out the rest of him came. My mom picked him up, and put him on my chest. The midwife told us to rub his back and suction out his mouth. They frantically searched for the bulb, I rubbed his back, and he started to cry a bit. We made sure everything was clear and put some towels on him to keep him warm while I held him in the water.
Sometime in that time frame my dad had shown up. He says that it looked like that was the way to give birth. It was pretty great, and I totally agree. Eldon was born at 2:27 a.m. on June 2, 2013.
About 10 to 15 minutes after Eldon was born, our midwife got there. We delivered the placenta, and my mom cut the cord. (My husband has never found this appealing, and she had cut the cord for all my kids.) They helped me out of the water, and I sat on the bed. They pumped the water out of the pool and got everything cleaned up quickly. Eldon latched on and nursed for quite a while. He was a great little nurser. It was so nice to sit with him and just be able to stare at him and be so close. He was a very sweet and calm little guy.
Once he finished nursing he was measured and weighed: 7 pounds, 12.5 ounces and 19 inches. He was big and healthy and perfect.
I lay down, and she checked me to see how I was looking. I had a very minor tear. She said she could stitch a little, but it wasn’t totally necessary. I opted to just let it heal on its own and just take it really easy.
Baby Eldon was passed around a little bit and some pictures were taken while I ate a banana and some almonds. After everything was said and done, I lay down in bed with my newest little man, and he went to sleep. My husband went to bed, and I got to snuggle and nurse my little man all night. I had no desire to sleep for hours because I was on such an awesome high.
In the morning Jarom (4 years old) woke up, came in and saw the pool was gone and a baby in bed with me. He was excited. His face lit up like it was Christmas morning. “Baby E!” he yelled. He was so excited! A little later Nolan (2 years old) came in and was just as excited. He walked over, and the first thing out of his big smiley face was: “He has ears! He has nose!” It was so special to watch. I love my boys.
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By Aimee Johnson
Images: Courtesy of Aimee Johnson