This story is very detailed and may be considered too intense for some readers.
Please keep that in mind and exercise caution when choosing to read this story!
From the moment I found out I was pregnant I said, “It better be a girl.” Not that I don’t adore my boys but I wanted and needed something different. Either way, boy or girl, I’d be happy for I know God gave them to me for a reason.
When we decided to tell the boys we were going to be having a baby, Landon knew we were having a girl. Boy was he right. 20 weeks rolled around and sure enough, even though I wanted to not know the gender, I let Steve make the final decision. Well good thing. She was very cooperative and didn’t hide anything.
From there we couldn’t decide on a name. It wasn’t until the beginning of January that we finally settled on a name. It was frustrating because nothing felt like her and the beginning of January proved to be the beginning of an interesting journey.
At the beginning of the month, the false labor episodes decided to start. I had my maternity photos on January 5th and had a doozy of an episode. Contractions were 2-4 minutes apart while I was getting ready. I almost thought I’d have to call and cancel, but I persevered and finished getting ready. In the car, they subsided to 5-7 minutes apart but were tolerable. We get to our photoshoot location and they completely stopped. I’m glad they did. What I didn’t know was that another episode would hit us that evening. It was the first episode that we really thought that we’d have to make some phone calls. Alas, after 4 hours of consistent contractions, they stopped. I got up and went to bed. Frustrated and relieved. I was only a few days over 37 weeks so I wasn’t exactly ready to have a baby.
Over the course of the next two weeks, we had two more instances where we thought we’d have to make some calls. Luckily my Grandmother had come to town shortly after our first episode and would stay until baby girl decided to make her arrival.
At 39 weeks, January 16th, I asked for a check. I normally decline cervical checks but with all the activity I was very curious to see what it was doing. I was 1.5 cm dilated and 50% effaced. I honestly was hoping for more based on all the activity I had been having since 36 weeks but I was also fine with it too. It was the furthest I have ever been than in my previous pregnancies.
40 weeks rolls around and I’m feeling good. Baby looks good so now we just wait for the real deal to begin. It has to be really close, right? I delivered two of my babies on their due dates and one of them 4 days after their due date. I was positive I’d be delivering right at 40 weeks. I was wrong.
Saturday, January 26th, proves to be a day that tested me to the core. That afternoon I started feeling very crampy and contractions started 5-7 minutes apart. They felt different. We labored around and they moved up to 2-4 minutes apart. So we called everyone. I was excited. Labor was here.
My doula, Lisa, came first followed by Kelly (the midwife), Katy (student midwife), the birth assistant (whose name I can’t remember), and then my birth photographer Sarah. We had a check and I was 3cm and 75% effaced. Woo hoo. I was extremely happy. 3 cm is my hump and I was there and things weren’t bad. We labored until 4 in the morning when I agreed to another check. Still the same. I was utterly defeated. I knew for quite sometime that I wasn’t in labor but everyone said I was so I believed them.
I cried…and cried….and CRIED!!! The tears didn’t stop. They would just come at random times over the next couple of days.
My doula stayed until 10 that morning when we finally sent her home. I needed space and time. I cried and moped around. I wanted my baby. I was so ready to see her. Later that evening, Sunday, after more walking, we had a good gut wrenching laugh over my belly button. It was a good re-centering.
41 weeks rolled around on Wednesday January 30th. I had a midwife appointment that afternoon where I asked for a membrane stripping. I was still 3cm and 75% effaced so I was confident it would put me into labor within 24 hours. NOT!! Thursday evening rolls around and I decided to go get a massage. I was confident again that I’d be having a baby by Friday. NOT!!! Friday and Saturday included a lot of walking. I was set up for an herbal induction on Monday the 4th of February. I really didn’t want to do this. It would be three rounds of blue and black cohosh, membrane stripping, and an hour of walking. Didn’t sound like a fun adventure to me. Saturday we walked up and down a strip mall and into every store after we had lunch. I shopped for our little girl and we bought some ammo. Looking back I could have had some real fun with the guy at the gun counter being post-dates and all. All they have of me is me jogging on their indoor jogging track. It really helped me to relax.
That night I had contractions that had me moaning just like every other night that past week. So I was up at 4:30 in the morning. 8:00 rolls around and I just cried. I really just let loose. The tears flowed and I let emotion flow that didn’t even come out from the prior week. It wasn’t a long cry. I was out of my bedroom and ready for some more breakfast by 8:30.
9:00 rolls around and nothing is happening. One of the midwives had said that if I really wanted to, I could do an enema in early labor. Well I had been in early labor for a week and all the walking wasn’t cutting it. I wanted stuff to move along. Plus I was still constipated. At least I’d get a good poop out of it.
So enema it was. I was able to only get half of the bottle in and couldn’t even hold it in for a whole minute. If you’ve ever read the instructions for an enema, they say to leave it in for 1-5 minutes. Yeah…mine lasted 30 seconds before I felt this pop (is that my water breaking?) and jumped up to the toilet. I immediately let it go. All that came out was the water. So much for my poop.
Contractions immediately started and my 3cm vomiting happened. I got into the tub and had Steve call the midwives. Kelly and Violet were the team that I was on with Kelly being on call. Well Kelly had to leave town so Brittany was the one who came. When she saw me, she knew I was in active labor.
Luckily, Brittany doesn’t live far from us. She was at our house by 10:00. Grace (student midwife and birth assistant), my doula, and my birth photographer followed shortly after. We got out of the tub and I asked for a check. I was a tight 4cm and 75% effaced. Woohoo. This means something is happening. Shortly after the check, Steve and I went for a walk and to think about breaking my bag of waters. We really wanted her head against my cervix. We walked around the block and was having contractions every 2-4 minutes. When I started doing some curb walking, they increased to every 1-2 minutes. We got back home at around 11:30. I decided to eat something before we attempted to break my bag of waters. So everyone left to go get some food.
I sat on my birth ball and ate a grilled cheese sandwich and grapes. My Grandmother sat right across from me. We laughed and talked in between bites and contractions. Everyone came back at about 12:45. At 1:00 p.m. we decided to try breaking my bag of waters after discussing the risks. Grace attempted to go for it. Mind you, I have a bag of steel. With my last child, I broke 3 amniohooks before we had a successful break. So she tried….and tried….and tried. You could here it snap back like an innertube. Brittany gave it a shot as well. No such luck. I guess it is time to go for another walk.
After getting dressed for the cold weather outside, we headed on out. I couldn’t even make it to the end of the driveway before I was hit with a major contraction. Once that was over we made our way across the street. A dog jumped one of our neighbors fence and ran up to us then turned back around. Very weird and spooky. As we were walking I was having contractions every 30-40 steps. It was insane yet we pressed on. As we rounded the corner, I see this black cat down the way. We got closer to where the cat was and then I had another contraction. This cat came up, tried to rub up against my legs, and started meowing very loud. Great. Well this cat followed us until we got home and everytime I had to stop and rock through a contraction, the cat would stop and stand guard. At this point I knew I was having a baby. For heavens sake, the animals were coming out.
We made it halfway through our planned walk when I decided we were going home. We got home around 2:00. This is where things started to get intense and sketchy in order detail as time became irrelevant.
I labored on my ball next to the birth pool. The handles on the birth pool were amazing. They helped steady me. After what seemed like hours, I got in the tub.
After some more feeling like hours had passed, I asked for a check. I was feeling a little pressure but wanted to be sure. They tried checking me in the pool but was feeling something off and couldn’t tell. So out I got and waddled to the bed. We checked and I was at 7cm. I remember saying, “7cm. Oh okay….7cm….are you kidding me?” All I could think was ‘Wow that went quick.’
I decided to lay in bed and try out some of my Hypnobabies. I had great success with my Hypnobabies with my 3rd but for this one, I hated it. It never took me to the place I wanted to be, but I still tried it. Oh my GOD…Her voice was very annoying. After trying 3 different tracks, I ripped the headphones out of my ears, got up all angrily, and walked my pregnant, laboring butt back to the pool. Ahhh…the water.
I loved my birth pool. I loved being able to thrash around. And I did. I couldn’t stay put. I was on my side, on my back, on my other side, on hands and knees. Oh it was liberating to be able to move. At one point, and my birth photographer caught it, I roared. I screamed and I moaned. Finally the heat got to me and I asked for a wash cloth. The cold wash cloth was heaven. After that calmed me down and I got through a really tough contraction, I said “This just…ssuuuucks!” Everyone burst into laughter. I then said to them, “It really isn’t that funny.” My birth photographer said, “And there is the 8cm comment. That has to be one of the best ones I’ve heard. Just the tone made it fantastic.”
After that the contractions got crazy. I started screaming, “I can’t do this” and “it really can’t go this fast, can it?” Everyone reassured me that I could do it and that it was going fast. At least for my type of labor it was going fast.
I was in such denial that I could go from 7cm to 10 cm in an hour. So when my body was telling me to push, I was holding back. I didn’t want to be pushing against a cervix that wasn’t fully dilated. I then gave into one contraction and pushed. That was the beginning of the end.
After that push, I felt inside and announced, “There’s her head. I feel it.” Duh. Everyone around me knew but I said it for my own encouragement and motivation. Another contraction and a push and I felt again. More of her head and another announcement from me. After that I said, “It can’t be happening this fast.” Grace looked me right in the eyes and said, “It is and you are doing it.” Seriously…when your midwife looks you in the eye and says that you are doing it…you believe it.
Next contraction hit and there was that unmistakeable ring of fire. Except this time I felt that ring up inside. I’m sure I announced that as well but I can’t be sure. I was too busy having a baby. At this point, primal woman comes out and about. I’m holding onto the pool handles and Steve’s hands. Mind you Steve is on one knee holding our 2 year old and my hand. Can we say rockstar hubby? Next I felt her head crown. I immediately put my hands down and apply counter pressure. I didn’t want to tear and she was coming. I helped guide her head out. 4 minutes of pushing and her head was out. What a relief but I didn’t feel that unmistakeable pop-pop of the shoulders coming out. I immediately threw my head back and I went into ‘midwife-mode’. Ok shoulders are stuck….what do I need to do to help her get out? I pulled my legs back and Grace maneuvered her out with the next contraction. My 3 boys were there to see her be born. Aaden was hilarious in that he craned his neck around as she was coming out.
What a relief. We tried to bring her up to my chest but she had such a short cord. Luckily the pool had a little seat so I moved and sat up there. We waited for the cord to stop pulsating and then clamped it. Grace clamped some of my hair which wasn’t pleasant. We were going to let our oldest cut the cord but because it was so short and my placenta wasn’t wanting to come out, Grace did the honors. We waited a few minutes and the placenta still wasn’t detaching. So up and out of the pool and to the bed we went. Audrey got to meet her brothers and talk with her daddy while the midwives and I worked at getting the placenta out. After getting on the bed and 2 contractions later, the placenta decided to come out. There was the final relief.
Brittany and Grace checked me over and I was having some trickling of blood. They couldn’t find the sources so we did a gauze tampon (OMG that serious is the worst pain I’ve ever felt), and 2 shots of pitocin. Finally after another gauze tampon, the bleeding stopped. It was coming from a small tear on the pelvic floor.
Audrey came out so cheesy. There was no way she was almost 42 weeks. And in hindsight, I’m so blessed to have just waited. We can only assume at this point but we all feel that the reason why I had so much false labor was because of her short cord. My body was trying to move my placenta down so she would be able to come out. I had also had the feeling that there was something wrong with the cord but I ignored it thinking I had been reading too many Babycenter threads. Hindsight, I should listen to my instincts.
Audrey was my first homebirth, but second natural baby. Once again, Steve and I turned to each other and said, “This is how we should have done it from the first one we had.”
photo copyright info: ShutterHappy Photography ™ / Sarah Ledford
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