Since I haven’t been around much I thought it would be appropriate to FINALLY share QC’s birth story on her 6 month birthday. Enjoy!
After having preeclampsia with OG’s birth I was really hoping for a natural home birth this time around. I didn’t have any high blood pressure issues through this pregnancy (yay!) and was feeling confident about at least getting to start laboring at home spontaneously. I had a thyroid test early in my pregnancy (I read that thyroid issues could be related to preeclampsia) and found out I have Hoshimoto’s disease. I believe having my thyroid issues under control greatly contributed to a healthy pregnancy (but that is a topic for another time).
Home Birth Stories: Quinn’s birth
Four days after my due date I began having regular contractions at bedtime.
They would stop when I walked around but would start up again when I laid down. I didn’t get a lot of sleep that night.
The same thing happened the next night and I started to believe that real labor would never start. In retrospect it would have probably been a good idea to tell my midwives that I was having contractions for two nights!
The next day as I used the bathroom after returning home from grocery shopping I discovered I had lost my mucus plug. I called my midwife feeling very excited that I might actually have a baby soon! She told me that it was a good sign that my cervix was changing but that I might still be a day for two away from labor. That evening, as I was laying down to put OG to bed I started having mild contractions again. I continued to get regular contractions and I was feeling more certain that this was “real” labor.
OG woke up about an hour after going to bed so I went upstairs to lay down with her again (looking back, this was unusual for her so maybe she was sensing something?).
The contractions were getting stronger and I had to hold the door frame to get through one.
When OG was finally back asleep I went back downstairs to start timing the contractions. They were around 5 minutes apart but were very mild. Matt came home from work around midnight and I told him I was having contractions for a few hours and that I thought I should call Kate (my midwife) since they were close together.
I called and she said mild contractions that are close together may be due to the baby’s position and that I should try hands and knees or laying on the left side.
Matt and I watched the season finale of Under the Dome since labor was still mild. By the end of the show though, things were getting more intense and I needed to concentrate to deal with the contractions so we turned the TV off. Laying down or sitting was not comfortable at all though. Standing or hands and knees was best for me during this labor.
I labored on hands and knees for a little while but was getting very tired (it was around 2am at this point) so I tried laboring on my side on the couch.
I was starting to feel nauseous at this point which made getting through contractions even harder because I didn’t feel like I was getting full relief in between . When each contraction was over I was still feeling nauseous and then another contraction would come. They were also coming every 3-5 minutes (but lasting only 30-60 seconds) through most of my early labor, which really wore me out. Here’s where a good childbirth class would have helped, but I thought scine I’d done it before I didn’t need one!
At around 3:30am I asked Matt to call Kate again. I had been feeling a lot of pressure the whole time and was starting to worry that she wouldn’t make it in time (especially because the drive was nearly 1.5 hours).
Kate arrived at around 5:30am and Cindy arrived near 6am.
I realized when they were there and I was feeling safe from delivering on my own that I wasn’t as close to delivery as I had feared. I was able to talk to them in between contraction a little.
At around 6:30am I was feeling the baby low and tried bearing down with the contractions to see if I got some relief. This is where being a second time mom actually made things harder. I knew that I would get some relief from pushing so I tried to hurry along (which is obviously not possible).
At around 7am Kate asked me if she could do a vaginal exam to see where I was since I had been trying to push but things weren’t progressing. I was only dilated to 1 cm, which was discouraging. Kate and Cindy asked me to breathe through contractions. I continued to labor on hands and knees or standing.
At 8:30am I tried to rest more between contractions.
I was exhausted and felt like I needed to take a break from labor. I slept in between contractions. I remember thinking that I was getting more of a rest than I had been and I was so grateful for it. My records show that my contractions spaced out a bit at that time. Nature sure knows what to do! As I felt each contraction come on I jumped up and Matt jumped up so I could hold onto him through the contraction. Then I would sit back down on the couch and snooze.
At 9am my midwives recommended I walk up and down the stairs to get things going which was really not fun but did seem to work. By 9:10 I was 8cm with a very low baby head.
At 9:37 my membranes ruptured and I started pushing at 9:42 while on my knees and holding onto Matt (I remember thinking, oh yeah, this is the urge to push). I once heard someone attribute the second stage of labor to throwing up except it’s throwing down. That is the best explanation of pushing a baby out that I have ever heard. There’s no controlling it, the best you can do is accept it, embrace it, and get through it.
The midwives, calmly and quietly sitting nearby through my labor were now right with me ready to catch my baby.
During one contraction Cindy reminded me to push into it instead of trying to get away from it. In between pushes they also reminded me I could touch the head. When I reached down and felt her soft head I said, “it’s a baby,” as I was remembering why I was doing this.
At 9:58am, after just 16 minutes of pushing, Quinn was born. I picked her up and saw that she was a girl (which was a surprise since I was sure we were having a boy) but such a fun surprise that I was so glad I got to have.
I didn’t know anything was wrong. Suddenly, the midwives started giving her oxygen. I didn’t realize that she hadn’t really cried yet. I remember talking to her as she lay on the floor between my legs struggling for breath. The midwives encouraged me to talk to her and touch her as they worked to get her breathing.
I remember looking up and seeing Matt’s panicked face and I said to him “She’s OK, it’s OK” because I knew she had oxygen rich blood still pumping to her from the placenta.
From an APGAR score of 4 at birth to an 8 five mintues after birth (and then a 9), she recovered very quickly.
Home birth stories: What I learned from this experience
- Home births are wonderful! I didn’t have to travel anywhere while in labor and didn’t have to travel anywhere afterwards. I was able to sleep in my own bed that very night which means I got lots of sleep that I wouldn’t have if I were sleeping in a strange place.
- Always review relaxation techniques whether it’s your first baby or 50th! I missed a chance to have a really peaceful and relaxed birth because I couldn’t get a handle on the pain. I hadn’t done prenatal yoga, practiced relaxation work or taken a child birth class like I did when I was pregnant with OG. It made a huge difference!
- Even though QC wasn’t breathing in the first few moments of life I would still have chosen a homebirth. If I had been in a hospital she would have most likely had her cord cut and been swooped away from me to an exam table. She then wouldn’t have had the oxygen rich blood pumping to her and may have needed a breathing tube or other medical interventions. Additionally, my midwives were confident and professional and I felt very safe in their care.