Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Homebirth Story

I was almost 42 weeks when my midwives sent me in for a biophysical profile to check on my baby. I did not want to induce labour, so I was trying all options before getting to that point. I walked multiple times a day for as long a stretch as my bladder would allow, I ate an entire pineapple, drank hot chocolate with a teaspoon of cinnamon, had sex, sat on the washer... I tried everything natural I could, knowing that nothing would happen until the baby was ready but really wanting things to start moving. After the BPP, I came home, watched an episode of Criminal Minds with my husband, and we went to bed early.

Around 3 AM, I woke up with what I thought were constipation cramps. I sat on the toilet for half an hour, trying to empty my body with little success, cramping off and on. Then it occurred to me that the cramping was coming at regular intervals. I got up and paced in the living room, watching the clock. It seemed like they were regular, so I started timing. They were happening every five minutes, lasting nearly a minute. I felt like that couldn't be right... After nearly an hour, I woke up my husband and asked him to time them. By this point I couldn't talk during a contraction, but I paced in circles around our living room. As he timed them, he said they were happening every two minutes and lasting a minute. He said it was definitely time to call the midwives – this was at 5:30 AM.

At 6 AM, the midwives arrived – Julie and AnnMarie. My water had not broken and there hadn't been any bloody show, at this point. I was on my hands and knees on the bed, moaning deeply, coping with the pain pretty well. Julie was my primary, meaning she regularly checked the vitals of me and the baby, and AnnMarie mostly watched, commenting occasionally. My husband sat with the during contractions, sometimes going to the bathroom or getting me things to help me cope. I kept rearing up during contractions, pushing against the wall to counteract the pressure. We had a large frame on one wall and a mirror on the other, so they were taken down before I knocked one off.

Before long I moved to the floor. I was saying “nooooo,” deeply during contractions, because the “oh” sound felt soothing. I wasn't really thinking about the words meaning until AnnMarie sat next to me and suggested I say a more positive word. Often, I would starting saying no and switch to yes mid-consonant, which was funny even to me. Through-out the rest of labour, I would shout things like “yes, Baby! Come on, Baby!” I wondered if the baby could understand my encouragement.

Around 6:45 AM, I was asked to try going to the bathroom. I went a little and then proceeded to vomit into the sink. I remember thinking: “wow, am I a transition already?” I was shouting so much more loudly sitting there, they checked the baby's heart-rate, which had dropped. I moved back to the bedroom, where I alternated standing and kneeling. They checked the baby again; heart-rate was back to normal.

At this point, I was encouraged to drink something. At first they gave me coconut water, and I said – a little ungraciously – that it was disgusting. They switched it out for apple juice with salt, honey, and baking soda, which was much better.

At 7:40 AM, I could feel myself reacting to the contractions differently. I said to the midwives: “I think I'm pushing.” AnnMarie said: “I think so, too!” They gave me my first and last vaginal exam; I was fully dilated. I wasn't pushing a lot, just near the end of contractions. I started asking my husband to put pressure on my hips. He would squeeze them together as hard as he could, me always asking him to do it harder. Around this time, another midwife – Amie – got there who was only there to observe and support us.

Within twenty minutes, I was pushing through contractions, the midwives and my husband encouraging me, telling me how well I was doing. At 8:30 AM, they told me I was starting to bulge during pushes. As contractions became more intense, I yelled: “I want to bite something!” My husband offered to get me a towel; Amie suggested I try a more upright position. I did that for a few contractions, but it didn't feel as “good,” so I went back to my hands and knees. Julie suggested I lie on my side, which I did, my back against the bed. I heard AnnMarie say there was no need to give me ways to speed labour – things were moving fast enough! At 9:13 AM, the baby's head was just visible during pushes. Around this time, I started standing. I remember murmuring to my husband: “I'm so tired,” and wishing desperately that I could lie down and take a nap.

At 9:25 AM, I was encouraged to try using the restroom, again. As I sat on the toilet, my husband was kneeling in front of me, helping me cope with contractions. Feeling the humour of the moment, I asked him: “Is this going to be forever?” I was referencing a YouTube video, but only my husband knew what I meant. I went back to the bedroom, got on my hands and knees, and within four minutes, the baby was crowning.

At 10:07 AM, my baby was born in caul. Although I had been pushing, I hadn't felt the baby leave my body. Suddenly I looked down, and there was a baby underneath me! I sat down and Julie put her in my arms – a sweet, baby girl. Amie sat behind me, supporting my weight with her body so I could relax on the floor while I held my baby. My husband sat next to me, smiling at her. I looked up at him and said: “Let's do this again.”  

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