We finally took the time to put all the details together to write our birth story. If you didn't know already, our plan was to have a home birth. Lets just say that plans can change and you have to be able to go with the flow.
We had just gotten in bed at about 9:50 on Thursday night (January 19th, 2 days past our due date) and I felt a slight pop and tingling sensation that I had never felt before. I got up and went to the bathroom and as soon as I sat down my water gushed right into the toilet (conveniently enough). We called our midwife to let her know and her advice was to start monitoring my temperature every 4 hours and to get some rest. She asked if I had felt any movement since it broke and I hadn't so she told me to do a kick count for the next hour. I didn't feel any movement for that hour so she came to our house for a listen and Baby was doing just fine. She told us to try to get some sleep and that she would check back between 10 and 11 am to see where we stood. I had been trying to take daily naps since Sunday, but Tuesday and Wednesday nights I got only small amounts of sleep and then did not get a nap on Thursday. So I started my labor already behind on sleep.
We went back to sleep at midnight on Thursday night, however the contractions made it difficult to sleep so we got up around 3:30 on Friday. For early labor I just focused on breathing through each contraction and keeping my whole body as relaxed as possible. All day Friday we tried to various distractions including watching a movie, baking cookies, and some computer work. Our midwife came back around 11 am and listened to the baby. We told her that contractions had been consistently 4 minutes apart and about 40 seconds long. She told us to try to get some more rest and to stop timing them. Sleep wasn't really an option for me because in order for me to stay on top of my contractions I needed to prepare mentally as they built up. But waking up during a contraction made them unmanageable.
Our midwife left to run some errands and came back around 3:30 along with her two assistants (one of which was a young midwifery student). At this point our midwife decided to try to get things moving. So I did some hands and knees with some butt shaking, walked up and down the stairs, and did some lunges. This definitely took my contractions to the next level. David and I would walk around the house, and then when a contraction came I would drape my arms around him and go as limp as possible while breathing through the contraction. However, through all this I still didn't seem to be heading into active labor.
So around 8 pm we tried a hot shower, some more lunges and other positions, as well as a bath. But nothing seemed to work. Finally my midwife suggested a herbal labor tincture that encourages the progression of labor, only if your body is ready. After a few doses and some time, sure enough, it worked! Our midwife said that we would "know it" when I finally went into active labor and she was definitely right! Contractions came back to back and their intensity went to a whole new level. At this point I could no longer just breath through them and began to moan while keeping my hips moving in the hands and knees position. This continued for about two hours or so and everyone began to get excited about the birth of our child. The assistants started setting up and we discussed how everything would happen. Finally my midwife asked if I felt the urge to push.
Around 2 am (or sometime early Saturday morning) I started to push. However, my contractions just seemed to spread farther and farther apart. We tried pushing in multiple positions but nothing seemed to be very productive. After a while our midwife decided to do an internal exam (we had been avoiding internal exams due to increased risk of infection since my water had broken so early) and could feel our baby's head. This gave us some hope. I took a couple more doses of the labor tincture, however after a few more hours it seemed as though my body was too exhausted, and my baby was stuck in the wrong position and couldn't get past my pubic bone.
After 33 hours of labor, we finally decided that I need to transport to the hospital to get some rest with hopes of still achieving a vaginal birth. We had set up a back up nurse midwife at Frankfort Regional Medical Center because they are more home birth friendly and our midwife would be able to come in as our midwife and not just a friend. So after making sure my temperature and the baby's heart rate were good (which we had been doing all along), and that there was no emergency we decided to drive to Frankfort. Interestingly enough during the excitement of gathering our clothes and heading to the car my contractions picked back up and we think the baby shifted into a better position. So during the entire 30 minute drive I was having very strong and regular contractions. Our midwife's assistant rode with us and monitored the baby.
We arrived at the hospital emergency entrance and rushed up to the labor and delivery ward. Our midwife had called the back up midwife and briefed her on the situation. Our plan was to try to get an epidural, get some sleep, and then proceed safely. The hospital was a buzz with all the excitement of a "home birther" coming in after 33 hours of ruptured membrane labor. The doctor that was there came in and checked vital signs and decided that our plan was safe. Our baby's heart beat remained "perfect" the entire time. Dealing with the contractions while being hunched over and very still for the epidural was extremely difficult. But finally it gave me some relief. Our back up midwife showed up shortly after and we discussed the plan. When she examined me she determined that I had closed back to 7 cm. So I got around 4 hours of sleep and when I woke up I was 9.5 cm and felt that I got the rest that I needed.
Our home birth midwife and the backup midwife discussed with us, and we decided I needed pitocin to give me the contractions necessary to push the baby out. At first I was hesitant to accept it because I hadn't had as much as a tylenol during my whole pregnancy. Our midwifes told us that my current contractions were not regular or strong enough to get the baby out. My husband and I decided that our hopes of a completely natural unmedicated birth were not important any more, and that now our only goal was to have a safe birth while hopefully avoiding a c-section.
At around 3:30 my contractions were where they needed to be so the team of nurses assembled and began to get me and the room ready for delivery. After about 40 minutes of pushing our baby was finally in my arms! This part of the labor seemed to go flawlessly, including no tearing! David was able to catch the baby and bring him to my chest. This was the most amazing feeling. There was so much emotion and excitement and we were just so happy that we were able to get the birth/post birth experience that we wanted. Frankfort Regional was so wonderful in letting us have delayed cord cutting, skin to skin and never separating us for exams or observation for the duration of our stay there. Because we were home for most of the labor and the hospital complied with our birth wishes, we ended up with the birth experience that we had wanted. Our story is the perfect example of how interventions are sometimes necessary and we are completely at peace with how things turned out, especially with how our baby boy is strong, healthy and in our arms!
From water breaking to baby in arms, my labor was a total of 42 hours. From my perspective, the time really flew by and I had no perception of how long it was taking. I know for a fact that I wouldn't have been able to make it through any of it without such a supportive team. David was absolutely amazing from start to finish. He was so loving, caring and supportive and the rock that I needed to make it through. I am so lucky to have such an amazing partner and seeing him as a father has taken my love for him to a whole new level.
|First family photo!|
For those of you who are pregnant or trying to conceive, please don't let our story scare you or hinder your own birth experience. I am a rare case and can say from 33 hours of experience that natural labor is manageable and as long as your body cooperates, you can do anything!
|Would do it all over again!|