Friday morning (39w 1d) I woke up around 6am, went to the bathroom and went back to bed. It was just a normal day. At 7am, I rolled over in bed and felt a pop. I thought it was just a gas bubble, but it felt a little different. I didn’t think it was my water, but I headed into the bathroom just to check, because how exciting would that be? Plus I had to pee again. I got to the bathroom and as I pulled down my pants, I had a big, distinguishable gush – luckily most of it ended up in the toilet. I was pretty shocked, and a bit in doubt, so I grabbed a PH strip and tested the fluid – definitely not pee. Alrighty then. Looks like this is happening. I immediately called my midwife – she knew I was pregnant before B did, so why shouldn’t she know I was in labor before him too, right? Joking! I was still in doubt so I wanted to talk it through with her before I alerted him. Since I wasn’t having contractions, she told me to go on with my day as normal, but to fit in a walk and to make an acupuncture appointment. I had 24 hours to get contractions started. Next I called B who had already been at work for about an hour and a half. I asked him if he was ready, because my water had broken. I also joked that he should point out to his boss that I had waited until a Friday. I texted my mom and told her what was up, made an acupuncture appointment, sent B a list of things to get from the store on his way home and hopped in the shower. My legs needed to be shaved, obviously. While I was in the shower, I felt the need to clean the house, and actually scrubbed the shower while I was in it. I couldn’t have a dirty house for a home birth… There would be people here. Plus, who knew when I would be able to shave my legs or clean the house again. Priorities, right? B was home by 8:30 and started helping me finish the last few things around the house.
Contractions started around 9:30am. They were 3-4 minutes apart, lasting around a minute and pretty intense right out of the gate. I timed them while still attempting to perfect the house. After an hour of timing the contractions, I texted my midwife with the stats, telling her I was pretty sure the acupuncture wasn’t going to be needed. She told me to stop timing contractions and go for a walk. I really wanted to make the BIRTHday cake from scratch that I had planned to make in early labor, but it was already too intense – just trying to finish cleaning the house was too much. B knew how badly I wanted the cake to happen, so he even offered to make it if I coached him through it, but I needed to focus on the contractions. By 11 I threw the cake idea out the window, stopped attempting to clean the house, and told B to contact the midwife again and tell her the walk wasn’t happening – things are too intense and I didn’t even want to get off my hands and knees/birth ball on the floor. She told B to set up the birth pool and prep the bed, but not fill it the pool and that she was on her way over. I took this photo of him setting up the birth pool at 11:18am – time gets blurry from here. It took him forever to set up because I kept needing him to come back for each contraction.
My midwife arrived (around noon?) and checked me. I remember saying “If I am only like a 4, I am going to kill someone.” I had requested not to know my dilation, but I was told later that I was a 4. This was exactly why I requested not to know. Had I known I was only a 4 at that point, with how intense it was, I know the rest of this story would have been completely different.
At this point, my midwife had us take a walk around my front yard. The student midwife/doula had arrived a bit earlier and started taking photos, amongst her prep and labor assistance. This is also the point in the day that I lost my mucus plug. It took us forever to circle our yard just a few times, because I kept having to stop and work through the contractions. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day though!
After the walk, I went back inside and got back in my comfy place on my knees, draped over the birth ball. I really liked this position and I didn’t want to move. Everything was really intense. B and my midwife kept telling me how great I was doing and I remember telling them that they were lying, because if I was doing so great, I would be allowed in the birth tub. All I wanted was to get in the water, but they kept telling me it was too early.
The midwife was worried I was going to hurt my knees kneeling on them for however many hours this was going to take, so they had me move to the bedroom to get on the bed. I stopped in the bathroom on the way to pee and got stuck on the toilet during a contraction. Oh how I HATED the toilet contraction – that was a moment that I felt completely out of control and I just hated it. On all my previous contractions, I was able to collapse to the floor to sway my way through it and I was able to do what my body needed to do and stay out of my head. I couldn’t do that on the toilet. I had no coping mechanism on there and I got inside my head, which was not where I wanted to be. I made it through the contraction and there was no way I was doing another one there, so I speed peed and flew to the bedroom. Once in the bedroom, I was helped onto the bed and things were a whole other level of intense. I was laying on my side and really didn’t like the position, but didn’t have the energy to move.
I was already at the point where once a contraction would subside, I would almost be sleeping until the next one hit. It wasn’t long after getting on the bed that I told B that if I couldn’t get in the birth pool soon I wanted to go to the hospital and get an epidural because I couldn’t do it anymore. The next contraction hit and I involuntarily grunted and pushed through it. I told B that the baby was coming. The midwife came in and told me that she usually only checks every 4 hours when waters are broken, and that it had only been two hours, but she wanted to check again since I was sounding pushy. She checked me and told B to go ahead and start filling the tub. Oh thank goodness! I found out later that I was 8-9 at that point. They had the tub filling and they were boiling water on the stove and the BBQ grill because things were moving much more quickly than anticipated. They checked me one more time and I was in the birth pool by 2:30ish. It was glorious!
The midwife told me that she didn’t want me to fight my body if it pushed, but that she didn’t want me to add to it, because I still had a bit of a lip. The backup midwife and my mom arrived right around this time.
Around 2:45 they checked me one last time, told me I was complete and could do whatever I felt compelled to do. Nobody told me when to push, nobody was counting through my contractions. Nothing. It was just me and my body, doing what felt right, at my own pace.
I birthed his head in the pool, and we discovered that his hand was pressed up against his face, making his shoulders get a bit stuck. The midwives had me stand up in the pool, but I kept wanting to squat too low – his head had already come out of the water, so it couldn’t go back in, and the midwives needed more room to maneuver him – the pool was not giving them enough room to do what they needed to do. They had me get out of the pool so one of them could support my perineum while the other one turned the baby to get his shoulders loose.
t 4:02pm, Benno was born, in our living room ~ 9 hours after my water broke – 6.5 hours after the first contraction hit – after an hour and 13 minutes of pushing. I had done it! He was here!!
The midwives unwrapped the cord from his neck and he was immediately placed on my chest where the midwives attended to and evaluated him and we attempted to get him latched, but he wasn’t interested. I birthed the placenta, B made the first cut on the cord and my mom made the second. We weighed him at 7 pounds, 11 ounces.
I was then helped to the bedroom to asses any tears. I had one minor tear that the midwife debated even needing to stitch. She ended up stitching it to be safe, but said it was so minor that it probably didn’t need to be done. At that point, we were able to get him to latch and he was measured at 19 inches. The student midwife started processing my placenta to be encapsulated, I was able to pee, and within a couple hours of birth, the birth team left us to bond as a new family.
It was intense – it was an absolute whirlwind – he came on like a freight train, but it was absolutely perfect. Over a month later, I still haven’t quite wrapped my brain around the fact that I pushed him out of me, let alone the fact that I did it unmedicated in my living room. Crazy. Amazingly crazy. The support that I had was crucial and amazing. I could not have asked for a better birth team. Oh! And for those wondering how unmedicated labor compares to kidney stones, labor wins, hands down. Kidney stones hurt way worse. Plus, you don’t get the perfect gift of a baby at the end of kidney stones!