Unassisted Homebirth Story
posted 16th Mar '10
I wrote this on or around the 24th of October. My daughter was born on the 22nd of October, 2009.
Aah, finally, a moment of peace. Spawn is sleeping, I am not, the house is mostly clean, I can't do laundry at the current time, so why not share my UC Story?
Well, labor started on the 20th. I remember the first contraction was at 6:59 am. I felt it and thought, 'Oh, so I'm in labor now.' If I had known my labor was going to take for freakin' ever, I would have gone back to sleep. Instead I drank some coffee. XD
My mother had left about half an hour earlier to drop my sister off at school. She came back around 9-10 am and informed me that my plaid pj bottoms and unmatched shirt were NOT going to be in her consciousness any longer, and made me shower and picked out an outfit that she could bear to see me in, like I could fit into anything decent anyway.
The day was fairly uneventful, my mother and I spent it shopping and cleaning said apartment. My contractions were 20-15 minutes apart, and so I could walk around without too much trouble. So we did some work. Went to the dump, Goodwill, etc, etc.
During the evening my contractions sped up to about 7-15 minutes apart, so it was difficult to like down to sleep.I spent the night sleeping curled over a beanbag chair and pillows. I couldn't sleep on my back.Duringthe day I had three contractions on my back and they were absolute TORTURE. NEVER AGAIN would I attempt any variation of lithotomy. I spent the rest of my labor making a point to stay off of my back.
So time slowly marched on, and another morning appeared. My mother dropped my sister off at school again. She came back at 8-8:30ish. I was sitting on the couch looking green and pale and stiff, my contractions were approximately 10-5 minutes apart. She told me that I was being wimpy and should go plow some fields; however, since there were no fields around for me to plow, she made me get up, get a coat on, and go for a cold walk around the block and to the little beach down the street from us. I was unwilling, but I didn't have much choice.
So we wandered slowly around the block; spoke to some snails that were happily wallowing in the cold, wet sand; and decided along the way that we should go to a diner and get some food. I swear to you, the minute I swallowed my first bite my contractions became much much stronger and more painful. If they were sounds the before food contractions would be a whisper, and the after food contractions would be a bellow. According to my mother, my face turned purple, which was quite entertaining to her and the surrounding, confused patrons. I probably confused some of the waitresses there, too. This experience has also led me to believe that when in labor, our bodies need fuel to keep going. If not we can't do what we are designed to do. I went 26 hours without food and my body was giving out on itself, slowing contractions and weakening my system. Ice chips, my stretch-marked behind. >:O
Aaaaaaanyway, continuing on... After food, I felt stronger and was walking better (like an old man in a walker instead of an old man who belonged in a wheelchair) and my mother suggested we then go to Kohls. I agreed and we went into the store, contractions now anywhere from 3-5 minutes apart. So every few minutes I would stop walking and hold onto a nearby stand or display. We spent most of the time giggling and window shopping. My mother continued to gleefully tell people that I was in labor and see the looks on their faces.
One woman actually tried to get me out of her way. "Excuse me!" she shouted. I, in mid-contraction, did not respond. "Excuse me!" she shouted loudly, perhaps believing me to be hard of hearing. "She's in the middle of a contraction, she's in labor," was my mother's reply. "Oh, oh I see," The woman said, and she was suddenly able to see other ways of getting to her destination.
We drove next to the local Target, and continued our labor distraction technique. This time we ended up buying a diaper bag and looking around at various food, cosmetics, and Halloween decorations. I had a couple people ask me if I was alright while I waddled, squatted, held onto stands for dear life, and turned purple. I told a few people I was fine, and told a few others I was in labor. They promptly ran away like I told them I had ebola. I suppose they thought my uterus was going to fall out right there or something. *cackle*
We made another stop at Goodwill, just for fun, where we looked around at the different, strange items that people thought were a good idea at one point and then decided that they'd rather have someone else with equally bad taste enjoy them. So we giggled at all of the terrifying and nightmare inducing snowman, Christmas ornaments, strange and mismatched plates/etc. Bought a baby bag (one of those sleepers without legs). The cashier asked me when I was due. I told her I was in labor, and she looked at my mother like, 'Why is she here and why haven't you brought her to a hospital?' It was far more entertaining than it should have been. (Later on when I went back with the baby, sheshrieked, "YOU HAD YOUR BABY!" and asked me if I ever got to the hospital. I told her that wasn't my plan, and she looked at me like I had grown another head.)
By that time my contractions were so intense that I was losing the ability to walk on my own. Fine by me, I was tired anyway, and home sounded like a good idea. So we ended up back in my living room, where I spent the time wandering around eating and waiting for contractions to speed up. I was so tired of being in labor 30+ hours seemed like enough to me. I remember falling over and sleeping on a PB andJ sandwich at one point, but it wasn't good sleep and it wasn't for very long.
Contractions began to speed up again at around 7 pm. I had officially entered transitional labor, which meant every time I moved I would have a contraction. They were 2 minutes long and 15-30 seconds apart until about 12:30am. That's 5.5 freaking hours of transition. It was excruciating, to say the least, and I spent the time whimpering and biting my boyfriend's shoulder or twisting his skin, who didn't complain once. My mother and he set up a labor area earlier that night, and I tried using it for a while. It was impossible to get comfortable, though, and I was growing weary.
At some point (around 12:30) I had to go to the bathroom. I knew I couldn't walk there on my own, though, so I had to have my boyfriend take me. When we got in there, I decided that if I was going to endure pain, it would be in a warm bath. Up to this point I was getting through labor pain by using a TeNS system, which is basically a bunch of electrodes stuck to my back that disrupts the pain signal. Everytime I felt a contraction I had to press a button, and it would send an electrical pulse to my back that would screw with my nerves. I still felt the full force of the pain, it's just that my brain couldn't really figure out how to turn it into pain. It was the strangest sensation I had ever felt. The problem was that it wasn't effective in transitional labor and I was scared to take it off, because I didn't want to feel the contractions without the device. At that point, however, I was done. I knew I was dilated a considerable amount, but I didn't know how much, and I could feel the bag and the baby's head when I checked my dilation. I decided I didn't give a flying rat crap if I was dilated or not, I had HAD IT and this baby was coming out on my schedule. So, I took off the TeNS while my boyfriend attempted to fill the bath without a drain plug (In his defense, it was 1 am and he was tired. He went into my mothers room and woke her to ask her what he could use, and she suggested cling wrap. It kind of worked, or at least delayed the water draining slightly). I started doing some gentle, painless pushes to see if I could ease things along.
It worked. My contractions stopped after a few minutes of this, and I felt a gentle relief. I was able to walk over to the bathtub and get in, and the water helped take even more pressure off of my body. I did some more gentle pushing, and my stomach slowly started to shift. It got flatter and flatter and flatter, and I watched in fascination until I felt the WORST EVER THREE MINUTE CONTRACTION ON MY BACK. My GOD, it was evil. I got up and moved so that I was in a squat/kneeling position on my knees (my tub is NOT big, this was a very difficult maneuver) and felt two more HORRIBLE contractions.
Interestingly enough, although my body was doing so many confusing things at once, my mind was very clear. Or it was so clouded I could only hear one strand of thought at a time, I'm not sure. All I know is that I didn't see the room, I didn't see my boyfriends disturbingly intent stare (poor thing, he didn't know WHAT was happening, but he knew SOMETHING was happening, and, as my mother has said several times; "It's easier to do what he was watching than to watch what you were doing."), and my senses (except for touch, I could feel freaking everything, even stuff I didn't KNOW I had) were completely gone. I suppose that's why I could hear instructions in my head so clearly. It was like my body had someone translating it's signals into words. It wasn't me instructing, but my body. I felt like two separate entities, one that knew what it was doing and one that knew it had to act out the commands it was being given. It was a strange sensation, to say the least. There was only one instruction that was from a third party. This woman had been telling me for weeks that her only advice was to 'push through the pain'. It took me a few contractions to realize she meant, 'push through that terrible contraction that lasts forever and hurts a whole lot and seizes up your muscles and takes far too much work to not start crying over'. I figured this would go much faster if I listened to her instead of trying to figure this out myself. (I was far too tired to be clinical or use any other methods.)
I felt another god awful contraction coming on, and I knew it was time to try this method that I had dubbed, "Get the baby out". So I began pushing, and the contraction took over and my muscles began to command my mind. I involuntarily pushed for 30 seconds more than I had intended and I turned purple with the effort. (And I had meant to do this with dignity!) I was becoming weaker as every contraction wracked my body. After 45 hours of labor and 5.5 of transition, I couldn't hold myself up AND push like that at the same time.So I attempted to get my boyfriend to help me by supporting my weight so I could concentrate on pushing.
Another problem I was having at the same time: I also couldn't articulate. And the pain was making me sound whiny. I instructed my boyfriend in a very desperate voice, 'Matt, hold me up! I can't hold myself up!' He obliged (I think he was scared not to...). I used him as a crutch and pushed while he held my weight. I was making progress, and could feel her moving down, and he MOVED ME and she retracted. All that progress GONE. Needless to say he heard about that XD. I ended up having to lean over the tub because he couldn't hold me up on his own. My weight was too much for his tired and badly angled body in that too skinny tub. It ended up just being me pushing, and my wonderfulporcelaintub half supporting my weight as I bent over it.
Once I was able to concentrate solely on pushing, another problem presented itself: my water still hadn't broken. I kept pushing, and the bag was emerging with the baby. I was going to allow her to come out with the bags still attached, but the placenta was still stuck to the uterine wall and the fundus was moving down strangely. Because of placental location, I couldn't push her out with bags still attached and the placenta still attached to the wall. I could feel both forces working against each other, one holding her back, the other trying to move her forward. This labor was taking too long as it was, and I didn't want to labor any longer or pushunnecessarily- I broke the bag myself.
The gush of fluid helped the baby moveforwardwithout constraint. I thought I was done with problems at this point. Nope. She was also facing posterior, which means I had to deliver the entire head at once, and the bones wouldn't shift like they should and overlap. (Posterior means she was facing my stomach instead of my back.) This also means that every time I pushed, she would move forward, and then retreat, hindering progress. This pattern was making each contraction useless and caused the baby to crown four times. The finish line was so close and yet it wouldn't let me cross, so I pushed with everything I had through each contraction, and when they stopped I kept pushing.
Finally, her head got halfway out, and I felt an overwhelming urge to cough that I couldn't suppress. (Three weeks before I had a cold, and I was still experiencing coughing fits) When a baby comes out, sometimes the vernix that coats the body to ease labor is on the top of the head, allowing it to coat the birth canal while the baby descends. Because I had only broken the water when she was 3/4 of the way down the birth canal, all the vernix was still on top of her head. I accidentally pushed out the rest of her head when I coughed. (Protip: if you can help it, DON'T COUGH DURING LABOR :O) I felt her head, and had no idea what I was feeling, and another smaller contraction helped me push her shoulders out. I couldn't see what was happening, I could only feel, so I grabbed her and pulled the rest of her out of me and out of the water. I leaned back and looked at her, and she had a nuccal cord (x1 meaning the cord was wrapped around her neck one time) and she wasn't breathing. Woohoo. -_-
I had a few things going on in my head at the time; 1. 'Oh, smurf, I'm never going to hear the end of this.' 2. 'It's a funny color.' 3. 'Thank god it's out.' 4. 'How do I make it breathe?'
Apparently, while thinking all of these things, I said, 'Oh no!' out loud. My boyfriend could only see the back of the cord, and assumed that it was the problem and the reason she wasn't breathing. He bolted from the room in search for scissors. At the same time, I heard my mother shifting and getting out of bed to see what the problem was.I slid the cord up and over her head while he ran about the house.
Well, the baby had decided at that point that we were taking far too long to aid her in breathing (mind you, this was a three second span of time) and took initiative. She coughed up the water in her lungs with a 'plech!' and then proceeded to use her little lungs to let me know exactly what I had done wrong, that she was not expecting gravity and that she was not happy with such change. She screamed for a few seconds, and then stopped, curled up into fetal position, and made a few quacking noises. I promptly fell over and lay in the tub.(Next time, I'll keep in mind that babies can't expand their lungs in the birth canal. They don't, for the most part, come out breathing. They have to wait until their lungs can expand.
We cut the cord with the kitchen scissors, and waited for the placenta to detach. (Which took about an hour, mind you.) The angry elf was toweled off by my mother, held by her father, and dressed by her aunt. Eventually (at least an hour, maybe two later) I was released from my bathtub prison. My mother came in and hosed me off with the shower hose, and helped me up, so I could stumble to the couch and take my newborn. I had to sleep propped up on the beanbag chair that had been so helpful for sleeping a few nights before.
We put the placenta in the ocean. We're still waiting on reports of a 'strange body part' that washed up on to the beach (via news 12, who would be thrilled atactually having news), or for the FBI and the Forensic Teams to be on our little neighborhood beach looking for the baby XD.