okay. I know this is like superuberoverdue. But I'm lazy and keep putting it off.
Let me see....
As many of you know, I started labor at 34 weeks. Weeeellll, actually, like, 33 weeks and 6 days but I'm rounding. Contractions were lazy and like 20 minutes apart. Over a few days, they got to about 3-5 minutes apart... and then....
They stayed that way. For weeks and weeks and weeks. I attributed it to prodromal labor rather than active labor. I just... got to 6cm and stopped. I kept contracting, but my contractions were erratic. Sometimes they would be super concentrated (2 minutes apart and PAINFUL) and sometimes they would be really far apart (20m and lazy). I decided to let it be. If my baby wasn't ready to come, I guess there was nothing I could do.
So I waddled around like that. I tried walking, I tried a sort of quasi waddle-run. I tried tag sale-ing for hours on the weekends. I mowed the lawn (actually, really, my mother told me to get outside and mow the lawn and eject that person already). Nothing. Contractions appropriately increased with each attempt, but I had no cervical change.
Around 38 weeks my fundal height dropped by a ridiculous amount. I was measuring at 47weeks... and then all of the sudden, what felt like overnight, I measured 41. Hm. I checked the placenta- still beating. I checked the fetal heartbeat. 141bpm approximately. No distress. I still was concerned. I called the hospital and told them my symptoms. They informed me I wasn't in labor because my contractions were erratic and not doing anything to my cervix. WTF.
I called the EMT's and asked them what the procedure was for an emergency birth call. They told me that they had an obstetric kit and what was inside of it in case of a call. I gave them my address, and told them that if, in the next few weeks, they got a call to that area they should be prepared for an emergency birth.
I figured everything was okay at the present moment. The drop in measurement worried me, but as the placenta was still functioning and the fetal heart was steady, I didn't want to mess with my labor any more than I needed to.
39 weeks passed with no interesting developments, much to my chagrin. My last baby was born at 39w4d. This was the longest I'd ever been pregnant.
July 20th came and went. I cursed my body. 6 weeks of stupid prodromal labor doing nothing. Annoying.
41 weeks and 5 days... I began to look through my textbooks, online articles, and any other resource available to me. I was looking for how to speed up labor safely or an answer to what was happening. As I was going through my collected information I was also going through forums and pages that I frequented to find some human socialization. I came across a question someone else asked on a facebook page (specifically the Unassisted Birth/Freebirth Page) "What is posterior arrest and if anyone had it, how did you deal with it?" I looked it up in my database and found it. My symptoms were a textbook example of posterior arrest, and it had an easy fix.
It says there that you should rotate the baby's head. I knew the baby was malpositioned inside of my pelvis (my other one was too) because I could feel it's skull and position of it's heart with my fetoscope. I didn't want to rotate the baby manually, though. I felt that it was too invasive, and, really, not something I really needed to do.
Instead, I put my index finger and thumb on even sides in front of her fontanel. It was easy to feel it's head and position because of how far dilated I was. I gently applied steady pressure on her head, and she popped out of her stuck position. I felt her water flood and swell where her head had been, and I felt her settle back into my pelvis. I left it at that.
Two hours later, I'm sitting on the couch and lamenting about how all of my contractions were liars. The television was on and the computer was facilitating contact with the outside world. I felt myself contract, and dismissed it. 20 minutes went by. I felt myself contract again. I dismissed it. 10 minutes, another contraction. I discredited it as real because they were irregular. Liars.
Another 10 minutes. Contraction. This one was painful. I was still mistrustful. 10 minutes. Contract. The world was getting fuzzy, and the contractions stronger. 8 minutes. Contract. I rocked through this contraction. It was more intense and had more pain than any of my contractions before. I felt sick to my stomach. 8 minutes. I slammed my computer shut in the middle of my contraction. The bright lights hurt, and made me dizzy. I concentrated inward.
(Now, on a side note, my daughter was still awake. She was newly 21 months old, and loves being a part of the "action". Matthew was watching her at the time.
Anyone remember this hellion? Yeah. That thing.
My kid loved it. She wore out the battery, even, she loved it so much. Thank god.
Well, earlier that day, my mother had opened up it's back and put a new battery in him, and then sewed him back up. So he was fresh, strong and new. My daughter calls him "Hoppy.")
Well, Matthew was being slightly inattentive at the moment, and a very happy toddler came waddling into the room I was in (currently, my sister's room. She was on vacation and wouldn't be back for a few days.) She smiled happily and screamed into my face.
She then did what is possibly the most innocently evil thing she could have at the time. She held Hoppy up to my ear, and pressed his button at the beginning of my contraction.
I moaned and writhed on the floor. My contractions increased in pain by 100fold. Holy crap, that bunny is evil. My daughter, not understanding that I was writhing in pain and not joy, laughed jovially and bounced along with me.
Ni Hao Kai Lan blared from the television downstairs. It could not be worse. I was irrational, and couldn't go inside of myself and work through my contractions. I wanted to end Matthew. (Though, in fairness, he had no idea that I had entered transition. All he knew was that I was being lazy and not helping him watch the kid.)
HOPAHOPAHOP AHOP HOP HOP
I don't know if I called to him or not. I can't remember. But he came up the stairs and found me, crouching, in my sister's room, tormented by this gleeful toddler. He asked me if I was okay. Another contraction. I stopped timing. I couldn't answer him.
I slithered downstairs and into the dining room, where my mother was. Another contraction. I leaned over the dining room table and breathed my way through it. My mother turned around.
"Contraction." I hissed.
"Another one? Oh. You should hurry up." She turned back to her computer. I glared at her, but my glare was unnoticed. In fairness to her, I'd been contracting for 7 weeks. It was pretty much old news.
I slithered back into my sister's room and asked Matt to blow up the birth pool downstairs.
(Side note number 2: I had originally planned to have the baby outside in a tent. Not because I wanted to be one with nature or any of that nonsense. I hate dirt. I dislike bugs. Hence the tent. I just wanted to be outside where the mess would be easy to clean up and everything would be disposable. Seriously. However, it was night, and there was a thunderstorm. I'm not going to give birth in the dark in the rain with lightning and thunder crashing over my head. Noooo sir.)
I heard Matt continuously asking my mother questions. Over and over. I heard him, in his usual nervous attitude, seek direction and specific directions to follow. I heard her turn around and tell him to get lost.
I couldn't help but laugh. She didn't know what was happening or why he was so nervous, and he has a tendency to drive her crazy by interrupting her work with stupid questions. And of all times for him to actually listen to her and go away, this was not one of them. But, of course, this was the time he actually did.
My mother finally asked Matt why he was running up and down the stairs in a manner that was similar to beaker on Sesame Street. He told her I was in labor. She reminded him that this was not news. He said, 'I think its for real this time.' She got up to inspect for herself.
I was squatting, holding on to a bed, rocking through my contractions. My mother, being who she is, went and got a large absorbant pad to put under me to protect the carpets. Then she put her hand on my back and asked me if I needed anything.
Contraction. I couldn't speak. I grunted something at her, and she decided she would be more useful assisting Matthew.
I slithered into the bathroom and rocked through a few contractions on the toilet. I checked my cervix. My bag of water ballooned out of it, assisting my dilation. I was almost finished, my cervix was nothing more than a lip. I forgot my pain momentarily as fascination took over.
Contraction. I moved off of the toilet and squatted on the floor, using the bathtub as support. I held onto the edge and leaned backward, rocking my hips through each painful dilation. At some point, Matthew put several towels underneath me to make me more comfortable.
My amniotic sac finally ruptured. I watched as golden brown fluid spilled onto the towels. Hm. I guess it was in distress at some point. It pooped. The important thing, though, was the color. There was no green. The baby had been in distress before, but the mec was old. If it was new and a result of the labor the color would be different and the mec would be chunky.
I think I mentioned it to Matthew, I wasn't sure... but I felt safe enough to continue. I was almost fully dilated, there was no chance that an ambulance would get there and to a hospital in time to do anything if there was an emergency.
I was right, too. Almost immediately after my water broke I felt that lapse in contractions. I was very close. I didn't check the head to see where it was. I knew by what I was feeling that I had entered the break before pushing. I stumbled down the stairs into the basement.
Someone, in the time that I was in the bathroom, had put my toddler to sleep in my sister's room. Thank goodness. I'm not sure I could have handled having her there. She's loud and high pitched, and she wouldn't, didn't, understand what was happening. I needed quiet.
Our water pressure sucks. It's bad. The pool had been filling for a while, and it was only 1/4 of the way full. The hose was trickling water very slowly into the pool. I got in anyway. It was far too hot for my taste, and someone turned the faucet to cold for me. The water was relaxing. Even the small amount that was in the water was helpful.
My mother asked me where I wanted her to be. She gave me a choice so I wouldn't have to articulate or think very hard while I was concentrating on my contractions. "Do you want me to stay or leave?"
I told her I didn't care. And really, I didn't. I had other things to think about.
She decided to stay, and remained out of my line of sight. I didn't know where she was or what she could see, and I decided I really didn't care.
My impatience was growing. My body was attempting to give me a break before pushing, and I would have NONE of that. I was ready, I wanted this over with. This was the part I dreaded because, even though it was quick, it hurt like heck. I began gently pushing the huge head in my pelvis down. I was on my hands and knees in the water. Matt was there in front of me, watching my face quietly.
I followed my urge to push and tried not to overexert myself. I put my hands on my perineum and guided the head gently down out of my pelvis.
Holy freaking god. This one hurt more than the last one. The detatched, analytical part of my mind decided this was because transition was shorter with this one than the last one. It wasn't even crowning and I was convinced it was trying to kill me. I pushed harder, wanting this stage to be over as quickly as possible.
The head descended when I pushed, and then ascended when I stopped. I recognized this pattern. My last child did the same thing when I coughed her out. I felt the head through the perineum with my free hand (the other one was holding me up on the side of the pool). Aha. Posterior. Again.
With my last baby, I pushed for over two hours, and she crowned several times before retreating back into my body. I. Was. Not. Having. It. Not again. I was impatient, that hurt, and I was. Not. Doing. It.
No. Nonononono absolutely not.
I waited for my next contraction, and when it came I pushed. Hard. I yelled. (Though, if you ask my mother, she'll say I mooed. I don't appreciate this description, though, as it is rather undignified, so I will stick with yelling.) When the contraction was over, I held my hand so that it blocked the back of the head from moving backwards.
I waited for another contraction. This one was the first overpowering one I had with this labor, but I recognized it's familiar urge from the last baby. Except, I couldn't really call it an urge. It wasn't something I could resist. My body had taken over my mind, and there was no room for discussion on the matter.
Once again, I held the head steady in it's place. It cooperated. The next contraction came quickly, and I pushed with both my body and the hand that was resting on the back of the little head. I yelled again as it began to crown, and used all of my power and energy to push the head through in one contraction.
It worked. I heard a splick, splosh, and a sploosh and the head was fully out. I felt it's shoulders rotate and the baby fell into the water. At the same time, a crash of thunder and lighting lit the sky.
I didn't catch the baby, by the way, I just let it fall into the water. I didn't leave it there, though, I promise you. I leaned back in the pool and lifted the infant out of the water and into my arms.
It was hideous. The poor thing must have had a rough couple weeks. It looked like a cross between uncle fester and some sort of square headed monkey. Poor thing. It's skin was baggy, it's lips and eyes were red and swolen and it looked rather worse for wear.
It began breathing of it's own accord. It yelled at me and then went back to being quiet and baffled. I made Matthew turn out the lights. My mother came around from the pile of clothing that she had been hiding behind (her way of giving me privacy, which I greatly appreciate.) to see what sort of creature I had produced.
I laughed at it's little face. I figured (hoped) it would get better looking in time. I was much clearer headed than I was with the last one, which made things a little bit easier. I checked to see what exactly I had produced. Girl. Yay.
My mother mentioned that she was born at 12:00am. Does that mean I had her at 40w6d or 41w? I don't knowwwwwwww. I'm glad at least someone was paying attention, though.
I nursed her, and then after about 1/2 an hour my mother cut the cord and took her to get dressed and dried and diapered (not in that order). I stayed in the pool to finish ejecting the placenta.
Blood began filling the pool. I gently pushed, and out came the placenta. I picked it up to look at it, and then realized why I had gone into labor so early.
The placenta, maternal side, had large spots where it had begun to calcify internally. There was an abruption, several, and clots bigger than my open hand coming out of me. The placenta wasn't doing so well near to the end.
When the clots slowed down, Matt helped me out of the pool so I could dry off and get dressed. I was still bleeding heavier than I liked, so I took the newb back and nursed her a little more. I immediately felt several powerful contractions and the pieces of leftover ick that I had retained fell out. I knew that was the end.
We froze the placenta. I'm sure it'll come in handy some day.
Tl;dr I had a baby, it's a girl. Yay me!
WARNING. BLOOD, BOOBS AND PLACENTA. SCROLL FAST IF YOU DON'T WANNA SEE.
My sister's room:
Yes, that is my underwear and a mini-croc. It was a busy night.
My baby, way too close to the television while I was in labor (she took advantage of the fact that no one was watching her closely, and pushed the table right up against the TV so she could kiss the people on it):
Immediately after birth:
Cord cutting (That is my mother's hand):
Why I kept saying she looked horrible (3:57 hours old):
Like 10:47 hours old:
And now the gruesome this is your last chance to turn back!!!!!
I think it is so awesome that you were able to have 2 home births. I wanted to have home births with all 4 of my kidlets, but I had a lot of serious complications during my pregnancies, so I got stuck delivering in the hospital.
You are a very talented writer! I was literally on the edge of my chair while reading this!
Ahh!! congrats!!! I'd been waiting for this story and then you went on a bg break.
I have actually read that article about posterior arrest. i can't lie, I don't know if I would be able to do that if I had to!! I'm going to be doing some more research just in case.
Thanks for posting your story