I had success with castor oil, and a birth that took under 30 minutes. Since people like to report my pictures, I've posted it to blogger. Feel free to check it out here (pictures posted as well.) :-)
"I suppose I should start at the beginning. On September 26th 2012, my water appeared to be leaking. Of course, I started panicking because I didn't want to repeat my last birth experience which resulted in a medical induction, and I had confided in my midwife that it was my biggest fear. I also had informed her that I would fight tooth and nail before being admitted into the hospital. I'd been planning for a home birth and I was going to get my home birth, dammit! My midwife was amazing - wonderful and patient and didn't rush me into going in for a medical induction. She told me what precautions to take, walked me through the whole thing and offered an ear to me any time I needed her. For over a week, I would feel a random gush or trickle of amniotic fluid - and I'm not going to lie, I had a meltdown every time it happened thinking I'd be admitted into the hospital for some Pitocin.
During that week and a half, I woke up every morning between 3 and 5 am with mild/moderate contractions. None of which were strong enough to call my midwife over. Each time, I'd think "Is this it? Is it happening?" I'd go back to sleep and wake up the next day disappointed.
Finally, after a week and a half of waiting, on October 6th, I decided to try castor oil. I made a concoction that a cousin of mine had used successfully and to be honest I can't say I had any faith in it - I figured my body was failing me yet again. But I did it anyway, as a leap of faith, figuring if it didn't work - then oh, well. I had heard all of the horror stories of women losing control of their bowels, women puking into trash cans, women who had told me it didn't work for them. But I set all of that aside and thought to myself - You can't knock it till you try it, right? ;-)
After an hour when nothing was happening, I talked to a close girlfriend of mine and told her I was just going to give up trying. She pushed me to try at least one more dose of the castor oil. So I did.
Within an hour I started getting contractions that felt a lot like my 3 am contractions.. but too quickly they became too intense to talk through. In my head, I was denying that I was actually in labor - thinking it MUST be the castor oil having some strange effect on me. It MUST be diarrhea. Alas, is was not.
My husband took it as his queue to call the midwife when I was no longer able to answer his questions. She lives about a mile away from me, but it was the middle of the night so I'm sure we caught her while she was dreaming deeply. She said she would hurry out of bed, grab her kit and pick up her assistant. My poor husband ran around and did EVERYTHING he could from starting to get the birth pool setup, to bringing me water, to keeping my 3 year old daughter calm. He kept his cool while I shouted and hollered and moaned some very mean and terrible things.
As he was filling the birth pool, my three year old came to me while I was laying alone in the dark in the bathtub and said "Mommy, I want to hold your hand." She reached her little hand out to me and held on tight through my contractions. I very kindly asked her to leave me alone, worried I might hurt her feelings or her to which she replied "I have to get my monkey flashlight!" So she came back with a flashlight, shined it on my belly and said "the baby is coming, the baby is coming!"
I'm not sure if she had seen the baby crowning or if her intuitive little mind just knew what was happening - but I felt the need to leave the bath. Again, I thought the castor oil was upsetting my stomach. So I sat on the toilet and felt a very strong urge to push - something that I wouldn't be able to control. Remembering my last two births, I quickly realized this was not a bowel movement. This was transition! It had been about 20 minutes since we called the midwife and she was a few blocks away. I called to my husband desperately who rushed into the bathroom, and turned on the light. I felt inside of myself for the baby. I still had plenty of amniotic fluid, even after a week and a half of very light trickling - because with the next contraction there was a HUGE gush of fluid. I could then feel the baby's head.
I told my husband that with the next contraction I wouldn't be able to control pushing. He asked if it was possible to hold on for the midwife because she was right around the corner. I told him no, so he grabbed all of the towels he could find and waited for the next contraction.
Sure enough, I gave birth to our little bundle of love with the next contraction. It was a beautiful moment. My daughter was standing at the doorway smiling and cheering us on, saying "My brother comed out, my brother comed out!!!" and my husband was able to catch our son.
Afterward, I felt another contraction where I delivered the placenta. I hopped into the bath to ease the pain of having just given birth, and a few minutes later the midwife and her assistant rushed in to help us. My mother showed up soon after, and then I called one of my best friends to come help.
It was such a healing experience from what went on with my last two births. I felt such an empowering energy in the house and was surrounded only by people who we love. There was no judgment or belittlement by anyone. There was no pressure or impersonal staff to deal with. Just my family and beautiful friends. After he was born, my mother cooked food for everyone and the midwife and her assistant stayed at the house for a few hours to make sure we were alright. My midwife did not leave my side and was so gentle with my baby while she measured him, weighed him and did his APGAR test.
Welcome Dominic Brady! 6 lbs, 5 oz - 17 inches long.