My Home Water Birth Experience

IMG_1234I gave birth at home to my 2nd child on January 14th, 2014.  This is her birth story.

A little background first, as to the pregnancy itself. As with my first, I was attended by a midwife.  I was lucky enough to find a midwife willing to do home visits and home births this time who is also very natural minded. With my first, I had him in a birth center, which was also a wonderful experience.  I believe in doing as little interventions, tests, etc as possible.  I’ve always been healthy, thankfully, so this was an option for me personally. Throughout the pregnancy, my vitals were always fine, I came out negative for Strep B, my iron levels were good, no gestational diabetes, my weight gain was acceptable and so forth. My worst complaint was sciatica, which is sharp shooting pains from the hip down my thighs from the baby being in a position that was pinching nerves.  I dealt with that with chiropractic care and massages.

Ok, now on to the actual birth!

3:15am, Monday, January 13th, 2014

I woke up to use the restroom when I felt a trickle of water coming down my legs. I barely made it to the toilet before more of it gushed out. My water broke! It hadn’t happened like this with my first, so this was new for me, but I could definitely tell. Breathe in, breathe out, try not to panic, you know what’s coming. I cleaned up, went back to bed after telling my hubby and texting my mother and midwife.

4:30am

Run to the bathroom because I can feel more water wanting to come and I don’t want to wet my bed. The floor ends up needing a mopping anyway. Oh boy, here we go, I think. Update hubby, mom and midwife. Try to go back to sleep but no luck.  Ended up in my office checking emails and preparing packages to be shipped that had sold from my eBay store. Might as well get something done.

5:00am

Hubby, Dante and Mom wake up. I ask Mom to make her waffles, I needed something heavy and nutritious.  We’re all excited and a little nervous, naturally.  I feel a few contractions, about 10-12min apart but they’re pretty light. My midwife lets me know she’ll be at the clinic, to keep her posted when contractions are a little closer together.  After we finish eating and Dante is calmly watching TV, we go back to sleep.

9:30am-4:00pm

I wake up, the contractions are gone. Not entirely unusual, it happens, but with Dante things just kept progressing, and I had expected the same this time. They say every birth is different, and its so true! For the next few hours my contractions are sporadic and usually light or medium in intensity. Sometimes I’ll have 3 every 8 minutes but then nothing for 45min.  I take several walks, go up and down the stairs, do hip rotations and lunges on my yoga ball.  More amniotic fluid comes out every now and then.  I drink lots of water, eatWe know it can be up to 48 hours after the water breaks for labor to kick in, I pray that doesn’t happen but as the day goes on I start to get antsy. Ok, really anxious, when is my baby coming out? The wait is killing me. Finally, I ask my midwife to come over, the contractions are still far apart but I’d feel better having her around and she knows several natural methods to get labor to progress.

4:00pm-9:45pm

Rebecca, my midwife, arrives and gives me a check-up.  At that point, she verified that my water had indeed broken, I’m not crazy and its not a false alarm. However, I’m not dilated at all, the cervix was effacing but we needed strong contractions to kick in. Great, now what? I’m informed that after 18 hours from my water breaking if baby isn’t on her way out, I’m supposed to go on antibiotics. Ugh, no thank you. 24 hours if not dilated or giving birth, its off to the hospital with me. My worst nightmare. Time to pull out all the stops, this baby has to come out. I can’t go to a hospital! This might sound melodramatic to some, but those that know me understand that my grandparents are the Founders of Natural Medicine in Puerto Rico, my parents are both Naturopaths, I was born with a midwife and I’ve never been to a hospital unless its to visit other people or get a sonogram done. I’m a child of natural medicine and very proud of it. Hospitals scare me, to put it lightly. So, we sit down with Rebecca and go over our options. Herbs is #1, drinking Black Cohosh and liquid Cotton to get the uterus to contract. I drink them, no problem. Next is castor oil, 4 oz mixed into a berry smoothie to mask the taste, I have to chug it. That stuff is nasty but whatever it takes. The castor oil is to get my bowels moving which in turn can stimulate the uterus. I’m told to go for a 45 min walk, which I do, with hubby and my boy along to keep me company. When I get back, I’ve had some more contractions but not as intense or close as we want them yet. I decide to give myself an enema, the castor oil was taking longer than expected and I figured I might as well. It kicked in half way through my enema, so by the end, I was completely cleaned out. Probably lost 3 lbs. Sorry, I know that’s gross but nobody said giving birth was a walk in the park.

After I’ve showered, Rebecca checks my vitals again and the baby, both fine, Kalli’s heartbeat is normal, she’s in no distress but still not in the perfect position to come out. We go outside and sit for a bit, the weather has been really nice all day thankfully. Mom decides to give me accupressure.  There’s these points about 4 inches above the ankle, on the inside of the leg, that relate to the uterus and ovaries. She applies pressure to them and wow, does that hurt. Of course, at this point my mother is getting anxious too, so she doesn’t take much pity on me and squeezes hard enough that those spots still hurt 2 days later. I curse and complain, but let her because I trust she knows what she’s doing, and it does seem to bring on more contractions. Now is not the time to be a wuss.

Its getting on 9pm. I’ve refused the antibiotics, and am grateful that my midwife tells me its my choice and I’m not forced to use them. I don’t want to mess up my baby’s flora or mine. It is getting late though, so we’re all hoping things start moving along soon. Next up, acupuncture. Mom is trained and she has the needles. I HATE needles. Its psychological, I know its not going to hurt anywhere near as much as the pressure she just applied or even as much as when I pop a zit, but the thought still makes me queasy. I feebly protest but give in, since both Rebecca and Mom insist it’ll help and I’m desperate.  I have to admit, they don’t hurt and yes, they did help. Couple of minutes in and I’m sitting on my yoga ball moaning in agony from the contractions. Finally, thank God and wise women!

When I get tired of having the needles in my hands and feet, they’re removed and I decide to put Dante to bed.  He’s not fully weaned yet and likes to nurse to fall asleep. I let him, since our next step was to use a breast pump for nipple stimulation which can also cause contractions. It did the trick, the acupuncture started it and letting Dante nurse sealed the deal. By the time he’s fully asleep, I’m trying not to scream in his ear, the contractions are coming in fast and wicked painful. He’s taken upstairs to sleep with Ashley, my sister.  It works out well, because now hubby is free to help me through the rough part.

9:45pm-12:16am

Active Labor!

With Dante sound asleep and taken care of, German helps me handle the worst contractions. I have some on the bed, sitting down, standing up, leaning against the wall or on the floor, holding on to him for dear life. I try to be mindful not to dig my nails into him. I’m glad to be home because I can move freely as my body dictates. German and Rebecca make sure I control my breathing, the pain is so intense its hard not to hyperventilate. The next couple of hours are a haze of pain but at least the end is in sight and I won’t have to go to the hospital after all. At midnight, German fills up the tub for me while Rebecca does one more vaginal exam. I’m 6cm dilated, baby is in the right position at last and we’re good to go. Hurray! I somehow manage to get into the water. Its such a relief to be in warm water and to be able to slightly float. After one or two more contractions, I know she’s coming out, I can feel her head moving down and I scream. Rebecca rushes to get my mother, who’d gone up to her room to rest. German gets in the tub ready to catch the baby. I’m crowning, I can actually feel her head down there with my fingers, which was one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done. Another contraction, I push, holy mother of freaking pain, but I do as I’m told and try to control the push and my breathing so as to avoid tearing.

12:16am, Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

When the next one hits, I scream loud enough to wake up Dante and Kallista comes out all in one go! German caught her just in time before she hit the wall of the tub. I did it, my daughter has been born. She’s placed on my chest by German who’s crying from joy, my mom is there having watched the whole thing, Ashley and Dante come in just as I hold her for the first time. I can’t even begin to describe the torrent of emotions that hit like a wave immediately after child birth, but love, excitement, relief are all in there.

Kallista took her first breath easily, cried a little and then started nursing like a pro. I stayed with her in the tub for maybe 15-20minutes more, while we waited for the placenta to come out, we placed a towel over us to keep away the chill.  A couple of pushes more and the placenta came out without issues this time. Once the cord stopped pulsing, Rebecca clamped it, German cut it and we handed Kalli to my Mom so German could help me out of the tub. I barely lost any blood this time either.  Once I was in bed, Kallista was placed on top of me once more and I fell asleep with her nursing.

3:00am

I wake up, Rebecca tells me its time to check the baby and me before she goes. She’s had her first poop on me already. Its gross but I’m beyond caring, at least it means she’s healthy. I take a much needed shower. Rebecca checks me to make sure I haven’t torn, everything’s fine, thankfully because with my first I did tear and it took forever to heal.  We weigh and measure baby, she’s 7 pounds 3 ounces, 20 1/4 inches long. Perfectly healthy. I go back to sleep, my beautiful baby girl in my arms.

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