Isla Marie: Born at home July 12, 2013 weighing 10lbs 8oz and 22 3/4 inches long.
The night of July 11, I tried sleeping but kept waking with back cramps. I finally went downstairs and tried to sleep. I couldn’t. I texted my mom and sister to let them know that this could be it and waited for Ty and Caleb to wake up. Around 7am I sent a message to our midwife Megan from Little Mountain Midwifery that I was having cramps and that I think I had lost my mucus plug. She told me to take a walk and contact her afterward to see how things were. Because I was only having back cramps and few contractions here and there- we knew it could be that day or the next or the next.
After our walk, my contractions got stronger. They ranged anywhere from 3-9 minutes apart. Megan decided to head over with her student assistant, Molly and got to our house around 1pm. She checked me and I was between 5-8 cm dilated and really open and stretchy with a bulging bag of water. Because my waters were bulging it was preventing the baby’s head from pressing into my cervix and keeping it open- so that is why there was such a range in dilation. She asked Ty and I to go on another walk while Caleb was napping so we walked around our neighborhood. The contractions were definitely stronger so once I got back I started walking up and down our stairs to see if that would get them closer together. It did. I labored for a little while hoping my water would break and things would progress but it wasn’t happening.
My sister got to our house around 6pm and took Caleb to her house to sleep over. After everyone left our house we talked about breaking my bag of water. At this time, my contractions were pretty intense but I was handling them really well. In fact, I felt like I was doing freakishly well. They didn’t hurt as bad as when I was in labor with Caleb; that or I just knew how to cope with them. They were painful though so I decided to get in the tub because I soon began to have some pretty serious back labor. The tub was amazing, seriously, amazing. While in the tub I lost more mucus plug. Once I was out of the tub Megan checked me and I was at 9cm and contracting between 1-3 minutes. I went downstairs and we decided to break my water. My amniotic sac was really thick so it took a long time to rupture it but once it was ruptured I felt a lot of relief. From there things really picked up. I took another bath and was having a lot of contractions even in the tub so we knew things were happening. I was really having some poop issues and I kept feeling like I needed to poop but nothing was happening. I asked to try an enema to see if I would feel better and it totally helped. I was finally feeling better and like things were going to happen soon.
During each contraction it felt good to push a little bit and each time more amniotic fluid would come out. By 10pm I was in full on labor and in a lot of pain. My back was killing me. The back labor was worse than I remembered with Caleb so I was a little scared at this point. I labored on my hands and knees, and moved to the bed to lay on my side (which was hell), and then tried laboring standing with Tyler. I kept having urges to push but it hurt so bad I was holding back. Pushing was hell with Caleb and I know in my mind I was psyching myself out. I was so afraid of pushing again and I was nervous I couldn’t do it. I wanted to go to the hospital and get pain medication. I asked to get back in the tub and Ty was a little apprehensive of that because he didn’t want it to slow things down. I was so tired because I hadn’t slept for so long I just wanted to rest. I was exhausted and kept asking to go to the hospital. In my head I knew it wouldn’t happen because I was already pushing and Tyler and our midwife kept assuring me it was too close and it wouldn’t happen. While in the tub I kept on begging to go to the hospital but in between each contraction I passed out. I have no idea how that happened but apparently I was so tired I fell asleep the instant a contraction would stop and then would wake up begging the second they started up. I imagine it was pretty interesting to watch.
Megan asked me to get out of the tub to try to sit on the birthing stool to see if that would help speed things up. I hated the birthing stool with Caleb. In fact, I sat on it during one push and then vowed to never use it again. (When our midwife got to our house that morning I saw the birthing stool and said “I won’t be using that”). After some serious coaxing from Ty and our midwives, I finally decided to go downstairs. I was dreading the stool and was seriously not willing to push this baby out. At one point I told them I didn’t want to push her out. I was so spent and just ready to stop the whole thing…which was clearly impossible.
I sat on the stool and Tyler sat behind me rubbing my back. Megan thought I had a little cervical lip that was kind of pushing the baby back in after each minor descent so she wanted to see if that was what was going on and to push it back while I pushed. The pushing and back labor were so excruciating at this point that I just needed it to be over. I asked my midwife how many pushes it would take for me to get her out and she replied “maybe 10”. That was too much! I couldn’t handle 10! In my mind I just needed a definite answer as to how long it would take and I know it’s not possible for our midwife to give us a definite but I just wanted to know where her head was and how long I was going to feel hell.
Finally, I decided I had get her out. If you’ve ever had a completely natural birth you know there is a point where you have to go somewhere else. It’s sort of like your brain just takes a mini vacation from reality and just focuses on the task. I closed my eyes and I grabbed the stool and pushed with everything I had. I could only see black- nothing else. I could feel her descending and Megan asked if I wanted to feel her head. I tried to touch it but it was too far back for me to feel and that was discouraging. I kept feeling like I was going to vomit but thankfully, it was just a feeling. I couldn’t control the pushing (in fact, I have never been able to push without the urge to push) and just gave it everything I had to get her down and out. In my head all I could think was “just get her head out, just get her head out”.
I pushed for about 15 minutes and at one point I looked right at my midwife and said “I’m totally pooping right now!” and she said “Yeah, you are”. I pooped in labor. Didn’t poop at all in labor with Caleb but I had a feeling I would this time. And I did. Guess what? no one cared. Once the baby’s head began descending I began to feel her crown. Our midwife began telling me to blow so I wouldn’t push during crowning to help prevent tearing and I remember hearing everyone say “blow blow blow” so I did. I didn’t feel the ring of fire with Caleb at all. I think that’s because I was laying down and it was really easy for our midwife to apply the hot compress and massage my perineum. This time I could feel it. I think the combination of my position and gravity pulling the baby down made it a little more obvious and painful. (Oh, and the fact that she came out with her hand tucked under her chin!) Once I could feel her head coming out I pushed with everything I had. I didn’t want to have to push her shoulders out after pushing her head out but because she came out with her hand by her face- she plopped right out once her head emerged! (She did have some pretty gnarly bruises on her left cheek and ear from the whole thing).
I remember looking down (remember, I was squatting on a stool) and Megan caught her and all I could do was say her name over and over. I was in shock. I couldn’t cry, I just wanted her to be OK and in my arms. I looked down at her and saw her spirally cord and Megan rubbing her back off. Once she was in my arms I was elated. I was a little paranoid about her breathing (pregnant women should not read about all the things that can go wrong) but she was fine. She didn’t cry– but sneezed right away. I looked at Ty and he was starring at her crying and I was so overjoyed. I was ecstatic to meet her and ecstatic to be done with labor. One of the first things I said was “she’s not as cute as Caleb was”. It wasn’t a mean thing to say, she was just so swollen and squishy and bruised and Caleb came out looking gorgeous (he really did). A few seconds later my placenta came out. I began bleeding right away. I could feel the blood pouring out. I hemorrhaged with Caleb so this wasn’t any shock to me at all. In fact, I sort of thought it would happen again. Our midwife gave me two shots of Pitocin and then began massaging my uterus. I sat there holding our baby and I was so overcome with emotion I told Megan I felt like I needed to kiss her. I did. I wonder if that has ever happened to her before but it wouldn’t surprise me if it did. The connection with a midwife is so strong and deep that I cannot imagine it exists with an OB. (Both of the women at Little Mountain Midwifery have such a strong place in our hearts: Bev caught Caleb and Megan literally caught Isla!) I got one extra shot of Pitocin just to be safe and then we moved over to the bed. While laying there our midwife was massaging my uterus trying to get it to shrink and it was slowly working. I could still feel the blood but it wasn’t gushing out like it was beforehand.
On the bed I held our girl and she latched on right away and began nursing. I was convinced I tore during delivery and Megan did a thorough exam, which hurt like hell and surprisingly I only tore the scar tissue where I tore with Caleb. I didn’t even need a stitch! After I nursed for a while I needed to eat and so Ty got to have some skin to skin bonding with her while I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (apparently my choice post labor food). After some serious bonding and snuggling our midwife did her newborn exam. The best part of this is that before hand we were trying to guess her weight. We were all saying she had to weigh somewhere around 9lbs and then our midwife said “I didn’t want to tell you but I’ve sort of thought all along she would be 10 lbs!”. They weighed her and just started laughing. She weighed 10lbs 8ozs! Everything about this baby was big! She was 23 inches long and her head was 15 inches!!! My placenta was huge and our student midwife said the veins were the biggest she had ever seen. Our girl was definitely getting juiced on the inside.
After the newborn exam, I went upstairs to shower and get ready to rest. My back was hurting so badly and I was convinced I probably pulled a muscle or seven while pushing so hard. I pushed so hard and I don’t remember pushing that hard with Caleb. I pushed like my life depended on it. Megan went over some things with us and then they left around 2:30-3am. We rested in bed but I was too excited to sleep. We finally got to meet our little girl!!! My due date was July 12, 2013 (by ovulation) but by last menstrual cycle it was July 12, 2013. So, I was technically 2 days overdue, however, if you go by the standard dates- she was born on her due date.
Postpartum has been a rougher transition than it was with Caleb. I’m a lot more tired and because I pushed so hard I got a sweet hemorrhoid (awesome, huh? Never had one of those before!) and a urinary tract infection! I feel really great otherwise and the soreness I experienced postpartum only lasted a few days, mainly due to the fact that I was banned from coming downstairs for 5 days (pretty standard with midwives and it guarantees that mama and baby rest). Right now, Isla is 8 days old and I got the best sleep last night so I feel great. She sleeps 3 hour stretches at night and nurses like a champ! Caleb is adjusting pretty well. He seems to either be really gentle with her and kiss her or really spastic and dangerous around her. There’s no in between with that kid.
Proof you can have a big baby and a home birth!
Megan said she thinks I could safely birth a 12 lber. Could you imagine!? Me either. We’re done by the way. No more. Never again. I told Ty if there is ever an oops they will have to cut it out of me!
You can read about our home birth with Caleb here.