TO DO - LINKS IN
April 5, 2007 2:45am
I awake feeling a warm gush between my legs. I lay there for a second thinking about whether it is a show or my waters. Then another gush, and I carefully get out of bed with a pillow between my legs hoping to save the mattress. Tons of warm water gushes out. YAY! My baby will be here soon.
I go to the loo and sort myself out with a maternity pad and go back in to tell Steve that my waters have gone, but no contractions yet. He says great and rolls over to get some more sleep. I tell him I'm a bit too excited to sleep so I'm going downstairs for a bit. And will come back to bed in an hour if no contractions start by then. I start setting the house up for my home birth. I put out biscuits and fruit for the midwives. I go upstairs to Maya's playroom, which I am going to be using as a birth room. I set up candles and put pictures up of all the friends and family that are so far away in distance, but close to my heart...especially at this special time. Some time while I was setting up I notice that I am starting to get contractions (around 3:15am). YAY again!
I go down stairs, light some candles and put in a New Orleans jazz CD. I spend the next 30 minutes or so shaking my hips to jazz during contractions or bouncing on my birth ball. The contractions get stronger and stronger, but I'm having fun moving to the music and it is very manageable. Even though I am in general enjoying myself, I suddenly feel maybe I should ring the labour ward to let my midwife know what is happening. My mom, mother-in-law and midwife have gone on and on about how second births can be much shorter so I just felt I should call. Even though part of me feels it must be way too early and I didn't want the midwife there yet.
Steve gets up about the time I phone and asks if he should blow up the birth pool. I say I think it is a good idea as the contractions are getting stronger. So he leisurely gets on with it. Neither of us are overly worried about getting things done fast. My first birth took ages and we are feeling no urgency.
My midwife calls me back to see how I'm doing. I tell her I'm fine. I have two contractions on the phone with her. They were about 2 minutes apart, but only lasting 20-30 seconds. She says she will get things together and be over in a bit. I tell her not to hurry....we are fine.
Then just a little bit after hanging up with the midwife something totally changes. The contractions become very strong and start coming one right after each other. I'm aware that they are short, but there is very little time in between then. I get on my knees leaning against the outside of my unfilled birth pool and work on relaxing through the contractions as a shake my hips. I start chanting relax and open, relax and open. I'm sweating as Steve walks back in the room to see how I'm doing and to ask whether I think he should start filling the pool. YES, yes fill the pool. The sudden intensity has me desperate for my pool. I stay clinging to the outside of the pool chanting my opening chant while Steve fills the pool.
Finally, the pool is ready. I jump in. Bliss. I love my birth pool, it is great! I can open my eyes, there is a break in the pain. Wonderful. Then I think maybe I got in too soon. Maybe I stopped the contractions. But I don't want to get out. Not quite yet. I'm happy to have a bit of a break. But then a minute or so later the contractions start again. Steve is here with me and I hold him in between the contractions and then start kissing him as the contractions built up and saying how much I love him and my family, and ask my body to open up and bring our baby. I found kissing helped me relax and this intimate time alone with my husband will always be very precious in my memory. The contractions were getting stronger and once again coming very frequently...but still were very short. I began to be worried that they were too short to be 'real labour contractions'. I remember saying that I was afraid that I hadn't dilated at all (in my first labour I had a very long 'prelabour' with contractions for basically a day with no dilation). The thought scared me a bit though, as I found the contractions pretty intense and really was hoping they were doing something. ---Maybe this was transition(?)
Just then the midwife arrived. She came up and asked me to get out of the pool so she could check me over. I said 'can't you do that while I'm in the pool?' (Translation: nothing is getting me out of this pool!) She asked me if the baby was moving. I said he was but I don't remember exactly when I felt him last---it was hard to tell movement with the frequency and intensity of the contractions (She looked a bit concerned at my reply). She took my temperature and blood pressure. I continue contracting frequently, but very short contractions (never more than 30 seconds). I'm coping well.
Just as she finishes with my blood pressure, I feel the baby descend into my birth canal! I'm shocked. I had no idea I was this far along. I say 'He's coming!'. My midwife is shocked too. She obviously did not have a clue I was so far along either. The midwife exclaims she had not even heard his heartbeat yet...so she frantically tries to hear his heartbeat, telling me to blow not push. But I'm having this massive contraction and feeling the baby pushing down like a steam train. I'm not doing anything conscious, but my body is pushing. I ask if he's ok. She says 'I can't hear anything, Dawn'. See now, I really wish she hadn't said that. I know she probably just meant that the baby was coming and she couldn't get the heartbeat because of that (well I know that retrospectively). But I was at that moment it made me scared for my baby. I wanted him out and to know he was safe.
This whole time I was still having this massive pushing contraction. It felt like it was going on forever and only stopped once his head was out. His head was out, the contraction stopped. I tried to push some more but he didn't budge. The next contraction came and I pushed and it felt like the steam train had just stopped. I couldn't move him. I was even more scared. I said 'I can't do it'. The midwife told me to hold my legs up and she jiggled his shoulders out (he came out without turning). It was all within the contraction after his head crowned, but it felt longer to me. At 6:36am, he was out and he was floppy, not crying. I was so scared. My daughter came out screaming; he was so different and I was already worried about him. Again it probably wasn't long be felt like forever, he finally started to breathe and to cry. I was so happy, so relieved. Agars 6/9. It couldn't have been more than a few minutes since I said 'He's coming'.
So after a very peaceful, relatively gentle and relaxed labour, I had quite a frantic second stage. It was so different from my first. So sudden. I'm sure it would have gone smoother if I wasn't so afraid for my baby. The shock of him coming so fast, combined with worrying about his heartbeat, really did affect me. I'm convinced that fear is the biggest obstacle to birth. In my first labour, it was when I was afraid or tense that things were the hardest. This time I worked very hard at relaxing and the labour was so much easier.
But in any case my beautiful big baby was finally in my arms, weighing 9lbs 8oz, and 23 inches long. Laying in our bed with my new baby, my beautiful daughter and wonderful husband was the best feeling ever. I never felt so complete. My daughter stayed in bed with us all morning watching over her new baby brother and kissing him all over. Little Callum was not the natural breastfeeder that his sister was. Maya fed within minutes of her birth. It took Callum a couple hours to get a proper latch going. It helped that I feel very comfortable breastfeeding after feeding my daughter for 2+ years. I was patient and would let him be near the breast, but not forcing too much. Eventually he got it. He still sometimes doesn't latch right away, but after a few tries he gets it. He is a beautiful calm baby.
Maya's birth story - Dawn's first baby
Home Birth Stories
Fast Labours - is quicker always better? What do you do if your baby is arriving faster than your midwife?
Waterbirth at home
Big babies and homebirth
Home Birth Reference Page