So, you can imagine after having a birth like the Numero Uno’s, that we’d be looking for something a tad different the second time around. At the very least a different OB! I’d always wanted to have a home birth. With Numero Uno, Hubby wasn’t comfortable with the idea since it was our first time and all. But when we found out I was pregnant again …. we decided to plan for a midwife attended homebirth. There was a lot of searching for a midwife that would cover our area and not too many to choose from. We met with two different ones after doing a lot of research on them. The first one I was comfortable with, she had plenty of experience and training. But honestly? She was a tad down in the mouth for me. I wanted someone a little cheerier. Someone who would look happy to see my huge preggo belly come waddling through her office door when I came for my prenatal check ups. The second one we met with was much bubblier. Again, no question as too her capabilities and training. She was a tad on the nutty side but she put me more at ease and I was happy with that. So we decided on Nutty Midwife (or NM as I like to call her).
The pregnancy was great. As usual, I enjoyed being pregnant, after I was done being nauseated for the first 12 weeks. Poppett and the baby would be about a month shy of two years apart. In our book, perfect. My midwife’s office was about 25 miles away but we weren’t worried. We were planning on giving her plenty of notice when the time came for her to make her trip out to us. (By the way, the other midwife was just as far away)
We had an ultrasound done at the midwife’s office at about 24 weeks. The tech was this big german lady, in her 50’s, who was simply hilarious – unintentially. She was very straight-faced and no-nonsense. But when she got to the gender searching and then started to explain what we were looking at… Well, when you hear a 50+ year old lady describing all the male parts by their proper names, with parts at attention no less, in a thick german accent you can’t help but giggle. And when I did, boy, did I get in trouble. She proceeded to tell me how expensive taking the pictures was and that I’d just ruined one by laughing. Oops. Sorry! But at least we found out we were having a boy. I was excited. If, for some reason, we didn’t have any more children after this baby, we at least had one of each. And I had “done my duty” and given Hubby an male heir to inherit his kingdom (maybe a little less kingdom and more last name)
My due date came…. and went…. 41 weeks came…. and went…. I think I’d dialated maybe a fingertip at this point but nothing to write home about. My SIL, Lyd, came into town to help with the baby’s birth. We were excited to get to do this together. We’d missed each other’s last births because we were due at the same time (Poppett and her cousin were born 5 days apart). At 41 1/2 weeks we decided to break out the herbs and get this show on the road. We left Poppett at home with Hubby that afternoon and headed to the mall to walk and eat herbs. Not the nice leafy, add-to-your-cooking kind. No, these were the liquified, taste-like-dirt-and-bitter-weeds kind. Or at least what I imagine them tasting like since I’ve never actually wandered into the backyard and chowed down on any dandelions, that I can remember. I know preggo’s crave some crazy things but I’ve always stuck to the traditional pickles and ice cream type of cravings. Anyway, as long as I kept walking, I had easy contractions, or strong braxton-hicks, depending on how you look at them. After four hours (that was the max time to take the herbs) we decided to head on home. Since nothing really was progressing, we decided to head out to one of our favorite tex-mex restaurants, where, hypothetically speaking, a couple of gals, hungry to hold a newborn, may have pushed a few strong drinks Hubby’s way. Which of course, hypothetically speaking, he would not have refused. In fact, one gal, who happened to not be pregnant, may have even gone so far as to order a drink, pretending it was for herself but really intended it for Hubby. By the time we got home it was late and so we headed to bed. Where a desperate, very pregnant gal may have taken advantage of her tipsy husband…hypothetically of course. (Hey! A gal’s gotta do what a gal’s gotta do! And I’ll take no harrasment from any o’ye, ya hear?! I was desperate to have that baby and I was going to try every trick in the book to encourage that baby into my darn birth canal!)
The next morning, I woke up and was disappointed to learn I was still pregnant. But as soon as I was up and moving, contractions started. Yippee! This was finally going to be the day! We called the NM (midwife) to give her a heads up. She had something she was going to that day but said that we could still reach her via her cell and to keep her posted. The contractions were still very easy but they came with some regularity so I was happy.
There was some unexplained activities desperately trying to go on behind my back and I decided to play along. Hubby disappeared to “run errands” and my SIL and I “decided” to go visit my other SIL. Lo and behold, who should come out of his sister’s house when we pulled up but Hubby! With a video camera no less! My SIL was throwing a surprise baby shower for me. Talk about a way to distract me from my dull early labor hours. It was great. I got to hang out with girl-friends, eat good food (lightly of course, didn’t want to upset my stomach) and open presents. I couldn’t ask for more. =0)
When the shower was over, (right around lunch time) the four of us gals (my two SIL’s, Poppett and I) decided to head to the mall to do some walking and see if we could get the contractions stronger, longer and closer together. So we strolled around, chatting and window shopping for about 30 minutes or so. All of a sudden, I was having to stop for my contractions. This was good we all thought. So we kept going. And I had to keep stopping for contractions, trying valiantly to NOT look like a woman in labor, with a mall full of saturday shoppers swarming around me. Finally, I’d had enough. My knees were starting to buckle a bit during my contractions and I was starting to worry about what I’d gotten myself into. On the way home I called the NM to let her know things were picking up. I can’t even really remember what the conversation was about but the jist of it was she was still at her function thingy and that we should still just keep her posted. So, inside we went. It was about 4pm at this point. We proceeded to get all the prep work done for the homebirth. That included getting the bed made with fresh linens, putting a new, plastic drop cloth over the bed (and fresh linens) and then putting an old fitted sheet over everything with the top sheet loose in case I got cold (it was the middle of summer). With the bed made up this way, when I was ready for a fresh bed after the baby was born, all they had to do was take the top couple layers off and the fresh, clean bed would be ready for me to crawl into. Friends of ours came and picked up Poppett for the night. What a relief not to have to worry about her. I felt like we could really get down to business now and that I was free to let it all kick into gear.
I decided to try and labor in the back of the house, by the second bathroom, for as long as possible since our front bathroom was in the middle of a remodel and the toilet was out of comission (don’t ask). I felt much safer from some strange reason being close to a working bathroom. Lyd worked on baby laundry back there while I wandered around. During contractions I would stop and lean over the desk with Lyd applyly counter pressure on my hips and tail bone. We had brought the rocking chair back there for me to labor in but I only did one contraction in that dreadful thing. What was a nice, relaxing, comforting idea in my head, felt like straddling a pointed mountain in reality. Man o man does that still hurt to think about. I remember mentally begging the contraction to ease up enough for me get out of the chair! Soon I decided I’d had enough and needed to get to bed so I could properly focus on relaxing during my contractions. At this point, my poor Hubby and Lyd were getting nervous. No midwife yet. They had called her several times and she was supposed to be on the way. It was about 6pm I think. NM finally called and said she was still a ways off and so she’d called her back-up midwife to come over just in case she couldn’t get there in time herself. So who should show up on our doorstep 30 minutes later but the midwife we’d agreed NOT to go with! Umm, yeah, awkward moment. Well, the NM showed up shortly after the not-picked midwife and there was a big commotion of activity. Bringing in stuff and chattering and such. Not helping the laboring woman much with all the ruckus. Things finally settled down but then the darn NM’s son kept calling the house phone. SIL finally tells him to quit calling. Then the two midwifes (unbeknownst to me thankfully), start arguing in the other room about whether or not the training assistant (who I’d met previously and LOVED) should be paid if she came since there were two of them already. Thankfully, the assistant decided to come even though the arguing midwives weren’t going to pay her. She was already almost to the house anyway. She was great and I was so thankful she’d decided to come.
So around 7:15pm, I’m laboring like crazy. Contractions are fierce and I’m dialated to about a 7 or 8 I think. The NM checks me and lets me know that there is a bag of waters in front of the little guy’s head that was slowing his progress. She gave me the choice of continuing to labor like I was and let it pop on it’s own or she could break it and he would come right away since his head was right there. I honestly didn’t know what to choose. I asked her if I could wait a few contractions to decide. She was fine with that and reassured me that it really was my choice, and she was fine with either option. Well, it only took one more contraction for me to realize I wasn’t at Camp Snoopy and that this wasn’t any fun. I knew things would really get tough once that water was gone but I didn’t want to stall where I was for who knows how long when I knew things had to get tougher anyway before it would be all over. So I told her to go ahead and grab that crochet hook of hers and have at it. Boy, was there a lot of water! We had a little overflow issue and I was thankful for hardwood floors. The water was clear and I was happy to know that baby was handling everything well.
Soon after breaking my water I hit 10cm. I could start pushing. I was a little apprehensive since I’d pushed for so long, and so ineffectively with Poppett. But it only took a couple contractions for me to find “my groove” this time around. NM started perninal massage to help stretch me out in anticipation for baby’s head (and my babies have BIG heads ya’ll. Every single one of them measured between 15 and 15 1/2!). As soon as he started crowning, I’m not sure what clued her in since my eyes were scrunched up in denial concentration, but she started telling me to really push and get this baby out right then and there. Out of nowhere, an oxygen mask was slapped over my face. I could hear the intensity in her voice and knew she meant business so I really gave it all I had. It still took another contraction for me to get him out but if I hadn’t have, NM had her episiotomey sissors resting on her thigh (she was sitting on the bed), ready to use them on me to get him out. As his head popped free I heard her say, “Once, Twice, Thrice”. I had no idea what that meant but I just chalked it up to her nuttiness. Then she let me push to help her wrestle his shoulders out (a new sensation for me since Poppett was out all in one push) and the rest of him slid right out.
Up on my belly he was placed and immediately I was flooded with that wonderful baby high and I reached down to grab ahold of his slippery, warm, squishy body. Something wasn’t right though… he was not nearly as pink as Poppett had been. In fact, he was downright purple. NM explained his cord had been wrapped around his neck three times (hence her funny little blurb before I pushed his shoulders out). He did start crying right away which was a good sign and we really rubbed the heck outta him. Poor little guy. But it worked. Between the cord still being attached and allowing those last minutes of oxygen to be pumped from me to him, while he cried from the harsh stimulation that forced his own oxygen into his lungs he quickly started to pink up. Scared Hubby quite a bit though.
After his color returned and he was breathing well on his own, we started weighing and measuring him. “Monkey” was born at 8:12pm and was 8 pounds 6 ounces and 21.5 inches long. He was adorable. And he took to nursing like he’d been starving the whole 9 months in utero. Lyd later told me that it was always her experience that boys sucked harder than girls and I agree with her! It was all I could do to pop him off when I needed to. After some bonding, I handed Monkey over to Hubby while Lyd helped me to the shower for a quick hose off. When I returned, my bed was nicely made and all birthing equipment removed. OY! What bliss to slip between those clean sheets and curl up with my newborn snuggled up against me. Heaven on earth I tell you.
The next day, Poppett came home to find out her baby brother had mysteriously appeared overnight. She was enthralled with him and it was all I could do to choke back my hormonal mommy tears while I introduced her to her little brother and helped her hold him for the first time. Such sweetness will forever be etched in my memory.
Overall, I was happy with my first homebirth. It had it’s rough spots but I come through it with a healthy baby, only two stitches (compared to the untold number at Poppett’s birth) and a quick recovery. Perinial massage is KEY ladies!! We all want to stay intact down yonder so find someone who will do their darndest to assist you in that department. I learned a lot that would help me in my other births (warm compresses are divine during pushing/crowning). I also had a better understanding of what I wanted in a midwife. There is a lot more that happened with our NM post-birth that I don’t want to include here. But I think it is important to any of you who might be thinking of going the midwife route. As soon as I have it written up you’ll be able to find it at this here link.
One of my all-time favorite pictures
Monkey is our funny boy. The life of the party… ANY party. And he is the most tactile of all my children. You know the five love languages? Well, his is touch. He melts hearts everywhere he goes. He started with mine that very first night and I’ve been a goner ever since.