The unassisted home waterbirth of Nicholas
May 25, 2006
10 lbs 4 oz
Well, this birth story starts off in Winnipeg, Canada. We were attending a wedding of a friend, with our (nearly) 3 year old son, Michael. He was telling everyone that he had a sister. It was very convincing. So convincing, that when we arrived home at the beginning of September 2005, I took a pregnancy test. It was positive. This explained my clothes fitting a bit tight and the unexplained crying when things got a little stressful, like flying with Air Canada, but that’s another story for another day.
Since I teach Bradley childbirth classes, and we already had an unassisted birth with Michael, I felt very prepared for this one. Did I mention that we were convinced it was a girl? Michael told me the baby’s name was Anna. I nearly turned white, as when I was pregnant with him, I had a dream that I was carrying a girl and she told me her name was Anna. In fact, I had 7 of these dreams while pregnant with Michael.
The pregnancy progressed normal, as usual. I did come in contact with Rubella during my first trimester and that worried me a bit, as there can be congenital deformities and that thought hung out in the back of my mind. I exercised, ate right, had chiropractic care regularly and took the best quality vitamins I could find. I read new books, when I had a chance. The one thing that was different was that I asked a midwife I know to check me out 3 times. I was not concerned, as a woman is designed to get pregnant, grow a baby and get un-pregnant without a hitch, if you let her do what she is suppose to do. I understand that there can be complications, but that is the exception, rather than the rule. I digress. Anyway, I had this midwife, who is amazing – as a person and as a midwife, come over for 3 prenatal checks, since I always encourage women to use midwives, rather than surgeons, to support them prenatally. I figure, if I am supporting this, I should know what it feels like to be under the care of a midwife. I already know what the fundamental differences in care are, but to actually have some emotion involved, I thought it was important, especially, since I was certain that this was my last pregnancy. We also had planned that she would not attend the birth.
So, not to bore you with all of the details, but my due date was April 22, 2006. Now, I understand how accurate these “scientific” dates are, so I’ve never had my heart set on them. I figured I’d watch this one fly right by. Everyone I met asked me, “When WAS your due date?” They could see I was huge. I cheerfully explained (ok, not always so cheerfully) that I was due “x” weeks ago. They always looked horrified and responded, “They let you go this long?” Now, I could dissect any one of these words in this sentence and write a thesis on the brainwashing of American pregnant women, but I won’t. “Let” was the big one. WHO is in charge of your body and its functions??? Anyway, 4 weeks and 3 days after my due date, our baby showed up.
Anyway, I started having contractions on Tuesday and they were 10 minutes apart, consistently, but I had been having contractions for 2.5 months off and on, so I never got my hopes up. I just recognized them and went about my day. Wednesday the contractions continued 7 minutes apart the entire day and simply became stronger as the day progressed, but no closer. In fact, at 3pm, I told Rob that we needed to go to Costco and I needed to walk to see if these things would change. We went to Costco and by the time we were leaving, I was barely able to move through them. We made 2 more stops on the way home: First stop to a party supply place to pick up “It’s a girl!” and “It’s a boy!” banners. I had one REALLY strong contraction in there. So hard, I had to hang on to Rob and it almost brought me to my knees. The second stop was to pick up Michael from my parent’s home, as they had been hanging out with him for a few hours. I wasn’t convinced I was in labor…probably to protect me mentally and not get my hopes up. I was tired, uncomfortable and ready to have this baby, but it wasn’t my decision. It was the baby’s decision when to show up.
While at my parent’s home, I would have to get off my perineum and go on all fours, while we chatted. The pressure was just too much. My mom asked my dad to check his watch – every 7 minutes. He mentioned that he thought I was in labor. Ok, maybe. Still, I wasn’t going to get too excited. We took Michael home and told my parents to go to bed early, in case we wanted them to come over.
At 9:30pm, I was still having these contractions, getting harder, but not closer. I told Rob we should probably go to bed in case I need to birth this baby tonight. He agreed and we were in bed by 10pm. At 11pm, I woke him up (well, I was doing that every 7 minutes) and told him that I just can’t handle these contractions anymore. No position was even taking the edge off. He was silently irritated that I had woken him up, since he figured it would be hours.
I had him call my parents and ask them to come over to adjust me (they are both chiropractors). In the meantime, we called my friend to come over and take some early labor pictures and another friend who is a massage therapist, in case I changed my mind and wanted to be massaged.
My parents, Mimi and Sarah showed up15 minutes later. While I had a contraction, my dad was talking and I screamed at him to “Shut the f@%k up!” He got grumpy with me and started saying something and my mom told him to be quiet. He did. When my contraction was over, I explained that these contractions are sensory overload for me. I needed it quiet, dark and no one touching me. He got it. He then adjusted my sacrum and my contractions jumped from 7 minutes apart to 3 minutes, instantaneously. I went to get undressed, put a robe on and came out to get in the birth tub in our living room (which had been there for 8 weeks). It was 11:15pm.
The contractions continued approximately 3 minutes apart and they were intense. I changed positions every 2 contractions and still felt like I could not take the edge off. Between contractions, I was talking and laughing, but once they started, I was practically crawling down the side of the tub.
At midnight my water broke and suddenly, thunk!, the head was in the canal…like a cork. The burning was soooo intense. I kept thinking that this is not the ring of fire, so what is it? This baby must be HUGE.
At 12:10am, I barked at my husband, “Get in the tub, NOW!” He was slightly confused and hesitant because last time, I was in the tub for 13 hours and he didn’t want to be in there that long. He hesitated just long enough for me to bark again. He ran in our room and changed into some shorts and jumped in the tub.
I pushed harder than I ever thought I could. With Michael, I was so worried about tearing (which I didn’t) and with this one, I didn’t care if I tore to my eyeballs, I just wanted this baby out. I did back off when I felt a little too much pressure on the clitoris. With the next contraction, I pushed again and the head popped out. The feeling was totally different. I asked Sarah and my mom if the shoulders were out, as I was strategizing on how I was going to push, based on the anatomy showing. They both hesitated and not so confidently, replied, “No.” I wondered what that was about, but then another contraction came and I didn’t push as hard. With the next contraction, I pushed with all of my might and the baby shot out of me like a cannon ball. In fact, my mom reached in the water and stopped baby from hitting the side of the tub. I reached down and pulled my baby from the water. Utter relief and joy. I had done it…again.
By the feel of those testicles, when I pulled him from the water, it was another baby boy for us at 12:20am. We were thrilled. The contractions continued just as hard and I didn’t get a break. 8 minutes after the baby was born, he latched himself on. 5 minutes later, the placenta was delivered. I got out of the tub, made my way to the shower, then directly to bed, where I continued to breastfeed and sleep until morning.
Everything happened so fast, that we didn’t have a chance to call everyone we wanted to be there. My brother even missed it. Sarah called Sue, the midwife, to let her know the baby was born and we were all well.
Later, I found out that it was a compound presentation. His hand was on his cheek, so the burning was his hand, head, shoulder and elbow all coming down. When I had asked about his shoulders, that’s what they saw…which is why both of them hesitated, but it explained the burning all the way down the canal. He also has a birthmark on his cheek, as his hand must have been there for quiet some time in-utero. (Oh, and I didn’t tear.)
So, we are done having babies. My husband thinks we should have more, since he thinks I birth them so well. I just trust my body…it’s as simple as that. Anyone can do what I do – they just need to have a little more faith in their bodies and their babies.
* * * * * * * * *