Oliver was induced on his due date and born the next day. I was given cervadil, pitocin, and had an epidural. I didn't know what to expect and was pretty nervous so afterward I thought the labor and delivery went pretty well. Eight days postpartum at home I had multiple seizures that landed me eight days in the hospital, five of those days in the ICU. They never totally figured out the cause. They ruled out eclampsia and diagnosed me with vasospasms of the vertebral artery or something like that. It was random and weird, and has never happened again.
I really don't believe my seizures had anything to do with my induction or epidural, but I decided that I wanted to try to have Max naturally (in the hospital). I was surprised how much I had to fight to not be induced and for my wishes to be respected in general. I hired a doula and she kept me at home during my labor for 8 of the 10 hours. At the hospital I had an awesome nurse and everything went smoothly.
Since things had gone so smoothly with my two previous labor and deliveries, I decided that with #3 I wanted to have my baby at home in a peaceful and calm environment. I interviewed multiple midwives and decided to go with One Heart Midwifery.
Tuesday October 1st, 2013- Went to the bathroom around 10:45pm, there was blood. Started timing contractions at 10:56, they were 6-7minutes apart. I called my sister Chrissy in Hawaii since she was the only person I knew I wouldn’t wake up. I told her I thought this was it and we talked about how excited we were. The contractions weren’t painful, but consistent. I was too excited to lay back down and rest. I bounced on my birth ball and read my book. Around 1-1:30 Jason woke up and when he realized I wasn’t in bed came to see where I was. I hadn’t woken him up because there was really nothing he could do and I wanted him to get as much sleep as possible. I told him that it was finally happening!! He stayed with me and we timed contractions. We put down the big screen and watched 50 First Dates. By the middle-end of the movie I was having to breath through contractions and they varied from 3-5 minutes apart lasting around 45 seconds each. It was about 3:30am at this point and I decided to call the midwives. I wasn’t sure if they needed to come yet but I wanted to give them a heads up. The hard part about being in labor during the middle of the night is that there were a bunch of people who wanted to know when I went into labor, but I didn’t want to call and wake anyone up. My midwives told me to go another 1/2 hour or so and then let them know if the contractions were intensifying. Jason and I moved to the bedroom and I sat on the chair with my feet on my birth ball and dozed off in between contractions. When one would start I would tell Jason and he would time it on our contraction timing app.
Finally around 5am I decided that I would like the midwives here for support. I was having to concentrate through contractions and they were close enough together that I couldn’t make the call. Jason called them and they headed over. We knew it would take about 45 minutes for them to get here. I got into the shower and let the hot water run on my lower back. It felt good, but not as good as it had felt with Max. One of the many things I loved about being at home was that I could try all sorts of positions and locations and just do what felt best to me at that time. I stayed in the shower and at 6am Marlene and Kaleem arrived. Marlene came and checked the baby’s heartbeat (which was good) and then she asked me if I wanted to be checked. I did. I was a little nervous that I was only like 3 or 4 cm dilated because while the contractions hurt, they were totally bearable. Marlene checked me and asked me where I thought I was, I said 4cm, she said “how about 7cm”. I was so happy to hear that. After that I decided to get into the bath tub. Marlene and Kaleem got busy getting everything ready. I don’t know exactly what they did, but I know that they put multiple layers of sheets on the bed with waterproof pads in between. Kaleem prepared a gallon of herbal tea for me to drink after the birth and for the next couple of days. Around this time Jason’s mom, my mom and my cousin Sierra (who wants to become a midwife) all arrived. We all hung out in my bathroom and chatted and when a contraction would come everyone would quiet down and give me time to breath through them. It was still dark outside and so Jason set up a small lamp that gave just the right amount of light to the room. It was so peaceful. Also around this time the boys woke up. They came down and visited with me while I labored in the tub. I told them baby sister was finally coming! My dad hung out with the boys, and then took them to go get donuts. I got out of the tub and Marlene checked me again. I don’t know how dilated I was, but she said that the water sack was cushioning her head. We had discussed before the birth that I wanted to have my water break on its own (it has always been broken by a doctor). Marlene said we could still do that or she could break it for me. At this point I wanted things to speed up, so I told her to break it. Marlene got ready and Kaleem came over to the side of the bed and spoke with me privately to make sure this is what I wanted since she knew that I had wanted my water to break on its own. I told her I had wanted that, but wasn’t willing to go through another hour or however long labor would be if the sack wasn’t broken. I love that she double checked with me. It was my choice and they wanted to respect my wishes. They told me later that it was probably best that I chose to have my water broken due to the position of the baby and how I was carrying her. After my water was broken, the contractions got pretty intense. It took me a while to get back to the tub because they were right on top of each other. Once I got in the tub, the contractions slowed down a bit, but when they did come, they were intense.
After awhile I started feeling a little pushy. I was in quite a bit of pain by this point and I found myself trying to push without a contraction. That is pretty ineffective. I moved positions a couple of times. In one, I had Jason supporting me, another I was leaning over the side of the tub, but that kept cutting off the circulation to my hands. I finally got comfortable leaning against the long side of the tub. I think because Max was out with only two pushes I expected the same this time. Because of this, the pushing phase felt like it took forever, and it HURT. My pushes didn’t feel like they were doing anything (because I wasn’t always waiting for a contraction). Marlene was applying counter pressure and helped remove a cervical lip and finally her head was out. I felt a little relief. Her head was out for a little bit while I gathered strength and waited for another contraction. I could reach down and feel that she had a lot of hair. The shoulders were hard to get out and took me a little bit, but once they were out and her little body slipped out, the pain was gone. My baby was here. Marlene let me reach down and pull her out of the water. It was the best feeling. I put her on my chest and just checked her out for awhile. She was huge and slimy and kind of purple. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing and then Jason cut it. I started feeling contractions again and Marlene and I worked on getting the placenta out. Once that was out I felt so much better. The boys and my dad got back from the donut shop and came in (you couldn’t see much because of the blood in the tub). Oliver came in and we were trying to show him his sister but all he could do was stare at the tub. He said “I did not expect THAT” and pointed at the water. I’m not sure if it was because of the blood or because we had talked about how the baby lived in a sack of water and the thought the tub was filled with the water that she was living in, but either way it was pretty funny. We have been really open with our boys about how babies are born. I didn’t want them in the room for the birth, in fact I expected them to be out of the house for the whole thing, but it was fun to have them there and be a little involved.
When the water started to cool down, I got out of the tub and moved to the bed. There Marlene checked me for tears (none), checked my uterus etc. I nursed Hadley and she latched right on. After an hour or so Kaleem did the newborn exam and we weighed her. We all took guesses, but no one expected her to be 9lb 9oz. She was 21 inches long.
My home birth was exactly what I wanted. I never felt scared or worried, instead I felt calm and peaceful through the whole thing. I even feel like the pain wasn’t as bad (until the end) and I attribute that to me being so comfortable in my surroundings. Being able to move around however I want was so nice. When I had Max, even though I wasn’t connected to an IV I still had to get on the bed to be checked every 1/2 hour or so, and there were only so many place to go in that little hospital room. Marlene and Kaleem were (and are) so awesome. They know me and my history better than any doctor and through my prenatal care answered all my questions and gave me all the information I wanted and let me make my own decisions. I never felt rushed or like I was just a number. I can not say enough good things about them and my experience in general. I didn't have bad experiences at the hospital, but they don't even compare to my home birth. Like I have said many times before, home birth is not for everyone, but it is definitely for me! Overall it was just a really beautiful experience.
This is us leaving for the hospital during Max's labor. I'm wearing the exact same outfit during labor with Hadley. It is a favorite t-shirt I stole from my little sister. Three years later it has multiple holes, but I love it! I had Jason take this picture when he woke up, around 1am.
Fast forward a few hours. This is after the midwives arrived.
This might be my favorite picture. I love Jason's smile when he is caught mid laugh. I think he is the cutest.
Ollie after he woke up, hanging out with his grandmas.
Everyone hanging out during one of my exams.
In my zone.
Not crying here, just pushing...hard work :)
I love this picture of my mom. I'm not sure if she is emotional because her daughter was in pain or because her granddaughter was close to arriving. Either way, I love it.
This picture is me feeling complete relief. She was finally here!
Meeting my daughter for the first time.
Max wasn't too sure about everything. It was a lot for a 3 year old to comprehend.
Jason having his skin to skin time with Hadley.
Getting her exam.
Chunky girl. Three and a half weeks later she doesn't look this big!
9lb 9oz WHAT???
The whole gang after the birth (minus Marlene and Kaleem). My dad wasn't there for the actual birth, but everyone else was.
I regret so much that I didn't get a picture of me, Jason, and Hadley with my midwives. What was I thinking?!? I wasn't. I love all the pictures. They show so well the birth and the peaceful and calm atmosphere. Thank you Kaleem!!