It is hard to believe that five months have passed since William James joined our family. This little boy has been such a joy and we couldn’t imagine life without him! So, pull up a chair. This is a long overdue post: the story of William’s fast homebirth.
Labor & Delivery
It was around 1:00am when I woke up with contractions. Our midwives told me to try to sleep through them as long as possible. So, I laid there for a while trying to fall back to sleep without success. The contractions felt fairly close together and I couldn’t quite get comfortable enough to rest.
I decided to get up and see if they would die down with a change in positions. My phone said 1:10am. The previous few weeks had been filled with varying levels of contractions. Some of them seemed promising, but they eventually woud go away. I didn’t want to wake anyone if this was another one of those situations. So, I paced for a few minutes, trying to stay warm in a blanket.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that these contractions weren’t going anywhere anytime soon. I woke Zach around 1:20am and we started timing contractions. They were clocking 2-3 minutes apart and lasted for 45 seconds. We decided this was probably the real thing and I went downstairs to start getting a few things ready.
My first focus was to eat something. I recalled getting grumpy during labor with Henry, which is typically an indication that I need to eat. So, I pulled out the cut watermelon from the fridge and tried to eat a few, large chunks in between contractions.
Zach came down a few minutes later and turned on the diffuser. I felt like I was managing the contractions well, but was trying to relax as much as possible during each. I kept recalling Ina May’s advice to breath with floppy lips, which relaxes the pelvic floor muscle. It felt a little silly at first, but I could tell that it helped.
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We only stayed in the kitchen for a little while and quickly migrated to the living room with my birthing ball. The contractions were slowing getting be more intense in my back. I remember thinking that my spine and pelvis must be beginning to open. The day before, I saw a post on Instagram by a Physical Therapist demonstrating how to open the pelvis while resting on the ball. So, I started trying to mimick the leg/feet position during contractions and could feel them getting stronger each time.
Zach handed me the phone close to 2:00am so I could call our midwife. She told us at a recent appoint that it is helpful for her to hear the laboring mom so she could assess how far along labor was. My voice felt extremely squeaky and faint. Staying calm on the phone was a challenge, but thankfully the call did not last long.
When I got off the phone, the contractions seems to increase. There was a very faint urge to push with the next contraction and I could tell that things were progessing quickly. Zach put Deep Blue and a hot rice pack on my back. It helped take some of the edge off and I was able to rest a little bit in between contractions. He also turned on the Elevation Worship album I requested on my birth plan. I found the familiar songs to be extremely soothing in between contractions.
Our midwife arrived around 2:20am with her apprentice close behind. They anticipated that we would progress quickly and didn’t waste any time setting things up. The contractions kept coming stronger and closer together. I tried to remember to ask for water, more watermelon, and use the bathroom periodically.
Eventually, I started feeling restless on ball. Everyone took turns providing counterpressure on my hips and rubbed more Deep Blue on my belly. At some point, I ask if this was transition, feeling a shift in the intensity of each contraction. My midwife said it was and I felt excited, albeit tired, that we were getting close to the end.
Shortly after, I began feeling nauseous. While I had hoped to avoid throwing up this time, I knew that it was a positive sign. Every so often, the contractions would break for what seemed like an enormous amount of time. I was concerned that everything was going to stop, as it had with contractions the previous weeks, but my midwife assured me that it was just period of rest in preparation for the next thing. Two or three of those long rest periods took place and I was able to get a little rest, shifting around as I felt best.
Pretty suddenly, the watermelon and leftovers from the previous night’s dinner started to come up. As much as I hate throwing up, there was a strange relief that came from it and I could tell that is was helping to complete the last bit of dilatation.
The contractions shifted and I quickly found myself at the point of feeling extremely exhausted. I asked Zach if there was anything we could do to speed things up. This stage of labor felt long. I kept trying to focus on the fact that this was transition and were not far from being finished.
At some point, we paused to pray for the rest of the delivery. I kept reciting some of the positive phrases I had practiced and they helped me maintain perspective.
Things suddently went from transition to pushing without skipping a beat. I felt like a cloud had lifted and baby started to rapidly descend. I could feel his head during the next contraction and was thrilled at how close he was to being born. The next contraction came and his head started to crown. There was an overwhelming urge to push and he head was born during the following contraction. At this point, the amniotic sac finally broke. There was a very brief pause and at 4:28am, he was officially born.
Everything seemed to slow down at that point. The placenta was delivered less than ten minutes later. Then, we gently transitioned to the couch to rest.
Henry was asleep in our room during labor. He woke up only a few minutes after William was born. I said it was okay if he came down. He was thrilled to meet his new brother!
Things went pretty smooth after that. Around 5:45am, we cut the umbilical cord and then William had his newborn assessment. After, we migrated upstairs for a warm herb. William loved being in the bath and we snapped a few cute pictures of him. Next, we moved into the bedroom and I was assessed for any tears or lacerations. I had one minor tear, but it didn’t require any additional attention.
And after that, we rested.
William James: 6 pounds 14 ounces and 20 inches long.