by Celeste G., Haltom City, TX
Mother of Ethan Austin (10/01/09)
On October 1, the day finally arrived and it was wonderful! I’m going to document the experience for my own memory’s sake in this birth story too, so it will be long and very detailed. If you don’t want all that info, just fast forward to the bottom. So, as I sit on my donut to relieve the pressure on my lower half, here’s how the home birth went:
12:30 a.m. – got up to pee as I so often did when I was pregnant, but when I went back to bed, I was having some cramping really low down like we learned in our Bradley class. So, I just waited a while to see if it continued and tried to move around to see if I could alleviate it. It continued. So, I breathed through it and tried to go back to sleep because that was what we learned to do in the Bradley class if labor started in the middle of the night. I tried all the relaxation techniques and positions to get back to sleep, but I had a million things on my brain…should I be timing these? Will I have time to take a good shower before this all starts? When do I wake David up? I’m going to miss pregnancy so much (except for the heartburn). Oh my gosh, I need to vacuum!!!
2:00 a.m. – felt a “pop” inside and then some discharge, so I got up to pee again and found the mucus plug in the toilet – oh my gosh, this it officially it!!! Time to wake David…we weren’t planning on using the timer at the beginning because we thought the contractions would be so far apart that we would be able to just look at the clock. But they were coming every 5 minutes or less apart and we were getting scared that we had fast forwarded through the early labor and wouldn’t have time to contact those that lived farthest away (Raynee – the sister-in-law that took pics – lives in Killeen about three hours away) . We got up and took showers and started getting things ready. We started getting things out of the box that we assembled all of the home birth kit stuff in (towels, plastic sheeting, sign for door to let everyone know what all the noise was, bulb syringe, peri bottle, Hibiclens solution, 1st diaper and outfit for baby, outfits for me and David that Mom made for this occasion, etc.).
4:00 a.m. – David started calling Raynee, Mom, and Ginger to let them know things started. I laid in bed for the most part to deal with the labor pains and they were still coming so close together – I guess we won’t be playing games and watching movies like we thought!!!
5:30 a.m.- Mom and Dad arrived and brought breakfast with them. I switched to the birthing ball and David found a sweet spot on my back to help relieve the back labor pains. That same spot worked really well while I was standing, too. Dad also brought cigars to hand out when the baby finally arrives. Dad came to drop off Mom, give me a hug and take the car back home, so he left around 6:00.
8:00 a.m. – Raynee arrived and my contractions were so intense that I didn’t even greet her!!! She brought some great kolaches with her (from the Czech Stop in West) along with banana bread and just quietly started setting the camera equipment up.
8:30 a.m. – David called the midwife to let her know to go ahead and come over. Mom and Raynee brought the tub into the living room area (we had already inflated the week before) and continued getting things set up. I moved between couch, birth ball, and standing to deal with the contractions.
10:00 a.m. – Ginger (midwife) arrived and she checked my cervix to find that I was 6 centimeters, 100% effaced, and the baby was already coming down into the pelvis (I could’ve told you that based on the bone pain I was having!!!). I was really relieved that things were going so smoothly and that we were farther along than I thought we would be – the contractions were getting so intense and overwhelming that I was getting really focused and started ignoring people so I could breathe and cope. I can’t tell you how many times I yelled “David squeeze!!!” and then he would use the counter pressure on my lower back to help me cope – without him I would have been a wreck and not have handled the pain as well. Finally, we filled the tub and changed the course of events. The tub truly is the “midwife’s epidural”. I went from contractions that were about a 7 or 8 on my pain scale back to contractions of an intensity of around 4 or 5 when I climbed in the water, and it was so easy to move around and change positions in the water!!! Everyone was offering me water and food – boy the banana bread was great!!! They were trying all sorts of things to help me cope and breathe and relax between contractions (warm compresses, cool rags on my head and neck, stroking my hair). All the while Ginger is checking my blood pressure and heart rate as well as using the water Doppler to periodically check the baby’s heart rate – everything was right on target and perfectly normal.
12:00 p.m. – I started standing to get the contractions more intense to keep things moving along. The best position in the water to cope with the pain was me on my back, but the baby was moving to posterior position, so we got me out of the water and moved me to the bed to flip the baby to anterior (baby’s face toward my back). I assumed the “knees to chest” position and the baby flipped in about 20 minutes. Chandra (midwife’s assistant) arrived and she is a certified chiropractor so we moved to the bed and she used some positions that helped with the back pain. She and David made the pain go once again from a 7 or 8 to a 4 or 5 – I love chiropractic!!! I moved to the birth ball to help keep the baby in the correct position and Ginger checked me again to see that I was 7 centimeters.
3:00 p.m. – The midwives suggested that I try to sleep between contractions to conserve energy because I was getting really tired and I still had the pushing ahead. I laid on the bed and slept for about 30 minutes and the contractions just kind of stopped for that time to let me gather my wits. Mom and Raynee left to get dinner for everyone while I took a break.
4:30 p.m. – We moved me back to the tub so that I could keep relaxing and deal with the intensity of the contractions. Mom and Raynee got back with the food just in time to hear that I was now at 9 centimeters. For the next 30 minutes I breathed through the contractions and just had to wait for the urge to push to arrive – what a long wait that seemed like.
5:45 p.m. – I finally felt the urge to push and what an overwhelming feeling!!! I pushed for about 30 minutes and out came our beautiful boy!!! Ethan Austin was born at 6:24pm and weighed 8 lbs., 6oz. He was 21.5 inches long and perfect in every way. He came out very calm and it took some time for him to aggressively cry. Babies born in the water are generally very calm and quiet and he was textbook. The placenta came about 5 minutes after he was placed on my tummy and I got up out of the water to go lie down in bed so the midwife could check my uterus to see that things were clamping down well. When I got out of the water, I was freezing and shivering, so they got me to the bed and covered me up. They brought Ethan to me and we tried to get him to breast feed, but he didn’t want to and didn’t know how yet. Since then, we have still been trying to master the art of breastfeeding and have had much success with the nipple shields. Everyone keeps reassuring me that he won’t need those “training wheels” soon and we will become accessory free!!! I have a couple of tears in different places and hemorrhoids, so I’ve been trying to stay horizontal and now I have a donut for when I sit. Ginger said she wanted to do stitches, but I just couldn’t imagine putting my body through that so soon after the trauma it suffered from labor, so I opted out of stitches. She said it wasn’t bad enough that I HAD to get stitches, just that she suggested I did, so I opted not to, but to keep the area extremely clean and keep my legs together so things would seal back up nicely. It’s working very well and David and Mom have been helping me take care of it so I’m healing up nicely.
We have already had our first visit to the doctor where he confirmed everything the midwife said and gave Ethan his first physical and again confirmed that he is strong and healthy and every measurement is textbook. It was a hard and wonderful week and I’m very grateful to my birth team for all the help and support they gave us. I couldn’t have done it without them and have plenty of pictures and memories that will last a lifetime. The Lord blessed us with a wonderful pregnancy and beautiful child, and we couldn’t be happier… :o)