So much happened to lead up to the conception & birth of this baby. Dealing with infertility. Re-evaluating our marriage & relationship with God. Deciding to sell our house where we’d built our family. So much had changed in our lives in the 7 years since I was pregnant with Pruitt & things had really changed since Cale’s birth in 2002. Pruitt’s birth was quite traumatic for me & we knew this birth needed to be different. It was immediately decided upon that I would VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) & that I would birth at home. We were confident in our decisions & not once did Chris or I question what we felt was the best for our family.
My pregnancies with Cale & Pruitt were pretty uneventful. I felt great & thoroughly enjoyed pregnancy. However my pregnancy with Callaway was NOT at all what I had expected. We found out that I was pregnant one week after moving into our new home. Surprise & shock don’t adequately describe our feelings, but we knew that this baby was a gift. You can’t argue with God! This pregnancy, I was constantly nauseous, tired, had pain from what we think was stretching/ripping of scar tissue from my c-section with Pruitt, major pubic bone pain & then right as I started to feel great again, I was hit with rising blood pressure, protein in my urine & the threat that I may need to birth at a hospital. The entire pregnancy I did my best to not complain, to feel grateful & blessed, but the last 4 weeks of my pregnancy were some of the most difficult.
We did many things that we believed would help achieve the homebirth I wanted. I had received chiropractic care the entire pregnancy & continued to do so right up until the day of the birth. I received personalized care from midwives. I had my BFF as my doula. I kept my plans of VBAC & homebirth to myself (which I highly recommend since both topics seem to get TONS of unsolicited information/opinions!) We spent a lot of time as a family, planning, talking, praying for a great birth. I even went for hypnosis. I visualized & prayed for a relatively quick, easy birth, with very little discomfort (these were my exact words). I told myself that my birth would be easy considering how trying the pregnancy had been. That made sense, right?! And most of all, my husband, Chris, he continued to support and encourage me. He was my rock the entire pregnancy & birth.
From the beginning of my pregnancy I told people that I was due at the end of September. I wasn’t ever really sure of my due date & knew that it didn’t mean squat. The midwives had my due date as the 23, my chart said maybe the 25, & I had given myself the date of the 28. I decided to start counting weeks on Tuesdays so when I hit the 40wk mark, I did have a mini-breakdown. I had never been that pregnant before & couldn’t believe that I was STILL pregnant. I started to question if my body knew what to do, if my body worked. I had to truly let go & come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t ME in control. I knew I needed to trust God, my body & my baby, but that’s easier said than done!
Friday, September 28
My midwife came to the house AGAIN to check on us AGAIN. Blood pressure, urine, baby – all doing well. Momma – momma flat told the midwife that I was sick & tired of everything. I was done with the prodromal labor. I was done with the pubic bone pain. I was done with drinking a gallon of water. I was done with counting grams of protein in each meal. I was done with the constant blood pressure & urine checks. I was done with taking all the supplements. I WAS DONE. She assured me that even though she’d told me it wouldn’t be much longer, it truly would NOT be much longer. I assured her that I was not believing anything she said anymore, but accepted that he’d come when he was ready, not when I was ready ;) I found out later that she told Chris that I was truly truly close since my attitude was deteriorating LOL After she left, I introduced my boys to Psy’s “Gangnam Style” song/dance & decided to relieve myself of “resting” & dance. Chris shook his head & the boys laughed at me attempting to “Gangnam Style” the baby down & out. Unfortunately, there are no pics and there’s no video. I do wish I had both ;)
Chris & I went to bed as normal. He rubbed my back as normal (yes, he’s freaking AWESOME!) and during that back rub, at 11:55pm, I felt a kick & internally heard a POP. I yelled about how much that movement from baby hurt & started having a contraction. After it was over, Chris continued & I had to have him stop again for another contraction. I explained to him that the pop I had heard is what I imagined women heard when their water broke, but how baby’s movement seriously hurt & how shocked I was. Denial much?
Saturday, September 29
I got up to go to the bathroom before going to sleep. As I hit the tile, I felt something run down my leg. I flipped on the lights & looked at my legs. I then looked at Chris, gasped & stated that I thought my water had broken. He lunged up on his elbow in the bed & said, “YOU ARE KIDDING!!!” I started laughing & ran to the toilet. When I got up, I started laughing again & there was a big GUSH. Chris then asked me to quit peeing on the bathroom floor ;) I didn’t know what to do at that point & just kept laughing. When I’d talked with baby during the last weeks, I’d told him that with all the contractions I’d been having, he needed to break my water so I’d truly know that labor was indeed labor! The contractions had continued but weren’t bad at all when I was upright. I attempted to clean up what mess I had made, but kept making it worse with gushing fluid. I knew my BFF was out on the town so I decided to call her & give her a heads up. She didn’t answer! So I called her back as I sat on the toilet laughing. When she did answer, we were both way too excited. Chris then shows up in the doorway & asked what he needed to be doing. We decided he would start filling the birth pool that had been sitting in the corner of our bedroom for 3 weeks. I then decided to call the midwife to give her a heads up. I was still in disbelief but the fluid kept coming! Everyone decided to lay down & rest while we could. However, after laying down & going through more contractions, I decided that was NOT going to work. It was way more comfortable being up.
I had no concept of time at all. I kept going to the bathroom as my body had decided to cleanse itself. I then found a comfy spot in the chair in our room. At this point, Chris was nodding off & I was just breathing through the contractions. Around 1:00am I told Chris that time was flying, that I thought the contractions were coming too frequently & lasting too long to only have been “in labor” since around midnight. Chris started timing them & fell asleep again *sigh* My 1:44am text to Brandy: “avg 3 min apart, lasting over a minute.” I was feeling well & doing well but really in shock that it was all happening!! . I explained to Chris that this is when we usually tell doula clients to head to the hospital or call their caregiver. At 2:06am I texted Brandy again to tell her that Chris was sleeping through all the contractions LOL I tried to sit on the birth ball at this point and Chris made coffee. It was another attempt to rest for me and his attempt to stay awake. I asked Chris to light my labor candles from my Mother’s Blessing & he brought them in & lit them. 2:38a text to Brandy: “Ball is a no go. Too much pressure” 2:46a text to Brandy: “Sorry. Everything is intense down low” because I wasn’t answering her texts! At 2:58a Brandy called to check in with Chris and give more ideas on how to get me comfy. I wasn’t having any of it! Around 3:10a, I decided I was getting in the birth pool. It sounded inviting and holy cow it felt great. However, as I relaxed into the pool, my doula brain told me that I was going to relax & those contractions were going to start coming more intensely. At 3:25a Chris called Brandy for me to let her know that I thought “This is stupid. I’m not doing this.” She said she was on her way ;) After hanging up with her, Chris decided to call Margarett because of the way I was acting. He had surpassed his level of comfort with my laboring. Again, my internal thoughts were “How is this happening so quickly? Am I really overreacting? I can’t believe it’s time! There’s a birth pool in my bedroom and I’m in it!”
Here’s where my viewpoint gets hazy. Things did start to ramp up even more once I was in the water. I was still in disbelief that things were moving so quickly but couldn’t figure out why it was taking everyone so long to get to my house. The reason they weren’t there? It had only been 5 minutes since they had been called LOL I was having to start vocalizing through the contractions. I would say OPEN during the contractions. As the contraction started, I’d tell the baby to come out come out come out. Brandy showed up about 20 minutes after the call. I barely remember her showing up, but remember her hanging the labor necklace by the pool so I could see it. Around 4:00am, 15 minutes after Brandy arrived, Margarett came in. I don’t remember much about her coming in, just some quiet talking & incredibly cold hands that felt so good! I do remember announcing to everyone, inbetween a contraction, that I was done. I didn’t want to do this anymore. Chris was awesome as he watched on from beside the pool. He’d remind me to breathe, to relax deeper & deeper, he held my hand, and he would place his giant hand on the side of my face which has ALWAYS triggered me to relax. I did have a thought during one contraction that I really wanted to bite him LOL As I held onto the edge of the pool, I do remember shaking. Again, doula brain kicked in and I knew that shaking, deciding I didn’t want to labor anymore, the nausea I was feeling, the burping, were all signs that things were very close, but I didn’t grasp HOW it could be so close when it hadn’t been long since my water had broken! Margarett asked if I wanted her to check me and I said yes. I then looked at Chris while Brandy & Margarett were busy and told him that if I’m at a 4, we were leaving & going to the hospital. ;) Margarett checked me and lo & behold an 8. EIGHT. Holy moly. I was an 8. I was close to finally meeting my baby!
The next two contractions I felt like I was starting to lose control. Everyone kept me calm & talked me back down but I just wanted to cry & crawl out of my skin. Then my body decided to do a test push. Margarett asked me if I was pushing because I wanted to be done or because my body was doing it. I let her know that I had NO plans on pushing because it didn’t feel good. I personally remember freaking out & screaming too. I’ve been told that I did NOT scream at the top of my lungs, just started to vocalize more. I couldn’t focus on stuff much but tried to focus on Chris & tell him that I was going to leave, that I was seriously done. He told me that he wouldn’t let me quit. That this is what I had wanted and had fought for and I could do it & that it hadn’t been taken from me. All things that I needed to hear and to be reminded of. Margarett got in my face at one point & talked me back down too. I would go back and forth from handling a contraction well to begging for help ;) Seriously. I’d say “Someone help me!” They’d all agree to help but never took away my discomfort so I bounced back and forth from Chris’ side of the pool to Brandy & Margarett’s side of the pool. Brandy also had to step in & quietly reminded me that there were people that were skeptics, that didn’t believe I could do this, that didn’t believe in homebirth & that I was showing them that it can and would be done MY way! Again, exactly what I needed to hear! Then my body decided it was ready to push. I gripped the side of the pool & let my body take over. Margarett said I had a lip of cervix left & said she was going to push it back. During a contraction, sometimes my body would push, sometimes it would just rest. I swear I pushed for a year, but was later told it was 15-20 minutes. The pushing was very controlled, I couldn’t voice that I was letting my body push when it needed to, but that’s what I felt was right & that’s what I was telling myself in my head: let your body work & push him out. I could feel him moving down & stretching things. I kept waiting for that ring of fire feeling, but it never really hurt, was mostly an intense pressure feeling. Chris reached down a time or two & felt the baby’s head. I was in my own world ;) During this 15-20 minute period, I had a few thoughts: “Wow, this is TOTALLY happening! Remember all the love & support that women brought into the house at the Mother’s Blessing. So many women have birthed their babies and now it’s my turn. I can do this. There’s no way out ;) This is MY body doing what it needs to do and it is NOT stronger than I am, it can’t be!” As he crowned, his head was out to his eyes & the pressure was pushing his fat cheeks up & Margarett later told me that she had a thought about baby being able to fit. I remember ignoring most everything around me, seeing my labor necklace hanging by my head & the intensity of my body pushing by itself. During this part of pushing, I do remember biting the side of the pool ;) Then I remember hearing Margarett saying that one more big push & baby’s head would be out, that I could finally see my baby. I was SO ready at that point so I pushed with everything & he literally shot out. I couldn’t believe it. The emotions hit & I felt Margarett place him on backside to get a better grip on him. I then said that I couldn’t see him! They got me flipped over and she handed him to me. I’ll be honest, I wanted that euphoric feeling of “I DID IT!!” but I do remember thinking “OH MY GOSH! OH MY GOSH! I am so glad that’s over!” I looked up & saw Chris’ face and told him to come see! He leaned over, kissed me, looked at his new son and said “You did it!” Pretty sure I just sighed & whispered back “I did it.” I also stated he looked just like Pruitt & then asked to have the boys woken up & brought in. They had both wanted to be present for the birth so I wanted them there as soon as possible. Brandy went & got them and I sat in the pool, holding my squishy baby & made sure that he was indeed a boy ;) Next thing I knew, Brandy said the boys were there. Their faces right there by the pool, as they looked at their new baby brother, an incredible feeling as a mom. And I had hoped that their presence would help me regain strength & control as I was then reminded that I still had to birth the placenta! Baby C was very calm & peaceful. He squeaked a few times but just sat and looked at me. The feeling of the umbilical cord still attached to the both of us is still fresh in my mind. Not sure why that memory is so vivid but it is. And the shock of the 5 hour labor & the fact that I did indeed birth, unmedicated, in my bedroom is/was overwhelming. We waited for the cord to stop pulsing & the placenta detached. I’d always heard that the placenta coming out was an incredible relief and oh my heavens was it ever! We then handed baby AND placenta to daddy for some bonding while I got out of the pool & tucked in bed.
My thoughts after the birth besides disbelief: my body works! My body worked to get me pregnant with no medical interventions as I’d had with the other 2 boys. My body worked to birth my baby on his time, not when someone told me that he should be born and my body worked to birth my baby quickly (and with no tearing!)! There were no unwanted checks, no poking & prodding, no constant monitoring, no pitocin. I got everything that I wanted and that I’d worked so hard to achieve. I was now one of “those”