Baby B's Birth Story

Baby Blocks
Photo © Mimi Haddon/Getty Images

This was my sixth pregnancy, and I found I was pregnant when our oldest was only 9 months old. I was excited and nervous.

The pregnancy started off with a bump. I was about 6 weeks pregnant and feeling severe pain in my left ovary. I was terrified that I had an ectopic pregnancy. I went to the emergency room and they found an intrauterine pregnancy and no problems (I did see the heart beat!) However, the pain continued.

I am not one for the overuse or routine use of technology, but I knew that I needed to know what was going on in my body! I felt like I was losing my mind. Finally at this ultrasound, in the ER at 7.5 weeks, they found that I had a cyst on my left ovary. They assumed that it was a corpus luetum cyst (normal for pregnancy). I didn't have any pain relief, but at least I knew the baby was okay. The doctor didn't even bother to look for a heartbeat and we didn't see one off the bat, so I did spend some time worried about that.

I had another appointment with the OB that week and he did an ultrasound to look at the ovary and the cyst. The baby looked fine and he said that the cyst could stay or go, but the pain might continue. It amazed me how much better I could deal with the pain just knowing that it wasn't hurting the baby.

We had a history of anencephaly in our family, and had had the AFP test with older child.

Since it came back saying that everything was fine, we didn't even question whether or not to do it again. The day before Hilary's first birthday they called and said that the test had come back positive and that we were to report in two days to the genetic counselor for a Level II ultrasound and an amniocentesis.

We could live with the ultrasound, but were unsure of the amnio. We spent hours arguing with the genetic counselor, crying, and thinking. It was very emotional. In the end, my husband, left it up to me to decide (Gee, thanks.). I decided to do the amnio, we just couldn't live the next five months without knowing.

I didn't have any medicine to numb the area, but it was just like any other shot. The procedure was over quickly, and except for the bad jokes the doctor made and me holding my breath the entire time, the procedure itself was not so horrible.

The next morning I woke to water leaking out of my vagina! I called the doctor, he said to come in. They did and ultrasound to inspect the fluid volumes, which were down. The doctor told me to report to the hospital for induction. He said that my baby was dead!

I refused! I had seen the heartbeat. I started asking questions, but he wouldn't really listen to me. I told him that I had read that the water seals back sometimes, etc. He told me to go home and read my "foo foo midwife books" and to report back Monday for an induction.

I told him that we would come back Monday, but I was not inducing until I was sure there was no other hope.

Monday I went back, I was still slightly leaking, but my fluid level had stabilized. I refused induction. I went back Friday and everything had cleared up, the water was sealed and the baby was great!

That's when I really started worrying about a hospital birth. I had already had one birth with a doctor who hadn't really cared or listened to me. It had been unpleasant and the reason I had switched doctors. Dr. D had seemed so nice in the beginning, telling me he would support me, etc. However, when push came to shove, he could care less what I felt about the birth.

In the following weeks, our differences really became apparent. I had come up anemic, and the nurse told me to get my iron level up or I couldn't have my epidural. When I told her that was fine with me, I didn't want an epidural, she told me I was nuts and the doctor would make me see the light. The doctor told me that I should take 4 iron pills a day in addition to my prenatal vitamin (It wound up being like 1000% of the iron you need every day.). I asked if I could do something nutritional? Nope. He mentioned nothing about absorption, vitamin C, avoiding caffeine....

I started talking to my childbirth educator friends who had had home births. I started reading a lot about midwives and how they were trained, and how to interview. We had no CNM (nurse midwives) practicing here, so I would have to have a direct entry midwife at home. I interviewed four (all I had to choose from) and chose one. I was 28 weeks pregnant.

My family freaked! Everyone else had had cesareans in my family and my sister’s youngest child had died from SIDS. I promised that I would continue seeing the OB along with the midwife. They still thought that I had lost my mind. DH didn't care.

I started having contractions the night before 36 weeks. Midwife told me to rest and stay well hydrated. She came to see me the next day and I was barely dilated and the contractions had stopped.

She guesstimated the baby around 6 lbs. The next weekend, I started having contractions again. They got worse, and I started calling everyone and putting the plan into action. My doula spent the day with me. Our daughter went to my sister's. My husband had a new job and was, thankfully at work.

Jane, my midwife's assistant/doula, checked me around 11 p.m. I was 8 centimeters! T, the midwife, S, her assistant came over, my mom, DH came home from work, my friend Dee (who was due that day) and her husband stopped by. I wasn't in ANY pain!

T told me to try and calm down to try and rest and not get exhausted. The baby checked out fine, and so did I. I drank a bit of water and went to lie down. I feel asleep, so everyone else took the hint and napped on the floor in the living room.

When I woke up four hours later, I wasn't having contractions. Tracy checked me and I was 4 cms! WHAT!!!! I was furious.

Everyone packed up and went home. I have never been so depressed in my life!

The next week was really hard. DH and I had been fighting a lot. He wanted to know why I couldn't get this baby out, etc. I was really nervous.

S came to see me on my due date, to talk to me and see if I had any unresolved feelings about the birth.

I told her no, not that I knew about. She asked me what I would do if...and listed several scenarios. I gave her my answers. She and I were going to go for a walk. I asked her to listen to the baby before we left, I was just curious. He sounded great! As I was getting up...POP! My water broke! S and I stood there laughing! And decided to walk anyway!

We called T and Jane. I told them not to come, I wasn't having contractions yet, and didn't want everyone over. S went home, and DH was getting ready to leave for work. He asked if I was really going to do it this time, and I said I was. Our daughter was asleep and with no contractions, I decided not to wake her and move her to my sisters. DH left for work, and I started having some serious contractions, but I handled them by myself.

When I woke up in the morning, I was still having contractions (I had been able to sleep off and on.). I woke our daughter up, called my sister and called Jane. They took her, after Jane fixed her breakfast while I took a shower.

DH came home from work. And the contractions were starting to die down. Jane decided to leave me alone for awhile and go visit my friend Dee (Yes, she did have her baby before me, and I was there making all the nurses nervous!). That was fine with me.

Michelle, another friend, brought me lunch and stayed while the midwife stopped by. T said that everything looked great, but no vaginal exam. I didn't want one after the last fiasco, and I was afraid of infection. T reminded me no baths and no intercourse, and to take my temperature. She left telling me to call her when I needed her. This was Sunday evening (almost 24 hours after my water had broken). I was feeling pretty good, and the contractions were very tolerable, even when I was alone.

Michelle went home. DH woke up. I hadn't really had many contractions while he was home, but more when he was asleep. He got ready for work and as he was getting ready, I started having some 5-minute long contractions with about a minute in between. They were powerful, but not necessarily painful. It took every ounce of concentration that I had to deal with them. I called Jane, who was at my friend Dee's house, and told her to come back. (Dee and I still have a good laugh over that one.)

Jane came back and all night it persisted this way. I laid on the bed mostly, trying to rest. Jane gave a great back rub and does the double hip squeeze like you wouldn't believe! The contractions started in my back and came up from the top to the bottom. Still, I was handling it wonderfully! I moved around, took a shower when I wanted to, although I longed for my bath! The contractions took concentration, but were nothing to deal with the support and freedom of movement.

It wasn't until after this birth I realized how making women lay in bed really caused us a lot of pain in labor. I am a really big pain wimp and was terrified that I would not be able to handle the pain.

The sun comes up, DH comes home, and guess what? My contractions stop again! I send Jane out to get changed and have some breakfast alone. I felt like she was really tired and needed to be alone. I guess that's the doula in me. It stayed this way all day! My friend Joanie called me around 1 p.m. telling me that she had to go back home (about 150 miles away), but that she would call as soon as she walked in the door to hear about the baby. I was pretty grumpy and I told her that there was not going to be a baby today! That as soon as Jane came back I was going to send her home for good, until I was really in labor! Joan laughed and said okay, but she was still calling me later. I guess I was in transition and not recognizing the signs of it without the contractions.

Jane got back and DH had to go do my babysitting chores. My sister was watching the kids that I normally watched, but she had to go to the doctor's office, so he was going to take over for a bit. It was about 3 p.m. when he left. I was trying to figure out how to tell Jane that I wanted her to go home.

She suggested that we call T and let her know what was up. T was heading to the dentist's and asked if she should cancel. She told T to go ahead to the dentist's office. She said that I was doing well, but I was no where near having the baby. T said she would come over around 6 p.m. to see me.

About ten minutes later I started having my regular contractions, about 3 minutes apart lasting about 60+ seconds. They felt like the ones I had had the night before, rather than the piddily ones I had been having during the day. Suddenly, I felt funny. It wasn't a physical feeling, and I can explain it no other way. I looked at Jane and said, "Jane, I feel funny." Her eyes became as round as saucers and she said, "Pushy funny?" I shook my head and went on the same way for about 15 minutes. Then there was a change to the contractions that took me by surprise. Actually looking at it now, it was probably not the contractions but the baby moving down that really changed. Jane decided to call out all the stops and get everyone over there.

My mom was the first to arrive and none too happy, so I sent her to the store for odds and ends. S got there next and I was aware that she was there, but not really paying attention. Sitting on the toilet felt really good, for a contraction, but then I wanted to be in the living room, leaning over the couch and swaying my hips. Then I would get in the shower, then back to the toilet, then on my bed. Jane said she had never chased a woman in transition before!

T got there and brought her stuff upstairs where we were. She had her bowls of stuff out and ready to chase me with it. She and S were setting up. T asked me if she could check and I said okay. I went and laid down on the bed, to be checked. She spent a really long time checking me, and she pulls her gloved hand out and pronounces, "9 and a half cms!" I could have cried. I really hadn't had any preconceived notions of how far dilated I would be, but I was depressed to hear 9 and a 1/2.

All of a sudden I was worn out, and I wanted to cry. I didn't want anyone near me. Jane managed to stay with me as I traveled the house, but stayed quiet. She had checked me around 5 p.m.. I decided that I wanted to go to the bathroom again. I was leaning over the toilet because it was cold and felt good. Jane asks me if I am sure that I want DH there. I had no clue what she meant. I said I was sure. So, they called him. This was not out of pain, but out of belief that I was only 9+ cms.

I'm in the shower when he gets there, and seeing him makes me realize that the birth will happen soon. So, I flip up the lever on the tub and get on my hands and knees, allowing the water to fill up the tub as it beats down on my back. That felt really good. When the tub was filled, I laid on my side with my head on the cool tile. In the video you see me looking really relaxed and calm, and you hear DH say, "Are you sure you're having the baby now?" My whole body tensed and I screamed, "Yes!

I'm having the baby now!"

It got to a point where I couldn't use words anymore, instead I was concentrating on relaxing. I got out of the tub and laid on the cool floor. They asked if I wanted my shirt back and I said no, they realized Ms. Modesty was about to have a baby. Jane was at my head talking to me, and DH was holding up a leg (I didn't want them anywhere near each other, my legs!). I remember thinking, “I can't do this anymore. “ And then the contraction ended and I realized that I had no pain. I felt absolutely fine in-between. I laughed and told Jane, "Can I have an epidural now?" She apparently missed the laugh and said, "Hon, we couldn't get you to the hospital on time." I still laugh at that.

I felt like pushing, but I didn't want to tell anyone. I decided to push with the next contraction. I hear Jane tell my mom, that it hurts when I push so I stop when the contraction peaks, and I wonder to myself how she knew I was pushing (Yes, even doulas lose their minds in labor.).

DOH! I was holding my breath and all the other neat signs that someone is pushing!

Jane calmly tells me that I can have the baby on the bathroom floor, or I can have the baby on the bed as I had originally planned. I think about this a minute and decided that while moving didn't sound great, I would move to the bed.

I got up in a squat, and that was it! Jane was diving for my perineum and T was right behind her.

The bathroom light came on, and after being told not to push for about two minutes, Benjamin was in my arms! Wow! It was so amazing! Gravity and squatting had really done it and he was born on the bathroom floor at 5:31 p.m., about 45 hours after my water had broken. He had 10, 10 apgars, weighed in at 8 lbs. 7 oz., 21 3/4 in long, and a 15 cm head!

About 5 minutes later, before the placenta decided to arrive, I said, "I can't stand sitting on the bathroom floor anymore." And with that I got up and walked to my bed! That was something that I never expected to do. While we were looking at the baby and waiting for the placenta, the phone rang...It was Joan, calling to say congrats. She swears she could tell by the tone of my voice that the baby was coming that day. After realizing how upset I had been only 31 minutes previously because I thought that the baby was a ways from getting here!

A couple of hours later, everyone went home, and I stayed one the bed for awhile, looking at Benjamin.

Jane had done my dishes (did I mention the water faucet broke while I was in labor?) and they had cleaned up everything. My friend Michelle had come over, sad that she had missed the birth, but glad to see everything was was okay. And DH was watching television and glad to get a few days off work.

To make a long story short, I wound up going back to work with both of the kids the next day, as a nanny. I felt really good, but a bit tired. It was much better than the recovery from the previous epidural, and I had really learned a lot about myself. The birth made me high just to think about. I realized that I could do anything.

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