My fourth child was due any time. I knew this would be my last baby; the appointment for my husband to visit the urologist was already scheduled. I wanted to relish the time I had left and, because of that, didn’t mind that I was a few days overdue. I had made a friend online through a weight loss group that was also pregnant and we were due the same day so I was on the computer that morning chatting with her.
I felt an odd cramping sensation and the need to go use the restroom, so I quickly took a break. There I found my mucus plug tinged with blood and I knew, just knew, it would happen today.
I called my midwife and she decided to wait awhile before driving out; most women lose their mucus plug days before they go into labor. But I was still nervous; my last labor had taken all of 3 ½ hours. But I thought, if worse came to worse, we had done this three other times and felt we could handle things in an emergency fairly well.
I started having a few contractions in late morning, so we called my mother to come stay with the kids. Around 3 pm, the contractions were fairly close together and moving along, so I called the midwives to come and called my best friend, who came right over. She helped me up the stairs and we prepared the bedroom and bathroom; arranging the supplies as the midwife had requested.
I had no worries about having this baby at home. We felt confident; the pregnancy had gone well save for a bout of anemia early on. I had doubled up on health care for the first 6 months; seeing both my primary care physician and the midwife so I could take advantage of testing he could order, but she could not. My doctor was not happy about relinquishing care; asking me to explain why I wanted a home birth so badly. I tried to explain that I felt pressured and controlled by the hospital rules and nurses directing me. I wanted to be more independent and feel supported.
I don’t know if he understood or not, but he respected my decision and we are still good friends.
My friend set up a baby monitor so I could call for help if needed and I decided to continue labor upstairs as the contractions were becoming more uncomfortable and the stairs were a major challenge. The midwives arrived soon and reminded me to potty often so the bladder wouldn’t hinder the baby’s descent. The older children stayed downstairs with my mother and the midwives set up their things in one of the children’s bedrooms so we could all have our own space. Also, my husband, two girlfriends and two midwives make a small bedroom very crowded.
I felt the best laying on my left side; there was a wooden dresser next to my bed that I often sunk my nails into as the night wore on. For some reason, I was too uncomfortable being totally upright and so spent most of my time semi-reclining on my left side.
After a trip to the bathroom, I became nauseated and let them all know I had to throw up. One of my girlfriends there with me had a major aversion to vomit so she ran for the door saying she was going to the porch for a cigarette. My husband held the garbage can for me and as I heaved, I could feel my cervix opening and my water broke. Thank goodness we had plastic sheets on our bed!
Nausea usually accompanies transition and, sure enough, I was soon ready to push. Sitting up against the headboard with my husband on one side and my best girlfriend on the other side, I made half-hearted attempts to push. As with the others, once pushing started, I was more focused and able to interact with others in the room. But this time, it hurt badly to push. So I held back, trying little pushes that weren’t moving anything. After about 30 minutes, my midwife noticed what I was doing and began to press into the bottom of the birth canal to stimulate the pushing reflex. I laughed and told her that I knew what she was up to and gave some good effort after that. As the baby’s head crowned and was born, we were alarmed to see that she was very purple and puffy; the cord was around her neck 3 times.
The midwife quickly slipped it over her head and laid the gorgeous girl on my chest. As the midwife inspected her cord, we saw it had stretched till it was the diameter of a pencil. No wonder the labor had been so long; my longest ever at almost 16 hours. I was so busy with the baby, I didn’t even notice the placenta being delivered or the midwives cleaning up.
After a few minutes, they took the baby. Those kind ladies cleaned and weighed her while I spent some time in the restroom and I returned to find fresh sheets on my bed and a hungry baby waiting for me. Her APGAR scores were 8 and 9; she weighed 9 lbs 6 oz and was 21 inches long.
After we had nursed a while, my son came in to see his new sister and my friends all said goodbye. My husband and mother went to sleep downstairs with the older children and, after making sure we were settled, the midwives each took a bed and slept for a few hours before driving home.
Baby and I napped and nursed until later that afternoon when we felt well enough to get up. It was wonderful to not have to leave my three older children and wonderful to rest in my own bed. I had no post partum depression whatsoever and was overjoyed that my last baby could be the homebirth I had so desired.
My #4 is a joy; witty and smart. Just ask her! She’ll tell you, “I’m a genius!” She makes us laugh every day and shows us that we all shouldn’t take life so seriously all the time.