I stood on my front porch this morning (Oct.14th 2016) with my less than 24 hours old newborn son sleeping on my chest. I soaked in the warm autumn sunlight, smelled and kissed my son’s head, and considered just how incredibly healthy and happy I felt. My son is also healthy, calm, and peaceful.
I spent 41 weeks (well, one day shy) pregnant with this little treasure. My 4th pregnancy, my first son. I had wanted to birth unassisted with my 3rd baby and came close, but in the end I allowed fear to get the best of me. That delivery was a very difficult recovery. I knew I wanted better, needed better, this time around. After getting some minimal prenatal care with an OB practice along with the anatomy scan at 18 weeks, I just knew that I had to do the rest of this pregnancy unassisted.
Once I made that decision, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I spent the rest of my pregnancy learning to trust my intuition and body. I took care of myself well overall, and I paid close attention to the growing person inside of me.
Around 35 weeks I started to get some contractions that would come fairly regularly. Prodromal labor, again. Only this time, much more convincing to me that active labor would start soon. I thought about what I would do if my baby came early. I thought it was certain he would never make it to his due date!
Well, two serious false alarms later, I was past my due date and feeling depressed. I was so large, so uncomfortable. I had a lot of emotions that I needed to work through until I came to acceptance. As long as the baby and I were healthy, I would wait.
The morning of Oct.13th came and I woke up having a painful contraction. I was not fully awake yet and said to myself “no no no, not like that”. I knew these contractions were different, but after so many false alarms I was scared to say this was it. My husband went to work that morning and I told him I would let him know if anything changed. I texted my mother and told her “not sure if its labor yet, but please be ready to take the kids just in case.”
My last labor was 23 hours long, so I assumed that if this was actually labor, it would be a long time before the baby was born.
Throughout that afternoon I was getting contractions about every 20 minutes, sometimes even 30 minutes apart. I was leaning against the wall or table and “ooooo oooo oooo”ing my way through them. My little girls were curious, and tried to help me sometimes too.
I knew that these contractions were getting real. My husband came home around 1:30pm and I asked him to watch the kids while I tried to rest in bed. I would sleep for around 15 minutes and then WAM “oooooo ooooo oooooo”. I was not getting much rest, and it hurt more laying down.
I came out and my husband was looking tired. I told him he was absolutely not allowed to be in a bad mood, because I needed him! He asked me “you think this could be it?” (after so many false alarms he didn’t believe it yet) and I told him “no could be, it is!”
Then, he saw me have a contraction and he sprung into action!
I realized that I very much needed his attention and help to be on me instead of the girls, so I told him to text my mom to come over. I packed up their bags, leaning against the walls every so often. My husband looked at me and said “those are coming much closer than every 20 minutes hun”.
It felt like it took forever for my mom and kids to leave, but once they did I continued this pattern of moving around and then leaning against a wall or table and my husband pressed on my lower back. With my previous labor, I needed him to push as hard as possible against my back due to back labor but this time I really needed him in front of me with his hands to squeeze so I told him that as things progressed.
He ran the tub for me while I peed and passed a lot of bloody show. The rest of my labor I would bleed a bit throughout, my cervix was opening and opening much quicker than it usually did! I didn’t realize this yet. It was about 4:30pm and I imagined that I would be in labor the entire night, into early morning like usual.
I saw in the tub and had some really big contractions. This is where transition hit me. I wanted to cry, but couldn’t yet. I spoke my fears outloud to my husband “I cant do this” and he would answer “yes, you can do this!”
“I’m not strong!” I would whine
“your SO strong! You have this!” he replied
Sometimes I would have a contraction and I wasn’t prepared yet mentally for it. I felt like I was flying away in a sea of pain, unable to anchor myself. Then, I would change positions and ready myself “I will be stronger than this next contraction” I told myself. It would hit me and I would moan, growl, oooo and ahhhh, and squeeze my husband’s hand. Then I would look up at him and say “this is so hard” and he would sympathize with me but tell me I was capable.
“You’ve got me right?” I needed to know. I had to know he was truly WITH me. He couldn’t do this for me, but I needed him with me. And he was.
I had to move from the bathtub but we left it filled just in case I wanted to return to it. I knew I was in laborland. I couldn’t think beyond the next wave. Just one more wave. I can do this. I can do this.
I labored on the couch, hands and knees.
I labored on my bed, sitting and leaning into my husband.
Then, I moved down onto the ground next to my bed on my knees, and leaned over onto the bed. Fernando had left to get something for me, I don’t recall what. I was hit with a massive contraction. I clawed the bed and GROWLED and HOWLED and Fernando came running into the room and then POP my bag of waters exploded all over the place!
Fernando was so excited, “Baby! Your water broke!”
I felt a rush of energy. The smell of the amniotic fluid was like a drug to me, and I knew that I had one task; birth this baby.
Fernando helped me crawl to the other side of the bed (still on the floor, on my knees) so he could help me better. Here comes anotherrrrrrrrr oneeeeee!!
I roared again. I felt his head move down.
“I’m having our baby!” I said. I had to say it outloud. It was a declaration.
I felt suddenly focused and purposeful. My baby was coming and I had to get him out. It was that simple. Not easy, but simple.
Over the next 20 minutes or so, I pushed and my body pushed. At one point I realized that he was ready to be born, and I just had to give one tiny push and my body would do the rest. I took a deep breath. I was ready. PUSH.
My husband was behind me “Oh hunny, our baby is coming!”
“can you see him?”
“I see you opening, he is close”
My uterus was smaller, he was down in my birth canal, I felt his head start to come out.
“I see his head!” Fernando told me
I reached down and touched my son who was almost born. I wanted to get him OUT immediately but I knew I needed to breathe a little and not rush.
My body pushed. I panted. Burning burning burning…out comes his head!
His head is out! I see my baby’s head!
Fernando has his hand right there, “I’m ready for him don’t worry” and then “I see him turning his shoulder!”
He birthed himself the rest of the way!
He came out crying! Right there inbetween my legs, in own bedroom. My husband I exclaimed over how perfect he was, over how WE DID IT, over how AMAZING it all is!
I didn’t know what to do. I was so elated. I was beyond happy. I finally cried a little too.
I asked Fernando to wrap him in a towel and hand him over to me. I had a difficult time moving my legs to sit down but managed, then most of my placenta came right out.
I felt amazingly good. I had never been so energized and healthy after giving birth. I was overjoyed to be holding this little guy in my arms. Our son was here, in our home and we could just enjoy him.