Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Ontario, Canada
Home water birth of Anna Joy
Typed this out for the pregnancy forum I'm part of, and figured I'd copy it here too.
Anna is baby #6 for us. Girl #5.
Before I became pregnant with Anna, I lost about 30lb and was more fit than I've ever been in my life. It was a wonderful feeling, and I was anticipating my healthiest, most energetic, most comfortable pregnancy so far. Unfortunately, it was an exhausting, achy, uncomfortable pregnancy, which seemed endless at times. However, we were very excited to be welcoming a new little person into the family, and I tried to keep reminding myself that the pain and discomforts were temporary, while a child is an eternal soul.
I started having frequent, noticeable braxton-hicks contractions around 36 weeks. My last two babies were born right around 38 weeks, so I was definitely preparing to go early. I was house-cleaning like mad, stocking up on groceries, never letting laundry sit in the hamper.... Got pretty tiring, in combination with the prelabour and general achiness and lack of sleep. Silly women we are some times.
I began to feel irregular "real" contractions at 38 weeks. Here we go, I thought! But, then, they died away again. Saw my midwife at 39 weeks, and she did a stretch and sweep for me. I was about 2cm at that point. Nothing too remarkable, but soft and ready to change at any point. I talked to her also about my apprehension about going through labour and birth again. I think my fears were holding me back from really starting labour. My last baby - Seth - was a more difficult birth, and I was having "flashbacks" to that experience, and it was scaring me! Anyways, the contractions continued to come, slowly, irregularly, but persistently, for the rest of Monday, and into Tuesday. Tuesday evening I called my midwife just to fill her in, and give her a bit of a heads up that things were moving along. Tuesday night DH and I got a chance to sit and snuggle and talk through my fears, and pray about them. I think that was the biggest factor in moving into real labour. 1 hour later, I was up with contractions 5 min apart and getting closer and stronger. I woke up at 12:30am on Wednesday and began timing contractions as I walked around the house a little. In an hour, they were 3 min apart, and 45 seconds to a minute or more long. It took me about 20 minutes to make some orange juice because I had to keep stopping to breathe and rest! At 2:00 I called my midwife, Debbie, to tell her that things were really happening. I woke DH up, and we got our stuff prepped - made the bed for labour with the plastic sheet over it, got the blankets and towels ready, set out the baby clothes, etc. We were in debate about what to do with our other kids - they were all asleep of course. But we decided to get them up and send them over to my in-law's, just so that we wouldn't have to worry about waking them if/when things got intense. That worked out well. The contractions were becoming more difficult by now. I had to get down on my hands and knees and breathe and rock through them, and DH would press on my hips or back. I wanted to wait until I was at least 5cm before getting in the bath, but I started filling it then - I figured I had to be close to 5 by now anyways. I just laid over the edge of the bath, waiting for it to fill, not really responding too much at this point. As soon as the tub was full, I jumped in and relaxed. Water in labour is WONDERFUL!!!
Right around 3:00, Debbie arrived, and so did Joanne, the secondary midwife. Joanne checked the baby's heart, and she was doing just fine. I knew she was - she was moving around and kicking. They went and set up all their equipment, and then came and checked on me. Debbie didn't want to check me in the water - I had to get out for that, which was really difficult! But I wanted to know where we were in this process, so we did it. 6cm. OK, not too bad. I was hoping for a little more, since the contractions were pretty tough, and coming about 3 min apart, but 6 is close to 7, and 7 to 10 usually go pretty quick. I was breathing through the contractions still, not making any noise, and pretty much sleeping between them. I was trying to visualize myself as a tunnel, with a rush of energy surging through and opening everything up and moving the baby down. I would open my mouth and breathe deeply, as the contractions came, and sometimes rock my hips or sway my legs around if I had too.
Then suddenly the intensity picked up again. I went from not wanting to be touched to desperately clinging to DH's hands and pulling with all my might against his arms. (he's pretty strong, thankfully, or I would have pulled him right into the tub!) After three contractions like that, I asked them to please break my water - I wanted to be done. I had to get out again. Torture. They had to wait for a contraction. Agony. But then it was done and I was back in the bath. I was 8cm, and hopefully going fast. Coping was hard at this point. Checking the baby's heart rate was painful and I didn't want them to touch me. I became more vocal, and they tried to help me stay focused, but I was in my own world. They kept asking if I wanted to push. I couldn't answer. I didn't feel the urge yet, really, but I couldn't talk. Then I started to feel it, but I was scared to push, just in case I wasn't quite 10 yet. They encouraged me to go with the feeling, but I wasn't sure and couldn't give it my all yet. I asked to be checked. 9cm. OK, pant, breathe, moan, yell through another couple contractions. How about now? Finally. 10cm. Go ahead. And then I pushed for all I was worth. I was afraid that this baby wouldn't move, like Seth didn't. But after a couple good pushes I felt the sting of head on my perineum. It was reassuring, oddly enough. This baby was moving. She was really coming out. I was almost done! PUSH, PUSH, PUSH!!! I could feel her head emerge - breathe, pant, wait, OK, go for it. Great. And push again, and RELIEF! There came her little body, tumbling out. Oh thank you thank you thank you!!! I was done! She was a little purple, but pinking up quickly, snuffling and whimpering a little, and then content to snuggle with me. We were told she was a girl, but I double checked. Yep. This is Anna, I said to Debbie and Joanne. Anna Joy. Tiny. Covered in lots of vernix. Perfect. Big hands and feet. Brown fuzzy hair. 4:45 am.
Debbie gave me an oxytocin shot, which we agreed on before. We wanted to keep the risk of PPH to a minimum. She delivered the placenta in the bath, but immediately made me get out, as she couldn't assess my bleeding well from there. I knew I was fine, but got out and headed to my bed. It felt so good to rest there!
The midwives did their cleaning up, baby check, paper work etc. Anna was 7lb 12oz, and 19 1/2 inches long with a 13 inch head circumference. Our biggest baby, to my surprise! They made me an herbal bath, which felt wonderful. Then DH and Anna and I snuggled in bed together for a while. Anna nursed like an old pro. We called friends and family, had tea and toast, and visited with the midwives. Then we went back to bed and caught up on some missed sleep.
Anna is now 13 hours old. She has been wonderfully content so far - very quiet, nursing well, and just lovely. Hope she can keep it up!
We give thanks to God for his wonderful blessing!
DH married for almost 15 years, parents to 7 small people, so far.