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Old 01-21-2013, 04:45 PM   #1
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First time mom's home waterbirth

At the risk of sounding cliché' my birth has turned me from a person that didn't like asking for help, someone closed off from other people and afraid to share in case of rejection to someone more open and trusting. I never thought it would have such a profound effect on me which I guess was naïve.

Prior to the birth I was awed by how generous and kind people were. One of my coworkers who I really liked offered to take birth photos for free. She had worked in photography studios and did weddings on the side so it was a very kind gesture. At my last day at work I was given a card with a generous amount of money from my coworkers. I was surprised by the outpouring of generosity and kindness. I had kept my birth plan mostly a secret from everyone, a select group of coworkers and family members were told. I was afraid of the judgment from people and I was afraid that if I “failed” people would knowingly nod their heads and say, “we knew she was crazy.” So I was pretty evasive when people asked which hospital I'd deliver at. I got some raised eyebrows when I told people at 38 weeks that I still hadn't decided on the hospital but no one really questioned me too heavily which was surprising.

When I thought about my birth I wanted complete secrecy and privacy. I wasn't even sure I wanted my own mother there!

I was supposed to be due on January 4, 2013 with our first child, a little girl. I had told everyone that I would go late because I was a first time mother. Even my midwife had told me she thought I would go a week over at least. On January 1 I started feeling like I was coming down with the same cold my husband had. I had some chills and my throat was hurting and I decided to go to sleep early at 9:00. My husband decided to stay up because he had to work nights the next day. At 10:30 p.m. I woke up and was having what felt like menstrual cramps. I just knew that my labor was starting; for almost the entire pregnancy I hadn't had a single twinge of anything and these light cramps coming every 5-7 minutes had to be the baby. I told my husband that I thought I was starting labor and he should probably go to sleep so he wouldn't be exhausted when I needed him.

I tried to go back to sleep but I was just too uncomfortable. I woke up and did some last minute prepping for the baby. Pausing in between picking up to breathe through contractions. I even listened to my hypnobabies tapes to try and get in a good head space and tried to take a bath, which surprisingly didn't help me.

I really enjoyed leaning against the counters and moving my hips back and forth during contractions at this time. By 6:00 a.m. I was really feeling like I needed my husband to be awake and helping me focus. He helped me put on the TENS unit and by that time labor felt like it had picked up in intensity. I started getting on my hands and knees during contractions. The TENS unit worked amazingly, the electrical pulses felt like I had a warm hand on my back rubbing it. I loved it way more than I had expected.

I had planned to make a birthday cake for the baby during early labor but I decided against it because I didn't want to wake my mom and husband by baking so late. When my mom woke up my husband told her I was in labor and asked her if she would make the cake. I don't think she quite understood how far gone I was into labor because she suggested twice that I help her bake it, at that point it was taking a ton of concentration to make it through each contraction which was around 5 minutes apart and I declined to help her. During the breaks I spent it recovering and preparing for the next one.

We called Diane, the midwife around 7:00 a.m. And I don't think she believed I was in “real” labor. I was starting to feel anxious and wanted her at my house. I could also hear the doubt in her voice when she was questioning me about my labor. She told me I needed to sleep and eat and take a bath. I told her that I couldn't sleep or eat and that I had tried a bath and much preferred the TENS unit; I had several contractions while talking to her on the phone and told her I really wanted her to come over which convinced her that it was the real deal and not first time mother anxiety. She asked if I was okay waiting for rush hour traffic to be done with before she left and I told her that was okay.

She arrived around 10:00 a.m. And I asked her to check me and tell me how far along I was. I was feeling a little out of control and needed to hear that I was indeed in labor. Besides the contractions every other textbook labor symptom was absent. I hadn't had any bloody show, lost mucous plug or water breaking. Originally I had planned to only be checked maybe once or twice; the idea of having a cervical check every 30-60 minutes like in a hospital was repulsive to me. But I needed the reassurance that all of my work was doing something.

The entire labor my husband never left my side. I discovered that having him squeeze my hips hard and hold them during a contraction felt amazing. It's a good thing he is very strong because he ended up doing that hundreds of times over the next 12 hours.

Diane came over at the perfect time. She immediately got down on the floor and started talking to me calmly, stroking my hair. Her presence soothed me. She told me that I knew what I was doing and that my body was telling me what it needed in regards to the positions I was choosing. She had me lay back to check me and I could hardly hold still, my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and intense by that point. She declared I was 3 cm almost 4 cm and nearly completely effaced. She told us we'd have a baby by dinner time. The entire pregnancy I'd been seeing her she had told me that most first time mother's took 2-3 hours to push their babies out. After she checked me she said, “you'll push this baby out in under an hour. Most first time mothers can't but you are strong and I know you'll be able to.” That really perked me up; I needed to hear someone that was experienced tell me that I was in labor and doing fine.

She suggested I take a shower, I reluctantly removed the TENS unit and got into our shower. It was small and my husband and I barely fit but he stuck it out. The contractions were intensified by the shower and they were only 3 minutes apart and easily 90 seconds long. I wanted to leave the shower but I was afraid they'd be worse so I stayed until the hot water started to run warm and then I was back on hands and knees with the TENS unit.

The worst part of labor was the feeling of bladder fullness I experienced. The peaks and valleys of the contractions at least gave me some rest but my bladder felt like it would burst and I couldn't pee no matter how much I tried. Diane suggested a catheterization and I happily agreed, that was the only intervention I received during my labor. Unfortunately she cathed me twice and both time only dribbles came out; she declared I was either dehydrated or the baby was flattening out the tubes. Once labor really hit at 6:00 a.m. I hadn't drank much just sips here and there. Then once my bladder felt like it would burst I avoided drinking altogether because I couldn't stand the thought that my bladder would feel even more full. Once I saw that their probably wasn't anything in my bladder I started drinking again and drank around 30 oz. of liquid.

Diane suggested I get into the birth pool and again the TENS unit came off. During the catheterization time Diane's apprentice showed up. She was very nice and encouraged me to vocalize in low tones to help open up my birth canal. It's odd but even though I felt like the contractions were out of control I was still able to be in control, Diane had mentioned that her apprentice's father in law had recently died. When she entered the room I told her hello and that I was sorry she was meeting me like this (at that point I was naked on the bottom, with a catheter hanging out and my butt was facing her) and that I was sorry for her loss. I wasn't able to carry on much conversation but I am glad that I didn't lose control like some people do. I didn't like the birth pool the contractions were pretty much on top of each other and it was hard for my husband to squeeze my hips. I stayed in there for 20 minutes and finally decided I wanted to try sitting on the toilet to pee. Up until that point the toilet had been terrible and uncomfortable to be in labor on but as the labor and contractions changed I found the toilet much more comfortable than before. I labored in our bathroom, my hands pushing against both walls and my husband holding my hands in between and telling me how proud he was of me and how great I was doing. It was during that time that I finally lost my mucus plug and had some bloody show. I asked them to call my friend the photographer at around 4:00, I was worried that she would miss the birth. They told her she could come around 7:00 and that would give her time. I remember feeling that she might be too late but I stayed quiet.

In the middle of one of the contractions I felt it change from the intense peak and valley to this urge to push and I involuntarily gave a push. “I am feeling pushy.” I yelled out. Diane and her apprentice reassured me that was okay and encouraged me to get off the toilet and into the birth pool. I didn't want to at all. As far as I was concerned the birth pool was the place I got hit with contraction after contraction and the toilet wasn't half too bad. I was willing and okay with the idea of delivering the baby on the toilet which is something that prior to labor I had joked about. What changed my mind about getting into the tub was realizing that the photographer would be coming and I didn't want pictures of me laboring and delivering on the toilet. During that time my husband had called the photographer and she had said she'd be there quickly.

I got into the birth pool and it was nothing like before. I was still having contractions that were intermingled with the uncontrollable pushing urge but the pool was comfortable. I went through transition without any real dramatic transition symptoms. I had warned my husband when we discussed my labor that I might tell him that I though I was going to die or wanted to go to the hospital etc. etc. Instead I felt this intense focus and knew that I could do it. I was pleasantly surprised that I was much more in control than I had expected. My friend arrived and I was fully in the pushing stage. It really felt like reverse vomiting and I actually enjoyed the feeling. The contractions had been something I couldn't control or help this gave me a purpose. I actually asked Amanda the apprentice to ask my mother if she wanted to see the baby being born. I had been pretty adamant that I didn't want her to witness me birth my child but in that moment I wanted to share the experience, it was so powerful and I wanted her there. I probably would have invited the whole neighborhood at that point. My friend arrived and I actually stopped in the middle of labor and told her I wanted a picture with my mom and husband and me. So we all grouped together, me in the birth pool and my husband and mother on the side and took a group picture. It was really quite surreal. During that time I started to cry happy tears and said , “I love everyone in this room. I couldn't do this without all of you.”

My mom stroked my hair and my husband was just calmly holding a cold washcloth on my neck and I over the next 30 minutes pushed my baby out. I actually felt between my legs the entire time checking for her progress, everyone was encouraging me and I knew that I was almost done. Even my husband who had originally been grossed out by waterbirth and crowning was excited and telling me that he could see the baby. I heard Diane tell Amanda that I had wanted to catch my own baby and that she thought I would be able to do it. Finally after 30 minutes the baby was nearly out, I felt a ring of fire and my skin give way but it wasn't terrible like I had expected. And as that happened my baby's head came out and a few minutes later I felt pushy again and her shoulders and body wiggled out. I reached down and raised her out of the water onto my chest. I felt the flood of hormones and happiness that mother nature gives you. It was honestly the most incredible experience of my life and I am so happy that I was able to labor at home supported by people who loved and cared about me.


E, wife to my rock, S 2009
Mama to DD 1/13
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Old 01-21-2013, 04:59 PM   #2
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Yay! Congratulations!
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:35 PM   #3
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Re: First time mom's home waterbirth

Congrats!! Great job!
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:54 PM   #4
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Re: First time mom's home waterbirth

Such a great birth story! Congrats to you
Just in case.
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Old 01-21-2013, 06:59 PM   #5
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Re: First time mom's home waterbirth

Wow, what an awesome homebirth story.

Congratulations, mama! You did great!
Emily + Alex
+ E (8), E (7), M (5), and our precious rainbow baby, Aria, arrived 5/13/14!
Read my blog!
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:45 PM   #6
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Way to go mamma
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Old 01-21-2013, 08:21 PM   #7
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Re: First time mom's home waterbirth

Congratulations mama!
Jesus loving, SAHM married to the man of my dreams since 11/10, mama to dear son born 07/11, dear son born 02/13 (always missing my baby boy of 20 weeks 12/09). Expecting a new little one 12/14.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:47 PM   #8
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:03 PM   #9
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Re: First time mom's home waterbirth

Happiness comes from within
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Old 02-15-2013, 08:07 PM   #10
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Re: First time mom's home waterbirth

Wonderful story mama! This baby will be my first homebirth, I love reading great stories like this one
A crunchy wife to B and momma of identical twin girls G & E , our rainbow
baby C born at home April 2013 and R forever in my heart.
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