Our son, Nathanael Rex was born at home March 19, 2009 at 1:01 am. He weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces, and was 20 inches long. While we were planning a homebirth with a midwife, we ended up with a home birth, with no midwife, as we didn't have time to call the midwife once we understood that labor was really happening!
So, here's the long version of what seemed like a very short labor and birth:
I had some prelabor on the night of the 15 and 16 that I was able to sleep through. On the night of the 17th, I had contractions that were keeping me awake all night - they were about 4 minutes apart, but they were short - 20-30 seconds, they never got closer together, and they weren't too intense. Everything I'd read suggested that this was just more pre-labor. I caught some sleep, and when I got up the morning of the 18th, the contractions really spaced out and were hardly anything to speak of in terms of intensity. I did see some bloody show, so I knew that it was a good indicator, but that real labor could be a some time away. I took a nap for about 1.5 hours, and felt better. I had maybe 4 contraction all morning. They were just as light in the afternoon. Towards evening, The contractions picked up again, but felt the same as the night before - We just watched some TV, and I talked to my mom about 9 pm. I had another contraction or two while talking to my mom. I prayed quite a bit about not wanting to go through another night of prelabor that would keep me up, but not seem to go anywhere. (God answers prayers!)
Jude and I started getting ready for bed about 10 pm, and were in bed by 11. Contractions seemed to pick up a bit, but nothing really bad, frequent, or long - it was just like the previous night.
After lying in bed for about a half hour, I get up to get a hot water bottle, and to get a blanket and go sit in the rocking chair. My legs were shaking a little while I was lying in bed, and I remember thinking that I read about legs shaking during transition (but I couldn't be in transition, because I haven't had much other labor - or so I thought!)
I rocked in the rocker for a while, and it seems to help. It then occurred to me that I could try walking to see if the contractions changed or went away. Nothing seemed to change, but they didn't go away, either. I could still walk through the contractions, so I thought I had a while longer to go. I thought about timing them, but I didn't want to mess around with turning on computers. I sat in the rocker for a few more contractions, but decided in the middle of one to get up and try doing some lunges to see if it would help with the achy back. I remember thinking the contractions might be closer together, but I wasn't too worried about them - they still seemed short, and not as intense as I remember contractions with Elizabeth. I waddled/hobbled across the room to the piano bench, put up my leg and leaned. I felt a gush, and I know I must have had a surprised look on my face. I hadn't had my water break like this with my previous birth, so it was all new to me! I knew it was the real deal now, but I thought I still had at least several hours left before me.
About 12:35, I went in to tell Jude that my water had broken, and that I was thinking about calling the midwife. He was pretty groggy, as he'd been sleeping. While in the bedroom, I had another contraction, and I had to pause in the middle of my sentence to focus on it. He didn't know how I'd been laboring, so he was taking my word that we had some time yet. I went into the living room again to turn on a light and see how wet the floor was - not very much, I guess it mostly got on my clothes. While there, I had another contraction the pretty much doubled me over to leaning on the piano bench, and I remember feeling like this was one of those "double peak" contractions I'd heard about. My legs were shaking pretty badly. I felt like I had to go to the bathroom, so I went in and say down, and called for Jude. He came in and sat on the edge of the tub and held my hand. I could see the concern in his face. I told him I felt like I wasn't coping very well, and I'd like him to be up with me.
The next contraction felt totally different - I felt pressure in my bottom, and I couldn't help myself from pushing. I let out a huge grunt, and Jude said, "That sounds familiar!" I reached down to feel what was going on and said, "There's a baby there!" He said, "Are you sure?" Me - " I think so!" I asked him what time it was - 12:43 am.
He got up and said,"Well, what do I need to get out?" I said something again about calling the midwife, and he said he didn't think we had time, if the baby was right there (she's 45 minutes away). I had another pushing contraction and told him again that yes, there was a baby there.
I continued to sit on the toilet, holding on to the tub with one hand while supporting my perineum with the other. I knew that I didn't want to tear if I could help it, but I think I also needed to have the reality of a baby right there under my hand.
In the midst of me involuntarily pushing and groaning/grunting, Jude was getting out the birth supplies. He said something about having meant to ask me what was what in the supply box so he'd be ready, but it's too late now! He asked about what to do for the bed, and I said to strip the blankets and the sheets off, and to put the clean sheets and the plastic cover on the mattress. 2 more contractions. I feel around, and definitely feel the baby's head. Jude pokes his head into the bathroom, and said "Don't have the baby in the toilet!" He grabs a few towels, and I get off the toilet, and try to figure out the best way to put myself in our very narrow bathroom, so Jude can catch the baby. I get on my hands and knees, lean on the edge of the tub. I grabbed the bathrobe I had left laying on the tub and pull it under me, go give a little bit of a soft place under myself and the baby.
Jude gives me a play by play of what he can see - the top of the head, then eyes and nose. He says the head isn't all the way out, so I give a little push. The next contraction, the body slides out. I look between my legs to see the baby's body and Jude's hands. I catch a glimpse of little boy parts and ask "It's a boy?" "I don't know... Yes!" Jude's holding the baby, I'm on hands and knees, and we're a little stunned about the speed of the event. I tell him to hand the baby up to me so I can change positions, and to get a towel to wrap him in. I ask Jude what time the baby arrived - 1:01 AM. We stayed in the bathroom for a little bit, trying to decide what next to do.
We decided it was high time to give the midwife a call, to check us both out, and make sure everything is doing alright. I hang out in the bathroom cuddling with the baby and getting to know him and introduce him to the good food at Mom's. Jude is getting dressed in something more presentable, and finishing putting sheets on and cleaning up the birth area a little. I move into the bed room, because we're still waiting for the placenta.
The midwife arrived a little after 2 am. It took some time and a little work on the part of the midwife to assist the placenta out, but everything was okay - not much bleeding, and no tears. I felt great, and the baby was great - 7 lbs, 4 oz, 20 inches long, 13.5 inch head. He took to nursing pretty quickly. Elizabeth slept through the whole thing, and woke up to meet her brother as I was in the shower. She was horribly upspet that the midwife got to hold the baby before she did - she kept crying and saying "Hold the baby!!" After the midwife left, Elizabeth and I had a bit to eat while Jude finished picking things up. He joined us all at the table, and suggested that I should call my mom since she'd be leaving for work in just few hours. Jude sent text messages to our siblings, and about 3.5 hours after baby was born, we finally got into bed. I felt pretty wired, but I knew I need to sleep as well as I could.
After the baby was born, I kept thinking and saying how unreal it all felt - how quickly the baby came, Me totally not getting how seriously into labor I was - the shaking legs should have clued me in! We were both happy with how things turned out - we had a much more intimate birth than we expected, since we were anticipating having our mothers and 2 midwives there. We enjoyed spending our first night and morning alone, calling family and friends and getting to know our little boy.
I'm a little sad we don't have pictures much, but I wouldn't trade our experience for anything! It was wonderful!