I had an evening of irregular but not painful contractions on May 5. I wondered if this meant I was close to labor. The next evening, I had a few more contractions, some painful, but nothing regular and they stopped after a little while. I was only 38.5 weeks and knew it was still early, though I'd gone into labor at 39w2d with Joey and knew second babies could come earlier.
On Mothers' Day, May 9, I woke about 7 a.m. because I was having some strong contractions. I started timing them - they were about 5 minutes apart and lasting nearly a minute each. After about half an hour, I texted my doula, Robin, to let her know what the situation was. She called me back shortly and I said I was going to shower and eat breakfast and see what happened.
I continued contracting regularly (every 5 minutes or so) during both these activities. Robin suggested I take a walk and continue to watch what was happening. She told me she'd come whenever I wanted her there but John (my husband) was concerned we were getting ahead of ourselves and I didn't feel like I really needed her yet so our family took a walk together. Joey (my 3.5 year old son) switched back and forth between stroller and walking.
I'd been thinking I might see a movie that evening, and made a joke that Lilianne knew that and had therefore decided to come today because of my plan - and I said, "but Lili, I'd rather meet you if it's today you're coming!" John and I had also planned on lunch or dinner out for Mothers' Day but that didn't end up happening. =)
After our walk, I talked to Robin again. My contractions were now about 2 minutes apart but only about 30-45 seconds long each, sometimes close to a minute each. We decided to walk more. My contractions got a little more intense but the length (30-45 seconds) continued. Robin offered to come over and I accepted. I ate a peanut butter sandwich for lunch then took a walk with Robin.
I'd been in touch with my midwife, who seemed concerned about my baby's position and that the contractions may not be very productive if she wasn't pressing on my cervix (based on the duration and frequency of the contractions, as described by me). This freaked me out because Joey had been posterior and I'd had a painful, difficult labor with him that ultimately ended in c-section. My midwife suggested I be on my bed with my butt in the air and head down for half an hour then do an hour of cat/cow (arching then dropping my back on all fours). After this, I could get in the labor tub.
After the 90 minutes doing what I was supposed to on hands and knees, I really enjoyed some time in the labor tub. I ate an orange Popsicle and still had the 2 minutes apart "short" contractions. Robin suggested I try something else, so I moved to the toilet (sitting backwards with a pillow on the back to lean on). I was starting to get tired and Robin observed the contractions were getting harder for me to deal with. She called my midwife, who suggested a position for me to rest in bed, and said she (my midwife) would come to check on me in a little while.
Around this time, John told Robin she could go home for a while with her family if she wanted, because he wasn't sure my labor was going to go forward any time soon (recalling the marathon labor with Joey). Robin thought she'd seen a difference in me though, and didn't want to leave.
I rested but was feeling discouraged. I was very afraid that my contractions were just painful and not actually doing anything because their timing pattern was still not what it "should be". (Probably what John had been thinking, too). I started to wonder why I was bothering and feeling pain for no purpose and maybe I should just go to the hospital and get it over with especially since I was now in so much more pain. I was yelling at John and Robin that they just didn't understand and I was really done. Then I threw up and it occurred to me I might be in transition.
So I told John and Robin that if I were NOT in transition that I definitely gave up!
I think about this time Joey went to bed.
Then suddenly my midwife was there. This was about 9 p.m. She was a calm and soothing, gentle presence and allowed me several painful contractions before checking my cervix. She told me (and she seemed slightly surprised to note) that I was "nearly there" and my bag of waters was bulging. She thought that if she broke it I could likely get to pushing very quickly but warned me that might make it even more intense. I said I couldn't handle that so she suggested a position change.
I moved back to the toilet backwards. My midwife told me if I felt like pushing with contractions, I could. I tried that as well as yelling - I had to keep being reminded to keep my tone low instead of screaming. With a lot of my bearing down, my water broke into the toilet. Shortly after, my midwife suggested I move again. Robin suggested the tub but it was downstairs. Contracting as frequently as I was, I didn't think I could make it down the stairs. The bed was closest, so that's where I went (with a few contractions on the way).
I started by laying on my side and pushed with each contraction. I was feeling discouraged again and in a lot of pain and said I just wanted to go to the hospital. My midwife reminded me that would involve moving, so I said nevermind!
My midwife checked where the baby was and found her very close but behind my pubic bone. She suggested I try pushing on my back since that often could get a baby past a pubic bone, so I did move to my back.
Lili was getting closer. My midwife asked if I'd like to reach down and touch her, and for some reason I didn't want to. I think even the thought of very much movement seemed more painful. The student midwife kept checking my baby's heartbeat and I kept yelling "no!!!!" every time - I think the touch of the Doppler either created a contraction or they were so close together I associated the two and did not want more! I'd been yelling "no!!" through many contractions and Robin reminded me to say something positive like "open" instead.
Eventually, my baby was crowning. My midwife cautioned me to take things slowly, and a warm oiled washcloth was applied. It took so long though and I was becoming impatient. I sometimes pushed between contractions towards the end because it hurt so much and I wanted the baby OUT! I was still yelling with every contraction. Shockingly, Joey didn't wake from all my yelling!
Finally, finally, my baby's head was out! Her body came after another couple contractions and she was immediately placed on my chest. I was shocked and in disbelief that she was here and I had done this, really, actually, myself, pushed her out, at home. It was 11:40 p.m. and I'd pushed for less than 2 hours.
Her cord pulsed for a long time! When it finally stopped, John cut it, and the placenta came without my even having to push. Soon, Lili was nursing and someone went to get diapers or fresh blankets out of Joey's room, and THEN he woke up. He was up until about 3 a.m. when the midwife and her students left! It's too exciting to sleep when you have a new little sister =)
I'd had a second degree tear, and my midwife carefully and gently repaired it after Lili was done nursing.
Lilianne Madeleine weighed 8lb 13oz and is 21" long. She was born at 39 weeks 1 day, on Mothers' Day, May 9, 2010. Her birth was a home VBAC (HBAC) and I am so happy and proud I was able to accomplish this!
After, John told me he thought every birth (except high risk ones) should be a homebirth!