I didn’t think it would take me this long to write about our journey of labor in bring Logan into the world. I really envisioned myself being so jazzed to write about it that I’d type it up that same night so I’d remember every detail… like I would forget something. I didn’t anticipate not even being able to put into words the emotions that it brings about in me, and this is my fourth baby! Logan’s birth was special in so many ways it’s impossible to put to words the way it made me feel. But here it goes..
I woke up Friday morning (9/9/2011) around 4am to make my usual trip to the bathroom. I started having really strong contractions but at 41+weeks, it wasn’t exactly something new. I shrugged it off and went back to bed to try and sleep through the contractions. I slept fairly well off and on and woke up when my second oldest came in. She was parading around in my clothes and going through my handbags like usual. I took some clothes out and started to hear the youngest crying from her crib so I rushed to get dressed.
As I went to put my pants on I felt and heard a *pop*. Thinking it was just my hip (which was prone to being noisy) I continued getting dressed and as soon as I stood I felt a stream of warm water down my legs and make a puddle on the floor. My first thought was..”My WORD! After 4 pregnancies I’m just NOW starting to have incontinence..” and I reached down and touched the liquid and it definitely wasn’t me peeing myself…my water had broken for SURE. I changed my pants again and went and got Lola from her crib and the three of us went downstairs to call my husband. I had one strong contraction when I got to the bottom of the stairs, and I remember feeling so excited. Finally!
I had to charge my cell phone for a few minutes before being able to call anyone. Then called my husband and told him to finish up at school, grab some groceries, and come home. Next, I called my mom to let her know that at some point this weekend she would need to take the kids. We were excited because her birthday was the next day and we hoped that maybe her and the baby would share that special day. Last, I called my midwife. She shared our excitement and asked if the fluid was clear (it was) and if I were contracting yet (I wasn’t). We agreed I should carry on with my day, take my temp every 4 hours, relax, and carry on with my day.
Friday came and went and I had irregular contractions and continued to leak small amounts of fluid. Saturday morning our midwife arrived to listen to the baby and make sure the heart rate wasn’t elevated (the first sign of infection in the baby in utero), and there wasn’t. We decided checking me internally would be ill advised (no foreign bacteria, thank you) and everything looked/sounded good.
I was contracting, but it wasn’t long, strong, or close together. So we talked about what kind of plan we could all agree on. We decided that for that day, I would try to bring on stronger contractions using nipple stimulation. If that didn’t work, then Sunday we would try to bring them on with Castor Oil, if THAT didn’t work, then Monday we would use Blue/Black Cohosh. and if that didn’t work, we would consult with the ‘backup’ doctor.
Well, Saturday came and went and my contractions were much stronger, but I could still move through them. So on Sunday (9/11/2011) my amazing parents took the kids and Rob and I decided it was best to try the castor oil. We also monitored my temperature and the baby’s heart rate every few hours and both me and the baby were fine as could be. The protocol for CO is to take 2oz, followed by a long hot shower. Then an hour later take 1oz followed by another hot shower, and after another hour, repeat for the last time. 3-5 hours after the last dose, contractions should be building or established.
After the third dose my contractions were every 5 minutes and fairly strong. We went to my parents to see the kids one last time and had a bite to eat then came home and went for a long walk. After the walk my contractions were 3 minutes apart and I had to breathe them out so we decided to call our midwife. She came over straight away while Rob worked setting up the birth pool and all our supplies. I remember how loving I felt toward him, seeing him setting everything up to welcome the baby.
Our midwife arrived sometime that evening (I stopped looking at the clock around that time) and she examined me. It was around 11:30pm or so and I was 3cm, baby was engaged but relatively high and we were so excited I could hardly contain myself. we walked around more and I labored upstairs for a while. I seemed to crave solitude and wanted to be with my thoughts.
At 3:30am I started to get a bit tired and my contractions were strong. I requested to be examined and we found I was at 5cm, baby was very low and easy to touch! I was elated. I usually enter transition at 6cm and welcome the baby within the hour after that, so we expected this to be similar. Logan had other plans. I stayed upstairs with Rob and I slept between contractions while our midwife monitored the baby off and on.
Around 9am Monday morning (9/12/2011) I couldn’t lay down through them anymore. I got up and got breakfast and had a shower and then woke Rob up to rub my back through contractions. Around 11am I requested an exam and I was 6cm and could be stretched much further. Something was different this time though, as our midwife could feel a bulge of membranes left to the side of baby’s head!
Bodies are amazing, aren’t they? So far my labor had not been intense, and my contractions never really established a pattern or steadfast rhythm, and the reason as to why would surprise everyone, even me! Bodies are incredible though, and designed so perfectly. Rob and I KNEW, we just knew, that my body knew what it was doing and was moving in sync with our little bitty baby.
When our midwife told us about the membranes I was breathing through the exam in a squat position and laughed and asked if she could break it for us. She laughed too and said she sure could and Rob and I both joked that there was no way we were turning back now.
My water was released the rest of the way and I have to tell you, I have never had that much fluid come out of me. Rob and I attempted to go for a walk and didn’t even get out of the yard before my legs, dress, and shoes were totally soaked. My contractions were coming on much stronger now (still no pattern and about 5-10 min apart) so we turned back and I told Rob he needed to call our photographer (Bridget Reed) and birth support (Emily) and I had to get in the shower. I breathed deeply through the contractions in the shower and let the hot water hit my low back for quite some time. I got out, cleaned up, got dressed and we went for a walk. Shortly after, Bridget and Emily arrived and I knew then that it wouldn’t be long now, that sometime in the next 24 hours i’d be holding our sweet baby.
The rest of the day was a whirlwind. I got to relax in the pool with Rob, Emily, and our midwives (the other midwife had arrived at some point) helping me through the contractions. I remember feeling so happy and we laughed a lot. Even through contractions. I never remember WANTING to laugh through my other labors, but this one, it seemed to natural. The day pressed on and I chose to lay down in the ‘running man’ position in bed for a while to try and encourage baby down more.
My mom stopped by and it was so good to see her. It felt so nice to have her there I thought I would start sobbing when she prayed with me and encouraged labor to progress. With her there I requested to be examined for the 3rd time and I was found to be 7cm. We discovered then that the baby’s head was cocked and the little baby face was posterior and the facial featured (nose, lips, etc) were caught up on my pubic bone.
We spent the next several hours laboring jovially and trying different techniques to get the baby to move off of my pelvic bone and get its head straightened out. Around 7pm I went back upstairs to lay down. Suddenly I was exhausted and fell into a deep, short sleep. Sometime around 9 or 9:30pm Rob came up to tell me our amazing chiropractor (Brit) was here (yes, on a house call!) to adjust me and check my round ligaments.
I used the bathroom and contractions immediately started again. She adjusted me and used our Moby wrap to do a rebozo technique on me and baby to encourage baby to move it’s head into the proper position and progress naturally. Having her there helped more than I can even say. Chiropractic care can’t be under estimated! It was her expert techniques that released my round ligaments and allowed the baby to move off of my pubic bone and finally start the last leg of our journey.
We visited for a bit and I remember going to use the bathroom again and had lots of bloody show (I had yet to have ANY). My contractions were about 10 minutes apart but the intensity of the pressure was building and I had to vocalize through them. I requested to be examined internally and was still at a 7 but could be stretched to an 8 on one side and a 9 on the other. 9cm?! I remember thanking God and just repeating ‘Thank you, God!” while I squatted between Robs legs for the exam.
At Midnight, I could tell our midwives were getting on edge that my contractions were so spacey (about 10-20 minutes apart) even though they were clearly increasing in strength. After all, that is generally how labor goes, and at almost 9cm, generally speaking, contractions should be closer than they were to be effective. They encouraged me to take one final single dose of castor oil and a hot shower. Even though I felt in my heart I didn’t need it, Rob and I decided I would take it anyway. After all, they were our guardians of safety and we trusted them and their opinions completely.
Contractions definitely picked up and spaced out to 20 minutes apart. I started to crave solitude and around 2am went up to our bedroom, turned the lights out, and sat on my birthing ball, vocalizing through each contraction. Rob told Emily and Bridget to go home and get rest and he would call them as soon as I was complete and ready to push. Soon after, I called for Rob to come upstairs and help me through and begged him not to leave my side. He ran down stairs, switched the laundry, and came back up. I slept for 15 minutes, then would have a 4 minute contraction so powerful I could feel the baby gearing up to make an appearance. I would talk to her and tell her I loved her and wanted to hold her and meet her and couldn’t wait to kiss her face.
Suddenly I was ravenous and sat in bed and ate almost an entire bag of the worst possible thing…Doritos. What in the world?! I ate the chips and Rob and I would sleep in between contractions and jump out of bed at the first twinge and he would talk to me lovingly. I told him I couldn’t do it and he would lift me up and assure me that I could, that I was strong and powerful and no one else could have made this such a special experience.
I told him my body was failing me and would cry and he would tell me my body was beautiful and made for this and reminded me that my body and our baby were moving perfectly in sync. Reminded me that I was entering Transition and some bodys space their contractions out or even STOP them. Our midwife appeared (I think I called out for her?) and she told me I was one of the lucky ones, that my body was amazing and it was giving me a nice long break during these contractions and that my baby and body were working in sync.
I asked to be helped downstairs and into the pool. I would talk and joke between contractions and we would reminisce about the other kids births and vocalize during contractions, with everyone reassuring me that I COULD DO THIS. I asked every woman if their labor was this intense at the end and they all assured me its ALWAYS intense at the end. Rob called Emily and Bridget to come back and I climbed into the pool and started to feel like pushing so our midwives said to go right ahead. They monitored the baby before, during, and after a contraction and she was doing perfectly.
I gave a few pushes and I could feel the baby move when I did. Then the worst thing happened….of course I would poop in the pool! Rob and I got out while the pool was drained, cleaned, and refilled. During that time Rob and I requested an exam and found I was 8cm in the back, 9cm on one side, and 10cm on the other. I asked if I could push past it and they didn’t think so. So we went upstairs to work through contractions with just Rob and I (and sometimes our midwives when I would call out for them) and I texted off and on with my sister.
After a few contractions I knew I was complete and I could feel the baby moving down little by little. Something inside me told me not to push with them yet. Our midwife encouraged me to listen to my body and when the undeniable urge to bear down came, to go with that, and trust my instincts. My contractions were still 20 minutes apart.
Emily and Bridget both snuck back in at some point. I remember watching the sunrise from my bedroom window, looking over Rob’s shoulder and calling out to our baby to come down. I went back down when the pool was ready and slept over the side of the pool between contractions and rode them like waves. I asked everyone for encouragement and would cry out that I was doubting myself when I vocalized through contractions. I’d talk some more to the baby and soon enough, I started feeling the undeniable urge to push. my first baby, I had an epidural in a hospital and it took 2 HOURS to push him out, my second and third, I had pit and no epidural in the hospital and pushed them both out in two pushes. I had prayed that for this labor I would have a longer pushing stage, but not 2 hours lol. I wanted to feel this one, not be numb, or have it go lightening fast. I got my wish.
I don’t know how long I pushed that Tuesday morning, but I pushed twice on my hands and knees and then layed back to a reclined floating position and floated and continued pushing. I was so overcome with emotion, and self doubt. I’ve never been so vulnerable in my entire life. Everyone encouraged me and was amazingly supportive. I told my midwife the baby was crowning soon and I hit the side of the birthing pool when I felt the ring of fire as she crowned and I said, “Oh my Lord, the baby is COMING!!!!” and eased her head out.
I remember our midwife saying something as she gently reached down and removed the umbilical cord that was loosely wrapped once around her neck, and then helped guide her anterior shoulder out and the rest of her slipped out as everyone said, reach down and grab your baby!! and I did. I reached down and helped guide her to me and embraced 8lbs 5oz of baby love.
I remarked at how short the cord was (which was why my contractions were spaced out…my body knew it had to give her cord time to stretch as she went down the birth canal) and I got out of the tub to deliver the placenta. I immediately thought, “If I had been in a hospital I would have for sure been talked into getting the Pitocin, and I’m positive the strength of the contractions would have pushed that baby down too fast, pulling on her cord, and separating that placenta before the baby was even out..”. I knew right then and there that all of God’s guidance and mine and Rob’s own intuition that encouraged me to stay home and birth was for that reason.
I was on the moon. I was OVER the moon. There really are no words to describe how it felt when Rob and I saw her for the first time. Then we looked between her legs and saw that it was a SHE! We sobbed together. It was a journey for sure.