24 Hours of Labor Went So Fast: A Natural Hospital Birth at 36.5 Weeks

by Svea Boyda-Vikander on February 20, 2013

Danni M. shares this story, the birth of her son at 36.5 weeks.

“I have always known that I wanted to do a home birth without meds or any intervention at all. All my friends thought I was crazy for wanting this. Up until I met my next door neighbor, Charm, I thought that I would have to have a hospital birth. I didn’t know how to find midwives or if Washington even had midwives. She opened that door for me. I started researching before I even got pregnant. When I finally did get pregnant, the next step was convincing my husband that it was safe. We had a few arguments over this. He was dead set against home birth. Finally, we agreed that I would meet with doctors if he would meet with midwives. We never did interview doctors. He went with me to interview our first midwife and left completely sold on the idea of a safe home birth provided I was low risk throughout my pregnancy. We finally found our midwife and started making preparations.

My entire pregnancy was low risk. My only complaints were inflamed sinuses, insomnia, and PUPPPs. I was also borderline for Gestational Diabetes. On Sunday April 22, I was 36.5 weeks pregnant and having trouble sleeping. I finally gave up and moved to the couch so at least my husband could sleep. All I was doing was tossing and turning. I was having Braxton Hicks contractions – I would have one ever hour or two, and did not think anything of it. At 8:20ish I got up to use the restroom, went back to the couch and fell asleep for another 20 minutes. As I adjusted my position on the couch I felt a trickle. All I could think was, “What the hell, I just used the bathroom, I can’t need to go again!” As I got off the couch I thought I was losing my bladder. When I finally managed to stand up, it all just let loose.

I knew then that my water must have broken. I called out to my husband and grabbed my phone to call my midwife, Ginger, thinking, “Damn it, I only had four more days left ’til I was 37 weeks and could birth at home.” I told my husband that I thought my water had just broken. He told me to quit standing there and go to the bathroom. I replied that until it stopped I couldn’t move. I felt stuck standing there until it was done. My midwife answered her phone and I told her what was going on. She was at an appointment and asked if I thought I could wait for her to get there at 10:30. I told her of course, that I didn’t want to rush to the hospital if I didn’t need to. At that point I was still not 100% sure that it was really my water that had broken… even though I knew it was.

I called Charm and had her come over. I was sitting in my computer chair relaxing while my husband rushed around packing a hospital bag (the bag we never packed because we were having a home birth). I stood up and more water gushed out. Seriously, it was like the movies the way my water kept coming out every time I stood up. I called my sister, Ashley. I told her that I needed her to come up and be here with me. She lives an hour away but she made it in 30 minutes, beating even the midwife to my home.

Ginger showed up and we piled into our cars and drove the two minutes to the hospital. I was taken up to L&D to be examined. With Charm, Ashley, my husband, and Ginger in the room with me, I met my doctor and a nurse who would be delivering my baby. I had to lay back on the bed to get checked. The doctor was not nice about it. He took three fingers and rammed them up inside me. I screamed at him to stop. His only saving grace was that he stopped when I asked. I yelled at him to take it slower, that it really hurt and I was really sensitive down there. He was not happy about it and told me that it does hurt and he needed to check me.

But he did go slower and that made it more manageable. I was one centimeter dilated and 80% effaced and not contracting at all. They told me I would have to have Pitocin to get my contractions to start. Since I still wanted to do an all natural birth the nurse said we would do a ‘slow pit’ so that we could get my contractions to come regularly and then ease off the medication. I looked at Ginger and she said she thought it would be best, so I agreed.

belly at hospital

Before moving me to my room, Ginger got called to another birth. I had a good support net with me so when she left she had me promise to call her with updates as they happened. Charm would be the one who would update her because I was way too busy to think about it. I labored for almost 24 hours from the time my water broke to the time our baby was born. The labor in itself was not bad at all and time passed quickly. I had a few visitors come and go and I was able to eat solid foods until I couldn’t talk through my contractions anymore. I labored how I wanted to: in the tub for a little bit, on the birthing ball, hanging around my husband’s neck, on the toilet, on all fours, on my sides and eventually on my back.

bathtub

birthing ball, husband

husband smooch

My little man gave the nurses a run for their money. He kept knocking the heart monitor off. To the point where the delivery doctor came in and grabbed my tummy, lifted it up and shoved the heart monitor onto it, all while yelling at the nurse about not being able to find the heart beat. A few weeks prior, I had a stretch mark rupture and bruised really badly in the same spot the doctor grabbed me. I was in a lot of pain because of his actions. He left with the nurse for a moment, and when she came back in it was without him. I would later find out that she kicked him out of my room until they absolutely needed him. Needless to say, I was relieved he was gone. Contracting while being manhandled was not fun at all.

Soon after, I got the urge to push.

doula

My poor husband held me upright for over an hour. Finally my birth team convinced me to move to the bed and get on all fours. I labored like that for another hour before they suggested that I lay on my side. At first I did not want to move but I knew that I needed to because my knees were hurting so badly. When I finally got on my side, baby boy finally started to play peek-a-boo. At that point I got really hungry and my energy dropped. The nurse had Charm go get a French Cherry Icy for me to sip on. It did the trick; it had just enough sugar in it to give me a small burst of energy. Half an hour later, everyone helped me to the other side because I had stalled out. Same thing would happen on this side.

But I was crowning enough for the nurse to call for the doctor. After twenty more minutes of pushing, he had me get on my back. I pushed like that for what seemed forever. It was the one position I did not want to be in. I started losing energy again, so the doctor suggested that we try the vacuum. I looked at my husband, sister, and Charm to see what they thought. They all said they thought it was for the best. I agreed. I felt the doctor slip the vacuum onto my baby’s head and a few seconds later I was pushing again. I got his head half way out before losing the urge to push. Thankfully another urge quickly came. It only took two more pushes for baby boy to come all the way out.

Final two pushes

Newborn newborn

It was the worst burning sensation I have ever felt. I would later find out that our son had gotten stuck and torn me from the inside out. ‘Ring of fire’ is right. Once they finished clearing his pathway, I heard him crying they placed him on my chest. All I could say was, “My baby, my baby, my baby.” Then I looked at my husband and told him it was our baby. The doctor waited just long enough for the cord to finish pulsing before cutting it. He didn’t let my husband cut it. He would later claim that it was because he needed to get the placenta out as fast as possible so he could sew me up.

A nurse let my husband finish cutting the cord down after they clamped it off.

Newborn family

Once I was all sewn up, they pushed on my stomach to make my uterus harden back up. It was really uncomfortable. After they were done, I was able to try to breast feed. My milk had yet to come in so they said I had to supplement with formula. His blood sugar was low, so it was either that or they would put him in the NICU. I did not want to be separated from him. I quickly agreed to feed him that way.

The next few days were a complete blur. I was so relieved when I finally got to leave the hospital for the comfort of my own home. This may have not been the birth I thought I would have, but it was the birth I wanted. I brought our son into this world completely naturally. I could not be happier that I was able to do this, not just for me but for my son too.

newborn kaileb

Kaileb Connor was born at 8:16am on April 23, 2012 weighing in at 8lbs 12oz, 21 inches long. He is the love of our lives.”

Danni sent us an update – here she is with her lovely little one.

update

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