Birth of Elyas Ali: second birth, second homebirth, OP presentation
Thursday March 1st: Throughout the night I was having contractions. Nothing terribly strong, but stronger than Braxton-Hicks contractions. They were coming often and in a timeable pattern, so I got out of bed around 5:30 am and started timing them. They were coming every two to three minutes, and lasting 30-45 seconds. They weren’t terribly intense, so after timing them for a while I decided to try to go back to sleep, since I’d been up for a while, and didn’t want to go into labor sleep deprived. I figured if it was getting too close, the contractions would keep me up. They didn’t, so I slept about an hour and a half, then got up and paged the midwife, around 7:30am.
The midwives had warned me that labor patterns in second- (or more) time mothers doesn’t always follow the pattern they look for in first time mothers (i.e.: contractions coming every 5 minutes, lasting one minute, for at least an hour). And, it so happened we’d had a snowstorm in the night, and accumulated 4 inches out at our house, so I decided to call the midwife after a little while. So, given the frequency of the contractions, the snow, and the distance they’d need to travel (about an hour in mid-traffic, longer in morning traffic, and add snow to that?) the midwife on call and the student midwife, Molly and Kat, decided to come out and check me. Of course, as the morning wore on, the contractions let up in intensity (they’d done so the previous day, but they were only every 20 minutes).
They arrived at our house around 11am and checked me. I was at a 2-3, and on the Tuesday prior I’d only been dilated a fingertip when they checked me at the appointment. So the contractions were doing something. I didn’t have an intuition that birth was imminent, and given that the contractions were petering out, the midwives decided to return to the city, and would check in with me in the afternoon. I took a nap with Leila and then a long walk in the afternoon. The contractions didn’t increase in intensity, so I called Dr. Molly and told her that I didn’t think things were happening that night.
Friday was more of the same. I went to the chiropractor to get my pelvis aligned one last time, and to attempt to turn the baby, as he was presenting occiput posterior. The chiropractor tried the Webster technique, and I felt some wiggles, but no major babe movement, not in the pelvis, where the head was locked in. Later I continued to feel kicks in the upper left quadrant and front of my belly, so I was pretty sure that baby was still occiput posterior with his back to the right of my spine. Not too surprising that he was preferring that position, since my placenta was attached to the anterior wall of the uterus, just to the right of my belly button.
Saturday, March 3rd, was my official “due date”. Babe was still enjoying the warmth of the womb, real contractions were few and far between. In the afternoon my mom and I went to the mall for a nice long walk, then we rented a campy comedy to try to get things going (Scary Movie 4. It did have it’s funny parts). I started having some contractions, same as Thursday morning, every 3 minutes, lasting 30-45 seconds. I tried nipple stimulation and they got more intense, but not longer. So after the movie I went to bed, hoping the full moon would work it’s magic. When I went to the bathroom before getting in bed, I noticed I was having bloody show. I woke up around 2 am to a strong contraction. They were coming every 10 minutes or so, with less intense contractions in between. I tried for about an hour and half to get back to sleep, or rest between them at least.
At 3:30 am I started having some intestinal distress and my body worked for a while to clear itself out. Leila woke up and cried for me, so I went back to bed and laid with her until she fell back to sleep, but I was too restless to lay in bed between contractions, so I got up and went to the computer to time my contractions. It was about 430 at this point. The contractions were getting stronger and closer together. Some of them I had to breathe through. I was about to go downstairs and eat something when Leila woke again at 500 am and called for me, so I went to get her back to sleep. The contractions got really intense while I was laying down, so I told Ali that I was going to get up and page Dr. Molly again, but that he and Leila should sleep as long as possible.
I went downstairs, and sat on my birth ball, called the answering service and waited for Molly to call me back. The contractions were intense, every 4 -6 minutes, but short, only about 30 seconds. I hated to have her come out too early, because I was still feeling fine between contractions (though I knew it was “it”, but figured it?d be a while); but every time a contraction would hit, I was using more of my coping resources and the thought “call the midwife NOW” would strike me. So I told her the situation: contractions every 4-6, lasting 30 seconds, bloody show all night, and couldn’t talk or walk through the contractions. She said she’d rally the troops (that is, Dr Tracy, the other midwife, and Kat, the student midwife) and head over.
They arrived just before 7 am, and we waited for Leila to wake up so we could go up and check my cervix on the bed. I sat around leaning on to my birth ball when a contraction would hit, and joking and chatting in between them. Leila woke at 7:30 and we went up to check progress. Molly said I was dilated to 8 centimeters! I told her I didn’t believe her, but she insisted it was true, I was at an 8, 100%. So we went back down to the living room where my mom was stoking up a fire. I wanted to lean back on my birth ball for a while longer. Things intensified around 8:15am, I started “om” through my contractions (and Leila would say “Are you singing Mama?”), and my back was really starting to hurt (occiput posterior babies usually cause a lot of back pain). They were coming harder and more frequently. The next hour and half seemed to blur for me. I kept waiting for my water to break: I knew it would eventually, but didn’t know when. The midwives had ruptured it at 9.5cm when I was in labor with Leila.
I really didn’t think things were progressing as quickly as they were. Leila’s birth was so prolonged that I was thinking that the baby would be born sometime in the early afternoon. Much to my shock, my body started pushing around 9:40am. The midwife wanted to check me to make sure I was complete (she’d asked before I started pushing, but I hadn’t been feeling the urge to push, so I thought I’d wait on that – I figured my body would let me know when, and it did). I still had a cervical lip (did with Leila too, I wonder if it was in the same spot), but at this point I couldn’t stop the pushing, so Molly pushed the lip out of the way while I pushed (and yelled at her to “Get out”). My waters still hadn’t broken, and I asked her to break them, but the midwives agreed that they wanted to give the still posterior baby a chance to turn, and that was more likely while the waters were intact.
In fact, Dr. Tracy strongly suggested that I walk the stairs to get the babe to turn. I insisted I was NOT walking the stairs, that I COULDN’T do it; she insisted she’d rather I do it then instead of in an hour when I was exhausted from pushing for that long. I agreed to try changing position from my floor squat/kneeling position, to a standing one. After pushing through a few contractions while standing, I broke the bag of waters with a giant push (almost got Dr Tracy on the head- threaten me with stair walking, will you!). This was right at 10 am. I was determined to push the baby out without walking the stairs.
I sat down on the nursing stool (which, incidentally, Leila was born on), and started really pushing. My back was killing me so bad that I couldn’t really feel the contractions until they were peaking; some of my pushes had to be sans contraction, but I was so ready to push the babe out. Fifteen minutes later, our little boy was born, face-up, with no head molding at all! His little head popped out first, and he blew bubbles while the midwife freed him from the cord around his neck, then he turned to one side and slid out with another push. He was COVERED in vernix – his little back looked like someone had smeared cream cheese down it! He latched on right away and set to nursing.
Leila was in the room for the birth. She didn’t want to watch though, she looked out the window for about the last 5 minutes of pushing. She came over to see baby when he was born though. She’s absolutely in love with “baby brother”. Anyway, she didn’t seem too disturbed by the process, just didn’t want a front row seat for the birth.
I still can’t believe how fast it went! About 5 hours of active labor, 36 minutes of pushing, born 16 minutes after the waters broke. And sunny-side up! I swear, if my next baby comes out with an optimal position, that kid is just going to fall out!
The boy weighed in at 7 lbs, 11 ounces. H’?s about 20.5 inches, still doesn’t want to stretch out for a measurement. And, he’s perfect and healthy! Yay! It took us 5 days to name him, when we agreed (I acquiesced) on Elyas, for Ali’s uncle.