At 39 weeks and 2 days (39 and 2 by my ultrasound, I kept telling them I was overdue and no one believed me that my due date was Feb 28th!) I had called my midwife Sunday, March 3rd to ask her to meet me at the hospital. I had come down with a nasty stomach bug and wanted her to give me gravol. My husband and I met her over there, did heart rate, blood pressure, etc. and a cervical check. Being this was my sixth baby and having a history of early previous births, we wanted to make sure the vomiting wasn’t changing my cervix. I was still at 3 centimeters as I had been for weeks, even after a membrane sweeping which ended up giving me 24 hours of back labor and no baby! We went home. She advised me not to be surprised that if and when my stomach flu stopped I’d likely go into labor. I complained and dry heaved all night with what I assumed was more of the stomach flu so I had next to no sleep and I kept my poor husband up whining about it all night.
I got up the next morning, Monday, March 4th after sleeping a few minutes here a few minutes there with cramps in my stomach, which I’m assuming is still the stomach bug. Around 7AM, I get my 2 oldest kids off to school with the help of my lovely mom and tried to relax. I was feeling slight aches and cramps and tried to disregard them because of the stomach flu. By 9AM I told my mom “I think something isn’t right” and it hit me like a ton of bricks. She called my midwife and told her “I think Charlene is in labor”. She could hear me moaning in the background and started to come to meet us. My last birth, which was a homebirth, was only 4 hours from my first contraction to the time she was born.
Through all of this my poor husband was scared to death but very supportive of a homebirth. All he could imagine was blood and guts. He stumbled around making last minute preparations, tidying up, chatting and getting a quick bite to eat. Checking on me making sure I was ok, he was so excited to finally meet the little person he had been talking to, singing to and loving for the past 9 months!
At 9:30 my midwife arrived and decided she better call her attending midwife. She informed me that there is a student midwife who is supposed to be coming in today and was wondering if she could come. After checking with my husband we agreed it would be fine. I was all for letting her get some more experience (we didn’t find out until after that we were her first homebirth!). They arrive around 10:00 or so, greetings were had and they briefed each other about me, my previous births, etc.. My husband and I went outside to get some air and make phone calls to our photographer and close friends to let them know what was going on. My poor husband couldn’t make his phone work he was so nervous.
My contractions started off at about 3 minutes apart and were manageable, painful but I could cope. We sat in my living room in the middle of my floor folding baby clothes that I was going to give to my midwife to bring to a family who needed it. This was around 11:00AM, laughing, joking, chatting and having a wonderful time. The contractions were spacing out and lessening in pain so I started to apologize and tell my midwifes I was sorry, I don’t think today is “the day”. Nonetheless, she said they would stick around just in case (she knew, they all knew but I was in denial).
After my contractions became a little more painful around 12:00PM or so she suggested I go lay down in my room and relax which I reluctantly did because I felt great in between them. We were sitting in my room, chatting, laughing and they became a lot more intense and frequent. I looked at my midwife around 12:30PM and said “Today is going to be the day, isn’t it?”. She nodded her head. My mom had just head off to work and said she would be back in an hour or so. After my midwife checked me and felt the baby I had asked her how dialated I was and surprisingly I was 6-7 cm (I was not expecting that at all). I asked her how big do you think she is (just out of curious nature) She said, “oh, about 8lbs 6ozs”. I kind of giggled and said she was crazy (my last was 8 pounds 11 ounces and she guessed 8 10 ounces) and I said I am NOT having another 8lb baby!
My contractions became noticeably stronger so my attending midwife took my 4 year old out to the table and colored, drew pictures, etc.. My neighbor from downstairs popped in and I asked her if she could please take her down to play as we would be soon having the baby and I didn’t want to scare her, so off she went!
I had asked to be checked again at about 1:30PM after laboring and feeling very intense. She really didn’t want to but she did, and I was still at 6-7 with a bag of water (my water has never broken on it’s own). So I looked at her, she looked at me and I nodded… she knew to break the bag. As soon as she broke the bag I had a contraction. They were coming pretty fast and becoming very intense by then and I started feeling “pushy”. After watching me bear down for about 15 minutes she decided to check me and when she did she could feel that I was dialated to 9 ½ centimeters but there was a tiny lip that just wouldn’t melt away. With the next contraction she pushed the lip back. This was at approximately 2:07PM. I remember grabbing her and looking at her so intensely that she was all I could see at the moment. I laid back and looked at my amazing husband who hadn’t left my side for a second and told him his daughter is about to be here. At 2:10PM I heard my front door open and it was my mother walking in. She came back into our room. I looked at my husband and just pushed. At exactly 2:11PM I yelled out “SHE’S COMING, IT’S BURNING!” and at 2:12PM our beautiful daughter Araceli was born, she was very purple and had her cord wrapped around her neck. The plan was for my husband to catch her but our student midwife (being her first homebirth, panicked and grabbed her to unwrap the cord) the cord was not tight but it still frightened her. She was given directly to my husband; the look on his face was udder amazement and awe.
He had held her awkwardly in amazement for a few moments and she was then placed on my chest where the 3 of us just snuggled and cuddled. We laid there for a good 20 minutes until we clamped the cord and my husband cut it. The midwives laid her back on my chest so she could snuggle some more and try to breastfeed (which she did with success)! I then delivered a beautiful placenta that we ooohhh’d and awwwwee’d at (it is NOT as gross as people think!). It was about 3pm and my kiddos were getting home from school and after about an hour with new sibling meetings, nanny meetings, people dropping in the midwives weighed her, checked her over etc. She weighed 8 lbs 6 ozs and was perfect! She was born at 39 weeks 3 days (and was assessed to be over 40 weeks, which means I was right all along.
This was my 2nd homebirth (my husbands first) and my 6th baby! It was AMAZING! It was so calm, relaxed, serene and wonderful! There is nothing like giving birth and laying in your own bed afterwards to bond, snuggle and get to meet your new little one!