This pregnancy was much different from the previous ones from the start. I had a feeling from the very beginning that this baby would come very fast. One night I was talking with John and told him my concerns that we would be delivering on the side of the highway and I couldn’t shake the feeling. I told him that I had prayed about it and thought we should give some thought to the midwife/home birth route. John’s response was, “Yes, let’s do it!” I knew then that this was God’s path for us to follow.
So, when I was four months pregnant we switched from the OB/GYN we were seeing 45 minutes away to a CNM, a midwife, who lived two blocks down on the same street as us. She came highly recommended and we felt comfortable from the start with her. I had a consult at 16 weeks with her and never went back to the OB. From that point on, my appointments were with her. We walked down to each appointment and the kids and John were always included. Each appointment lasted 45 minutes to an hour. The pregnancy was stress free and I have never felt more informed about myself, my baby, or the birthing process. Our bodies are incredible! God has uniquely made us, women, to birth and breastfeed.
On Saturday night we went to dinner with my family to celebrate my Granny and Aunt’s birthdays. My grandma had come into town and that night told Moses to, “Move it along, your Granny is in town.” I guess he listened. I didn’t feel any different that evening; I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions since about 33 weeks, so those were “normal” for me that night. I’m still not sure if I lost my mucous plug and just didn’t have any bloody show. We came home from dinner and I told John that the only “labor inducer” we hadn’t tried yet was dancing. So we put on our Kinect game, Just Dance 3, and did about five or six songs. I was tired, showered, and went to bed. Penny came to our bed like she does most nights around 11 or 12:00am – all was normal.
At about 3:00am I woke up feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom, John had diarrhea the day before and we had eaten at Cracker Barrel, so I assumed it was that bothering my stomach. Nothing happened so I just lay down and went back to sleep. At 3:20am I woke up to a strong cramping and woke up John saying I think I might have had a contraction. He dozed back off to sleep. At 3:24am I woke him up again saying that I was going to relax in the tub to see if they were “poop cramps” or real contractions.
He followed me, with my phone to time contractions. I had another one, but they weren’t anything I couldn’t breathe through. John still had tummy troubles so he left to use the other bathroom. By the time he got back I was moaning through the contractions. They were about three minutes apart and lasting about a minute or so. I looked at him and said, “Call the Midwife! Call Rachel NOW!” Rachel, my sister, was lined up to watch the kids.
He made a 12 second gurgled phone call to her and she raced over in a record breaking 2 minutes; forgot her shoes and everything! She came in, rocked Penny and put her back to bed, and the kids stayed asleep through the whole thing even with us in the hallway in front of their rooms! God is good!!! (Later on they told me that they heard me scream, but just went back to sleep. Penny blamed it on a spider and that I was scared of the spider.)
John called the midwife at 4:00am. She was staying with her sister about 15-20 minutes away and was on the way, she told John to call her if anything changed. The contractions got more intense, but I didn’t want to get out of the tub, I also didn’t want the sound of the water to stop. The sound of the water was super soothing, so John unplugged the drain and we just let it run. I’m pretty sure that I started labor and went straight into the transition phase; I was almost immediately nauseous and shaking after the first few contractions. I started to feel like I needed to push and moved to my hands and knees.
John gave the phone to my sister so he could support me. He was pouring water on my back and neck as I was bent over. My sister called the midwife again at 4:14am and the urge to push was overwhelming, so I listened to my body. I pushed once and my water broke. The pain became super intense and I remember telling John the infamous line, “I can’t do this!!” We had talked beforehand about word affirmations, so he encouraged me by speaking, “No, Chula, you can! You were made to do this! This is our child! Breathe!” My sister ran to our room to get our birth kit.
Those words of encouragement from John were just what I needed, I sat up on my knees, grabbed John’s hand, the soap holder, and pushed hard. I let out a roar and his head came out. John put his hand down to feel for the head and told me to sit up higher so that the head wouldn’t hit the bottom of the tub, so I put one leg up and was kneeling. I remembered the worksheet we had been given said that if in the water, to deliver the head in one push and deliver the shoulders in the next. So with the next contraction I pushed with all my might and Moses was born at 4:18am. We have this clocked because my sister called the midwife again when he emerged. Moses did have the cord around his neck once so John took it off and handed him to me. He got the bulb syringe from the birth kit and suctioned his nose and mouth. I just held him with towels until the midwife got there about 5 minutes later.
We had planned for a home birth and for John to catch the baby, but with the midwife’s guidance! We also planned to let the cord stop pulsating before cutting, so that worked out well too. It stopped pulsating about 20 minutes after birth. John cut the cord and I started cramping again, so I delivered the placenta soon afterwards. This part all took place with the midwife there, thank goodness.
Everyone checked out fine; I had no tearing. The midwife cleaned everything up for us while everyone bonded together. At about 5:30am we called my mom who had my grandma staying with her. They were in shock and raced over. Moses latched on perfectly in the tub while we were waiting for the midwife and hasn’t had a problem nursing. He actually unlatches himself if he’s improperly latched and corrects it – such a smart boy. He weighed in at 7 lbs 4 oz and was 20 inches long. On Tuesday at our two day check he weighed 7lbs; it’s typical for newborns to lose up to ten percent of their body weight in the first week after birth. Today at his first pediatric visit he weighed 7 lbs 5 oz. So he’s back to birth weight plus an ounce; an excellent eater! He is a very calm and content baby.
Penelope was the first one up that morning meeting her brother and has been absolutely in love with him since. Every time she sees him she needs to love on him and always says, “Awe, he’s just so cute!” Livi was next and wasn’t sure what to think at first; the looks on her face were quite hilarious, but she has warmed up to him quickly and loves him so much. She often says, “That’s mine,” while pointing at the baby and always asks, “Where baybee?” when entering the room, and then gives TONS of kisses. Oscar is soooooo happy to finally have a brother. He is so good and helpful and he loves to hold Moses. I can tell they are gonna have lots of fun together. John the Superdad took two weeks off from work to take care of us. We are so incredibly blessed and are in amazement of God’s handy work once again.
Side Note: I/We have been researching birth and breastfeeding to one degree or another since I had Oscar. I had a not-so-great experience with his birth in a Naval Hospital and knew that couldn’t be how it was suppose to go. I researched ahead of time the “automatic” Pitocin shot that they give women in the hospital after birth. I have always had HORRIBLE after pains, needing to take Tylenol-3 to control them, even with my first. After researching it was pretty clear, Pitocin was the culprit of the intensity of the pain.
Yes, I know after pains are very painful, but these were curled up in a ball, horrible pains previously. So the midwife and I discussed before to skip the Pitocin shot as long as I wasn’t excessively bleeding and everything looked normal. Thankfully it did and I’ve been able to control the pain with Motrin and Tylenol. Today is day four and I’m hardly having any cramping at all. I was taking Tylenol-3 for a good week with my other pregnancies.
There is so much more information out there about the unnecessary things that happen in hospitals to mother and baby. It’s really sad actually. The experience is so blissful and it is being stolen from women in this country every day. Trust your bodies, ladies! I highly recommend the book, “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth” and some good documentaries to see are, “The Business of Being Born” and “Pregnant in America”. If you have Netflix, you can watch both of these on instant streaming. These are starting points that will have you in amazement!