I had been having false starts for about a week. Light contractions every night that went away when I slept, and didn’t start up again until the next night. Saturday I was 40 weeks 1 day. My midwife stripped my membranes after checking me to find I was 2 cm, long and thick, but somehow at a PLUS 2 station (yes, I double checked). The rest of that day I felt nothing but the random Braxton-Hicks and had no spotting or bloody show, and never saw my mucus plug. Around 8pm that night I started timing them and they were about 30 seconds long and I was having about eight an hour. They stayed like that all night.
I slept pretty well, but kept coming up to near-consciousness to count the length of a contraction, then went back to sleep. They were about 40 secs long. My midwife told me that when they were over a minute, we’d be in business. I still wasn’t excited. Finally at 6:30 am I decided to get up. The first contraction I had after standing up lasted 1:08, so I thought, “Hey now! This might be something!” They continued regularly and got stronger if I walked through them, so I did that for a while before texting the midwife. She said to keep her posted.
Fast forward two hours. I spent that time doing last-minute chores around the house and sending our daughter off to my mom’s. Around 8:30 the contractions were getting stronger and I felt like I had to stop, sway, moan, etc., so I laid down with a Hypnobabies track in. The track lasted 45 minutes. I seriously only felt about four contractions during that time, but now I think I was in hypnosis because I kept thinking I was having “false alarms,” or contractions that started but then went away.
I got up to pee, and felt good. I got back to bed and put the earphones back on, but only made it about 3/4 the way through that track before I felt like I had to pee again. There was a lot of pressure with each contraction. I walked to the toilet, sat down, and had a contraction that sent me through the roof. I couldn’t make contact with the seat, I was totally unprepared and clawing at the wall. My husband heard me and came running (I’d been totally silent up until that point). The pressure when I was standing was unbearable! I told him I wasn’t standing up again until the midwife arrived, because I felt like if I did, the baby would fall out!
And that’s when things got crazy. There was no way the earphones were going in again. I think I was already in transition at this point but didn’t know it. I moaned loudly through contractions, turning each “Ohhhh” into “Ooooopen,” and “I want my baby…baby, baby… come on baby….” Once or twice I said, “I don’t want to do this.” It wasn’t that I felt like I couldn’t do it, or that I was asking for meds or to transfer, it was just a statement of fact. I didn’t want to. But then I’d say out loud, “I want to meet my baby. This is what I want,” and kept going.
These contractions were really hard. I kept saying to my husband, “They’re so intense. They’re not supposed to be so strong! Why are they so strong?” I also asked him to call the midwife and tell her to come. She lives about two hours away. I stayed side-lying on the bed the entire time. My husband was trying to fill up the tub but every time he’d leave to go check the temperature I’d call him back right away because I couldn’t be alone through a contraction.
An hour and a half later my midwife showed up, and I was so happy to see her that I cried. I told her I needed her help. She put her hand on my back and it was so amazingly warm; seriously, I don’t know how she did it. She just instantly applied soothing heat and peace to my body, started stroking me, and telling me that everything was perfect and that the contractions would not overpower me. I loved her so much at that moment. She went through three contractions with me and then I asked her to check me for the first time. I was praying fervently that I’d be at least to a 5. And then she said the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard.
“You’re so complete I can’t find your cervix. Your bag of waters is bulging and baby’s head is right there.”
I cried and started kissing my husband’s face and telling him how happy I was and how much I loved him. Two contractions later my body started pushing involuntarily. That was a crazy feeling. My husband said he could see my muscles contracting and my body crunching down even as I said, “I’m not doing that!” With the first good wave of involuntary pushing I had a massive bowel movement that honest-to-god felt soooo good because it relieved a ton of pressure. Ladies, don’t fear the poo! It’s a good thing!
The second wave brought baby’s head down to where it felt like I had a small, perfectly round cannon ball in my butt. I yelled, “Oh my god, my butt!!” and the midwife took my hand and showed me that baby’s head was RIGHT THERE. I could feel it her hair. With the next contraction I bore down and felt crowning, then her head birthed. The midwife showed it to me with a mirror. Immediately the next wave came, I pushed once more, and out she came, riding a giant wave of amniotic fluid. My membranes were intact until that point. She was almost born in the caul. I looked down and saw her bottom and yelled, “It’s a girl! Oh my god, it’s a girl!” and grabbed my husband’s face and kissed him hard. They put a towel around her and handed her to me, and I didn’t feel one instant of pain from that moment on. Birthing the placenta was a non-event, and about 10 minutes later our oldest daughter was there, meeting her new sister. An hour later I had showered in my own shower, bathed our little one in our own bath (the one that had been prepared for me but I never got into), and was snuggled into my own bed, the same one I was in when she was conceived.
In total we decided I was in labor from when I got out of bed at 6:30am to 12:07 pm. The first two hours were not really active labor because I was able to walk around and do chores (even bake a birthday cake) during that time. About an hour and a half I spent in hypnosis, and only felt about 6 contractions during that period. And the rest of the time I was riding a freight train to baby-ville. It was crazy! I had two involuntary pushes and two driven-by-me pushes and there she was! Little one was born exactly 35 minutes after the midwife walked in the door. I have no doubt that if we’d waited a little longer to call her I would have had an unattended home birth. Craziness.
It took us about eight hours to name her. We chose Amelia Bliss. Bliss is a family name on my husband’s side. She’s gorgeous and perfect, with fat cheeks, little bow-tie lips, and a perfectly round little head with almost zero molding. She’s just beautiful and I’m so so so so so so so happy we chose to birth at home.
Submitted by Hillary Windrem