Four months ago, to the day. That is when my life changed. That is when a mother and a son was birthed, right in my living room. Many of my friends are about to pop, and I got to say that it makes me a little nostalgic. Not that I’m ready to do it all over again, cause I’m not…yet. But looking at my four month old and wondering where the time went, I laugh because I am also forced to remember a time when I didn’t really even want to look at him. That time is called labor. So for those of you expecting this to be a nice little post about the miracle of birth without the details, I’m sure Hallmark has what you’re looking for in one of their “Congratulations!” cards. This is real. This is my experience, minus the glazed bits that moms put in so that other women will actually want children.
We chose to have a midwife before we chose to have a home birth. I am no hippie, and and never seriously considered going all natural, although the thought intrigued me. I mean, haven’t women been birthing children for thousands of years without pain medication? There was bound to be one as wimpy as I am in the bunch, right? We started off with our nurse practitioner, but started interviewing midwives due to the unpleasant realization that we wouldn’t even meet the doctor who would deliver our baby until I was 36 weeks pregnant. No, thank you.
We interviewed several midwives, with several different viewpoints on giving birth, and finally felt a fit with Lisa. She was down to earth, and believed in natural remedies as well as medicinal, which correlated with our beliefs. She was also super informative, making sure we understood each aspect of the pregnancy and development. We will be going with her again, 100%.
I was due on Christmas Day. I wasn’t necessarily sure that I wanted to pop on that day. Due to the fact that Sean’s birthday was December 11, and mine was the 31st, it was a cramped month, and we wanted to make sure the baby had his day to himself. We had asked my midwife if their were any natural way of prodding the baby along (Sean really wanted the tax benefits) without interrupting the right timing of when the baby should actually come. She had several recommendations that we got to work on trying.
Up to this point, my pregnancy was happy. I had heard of woman getting sick of their bodies, and having horrible experiences, but I actually liked having this little being with me always. It wasn’t comfortable or even good feeling, but it was happy.
I was getting texts from friends and family daily, asking if I was still pregnant. I had forgot my key at work on the 23rd, and called the father of the children I nanny to ask if there was a spare somewhere, and before I could get a word out he was sputtering, “Are you… are you?!”
“I’m still pregnant,” I laughed, “no sign of labor yet.” I was asked wherever I went when I was due to pop, and when I told them Christmas, they eyed me like I was going to give birth then and there. As for me, I was sure this baby had set up camp and decided he was never going to come.
On the 30th of December, I couldn’t sleep. I had a terribly painful bump on my right side that wasn’t a baby foot. Until that point, I had never felt anything so painful. I couldn’t lay down without aggravating it, so I alternated between a hot bath, heat pad, and ice pad. I called my midwife at 5 am and asked her what I should do. I felt like I should go to the emergency room, but didn’t know if I should. I didn’t want them to say they should induce me there. She told me to call her and let her know what I decided. Sean decided to go to work for me, considering I was in so much pain that getting my shoes on felt like I was being stabbed. The pain eventually subsided to a level 5-6, and I was able to doze on the recliner, as long as the heat pad was on.
Lisa set up an ultrasound at an office near our house for later that evening. The nurse doing the ultrasound said the baby looked pretty comfortable in there. Internally, I groaned. My feet were the size and consistency of rubber chickens, I hadn’t slept well in weeks, and I was bumping into everything. Oh, and I was having contractions and a strange pain in my side. The nurse said she couldn’t see anything, so we were sent to the labor and delivery ward of the local hospital to be checked by a doctor that worked with women who had alternative birth plans. As I waddled through the hospital halls, I was asked several times if I needed a wheelchair (I declined, not wanting people to think I was in labor). Around 11 PM, the doctor finally came to check on me. He and another nurse decided what I had was a fat deposit, but that it shouldn’t be painful. “Great. I’m a wimp,” I thought dejectedly.
Lisa was not convinced, however, but there was no pain medication, no procedure, nothing to do but wait. Oh how I hated that word. Lisa came over after the check-up for a home visit. She stripped my membranes at my request, and checked to see if I was dilated. I was at 2 cm, which is not what I wanted to hear. Note: Stripping membranes isn’t like wiping your mouth with a napkin. It’s actually pretty painful and requires you to relax while in pain. I had no clue, but it’s true. We scheduled another ultrasound for January 7th to make sure the placenta was healthy enough to continue, and Lisa told me that I needed to sleep.
The next day was my birthday, and I was in pain with the bump again. On top of that, my contractions were getting more intense, and I lost my mucous plug. Sean said that for my birthday present, he was going to work for me. I feebly protested, but gave in gratefully . The contractions increased in intensity and became more regular, which perked me up and gave me the idea to fold laundry instead of sleep. Bad idea. If any of you pregnant ladies are this close to popping and you get an idea to do anything other than sleep– DON’T DO IT. SLEEP!
I started timing my contractions, and realized they were about 4 min apart, but were different intensities. I called Sean at work, and told him I thought I was in labor, and asked him to call Lisa. I bounced on my exercise ball, watching Criminal Minds episodes on Netflix, humming to myself. I was so excited! Lisa said she would come check me on her way to a party that evening to see how I was progressing. She emphasized that if I needed her before then or during her party, to call and she’d be right over. I called my dad and told him that this could be it! He scheduled my mom to fly out the next morning on the first flight he could get.
While we waited for Lisa to come, Sean and I played a game of SkipBo. The contractions were so intense that I was loosing my concentration in the game. I’d put cards where they shouldn’t go, and drew way too many times. We saw this as a good sign.
Lisa came over and, upon checking me, told me that I was just in early labor, since the pain of the contractions was inconsistent. For those of you who don’t know, early labor can last up to a WEEK. I was not pleased. I could not feel like that for an entire week!! Lisa calmed me down by saying that she expected me to go into labor tomorrow morning, and to take a Benadryl to reset the contractions and get some sleep. We put the SkipBo away, and went to bed at 9 PM on New Year’s Eve. Like old people.