I wanted to write down LB’s birth story before I forgot, and because it was an amazing birth, as are all births, but this one especially so!
First of all, LB decided to be an original. My water broke at 11:30 p.m. on July 8th. My water has never released before except during labor, right before the baby was born. So this was a new experience for me. I was sleeping, and I woke up feeling wet. I almost ignored it and went back to sleep, but I thought, “No. I should go to the bathroom.” So I stood up and walked to the toilet. When I stood up to wash my hands, all this water came gushing out. I was a little taken aback. I woke MM up and told him (“I should go fill up the birth pool” was the first thing he said but I assured him I wasn’t in labor so that could wait) and then I called my midwife Connie to say “I think my water just broke.” She explained that if I hadn’t wet the bed, then it must be the water bag. A little later, I got up again to walk to the bathroom and more water came gushing out. Now I was sure.
Well, I wasn’t having any contractions at that point so I asked my midwife if it was okay to go back to sleep, and of course it was. However, I couldn’t sleep. I was excited (of course) and nervous but I laid down. About 2:30 a.m. I started having time-able contractions. So I got up and, using an app for timing contractions on MM’s super cool internet tablet, went to play on the computer. My contractions were about 4-7 minutes apart, with the occasional 10 or 12 minute pause in between. At 3:45 I woke up MM and told him that it was now time to fill up the pool.
And then the contractions stopped. 15 minutes, then 24 minutes, then 36 minutes, then why bother timing them? At 5:30 on July 9th I called my in-laws (“Marnie and Boompa”) to ask them what they thought about having a new granddaughter that day. They agreed it was a good idea, so they said they would come over and get the kids for breakfast. So at 7 a.m. I called Connie to tell her that I was officially not in labor. She said she would be over in an hour to an hour and a half, and I told her that MM and I were going to take a long walk. So when Marnie and Boompa came at 7:15 a.m., MM and I took a walk around the big block. After an hour’s walk, I had only had one contraction.
At 8:30, Connie arrived and let me know that I needed to be in active labor by 11:30 a.m. or she would have to call the back-up doctor and let him know the situation. To be honest, that got me all worried that I would end up in the hospital with pitocin and I didn’t want to labor that way, so I’d have to make sure to get there early enough to get an epidural first because if I waited too long and then had to be induced… You can see where these thoughts were leading. Yes, I was focusing on the negative, so Connie gently reminded me (or perhaps not so gently) that I needed to focus on going into labor and birthing at home.
Connie checked me at 8:30 and at that point I was 3 cm dilated. We decided she would try to stretch my cervix to see if that would start contractions. It was a little uncomfortable, but I had imagined it being very painful so it wasn’t so bad. Then Connie applied pressure at some spots on my feet and legs that could cause contractions. Then we decided it was time for castor oil. MM ran out to pick it up and I drank a yummy castor oil smoothy at 9:30 a.m. (It actually didn’t taste all that bad. Hey, it was mixed with coke and vanilla ice cream. How bad could it be?)
After that, I got to do some serious nipple stimulation therapy for 1/2 an hour. (MM informed me that I should feel free to do this whenever I wanted.) Then at 10:30, we decided another walk was in order. Of course, at 10:30 a.m. it was HOT. So we opted for the short block. Good thing we did, as about 1/2 way through the walk, the contractions kicked in.
At 11:15 a.m., I was in labor. And I think I skipped active labor and went right for transition. Every couple of minutes my uterus contracted. I really tried to focus on breathing, to “relax and open” (my mantra), visualize waves and opening roses, and pray “Jesus, please just take me through this one contraction.” I ended up spending about 1/2 my time on the potty because (besides the effects from the castor oil) it just felt better there. I would sit there through 2 or 3 contractions and then move to the birth pool. After 2 or 3 contractions there, I’d switch again.
I remember looking at the clock and it was 12:05. The next time I thought to ask the time, it was 1:10. For several minutes I had had the feeling that I needed to have a bm. However, having had the castor oil, I wasn’t sure if this meant it was time to push or not. After several trips to the potty, I decided at 1:10 p.m. that I was not leaving the birth pool no matter what. So with my next contraction, I decided to push.
I must’ve looked pretty intent because I heard Connie coaching in the background something about needing to breathe. So I stopped the clenching and tightening, and tried to focus on breathing down and out. And out popped LB’s head. Now MM is sure that I didn’t even know I had just pushed out her head (luckily he recognized the pushing face and had grabbed the camera and turned it on). But in truth, I was a little confused because Connie was saying to catch the baby and I thought “How can I catch her if only her head is out?” so I asked aloud “Is she out?” and they all replied “Well, her head is out.” (As if you could push out a baby’s head and not know it.) Maybe things were a little fuzzy at this point, but I knew enough to push again and out slid her little body. At which point I caught my baby! Then I brought her to my chest and all was well. All of that happened in seconds, so the birth video is pretty amazing to watch because I exhale once and LB’s head is out, exhale again and there she is!
Connie asked me how I felt and I said “I feel awesome!” I was so amazed that everything had gone so quickly (once it started) and her birth had been so “easy” and intense and just perfect. And here was this beautiful little person, covered in vernix and black hair. She was amazing and God really answered my prayers and my labor was… just perfect.
So I’m thankful to Connie for being there again for us and to MM for knowing I could do it and supporting me as I waffled back and forth about what I should do and to all my friends for praying and supporting me when I needed support and encouragement and of course to God for answering my prayers as only He could. I would never have thought to pray for my water releasing or for a castor oil smoothie, but that’s what He used and it was an amazing birth! And now we are blessed with little LB. One other mantra I kept repeating was “Children are a gift from God and a reward from Him” and LB couldn’t have been a more wonderful gift if she had been born with a red ribbon around her! Truly, He does know how to give good gifts. Thank you, Lord, for grace!