There was something about the way that they described laboring in the comfort of their own home and everyone coming to them when it was time to bring that baby into the world that resonated with my desire to have a natural birth this time around. I was still some what disappointed with my induction experience with Noella and wanted to really be as healthy as i could to avoid having another one.
It took a little convincing of the Mister because child birth has so many variables and so many scary things that can happen in a split second. I talked him into at least meeting with the midwifes of All Bright Beginnings (Now Tree of Life Birth and Gynecology) and he was on board as long as things continued to be healthy.
My pregnancy continued without a hitch. My blood pressure and urine looked good, and i was feeling good (except a few times that i didn't drink enough water). We began to gather the birthing kit for home. I had my heart set on a water birth because i found water to be so relaxing when i labored with Noella so we bought a kiddie pool i found on Amazon that had wonderful reviews as a birthing tub. Noella was quite disappointed that it didn't stick around after the birth.
Christmas came and went with lots of nights spent not really resting because of prodromal labor, then the New Year (My due date) also came and went and I thought i was going to be pregnant FOR-EV-ER. I remember standing outside with Jason to watch the fireworks in our neighborhood and feeling so let down that this baby wasn't coming yet.
Three days later I woke up feeling odd. My back was tighter than usual and i was grumpy and restless. It was a Saturday and that meant one thing. Grocery shopping. I was up earlier than everyone else and had gone into the nursery and took a picture of my round belly on Instagram and noted that it was much rounder than it had been in days and i was indeed feeling little tightening contractions but i was sure they were going to go away as they had in the weeks previous.
We got dressed and headed out the door for breakfast at IHOP before we hit up Sam's club. I was thankful for the big breakfast later on in the day. At breakfast i noticed i was having regular contractions still. Not painful but i timed a few and they were about 20 minutes apart almost on the nose. By the time we were finished they were about 15 minutes apart.
We headed over to Sams club and i remember having to stop a moment every few contractions because i could either walk and contract or contract and breath. Apparently my brain couldn't handle all three functions at once. My contractions were about 10 minutes apart by the time we were ready to be in line. I was aware of them but they weren't painful yet. I still was sure that these would just disappear so i tried to not notice them. In the car they picked up to 8 minutes apart and by the time we were home they were about 6 minutes.
I was still in denial that this was in fact labor so i called my good friend Erin Moody who's had two marvelous natural births before to discuss what was going on. She assured me that it probably was indeed early labor and told me to keep moving and see what happened. I looked at the tile floors in my kitchen and knew what i was going to do.
Maddie had a habit of flip flopping from anterior to posterior frequently and if i wanted to keep these early contractions going and have a shorter labor, i needed to do everything i could to keep her facing my back so i pulled out the bucket and scrub brush and scrubbed the grout in my kitchen floor as long as my knees could take it.
I texted my Doula Kelly to let her know i was contracting regularly but i wasn't ready for her to come yet. I spent my time trying to stay on my feet and put things away and prep for the baby. By 3pm Jason had realized we still had to run to Publix and offered for me to go too. I didn't want to leave in case things became harder to handle so he packed up the Miss and took her with him and planned a little last minute date with her. I made myself some boiled eggs on toast because i realized i hadn't eaten since breakfast and let Kelly know that Jason was running out for some errands and that my contractions were 5-ish minutes apart. She said she was headed over. She arrived at around 5 and we made up the bed and put the adapter on the sink in preparation for labor.
Kelly suggested we go for a walk but it was the hottest day we had had in a while and the heat was making me nauseous so i opted to just pace the driveway instead for as long as i could take the heat. The sun was setting at that point and the sky was a gorgeous pinky orange color. After a bit we headed inside because i was getting hit with heat waves that made my contractions worse.
The air conditioning felt SO good. I pulled out my yoga ball and started to rock and bounce a bit. I felt Maddie move further down into my pelvis every few minutes. The phone rang twice while i labored on the ball and the second time the answering machine had picked up. It was Micah and Becky calling to see how things were going. Becky was going to come take pictures for me during the birth so she wanted to know when to head over. I called them back and said she could head over whenever she wanted.
I stood up to head to the bathroom since it had been a while since i last peed and was hit with a whopper of a contraction. I had to lean against the wall to get through it and then immediately bolted to the bathroom to puke. Boiled eggs and toast wasn't the best pre-labor food choice i guess... and with this being my second babe, my weakened pelvic floor let loose and i peed my pants. I got undressed and kind of yelled while contracting that i was going to hop into the shower.
The hot water felt good but my contractions also jumped from 5 minutes apart to 2-3 minutes and got much more painful. Well, painful isn't the exact word. My labor wasn't PAINFUL so much as a LOT of intense pressure.
After a few minutes i realized it was time to call the midwives. It was around 7:30-8pm and Kelly called them while i was in the shower. I got out and toweled off and sat on the closed toilet for a minute to labor then i heard my midwife Diane's voice. Becky had arrived too. Becky had brought an old bathing suit i left at her house and was instructed by me to cut out the crotch so i could use it to labor in.
I put it on and the tightness of it was super uncomfortable for me so i asked for this other old bathing suit my mom had sent me. It was far too big but that's what made it comfortable. Diane asked me to head into the bedroom so she could do a cervical check and do my vitals. I climbed into bed and got into position and was hit with another contraction. Rather than dive in anyway like the doctors had during my induction with Noella, she waited until it had passed. I was immensely grateful because there's nothing worse than a hand up your who-ha while you're trying to relax into a contraction.
I was 4cm and 100% effaced. I tried not to focus on the number because through my extensive research in preparation for this birth i know that that number means very little and could change very quickly.
I decided to labor on the bed for a while since i had been up and moving for a while and wanted to rest a bit before it was really 'show time'. My contractions were consistently 3 minutes apart and increasing in intensity every now and then. I had been having to loudly moan through contractions since just before i had showered and now i was surely loud enough that anyone near my house could hear me.
While i labored my doula stayed by my side to hold my hand and rub my legs through contractions. This was totally different than when i labored with Noella. I hadn't wanted anyone to touch me while i labored with Noella but this time i found that having someone near me was very grounding and helped me to focus on relaxing as my body opened up to let this baby out.
After a while i asked for Jason and he came and laid with me too. The poor man. I had indeed brushed my teeth after i puked but i was burping after each contraction and apparently it was AWFUL. But he toughed it out and stayed with me.
At about 10:15 i was ready to get up and go into the tub. I knew Noella was in bed and i tried to be quieter while i waddled down the hall to the tub but as soon as i hit the doorway of our bedroom i was hit with another intense contraction with a heat wave and nausea. I moaned as quietly as i could through it and let out another burp.
The water was lovely. It warmed up my chilly legs and took all the pressure off of my back. I labored while leaning over the side for a while but soon the contractions started to get a LOT more painful.
Once i turned over my contractions became more managable again. They had jumped from 3 minutes to about a minute and a half apart within the first few minutes.
I felt more and more out of control with each contraction and was now yelling to get through them. The pressure was intense but i kept telling myself that it would come to an end. There would soon be another break. My doula Kelly and midwife Diane had to keep reminding me to keep my tones lower and to relax in between contractions. I felt my face release at the end of each contraction.
I got louder and louder and in my mind i kept thinking about Noella and wondered if she was sleeping through all this noise. (She wasn't) I shifted in the pool and contracted and my moaning was interrupted by a grunt. I had started pushing without even trying. Diane asked me if i was feeling 'pushy' and i said 'i think so' and once again a contraction hit and ended with me grunting. I could feel Maddie beginning to descend.
I remember at one point feeling a slight burning and telling my midwife about it. Then i saw a flashing through my closed eyes and it immediately sent me into a world of pissed off until i saw that it was the flash light held by the assistant midwife to see what was going on inside the pool. I tilted my head back and tried to once again concentrate on relaxing and ignore the light.
A few more contractions and Diane told me it was time to really push. I didn't want to. Pushing hurt. Pushing was worse than the contractions. Pushing felt scary and wildly out of control for me. Diane used her very best firm midwife voice and said "Erin, get back in control, deep breaths and PUSH!' and i did and felt Maddie's head delivered. One more push and she was all the way out. Diane told me to reach down but then told me to stop. She had her cord wrapped around her neck twice. Diane quickly unwrapped it and pulled her up from the water and placed her on my chest.
After one small gurgly cry she let out her first full wail. She wailed and wailed and WAILED. She had a robust cry from the very start and was this tiny marvelous warm creature. She had the same cheesey vernix covering her sister did. She smelled differently though. She layed there in my arms with her eyes screwed shut and screamed for a few minutes while we all marveled at her.
Jason cried. Oh boy did he cry. And it made my heart burst. I'm so lucky to have such a sensitive man in my life.
After a few minutes I asked Jason to go get Noella. She was wide awake and sitting up in bed when he went in to get her. She came down the hall excited but unsure of what exactly was going on. It had been really loud with my yelling a few minutes ago and now there was a new sort of yelling going on from the tiny squishy babe laying in my arms.
She quickly said hello then went to sit on the couch. She wasn't super thrilled with all the noise going on but she was happy to be awake and hanging out with the adults.
After the cord had stopped pulsing Jason cut it. Noella was worried that it was hurting Maddie but we explained that it didn't hurt. Noella was adamant that it WAS hurting her because why else would she be crying?
After the cord was cut, Jason took Maddie so i could get out of the tub to deliver the placenta and get cleaned up but it took a moment to gather towels so i sat back down. When i tried to stand up again, i again felt the urge to push and had delivered the placenta. After a few moments of sitting back down to make sure i wasnt going to pass out, i finally was allowed to go down the hall to get checked out.
Everything was intact and looked good considering a tiny human had just pushed her way through so they told Jason he could bring the still screaming Maddie down to me so we could nurse and she could get weighed and measured.
Madeline Louise Chauvin made her appearance Januaray 3rd 2015 at 11:26pm
She weighed in at 7lbs and 6oz and was 20 inches long.
More on our first night and the newborn exam in my next post.