i had a midwife appointment on the 29th… my due date. i was anxious to find out if my body was close to labor. sure enough, my exam showed that i was 80% effaced and already 5 centemeters dialated! i had been feeling fluish and weird for the last few days so it was a relief to know that it had all been for a reason. at this point, i decided not to care if my due date came and went. my body was preparing itself and i knew it wouldn’t be much longer.
at 12.15am on may 30th, i got up to go pee. as soon as i hit the last step on our steep stairs, i felt a short gush of fluid between my legs. fortunately, i was only 4 or 5 steps from the bathroom so i scurried to the toilet with my legs squeezed together. sure enough, my water had broke. i tried to call for tom, but he sleeps hard and our room is on the other side of the house. when i realized he wasn’t going to hear me, i grabbed a towel and waddled to the kitchen to call the midwives. next, i headed back up stairs to wake him up.
all i said was, “honey, it’s go-time.” he shot up out of bed like his butt was on fire. we came downstairs and finished the final touches on the guest room, turned birthing room.
by 1am, my contractions were 5 minutes apart and they wasted no time in becoming hard and painful. the midwives were here shortly after that.
i labored on the bed for a couple of hours while tom and the midwives filled the birthing tub. tom called my mom and told her that this would be a good time to come and get stella. i was trying so hard to stay quiet because i didn’t want her to wake up and be scared. it’s strange how hard it was to be quiet. all i wanted to do was groan and yell- it was almost as if that was going to help alleviate the pain.
by 3am, i was in the tub. i was disappointed because i couldn’t seem to get comfortable in the water. i hung over the side of the tub because i couldn’t fathom sitting down. this worked for a while, but eventually my legs and arms started to fall asleep and i just couldn’t figure out a good position. tom was a champ though. at the midwives suggestion, he climbed into the tub with me and spent two hours pouring water over my back. it was a great distraction and there was a sense of comfort knowing that he was in there with me. at one point, i had a contraction that lasted a good 5-6 minutes. i remember being face to face with a panic attack. i had never had one before, but i couldn’t figure out how to get through the pain. i gripped and clawed at pamela’s (the head midwife) thighs while i groaned through that contraction. it was awful.
while i was in the tub, my mom showed up.
stella was still sleeping soundly so mom just sat back and watched my labor progress. i remember that at one point she was rubbing me and saying something. i couldn’t focus on her words, but i remember thinking that i didn’t want her to go anywhere. at that moment, all i wanted was tom and my mom.
stella started to wake up so mom said she would go get her and take her to her house. i felt that wave of panic return and told her i didn’t want her to go. she called robbie instead.
around 5am, pamela suggested i move to the toilet. at first i thought she was nuts. then i realized that that would help with the pressure i was feeling and gravity’s help might be a really good thing. sure enough, my labor progressed fast once i was there. i was able to push and i remember feeling ivy move down as she began to crown.
after an hour, pamela said that we HAD to move to either the bed or the tub.
i told her that i really didn’t want to- i could feel the progress my body was making and it was the most comfortable i had been since my labor started. she told me that she knew i didn’t want to have my baby in a toilet- she was right. she had a point. i remember wondering how the hell i was going to walk from the bathroom to the bedroom with a head between my legs. tom practically carried me to the bedroom. i had two contractions on my way to the bed.
once on the bed, my labor got really hard. i couldn’t seem to push as hard as i wanted to. i was so tired from the tylenol pm i had taken before bed and i was so tired of pushing. physically, i was exhausted. tom got onto the bed with me and i labored while we faced each other. i don’t remember if i made eye contact with him very much, but his presence was powerful and i remember mustering the energy to keep pushing. ivy took her time, but she crowned. i struggled to get her head out.
as she was being born, i looked around the room.
i saw the three midwives, tom, my moma, julia, and then my aunt cheri was standing in the doorway. i had wanted her to be there, but the phone call was never made. i found out later that she was driving home from her coffee shop and just decided to stop in to see how the labor was going. she arrived in perfect time to see ivy born! the energy in the room was perfect. i knew that i could birth this baby.
at 7.06am on may 30th, her little body was born. i’ll never forget how it felt to feel her body leave mine. pamela ‘caught’ ivy and laid her on my chest. tom and i just laid there and took her in. she was a little purple and it took a minute for her to cry, but she was just fine.
we snuggled as we waited for my placenta to leave my body. once the afterbirth was over, i started to bleed a lot. my mom told me later that she was really nervous at this point. i remember looking up at her and trying to telepathically send her a message to have her cell ready to call an ambulance if we ended up needing one. pamela gave me a shot of pitocin and something else to help slow the bleeding. before too long, it slowed and that wave of panic passed.
ivy was weighed and came in at 10 pounds, 8 ounces.
her head was severely molded (not a bad thing… just a sharp cone head) so we weren’t able to get an accurate measurement until a few days later. it was 15 inches! no wonder it was so hard to get her out! my body was ready for her though. i didn’t tear or need any stitches.
because of all of the blood loss, i was in bed for the first two days. i kept trying to get up to go to the bathroom and would come frighteningly close to passing out. i remember telling tom that i couldn’t hear him anymore and that i couldn’t see. mentally, i was trying to coach myself to stay conscious. i was so glad when this phase passed.
the birth was so much harder and more painful than i ever imagined it would be. i was terrified during that long contraction and more than once, i wondered what the hell i had gotten myself into. tom said that at one point i yelled something about how he was getting a vasectomy by august. looking back though, i wouldn’t hesitate to have another baby at home. everything that i wanted to be different about stella’s birth was different with ivy’s. i loved not being drugged up and not being sick afterwards. i couldn’t hold stella for the first few hours of her life because of all of the drugs. with ivy, i was able to nurse her immediately and felt nothing but tired and bliss.
tom and i slept the day away. ivy snuggled under my arm on and off and my mom took her for a while so i could get some solid, uninterrupted sleep. that day was beautiful.
Please visit Rae’s personal blog at Bean & Sprout
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