Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How To Make Your Neighbors Think You Are Crazy In One Easy Step: Our Homebirth

This is me at 39 weeks pregnant. Some fool asked if I was carrying twins.
When you oh-so-caring midwife orders herself pizza at 9.5 centimeters during the arduous labor of your firstborn, you know you need to find other options for your second kid. So, after such a grisly experience with baby #1, we knew something had to change for #2. We had tried the only birth center in town and the hospital was right out (Because nothing says "Welcome baby!" like an MRSA infection). Enter Diana... But wait, we lived in a small apartment not conducive to birthing, so moving to a new house right before the due date is an excellent idea. It meant I didn't have to do any of the moving!

Ariana's due date happened to fall in Labor day weekend (haha, yes I heard the same joke 100 times), which meant that not only was it a three day weekend, but my husband had a half day on Friday. We naturally began informing all of our friends that Friday is baby day. In fact, Friday afternoon is, so that Adam could get the delicious free lunch offered by his school, thank you very much.

I happen to be on of those super lucky women who start Braxton-Hicks around 13 weeks, which in turn makes it so delightfully difficult to tell when labor begins. However, I remember squatting to help the two year old on the potty after morning Mass on Friday and thinking, "Hmm... that's pretty a uncomfortable pulling; maybe I should go to Lowe's" Mind you, the fourth trip at 40 weeks pregnant, because I (and several employees) still had not been able to find the piece that connects a hose to a shower head. Meaning at that moment, I had no way to fill the birth pool. Yes, I am a procrastinator.

So at Lowe's, I finally found a woman who believed this piece exists, then promptly took about 25 minutes to find it and check with 2 coworkers that it's really the right connector. Meanwhile, Titus played with light switches and I stood and swayed (oh-so-very subtly) through contractions. I really didn't want all the Lowe's men employees in my birth business. I still didn't think labor could be happening because I told everyone it was going to be Friday and for it to be happening would be ridiculous.

I arrived home around 10am, put Titus down for a nap, tried to sleep with him to stop those contractions, gave it up because those darn Braxton-Hicks were just bothering me so much, and got up to send text messages. One to Titus' babysitter, one to Adam, one to my mom and one our midwife. I told them it's probably a false alarm, but just in case...

The midwife, Diana, happened to be on my side of town doing prenatal appointments so she stopped by around 11:30 or so. I cheerily greeted her and her student. She offered to check me and holy. moley. Five centimeters already! Get moving! Fill the birth tub! Call ALL THE PEOPLE!  All of my friends recently (I was the last in a string of seven babies) had had really SLOW labors, so I just assumed I would be at one or so centimeters this early. The midwife said she would dash home to get her birth supplies and be right back.

I started filling the birthpool, really, really glad for the morning shopping trip. Can you imagine carrying buckets between contractions? Awful. I texted the babysitter letting her know to leave work and get Titus. I texted Adam but since he hadn't gotten that lunch yet and the birth ball was being such a great birth partner so far, I delayed telling him to come until 12:30, when I was all "Get home right now before I strangle the living daylights out of you."

Susan, the sitter, joined me shortly after the texting and sat and chatted with me between contractions. I snapped at her asked her politely her to stop staring at me during them. As time wore on and we waited and waited for Adam, I was starting to get antsy. Fill birth pool, fill! As it turns out he stopped to get my sister from her college campus on the way home. The little sister who passed out when I gave blood because she's so medically woozy. Great choice. (I found out after showing this to Adam, he thought she was going to watch Titus. I apparently neglected to mention that Susan, who had a car, was taking care of that. Excellent marital communication here, folks.)

They arrived, Adam started to eat and Titus finally woke up. He dragged his bleary eyed self down the hall and There. Is. A. Pool. In. The. Living. Room. How could his day get any better?! But wait, he's not allowed to go in this delectable pool and is suddenly being whisked away from Mommy and Daddy  AND THE POOL by the normally friendly, but now evil because dang-it-I-want-to-be-in-that-pool Susan-monster.

He didn't suffer too much.
Meanwhile, I am dying to get in that pool, knowing the glorious buoyancy awaiting me, but I can't due to a toddler staring me down. After finally shimmying Titus out of the house (around 1:45) I jump (Ha! I'm nine months pregnant and in labor) heave my girth in and immediately am a far happier person. I dole out orders (You- resheet the bed! You-get the birth supply box! You-get water boiling!). It's a great feeling to be queen.

A queen who has to stop every few minutes and really focus. Not to shortly after, my order becomes  "Adam- get in here now and rub my shoulders! I don't care if you've finished that lunch." Although, in all fairness, may or may not have commanded him to eat that sub five minutes before.

We do our labor thing, Adam being a STELLAR helpmate. At one point, someone poured boiling water on my foot during a contraction. Bad aim. Things get more and more intense and sometime around 2:10, I wonder aloud where the heck the midwife is. Just as we (not me) are about to call her, she gets there at 2:20, sees me and starts to unpack her gear real quick-like, Danielle helping her. Her birth assistant is still an hour away.  This leaves poor Danielle to, gasp, "dip her bare hands into your hideous cesspool"(her words) to take out extra water every so often, instead of hiding in the office making no noise and pretending she doesn't exist as she would have liked to do. She was so very traumatized by this experience that at the time of writing no less than a dozen people have endured her rant.

Around 2:30 (looking at the clock really helped me. I like knowing what time it is. All the time.) We try to start a round of antibiotics (woo GBS+!), right as I head into transition. Excellent timing. Needless to say, it didn't work. That contraction happened to be the most awful experiences of my life. Apparently my warning that things were about to get loud did not make it out of my mouth. So as we enter transition, my sister pops in with her assessment of the situation:

"You sound like the undead"

Thanks, that was very encouraging.

As transitions go, this was pretty short. I could not stand (thank goodness for water!) because there had to be less than 15 second between contractions, if there even was a break. Sometime around 2:50 I finally, finally had a break after that last contraction turned "pushy." As I lay there in the lull, I distinctly remember thinking very calmly, "This is terrible. Why would anyone do this to themselves? I am never having another child. Ever." But then we got down to business.

Having pushed for 2.5 hours last time, I was hoping for something a bit quicker. Boom: baby pops out facing sideways at 3:16.

Adam gets a text from Susan around 3:20 asking if she should send around a prayer request for our labor. His reply: "Well, I'm holding the baby..."

In wrap up, I was quickly shipped off the the hospital via Danielle's driving to get stitched up. In the words of the doctor/nurses working on me: "What kind of tear is this?" "Do we have a name for this kind?" "No, um, let's call it second-degree." Very reassuring.

Adam sat at home wearing his new daughter, rocking in a chair and reading his book, in surreal land. Eventually, he took a walk. Some of our new neighbors came to coo over the baby. "Oh, how old is she?" "Oh about two hours..." Oh the faces they make...

It's still absurd to me that she came out right when we said she would. May Ariana always follow directions so well.
Still not over the placenta incident.


  1. This makes me excited/terrified to consider a homebirth ;-) I'm thrilled you had a great experience with Ariana!

    How was Adam's sandwich?

    1. You know, I never did find out about that lunch until today. :D

  2. My sandwich was delicious. Thanks for asking!