Enoch's birth was a home birth.
There. I said it. Now the world knows.
And you know what? It was wonderful. It didn't go exactly as I imagined, but pretty darn close.
Now, I'd been telling people that I was due on Oct. 3. However, when several weeks passed, and I hadn't had the baby yet, I started to think that maybe we were a bit off on the due date. Let me tell you, October 2011 was the longest month of my life!
I had a check up on Oct. 21, and everything looked good: my blood pressure and urine looked good, the baby was measuring good, plenty of amniotic fluid, baby's heart rate good, baby was head down. The baby didn't appear to be under any stress. I was even 3-4 cm. dilated and 80-90% effaced. So things were going in the right direction.
But when a person goes against "the norm", especially when the person is like myself who doesn't really like upsetting the apple cart, life can be extra stressful. Every day that I woke up "still pregnant" was another day that I dreaded. Was I stuck in pregnancy purgatory?!
I was almost to "43 weeks" when I had a tiny bit of bloody show on the morning of Sunday, Oct. 23, and I started to have hope that things would be over soon. Now, there are certain things that a pregnant woman can do to hopefully get labor going, and let's just say, I tried many things!
I started having a few contractions between 6-8:45 pm on Oct. 23, but none with any "heat". I texted my midwife, Rebekah, to let her know that I was having some contractions, and that I'd let her know when they started getting closer together. Jeff and I put Judah and Andrew to bed at about 8 pm and turned on their "sound machine" louder than normal. We wanted them to sleep peacefully through the night (which they did).
Well, 8:45 pm was when contractions started getting between 2-5 min. apart and had some strength to them. I texted Rebekah at 9:30 pm that things were starting to get serious, and she sent her mother Joyce over, a doula, who lived closer to me than Rebekah. She arrived at about 10:30 (I think). The contractions were really getting powerful when she got there. Joyce said she could tell how dilated I was by feeling how cold my legs were. The heat all moves to uterus, so when the coolness moves further up the legs, you know you're getting closer! She told me I was about 4-5 cm dilated at that time, which disappointed me a little. Of course, I had thought I was further along by that point. But it wasn't going to be too much longer...
My husband and Joyce were so very helpful to get me through the contractions, rubbing my lower back and helping me to sway. It was most comfortable for me to kneel in front of our cushy rocking chair, so that's where I was from 8:45-midnight.
The midwife's apprentice, Rita, came between 11 and 11:30 (I think). She came from Canada. Thankfully she had no trouble crossing the border! By the time she came, the contractions were quite painful, sometimes with no break between them.
And then sometime just after midnight I could feel the urge to push. Both Rita and Joyce were encouraging me to listen to what my body was telling me. I wasn't quite sure how to do it though. My first two labors were in the hospital, so I was laying on my back, and had my legs pulled back to help me push. But I knew that I didn't want to do that again.
I tried having Jeff sit on a chair and draping my arms over his legs so I was kind of squatting. That didn't feel right. I did push in that position though, and my waters broke. The amniotic fluid was clear with no sign of meconium, so that was a good sign.
I tried sitting on the couch in front of my husband and leaning back on him. But that felt too similar to laying down in the hospital bed for some reason.
Then Jeff suggested that he sit down on the couch and stand facing him, then brace my knees on the couch in a semi-stand, semi-squat position. Just when I thought I couldn't do it, suddenly I felt the urge to push and out comes the baby's head! (He crowned at 12:13 am.) I paused while the ladies checked to make sure there was nothing around the baby's neck. I asked if I could continue pushing, they gave me the go-ahead, and I pushed again, and out the baby came at 12:14 am!
I turned around and sat down in front of Jeff while the ladies wrapped a towel around our baby. I asked, "Is it a boy or a girl?" to which they replied, "You get to check!" Imagine my surprise to find a BOY, when I had been expecting a girl all along. But he was a healthy wonderful baby with dark hair.
We checked him over for a few minutes. He started to suck on his fist right away, so I soon started to nurse him. The placenta easily came out. After the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, it was clamped and cut.
After nursing, we needed to weigh and measure!
Daddy getting Enoch dressed.
Joyce and Rita
The next morning...they woke up to a new brother! They like him!
Judah wasn't ready to hold him till that evening though. Man, do I look tired!
So the midwife wasn't actually at the birth. She was at another birth. But it all worked out well, praise the Lord!
I'm so thankful to have given birth this way. It was a wonderful experience! If I had any tears from the labor process, they were very small, and didn't cause me much pain in the healing process. I have had to take things a lot slower than after my first two babies, but that's okay. I've been able to. My husband was able to stay home for the first week, and then my mother came to help the next week.
Note: Whether or not you are supportive of the idea of home births, I wanted to share my story. I would like to write a wonderful post supporting home birth, citing lots of facts about why it can be a valid way to birth a child, but hey... I just had a newborn. I just don't have that kind of time. But I'm not the only one who thinks this way, so the information is out there. Just google it. ;-)