No time off
On Thursday, April 19, 2012, I was 37 weeks, 4 days pregnant with our mystery baby. I had been wrapping things up at work for the past month- my last day was set to be April 20 and up until this point, there was no reason to think I wouldn’t make it.
I had an appointment with Heidi on Thursday morning when she told me about a client whose water broke the day before and what happens as you wait for labor to start. She assessed my belly and let me know the baby is very, very low. Heart rate still sounded good- everything was normal, as usual.
At the end of the day, I am feeling very hot and a bit sweaty. I have been taking quite a few bathroom breaks, but nothing beyond that seems out of the ordinary. Knowing my husband, Ryan, was working out in the evening, I stay late at work to get things organized for my “last day”. I head home and get prepared for a quiet evening to myself, in which I have already planned a bowl of ice cream. Little did I know, our mystery baby had a few plans of his own…
I walked into the house, changed into comfy clothes, made a sandwich (I was lazy, so all I made was green pepper, mushroom and cheese) ate the sandwich, got a bowl of ice cream and started to look for something to watch. Then, my WATER BREAKS! It was probably around 7:00, which means I had only been home for about half an hour when it happened!
When I was able to get to my phone, I called Heidi to let her know what had happened. She laughed and said, “Of course your water broke! We were just talking about that this morning!” She gave me some tips and I hung up to try to get a hold of Ryan.
The time went by amazingly fast. Ryan and I didn’t connect until two hours later, so, I just sat on the steps, finished my ice cream and watched T.V. Small cramping had started, but I still wasn’t feeling completely out of the ordinary. I heated up a hot water bottle and placed it on my lap and under my belly, which is where the cramps were getting more intense. Finally, at around 9:00pm, Ryan saw that I had called and he had suspicions something had happened. I told him my water broke and he said, “Soooooooooooo?” I said, “So, I think we are going to meet our baby! “
Time for me is kind of a blur after that. I continued to heat up a hot water bottle for my stomach and Ryan continued to run up and down the stairs, finishing our bathroom renovation! I soon started to feel uncomfortable, strong contractions, so I got into the bath while he kept working. It seemed like my contractions were getting closer together, so Ryan started timing them to get a sense as to when we should call Heidi again. Soon, the door was on and I was definitely feeling the pain!
At about one in the morning, I went through a “transition” in my labor, which means I threw up. This is a sign that things are progressing to the next step. As we didn’t know if that meant a hospital visit, Ryan prepared a hospital bag, just in case. He called Heidi and told her what happened and she asked him if we wanted her to come. He said yes and she was able to get to our place by about two o’clock.
When Heidi came, I was expecting her to take charge of the situation, but what she did was a nice surprise. She crept into the washroom on her knees and quietly asked how I was doing. I think I was lying on the floor, but I can’t really remember. Having Heidi there was an amazing experience. She had the best of suggestions (like turning the bathroom lights off) and knew when to act and how to act without me having to ask. As the labor became more intense, it was difficult for me to ask Ryan to do specific things because when I needed action, I couldn’t describe what it was I needed. Heidi knew when I needed strong pressure on my back and was able to counter balance the pain without me asking.
When the pushing sensation started, I was lying in the tub with Heidi pouring water over my body. I started pushing small pushes as the contractions happened, and I also started feeling “outside of my body”. I kept saying, “I can’t do it, I can’t do it”, and Heidi kept saying, “You are doing it!” In my head, I assumed she was lying because she wanted me to be in pain for the rest of my life!
It was difficult to push on my back in the tub because of the lack of gravity, so Heidi suggested I get out of the tub. Soon, I was on my knees and in too much pain to stand up again. Back pains continued, and my pushing increased with the help of Heidi coaching. Ryan was a calm support, being there for me when I needed him.
Ryan told me later that he was in anxious anticipation, because there was quite a bit of pushing and retraction before the head made it out. With each push, he was on the edge of his seat, only to hear the head had gone back in again. In between the opportunities to push, there was very little action, so it seemed like an endless cycle of waiting for the build up, going through the stress of the pain and the pushing, the possibility of a head, and then a big sigh when the baby hadn’t edged out. This went on for an hour and a half before any true progress was made.
Soon, Heidi told me to feel down and touch the head. In a few more pushes, the head was coming out and Heidi gave me a mirror to see. I did NOT like that! I told her I didn’t want to see that anymore! The sensation of it at that time was visual enough, thank you very much. Soon, she told me the head was completely out and another long controlled push and I felt the whole baby shoot out! What an amazing relief! I think it might have been the best feeling of my life! In a blur, the baby was put in front of me and I saw his face and knew it wasn’t a girl, like I had originally thought! The baby looked so much like Ryan that I knew it was a boy for sure.
I felt light headed immediately and was laid on top of pillows and towels that had been put in the dryer. The baby was put into my arms and I felt so secure and so in love with our new little miracle. He was cooing and squacking right away and being so very vocal about his experience. He looked up at me and he was so perfect, so very perfect.
As I lay on the floor for a while longer, Heidi came and went (as did the second midwife), providing me hot towels and giving me cut up fruit to eat. Soon it was time to cut the cord, and neither Ryan nor I wanted to. (I was worried I would miss!) So Heidi cut the cord and James was officially a part of our world. Heidi checked his vitals, spine, ears, hands, feet and kibbles (both were accounted for!) James was weighed in a sling and measured for length and head circumference.
Soon, it was time for me to move away from the bathroom floor and into bed. I continued to hold James while we both learned how to nurse- eventually, we both got it and he latched on quite well. Heidi and the second midwife covered me with warm towels and checked my vitals.
James was born at 6:21 in the morning and weighed 7 pounds 12 ounces. He was 21 inches long and had a head circumference of 35 cm. Having him has been the greatest accomplishment of my life. I can’t believe I had the physical strength to bring him into this world they way I did, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The home birth we had was the most amazing experience and we would do it again for sure. Heidi is the most amazing person! She knew exactly how to help me through the toughest moments and gave us such confidence through the whole pregnancy and birth. I would have another home birth baby in a heartbeat. After meeting our little James, there is nothing I could have gone through that would make me change my mind!
We love you, James!