Christian’s Home Water Birth Story
My first two children came at exactly 38 weeks after four-day-long labors. I was expecting another 38-week baby, which made for a very long, “overdue” pregnancy.
I was put on modified bed rest two weeks before I was due because of high blood pressure and crippling migraines. They ruled out pre-eclampsia, thankfully. I was under quite a bit of stress–we had been without water for several weeks because of a frozen water line, and you can’t exactly have a home water birth without water. Thankfully, city hall helped us out tremendously and got it all un-thawed before my due date.
I had been working with my doula from Sacred-Birth Doula Services and Dr. Michelle, DC chiropractor to get baby to turn since he was posterior–all of my babies had been, which caused 4-day-long, super intense labors. Labor had started and stopped multiple times and I had just grown so sick and tired of timing my contractions. After several hours I hopped in the tub after drinking a large glass of water, and my labor picked up.
It was about 9:30 at night when my midwife, Leilani Hall from Next Generation Midwifery called, but I had Kirk answer the phone because I was in the tub. He made small chit-chat with her and then his face looked very surprised and my heart sunk. I just knew something was wrong. One of my worst fears with this midwife was being realized–and I didn’t listen to my heart. Our midwife informed us she was to be out-of-town and that God told her another midwife was to deliver my baby.
Immediately, my labor stopped. I was so upset–I let the midwife know when I first met her that I had serious long-time abandonment issues and that was my biggest inhibitor in labor–and here she was…leaving me! She was leaving in less than seven hours! I was sobbing when I called my doula to let her know. My doula bent over backwards to find a solution for me.
Within a few days, I had fired my old midwife and hired a new one from Eastern Iowa Midwifery who came down right away to do a prenatal visit and get to know me. I have to credit my amazing doula, Kaity with arranging that. Eastern Iowa Midwifery was no longer serving my area, but she was able to get it so everything worked out perfectly. Divine time! Despite having a new midwife (who is amazing, btw), I still felt so…broken. Abandoned. Hurt. My previous midwife had become my friend and I had felt like I lost that. [*note* The earlier midwife and I reconciled just before my actual delivery, despite her not being the one who delivered Christian]
For about two weeks I had fought a nasty sinus infection–fever, migraine, high blood pressure. I scheduled a biophysical profile on that coming Monday just to make sure baby was okay since I’d be a week overdue then. I hadn’t felt baby move in quite a while, so my midwife suggested I head into labor and delivery just to be checked out on Saturday. I was put in triage and baby wasn’t reacting the way they wanted so I had to be monitored for three hours and put on an IV. They gave me pop and toast because I had ketones in my urine and then he started picking up the way they wanted so I was sent home with an antibiotic.
Sunday night I hardly slept a wink because I had been up all night coughing. My sides hurt so bad! Sometime in the middle of the night I had bloody show–labor would be happening soon…hopefully! My biophysical profile was at noon on Monday, and so I headed in for my ultrasound first. He was still posterior, head down and he had a lot of hair! His hand was over his face. They measured him at about 7lbs 13oz give or take a pound, and my placenta was on top of my stomach.
They were too booked for me to get in with an Ob-GYN, so the ARNP brought a student in with her for my appointment. I had to have them stop talking to me for a minute or so for a contraction that was a little more intense than what I had had. I wanted her to strip my membranes to get things going, so she checked me first.
“Uhhh…I’m going to need to grab a colleague of mine”, the ARNP said. “IS EVERYTHING OKAY?!” I shouted, fueled by anxiety.
“Oh yes, I’m just used to checking people who are 0-2cm, not people who are actually in labor.”
I looked at the student and had a huge smile on my face. She grabbed an Ob-GYN to check me. Her eyes got wide, “You’re at 8cm! The sack is bulging! You need to get downstairs now and deliver this baby!” I said, “No, I’m delivering at home! I’ve got to go!” She argued with me, saying I would have the baby in the car if I left now since I live 30+ minutes away. As she was heading out the door I asked what station I was at–she shouted ZERO STATION! You’re going to go NOW!
I ran to my car (okay, I hobbled), dialing my doula. I told her what the Ob-GYN said and she about fell out of her chair. She told me she was a bit from home, and that she could come now but wouldn’t have her regular labor bag, or she can run home to get it and then be on her way. Since I was used to such long labors, I told her to run home and then be on her way. In the meantime, I would call my midwife and let her know.
“You don’t sound like you’re in labor? Are you having regular contractions?” my midwife said. “Well, yeah. But nothing I can’t handle. Different than before, but nothing too painful.” “And you’re driving? What are you going to do if I don’t make it in time?” I told her I would have the baby and then just wait for her instead of heading to the hospital as long as all was well. She lived about an hour from me, so it would take her a bit to get there.
Meanwhile, I drove home and it took about 45 minutes-an hour because school was just letting out and I live far away. I called Kirk and told him to fill up the birthing pool–he was nervous, but excited. I also called my best friend who was going to take pictures, and she told me she was going to get the kids from school and then head up since my labors last so long.
I got home and ran into my dad’s room. He’s on hospice in our home, and we often have people coming in and out. I let him know what the doctors said, and that I was in labor and would be busy for a while but if he needed Kirk to just call upstairs. My doula called to let me know she decided she was just going to have her husband take her straight to my place and that she’d hitch a ride home with the midwife.
I went upstairs and there was an enormous wet spot next to the pool. Kirk had started filling the pool up and left the room to finish cleaning (?!?!?!). The hose slipped out and onto the floor. I was LIVID.
I was in labor, and not only that, he had done laundry so there was NO hot water left. I instructed him to boil water on the stove to put in the tub. I was so angry. I did NOT want to be dealing with that while I’m in labor! That, and I felt like I had to poop, so I texted my doula and she said that’s probably baby.
I’m timing my contractions, but get so mad because they’re very erratic. They were about six-ish minutes apart, but then I wouldn’t really feel one for a while. I tried laying down, but it hurt too much and felt better when I walked. My doula got there as I was fiddling with my phone. I was listening to Pandora’s Spa Radio when Rhianna came on. I do NOT like Top 40, especially when in labor! I was so angry, I almost threw my phone.
My doula got there in the midst of a contraction and started timing them for me. That was a huge relief, except it was hard to tell when I was actually having one until the middle of it. I guess I have a high pain tolerance? It hurt, but something I could deal with.
Kirk kept walking away once my contraction was done to try to get into swim trunks and go pee. Then I’d have to scream for him to sway with me and I was so angry because he kept walking away and I needed him! It felt better having his big shoulders to lean on. During an intense contraction, I bit him. But he’s used to that:”)
One of my midwives showed up and then I told her I had to poop! Then I said I NEED TO GET IN THE POOL AND I NEED TO DO IT NOW!!! I screamed at Kirk to take my pants off. Modesty was out the door–I hopped in the pool with just a sports bra on and leaned over the edge.
I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the midwife had this special wand thing that superheated water in a bucket–she warned me before she poured it in. I tensed up–I’m not sure what exactly I was anticipating? Did I think I was going to get scalded? Maybe. But as soon as that water was added HOLY COW. That was JUST what I needed!
I went through a contraction and then my doula asked where I kept my ponytail holders so that my hair wouldn’t be in my face (I thought it was so it wouldn’t ruin my blowout..teehee). She ran to the bathroom to grab one and put my hair up just as another one came on. She had her arms wrapped around me, I dug my nails into her arms and I bit her!
I bit my doula!
The pain was absolutely unbearable. I cried, yelling it hurts! It hurts! I don’t want to do this. I can’t do this! I kept thinking I want to die! I want to die! Make it stop!
My body then took over and started pushing. I felt my body strain, and there wasn’t any force on earth that could have stopped me. After my body pushed once, I was sobbing that it hurts! It felt like his head was right there and I asked if it was out! It literally felt like a half hour before the midwife checked and told me that no, it wasn’t his head–it was the sack. She asked me if I wanted her to break it—YES! I cried. Please! Hurry! She said it’ll hurt but I didn’t care–I just wanted relief!
She broke the sack and I felt instant relief, and a split second later I felt myself push again. I remember thinking as I’m pushing, “PUSH HARDER, KATHY! THAT’S THE ONLY WAY HE’LL COME OUT!” My body involuntarily jerks and I mutter “ehh” as if in a quiet protest. I then hear the midwife say, “uhh, you might want to lean back.” I was in shock. A trance. There was a baby in the water?!
She scooped the baby up into my arms and I looked bewildered. All kinds of things ran through my head. Wait. It’s not time yet? It’s only been a few minutes? Did I really just push? What do I do now? I stared at this beautiful baby and it just wasn’t registering to me that he was actually here.
Christian then laid his head down on my arm and closed his eyes. I nervously darted my eyes at my midwife and asked if he was okay. She said “yes, water babies are calm. He’s sleeping!” At that point I noticed my husband was in the pool with me–I later found out he had rubbed my lower back and got in when I did–I was so zoned in that I didn’t notice!
I also found out that no one even knew I had pushed at all–so it took a little bit for everyone to register that hey! There’s a baby in there! My doula said that I was the quietest person she’s ever heard go through transition.
She told me to hop out of the water so I could deliver my placenta. I grimaced….I didn’t want to do that! Can’t we just skip that part? I hopped on the bed which was covered in chucks pads. The second midwife showed up to help me deliver the placenta.
Christian was in my arms the entire time and I tried to nurse him. It took me a bit to remember exactly what to do, but he knew just what to do:) We kept him wrapped up in a heating blanket, since babies born in water tend to be much cooler. I remember hearing a text message come through on my phone but I didn’t check it.
Shortly after, my best friend walks in and says WHAT?! WHAT?! You had him without me?! I grinned. It had been her texting me, telling me she was on her way. I had her call my ex-husband to let him know to bring the girls over since they were at his house that day. They were so surprised and delighted he was finally here!
They weighed him in at 7lbs 11 oz (my biggest baby yet!), 20 1/2 inches long. He was born at 3:34 pm on March 17, 2014–St. Patrick’s Day! I was very pleasantly surprised he was a red-head. He came out with his hand over his face, and to this day still sleeps with his hands over his face!
The midwives and doula left after a few hours and I remember thinking…what the heck do I do now? I don’t have nurses telling me when to get up, when to pee, when to eat. I let my best friend hold Christian while Kirk helped me with the shower. He had to run to grab something, and then I started feeling very woozie.
I remember putting my arm up on the wall of the shower to stabilize me and I bobbed my head several times on it trying to yell “kirk!”. He caught me just as my legs buckled. Oops. I guess I took things a little too fast. He helped me to the bed and I felt much better.
Kirk brought Christian downstairs to see my dad who was even more in shock he was here already. He hadn’t heard a single peep, and it hadn’t even been an hour since I got home. That was my fastest labor ever. Only one of our midwives made it on time, and just in time to catch!
Please enjoy the slideshow: [WARNING: While not totally graphic, there are some nursing photos and a side view of my back-end in the birthing pool. If this bothers you, please do not watch!]