My little guy is 3 months old already. I seriously can NOT believe it! Life with four kids is, well, SO busy! The weeks just seem to be flying by. While his birth is still fairly fresh in my mind, I wanted to make sure I took the time to write about it for those who have been asking.
As you might remember, I was overdue with Gideon. WAY overdue. I believe I had my due date wrong by about 2 weeks originally (I blogged about that here). Because my cycles were unpredictable when he was conceived and I chose to not have an ultrasound, there’s no way to tell for sure just how late he was, but by my best estimate he was born at 42 weeks + 3 days.
On Wednesday, February 3rd, desperate to get labor started, I went for an acupressure session in hopes it would get the ball rolling. It WORKED! Less than 3 hours later I lost my mucus plug, which has always been a good indicator that my labor will start within 24 hours. I actually started having very mild contractions that night as well. The following morning I woke up to contractions that were about 7-10 minutes apart. They were still mild but I thought that I’d be in active labor within a few hours. Sadly, I was wrong. After about 2 hours of mild contractions they fizzled out. For the rest of the morning and afternoon they would come and go, never very strong or regular.
We blew up the birthing tub and filled it partially with water so it would ready to go when the time came.
Dinner time approached and contractions were about the same, so my husband and I went out to dinner at Applebee’s. While there, I noticed the contractions getting more intense, but nothing I couldn’t talk through. When we returned home, knowing labor was eminent we decided to try to get some rest. My contractions were still coming about every 7-10 minutes but obviously gaining in intensity. At around 12:30, after a few stronger contractions my husband (knowing me and my labor patterns pretty well by now) said he was calling the midwife. I didn’t argue.
By the time my midwife arrived (no idea what time it was by then) I was in the birthing pool. I asked her to check me and I was 5cm dilated. Ugh — only a 5? Time and labor got a bit hazy after this point. My contractions continued to come about 5-10 minutes apart. They were not establishing a strong pattern or very close together. They were however sometimes double peaking and very intense. I distinctly remember feeling discouraged that I was never going to get into the transition phase because they wouldn’t come any closer together. They were such strong contractions that it felt like transition in that way, but I kept trying to mentally prepare myself for them to get worse…..all while thinking “my gosh, how long is this labor going to be?!?”
Having been through natural childbirth 3 other times, I’ve learned a few things along the way. I’ve learned to trust my instincts and my body. I remembered that squatting opens up the pelvis more, so for the first time I was purposeful about squatting that way in the birthing tub. I felt more comfortable and confident during this labor. During my last two home births, my water broke during the contraction immediately before I started pushing. During both labors I’d had an urge to push slightly before then but held it back for a while. I noticed though that when I gave in (mildly) to the pushing that that would pop my water and I’d be ready to push. So this time, as I started to feel those urges, I went with my body. I pushed gently, calmly and before I knew it I was telling my husband to go get our midwife who was in the next room.
One of the things I love about home birth and my midwife is that she gets me. She’s there if I need her and yet she also gives me my space, to be in my own element, to go inward, and just focus on birthing my baby. Birth has always been a very special, bonding time between my husband and me and I appreciate that I have this intimate time with him. He is my rock and I rely so heavily on him throughout the process.
Just as my midwife and husband got back to the room I told them I was starting to push. I have no idea how long I pushed, but it certainly didn’t feel like it was for very long. I was ready to have that baby in my arms! I can remember that I mentioned to my midwife as I was pushing that I wasn’t sure if my water had broken yet because I hadn’t felt it. I thought maybe it might have a tear in it, but I really wasn’t sure since I was in water already in the birthing tub. Before I knew it I’d pushed the baby out and as my midwife helped to lift the baby to the surface I turned around to grab my baby (my midwife was behind me). Gideon emerged from the water still in the water sack (or en-caul). It was such a surprising sight! The sack (I learned) almost looks like a thick piece of the cling plastic wrap you’d use to cover food. It was thicker and stronger than I’d imagined. (Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of him en-caul.) My midwife pulled it off of his face and that’s when we both noticed he also had the cord wrapped around his neck. We slipped it off together and I pulled him close to me. He was just perfect! He was looking at me with squinted eyes and the sweetest face. That moment when you and your baby lock eyes for the first time is blissful. He was born at 4:19am, 21 1/2 inches and 7 pounds 12 ounces.
We did not find out the gender before birth, so after a few moments of holding him close to me I couldn’t take the suspense another second and checked. I had been convinced we were having a girl, so I was completely shocked to find out we had another sweet boy. Girl/Boy, it didn’t matter to us, just a healthy, happy baby, and he is both! It took us a few days to decide on a name and we eventually settled on Gideon.
Every pregnancy, labor, and birth I learn something new. As I went over the 42 week mark I started to wonder if my baby would EVER make an appearance. Of course he did and it was obviously the right time for him. My body knew what it was doing. I’m SO thankful I waited and did not head into the hospital for an induction. This time around I was also reminded that no two labors are the same, in fact, they can be very different and unpredictable. I never established a labor pattern the way I had with my other 3 births. If I’d realized I didn’t HAVE to have contractions so close together, I probably could have relaxed a lot more during my labor, rather than worrying about them needing to pick up. That’s something I’ll keep in mind if we have more children.
We are so happy to have little Gideon in our lives. I am so thankful for another amazing home birth and so blessed to be his mom.