Jacob was my second baby and second home birth. I planned to have a water birth with him. Here’s his fast labor birth story.
My due date was May 11th. It came…and passed, just as it had with my daughter Maggie’s home birth! Five days after my due date, I woke up around 3:30am when I realized I was losing my mucous plug. Of course, once that happened I was pretty excited! I knew I was one step closer to my baby coming into this world.
I knew getting my rest was important so I climbed back into bed…only to experience my first labor contraction of the pregnancy a few minutes later! After having 2 more contractions, each about 10 minutes apart I gave up on trying to go back to sleep. I got up and went downstairs. I busied myself unloading the dishwasher, straightening up the house, and then sat on my labor ball for about 2 hours watching television and timing my contractions.
These contractions were not intense and they were, on average, 10 minutes apart, so I was still unsure if we’d have a new baby that day or not. Then, just as suddenly as they started, my contractions stopped. It was 6am, so I decided I’d head back to bed and get a little bit more rest.
My husband, Orin, works 12-hour shifts, and this day happened to be a day he was already scheduled off of work. Once we both awoke, I filled him in on what had happened overnight, but as I was still not having any substantial contractions, we went about our day as usual.
I sent a message to my midwife to let her know what was going on and told her I’d contact her if anything changed. We also called my mother-in-law who was going to watch Maggie for us while I was in labor. It was decided that since she was off of work that day as well, that she would go ahead and come by after nap time to pick up Maggie. My husband and I also decided to get the birthing tub set up and ready to go, just in case.
Just as Maggie was getting ready to wake up from her nap, my contractions started to become regular again and were anywhere from 7-10 minutes apart. They were still not painful but I called my midwife to give her an update. We decided that she would come to our house to see if I was dilating, and we’d go from there.
My midwife arrived around 4pm. At this point my contractions were about 5-6 minute apart and were more noticeable but still not painful/uncomfortable. I was shocked, and excited when she checked me and announced that I was already 4-5cm dilated! She decided then that she would stick around…and it’s a good thing she did! Within minutes of her checking my progress, my labor really started to pick up! My contractions jumped to 2-3 minutes apart and stayed that way until baby Jacob was born.
I loved using the birthing tub when I gave birth to Maggie, so when my contractions started to get a little bit more uncomfortable I eagerly got in the tub. I have to admit that when I’m in labor, I get into the zone and don’t pay very much attention to the time. I’m guessing that it was probably about 5pm when I climbed into the birthing tub.
My labor progressed quickly, and before I knew it I was asking my midwife to check my progress again. She did and I was 8cm. After 2 more contractions and feeling like I needed to start pushing, I asked her to check me again. I was still only 8cm dilated but she gave me the go-ahead to push lightly with each contraction if I felt the urge.
I don’t know how long it was, but I felt like I was in the transition stage for a much longer time with this birth. My water still had not broken and I actually think that is what was holding me back. A few contractions later as I was slightly pushing I felt a pop (and pain, which was surprising to me!) as my water broke. I believe it was the pressure from my water breaking that made it hurt like it did. I’ve only shot a gun a few times in my life, but the pop reminded me of the kick you get from firing a rifle only this kick happened inside of me! Ouch!
The contraction immediately following my water popping arrived and there was no time to ask my midwife to check my progress. I KNEW Jacob was coming and there was no stopping him! My body was going to start pushing him out whether I helped or not!
Let me just say that with Maggie’s birth I felt the “ring of fire” as she crowned, but after that, I didn’t even really feel her coming out of me. I had been so surprised because I expected to feel her body coming out of mine and it just wasn’t like that. Jacob, however, was another story! I felt his whole body sliding out and as surprising as this may sound, I was excited to be able to experience that!
Pushing Jacob out was definitely a more intense experience! I felt the “ring of fire” with him, but even after my midwife announced that his head was out, I was still feeling the burn and the desire to push. I pushed for another 2 or 3 contractions (I think) and then my midwife suggested I get out of the tub and on my hands and knees to help ease his big shoulder out which were getting stuck. I only made it to standing up before another contraction happened and out he came. Perfect, precious, beautiful.
One of the things I love about a home birth is how relaxed everything is immediately following the birth. Jacob was handed to me right away, and I was able to hold, nurse and bond with him for over an hour. We delay cord cutting/clamping until the cord stops pulsating. Maggie’s cord stopped within minutes, but Jacob’s cord continued to pulsate for almost an hour!
After lots of bonding time, I handed my newborn baby over so he could be weighed, measured, and dressed. Jacob weighed 8 pounds, 2 oz (a whopping 1 pound, 3 ounces more than his older sister at birth!) and was 19 inches long. I also learned why his shoulders got stuck. From what I’ve read, the chest measurement is usually 2 inches smaller than the head. His chest measurement was only 1/4 inch smaller than his head!! He gets his broad chest from his daddy!
I would be lying if I said that his birth was as easy as his sister’s. It was much quicker–probably half the time of her birth, but it was much more intense. I told my husband it was like walking 5 miles with Maggie’s birth, and running 5 miles with his birth. I was a lot more tired and worn out when it was all over, even though I was finished so much quicker.
My husband asked me when it was all over if I would do it again and have a third, at home, unmedicated. My answer?? It’s the only way I EVER want to give birth, and I’m looking forward to labor if we decide to have more children in the future!