So after 41 weeks, the baby was doing great on all tests, but my midwives were starting to feel the pressure of keeping me as a patient if I went much longer. I hate that this is the society we live in, but it is and if I wanted to stay with them for much longer, I was gonna need to encourage my baby to come. I did acupuncture, homeopathy, pineapple, spicy food, sex, exercise, pumping, and finally castor oil (which I swore I would never do again after Elijah). None of that coaxed either of my beautiful boys out of the womb which when you really think about it, why would they want to leave???
So at sixteen days past my due date (42 weeks, 2 days), I agreed to let my midwife break my water. It worked like a charm with Elijah and I had waited as long as I could to ensure its chances of working. At 11am, at my midwives home, she broke my water. There was a ton of clear water that came out. And then we all headed home to wait, relax, and pump some more.
At 3pm, they started coming and I was a little surprised because with Elijah it took eleven hours to work. They were very irregular and about 45 min. apart, but by 6pm, they were 15 min. apart and by 7pm, about a minute and half apart. They started to even out and around 8pm, I was in a very regular cycle of every 3 minutes or so. My doula, Genevieve arrived, my midwives, Laurel and Alice came, and there were some laughs in between contractions. Bob Marley was put on in the background because as Laurel said, "babies love Bob Marley." Early labor was pretty fun and I was thrilled that it was finally time to meet my baby.
The contractions, as they tend to do, got stronger and more intense and at some point I stopped cracking jokes in between. The baby was pushing very hard in between contractions as well which made it very difficult to rest or catch my breath for the next one, but I had found my voice, my position, and I think I was handling it pretty well. I labored on the ball, in the birth tub which was awesome, hanging on my amazing husband, etc....
|My husband is amazing!|
At about 2am, I was ready to start pushing I told my midwife, but it was not a physical feeling, just more of an, I'm done with all this, lets get going feeling. She checked me and said it was not time yet. I later found out I was at 6-7cm then. I labored a few more hours and at some point we all discovered that the baby was on my pelvic bone and posterior and while he was trying with all his might (trust me on this one) to push his way down, it was unlikely I would dialate more until the pressure of his little head came down. So I was in that same dilation and labor pattern for about 8 hours. At that point, the contractions felt like they were coming very quickly. I kept telling Josh that I was not sure I could do this.
|Laurel hugging me when it was rough, I remember melting into that hug!|
About 7am, my midwives had me on my side, on the floor trying to help the baby move off my pelvic bone. This was extremely hard for me and my contractions were not coming as often as they needed to be even though it felt like they were with the baby pushing so hard in between. So the midwives used the pump a little bit. It was just awful there on the floor and at some point I asked for a break. Josh and I went outside and did some lunges in the backyard per Laurel's recommendation. My midwives had told me that the baby and I were handling this beautifully and that all it was gonna take was more time, but I was convinced they were holding something back so outside I kept crying and asking Josh to tell me what I needed to do differently. There is a very frustrating feeling when you know you are making zero progress for hours on end, you are tired, and just want it all to be over. Josh told me the same thing, that I just needed to be patient and it would turn around.
Well then we came inside, I overheard my midwives say something about giving me another hour or two and I was convinced (as convinced as a determined exhausted woman who cannot clarify anything her midwives are saying can be). I was convinced that they did not think this baby would come and I knew the hospital was 45 min away. I was not gonna lie on that ground for another two hours and THEN take a 45 min car ride. So..... I gave up. I said to myself, "I am gonna regret this."
But then I told my midwives to take me to the hospital for an epidural so I could relax a bit. Interestingly enough, even though the midwives tried to talk me out of it, when they finally agreed, my contractions were coming back to back and I was handling them on my own because my doula was lying in bed with Elijah, and everyone else was scrambling to get ready to transfer.
Around 8am we left, and that car ride was excruciating. I kept telling myself not to faint, the baby was pushing so hard during and in between, and I was in the most awkward of positions. 45 minutes later, we arrived at the hospital. I did not have the energy to cry anymore. I just kept asking for meds, actually begging. But they had to ask me intake questions before they could call the anesthesiologist. I do not think I answered one. At one point I was in my gown, in the bed and a big contraction was coming. I made a moaning sound that made everyone in the room including my midwife whip their heads around and say. "wait a second, that sounded like a push." They checked me and what do you know.... the baby turned anterior, came off my pelvic bone, I was completely dilated and the baby was coming. I was so tired, even this news did not derail me from continuing to ask for pain meds. But then, it happened. What I needed to happen, but did not know I needed. My midwife got in my face so to speak. She told me absolutely not (it was too late anyway) was I going to get an epidural when the whole reason we came to the hospital was now gone, I was gonna push this baby out right now. I think I whimpered knowing this was gonna be work. And it took everything in me. BUT, he was moving, I could feel him. I felt his body coming lower and lower and this was such a relief. I felt him crown, the ring of fire, and his head pop out. Everyone in the room was commenting on what a tight squeeze and big baby this was. The doctor on call did not pull him, but let me do the work, so he slowly emerged. When his body was half way out, they suctioned him, I pushed him the rest of the way out and he came right to my chest. He stayed there for two hours before I let Josh hold him.
It was another beautiful baby boy... I love boys. Jonah Cameron Roberts was 9lbs, 3oz and I pushed him out in about 20-30 minutes and I was on my back. I love to stand during labor so this fact still mystifies me. I always thought I would push my babies out standing up.
When I think of the decision I made to go to the hospital I am frustrated and disappointed in myself. I should have trusted my midwives, I took away an opportunity for Josh to catch his son as he wanted, I took away an opportunity for Elijah to see his brother be born, and I took away from myself forever the right to say I birthed my baby at home. I know what everyone will say to these complaints. I know some people will think they are silly. I am of course so grateful that I have been able to conceive, have two beautiful incredibly healthy little boys, and that we are all well. But I find myself mourning the end result of each birth none the less. Jonah's birth was ten time more difficult than Elijah's and I have always known that one reason for me to choose midwifery care was to avoid the temptation for pain meds. I know myself well and I did not want them to be an option. I did not really even think about them with Elijah so I was surprised at how much harder this was. My midwives have been so incredible helping me along this postpartum path. They call me all the time, visit me at home, and give the kind of care that makes me feel like I am their only patient.
|Alice and baby Jonah, one week old|
And to me that is the moral of both of my births. If I had not chosen midwifery care and to labor outside the hospital for all but 45 minutes of each of my sons, I am convinced without a doubt, that both of my boys would have been cesareans. Elijah was breech at 36 weeks (the midwife turned him), I was diagnosed with a muscle disease, and his heart rate dropped a bit too much during labor (which is why we transferred in his birth). Jonah was stuck for a long time on my pelvic bone despite handling it very well. These situations are not ones hospitals will let you stick with for long. My midwives trusted my body to do its job while keeping us safe at the same time. Because of this, I had two unmedicated vaginal births. I am so thankful for that because I believe we are all healthier for it. This is what I try to remember when the sadness hits.
And now I am off to figure out how to be the best mama I can be to two little ones who both seem to need me constantly. This may be tougher than transition. :)
|And now for our new life...|