Here it is.
My totally-unplanned, painfully-natural, scary-intense-traumatic, couldn’t-have-thought-it-would-go-any-more-different-than-I-planned, homebirth
As you know from my previous pregnancy post, I have a REALLY hard first 20 weeks of pregnancy.
With my first pregnancy, I had a fairly less traumatic labor. My water broke at 40+4 weeks pregnant and then 10 hours later (along with preeclampsia and that terrific magnesium IV) my 7lb 10oz bundle arrived.
This time around, I experienced Braxton Hicks (BH) contractions around 30 weeks. By 35 weeks you could time them. By 36 weeks the BH were painful. Like, lie in bed and can’t sleep until 2 or 3 in the morning painful.
We had two “scares.” The first, I woke up with painful contractions and vomiting around 36 weeks. The second, I felt a “pop” and had some water trickle. Both were false labor and both times we were sent home without our baby. (Oh how fun that last month of pregnancy can be, right?)
Finally, my doctor suggested an induction to take place at 39+4 weeks and end the madness. My husband and I had already decided we would ask for an induction, so when she offered one, the words “yes please” couldn’t have flown out of my mouth faster.
An induction seemed so magical. We would be able to have planned care for our 2 year old. The house would be in order. My husband would be home. My doctor would deliver (and not one of the random 9 doctors in the clinic), and most importantly, I would get to kiss that sweet little girl inside my tummy. Oh yeah, and an epidural.
I have friends who are the “all-natural” type. How strong I think they are!! Seriously, these women are amazing. I, however, am not one of those women. Please take the pain away!
The day was here!
I called in at 5:30AM and 9:00AM to be informed we would have to wait until later in the day because they were so busy.
At 1PM I got the call I knew would eventually come. The one that would burst our “happy labor day bubble” and send us home to pout on the couch while reading more natural induction birth stories–because then they COULDN’T turn us away! Muahahaha!
For a month I had been following a group of women attempting castor oil inductions. So many success stories that I had jokingly read with/to my husband. We never thought we (well… me… my husband definitely didn’t partake in the consumption) would end up actually trying it. But after that devastating phone call, we looked at each other knowing it was happening. Off to Fred Meyer we went to buy the ingredients to make my pineapple-core-OJ-castor oil concoction.
2PM: I choked down that chapsticky glass of ‘get-my-baby-out-please’ with only expectations I’d end up on the toilet.
The castor oil did nothing except make me feel a little nauseous and send my husband to Sonic to get me a cherry limeade.
9PM: While reading more natural induction stories and sitting on my birthing ball, I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. After a whole day of waiting around for the terrible bathroom stories I had read about, I thought maybe I was going to end up with that moment.
9:09PM I had a contraction and joked to my husband “Maybe this is it-LOL.”
BAM. Another contraction 30 seconds later. BAM-and another! By this point I was on the ground. “Okay this is real. Finally we get to go!”
My husband began to pack up the car while I tried calling the doctor. (Remember it has been all of 2 minutes since the contractions started).. Usually they tell you, “It’s time to go in when the contractions are 5 minutes apart, lasting 1 minute each, for ONE HOUR.” ONE WHOLE HOUR you are supposed to experience this BEFORE even calling in. Yes, I waited a whopping 2 minutes.
I got the answering service and they told me the doctor would call back shortly. Ugh, “hurry!”
During the ten minutes I waited for the doctor to call, my body cleared itself out (if you know what I mean) and the contractions became completely constant. She told me I could come in if I wanted to, but since it had only been 10 minutes, “there’s no rush.” I responded as politely as I could, “We’re coming in right now.”
My husband had the car packed and took our 2 yr old down while I tried, unsuccessfully, to get down there too.
I was on all-fours, screaming bloody murder, on our bathroom floor. I made it to the toilet because I thought it would help relieve some pressure, only to scare myself into thinking I’d be one of those ‘crazy women’ who have their baby born in the toilet. No thanks. As I made my way back to the ground I felt a huge amount of pressure and my water exploded like a volcano.
See ya later epidural.
Back to the ground I went, screaming and crying, thinking the neighbors must be calling 911 because
someone is being murdered in here. “Aaaaannnnthonyyyyyy!” (My husband)
He appeared to, in his mind, carry me down to the car. But there was no way. I told him to call 911. “Uh.. what? Are you sure?” “YES. CALL 911!”
The call log reads 9:27 outgoing call to 911. (It’s been 18 minutes)
He ran down to get our daughter out of the car while trying to talk to 911. (He really is amazing, isn’t he?) At this point, I’m sure our baby is coming, right there, in the bathroom.
My husband came back up with our screaming toddler, and I manage to ask him if he can see the baby coming out. “No,” and he scurries to find a quieter place to speak to 911.
The next second, I roll onto my back–she’s coming.
“ANTHONY GET IN HERE” As I delivered her head by myself. “I NEED YOU TO DELIVER THIS BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABY!”
“She’s coming!” You hear him say on the 911 recording, as he places our toddler next to my head and throws the 911 call to the ground. “Hello?” Asks the 911 operator. There is no use.
God’s presence came over us in that moment. For the next 30 seconds, my 2 yr old matured far beyond her age. She stopped screaming as she rubbed my forhead.
One more push and she was here. Silent.
Our 2 yr old gave her a kiss and said “baby sista!” Then went back to screaming.
The baby is handed to me as my husband swoops our older daughter and runs outside to flag down the ambulance.
Avenly was born at 9:29, 7lbs 4oz, 20″, perfectly healthy, and so quiet. To say we were scared out of our minds is an understatement. But after I watched her breathe for a minute, I began to worry less about her immediate health, and prayed the EMT’s would arrive quickly.
My very good friend, who happens to live 5 feet away, appeared in the doorway. She was 38 weeks very pregnant and we stared at each other, “What in the world?” The most beautiful thing happened right there only a minute prior. She reassured me the ambulance was coming and that we were okay. What a friend she is! I said to her, “Talk about natural!” Hah! We had spoken so many times previously about how I 100% was getting an epidural.
The EMT’s showed up, got us to the hospital, and both baby and I were declared healthy.
I’ll never forget the faces of the doctors and nurses as we arrived. “I just spoke with you.”
Our family of four is now falling into ‘normal-life’ as the buzz from our friends and family dies down about the birth.
As thankful as I am to have gone through this beautiful experience, when asked if I will have a homebirth with my next baby, my reply is, “No, I would like to get my epidural, please and thank you.” And we all laugh. Although I often worry I will have that baby inside Target. Oh dear. I am ‘one of those crazy women.’
We also made the front page of our local paper, oh Avy, already famous.
I would love to hear your birth stories. They are all pretty exciting, amen?
Whatever plans we make for ourselves, thinking it will be best, we have to be careful. God may just have something a million more times spectacular for us.. and it might be exactly what you think you don’t want. He gives good gifts!
All my love,
All photos taken by Natalie Brenner Photo