I had just worked two long night shifts and was supposed to be getting ready for work Wednesday evening, but I started having contractions around noon. I thought maybe they were just intense Braxton Hicks contractions. I thought maybe I overdid it working and walking 5 miles per night while being 34 weeks along. As it was, I could barely walk from the heaviness and pain in my left leg around the groin area. The contractions did not go away for over 5 hours, and they were getting closer together and lasting for around 30-45 seconds, so I ended up calling in to work. I told myself if the contractions stopped for 24 hours, I would put myself back on the schedule because I really needed to work. However, the contractions were sporadic but never ceased. They were off and on for the next 2 days. I kept myself limited to bedrest and minor activities until my water broke Friday. My boyfriend, Bryan, was at work that day and I called him to come home because I was sure we were going to be having a baby that night. All my other labors were fast. My last baby was fast. So surely this one would be too, right? Wrong.
I was in prodromal labor. I had never heard of prodromal labor before. As a nurse, I was taught by my nursing instructor that "You will hear of these women saying they are in labor for days and its just not true." Well doctor, it is true. I know because it happened to me! The reason doctors and nurses don't know much about prodromal labor is because they don't allow a woman to labor that long in a hospital. They have Pitocin, which is made from pig hormones, that helps induce and control labor and contractions. Usually in the hospital when a woman doesn't progress to the speed the doctor expects, then they start pharmaceutical interventions. My body knew that baby would come when he was ready, so I allowed it. I drank 3 to 4 Liters of fluid a day in the form of fresh water and teas so my body would continue to make plenty of amniotic fluid. Some misinformed people encouraged me not to let my water be broken more than 24 hours or infection could set in. What most people don't know is that the amniotic sac has 2 sacs, the amnion and the chorion. I have read of women waiting 6 days after their water broke. And I have read of women waiting 6 weeks after their water broke because it was too early to induce. My body knew just what to do.
For 2 days I was on bedrest with my water broken. The contractions were few and far between, and they were mild compared to the contractions I had on Wednesday night. Bryan stayed home Saturday from work and helped with the kids so I could stay on bedrest. He was so helpful getting the kids from school Friday and being my nurse all weekend, bringing me food and beverages and giving me emotional support. I took a walk that night to try and speed things up and it felt tolerable. I wasn't sure if I should start pumping to encourage labor, but I never tried it. Saturday night I started getting really uncomfortable. I was having contractions but they didn't feel as intense as Wednesday night's. They were not frequent or painful. I got into the tub and did this about 15 times over the 4 days I was in labor. The water was hot and refreshing. It helped a lot but the pain was starting to get unbearable during contractions. After about 2 hours of steady contractions, I realized they were not going to stop. I was able to feel that the cervix was open and the baby's head was low. I was mentally preparing myself for being able to push. I got back in bed and tossed and turned a couple more times during contractions. I took a deep breath, told myself this was it, and I got back in the tub. I looked out through my bathroom window and the moon that was full and white earlier had turned to a deep orange. The harvest moon was absolutely gorgeous and such a symbolic meaning to me with this powerful home birth. The moon turned to a bright red and looked so mystical.
Finally around 5 am Sunday morning, I was ready to push him out. I was in the tub and I got on my knees for the first time ever while delivering a baby, and I started to push during a contraction and there came his little head. It was so liberating to be able to do it all myself! I thought my boyfriend would have to catch him but as soon as he started to come out, all I had to do was keep pushing. I pushed for maybe ten to fifteen seconds and he slid right out. It was the easiest part. I already had my hands on his little body and I scooped him up out of the water and cried tears of joy. He was beautiful and perfect. He wasn't even crying and it scared me a little. He was perfectly happy, healthy and breathing. He had a beautiful skin color.
I let his placenta deliver and his cord pulsate for 20-30 minutes until I could no longer feel the pulse in his cord. Some people believe that 5 minutes of delayed cord clamping is enough. That is about all the time my last OBGYN let my baby's cord pulsate for before he told me that it was no longer pulsating. I wish I had stuck my hand down there at that time to feel it myself because he was wrong. Delaying cord clamping allows the newborn to get 1/3 extra blood that is deprived when baby's cord is immediately clamped after birth. Some people allow the cord to stay attached for an hour or two. Some people do Lotus Births and let the whole placenta stay attached until the cord falls off naturally. It was so liberating to be able to cut the cord myself and I tied a knot in it.
I did not save my placenta this time. Last year I saved it, and it's still in my freezer back home. I had plans to encapsulate it, but I never did, so one day next summer I will bury it in the dirt near an Oak Tree. I wanted to do so many things with this placenta, but I was tired and happy my baby was here, so I just put it in a garbage bag and tossed it.
It was so refreshing to be able to crawl into my own bed after Kai was born. I had no one pushing on my belly. No one telling me my baby would die without Hep B or Vitamin K. No one to try and leave with my baby for an assessment. No one to tell me I couldn't have a water birth because my water broke nearly 2 days ago, or that I couldn't water birth because I refused the Rhogam shot or the glucose test. No one pushing stool softeners, synthetic vitamins, no 17 people coming into my room all day. No one telling me I couldn't sleep with my baby in my arms while in my bed. Mommy and Baby need bonding time.
Immediately after he was born, I started massaging my uterus to prevent hemorrhaging. I used arnica gel and alternated with CBD Oil. I rubbed it for about 2 minutes every 15-30 minutes for the first 2 hours, then hourly after that for the next 6 hours, then as needed. I was amazed at how immediately after birth I couldn't even feel my uterus. It already felt like it was back down to size. In fact, my ovaries hurt worse than my uterus did.
I finally did it! I birthed without Fear!