First-Time Mom Delivers Painlessly at HomeJanuary 18, 2020
Christi’s Birth Story (Birth #1)
I went to my 40-week appointment at 10 am on Nov 20th. My mom had been in town for a week and could only stay one more week because she was undergoing cancer treatments. Because of this time constraint, I asked my midwife to check me (which she doesn’t do unless I ask). I was a 3 almost a 4 so I decided I wanted her to strip my membranes to see if it would help me go into labor. She stripped membranes at 10:30 and after our appointment, my husband and I ran a couple of errands. I was starting to get a bit crampy around noon, which I was expecting because of the membranes.
When I got home I decided to play the “stall labor” game and do everything I could think of to relax and rest. I took a bath and a nap. Then I got up and was just relaxing in the living room when I realized that I was having major lapses in conversation and wasn’t responding to people when they talked to me. I was having crampy uncomfortable feelings but they would sneak in and sneak out and they weren’t clear enough that I could tell where they began or ended. At this point, it was 3 pm and I thought, “Hmm, if I’m focusing enough that I am not responding, maybe I’m in labor…” So I called my midwife and said, “I don’t know if this is labor but I’ve had about 3 hours of these annoying cramps.” She said she would swing by and check me to see if they were making me progress. I decided to nap with my husband until she arrived.
My husband had been watching me and was pretty sure we were having a baby that day so he was already in bed. I had been dozing in and out of sleep for about 20 minutes when all of a sudden I heard and felt a loud “POP” at the top of my belly and felt a lot of intensity all of the sudden. It was just general intensity and I couldn’t even tell you where I “felt” it. My water had broken and I sat bolt upright, saying “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh” then grabbed the trashcan next to my bed and threw up. As I am throwing up my brain is having this hilarious debate: “Throwing up is usually a sign of transition. I can’t be in transition, I’m not even in labor yet.”
After my stomach was empty I was finally feeling contractions. They weren’t painful. The best way I can describe them was a deep ache and a lot of intensity. I couldn’t completely relax all my muscles, so I focused on keeping tension only in my shoulders and neck. I focused on making my lower body, from my ribs down, like jello.
My husband had jumped out of bed and was scrambling to get the birthing tub inflated and filled. This hadn’t been done earlier because I had decided it would be a good activity for early labor. I thought that since this was my first, I would have PLENTY of time to inflate the tub, and make a crock-pot meal and maybe do some laundry. I had a long list of things planned for early labor…
So my water just broke and I’m in transition, my contractions were pretty close together and then my midwife walks in the door to me IN LABOR. No more of this “I don’t really know.” “Well, I’ll just come to check you” stuff.
At this point, it is 3:45. I had about 8 contractions on my hands and knees in bed while they got the water ready. I moved to the end of the bed feeling the urge to push and was squatting and leaning against the end of my bed for 2 more contractions. Pushing immediately relieved the intensity; it was like I could now do something with the energy that was bouncing around inside of me. It was great!
At 4:10 the water was ready and I booked it to the other room between contractions announcing “Move, get out of my way” as I went. Everyone wanted to help me move all slow and steady and I just wanted that water! I got in and it was heavenly! I am a huge water lover, it is my happy place and I relax immediately in the water!
If I had been in a hospital they would have probably been having me push a lot harder and she could have come very quickly but because my midwife was happy to let me push however I felt led, I went nice and easy and let her come very slowly. I actually asked my midwife at one point if it was ok for the baby that I was taking my time, to which she replied “Of course! And this is really good for you.”
I could feel everything. I knew right where she was and could feel the change in her position as she descended. Since I was obviously in labor when my midwife got there, she hadn’t bothered to check me but I couldn’t quite believe that I was as far along as my body was telling me I was, so I asked her to check me when I got in the water. My daughter’s head was almost crowning. I was completely at peace, my Christmas lights and candles were on and my delta/theta wave music was playing. The only way everyone knew I was having a contraction was that I would start pushing.
When my daughter crowned I could feel the stretch (ring of fire) and would describe it as the feeling of an Indian rug burn but I knew that I wanted to let it stretch and focused on relaxing. It wasn’t as intense as I was expecting and I got a 3-minute break between that contraction and the last one. I knew I couldn’t have another contraction without her coming. I changed positions a bit and got a sweet kiss from my hubby. I could reach down and feel my daughters’ head and her rug of hair.
My last contraction started slowly and I could feel it build and knew that this was it! The only pain I had was just as her head finally came out and I tore a little bit but it was only about a second and then immediate relief! She took another 10 seconds or so to rotate and I could feel her shoulders turning. It was an amazing sensation but completely painless.
Then at 5:35 the rest of her slid out and my husband and I reached down and brought her up out of the water together! It was perfect and amazing! It was the experience of a lifetime and not 10 minutes later I was telling my midwife that I couldn’t wait to do it again!
In the midst of all of this, I cannot describe the amount of peace and comfort that I feel. I am being cradled into Father God’s arms and I am watching this transformation and life grow in ground scorched with grief and pain.
Instead of countless fearful and helpless hours spent numbed and strapped in bed, at the mercy of the medical staff’s orders, our birth was a joyful, intimate, sacred experience — a powerfully bonding journey for me, for Greg, and for Anna.
What a contrast to my first birthing experience, it was phenomenal! And all thanks to this amazing group – I was able to trust that God had his hand over me and our girl and trust completely that my body knew exactly what it was doing. I even felt (relatively) amazing afterward – literally like I had given birth a week prior not a few hours!