A Labor of Love

So, before, I posted kind of at length mostly about my awful hospital experience and how it drove me to have my son at home, with only my mother and husband present. I want to elaborate a little more now on the labor itself and how it was so empowering and what it really meant for me. After that experience I really shied away from ever wanting to see a hospital again, let alone have my baby in one. I continued to receive regular prenatal checkups and didn’t say anything to my doctors (the same ones who bullied me in the hospital) about my desire to birth at home. In fact, I didn’t tell very many people at all. My mother-in-law and her mother, of course, thought I was psychotic and that it was the stupidest idea they’d ever heard. There were a lot of people that thought this, including my older sister, who’d had her baby a year prior via C section at the very same hospital I had visited recently. However, it was none of their choice and my body and my child. My husband and mom supported me and that was all I needed. We’d actually moved in with my mom recently, partly so that she could help me with the baby when he came. Now it was convenient because I trust my mother and I’d have wanted no other birth attendant. We actually didn’t tell my dad about our home birthing plan as he is very old-fashioned and had an aunt pass away in a home birth long ago. However, we don’t live in the 1950s and I felt, intuitively, that it was the right thing to do for myself and my child.

Now, on to the story. I was pretty much on board with the idea of a UC like, right away. I never wanted to feel that loss of control again which I felt when I was hospitalized before, and particularly not when I was bringing new, breathing life into the world. My mom had a friend who had done a UC not too many months previous and was excited when we went to her asking questions. She lent us some books and a whole little home physician kit with like a stethoscope, a fetal heart monitor, a thermometer, and a couple other gadgets. She told me about how wonderful it was for her and told to be sure that I wanted it before committing. But I wanted it, to be sure, and I was certainly well down the road of commitment to it already.

My mom and I discovered the method of rolling on the yoga ball to help the baby get in position and to help widen the pelvic canal area and I said “Yes. I want that.” So she bought a big yoga ball, saying “It’s mine but I want you to use it. And I’ll just keep it here and we’ll have it for next time too.” Oh mom. Always planning ahead. We read online and asked people we knew about a list of equipment we should have ready for when the baby comes. We started getting it all together in about week 35ish I want to say. We sterilized a bulb syringe and a shoelace and some scissors and put them all in a zip lock bag until they would be needed. We got chucks pads and period pads and set some towels aside so they would be clean and ready to go when the day came. We got some heavy-duty industrial type plastic sheeting to line the tub with so we would have bloody nasty gunk going down the drain. We probably had a lot more stuff that I’m not thinking of right now, but you get the idea. We were driven and wanted to be as prepared as possible. We were reading books and watching videos (compliments of YouTube) of women birthing at home. I felt so ready. I was not really very nervous about the whole scenario in general.

Then, on the 14th of November, a chilly day in Colorado, I woke at 5am to intense contractions. I rolled out of bed to go pee and on the way to the bathroom I felt a trickle trickle down my leg and I was like “Ope! Here we go!” I went to get my husband and told him to go wake my mom up. She came downstairs, I told her about the fluid and we all knew today was the day. However, it was a Sunday, and as we were still hiding it from my dad, I labored, for the most part in the basement, and always not wherever he was. Shortly after the water trickle, I started having a little bloody show. It sort of increased and receded throughout the morning. I remember at one point being upstairs and I was moaning and groaning and rolling about, and my little sister who was almost 13 at the time, asked my mom “What’s wrong with Kaleigh? Is she in labor?” but, not wanting to spill the beans to Dad and risk a meltdown, she simply answered with “Well, we’re not sure. We’ll see.”

One key note in this story that I have not mentioned is that my mom’s house is 15 miles out of town in the country. And as it was Sunday, the family would be leaving for church at 1030, by which time I’d already been in hard labor for 5 and a half hours. Transition started around 930 or 10 and Hannah (little sister) definitely knew what was going on. My little brother, John, however, was only 10 and not quite as quick on the take. My dad, fortunately, is somewhat oblivious, but I don’t see how it’s possible that he didn’t suspect something. I think I recall him asking my mother if we were planning on heading to the hospital soon. And she opted to stay home from church, so I’m sure he at least assumed that I was in labor. He probably figured he’d just see us at the hospital after church though. But no hospital here.

Hannah, John, and Dad left for church at 1030, and I was to the point where I wanted to sit in the warm water of the tub and do nothing else. Throughout the morning up to that point, I had been moving around a lot. I was in a kind of cycle where I’d walk for a minute, roll on the yoga ball for a few, lay down and take a 45 second nap between contractions, drink water, maybe eat a slice of bread with peanut butter (gotta keep that protein up!) and get in the tub, just to get out again in another minute when it was no longer comfortable and start the cycle over. I did vomit a couple of times during transition; it was rough. But the whole time I was just looking forward, knowing that from all this, I would be holding my son in my arms before long. So, as I said, I was at the point where I was no longer exiting the tub. We had our clean towels and some swaddling blankets on a hot cycle in the dryer so they would be warm and sanitary when we needed them. I sat in the tub and mostly just groaned through rough contractions for about a half hour or so until I felt the urge to push. And that was just it. It was an urge; my body telling me what to do. I hadn’t taken any Lamaze or breathing classes, but I know it’s bad to hyperventilate and that in this case it could cause a lack of oxygen available to the baby, so I just kept my breathing as even and calm as possible. I was shouting, of course, but it was more of a primal war cry than a scream of pain.

There was a huge gush of fluid as I began to push and this is where things really get a little blurry for me. I pushed for a couple minutes, pretty hard, then took a break for just a momnet. I reached under the water and I could feel his head crowning. I pushed again and it was in the birth canal. I was screaming about it hurting and I remember my mom saying “Well don’t stop now! He’s almost out!” I remember then thinking ‘One more push! This is it!’ and with hardly a break between I gave it one more hard push and my mother was the first one to hold Espynn as she swept him up out of the water. He opened his eyes and looked around, blue as he was, and immediately closed them and went to sleep. It was done. He was out at last. We suctioned out his mouth and nose and started trying to provoke a little noise from him. However, he would not be bothered. I wasn’t going to slap him like they do in the hospital, just trying to stimulate him enough to bother him to the point of a noise basically. we tried for a couple minutes, but even though we had him awake and alert, he did not want to talk. Finally my mom was kinda rubbing by his cheek or ear and that bothered him and he let out about two loud wails. That was good enough for me.

My husband had been standing off to the side biting his nails the last bit of all this and decided to grab the camera, which was a great idea. As my mom handed Espynn to me after that, he snapped the picture that I posted with my previous story about this experience. I have cherished that picture, and as they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words. He was born only 45 minutes after the rest of the family had left the house, at 11:14 am. The date was November 14, 2010 and he weighed in at 6lb 15oz with a length of 19 3/4 inches and his head was 10 1/4 inches around.

After he was out, I covered him in a warm towel, fresh out of the dryer along with a swaddling blanket under it. He just laid on my chest for a while and then I offered him the breast and we both caught on to that fairly quickly. We left the cord attached for maybe as long as 30 minutes, until the blood wasn’t really pumping through it anymore. We used the shoelace to tie it off and cut it with our sanitized scissors. I handed Espynn off to mom after a that and it was time to get the placenta out. It was, at best, excruciating. My perineum was very sore from having just pushed the baby out and I felt like I was basically doing the same thing over again, but with this part of me now raw and tender. Finally it came out, and I could relax. The placenta came out whole and we put it in a baggie. As a new mother, I wasn’t sure what to expect from my body at this point and was worried that I may have torn and could need stitches. I expressed this concern to my mother and suggested that maybe we should go to the hospital to make sure I didn’t need them. She said ok, if I was sure, and we took a few hours of everyone kind of relaxing and getting ready to head out the door to go check, for my own sake, that everything was fine. Just so you know, I didn’t tear and I’m sure it was largely in part thanks to the fact that we were actually rubbing olive oil on and kind of stretching the perineum periodically throughout the hours of labor.

I’m going to cut this story off here as there is another arm to it, and will need its own post. This was truly a labor of love, and I cherish those moments shared with only my mother and my husband. It was a beautiful experience and I intend for this one to be even more so. This time I will have a video camera I SWEAR lol. Thank you for listening to my story once again, and hopefully it was at least somewhat inspirational. I know I enjoy telling my stories and that my son is so very inspiring to me. So I’ll be posting that third bit of this story before too long. Until next time, stay beautiful! =)

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One thought on “A Labor of Love

  1. Pingback: Another Awesome UC Birth Story!: A Labor of Love | My Unassisted Journey

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