My midwife Kathy attended the births of this amazing acupuncturist, Alison, who has been known to help kickstart labor. She is this kick-ass beautiful mama who I had been emailing with for a week to come up with a time I could go to her house and have an acupuncture session. She lived more than an hour away and it was expensive so I planned to go see her at the 41 week mark.
But on the morning of the 29th she called to let me know she would be only a few miles from my house and was happy to come over and give me acupuncture right in the comfort of my home if I was up for it. How perfect! She would be over by 10 a.m.
The house was perfectly clean and it was a bright sunny August day. I felt great and was excited to meet my baby soon. Evie was at my parent’s house and I took the day off of work. Before the acupuncturist knocked on the door, I went to the bathroom real quick and PLOP there was my mucus plug! It was pretty huge and very distinctively my mucus plug. (I had Evie 48 hours after losing it with her.)
I knew I would love the acupuncturist because right after she walked in I was like “guess what? I just lost my plug!” and she says “yay!! and hugged me” Oh, how I love birthy folk.
I had never had “induction-like” acupuncture before. It was intense and not enjoyable, unlike all my previous experiences with acu. After an hour session, I was spent. I probably wouldn’t do it again unless I was really approaching the 42 week mark and the possibility of risking out of homebirth.
That night, like the previous five before, my prodromal labor started. Just moderately ouchy contractions down low that went nowhere and would fade into the night.
Friday, August 30th–two days past my “due date”
So I was back at work the next day and from looking back at my chat conversations, I REALLY was ready to have this baby. Here are some snippets of two of my convos:
me to my girlfriend: i want to have this baby this weekend so bad
me to Jeff: my goodness when is this baby coming
and i know i will have them tonight
we NEED TO HAVE SEX ZOMG
i keep falling asleep
(The sex I was referring to above was “homework sex” meaning I just wanted to do it for the natural prostaglandin semen offers which helps to soften your cervix. Also who knows how many weeks before we would have it again, am I right?)
That day, my wonderful friend, Bradley instructor, and fellow homebirth mama invited me out to lunch, so I left Evie with the nanny, put myself together and headed to a nearby restaurant known for their burgers and beer. The waitress asked me when I was due. I said “2 days ago and can I please have a beer? A big one.”
When I got back to my desk, I decided to fill my midwife in about the mucus plug I lost the day before and the fact that I was having some goings on at night.
me: not in labor, but lost a big plug yesterday and more today. No contractions but things are at least gearing up. Hopefully this weekend.
midwife: up your fluids, rest, and I will see you soon!
Before I left work that day I chatted Jeff one last time:
me: even if we don’t have a baby can we try to have a fun weekend?
Jeff: definitely! although having a baby *would* be very fun
Well….he was right!
That evening the three of us headed to my parents’ house for a summer BBQ and some pool time. As our time there wore on I began my nightly contraction ritual. I would say, “like see, that one kinda hurt” and rock back and forth, followed by “but it can be like this for weeks!”
We came home and went to bed. Starting around 4 am, I kept on getting woken up by contractions. They wore more painful than my usual nightly ones and stuck around. I thought this was the beginning of the real thing.
I stayed in bed for a while but then around 6 am I called my midwife and told her things were happening but that things were very early. (I had promised her I would call at the first sign of anything since Evie’s head was out before she made it to our last homebirth!) She told me to check back in with her in an hour.
I tried to lay back down but the contractions hurt a lot more when I was in bed, so I went downstairs and gave myself a bright pink manicure while bouncing on the birth ball. I felt really good. Almost too good, as the contractions became farther apart and were pretty mild. I texted my midwife back saying I was going to go lay back in bed and get rest. Nothing had changed. Then I called my parents who were supposed to attend the birth and take care of Evie. When my mom answered I said “I think we are having a baby today!” and got all choked up as I said it. Labor hormones!
When I lay back in bed with Jeff and Evie, who were both sleeping, I got on my side and held Jeff’s hand with Evie in between us. I whispered to him that I was in labor and was going to squeeze his hand during contractions. Wow, what a difference the intensity was between moving around and laying in bed. Contractions hurt me WAY worse in bed. But I really wanted to have this baby. It was a gorgeous early Saturday August morning and I was ready. So I purposely stayed lying down because in my mind the more they hurt the more they were working. I would squeeze DH’s hand every few minutes (we never actually timed them).
By 7:30 I decided that was enough self torture and I had to get out of bed. Jeff and Evie got up for the day too. While moving around the bedroom, at around 8 a.m. I noticed this car had been parked outside our house for a while, so I sent Jeff down to check it out. A few minutes later I heard him talking with Kathy our midwife downstairs!
Even though our last correspondence was my text saying I was going to sleep, she said she knew she needed to get there, so listening to her midwife instincts, she drove the hour-long drive to my house. I was happy to see her but felt a little self-conscious that she was there too early and would need to make the trek back home. She must have known what I was thinking because one of the first things she said to me was “I just wanted to drop off my stuff and visit a friend who lives around here.”
We chatted for a little bit and she asked me if I wanted her to check me. I said no because I didn’t think I was that far along. She nonchalantly said “Oh I think you are at an 8.” This is just by the sound of my voice, the flush of my face, my mood. I laughed “yeah, right!”
(Note: In two pregnancies and during two labors and births, I have had a total of ZERO vaginal exams/cervical checks.)
Kathy checked the baby’s heart rate and then we headed upstairs to set up the birth supplies. Once we were upstairs I started having contractions one on top of the other. She looked at me like “I told you so!” I gathered receiving blankets and washcloths and would stop and rock and moan. Evie grabbed the doppler and threw it across the room. It was so loud, I yelled “Evie! Stop!” and then immediately “Oh Evie I am sorry, mommy is working hard to have a baby.” Kathy told me I was going to have the baby soon. Meanwhile she had only been there for less than an hour.
Jeff said he thought we would have two kids by lunchtime, so he started to fill up the birth pool in Evie’s room. She was helping him.
I had texted my mom a few times but didn’t get any responses so I decided to call her and let her know things were moving along and her and my dad could come over and start watching Evie. They were out to breakfast not far from me and said they would leave immediately.
A little after 9 am, I had to pee and announced I was going to the bathroom. Kathy warned me that she didn’t want anything happening on the toilet besides pee or poop. I laughed at her.
I sat down and went to go and a contraction started. I knew right away this was a pushing contraction. My noises must have given it away too because Kathy rushed in and ordered “off!”
I stood up and my waters broke all over the bathroom floor (two feet from where they broke in that same bathroom with Evie!)
Kathy said “ok get where you want to be to have this baby.” So I walked into the hall and asked Jeff if the pool was ready. It wasn’t. Bummer. This would be the second birth that I wanted to use the birth pool and couldn’t. This time there wasn’t much water in there and the water that was in there was way too hot.
So I wobbled over to the bed and got on my hands and knees. My only birth wish for this time around was that I DIDN’T want to birth on my hands and knees again. I did it with Evie because it was the only position that felt right, but the pictures were so intense and I was so…exposed. But again this time, it was just what felt most natural to me and in that moment I didn’t give a rat’s ass about my birth wishes.
I didn’t realize until later but Jeff had no idea what was going on. Kathy told him “ok you’re going to have a baby!” and Jeff still thought she meant at some point during the day, when really she meant right then.
Another contraction hit, I bore down and out slipped our new squishy baby right into Jeff’s hands, with Evie standing next to him! I turned around and immediately saw that he was a boy! Despite having some thick meconium in my waters, he cried right away and his airways sounded perfect. He was perfect. I felt an immediate bond and love for him.
I held him and Kathy, Jeff, and Evie all sat around me on the bed and a lot of “oh my god that was fast” and “holy crap I can’t believe that just happened” and “wow that was crazy!” was happening. We all felt in shock that I just had a baby!
Moments later, my mom and dad came in the front door and were surprised to be greeted by some healthy newborn cries. I had talked to them on the phone less than 15 minutes before.
I was so surprised by how tiny my baby was! Evie was chunky and I was assuming this one would be too, but nope, I birthed a little 6 pound 6 ounce peanut–August Patrick. Exactly 48 hours after losing my mucus plug…
Because he flew out of the birth canal so quickly, his little face had petechiae, or little reddish purpleish dots that were really broken blood vessels, all over. In the early days, people would comment on pictures about how cute his freckles were. I birthed the placenta, got a shower, started breastfeeding, and ate bacon and eggs in bed with my new little family of four.
What a perfect Saturday morning.