Well, it’s that time. Time for a Homebirth Story. Junior’s Homebirth Story… and dare I say… the last one I will ever write.
Just typing those words brings a stillness to my heart and a pause to my fingers. I mean, you just can’t go on having babies forever. And so, I snuggle hard with this little guy.
My “Mr. Wonderful”.
It’s been almost five weeks now. I don’t typically wait this long, do I?
I can not believe I’ve written five other birth stories for this blog. I am a mother of six! Lord, I don’t take that lightly. Who does that? SIX! I am beyond blessed.
My water broke on a Wednesday night. Fourteen days before my due date (THANK YOU, LORD!). I was more than miserable. I was HUGE and I swore I could feel this baby in my throat and clear down into the tops of my thighs. He was… everywhere. I had begun to dream that I could see him thru my skin… I lost my &^%$ a few times those last couple days… you know… the way you do RIGHT before the end when you just can’t keep your emotions in check anymore?
So, my water broke. Truth be told, we were a bit unprepared. I had been nesting like a completely crazy woman. Monday, I had scraped concrete-hard pig poop out of the pig stalls in the barn, I scrubbed the floors, bleached them, laid down baking soda and fresh straw… I weeded, I cleaned chandeliers, we detailed the bedroom… I mean this house had it going ON!
And still, at midnight with waters breaking I had to get a few things in order:
- Get the bed made up for the birth.
- Wax the armpits.
- Wash my hair.
- Put the laundry away.
- Cross my T’s and dot my I’s.
I slept horribly that night. Thank goodness I had taken a great nap on Wednesday because I woke up very NOT refreshed on Thursday. My labours are typically 2-3 hours… TOTAL! So all night long I was analyzing every feeling in my body…
What that a contraction?
Was THAT a contraction?
I had about five during the night. That’s it.
My lifelong friend who was supposed to drive down three hours to work on a doTERRA project with me and told her what was up. Ironically, we were neighbours when I had my first baby and she was there for part of that. She’d been teasing me for weeks to have the baby while she was visiting cause, “she’d never seen a baby be born before” aside from her own. So around 3 a.m. I had texted her and said she could have her chance if she wanted it.
She arrived around 9 a.m. Still – no contractions other than those supposed few in the middle of the night. I was doing my walking the driveway thing. Up and down… trying to get the party started. And then my girl Darla pulled into the driveway (she was scheduled to help with kids… doula… whatever we needed) and I realized another sort of party was shaping up… A Girl Power party if you will (now don’t laugh – you know that I hate that expression) but all the sudden, two of my closest friends were by my side. Walking the driveway with me.
My midwife was there by then and she suggested I take my castor oil/vodka miracle. I did, cause I always drink that. I walked the driveway some more, barfed it into a wheelbarrow behind the barn – who did I think I was? I’d just spend the last ten months puking almost every day. HOW did I expect to keep castor oil down???
The puking made me mad and very ornery. It had been a loooooong ten months OK? I needed to blow off some steam. “Let’s go hit the hills in the neighbourhood across the street!” so we did. I rang up another friend Rose who also, weeks before, said, “I’ve never seen a baby be born.” and asked her to join us on our power walk (complete with this prego doing lunges up the hills). She joined our party and we walked, and walked and walked, laughed and laughed, with only a couple contractions here and there.
I was at three centimetres earlier that morning, I was at three to four when we left for the walk…. what if I could get to seven with virtually no pain??? I was giddy at the thought because truth be told, I had been DREADING giving birth again. Sobbing at the mere idea of going thru it again. Seven, seven, seven became my mental mantra.
Well, I just about did it. We had walked over two miles… all those hills, all that laughter and by the time I got situated back in my bedroom I was close to five centimetres with virtually no pain thus far. Spending that time with my friends is such an incredible, precious memory for me now as I look back.
Who gets to labour, outdoors with newer and lifelong friends?
But then it was time to go home. While it was fun, it was a lot and it wasn’t working like I had wanted so I knew it was time to dial back this energy I was spending. When I walked in the door Joel had the kiddos and kitchen all cleaned up and he looked so very happy for me, knowing the memories that I had been out there making with these women. And I knew that he knew that his time was coming. That time when everyone else in the world would fade to black and it would be just he and I. Slow dancing, breathing, encouraging… bringing our baby forth.
Finally, here and there the contractions kicked in. I began marching up and down my stairs… doing deep lunges on the stairs… whatever I could, because the occasional contractions wouldn’t stick around. The minute I stopped moving, the contractions would stop. And so that’s what I did for HOURS. Walking around upstairs, lunging and absolutely annoyed out of my mind. I had my heart set on getting to seven centimetres as quick as I could and I was willing to work for it and work for it, I did… I assumed everything would shift into high gear and I’d have this baby.
Hours went by. The pain was intense. The tears came. I was pissed. I was exhausted.
Look. I know it was stupid of me to think I could predict what my body would do, but you have to understand, I have had FOUR identical births. 2-3 hours from the first contraction to the one giant push to get them out. It was now four in the afternoon. The front of my cervix was soft… the back… not so much.
My midwife encouraged me that it was normal for a sixth birth to be a little wonky. Sigh. I finally said I had to get to bed. I needed my pillows, I needed to go into that labour trance that you do when you’re trying to go from seven to ten. So I hunkered down, drifted in and out of sleep, in and out of frustration… the contractions were horrible and constant and I begged for it to be over (I’m vocal OK?. Not one of those silent “dignified” birthers). This went on from four in the afternoon until about 6:20 or so.
Then came that grunt at the end of the contractions… I knew I was getting somewhere, but I was so done by this point, I was hardly inspired.
My midwife suggested I go pee, which I dreaded. Normally the toilet is “my happy place” during a birth. It feels so good to let it all hang out. But with this labour, every time I sat down on it the pain went from like ten to ten thousand and I would be frantic to get off that thing. But I listened to my midwife. I agreed that a full bladder might be in the way at this point, I sat down and it was instant, I had the WORST, most painful contraction I’ve ever had in my LIFE. Like, I don’t know how a person doesn’t just drop over and DIE from a pain like that.
“That’s good Ang.” My midwife said, “Now you’ve probably got about four minutes to recoup…”
“I don’t think I have four minutes!!” I hollered. And I jumped up and hobbled my way as fast as I could back to the bedroom with the midwife and Joel trying to help me “run”.
I heard everyone yell for my kids and friends who were downstairs, “He’s coming! Everyone come upstairs… NOW!”
I hit my knees in the bedroom. I couldn’t even make it six more inches to the bed!. And girlfriend, I PUSHED!!!! And then they told me to stop… they were telling me to lift my foot…. lift my leg…and I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about. “GET HIM OUT!” was all I could respond. So, here I am… as primal as it gets READY to bring my baby into the world, my kids are there, my girlfriends are there and I don’t know WHAT in the world these people want me to do. All I know is there is a human trying to come out! Hahahaha!
Finally (it was probably only seconds later but it felt like an eternity) Darla realized I couldn’t process what they were telling me so she hopped down, grabbed my foot and says, “Like a dog” and then I had my lightbulb moment. Thank you, girl! Lift your leg, moron!
I heard my midwife say his shoulder was stuck and they needed me to lift my leg. Well, praise the Lord that did the trick. A push or two more and out he came. It felt like forever… his shoulder was stuck and he was a tangled mess in the cord but then… just like that. It was over. No more puking, no more heartburn, no more grunting to work in my garden, no more exhausted afternoons… it was just me and this little baby boy that God convinced me last fall was part of his plan for our family.
“Take your baby.”
And there he was. Towel, cord, baby… and tangled mess. But he was mine. And I was Momma again. And I wept with relief and joy.
My kids were there (poor Julien was stuck on the toilet… which is so hysterical, cause that is so JuJu), my man was there, strangely enough, my friends were there, the nurse and my incredible midwife, who is the only person on the planet I trust with my life and the lives of my children…. I could have never imagined a sixth baby, let alone a day like we had had…
Joel Alan Reed Jr.
6:27 p.m. June 23rd, 2016
8.6 pounds, 21 inches.
I got up on the bed and kissed him, snuggled him and nurse him. It was bliss.
But this homebirth wasn’t over yet.
So stay tuned…