A few weeks ago we celebrated Sarah's unassisted homebirth, and then Melanie's homebirth where her military husband watched by webcam. This time, I'm highlighting Wendy's story (CafeMom's wendy46212) of her fourth child (and daughter) Marceline Morningstar, born at home in her bathtub with Daddy Arthur by her side. It's familiar territory for Wendy, whose homebirth of her third daughter was inspirational for me.
The day before my fourth daughter was born, March 3, was when labor really started. During the night I woke to pee and started getting contractions. Painful enough to wake me but not enough to KEEP me awake. When I was fully awake, contractions were between 12-20 minutes apart, and very low in my pelvis. While my entire stomach would harden and cramp up, I only felt pain in my low pelvic area, in the front. Everything stopped at 10 a.m. I didn't have any contractions the rest of the day, not even Braxton-Hicks, which was a relief.
The next night, around 2 or 3 a.m., the same thing happened. I thought it was just prodromal labor. Around 6 a.m. I realized they were only six minutes apart and thought maybe it could be labor, but I still refused to get excited and was in denial. I could feel the tightening everywhere, but the pain was still super low and it stayed like that through the entire labor.
Arthur took my eldest daughter to school and went to get breakfast. While I waited, I tried to relax in the bathtub, laying on my side, dealing with each contractions as they came, but the tub didn't provide relief. My daughter Delaina was in the bathroom with me, Bianca was on the computer playing games. I devoured the oatmeal Arthur brought, then realized how bad my contractions hurt and that I was not dealing with them very well. Still six minutes apart and hurting sooo bad. I tried every single position I could think of, telling myself, "You need to accept them, stop fighting, let it come!" But as soon as it would hit, the pain would be excruciating, and almost tear inducing.
Delaina and Bianca were for the most part getting on with their normal routine, but Delaina imitated me a few times and saying she was having contractions, too.
Upstairs in my bedroom, I was still trying to figure out some sort of relief. One contraction I squatted, and pushed a tiny bit at the end. I was ready, went to the bathroom, and squatted at the sink and then pushed more. Each contraction I pushed a little bit more than the last. Arthur asked where I wanted to be, and I chose the bathroom for easy clean-up. He didn't think it would be comfortable on the bathroom floor, so I got back in the tub and had a few more contractions that were horribly painful. I got into a squat but Arthur couldn't see what was happening. I became VERY loud. Arthur sat on the toilet; I was squatting in the tub, resting my head on his knee. At one point during pushing, my water broke which gave me lots of relief and got me excited.
After three more contractions where I didn't feel any change, I felt her slide into my birth canal and pushed 2-3 more times until she crowned. I was able to get her head out, but it took more than one push and a lot of work -- she didn't just SLIDE out like with all my other kids. I rested while she worked on turning inside of me, and with the next push, I had to push VERY hard and KEEP pushing even after her shoulder popped out, but once I felt her hips slide out I knew it was done. Daddy caught her and when I turned around, I announced, "YOU'RE ANOTHER GIRL!!" Arthur said, "I knew she would be."
Marceline and I sat in the tub for awhile. Her cord seemed very short, and I was trying to wait for it to stop pulsating. I felt the placenta coming so I pushed it out (even with this I had to really push) and Arthur put it in the placenta bowl. After about 15-20 minutes, Arthur cut the cord and we got into bed. It was March 4, 2011, at approximately 9:45 a.m. (likely 5-10 minutes earlier but we didn't look at the clock until 9:45 a.m.) and Marceline weighed in at 8 pounds, 8 ounces, 20 inches long, 13 1/2-inch head circumference.
This has been the MOST difficult of my births. I still don't know why ... maybe I wasn't ready or hadn't accepted it like before? Maybe I am just feeling my old age, and my weaker body, or whatever ... I don't know. Even the recovery has been the most difficult and painful. But she is such an easy baby! She nurses and sleeps great, barely spits up, and potties well. She already has long awake periods she spends being social. She is so quiet, but if she DOES cry, it's for a reason I'm already working to remedy -- she does NOT like diaper changes!
Congratulations, Wendy and Arthur!
Images via wendy46212/CafeMom