I went into labor on Friday, May 13th around 4 o'clock in the morning. I woke up with a strong contraction and I went to the bathroom. I saw bloody show! It was the first time in my life that I had seen this – I never noticed with my other three births. I went back to bed and tried not to wake up Scott, but I was too excited to be quiet.
The contractions kept coming fairly regularly for quite a while – but by 7 a.m. they had started to slow down. I was crushed! Abigail was already 6 days overdue and I was pretty tired of being pregnant. I waited until around 9 a.m. and I called our midwife, Betsy, to ask her if I could go ahead and use the castor oil/red raspberry leaf capsule plan to encourage labor to start again. Betsy told me that another client of hers might be going into labor at the same time. So I agreed that I wouldn't take anything to speed up my labor. It was hard, but we waited.
My contractions kept coming irregularly all throughout Friday and into Saturday. I wasn't able to get any sleep. Finally the contractions became regular around lunchtime on Saturday. Scott went ahead and filled up the birthing pool in our kitchen so I could get in after Betsy came to our house. Betsy came to check me around 2 o'clock in the afternoon and I was having regular contractions about every 6 minutes. She checked me and I was 5 cm dilated and 80% effaced! I was so thankful that I cried.
After that I labored in the birthing pool for quite a while. About 4 or 5 hours. I got out every hour to use the restroom and move around to encourage my labor to continue. The contractions became VERY strong. I started to vocalize the pain, making moaning sounds and saying “oooh, oooh, oooh!” And then when the contractions became closer together and even stronger I switched to say “OWWW! OWWW! OWWW!” Betsy was so wonderful, she kept praying for me and encouraging me. It was like having an angel there – helping me. She was so strong and courageous, but still sweet and loving. She was wonderful. Her helper showed up right around the time I reached my transition stage. Her name is Tara and she's an EMT. She's preparing to go to China on a medical mission to help women give birth. My homebirth was the first she had ever attended. I was honored to have her there and she was really helpful.
Unfortunately I vomited all through my transition phase. That was really hard. I had very strong contractions, but I couldn't focus on relaxing because I was vomiting so much.
Betsy checked me and I was almost 10 cm dilated but my cervix was posterior and there was a lip in the way, holding back the baby. I had to get out of the pool and sit on a birthing stool while she tried to move my cervix out of the way. This was THE MOST painful part of my entire labor and birth. I was supposed to push with each contraction while she reached in and pushed my cervix back.
I had to move to the bed because I was so exhausted at this point and I couldn't take anymore pain. Betsy tried to help move my cervix back again and I became frantic. I was begging for them to take me to the hospital. But it really was far too late to go to the hospital (and I'm glad – I didn't really want to go, I was just out of my mind for a moment.) I feel so terrible that I lost my cool like that. I wanted to be so much stronger – but I was so tired after not sleeping for two days and my long labor. Betsy gave me a big spoonful of honey to give me more energy and they tried to push my cervix back again. This time it worked!
I got up and got back into the birthing pool. I started pushing gently, just sort of feeling it out. Then my body kicked into overdrive and started pushing on it's own! That was so weird. I had no control. My muscles just slammed into action and pushed. I told my husband that I needed him in the pool to hold me up. He went to the bathroom and changed into some swim trunks. While he was gone my water broke. It did more than break – it EXPLODED! It kind of scared me. It felt like a big water balloon exploding between my legs. I could feel it all, even though my body was underwater.
Scott got back into the tub and sat behind me and held me up while I pushed. I grabbed onto his hands and later he told me he was really scared that I was going to break his fingers. Pushing was amazing and really difficult. I definitely felt the ‘ring of fire' that everyone talks about. I think I kept saying “IT BURNS! IT BURNS!”
The baby was coming down very quickly, so Betsy told me to pant and let my body stretch. This was very hard and I don't remember this part very well. Finally after only a couple of minutes of pushing she was out! Betsy pulled her up out of the water and laid her on my chest. My husband was crying and laughing at the same time. It was amazing. There was no more pain at all! My baby girl looked up at me and my husband – she was so beautiful. She looked right into our eyes.
After that we took an herbal bath together and Betsy checked me for tears. I didn't have a single tear – only some stretch burns. We got dressed and got into bed and my children came home to see their new sister. It was so perfect.
The pain was more than I thought it would be and my labor was very hard. But I would do it again. I know it was the best way to deliver my baby.