This is for my recollection. You have been warned.
Sweet baby number 5 came two days "late" on March 15, 2016. Due to our situation and my absolute desire to avoid the hospitals here (I have heard horror stories) and the fact we barely made it to the hospital on our last birth, we were planning a homebirth.
Let me first say, our experience was awesome. Our midwife, Vanessa, and the midwife-in-training, Camille, totally made the experience wonderful by being handsoff with so many things, yet very, very involved with the whole process.
Around 2 am, on the 15th I was horribly uncomfortable in bed. The contractions were coming, but they weren't a "typical" contraction. I would have nasty pain in one of my round ligaments that would feel like stabbing, try to roll over to only have to wait until it subsided. Then it would continue on the other side. Around 4 am trying to sleep through these pains, I finally got up, and drew a nice hot bath. The contractions intensified in the tub and dropped to 6 minutes apart. After an hour, I woke my husband. I called the midwife and 30 minutes later, they dropped to 3 minutes.
Around 6 a.m. (tine is relative) my midwives came and I was definitely in labor. I couldn't sleep...I tried. The contractions were really close together and I just couldn't find a good place to be comfortable. I was shaking, which was weird, because that only happens around transition. I was checked to only be at 2-3 cm. I wasn't frustrated. I was thrilled because I knew things were progressing.
I ate a banana and tried to eat oatmeal but I was nauseous after two bites about 7:30 am. Things were picking up and I got back in the tub. My back was hurting so badly so every contraction, someone - my husband, the assistant midwife, the midwife - applied great counter pressure to the sciatic area of my hips.
Our other four children were awake at this point and in talking to us and taking my mind off things. Well, trying to anyway. I was getting really frustrated because the pain was really bad, but I couldn't tell where I was in the labor progress because it was so different than child #4. My midwife jokingly said, this baby will be born about 9 p.m. tonight. I remember being in the middle of a contraction and I said, "absolutely NOT." We walked around our little cul-de-sac 1.5 times. I had three contractions and leaned on the mailboxes because my husband decided at that time to get and gather all the garbage in the garage and take it to the curb. I was not happy, but I made it work.
Around 9:15, I texted my friend to come pick up the boys (who didn't want to be at the birth) and we sent the girls to get the hair cuts at a friends's house about the same time. I had a contraction in the living room and made eye contact with her. It was 9:30. They wanted to be at the birth, but I'd made these appointments and they really needed haircuts.
Those appointments were a blessing in disguise. I am glad they weren't there. I was not an angel or patient.
Around 9:30, I was whimpering because the pain was so intense. All my "helpers" were trying to get me to breathe into my belly - which may be the most difficult thing ever - and I knew we were really close. Then as I was laying on the living room floor, a contraction double and triple peaked. I was really, really close. The midwife calmly said, "Where did you intend on giving birth?" In the next break we went back upstairs to our bedroom.
More contractions came and I said, "I am getting to my max threshold of pain."
And then the next contraction hit, I cussed, and knew I was at the end. I sure was hopeful anyway, because I said, "I don't want to do this anymore." My husband said that when those words came out, we were really close. Vanessa checked me, told me I was at 10 cm. I laid there during the next contraction as the baby shifted and turned in my pelvis. I hated that contraction. She was so much higher than #4, who was practically falling out at this point in his labor.
Vanessa brought over a birth stool, prepped it, l and I leaned back against my husband. I wasn't too fond of the stool, but I knew it would be effective and productive. So the last time I "pushed" with my fourth child, the intense contractions went away. They did not this time and I didn't appreciate this fact. They were so overwhelmingly intense and I couldn't get a good handle on pushing. In fact, I didn't even have the "pushing" sensation for about 10 minutes. I remembered being frustrated and upset...maybe just in my head, but I wasn't thrilled. I wanted to get off the stool, but it was like my hips had been frozen in place and moving was SO painful. I requested to get off and when I tried, I couldn't. So I accepted what it was and got to business.
She was making her appearance soon, and Vanessa said, "looks like she will be born en caul". This is when the amniotic sac stays in tact and doesn't break until after the baby is born. My husband had decided that he wanted to catch her so he moved to prepare for that (which included a handwashing).
He said later that she put on gloves and he kept thinking, "where are my gloves?!" Several times I remember Vanessa telling him that it is going to get messy and prepare.
Things were not moving as fast as I want them at this point, and I have been struggling figuring out pushing. I didn't want anymore crappy contractions and I wanted to be done. I looked at my husband and I think I said, "This really hurts."
I give a huge push and say, "she's coming!" One more contraction hit, I yelled, and felt this "freight train" come out. The poor midwife told me to "go slow, so you don't tear", but there was no going slow. The feeling of birthing a baby is exactly like stopping a freight train - you don't stop it fast. The next contraction hit and out came our daughter at 9:57. (BTW, I know this is TMI, but poop definitely happens during the pushing stage and I am very, very grateful for wild orange essential oil. That was a much more pleasant smell than what I would have been smelling.) Vanessa said, "wow, she's a big girl."
I was so relieved once she was in my arms. Oh, she was slimy too! My poor husband got messy because once she was coming out, the amniotic sac started to rupture. He told a girlfriend of mine, "I had all this crap on me." I laughed his description, but he was right. There was light meconium in the amnioitic fluid, so he wasn't wrong. It took 13 minutes of pushing. I got all upset because I felt like this took so long. In reality, active labor was only 3-ish hours, pushing 13 minutes. It was still very intense and very fast.
I was moved to my pre-prepared bed (plastic sheets are very helpful in cleanup) and the placenta was delivered almost immediately and they cut the cord 13 minutes after she was born. 13 MINUTES. I learned this is called a lotus birth, it's not dangerous, and better to let all the cord blood transfer to your baby. She wasn't removed from my chest for two hours. She nursed, the midwives cleaned, my husband was right next to me for all of it.
Remember how our children weren't there? That was an incredible blessing. I would have scared them. The girls finished their haircuts and came home to find a new baby sister on my chest and then our 5 year old looked down at the chux pad I was on and said, "Wow, that's a lot of blood." It wasn't really a lot of blood for birth, but for her, it was a lot of blood. The mess that was made during the actual birth would have scared her.
After two hours, Vanessa came up and started checking on the baby. The girls were there (no boys yet) and I got to watch the sweetest moment between our daughters. The newest one recognized their voices and even being stuck on her tummy, listened to them and tried to focus on them intently for about 10 minutes. It was amazing to watch.
We had announced her birth hours earlier but didn't know her weight, height...we just knew we had a healthy girl.
Vanessa had guessed 7.5 lbs. I knew we were looking at 8 to 8.5 lbs, but I didn't expect to go over 8.5 because I had gained so much less this pregnancy.
Vanessa put her in the scale and said, "Nine lbs..." I thought, "we broke NINE. Wow." Then she started counting. "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight..."
What is she counting? Pounds?
"...nine, ten, eleven. Nine pounds, 11 ounces. Let me do that again." She did it again. NINE POUNDS 11 OUNCES.
Holy crap. No wonder she couldn't get her to shift, my ribs never really stopped aching, I had more muscle pain, and round ligament issues than any other pregnancy (but still, no stretch marks! Bonus!). I feel like I have been run over by a truck and have been stretched more than I ever have... but it's because I had a toddler. LOL.
She demolished our family birth record. She was almost a FULL POUND bigger than our 3rd child. She has been wearing newborn stuff this week, but she fits in 3 month stuff...and she's only 72 hours old.
Big, Freaking. Baby.
My hips ache more than they ever have. I may have bruised my tailbone. I feel like my midsection got run over by a truck.
But she is worth it and just amazing for our final installment.