Clay's Birth Story
Sunday night, June 20, I had an energy burst to get things cleaned around the house. I started on the bathroom while giving the girls a bath. I put them to bed & cleaned the other bathroom with every intention of vacuuming & mopping the house afterwards but the girls fell asleep and I didn't want to risk waking them up with the vacuum.
I posted an update to that affect on facebook & my midwife saw it & commented, "Hmmm, with all this cleaning should I have an early night?????" (She later told me she DID go to bed after seeing that update)
Ray was working until 11:30 & I kept cleaning pretty much until then. I finally sat down on the sofa and started activating pressure points that are supposed to stimulate contractions. Ray came in & sat on the love seat & asked, "when is the baby going to come?" A contraction started & all of a sudden I felt a "pop!" I told Ray I thought my water broke & to get me a towel. Sure enough as soon as I moved I could tell my water broke. I've never actually had my water break on it's own before, they always had to do it for me - with Kate they broke my water & about 10 minutes later she was born! Anyway, Florida law dictates that if the baby isn't born within 18 hours of your water breaking that they have to transfer you to the hospital so I knew that contractions or not, Clay was finally coming!
I called Bea, my midwife, to let her know and she was already at the birth center with another woman in labor & told me depending on how things progressed for both of us that I may have to come in to the center. I still wasn't having regular contractions so Ray & I went to bed.
Around 1:30am I woke up & was contracting enough that I stayed awake for the rest of the night, apart from some dozing here & there. While awake I watched Friends on dvd (which is great since I can time contractions by watching the counter on the dvd player) & I ate. And ate some more. :)
Around 5:30 my contractions were roughly 4 minutes apart and about a minute long. I called Bea again & she said she was still about an hour from the other woman delivering and was really sorry but I would have to come into the birth center. While I was a bit bummed about it I was mostly happy that the baby was coming! Ray & I weren't prepared to have to go anywhere to have the baby so we didn't have anything together. He called his mom to come watch the girls & I started throwing things into a bag and getting dressed. I was lucky that I remembered to pack clothes and diapers for Clay! Aside from grabbing a few muffins that I'd frozen a couple weeks earlier, I forgot about bringing any food to eat during or after labor.
Right before we walked out the door I remembered we needed to bring the infant car seat - which was completely taken apart because I'd washed the lining the night before and was letting it air dry! Since we'd planned a home birth having a car seat put together wasn't something that was necessary.
We got to the birth center around 6:30 & settled into our suite. And it really is a suite. It's a free standing birth center (the same place I had Addison), not connected to a hospital, so it really is just like being at home - all of the same equipment, a nice bedroom, living area, beautiful bathroom, etc.
Because I was group b strep positive and my water had broken I wanted the antibiotics. Unfortunately, Bea is the only one who can do the IV and she didn't finish with the other woman until around 8:30! The other woman was also delivering in the tub and I wanted the tub; even if not to labor in for long then at least to give birth.
While we waited for Bea we sat around in our room. Bored. Very bored. We hadn't planned on leaving home & didn't have anything to occupy our time other than relaxing through the contractions. We went out to the living area to watch tv but couldn't get the direct tv box to work. I was glad to go out there, partly because when I was having contractions Ray kept wanting me to tell him so that he could time them. It wasn't until we stopped doing that that I realized how much it had been annoying me to let him know each time I was having a contraction!
The bad thing about the unexpected change of location, from home to the birth center, and then waiting for the antibiotics and tub was that I feel like I put a bit of a mental block on my contractions and progression. I'd initially hoped that if the labor stalled just long enough that Bea would be able to come to my house for the birth. Once at the center, I didn't want to get too far without getting the antibiotics and being able to deliver in the tub. Because of those situations I didn't fully "let go" & I never established a solid pattern with my contractions. NEVER. Even Bea noticed when I mentioned it to her after the birth. They'd be every two minutes for awhile and then start spacing out longer and so on.
However, once I did get the IV with the antibiotics taken care of I had a definite change in the strength of my contractions and started to go through transition. When Bea checked the first time I was 7 centimeters. I continued to labor in the bed for awhile and called her in to check me again just to see where I was at - 8 centimeters. With the contractions getting more uncomfortable I finally got up to go labor in the tub.
They fill it twice in order to clean it & in doing so ran out of hot water before the tub was completely filled for me. It took awhile before I realized the water was getting cooler so by the time we turned off the faucet my water was no where near warm (thankfully they must have a very quick heating system because it wasn't long at all before we had an abundance of piping hot water to fill up the tub).
I kept having Bea check me to see how far I was - 9 cm and then finally, 10cm with an anterior lip. I threw up three times - ALWAYS happens to me during transition. The last 30 minutes to an hour of contractions were the worst; I actually thought during some of them, "I don't want to do this again." A big part of it was that I felt very impatient. I was so looking forward to giving birth to him and the euphoria that comes (for me) right after the baby is born that I was just ready to get him here.
During some of the last contractions I found that it helped if I pushed through them just a smidge, nothing that would get him out, just enough to relieve some of the pressure. I'm very unsure of myself when it comes to the end & being time to push - I want to be told that it's okay to push because I'm afraid that I might try to push & my body won't be ready & I'll end up swelling & ending up with a c-section (or some other event to that effect). SO, I told Bea I needed her to tell me when it was okay to push - she finally let me know I had to tell her when I was having a contraction first because I was so relaxed through them that she couldn't tell when they were happening.
I let her know I was having a contraction and pushed. It felt best to squat in the water leaning my back against the tub. Even the third birth it took me a minute to remember how to push correctly - once I did he came fast!
They are great there about supporting you & coaching you through so that the baby doesn't come so fast that you tear. Clay was also a compound presentation (like Addison was) with his left hand on his left ear when he was born. Amazingly enough I didn't tear with him, either!
Ray is always bummed that I reach down & pull the babies up to me when they're born instead of letting him catch them so this time I remembered that & specifically told everyone to let Ray catch him (I had one birth assistant there, Jenn, intermittently helping Bea). Delivering a baby is still the most amazing experience in the world! it still has me in complete awe.
I think it took about 3 pushes, maybe 5 minutes, and Clay was born! He was so incredibly purple at first and didn't make much noise. They just suctioned him out while I was holding him in the water & he started to make some noises and pink up. He was born at 11:21am on Monday June 21 & weighed 8 pounds 8 ounces and was 20.5 inches long!
After letting the cord pulse & cutting it & delivering the placenta I got out of the tub and went back to the bed. Clay nursed about 45 minutes after being born and I showered and relaxed at the center for awhile. Since we weren't prepared to leave home I didn't bring food to eat after the birth so Ray went out & got us Publix subs and some water & gatorade. We didn't have to stay long but I wasn't sure how crazy it would be with the girls at home so we stayed for three hours just resting (I also had to put the car seat together!)
Once we got home & the girls got to meet Clay, Ray's mom offered to take them to her house for the afternoon - we ended up with a monster storm that night so they stayed the night, too, which was a great help for our rest.