Let me start by saying that I am so grateful to everyone that has been supportive as our family has planned for this homebirth with sweet...

Charlie's Birth Story- Part 1

Let me start by saying that I am so grateful to everyone that has been supportive as our family has planned for this homebirth with sweet Charlie. It has been such a fun pregnancy, despite it going on for way longer than I had planned. Also, my birth went totally differently than I had planned or even hoped. So, here goes.

We were at the dinner table celebrating Freddie's 5th Birthday! Here's the cake, double chocolate yumminess. Despite my better judgment I decided I would have just half a piece to celebrate with everyone. It seemed like I had just stopped eating and passed my plate away in agony when I had a hard contraction. I laughed and shared my pain with the family. Jason said, "If this chocolate cake sends you in to labor, I'm going to LOL." (Yes, he said, "lol") We got dinner cleaned up and I had another good contraction and decided we should go walking to help things along.
It was right at 8:00 p.m. and my mom was bathing the kids getting them ready for bath. I went to put on my pants to go walking and as I lifted my leg to put them on I felt a gush. I was pretty sure my water just broke. It wasn't a lot, so I knew it wasn't the whole shebang or anything. Jason and I headed out on our walk and called the midwife to let her know what was going on. I had a couple of contractions on our walk but nothing with any pattern. Our midwife, Mary, told me to call her when I got home and paid attention and had a time/pattern for my contractions. We got home and I headed for the bathroom. Labor really cleanses the colon, if ya know what I mean! I spent several contractions in the bathroom. The contractions still weren't regular and I could walk/talk through most of them. I took a nice shower and put on my nightgown. It was about 10:00 or 10:30 and they were coming anywhere from 4-7 minutes apart and getting stronger. Mary came over around 11:00 I think and checked me. I was only 3cm but almost completely effaced and she was pretty low but a little posterior. Mary suggested that I do some more pelvic rocks and get some sleep before active labor set in. With her suggestion I took a Benadryl and spent about 20 minutes on the floor basically laying my top half across my birthing ball, rolling my hips, and doing pelvic rocks between contractions. I eventually got into bed and tried to sleep. I was able to sleep between contractions for maybe 30 minutes and used visualization to help me through the pain. We practiced our "happy place" in birth class. Let me tell you about mine.

It's a foggy morning on the Little Red River. I'm 6 years old sitting on a lawn chair cushion in the bottom of my PaPa's flat bottom boat. The motor is off, we're stopped near the sandbar, and casting our lines. Behind me is my great grandmother sitting in her chair with her white curls barely moving in the breeze. Her pink frosted lipstick goes so well with her big 80s sunglasses. In front of me is my PaPa Coy, the best person my family ever produced. The pearl buttons on his Wrangler plaid shirt caught the bits of sun as it shone through the clouds. His mesh cap sat high on his head as he prepared to cast his line and slowly reeled it in just enough to tighten the slack. I could hear the whippoorwills calling in the treeline and the sound of our reels. I could smell the muddy water and my Granny Mable's perfume. I could see the water barely rippling beneath the boat and the faded red waist of my life jacket. In the back of my mind I was looking forward to the pimento cheese sandwich and coke that was in the little red cooler next to me. My favorite thing to see was my bobber on top of the water. I watched that thing, hypnotized, waiting to see it duck under the water to tell me I had a bite. I knew when I did catch a tiny perch that my PaPa was laugh and say, "Well, Mandy Bird, you skunked me!"

My happy place got me through several contractions, but eventually the pain would break through my scene and I'd have to leave and come back to my bed to focus on the task at hand. I so enjoyed my time there, even if it was short. Eventually at around 12:30 I had to get out of bed, move around, change position, and switch pain management techniques. I moved to Non Focused Awareness where you just basically let yourself take note of your surroundings while not focusing on any one particular thing or making judgment about your surroundings. It was so quiet so I had to focus on things I could see and smell. The bathroom was very crowded with supplies and such so I was able to lean over the bathroom sink and focus myself on all the items. I took note of colors, letters, shiny, flat, size, position, etc. of every item I could see. It was like taking an inventory during each contraction and moving farther away from myself to eventually notice the grout in the tile and the color of the door hinges. I had to move out of the bathroom once I'd inventoried everything imaginable. The focus was very helpful though. Then I moved to the bedroom floor and laid next to my sewing bin and made the inventory of each item, color of fabric, fold, ribbon, threads, patterns, etc. Smell was harder because it was more difficult to pinpoint. I tried things I could hear, but they were so repetitive; Jason's breathing (I was trying to let him sleep), my own breath, the fan, the sound of the chain clinking against the light fixture as the fan blew, the bathroom fan, rustling of blankets...it was too methodical to help move my attention away from the pain.

Soon, I moved to the shower. Once in the shower the only pain management that helped was vocalization. I had heard this from many moms but wondered how I would utilize this. Well, it was completely primal and unplanned or intended. I just began to cry out with each contraction with a strong "O" sound. At first it sounded like a whining boo hoo of suffering. So, I changed it to a little higher pitched and moved lower as the pain moved down. The contractions were getting so close together and I have no idea how long I was in the shower. Eventually I called to Jason to come and time them for me because I just felt like things were moving pretty fast. They were coming less than two minutes apart but were short, like 30-45 seconds. I had Jason call Mary and start filling up the birth pool. Of course, that meant I had to get out of the shower.

When I got out of the shower, I felt lost. I was in almost constant pain and felt spent of all my ability to handle it. I sat on the toilet again and called for my mom. Yes, I yelled, "Mommy, mommy!" That happened! My friend Andrea had made it in and I believe Rachel was there by then as well. My mom helped me move from the toilet to the foot of my bed and stroked my hair and my back as I continued to use my strong "oooohhhh" to get through each contraction. Jason was so busy trying to get the pool ready that I hadn't seen him much since he got up. I was definitely in "laborland" by then. I made eye contact with no one, remember very little conversation, and have almost a foggy image of things from there.


Candice said...

You're definitely a brave and tough woman! I look forward to hearing about part 2.