7 lbs 1 oz, July 6, 2003

I teach natural childbirth, so when I became pregnant with my second child it was a natural thing for me to call up Beth Overton for my prenatal care and delivery. I have many students who use her services and I have referred families to her. My daughter was born in a hospital here in Corpus Christi, and interestingly enough, I never even conceived the idea of a home birth with her (this was before I taught childbirth classes). It never even crossed my mind. With my second, I knew I would birth at home, it was the total opposite, I never considered birthing in the hospital. Funny how life’s experiences and time can change ones perception so much. Getting pregnant has always been an easy thing for me, and this pregnancy was no exception. I found throughout my pregnancy that it differed in so many ways from my first. The saying is true: every pregnancy is different, and every birth is different. My pregnancy was a wondrous time. I felt great, and with the exception of morning sickness that lasted into my fifth month, I enjoyed it very much. I relished the last few months with my daughter, knowing that things would change dramatically once the new child arrived, and she would no longer be an “only” child. I prepared her the best I could for not only the arrival of a new sibling, but also for the birth event itself. She is surrounded by pregnant mommies and birthing books and videos (my students and my teaching supplies). I feel proud that she will grow up seeing birth as the natural event it is, rather than a medical condition that needs to be managed. I hope someday she will tell Tye about the night he was born, about how she was there, and about how daddy “caught” him.

I had been having prodromal labor, or at least what I thought was prelabor/false labor/prodromal labor for a few days. Early Saturday morning (July 5) contractions started that were definitely no longer Braxton hicks, but were feeling more like the “real” labor contractions I felt with my first labor. These contractions woke me about 3:00 am and were pretty strong. In my mind I knew I hadn’t gone to the bathroom so I did so, thinking that would make the contractions let up a bit, and not be so uncomfortable. After going to the bathroom I walked into the den, where my husband was up (he works nights, so this is normal for him to be up and about in the dead of night). He could tell I wasn’t doing well and asked if everything was alright. I replied by shaking my head “no” and sitting on the ottoman, facing the rocking chair and placing my head in my hands. He came over and started to rub my back, it felt really nice. After a few contractions in this position, I got up and decided I wanted to walk around a bit, so we headed into the front yard. (After checking on our 3 year old asleep in our bed). We walked back and forth along our sidewalk for a while, I would stop and abdominal breathe through contractions, they didn’t seem as hard as they had been, and they seemed to be spacing out again. We decided to come back inside, and I eventually lay back down in the bed. Contractions spaced out to about 10 minutes apart, and stayed there…a long time…a very long time…

I didn’t really think I was in labor, and I guess even at this point I am not sure if I truly was, or if it was prelabor..or if it was just a really, really long prodromal labor. But I guess that is what prodromal labor is (haha!).

Contractions kept at about 10 minutes apart or longer. I finally got up, I never did go back to sleep. My 3 year old woke up unusually early, about dawn so the three of us hung out together for a while. Then David took Madison to eat breakfast and let me rest a bit. About 9:00 am I decided to get up, as the contractions were nothing like they had been, and I was able to relax through them with no problem. I came out and suggested David get some rest, as I may need him well rested later when/if contractions picked up again. I decided to just go about my day, go grocery shopping, etc. I did decide to call my mom, who had been planning to come down the next day and let her know what was up. After being on the phone with her about 30 min and having two contractions, she decided to go ahead and drive the 6 plus hours to get here. In hindsight, it is really good she did, although at the time I thought it wasn’t necessary. I also called Beth, my midwife, and let her know I had had some contractions through the night but that they had let up considerably.

All day Saturday I went about my day, grocery shopped, did some cleaning (oooh…nesting!!!) and basically just did my thing. Contractions came and went, I was able to abdominal breathe through them easily enough and they certainly were not picking up in strength or frequency. I hardly paid them any mind at all. Some were even up to an hour or even further apart. None were strong enough for me to really think much about or even pay much attention to.

David woke from his nap about 3:00 pm and the three of us decided to go out for a bit. So out we went, picked up some headphones so I could listen to my birthing music as loud as I wanted without disturbing anyone, went by a few stores my husband wanted to go to, had some dinner. About 6:00 pm we went home and my mom arrived shortly after. David and I decided we would catch a movie, being that it may be a long time before the two of us could go out alone for a long while (we don’t use babysitters, so only when family is in town do he and I get a chance to go out alone). So off we went to the movies…

During the movie I had a few contractions, but no more then 5 or 6 the whole time. Everything was pretty uneventful and baby was kicking and reacting to the loud noises of the theater. When a contraction would come I would just close my eyes and breathe deeply. We headed home about 9:30 or so. I was pretty tired, so I scooped up my daughter and headed off to bed. David decided to hang out a while and do some surfing on the net. I went to lie down and continued to have those annoying contractions every 10-15-even 20 minutes apart. I may have dosed here and there, but didn’t get any real sleep. Sometime in the night the contractions seemed to intensify, but not anything I couldn’t just relax through. And they were not less then 10 minutes apart. That is… until I decided to get up and go to the bathroom to see if they would get less strong as they had the night before. After going to the bathroom I decided instead of getting up for good and going into the den I would go back and lay down, because it had been a while since I had gotten any real sleep and I thought the contractions would just peter out again.

Then “labor” hit. With a vengeance. (This is somewhere around 3:30 am Sunday morning). I lay on the bed and had the first of the contractions I felt were super intense. (I call this the “monster contraction”). Not only did I feel almost out of control, the contraction felt wrong somehow. And it was super long. It had a sharp stabbing pain in the center of my cervix with it and I breathed through it, although my abdominal breathing didn’t seem to aid in getting through the contraction (Beth thinks this pain may have been caused by a “ring” in my cervix, a part of the cervix that is harder to soften and dilate, but when it “goes” it can be painful). As soon as it let up off the bed I sprang and grabbed two pillows and headed straight for my husband in the den. I got as far as the ottoman, where I was able to lay the pillows on it and quickly get on my knees and lean over the ottoman and rock to try to relax through the contraction. The next four contractions were super short, but super intense. I went through many signs of transition during these four contractions: hot sweats, cold chills, and nausea. I remember telling my husband that these contractions were too close together. That they really were super intense and that I couldn’t relax with them. David remarked that I wasn’t getting a break between them to rest at all. I also said “Please stop” and then clarifying for my husband that I was talking to the contractions and not to him (he was rubbing my back at this point, because I was having back labor).

David immediately saw I was in need of the “big guns” and suggested I get in the shower and let the warm water help me with the back pain. He thought I would like resting on the birth ball in the shower. I got in the shower, tried the birth ball through on one contraction and hated it. I remember saying it hurt my knees to kneel in the shower like that. David then left me and went into the garage and got a pad of some sort to try to help on my knees. Somehow he also managed to light two candles. I am not sure how he found the time to do this but he did. He was trying to make the bathroom relaxing for me, he turned off the lights and lit the candles. I remember watching him do that. Somehow I was standing again in the shower, or at least I tried to stand back up but doubled over with the next contraction. (At this point both my mother and my daughter woke up… I didn’t hear my daughter but I did hear my mother asking about where my midwife’s phone number was and somehow I managed to tell her where to find it, she called Beth and told her I was pushing/crowning).

With the next contraction I recall feeling his head slide into the birth canal through the cervix. It was incredible. It almost felt like he “fell” into the birth canal. I said to David, “What if that is the head?” Which I find really funny now, because he couldn’t feel what I was feeling, and he certainly couldn’t see the head at this point. But I felt the pressure of the head inside me. I don’t recall what David’s response was to this question. I had to push with the next contraction, and made a grunting noise. I am sure this signaled to David I was pushing, but for good measure I let him know by saying “I have to push.” With the next contraction I had the forceful, all encompassing, undeniable urge to push. Yep..I had to push. So I pushed. I felt the head slide down the birth canal. The second true “pushing” contraction broke my water, which by this time I was in a squat, and pushing with all I had along with my body. I said, “My water just broke.” Like it was all a-matter-of-fact. David replied with “Yep, it sure did.” The fluid was clear. I felt the head crown and come out. David told me the head was out, but I could already tell. I remember feeling the head out of me and the body inside of me. I felt the baby rotate and deliver his shoulders with the help of gravity and only a slight push from me. I believe his shoulders were free, but the rest of him was still inside. David supported his head and body and told me I he had him and I could push the rest out when I wanted to. The pressure was enormous. The feeling of my baby half in and half out. I didn’t have a contraction at the time, but I decided to go ahead and push the baby out (I think this may be why I had a tear). I pushed one last time and his body slid out of mine into his fathers loving waiting hands. It was the most intense thing. David announced the sex (we didn’t know before hand) before laying our son on a towel he had somehow managed to get onto the bottom of the tub before I delivered. Instantly we both looked at each other and smiled, wide-eyed and in wonder. It was a moment I will never forget. I remember saying “We did it unassisted.” I picked up Tye and asked for a dry towel to wrap him in and we waited for the Beth to arrive. (Beth’s instructions on the phone to my mother were to keep the baby warm).

I took this time to take a good look at Tye, who was loudly announcing his arrival into the world with lusty cries. I nursed him briefly and just stared in awe at our creation. Beth and Jessica arrived in just a few short minutes and helped me out of the shower. I delivered the placenta and Madison helped her daddy cut the cord. I lost very little blood and the herbal bath was heavenly and helped heal my stitches incredibly well (Tye and Madison enjoyed it as well!). The worst part of the whole thing was getting stitched up from a tear. It hurt worse than the labor did. It was also much harder on my husband. I made him come hold my hand throughout that process and he, who had just delivered our child, got all light headed when I was being stitched up. Funny how that happens!

The whole “labor” for me was less than 30 minutes from going into the bathroom and then having the “monster contraction” until delivery. It makes me a bit sad, though, as this is the last pregnancy we plan on and I had looked forward to the labor. I didn’t get a chance to use any of the “labor toys” I had gathered: Birth chants, candles, birthing poems, etc. It is now three days after the fact and I still am working through the emotions of such a fast “precipitous” delivery.

After the birth, Beth and Jessica did a fantastic job of taking care of Tye and I and making us feel comfortable. Jessica did the baby exam with Tye on our bed, with big sister Madison to help. Any towels that had gotten soiled were being freshly washed and I could hear Beth in the kitchen giving my mom directions on using the herb bath solution to make frozen peri pads for my stitches (these were SO wonderful!). One of the best things was a onesie given to us by Beth and Jessica, it says “Born at Home…Good Catch Dad!” So fitting and was the first outfit Tye ever wore. We never had to pack up to leave, or deal with nurses and staff coming in and disturbing our solitude. Beth and Jessica returned for our two day checkup and answered all our questions with care and concern. Any procedures that were done were done only after our consent and we did not feel judged for any choices we made. I feel so lucky to have the care of such a knowledgeable and caring midwife and her staff.

Our son Tye Alezander weighed in at 7 lbs 1 oz and he is nursing like a champ. Big sister has so far done extremely well with the adjustment to the new addition. We will never forget this intense and wonderful experience. Although we do not plan on more children, we know that we would birth at home again if we did.

Michelle – (Tye Alezander 7/6/03)