Wow- labor, what an experience.
We have all heard of COVID by this point. I know the virus impacted a lot of families negatively but it was a blessing for us. Because of COVID, we transferred from S&W to Toni, a midwife, at 36 weeks, ultimately, opting for a home birth.
After meeting with Toni, she found that I was SEVERELY anemic. She put me on a variety of vitamins to help. We were able to bring my blood levels to a normal range before birth. I felt so much energy once my blood levels elevated. I actually had more energy in the last 5 weeks of pregnancy than I did the entire pregnancy.
On Tuesday, May 12, my mucus plug fell out. At that point I was CONVINCED I was going into labor soon. Jokes on me. I was due May 19 and I went into labor on May 25 at 40W6D. I woke up the morning of May 25 at around 8 AM feeling a little crampy. I started noticing my cramps had a pattern. Derek timed them and my contractions seemed to be occurring every 15 minutes. I texted Rachel and Toni letting them know that I was starting to have contractions. I told them it would probably be a while so we did not need to rush to my house. They both advised that I take a walk.
After breakfast, Derek and I went on a 2-mile walk. My contractions started coming every 8 minutes and lasting 45 seconds to a minute. Some of the contractions I could walk through while others would stop me in my tracks. After the 2-mile walk, I laid down for a nap with my dog. We slept for about an hour and a half. It was around noon when I woke up. Derek and I decided to go on another walk that was a little shorter. My contractions had sped up to every 5 minutes.
At 2 PM, I had Derek pick me up Jimmy Johns. When he got back home, I could barely stand during my contractions. I tried to eat between them but it proved to be quite difficult. We decided to walk circles in the back yard. During the contractions, I had to stop and place my head in his shoulders. I had a goal of making it around the yard 5 times before I would go back inside but made it 6 times around. At 3 PM, I told Derek to go ahead and check in with Toni and Rachel to let them know that my contractions were 3 minutes apart lasting about 1.5 minutes. We were both convinced that they did not need to make an appearance yet because we still had a lot of laboring left to go. Rachel advised that she was coming over. I sat with my knees on the floor and placed my head in the couch and rocked my hips back and forth for a while. Before Rachel got to our house, I got in our bath tub. I noticed my contractions stall for a little bit. The rest felt so good.
When Rachel arrived, she asked us if we were going to have this baby by ourselves? Derek and I were for sure that this labor was going to take 36+ hours and did not realize how fast it was actually going. At 5 PM, Toni arrived and checked my progress. I was 5 CM dilated and 90% effaced. After she checked me, I went back to the couch and placed my head in the sofa again with my knees on the floor and continued to rock my hips side to side. The contractions were pretty strong and I decided I needed rest again so I went back to the tub. This time the contractions did not stop. I began to cry because I was so overcome with emotion that I was about to meet my son.
At 7 PM, Toni checked me again and I was 7 CM dilated. This is when the real work started. It took my body two hours to go from a 7-10 and it felt like the contractions would never stop. I got the shakes very badly and could not stop sweating. Everyone else in the room was shivering. I laid in my bed with my knees separated by pillows and kept chanting the work “open”. I imagined my cervix opening in my mind over and over again.
At around 9 PM, Toni said it was time to start pushing. I pushed for about 30 minutes with no real progress. She had me push a few times while her hand pushed my cervix back because a little bit of it was still over his head. Toni suggested that we change positions to use gravity to our advantage. I clung to the rebozo blanket that they threw over the door. I could only make it through 2 contractions because they were so intense while I was standing. Then we moved to the toilet where I sat backwards. I made it through about three contractions before I could not stand the pain anymore.
At this point I said I wanted to move back to the bed. Rachel and Derek held my legs up and I pushed for 45 minutes. It seemed like his 14.5 head was never going to come out but it did. At 11:12 PM, Eli Curtis made his appearance. He weighed 8 lbs. 2 oz and measured 21 ¾ inches. I kept looking at him, not believing he had just come out of my body. He latched about 30 minutes after he was born. The most relaxing part was taking a bath with him. Toni and her crew packed up at 2:30 AM and Derek and I fell asleep with our son between us in our bed. The home birth was everything I could have dreamed of. I was in active labor or a total of 9 hours. It felt like 10 minutes after it was done.