Be warned...some of the descriptions may be a bit graphic!
Both Elise and Justus were born at 40 weeks. I expected this baby to definitely be here by 40 weeks. My parents came on April 5th so my mom could be here for the birth which I told her would certainly happen sometime between April 8th and 12th. The 12th passed and the days just kept rolling by until finally...
I had an appointment with my midwives on April 19th. I was 41 weeks and still no sign of labor. My midwife gave me some options and I decided to have my membranes stripped to see if that would get labor started along with some other natural labor inducing techniques. It worked!
I woke up at 6:30 on April 20th with some cramping. Nothing too uncomfortable so I went about my day as usual. Mom and I went to Target with the kids to get a booster seat for Elise. After we got home Mom went to the laundry mat to dry some clothes. I decided that if I went into labor it would be nice to have dinner already prepared, so I made some white bean kale soup and put it in the crock pot.
|Dane and Elise setting up the birthing tub|
I laid down for a nap at 1:30 and woke up around 2:30 to contractions that were actually starting to feel a bit painful. I lost my mucous plug at 2:40. Dane was outside about to put out some grass seed in our yard when I went and told him it was probably time to get the birthing tub set up. This was the first birth I decided to try a birthing tub. Around 3pm I decided to call the midwives, Rachael, and Bridget. Rachael is a friend/doula in training who I asked to come to the birth and Bridget is a friend who volunteered to keep Justus during the birth (one of several friends who offered to help keep him). Sometime between 3 and 4 everyone showed up and set to work helping and doing whatever it was they needed to do. Thank you to everyone! Elise and my mom were also there during the entire labor and delivery. During labor Mom kept Elise busy making a welcome sign for the baby and watching Sleeping Beauty. Elise made sure the yoga ball was ready for me to sit on.
When the midwife, Martina, arrived at 3:45 I was around 4cm dilated She said that it was still too early to get in the tub since getting in too early might actually slow down labor. I didn't want that to happen! I was ready for this baby to get here. My contractions started getting more intense a little after 4pm. from 4:30 to 4:50 my contractions were happening every 1-2 minutes and lasting 1-2 minutes. I really had to start focusing. During each contraction I would lean over the edge of our bed and breath while Dane or Rachael pushed on my back to help relieve the pain. In between contractions I would sit down on a yoga ball and relax with my head on our bed.
I got into the tub at 4:51 and it was good! A little earlier when I was sweating through contractions I thought that a warm tub would be too hot and miserable, but it was not. Rachael was keeping my head and neck cool while the warm water was so soothing especially as I rested in between contractions. Dane was right beside me holding my hand and letting me squeeze his hand off during contractions. Talking to Dane after the birth and noticing it during the birth, Dane said he felt more comfortable and more confidant at this birth. He knew what I needed during labor and recognized as I was progressing through the stages of labor even though I deal with labor mostly in silence.
|Martina checking the baby's heartrate|
From 5:30 to 5:45 the contractions were progressively getting more intense. During this time I remember keeping my eyes closed, not talking to anyone and just working through the contractions. At 5:55 I felt like I was going through transition. I was feeling a little nauseous and I was starting to make some noise. The pushing contractions started and that is when I get my loudest. Rachael went upstairs to get Mom and Elise. I didn't want Elise to see me moaning and in pain so when they came down I told them it would probably be a while. But as they were standing there I had my 2nd pushing contraction and I could feel the amniotic sac. During the 3rd contraction my water broke and maybe the head came out then too or it may have been the next contraction. It's hard to keep track! I reached down and could feel the baby's hair and ear. Then during the 4th or 5th contraction out came the rest of the baby. I reach down to pull her up, but Toni, one of the midwives, had to help me untangle the umbilical cord. It was wound around both shoulders like a backpack.
I really wanted Elise to discover the gender first, so after the baby got up on my chest I called Elise over. But this baby was taking her sweet time to start breathing. She made a couple of attempts to breath, but it wasn't quite enough. I started smacking her back and talking to her as the midwives were checking her heart rate and also trying to stimulate her to breath. None of the stimulation was working so Martina and Toni got her from me. They said to call 911 just in case. Dane did that. Mom was about to pass out as she was videoing the whole event from the other side of the tub. Elise was oblivious to anything being wrong. She just wanted to touch the baby! I had to lift myself up so the baby could stay attached to the umbilical cord as they worked on her. So Rachael got in the tub with me to help hold me up. As long as the umbilical cord was pulsing and delivering oxygenated blood to the baby the midwives wanted it attached. Martina and Toni suctioned the baby and gave her some oxygen and puffs of air with an ambu bag. The baby was turning purple, and then thankfully began to breath on her own.
During those few minutes I never felt worried or scared. I was focused on doing what I could, I knew that everyone else was doing what they needed to. I did think about the possibility that she might not make it and I prayed. After she began breathing they handed her back over to me to get warmed up. By this time we all had already noticed that it was a little girl, but Elise came over and discovered it for her herself. She was so happy. A girl is just what she wanted. Then she was ready to go finish watching Sleeping Beauty! I asked Mom if she wanted to cut the umbilical cord, but she was still recovering from almost passing out so Toni cut it and then Dane held our new little baby girl while I delivered the placenta. I got ready to get out of the tub and Dane warned me that there were 6 men in the living room. Police, Fire and Ambulance had all shown up and were waiting in the living room to make sure everything was ok. Thankfully we didn't need them and we sent them all away!
|Dane holding her right after she was born|
Welcome to the world Naomi Katharine Forlines!
I got into our bed and then held Naomi as she began to nurse. Dane and Elise got in the bed too as we marveled at our new little girl. Bridget brought Justus back home and after processing the fact that the baby was now out of Mommy's belly he wanted to see her and touch her.
It's all really such a miracle. I marvel at the way God creates human life from conception to birth and beyond. I marvel at this new life he had given to us. She is precious!
Naomi Katharine Forlines
Born at home
April 20, 2016
19 3/4 inches
|Rachael, my friend/doula|