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Home Birth with Pool

Holly shares her birth story for son Symeon

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I woke up on Sunday just before 4:30. At first I just assumed it was nature calling (as she did several times during the night). I crawled back into bed and had a contraction. This wasn't too surprising since I'd been having them off and on for a couple weeks now. But then a few minutes later, I had another one. The time was 4:27. The contractions weren't painful or long, just tight and a little uncomfortable. Bryan was awake as well, and we laid in bed talking. We decided that if they kept up we'd call our midwife at 10:00. Since it was a Sunday, we didn't want to call too early. Sometime between 7 and 8 Bryan got up to do up the 'hospital bag' in case we had to transfer. We'd put it off until now which actually turned out nicely since it gave Bryan something to do ;) While he worked on that I stayed in bed and watched "Big Fish" on Bryan's computer. The contractions were now beginning to be a bit painful, lasting about 30-45 seconds and on average about 6 minutes apart. Bryan calls them the Big Fish Contractions. Bryan was so great. I'd close my eyes when I'd have a contraction, and he'd come over and touch me, rubbing my arm or stroking my head.

About 9:00, I told Bryan that I wanted to go ahead and call K (our midwife). She asked all the usual questions, distance between and length of contractions, if my waters had broken (no), if I'd had a show (yes), etc. She told us that she was at another birth, but there would be someone available if, when the time came, she couldn't come. She reminded me to drink plenty of water and to eat something. I had Bryan fix me some toast, but could only get down a couple bites which later my stomach rejected.

The funny thing to me about labor was that I had no concept of time. When I think about it now, 9:00 and 1:30 seem a long time apart, but it didn't really seem so at the time. We called her again at 1:00, and told her that we'd like someone to come over and see how things were going. By this time my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and lasting between 50-70 seconds. The midwife said I was 3 cm, which is when they say that you're in established labor. She said I could get into the pool if I wanted.

So after she left, I climbed into the pool which wasn't quite as warm as we had planned, so poor Bryan was rushing from the kitchen to the bedroom with water he was heating on the stove, in between comforting me when I would have a contraction. The contractions were much more painful now, some positions more painful than others. I was in the pool for three hours, and most of that time was spent kneeling, which rather surprised me because I have bursitis in my knees, and I didn't expect to be able to labor on my knees.

At 4:00 the contractions were intense enough that I wanted a midwife here, so Bryan called K again. She arrived at 4:30 (thank goodness the other baby had come, and was able to help me breathe through my contractions better. Sitting on the toilet was another good position for me, except for the fact that my legs would fall asleep :P By this time, I was 7 cm, which surprised K as it was just over three hours since I was 3 cms. After resting on my side in bed for a while, K encouraged me to stand and lean on Bryan. I remember feeling something running down my legs and seeing that it wasn't blood, I told Bryan that my waters must have broken. His reply? "I know, K told me" :)

Up to this point, Symeon had been slightly posterior. Then suddenly I got a pain in my side, you know, the kind you get when you walk or run too fast or far? And it was constant, not just through contractions. Shortly after that, K checked Symeon's heartbeat, and told us that it was low. My only thought was, "I have no idea how I'm going to get in a vehicle and actually go somewhere." But then 30 seconds later when she checked, his heart rate was back to normal, and my side pain eased off. The next time she checked him, he had rotated and was anterior. So we concluded that the pain and low heart rate was from him rotating.

At 5:45 I started pushing, and K called her back-up midwife. Again, I am surprised at how well my knees did, because I pushed for the next hour on my knees. I expected pushing to be more painful and difficult than the contractions, but it wasn't. It was actually easier, partly, I think, because I felt like I was actually doing something. The midwives were great with giving advice and encouraging me, although I was tiring now, and just wishing it was all over. Bryan was amazing. I had wanted him to catch the baby, but I don't know what I would've done without him with me to hold on to. He told me later that he was hoping I wouldn't break his fingers I was squeezing his hands so tight. His quiet strength and presence was so comforting and assuring to me.

At 6:25 they got a peek of the top of his head, and at 7:26 he was born. Despite the fact that I breathed through the contractions as his head was born, it still came quite quickly, and his body followed quickly as well. I was standing when he was born. They helped me to sit down and put my baby in my arms, and pretty much all I could think was disbelief that this was my baby and that I was so glad it was all over.

~  Welcome Symeon~~

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