The Home Birth Story of K, Baby Girl #3

My 3rd baby girl is 4 weeks old. Wow, that went fast. I can’t believe I have 3 girls! I go back and forth between thinking, “I have so many kids, how did this happen!?” …to “Oh, I want at least one more and if we don’t get a boy, maybe even another.”

But first, the short backstory on my prenatal care: I originally planned to have this baby at a birth center, but near the end of the pregnancy, I switched to a home birth because my last labor was so quick and I was afraid of not making it to the birth center in time. We planned to have 2 midwives attend the birth and I had preordered a home birthing kit, which included all the medical supplies they would need.

K was due on February 17th, which just slightly annoyed me because it’s an uneven number and that just felt off, and sometimes I care about those absolutely pointless things. But, she happened to be born on the 16th at 2:40pm, the day before my due date, so it all worked out. ANYWAY, I gained more weight with this pregnancy than my last. I was very uncomfortable at the end, major back pain, could not walk around for more than 10 minutes or so before I had to lay down on my left side and recover. I tried castor oil 3 times in the last 2 weeks of pregnancy. The first time did nothing, the 2nd time gave me mild contractions for about an hour, which then stopped. The third time was on the 16th and they did give me contractions, which turned into the real thing and then K was born shortly afterwards.

Her delivery was very fast. I started having mild contractions around 1pm on 1/16, a few hours after I took the castor oil. I wasn’t sure if they were the real thing, or just a fluke like the last time and since they weren’t extremely painful, I didn’t take them seriously until about 30 minutes before she was born when they turned very intense and there was no doubt it was the real thing. It was around 2pm when I texted my husband at work and I laugh now at what I wrote, because all I said was: “I’m having contractions and they are a little painful.” He immediately told his boss he had to leave and left work to come home, probably since he remembered how fast my last labor was (3 hours). While on his way home, I called the midwife. The office person answered and said she’d get the message to the on-call midwife right away. The moment my husband walked in the door, he started calling both midwives again on their personal cells and made sure they were leaving immediately.

My parents came to get the 2 older girls and when my Mom realized the baby was coming at any moment, she told Grandpa (my Dad) to take the girls to their place right away and she would stay. I don’t remember what she did while I was in labor, but I remember just a few minutes later, the baby was born, and she was saying, “Good job! Wow, good job!” as if I did a great job delivery her, haha!

The midwives did not make it before she was born. One arrived a few minutes after K came out but before the placenta was delivered. The other came about 10 minutes later. I was still having very painful contractions when the placenta was delivered and even for a little while after that. I continued to have afterpains during nursing and they really hurt. I did not have that with my 2 previous births, but I’ve heard that is normal and that the more children you have, the more painful the afterpains and contractions during breastfeeding can be. But, after a few days, they subsided and everything is fine now.

It was around 2:40 when K was actually born. I was on hands and knees on the floor in front of the bed. We had put blankets down everywhere on the floor. I didn’t even know she was coming until my water broke with one contraction, then with the next contraction her head was out and with the next contraction her whole body came out. It was very fast, but I remember the few seconds when just her head was out and that was the freakiest moment. I did not experience that with my previous birth because that baby came out completely in one push, so that moment of just her head being out was scary, but only a few seconds later she was all out.

During each contraction, I had to breathe very hard to deal with the pain. I was still having contractions when the placenta was coming and I remember the first midwife saying I needed to slow down my breathing or I would hyperventilate. I felt like that was very distracting and made the pain worse, so I was almost glad she wasn’t there when I was actually delivering the baby. This is the 2nd birth I’ve had unassisted, or with just my husband, since the last birth we didn’t make it to the hospital and then this time, we called the midwives but they didn’t make it until after she was born. I’m afraid I might like not being bothered while giving birth and if I have another one, I might be annoyed if my medical assistance actually gets there to “assist”. Even though they weren’t there during the birth, they were very helpful for the aftercare.

If we have another, I don’t know if I’ll do a home birth again. I liked the home birth experience for the actual delivery because I think being left alone to labor how my body needs has helped my labors be quick and effective, but I missed being taken care of in the hospital for the next 48 hours after birthing. The midwives were only there for a few hours after the birth, which was okay, but then we were alone and my husband had to help with getting me food and drink constantly and helping me go to the bathroom and taking our temperatures and all that. The midwives also helped clean everything up, but there were still a lot of things we had to clean from the home experience. In the hospital of course you use all their supplies and don’t have to clean up anything. I’m worried that the hospital would try to push interventions, which I obviously did not need, and a hospital birth is more expensive, but I wouldn’t say that birthing at home is the only way I’d do it again.

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I’m going to re-write this story in a time-line list format, because that is how my brain is working. I can’t seem to write intelligent sentences that don’t run-on forever and have innumerable unnecessary words in them. So, this is the same story, but might be easier to read.

Thursday, February 16, 2017:

7am: Wake up, get girls ready, eat breakfast

8am: Coffee. Oh wait, coffee made me sick at the end of my pregnancy, so I hadn’t had it for a few months.

9am: Took 3 tablespoons of castor oil in milk, let’s see what it does…

10am-12noon: Not sure what happened during this time.

1pm: Started having contractions. Used an app on my phone to time them, they were regular right away and about 5 min apart.

1:45pm: Contractions were painful so I thought it might be the real deal. Texted my husband that: “I’m having contractions and they are a little painful”. He immediately leaves work to come home.

1:50pm: Contractions are 3 to 5 min apart and very painful. I call midwife office. I have one contraction while on phone. I tell her to wait a min because I’m having a contraction. When I come back on the line she says I did a good job breathing through that one. She says she is calling the on-call midwife right away.

2pm: My husband is home and he’s calling both midwives again on their personal cell to make sure they are coming now. My parents arrive and Grandpa takes the older girls home with him and my Mom stays here.

2:20pm: I’m in the bath tub because I think I’m going to have a water birth in our big tub (because the midwife said I could do that) and I’m in so much pain I feel like I just have to be in the water now. My husband immediately calls the midwife, who is on her way, to ask her if it’s okay I’m in the tub. She says no, don’t get in the tub now, because she’s not there to assist me and she is worried about an unassisted birth in the tub. She says tub is fine, but she wants to be there first. My husband yells at me to get out and I say wait because I’m having another contraction. After that contraction I get out. I’m wearing a long tank top and I put a big towel around me since I’m all wet now.

2:30pm-ish: I immediately have to be on the floor on hands and knees because that’s what my body wants to do during contractions. My husband says to get on the bed. It’s all ready with plastic protection and old sheets on top. I don’t want to be on the bed, I want to be on the floor on a hard surface. So, I stay on the floor at the foot of the bed. I lean with my face against the bed and knees on floor. This is the position that feels best.

2:35pm: I know the baby is coming because I start screaming with each contraction and have that feeling that my hips are ripping apart. My water breaks with the next contraction.

2:40pm: With the next contraction the baby’s head comes out. The head is only out for a few seconds but it feels like eternity. I feel the head and wonder what I should do. I have another contraction and the rest of the baby comes out.

2:41pm: The baby is out and on the floor and my husband is putting a towel on her. She is crying and bright purple. I am still in shock, still having contractions, and shaking and feel like I can’t move. I try to lay down on my side to see the baby but I can hardly move. The placenta has not come out yet and I’m still having painful contractions so I feel like I can’t focus on the baby.

2:42pm: I finally am able to lay down on my side for a few seconds and look at the baby and the midwife arrives. She is happy and says we did a great job. She immediately looks at the baby and wraps her in the towel and then does some other stuff that I don’t remember.

2:45pm: I have many more very painful contractions. It’s hard to focus on my new baby because I still feel like I’m in labor. Finally the placenta is delivered. A few minutes later the midwife cuts the cord and they help me move to the bed and lay down with baby.

3pm: The 2nd midwife arrives and she does the newborn exam and they both busy themselves cleaning up and other things. I take an herbal bath which is basically just a bath with a pack of herbs steeped in the bath water. It makes the water brown and I smell like tea, it’s very relaxing. The midwife uses an ink pad to make stamps of the baby’s feet, then gives me the baby in the bath to wash off.

4pm or later: My memory is blurry about what we did the rest of the day, but I remember I ate some scrambled eggs and laid in bed with baby and nursed. She was very fussy the first night but when my milk came in the next day, she was much happier and slept better.

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Random thoughts and memories with no chronological order:

  • At one point, I was annoyed that my husband would not use my very nice camera to take pictures. I have been a photographer and have a professional camera, but it’s very big and he doesn’t like using it. He’s probably intimidated by it, so we only have crappy cell phone pics from the birth that I’d never show to anyone.
  • I was extremely hungry and thirsty for several days after birthing. I woke up every hour or so to pee and then drink an entire bottle of a water/juice mixture. I would fill a large bottle with mostly water and maybe 1/4 cranberry juice.
  • I was overly confident about breastfeeding, because I never had a problem breastfeeding my other two, so I introduced a pacifier to baby girl a day after my milk came in. I wanted to make sure she would take the pacifier, so I didn’t want to wait too long to let her try it. But, that made her confused and she forgot how to latch on and she was confused for another day or so. I totally stopped the pacifier and struggled to get her to learn how to latch on again. I was sad because I know I caused that problem and I should have just waited for the pacifier. But, all is good now, she’s a breast feeding expert again and I waited another week and gave her the pacifier again so now we are great with both of them. Now I have to remember to try to pump and try a bottle. I hate pumping, it’s so boring/annoying/time-consuming, but I’d like the ability to give a bottle to grandma if I want to go out for a few hours in the future.
  • I feel really fat. I know it’s only 4 weeks after her birth, but that’s the truth, I hate how I look. There is no clothing in the world that helps me feel attractive. I feel best in long cotton stretchy dresses with a pair of cotton shorts underneath. It’s hot in the south here so a stretchy tank dress is working out well. I just pull down the front for nursing and cover with a baby blanket if out in public. I feel like the long dress sorta covers all the bumps that will take a while to go away. And it makes me feel feminine and nothing is restrictive. I only wear flip flips. I hate all shoes. My feet were big to begin with and with my last pregnancy they became a size bigger and stayed that way. I have to admit to myself that I now wear a size 12 women’s shoe, yes, shocking, get over it. I am tall, 5’10, but not super tall, just have big feet. I was always a size 11, but after pregnancies, my feet are probably a permanent 12. I do not buy shoes in stores. Well, actually I don’t ever buy shoes, I only wear flip flops. Enough with the big feet rant.
  • I hate going out with all 3 girls. Pain in the butt to get them all ready and get all the crap we need and then get all 3 of them in the car. So, I do everything possible to not go out with all of them. I try to have grandma take the 2 year old if I have to take the 5 year old to ballet, then I only have to take the baby with me. Or, I wait until my husband is home in the evening and I can run out if I have to get something at the store. But, actually I never do that anymore, because I’ve discovered Kroger’s click list ordering service, so I can order our groceries online and then go pick them up.
  • It’s only been a month but I feel like this baby has been with us forever. I have had moments where I’m embarrassed that someone notices I have 3 kids. As if 3 kids were a lot! Ha! I even want one more, but I feel like I can’t admit that to anyone who has 3 or less. So ridiculous. I have friends with 4 kids and I feel like they are crazy, how can they have so many kids?! But, they only have 1 more than me! What am I talking about?! I honestly, secretly, in my imagination, would like 6 kids, but mostly because I want to have lots of kids when I’m older so that I have a big family around me, lots of grandkids and I want to feel like I’m a part of a big family. I always wished I had more siblings as a kid, so maybe that’s part of it. But, hey, I have 3 girls now, so that’s a good start.