Did you read yesterday's post? I shared a little about my pregnancy with Daniel, and how we came to choose a home birth.
My due date was May 2nd, which is Joseph’s birthday! I thought it would be neat for them to share a birthday, but since both older kids were born in May I did really want an April baby. Since I hadn’t had a single twinge or contraction since just before 36 weeks I really didn’t think it would happen. I had a feeling this baby was going to take his sweet time coming, and prepared myself to go past my due date, although I was sick to death of being pregnant and huge.
**Hypnobabies Moms! I’m going to use non-hypnobabies terms in this post, and some other parts of it make me want to give a bubble of peace warning to you at the beginning. So just a heads up for the BOP!**
On April 29th we went to a revival meeting at our church. Since I went into labor with Jonathan the night of a revival meeting, I jokingly told some friends that maybe tonight’s meeting would do the trick!
On the drive home (a little over an hour) I kept getting shooting pains down the back of one leg. It felt really strange and I had to turn around and kneel in the seat each time it happened to ease the pain. David told me later he was timing them and they came every 7-8 minutes. It honestly never occurred to me at this point that it might be labor starting! You’d think by the third baby I’d have learned that just about every weird thing is normal.
Three weeks old, and one adoring older brother!
We pulled into our driveway around 10:00. I stepped out of the van and felt a gush of water. I had focused on the Brewer’s diet and extra vitamin C, etc. during this pregnancy because it’s supposed to help keep your membranes intact. So much for that! I took another step and more fluid gushed. I looked at David and said, “I think my water just broke!” I was shocked, but he just said, “Oh really?” in a voice that said he wasn’t a bit surprised.
We got the boys into bed, I ate a few bites of raisin bran, filled up a few big pots with water to heat later for the birth tub, and called Kate (our midwife) and told her we were going to sleep for a while and would let her know when we needed her. I wasn’t having contractions at this point, just felt a little crampy since the baby had dropped. Thankfully, he was head down, but I could tell he was facing forward. I wanted to turn him to face my back, as that’s the ideal (easiest!) position for birth. I showered and then headed to bed to get some sleep before labor really kicked in.
I was drifting off to sleep around 11:00 when the first real contraction started. It seemed exceptionally intense, but I thought maybe I’d just forgotten how intense labor can be! After a few contractions I moved to the living room so David could get some sleep before I needed him.
I tried different positions to try and turn the baby to face my back but they weren’t working. I was listening to my hypnobabies tracks, but I was struggling to get relaxed during contractions. They weren’t so much like gentle birthing waves. The contractions built to a peak in just a few seconds and then stayed at the peak for the majority of the contraction, so I didn’t have much chance to get deeply relaxed before the most intense part. I was having back labor, like I did with both the other births, and the contractions started at my spine and then wrapped all the way around the front. It was really, really hard, and I was getting discouraged with how I was struggling.
Around 1am I woke up David. Contractions were 4 minutes apart now. He helped by doing the hip press during contractions, and encouraged me a lot - I was crying between contractions, saying I just wanted to go to sleep! David would say, "You can do it!" And I would say, "I know I can, but I want to SLEEP FIRST!"
With the first two births I didn’t want anyone near me, but this time, I needed David to help me focus. He got me started using my peace cue - a Hypnobabies aspect that I adapted in my practice time to incorporate Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
So a contraction would start, and I would say to myself really quickly, because they reached the peak so fast, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect” and then as the contraction reached the peak, I would breathe out, “Peeeeeeeeace” and continue breathing out “Peeeeeeace” until the contraction released. Because I was having a hard time getting relaxed and comfortable, like I was during Joseph’s birth, the peace cue and scripture really helped me stay calm and focused.
I labored on my hands and knees on the bed, then flopped over on my side to rest between contractions. I still just couldn’t get really relaxed during contractions, which were over a minute long, but listening to my Hypnobabies helped me fall almost instantly and deeply asleep after each contraction. For the rest it helped me get during this birth, it is completely invaluable to me! The headphones started annoying me, so I ripped them off at the start of each contraction, then David would put them back on at the end, and I would immediately go to sleep.
David started heating the pots of water on the stove, filling the birth tub, and running to help me. Around 2:15 he called Kate and told her she should head our way (she lives an hour from us).
*Hindsight* We should have called her much sooner! We both kept thinking that although it was intense, I hadn’t been in labor for long and we still had hours before the birth. Wrong:)
A little before 3am I moved to standing or kneeling beside the bed. I was soaked with sweat so I pointed a little fan right at me - so nice! David continued filling the tub, helping with the hip press for each contraction (I yelled for him if he wasn’t right there when one started, and got mad at him at one point for not coming fast enough. Poor guy!), and giving me sips of gatorade.
Then I had The Mother of All Contractions. It was so strong, so intense, that I dropped to my knees and just hollered - really, really loud! I could feel the baby turn, and then drop down into the birth canal. Let me just say, it is absolutely incredible to be able to feel your body working so powerfully, doing exactly what your baby needs to be born! God really designed the human body in such an amazing way.
Note: The boys were sleeping in the bedroom, and after I yelled really loud we heard Joseph making some noise. David and I looked at each other like “Now what do we do?!” But he went back to sleep :)
ike it or not, Cavebaby is coming!
After that happened I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom. While I was in the bathroom my body started pushing a little, which I resisted because I felt like it was just too soon. But that’s silly because hello? My body knew what it was doing! Back in the bedroom David tried to get me to try the tub for a while. I didn’t have my contact lenses in so I kept telling him no, because it looked to me like there were only a few inches of water in the tub - I couldn’t understand why he would think water on my knees would help me feel better!
My body began pushing in earnest, and I just couldn’t do a thing to stop it. With just a few contractions the baby was crowning. I actually held back on the baby’s head, because my body was pushing hard! I used my fingers to support the surrounding tissue and slow down the birth of the baby's head to try and prevent or minimize tearing.
I finally agreed to get in the tub since I figured it would be less messy! So yes, while the baby was crowning, I climbed into the tub. There was actually a lot of water in the tub, plenty to cover my belly while I was kneeling, and I immediately relaxed in the warm water.
From my training through Hypnobabies, and reading Ina May Gaskin’s books, I knew that keeping my hands and jaw relaxed would help my bottom stay relaxed. Relaxed tissues stretch more and tear less than tense (tightened up) tissue, so I was really focusing on that. I kept saying to myself, “Peace, hands and face relaxed, aaaaaaaah” My eyes were squeezed shut tightly, but my jaw and hands stayed relaxed and loose. I really think this helped prevent tearing. I leaned against the side of the tub, and over the course of several contractions I slowly eased the baby’s head out. David asked me if I was ok, because I got really quiet, and then I told him the baby's head was already out. Remember how he said he was absolutely Not. Going. To! Catch the baby? Each time I started to push I heard him speak encouraging words in a calm voice, telling me I was doing great! Just one more push now!
Except that’s not at all what was happening. Crazy things happen in your mind when you're giving birth :) He was actually telling me NOT to push, because he knew Kate was almost there, and he had that thing where he didn't want to catch the baby.
But that’s exactly what happened. I pushed and delivered first one shoulder, then the second. David supported the baby’s head and shoulders, and I pushed again for the chest, then again for the bottom.
David pulled our baby up out of the water just as Kate and her assistant walked in the room! Kate said, “Oh, we have a baby already!” and David was saying, “Look! Honey, you did so great! Look at this baby!” And all I could do was sigh and try not to cry with relief that it was over. He announced that it was a boy, and I said, “I know!” I really did know the whole time that it was another boy.
Two days old. Still no name.
Kate and Mary (her assistant, who is also her mom - how cool is that?!) helped me turn over in the tub and David handed me our third little boy. I cradled him against me, holding his body in the water for warmth. He just stared up at me with his huge, dark eyes. His chin quivered a little, his fat cheeks jiggled, and I was instantly, completely smitten with this beautiful baby God had blessed us with. I could tell he was big before we even weighed him, and kept saying, “Wow, look how big he is!”
After a few minutes I handed him back to David, delivered the placenta, and then started to feel dizzy. I passed out after each of the other births, so I pretty much knew it was coming. I learned over the side of the tub and said, “I’m going to pass out.” and then did. Kate and Mary grabbed my arms and somehow got some towels around me and got me up onto the bed which was only a few feet away. After I drank some gatorade and ate some crackers I felt a little better.
They helped me to the bathroom (I drank a lot of gatorade during labor!), and I passed out again. I hadn't lost an excessive amount of blood, I just have low blood pressure. Once I was back in bed I ate some more crackers, then started nursing the baby. He latched on easily and nursed for almost 45 minutes! Kate and Mary did some cleaning up, emptied the tub and packed it up, and started a load of laundry. Eventually we decided he just wasn’t going to stop nursing. I unlatched him and he got mad! It was the first time we had heard him really cry. David and Kate weighed him and he was 9 lbs - our biggest baby so far, and a full pound bigger than Jonathan.
We rested for a little while, and then the big boys were waking up. David brought them in to meet the baby, who would remain nameless for three days because *somebody* wouldn’t discuss boy names when I was pregnant (coughDavidcough). Jonathan and Joseph thought he was pretty cool for a minute, then wanted to go eat breakfast and play. Jonathan held Cavebaby later in the day, and decided he really liked “that baby”!
When he was three days old we settled on the name Daniel Amasiah. We like strong, masculine names for our boys, but Amasiah was a little unusual compared to our other, very traditional, name choices. It comes from the first part of II Chronicles 17:16 - And next him was Amasiah the son of Zichri, who willingly offered himself unto the Lord;
We hope that for all our children - that they will love God with their whole hearts, so that they will willingly offer themselves to the Lord. Definitely an unusual name, but a powerful scripture to saddle our son with for life.
And so we added the littlest cave boy, and had our first home birth. Oh, and after the fact? David thinks it's super awesome to catch the baby you helped make ;) He says he plans to catch the next one. Someday.
Note: There is NOT another cave baby on the way. This is still our baby: