I woke up about 3:45 am to what felt like my water breaking. It was a distinct "pop" in my uterus....but there was no water. I got up to go to the bathroom after a few minutes and had a pretty hard contraction - much harder than the prodromal labor contractions I had been having for weeks. I decided to get up and wait for a bit to see if the contractions got worse, or would just taper off like usual. Within 30 minutes they were strong enough to make me not be able to do anything but breathe through them. I began to think "This may be it!" So I woke up Jeremy and told him I would be calling my friends.
I waited a few more minutes before calling, and finally about 4:30 am I called Jenna and Emily to let them know I thought they should make their way over to my house. Jenna and Emily are friends of mine who also have had home births, and they were coming to help support me during labor. By the time they arrived, at 5:15 - 5:30 am or so, I was already in transition. I hadn't left my hands and knees since about 4:45 am. My guess is that I had already dilated pretty far, perhaps to 7 cm or so, in all those weeks of prodromal labor, although I never had my cervix checked.
Jeremy was amazing the entire time, rubbing my shoulders throughout every contractions. He tells me that the contractions went from about 5 minutes apart to about 2 minutes apart in that time before my friends arrived. When Jenna and Emily arrived, they got right to work rubbing my back too! I felt the royal treatment, having so many hands on me to help me get through the contractions, which were coming hard, fast, and long by this point. I didn't have back labor, thank goodness. But it felt so good to have these hands touching me and calming me. At the end, I had all three rubbing my back. I have no labor pictures but two for that reason alone: I wouldn't let anyone stop long enough to grab the camera! LOL Also, at the end just before pushing, Jeremy stood by my ear and talked me through it. He was my rock at the hardest point, talking straight into my ear and making me believe I could survive this.
I became *very* vocal, which surprised me. In my hospital births I had always been very quiet and focused. But at home, I made whatever noises I felt to get me through. I was hoping beyond hope to wake up my upstairs neighbors that just moved in a few days ago, who have been tromping around up there since they got in LOL. I wonder if I did? One person I didn't wake up was Isabella, another surprise! She's normally a light sleeper. Darian, however, DID wake up. She came out into the living room asking, "What the heck is going on out here?!" Jeremy said to her, "What does it look like Darian?" And she said, "Labor?......I'm going back to my room." Hahahaha....and she stayed there until she heard Ruby's first cries.
Not long after I decided I needed a new position, as I'd been on my hands and knees the entire labor, which was very tiring on my legs and arms, as well as painful in my pelvis. Jenna asked if I wanted to try standing, which I did. Well that didn't last two seconds, as the next contraction dropped me to my hands and knees again! As I dropped I could feel my water break. Not much came out though, as baby's head was well-engaged and low by this point. In the next contraction I could feel the urge to push coming on....and it just swept over me like a freight train. I've never felt the urge to push before! In my hospital births, the doctor would just tell me I was fully dilated and that I ought to start pushing, which I did. This time, I let ME tell me when I was ready to push....what a glorious feeling! The girls asked me if I was pushing, but I couldn't talk by this point in labor. I figured they'd guess for themselves soon enough LOL. But Jeremy took one look at my face and said, "Oh yeah she's pushing!"
As they were wondering whether I was pushing or not, I could feel baby's head coming down fast. She began to crown and I felt that Ring of Fire so badly!!! I reached down and used my hand to rub my vulva and try to ease the stretching feeling. In the next contraction, I pushed her head halfway out, at which point the girls behind me first realized the baby was already crowning! In the next push her head came all the way out. I could feel her body doing something painful to me! (Jenna tells me later it was the baby rotating at that point). Emily asked Jeremy if he wanted to catch and he politely declined LOL. While they are discussing this, I am already pushing again, and the baby is literally coming out!! Jenna and Emily tell me at this point they realize neither one of them had any idea about catching a baby and they were not quite sure what to do! As for me, I didn't care. I knew baby was coming out, and I was quite low to the floor, so I just expected to birth baby onto the blankets. I couldn't have reached down and caught her myself if I'd wanted to - I needed my arms for bracing at this point, as the contractions and pushing were just coming like waves over me.
Out flops baby, halfway on to the floor before Emily can scoop her up LOL. Emily felt so bad about this, as she felt she had dropped the baby. But I didn't fault her at all, as I was planning to birth the baby on the floor anyway. Emily passed the baby to Jenna, who had a towel ready in her hands. Me, I flopped forward on the floor and uttered a couple of awesomely raunchy curse words! And then said, "I DESERVE some curse words after that!!!" After a minute or two, I felt recovered enough to get up and sit back, at which point they passed the baby to me under my leg, and I leaned back and cried for joy while holding my beautiful baby. I cried and cried, and hugged and kissed my friends and my husband, so happy! I did it! I was done with the pg! I had no more pain! And here was my lovely baby!
I encouraged her to latch on to my breast, and she latched on instantly!! No problems! What a relief! I had so many problems with breastfeeding with Isabella, and we struggled for WEEKS with latching and allergy issues. This was so amazing to have the baby hop right on like a pro! It took not even 5 more minutes for the placenta to come out, so easy and fast. I had a fair amount of bleeding, but nothing unusual for a birth. Also, the majority of my water came out after the baby, so it made all the fluids pool everywhere. The placenta was gorgeous and reddish-purple, intact and fat and juicy. So much for "old placenta!" LOL.
Ruby nursed for about 30 minutes and we rested and enjoyed everything for a while. Jeremy and Emily cleaned up the towels and such while Jenna helped me clean up a bit. A little while later I had my herbal bath (which felt HEAVENLY), while I let Darian and the girls dress the baby. There has been minimal bleeding (but horrible cramping ugh), and my uterus clamped right down. Ruby is in perfect health. She came out a bit purple-y but pinked right up and breathed right away. She was awake and alert, and so far is so quiet and patient.
I couldn't have asked for a better birth. In a way, emotionally this birth wasn't much different from my hospital births. I had always ignored the staff around me and done my own thing anyway, so I already felt very confident in listening to my body. But the difference was NO HASSLE. No needles, tubes, machines that go Ping!, nurses, doctors, strangers, vitals, meds, beds, smells, stupid questions or irritating orders. I achieved what I want most out of life: to feel free to follow my heart without question or interference. It is unquestionably MY body and MY baby. There is nothing more empowering than that.
Ruby Lynn was born July 10, 2008 at 6:18 am. (about 2 1/2 hours total labor) She weighed around 8 lbs. 12 ozs. and was about 21 in. long. I have no tears, and there were no complications during the labor or birth. I am healing up well and I feel better than I have in MONTHS. I am no longer in chronic pain and I feel like a million bucks! The only thing to frown upon is how hard and painful the labor was, since I spent the majority of it in transition...but fortunately it didn't last long, and I got through it with the help of my friends and my husband. I feel so blessed!
About the lotus birth for those who wondered.....DH became quickly annoyed with having to maneuver the placenta bowl around the baby every time we went to do anything. So he asked if we could cut the cord, and honestly I didn't care anymore. So we cut the cord after about 2-3 hours, cleaned off the placenta, and plan to bury it under a new tree at Jenna's house.