Ephraim Royce's homebirth

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-16-2003
Ephraim Royce's homebirth
Thu, 06-07-2007 - 10:32pm

Short details:

Ephraim Royce, born at home May 30 at 5:33am, 7lb 10oz, 19 1/4" long, 37 weeks.

Really long details:

I'd been having loads of b-h contractions since around 30 weeks, but I could always stop them by lying down. I started having what I decided were "real" contractions late Tuesday afternoon. Lying down didn't change the intensity or slow them down very much, so I figured this must be it. By about 6pm, I had to concentrate to relax through them. I let my midwife know what was up, and she said to call her if anything changed or if I wanted them to head over. My back was hurting during the contractions, so I was worried that baby had turned posterior or maybe had a fist up next to his face, and that labor would be really long and horridly painful. Thankfully, I was wrong about the long part, but the back pain was pretty annoying.

I expected to last at least another week, so we weren't quite ready for the birth yet. I straightened up the bedroom and looked through the boxes of baby clothes my sister had brought over a few hours earlier, picking out one shirt for a boy, one for a girl. My MIL had just arrived in town that morning, and had only gotten 3 hours of sleep. DH was also sleep deprived because our 2yo Judson had a double ear infection and hadn't been sleeping well, with 3-6 wake-ups every night that DH would take care of.

At 9pm, we all went to bed. No one wanted an all-night labor. I thought maybe if I really relaxed they would slow down and I could sleep a bit. It worked! Between 9pm & 3am I probably slept a total of 4 hours. Every now & then I would wake up (often when Judson woke up crying), have a contraction, need to pee, have a contraction on the way to the bathroom, while there, & on the way back, have another one or two and then fall back to sleep. What a great way to labor. By 3am they weren't slowing enough to fall asleep again, and by 3:30 I needed DH to coach me through them to relax and breathe deeply. They didn’t seem very long to me, so I was worried I hadn’t progressed much. DH timed a few, and they were 80-90 seconds long and 3 minutes apart!

I called my midwife Mary at 4:05 and told her to head over. She picked up the apprentice Nedra and arrived around 4:40. Nedra checked me and said I was 8 or 9 cm. I was thrilled! All those half-sleeping contractions had done some great work. We called my sister Judy and told her to head over. Since I was 37 weeks, Mary had me break my waters so baby would get squeezed a bit more to help clear out his lungs. The bag was bulging, so she just told me to give a little push and it popped.

After a few more contractions I could feel baby’s head pressing, and sure enough, I was fully dilated. I tore like crazy when Judson was born (in 4 pushes at a hospital), so I asked them to help me not tear this time. They had me sit on the floor propped by a bunch of pillows, leaning back. Mary had me give little grunt pushes instead of the big, long, breath-holding type so I would stretch instead of tear. They were squirting olive oil on my perineum, which felt great, and I think Nedra was stretching it out a bit.

At first I DID NOT want to push, because it hurt so badly, especially in my back. Later I had the MUST PUSH urge, but could only do the little pushes, or sometimes no pushes at all, especially while he crowned and I stretched. I could feel where it wanted to tear, so I was motivated to obey Mary's instructions. I was alternately roaring, screaming, and making all sorts of odd noises depending on if I could or couldn’t push. And it worked – I just got a little scratch, no tear.

I think pushing only lasted 10-15 minutes. My sister arrived sometime during pushing and our 4yo Collin woke up from all my noise. Collin did great and enjoyed seeing his brother born. We’d talked about what birth would be like so he knew what to expect. Judson miraculously slept through the whole thing.

Baby slowly emerged, and what a relief once his head was out! Then his shoulders took more effort than I expected, but suddenly there was my baby on my stomach, all slimy and beautiful. It was a couple of minutes before Mike thought to ask if it was a boy or girl. Someone held him up and there he was! Our third son! After a while, Mike cut the cord and I nursed him (his cord was too short to nurse while still attached), and later I pushed out the placenta.

It took us a full day to find his name – Ephraim Royce, named after St. Ephraim, a 4th century monk, theologian, musician and writer, and Mike’s Grandpa Royce.

I’m feeling pretty good. It’s amazing how not tearing eliminates so much pain down in the nether parts. Ephraim is nursing well with a good latch. He sleeps most of the time still, and I have to wake him for most feedings.

Looking back on Ephraim’s birth, I have to say it was a rollicking success. Of course getting so much dilation work done overnight while partially sleeping helped make it manageable. But I think the whole-hearted support I received from DH was the key. I knew he believed in me, and that made me believe in me, too. During the pushing stage, everyone was so encouraging, telling me I was doing a great job, etc. Having a home birth was fabulous. Everyone who was there was invited, and I trusted them fully, which helped me relax. Not having to deal with the irritating staff, noise and routines of the hospital made it so peaceful and safe feeling. If I am blessed with another opportunity to give birth, it will definitely be at home again!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-27-2005
Fri, 06-08-2007 - 12:46am

That was an awesome birth story!

jess.gif picture by brazenladyj