Ephraim Royce's homebirth
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|Thu, 06-07-2007 - 10:32pm|
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 didnâ€™t seem very long to me, so I was worried I hadnâ€™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 babyâ€™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 couldnâ€™t push. And it worked â€“ 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. Weâ€™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 â€“ Ephraim Royce, named after St. Ephraim, a 4th century monk, theologian, musician and writer, and Mikeâ€™s Grandpa Royce.
Iâ€™m feeling pretty good. Itâ€™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 Ephraimâ€™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!