This is the home birth story of our precious little baby girl who is now 1 month old. Our firstborn child was born in a hospital, so this was a very different experience for us compared to our first birth story. I’m honestly thankful that I’ve been able to experience both a hospital birth (complete with pitocin and an epidural) and now a home birth. Both were beautiful in their own unique way!
It was around 3:00 in the afternoon when I started timing my contractions. I was 3 days past my due date with our second child – a girl to help even the score in the house. After she was born the boys vs. girls number would be tied again. 3 boys and 3 girls (this number includes our 2 adopted “children” – a crazy female Maltese and a sweet male Shih Tzu!).
I really didn’t think too much about it at this point, because I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks that would sometimes last for a few hours.
These didn’t feel much different than the Braxton Hicks, so I wasn’t ready to call the midwife or my husband quite yet.
I continued to work at the computer, and the contractions continued to roll around every 10 minutes for the next few hours. At 5:00 I decided to call my (awesome) midwife just to give her a heads up that I could possibly be in the beginning stages of labor. She told me just to keep an eye on the timing of the contractions, and give her another call if they continued to get closer together and more intense.
The rest of the afternoon went on like normal. My little man woke up from his nap around 5:00 and we read a few books together cuddled up in his bed before we went to start dinner.
During this time, the contractions were anything but intense, but I could definitely feel them.
Of course, I hadn’t planned anything for supper that night, so I racked my brain trying to thing of something easy, but healthy and sustaining to whip up. I finally settled on this Pumpkin Soup that is fairly quick and very easy to make. It sounded so good and I had some pumpkin puree and chicken broth frozen in freezer bags that I needed to use. So I pulled them out and stuck them in a sink full of warm water to thaw.
As I stood in our little kitchen chopping veggies, my contractions started getting closer together as well as more intense. By the time Husband got home around 6:30, they were around 5 minutes apart and I was having to stop and concentrate with each contraction.
Because of this, my “quick and easy” dinner plans took me a little longer than I had anticipated. I really didn’t mind though, because it was giving me something to do and kept my mind off of the contractions (for the most part!).
Finally, around 7:30 the soup was done and our family of 3 (almost 4!) sat down to eat. I didn’t even serve anything else with the soup except for some whole wheat bread that I had made the day before. It was a modest meal, but, boy, did it taste good!
During supper, I had to get up and pace the hallway a few times through some extra intense contractions. By the time we were all done eating my contractions were 3-4 minutes apart and Husband was rubbing my back to help me get through them.
Was this really the real thing? I still wasn’t convinced.
You see, the thing is, every once in a while my contractions would go back to being 7 or 8 minutes apart. (On top of that, my water hadn’t broken and I hadn’t lost my mucous plug either.)
Everything I had read made me believe that when this happened, it was prodromal labor or “false” labor. In between contractions, which were quite intense at this point (I certainly couldn’t talk through them!), I kept googling prodromal labor on my phone to try to determine if that is what was going on.
Tip: Don’t google your symptoms when you’re in labor. Not a good idea. Just go with the flow, mama!
Looking back now, I have no idea how I didn’t realize I was really in labor. I just kept thinking to myself,
“If this isn’t real labor, then I can’t handle real labor!”
With the help of Husband rubbing my back and being so encouraging, I was getting through these contractions with relative ease, but still…they hurt like heck!
After we put our little man to bed for the night, I headed straight to our bedroom to see if I could fall asleep. Our midwife told me that you could not sleep through real labor.
Well, I most certainly could not fall asleep, so I made a hot bath to get in to try to ease the pain a bit. Not a good idea. Our bathtub is just plain awkward and it made the pain even worse. So I got out of the bath in a flash.
We spent the next few hours in our bedroom. The contractions were consistent for the most part, but still were going back and forth between 2-3 minutes apart and then back up to 4-5 minutes apart. Husband rubbed my back and legs while I leaned against the wall and squatted through almost every contraction. This was definitely the most effective way for me to manage the pain at this point.
1:00 a.m. rolled around and my husband told me that he really thought we should go ahead and call the midwife.
Still, my contractions were kind of all over the place going from 2 minutes apart back up to 5 minutes apart and then back to 2 again.
I was somehow convinced in my head that this was false labor.
Even though I couldn’t sleep through these contractions. Even though I couldn’t talk through the contractions. Even though I’d been having contractions since 3 o’clock in the afternoon. And even though I was 3 days past my estimated due date.
I think what I was worried about most was the thought of making our midwife get out of bed in the middle of the night and drive the 30 minutes to our house, only to tell me that I really wasn’t in labor, and then have to drive the 30 minutes back home.
If you know me in real life, then you know that I can be a little stubborn at times. Okay, I can be very stubborn all the time.
So I told him to just wait a little longer until I could determine for sure whether this was real labor or not.
Hmm…I’m not so sure that was a good idea!