The Homebirth of Xander
Updated: Dec 3, 2020
He's here! Finally. I know I only went nine days post due date, but it might as well have been nine more months. It felt that long. This was especially true since there were five other women I know who were due within days of me and they all went early! Felt like salt in the wound every time. My midwife thinks my date may have been a little off, but in the end he is here and we are all doing well.
By the way, HE is here. I was convinced I was having a girl. They had to tell me twice, show me and it still took about an hour to sink in.
The basics: born 9:59 am October 21, 2011. 7.11 lbs 21 inches long. Only 6 1/2 hours of labor (1/3 of my last one).
After three false starts, lots of encouragement from my midwife, and an extra ultrasound to check on baby's health, labor started at 2:30 Friday morning. Because I had the false starts I did not get Elliott up and was not sure myself that this was really "it." I cleaned the kitchen, and was getting ready to make a huge pot of oatmeal, when Ian woke up. Normally he is a great sleeper so if he fusses at night something is wrong. With my contractions needing my attention, I woke up Elliott to get Ian. He wanders sleepily through the house and then pops his head out of Ian's door to inform me that Ian had thrown up. Ugh. It was all over him, and the bed. Elliott took him to the bath (at this point I don't think Elliott knew I was in labor yet) and I stripped the bed. In between contractions. Ian was put back to bed, and I hopped in the shower. Elliott pokes his head in after a little bit and tells/asks me if he should call the midwife because they are around every three minutes. I agreed, but was a little cranky about it. My whole get up and have the house to myself while I decide if this is "it" or not plan was ruined. It all worked out though. The midwife showed up and checked the baby's heart rate. All was well. She ran me a bath which felt like heaven. Unfortunately, it slowed the contractions so much that I only got heaven for around 45 minutes. By the time the kids woke up everyone was ready and we were all just waiting for the sign that it was time. This labor was more intense then the others in that I never went into my zone. I seemed more conscious the whole time. So I labored, and labored and felt like the baby would never come. I think no matter how short your labor is it feels like a long time, at least for most women. I loved that I was able to do what I wanted to do. I moved around, I stayed in my bedroom, sat, stood, squatted, bounced whatever seemed like it would feel the best. Periodically my midwife would check the baby or make a suggestion. Finally, she said that she thought I might be ready, but stuck because of the amniotic fluid that was still intact. She checked me. This was the only time I was checked during my labor. I was ready to push so she, with my permission, broke my waters. Still I did not get that massive urge to push. SO, we had to push him out. For those of you who have had a great fetal ejection reflex, let me tell you this is a lot harder. For those of you who haven't had the reflex, you know what I am talking about. Here is where I am so thankful that I was at home with a midwife. She had me try pushing squatting, then on my side, then on the toilet, then on the birthing stool. All the while she was talking me through it. She, her birth assistant, my husband, and my friend, all got me through this pushing phase. I did not think I could do it. Every time I would get to where I would be making progress it was so intense that I would back away. They really had to help me get him out and they all did led by my midwife's confidence and experience.
Then he was there. And we found out why he had been slightly off to the side in my uterus and why everything seemed held up at the end. The cord was around his neck THREE times. Pretty snug too. But, here again, I am so glad we were at home. My midwife unwrapped him, let the cord pulse, and put him skin to skin with me. Then we were loaded up with blankets and a heat pack and allowed to be together. He was fine. In the hospital they would have cut the cord and raced him away for who knows how long. But since we were at home, there was no panic, no distress on his part or mine, and alert attention on the part of my birth team. He did have to be suctioned, but that was taken care of and he was given back to me. He did the whole crawl thing where they find your breast and that was neat to experience. I was fed (something that did not happen at the hospital births) watered (also something that never happened), showered and given back my newborn. It was such a calm amazing experience.
With the cord the way it was, and how much intervention occurs just by going to the hospital (checks, IV's, checks, monitors, lack of freedom to move) I really think that Xander's birth would have been troubled at the hospital. He was monitored at home and never showed signs of distress. But would he have gone into distress if I hadn't been upright for most of the labor? When I struggled to push him out, would they have insisted on pit? If so that would have put him into distress and caused a C most likely. Or they might have stuck their hands up in me and "helped" him come out. In the end, I am thrilled with my home birth. I feel like it was the safest and best way for him to be born. Not to mention, we are here at home, comfy, cozy and learning to be a family of five. There are not any late night vitals (though we did have to do them ourselves), strangers wandering into my room, out processing paperwork or anything like that. I loved it and am happy to have my little man safe on this side of my body.
Okay, after re-reading this, I know it is a bit stream of consciousness, but the best I can do for now and I'd rather do it now versus in three months when I could craft an epic tale of birth.