Xia’s Homebirth Story: Part One- Labor & Delivery
I’ve decided to tell this story in two parts, as there is a LOT to tell and too much to write all in one post!
For all of these months I have been so curious about what I would be writing on this page. I could only imagine what this story would be like. And I’ve been anxiously waiting to see how it would all unfold, praying for the best. I give all of my praise to God for such a wonderful outcome to an incredible morning.
Thursday I kinda had a good feeling that Xia would be coming soon, though I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I was finally satisfied that I had finished everything on my list of “To-Do’s” before baby was born. Everything was clean, laundry was done, frozen dinners were all prepared, and I was even able to give myself a nice pedicure. I knew she would wait until I was ready for her.
I started getting Braxton Hicks early in the morning, and they continued throughout the day. I didn’t say a word to anybody though, for fear that this could go on for days. I went about my usual business; catching chickens, picking rotten tomatoes from the garden, and chopping branches to make perches for the chicken coops. I hoped all of that activity might inspire true labor!
I cleaned the kitchen extra well that night, and went to bed.
At midnight I was awakened by the contractions. But this time, they were much stronger. I knew it was time. I laid in bed for quite a while, trying my best to sleep while I still had a chance, but the excitement was just too much. I guessed the contractions were something like 5-10 min. apart, but it was hard to tell and I couldn’t see the alarm clock from my side of the bed. I decided to get up and start timing them.
(2:54 am) Without waking my slumbering husband, I crept into the kitchen with a notepad and started writing down each pain. Three minutes apart. I straightened up the house a little in between contractions. I even weighed myself one last time for a final weight gain total before she was born (37 lbs).
The contractions stayed consistently three minutes apart for thirty more minutes. I still wasn’t sure how long this would last, but I thought I’d better call the midwife just to give her a heads up. I called Amy at 3:17am and woke her out of a nice sleep. I told her that the contractions were three minutes apart, but that I felt like I could do this for a while still. She told me she’d call the other midwife to be on her way, and to give them a call again when I feel like they need to come.
I decided it was time to wake up Jerry. Poor guy! He had no idea whatsoever that any of this was happening! I patted his arm and said, “Hey Cutie, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve called the midwives. They might be here soon. I didn’t want to wake you up yet ’cause I’m not sure how long it will be, but I didn’t want you to wake up to a room full of people not knowing what was going on!” He was very surprised, and got up and quickly dressed. I told him to lay back down and I’d tell him when it was getting closer.
I continued timing for another hour. The contractions stayed three minutes apart. I told myself I’d wait until they were two minutes apart before I called Amy again, but they started coming on stronger and stronger and I began to rethink that strategy. (It’s a good thing, Amy later told me that sometimes you never get to 2 min. apart!)
At 4:23 am I started getting “the trembles”. My legs were shaking uncontrollably. I remembered having this with both of my other labors, and knew I was getting close. I called Amy and told her that they were still three min. apart, but that they were very strong and that I had the shakes. She told me that was a sign of Transition. She said, “I’m on my way.”
I let Jerry know that the midwives were on their way. I was having to really concentrate and breathe through each contraction. I was proud of myself for how I handled them this time. I totally hyperventilated during Jada’s birth, and I got the epidural before I was at that point with Titus, so I wasn’t sure how I’d do this time. I really tried to control myself better. When the painful cramping began, I would make a low humming noise, taking deep breaths in my mouth and letting them out through my nose. It worked well.
At 4:30 am Amy and the other midwife, Vicky, arrived. They came in and went straight to work getting all of the supplies in order. I was sitting on the bed when they came in, working through the contractions. Vicky checked out baby’s heart rate, and then checked mine. Everything was great. Amy offered to check how far dilated I was if I wanted to. I told her not yet, I was afraid I was still like 4 cm. or something! She said, “No… I bet you’re probably an 8 by now.” I hoped so!
Once they were finished setting everything up, Amy suggested that I get up and change positions if I could. I stood up and walked around for just a minute; the contractions really came on strong then! I had to lean against the bed and really breathe and hum through them, rocking my hips side to side as I stood. As they got even more intense my “hum” turned into a louder moan, but still very controlled.
As my volume began to increase, Amy called to Vicky to start filling the tub. She said to me, “It won’t be long now!” I really hoped she was right! It took a little while to fill the tub. I asked Amy to check me before I got into the water. I wanted to know how far I had to go. She guessed I was between 8-10. I was really glad when she held up her fingers and told me I was at 10 cm! Yay!
(5:38 am) I got into the nice hot bath. Not too hot… but just right. It felt so relaxing, just like I’d thought it would. I continued to labor in the water. My contractions were extremely intense by then. I had to really work through them. Then, without warning, my moan transformed into a deep grunting. I heard Amy call to Vicky, “She’s pushing!”
At some point I felt a big “pop” in the water. Amy said, “Her water broke!” They both leaned over the tub to catch baby when she came out. I gave a few more good pushes and let out a few good yells! Everyone was encouraging me, “Common’ Kendra! You can do it! Just a little more. You’re doing great!” One more good push and I heard them all saying, “There’s her head!! Great job! Just a little more and she’ll be out. Push!”
(6:05 am) I was so happy her head was out! One more good push and she’d slide right out into the water. I pushed as hard as I could. I pushed again. But something wasn’t right. Her head was out… but the rest of her was not coming.
Suddenly there was a sense of urgency in the midwives voices. “You need to push hard Kendra.” I pushed as hard as I possibly could, but nothing happened. Amy immediately pulled the plug to drain the water and instructed me to get on all fours. That was really hard to do with her head already out. I did as she said to do and tried pushing again. Still nothing happened. She told me to stand up and push again. I did. And as I was pushing she reached inside of me and tried to assist the rest of the baby’s body out. I screamed!
Still nothing. The tension was rising. I heard Amy say, “Get her out of the tub!” I was like, “What? Me?” I wasn’t sure how I would do that with her head out! Jerry and the ladies helped me get out and laid me on the floor beside the tub. Somebody put pillows under my head. They told me to push again.
Baby Xia’s arm was up by her face, and she was stuck in the birth canal. She had what they call Shoulder Dystocia, a rare complication that occurs in less than 1% of births.
I felt so helpless! I was pushing as hard as I could and nothing was happening! But the midwives were working fast. As I pushed, Vicky was pushing on my stomach trying to help baby out, and Amy was reaching inside of me helping that stuck arm to come out. It seemed like forever, but in just a few seconds they had her out. What a relief!
But the drama wasn’t over yet. The midwife was saying, “Common’ baby, breath!” Little Xia was not breathing. Her color was diminishing and she was listless. Amy turned to get the Oxygen while Vicky tried to get her breathing. I prayed outloud, “Oh Lord, please let her breath!” After Vicky did three startle drops, Xia took a breath. Thank goodness! She didn’t have to get oxygen.
It all happened within seconds. I quickly felt baby’s slippery body placed on my chest, and I held her there while they waited for the placenta to be delivered. Amy said, “Now that is why I am not a fan of unassisted births!” Wow, yeah, that would have been really bad had I not had help there!
Once the placenta had been delivered, and had stopped pulsating, they clamped the cord and let Jerry cut it. Amy took Xia while Jerry and Vicky helped me up and got me to the toilet to get cleaned up and dressed.
Boy, was I glad that was over!! The Lord is SO GOOD!! Our baby girl was finally here, and I was overjoyed to be holding her in my arms!
To be continued: Read Part Two- Welcome To Our Family