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Birth Story of Matthew Stephen

Matthew Stephen
March 24th, 2009 8:46 a.m.
41 weeks gestation
8lb 2oz


On the 22nd of March, I had good contractions all evening long and into the early morning.  I remember waiting up to time them and then waking up at 4:00 a.m. with everything stopped.  Bummed.

On the 23rd I called my midwife and told her what was up, and she suggested nipple stimulation for about an hour before I went to bed that night.  The funny thing was that I wasn’t having any contractions that day (or very few compared to the night before) and the nipple stimulation didn’t give me any immediately that I noticed.  So there I was, playing Trivial Pursuit with my mom and Steve, wearing a nursing cover, twiddling my nipples for an hour and nothing happened.  So we all went to bed.

I should say that my mom was getting very anxious for me to have the baby because she had to fly back home the next Sunday (nipple night was Monday).

I woke up early the morning of the 24th (1:30 a.m.) to a nice, healthy, sleep-ruining contraction.  I ignored it and went back to sleep.  Twenty minutes later there was another one.  Ten minutes later, another.  Ten minutes later, another.  At the next one, 9 minutes later, I woke up Steve and he got the phone.  We called Cynthia and I was still undecided on whether she needed to come or not, so she said she’d call back in half an hour.  I had three more contractions before she called again, so she came on up.  Steve then called our doula, and I had 4 or 5 more contractions before Cynthia arrived 30 minutes later.

Steve woke up my mom while he was filling the air mattress in the living room, and I labored by myself in our bedroom while that was going on.  I didn’t need Steve yet, but things definitely hurt and I started thinking this was really going to be it (good, huh, since everyone was already on their way!)

Since we were doing antibiotic for my GBS status, Cynthia asked to check me to see how far along I was and if it was really labor she’d mix up the abx and give me the first dose.  She didn’t want to do that if it wasn’t time yet, since I’d have to get even more when I was in actual labor.  So, she checked me and found that I was 6 cm with a bulging bag of waters!  Yay!  I was excited, but also daunted by this.  My mom said something about how I was already over halfway done, and I said, “Yeah, but this is the easy half, and the next part is really hard!”

At any rate, I was encouraged with the check and felt better about everyone showing up (Cynthia lives 30 minutes away, her assistant lives 45 minutes away, and my doula lives 45 minutes away in an entirely different direction, so having everyone actually get in their cars to drive up was sort of psyching me out I think) .  They weren’t going to go home until I had given birth, which was also daunting because it meant I was going to give birth relatively soon.  I got my abx around 3:30 a.m.

Steve got the birth tub about halfway full of hot water, and then the hot water tank was empty.  So Cynthia suggested we start boiling pots of water. To fill it some more while the tank replenished.  This somehow struck my mom as very funny – she was at a home birth and boiling water!  I joked with her about how next they were going to get the leather strap for me to bite on while I pushed.

I’m having a hard time remembering what the contractions were like at this point.  I didn’t really need Steve to get through them, but I felt better if he was there and would grab him if he was in the room.

At some point, everyone had arrived and I was laying on the loveseat in the living room.  During a contraction, I would sort of roll myself onto the floor into the hands and knees position, resting my head and hands still on the loveseat.  Steve or Skai would get behind me and, depending on what I said, would squeeze or just rub my hips.  It was hard at this point, but not too bad.  I remember having to relax my shoulders, arms and hands with every contraction; they would tense up as soon as a contraction started and then I would realize they were tense and drop them.  I was zoning out between contractions and almost trying to sleep.  I was getting good breaks, but then a couple would come closer together.  The weirdest thing was having everyone just sitting there in my living room, sort of conversing, but sort of trying to be quiet for me.  Cynthia said something about being in transition, but it was way too early as far as I was concerned – I was in waaay too good of a mood at that stage.  At one point, Steve got up and made a pot of coffee – I remembered worrying that the coffee smell was going to be nauseating, but it never bothered me.  What did bother me was when Steve pulled out the bag of baby carrots and started going to town.  I told him about two carrots in that I couldn’t handle the crunching.  I think after that he was either not eating them, or eating them when Skai was helping me and I couldn’t hear it.

Since everyone was now in the living room, I left and went back to the bedroom.  I tried laboring in the shower with the hot water on my back, which was great, but I ran out of hot water waaay to quickly.  The tub was full, but I didn’t want to get in and relax too much at that point, or float baby up since Cynthia said he was still at around 0 station when she last checked (at my request).  But I was upset the shower wasn’t hot, so I tried the tub.  When I walked out into the living room, my mom was asleep on the couch, Cynthia and her assistant were asleep on the air mattress, and I think Skai was asleep on the loveseat.  When I walked in, everyone looked up and it was like, “O HI, WE’RE JUST HERE SLEEPING WHILE YOU ARE DOING THE HARDEST WORK EVER!”  I thought it was sort of weird, but I was glad they were getting rested up for what was to come.  Into the tub I went, though, and it felt AMAZING.  AMAZING.  My contractions spaced out, which was okay for a bit, but then I wanted to just get on with things so I got out.  Then I went to the bathroom and threw up, which was sort of nice because I’d been nauseous for awhile but not able to toss my cookies until then.  It got rid of the nausea.

After that, things were hard.  I couldn’t find anywhere to go to get comfortable.  I really wanted to lie down on my bed and take a nap (HA!), but I tried lying down and the next contraction hit so bad and I was in an awful position. (Steve said later that this marked the start of transition in his mind, since I was trying to get comfortable in bed to go to sleep.  He said he knew I would hate being on the bed, and almost tried to talk me out of getting on it, but didn’t since I was in laborland…and then he felt bad when the next contraction hit and I kept shouting, “BAD IDEA, I SHOULDN’T HAVE GOTTEN IN THE BED.”)  Cynthia sent her assistant out to get a birth stool for me to sit on to see if that helped things.  I tried one contraction on it (Steve says it was actually 3 or 4, but I only remember one) when they got it in the house and told everyone around that I had to go to the bathroom.  Cynthia told me that I didn’t have to go to the bathroom, I was starting to push.  I insisted that I wanted to go sit on the toilet and she said, “Okaaaay” all reluctant like.  I went to the bathroom, sat down, and sure enough started pushing.  And my water then esploded right in to the toilet.  I yelled when it happened, startled Steve, and I think everyone else helping me was just glad the water broke like that into the toilet so no one had to clean it up.

Then, since it was no secret that I was pushing, Cynthia insisted that I go somewhere other than the toilet to push my baby out.  So I got in the tub to have the baby and Steve took one giant leap for mankind and got in with me.  Pushing Matthew out was like pushing Ethan out – AGONY.  It did feel okay for me when I was at the height of a contraction, but going up and coming down were just owie.  Plus I could feel him moving down down down with each push, and then when I “let go” between contractions I could feel him slip back up, which was extremely discouraging, even though a) I knew it was supposed to happen that way, and b) Cynthia kept saying that she was happy that I was getting good stretching of my perineum.  I needed a lot of verbal reassurance that I could do it again, although it wasn’t like with Ethan where I really thought I couldn’t.  I knew I could push Matthew out, but I needed them to say I was doing it “right” and that he was going to come out.  I was leaning on the side of the tub facing out, Steve was sitting behind me squeezing my hips with every contraction, and Skai was sitting in front of the tub just looking me in the eye when I needed it and telling me that I was doing it.  Cynthia was reaching into the tub every now and then to listen to the baby and stretch me out.  I could feel M getting closer to coming out, but Cynthia started getting concerned with his heart tones so she wanted me out of the tub.  (We had set up an air mattress earlier, covered with a shower curtain and some towels just for getting out of the tub in case I wanted or needed to).  It was so, so, so hard to get out of that tub with M’s head so low in my pelvis, but it was good that I did get out, because as soon as I was on my side pushing instead of on my knees, his heart rate was great.  I pushed for about 45 minutes total, the last of it was on the mattress, on my side with Cynthia’s assistant standing up, holding my top leg for resistance.  Skai was taking pictures, and so she wasn’t there to hold my hand, and I asked for my mom for the first time the whole night.  Mom later said that she had kept her distance when labor got really hard for me, because it was making her cry and she knew that it wasn’t what I needed.  But when I called for her, she sat down right next to me and I grabbed her arm with a vengeance during the last few pushes.  As he crowned I kept thinking that, okay, that’s it, now he’s going to come out…but then he would stretch me a bit more that I didn’t really think I had the ability to stretch.  I was definitely screaming at this point, just wanting him out  Finally, finally his head was out and I thought I felt myself tear up towards my urethra, but it was just the weird sensation of my his head finally being out and the pressure being almost gone.  I didn’t tear at all, as it turns out.  Cynthia had called for her oxygen tank before he came out because of the bad heart tones in the water, but then didn’t need it.  Steve caught his baby boy and handed him up to me.

Matthew was pink and slippery and just the greatest.  I started bawling, of course, and Steve came up and just stared at him with me.  I was glad that my mom got to be there as well.

I did have a complication after the birth – my placenta wouldn’t detach and come out, so I did end up at the hospital shortly after he was born.  I had to go under general anesthesia and the doctor had to (squick warning!!) remove it manually.  The good news is that when he tried to remove it, it came out easily and there was no surgery involved.   The other good news is that my midwife was incredibly skilled and did all the right things at the right time to make sure that I was okay.  She tried some IM pitocin to help me get it out, when that didn’t work, she started an IV with more pit to keep me from bleeding (if I was going to – I never did)  It was definitely a hectic time; getting out of the house to go to the hospital one scant hour after Matthew was born, and I was scared that I had something more wrong that might require removal of certain body parts that I’m not quite done using yet, but I love the way my midwife handled it all and made me feel very safe and taken care of.  It was a hectic time, but not frantic.

Anyway, there’s the story of Matthew’s birth.  I really enjoyed my home birth (as much as anyone can enjoy labor, that is!),and will probably do the same with any future children…Lord willing!


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 4th, 2009 12:02 am (UTC)
Wow! Awesome birth story, awesome birth! You are AMAZING!

I have some questions...like how long did the whole thing take? And where was E? How did he feel about things? My friend whose birth I attended for her 6th child brought all 5 others to the hospital and she said it helped her with the birth because she felt she had to not express her pain too much, but for me, I'm all about the yelling and wouldn't want to be guilty the whole time about it.) And is there a story behind Matthew's name? Did you have back labor or was it all uterine-contraction pain?
(You can obviously ignore me if these qus are too personal, I'm just fascinated by home births.)
Nipple stimulation worked for me too, (it was the doula's idea) to speed things up halfway through, but not so much the twiddling as using the breast pump, and it REALLY got things going.

It is SO COOL you could take care of the GBS thing while at home, and then not have to have the IV in the whole time, I could really have done without that.

THANK YOU for sharing this story!
Apr. 4th, 2009 01:47 am (UTC)
From the time the first contraction woke me up, labor was just over 7 hours long.

Believe it or not, Ethan slept the whole time. Normally he gets up around 8:00 a.m. but he didn't get up until after 9, and M was born just before that. I'm not sure how that happened, other than divine intervention because I was LOUD most of the time, and I didn't try to muffle anything for his sake. And we have a tiny house. The plan for Ethan was that my mom was "in charge" of all of his needs during my labor. So, even if she had to miss the actual birth, her job was Ethan. That way, if he freaked out my mom would take him elsewhere, and if I didn't want him there for some reason, she could also take him elsewhere. It really helped ease my mind having her in charge of him, even though he wasn't awake at all.

No real story behind M's name, except that his middle name is Steve's first name. We just liked it.

I didn't have too much back labor, surprisingly since M had been posterior for much of the last trimester, but wearing a belly belt on the advice of my midwife seemed to help tuck him in and turn him the right way. He came out completely OA (I have pictures! yikes!) I have a lot of pain in my hips during my labors it seems, though, even when they are still fairly high up. I loved having Steve or Skai do the hip squeeze for me.
Apr. 4th, 2009 02:02 am (UTC)
Sososososo beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. <3
Apr. 4th, 2009 02:08 am (UTC)
Congratulations! Great story and glad you are well.
Apr. 4th, 2009 03:21 am (UTC)
Congrats! Thanks for sharing your story!
Apr. 4th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
So great! Thank you for sharing! I love the baby carrots part! I imagine my husband will brew some coffee at some point (he lives on it), so I hope I don't hate the smell while in labor!

Congrats mama!!
Apr. 4th, 2009 05:37 am (UTC)
Thought 1: Woohooo!
Thought 2: Great story, & fantastic pics, thanks for posting.
Thought 3: Waaah, I don't wanna doooo this!
Thought Four: You are awesome!
Apr. 4th, 2009 06:04 am (UTC)
awesome birth story! thank you for sharing. :)
Apr. 4th, 2009 01:59 pm (UTC)
Great birth story! In spite of the placenta issue, it sounds like a home birth was just great. If we planned on having another (we don't), I think I might consider a home birth... it just sounds so much more pleasant and with much more supportive people around you than my hospital experience anyway. Thanks for sharing this!
Apr. 4th, 2009 02:20 pm (UTC)
Congrats! What a great birth story.
Apr. 8th, 2009 01:19 am (UTC)
It was a powerful birth I could feel it just reading it. I actually made me tear up! Thank you so much for sharing! Glad all went well the placenta. My sis held hers for well over an hr but it came! That was in a hospital w a midwife who is jus wonderful!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )