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The Birth Story of Paige Cosette

December 8, 2016

Disclaimer:  If you are grossed out by gory details “bloody show” or words like “placenta” I advise skipping this post.

This pregnancy felt quite different from the get go than my first pregnancy with Finley.  I knew the date of conception within a 48 hr window, whereas with Finley, I was taken aback to find out I was pregnant.  And by week 6 of pregnancy, I had pretty uncomfortable nausea that lasted until nearly 22 weeks.  I had a feeling from the beginning that we were probably pregnant with a little girl, but I remained in denial all the way until her birthday!  There was no way we were going to have a sweet little girl…I was destined to be a boy mom 🙂  Needless to say, we were ecstatic to confirm that she was in fact a little girl!

Another difference between pregnancies was my patience near the end, for sure!  With Finley, I felt I could wait forever for him to decide to show his cute little face, but with Paige, I began to feel impatient almost as soon as I was full term.  I really think that this can be attributed to the fact that the guys at the gym were constantly remarking about how I was “still pregnant”…all before I even hit 40 weeks!  That constant mind chatter can take its toll.  I’m so glad she decided to show earlier than Finley though!

Ok, here is the story:

At 40 weeks 5 days, I woke up feeling like I needed to move.  This was Thanksgiving day, and I normally would do a Turkey Trot with my family, but given the fact that I was super pregnant, I figured a long walk would be great.  My mother-in-law and sister-in-law and I (and Finley) walked 2 miles to Whole Foods for coffee and tea.  My body was pretty tired after the walk there, and I decided it would be silly to walk 2 miles back, so we got a ride from Jeff.  When we got home, I just tried to rest and relax, so I took a nice hot (luke warm) bath and read a book.  I think I might have also taken a nap??  Basically, I enjoyed the day and didn’t do much.  Just before bed, I began to feel a little antsy, like “Ok, baby…let’s get this show on the road”, so I decided to do acupressure (about 3 rounds) and the first 2 phases of the Miles Circuit…which basically entail napping, ha!  After falling asleep multiple times during the two exercises, I decided it was time for bed.  My mother-in-law asked if I felt anything, and I replied with my standard answer, “Nope.  And if this goes down like it did with Finley, I won’t feel anything until I just wake up in labor.”  And sure enough…that is what happened.

At 3:30AM I awoke to what felt like round ligament pain.  It was sharp and shooting and I shot out of the bed because of it.  The more awake I became, the more I realized that my stomach was bothering me also.  I went to the toilet and my body began “the big clear out”.  At that point, I was fairly certain that I was in labor, although the start was so mild that it had me wondering.  I texted my doulas and midwife to let them know that I either had a bad dish at Thanksgiving, or that I was in the early stages of labor.  My midwife told me to go to bed and to rest, which I did, but simultaneously began timing my contractions.  At this point, every contraction felt like an intense menstrual cramp, but they were all manageable.  Other than having to go to the bathroom until I had emptied myself of EVERYTHING, I was able to lay down and talk through all of my contractions.  My contractions were about 3-5 minutes apart and lasting anywhere from 45 to 90 seconds…I was obsessively timing them.

Around 5:45AM I asked Jeff if he could make me toast and eggs because I felt like I could eat and that I should.  We watched the news and ate breakfast together while I bounced on my birthing ball.  Around 6:30AM my midwife called me and told me to stop timing my contractions, that I would know when they changed, and that she wanted me to do some self-care:  take a shower, take a nap, etc.  I thought she was crazy for suggesting that I would be able to do these things, but she was TOTALLY right.  I took a shower, blow-dried and straightened my hair, and cut my fingernails.  Then I laid down to continue sleeping.  Around 8AM, I found I was having to moan or vocalize through my contractions, so I decided that things were picking up a little bit and that I should probably finish prepping some of the home birth stuff before things were too intense for me to focus and be useful.  I got up, stripped the bed, ran 4 loads of laundry, changed into my birthing outfit, re-made the bed with clean sheets, then the shower curtain layer, and then the birth sheets on top.  I opened up the birth kit and put the pool, liner, hose, and tarp in the bathroom for Jeff to start working on.  By the end of all this prep, I found I was having to lean over and sway my hips during contractions while also vocalizing softly.  This was about 9:30AM or so.  I also began to have Jeff do hip squeezes on me and continued drinking water and labor-aide in between contractions.  Jeff felt it was a good time to call in doula support, so I texted Amanda and asked her to start heading over.

Amanda arrived around 10AM and by then I could not speak during contractions and needed to be bent over or on all fours to work through them.  I kept alternating between laboring on the toilet leaning back and then draping myself over the birthing ball while having Jeff or Amanda do hip squeezes on me.  Within an hour, I began to get a bit unnerved by what I felt were very strong contractions.  I felt like I just couldn’t stay ahead of them or get on top of them, but I was also very confused.  I knew I was obviously in labor, but I had no idea where I was in the labor process.  I was having pretty intense contractions, but my water had not broken and I still hadn’t had a bloody show.  This made me think that I wasn’t dilated very much.  I began to doubt myself at this point.  Amanda felt we should call my midwife Nikki so she could listen to me through a contraction.  Nikki suggested that I get into the shower and try to relax my body so my contractions could intensify.  I was astounded…INTENSIFY!!??  I felt I could hardly handle them as they were!

Getting into the shower proved to be a bit more difficult than originally anticipated.  Jeff was filling the birth tub and had removed our shower head to do so.  I went with Amanda to the downstairs shower, but could only get luke-warm water because the water heater was maxed out filling the birth tub.  So, I climbed the stairs to the second floor where I got into Finley’s shower.  The hot water felt great, but the contractions were so intense at this point that the hot water really only felt good for a few minutes.  While I was in the shower, I kept remarking how I could feel this intense downward pressure with each contraction.  I was amazed that I could feel my body shifting and opening and I could actually feel the baby moving downward.  I never felt this with Finley, but looking back, it is because I spent the entire 15 hour labor with intense back labor.

At one point in the shower, I remember looking down and remarking that my belly looked like a torpedo.  It was the baby shifting position and moving down.  All good things that I had no idea were happening because I was so doubtful!  I remember before I got into the shower, I had the thought (but didn’t say out loud), “I understand why people like epidurals…pain relief sounds good right about now!”  But by the time I was getting out of the shower, I remember thinking, “There is NO WAY I could get into a car and go to the hospital for that epidural right now.  I would straight up die.”  Just before I got out of the shower, I vomited.  This was a good sign because it was likely the peak of transition.  With Finley, I vomited THE.ENTIRE.LABOR.  So not constantly vomiting was another awesome perk of this labor with Paige :-).  I ended up asking to get out of the shower because I thought the water was getting cold and I wanted to get into the birth tub.  Fortunately and unfortunately, my midwife had a loose policy that laboring mamas must be checked before they get in the tub, and she wasn’t there yet.  I remember moaning over the sink saying, “I think I need Nikki now!  I think I need her!”

My doula Amanda called her again and was describing what I was feeling and how I was coping with contractions.  I didn’t know it, but Nikki was already headed to the house.  In my mind, she didn’t believe me that my contractions were super intense and she thought I was being a weakling dealing with them (oh the crazy thoughts of a labouring mama!!).  Nikki and Amanda then asked me to “check myself.”  I remember looking at Amanda with an exasperated gaze like, “WHAT?!?! I don’t know how to determine how dilated I am!”  Little did I know was that they were trying to get me to feel the baby’s head.  Apparently they knew it was down quite low based on my contractions, but it never dawned on me.  I reached up to check my cervix and couldn’t find it for the life of me, but I did feel something hard.  I told them I felt something hard and they said it was the baby’s head, but I still was in disbelief.  When I removed my hand, I had blood on my fingers and I excitedly said, “Look!  Blood!”  How funny that by seeing blood I THEN believed I was actually going to have a baby.  Feeling the baby’s head just wasn’t enough to convince me 😉

We then made the trek back down the stairs which I tried to do quickly between contractions.  When we got back to the bedroom, Jeff decided it was a good idea to lay out the plastic sheeting I bought to help protect the carpet.  Great timing!  I draped myself over the birth ball and kept saying, “They are so strong!  I feel like everything is being pulled down.” And just at the end of one of those first few contractions there was a, “POP!” And a spray of water…all over Jeff’s legs! Immediately after the water broke, there was Paige’s head, ready to bust out. I was so alarmed that a) my water broke on its own (with Finley, my CNM broke it for me) and b) I had a baby crowning already (agree they broke my water with Finley I had nearly 3 hours of labor Abd 45 min of intense pushing left)!!  I began sort of panicking at this point because I was in zero control of my body, and there was so much power working from within me to get Paige out. 

I had the one contraction where my water literally exploded and Paige began crowning, then with my second contraction, my midwife swooped in to save the day!  She had gotten caught in traffic behind a terrible accident and things progressed for me at home much faster than expected! She calmly asked, “OK Alyssa, want to get in the tub now??” No check was needed because I was obviously fully dilated…baby’s head almost out? Check 😉 My response?  “I can’t move!!” The next contraction, out popped our little Sweet P. into her daddy’s arms.  It was all over so fast!

So from start to finish, labor was about 9.5 hrs, but active labor was a whopping 2.5 hrs or so!  When asked about our home birth, I always say, “It was everything I had hoped for, yet nothing I expected.”  My body amazed me once more, and I calmly laboured in the comfort of my own home while I witnessed my body go into labor unprovoked, ease into labor gradually, move the baby down in a manner that I could actually sense, break my bag of waters without intervention, and push a baby out without any effort on my part. If anything I was trying to keep from pushing!! The whole experience was unbelievable and I so hope we get to do it again! 

The postpartum recovery was even more amazing though. My midwife and doula stayed for almost 2.5 hours, taking vitals, helping me shower, cleaning up, starting laundry, making placenta smoothies (was delicious by the way), helping prep food for me, smudging herbs, and loving on us. Finley got to meet his little sister in his house, 2 feet from where she was born. The whole experience was truly epic. 

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