Violet’s St. Patrick’s Day Homebirth - 3/17/16
After nearly three years of infertility and heartache, I was overjoyed to finally be pregnant after countless rounds of meds and 4 IUIs. I was horribly sick until my third trimester and then pretty uncomfortable, but despite that, I LOVED being pregnant. I had life growing inside of me - my dream come true - and I planned to enjoy every day of it… in between all of the throwing up and trying to roll over in bed ;)
When my due date came and went, I wasn't surprised. I was exhausted and achy, but I really never got to that point where I felt like I NEEDED to get her out. Mostly I was just really, really excited to meet our little girl! As a doula, I was very aware of how meaningless the official due date is and how likely it is for a first time mom to go "over due." I wanted to trust my body to go into labor when my baby was ready, but I also really wanted to avoid a hospital induction. Legally, my midwife had until 42 weeks and then she would have to transfer my care to my OB. I started getting acupuncture after I hit 40 weeks and went a few times that week. I noticed a bit of Braxton Hicks during and after the treatments, but they were very mild and I really had no signs of impending labor at all. At 40 weeks and 6 days my mom, Wendy, a doula and massage therapist, did a 2-hour labor induction massage on me. She really worked on all of those good acupressure points! We stayed up until 12am doing the massage and I finally went to bed a little before 1am.
I woke up at 2am (41 weeks exactly now and St. Patrick's Day!) with contractions about 5-6 mins apart lasting 45-60 seconds. I was kind of in shock that labor had just started right up! It was so surprising to go from NOTHING to just BAM - now I'm in labor! I remember laying there in our bed and smiling as I felt those early pains, knowing that they meant our baby would join us soon. The contractions felt like strong menstrual cramps in my lower belly radiating into my back. I timed them for about 10 contractions and tried to sleep, but couldn't. I was excited, but was able to really just rest and relax in bed, even though I couldn't sleep. I was trying to savor those last moments with my girl, feeling her kick and dance, where I could really just keep her all to myself.
Steve woke up briefly around 3-4am, and I told him I was having regular contractions, but to go back to sleep. When his alarm for work went off around 5, we talked about what to do. I felt pretty confident this was going to be real labor, but also didn't feel like things were imminent and, of course, I had no idea how long things might take. He decided to go in to work and pick up his paycheck. He left around 5:30 and I tried to stay in bed resting. At that point contractions were already getting significantly more intense and 3-5 mins apart lasting for a minute.
I rested for awhile longer, but still couldn't sleep. I remember flipping over to hands and knees and swaying back and forth during contractions to help with the discomfort. Steve got back home around 6:30am and we started our morning. I took a shower (my hair was dirty and I couldn't possibly have a baby with dirty hair!) and then we started getting the house ready. Dishes, cleaning the bathroom, inflating the tub, etc. I knew I would be more relaxed with a clean house, so that was the plan all along. It was such a fun and relaxed early labor experience. We were so excited to meet our baby and were feeling so much peace! I would just stop to breathe and sway through contractions - which had stayed very regular all morning. It felt good to lean over the counters or bed during contractions. I texted my doula, Nicole, a little before 8am and let her know I was in labor. Amazingly, she said she had a feeling and had been up praying for me during the night! She said to stay in touch and let her know when I was ready for her. I decided to time contractions for a while again around 8-9am and they were 2:30 minutes apart and a minute long. In between contractions we baked the baby a birthday cake and made a stew for our birth team to eat later in the day. Steve and I just felt so peaceful and filled with joy. I think the fact that we didn't have to worry about when to go to the hospital allowed us to fully relax and be present where we were.
Around 10am things were definitely picking up in intensity and my mom came over to help. I started needing more support from Steve during contractions around this time. H