Quick recap for new readers:
We were going to have a homebirth, but then transferred care to a OB/GYN and planned for a hospital birth. I was diagnosed with polyhydramnios, my blood pressure was all over the map, and because I’m a “grand multipara”, which means I’ve had lots of babies, I had some addtional risk factors for bleeding.
So, we changed our plans. I visited the OB recommended by my midwife, he agreed to take me as a patient, and I made a follow up appointment for the next week. It was a sudden change – our midwife had already made her final home visit for my 37 week appointment- but we were all okay with that.
So far, I’ve always delivered before my due date, and I figured this baby would come early, too. So we set about the next weekend trying to get things ready. I was 38 weeks pregnant.
My mom was planning to come from Colorado, which was a welcome surprise. We did the room shuffle, moving kids in and out and back and forth, cleaned the girl’s room so my mom could use it as a guest room, and breathed a small sigh of relief that we didn’t have to tackle the Corner of Clutter in my bedroom before Baby made an appearance, since we weren’t homebirthing after all.
Saturday night we stayed up way too late. I still couldn’t move much (literally, I could only lay down or I was in a lot of pain) so we wasted our time watching Tranformers 2 while my husband, Tom, folded laundry and put it away. We went to bed around 2 am, with no signs of labor in sight.
At 4:15, I woke up with a contraction. I thought it felt a little “labor-ish”, but because of the polyhydramnios the baby was still very, very high and floating. So I lay in bed for about 15 minutes waiting to see if there were any more or if that contraction was a fluke.
I had a couple more contractions that felt a little different, like labor. They weren’t regular- 3 and then 7 minutes apart. They were definitely labor contractions – low down and across my front and my back- but not bad.
I got up, got dressed, went downstairs. I started making a list for my sister, who we were going to call to watch the kids while I had the baby, got a drink, and generally piddled around. At about 4:50 I woke up Tom, preparing to go to the hospital. My sister wasn’t picking up the phone so he called one of our friends to come over until we could get ahold of her.
By this time it was around 5am, and I started packing my purse and gathering things to go to the hospital (no, I hadn’t packed a hospital bag at this point. I am a procrastinator!) I mostly just got the really important must-have items (fresh socks and chapstick). The contractions had picked up pretty regular, about 4-5 minutes apart.
I was glad for that, because so far the only signs of labor I had were contractions. My water usually doesn’t break until right before delivery, and this was no exception. I didn’t even have any bloody show. I was afraid we’d get the sitter here, get to the hospital, get up to L&D, and then have it be a false alarm (and everyone would laugh, because by baby #9 shouldn’t I know if I’m in labor?)
Then about 5:15 I had one of *those* contractions. The transition ones. Since this was baby #9 I recognized it right away.
We weren’t going to make it to the hospital.
I told Tom we needed to go upstairs and he needed to help me (our downstairs has a tiny half bath, and no way was I going to do this in the living room on the couch.) I don’t think he really “got” what I was talking about when I said we should go to our bathroom (which is huge, with an easy to clean floor.)
I made it to our bathroom. Baby was still really high up, though. I made the classic pregnant woman mistake of thinking I needed to go to the bathroom. I was just sure it wasn’t pressure from the baby descending, because I could feel how high she was.
So, as a result, I was standing at the toilet (still dressed, but I had at least taken my shoes off) when Julianna decided she was coming. Right then. I don’t even remember pushing- she just crowned.
Tom kind of freaked out a little bit and I told him to call the midwife.
Out came the shoulders, followed by about 10 gallons of fluid. Her daddy caught her like a pro.
Julianna Kathleen was born at 5:26 am, 9# 6oz., just a little over an hour before my first contraction. My biggest baby ever- my previous biggest baby weighed in at 8#, 3 oz.
Only one push and no tears!
The midwife said she’d be on her way, but since she’d never given us a birth kit she had to stop at the office and pick one up.
Meanwhile, I had managed to at least sit down, on the edge of tub. We have one of those super-well designed bathrooms where the toilet is 4 inches away from the bathtub, so you can enjoy a full view of the commode while you are soaking in a relaxing bath. Anyway, the placenta hadn’t delivered yet and the baby was still “attached” to my insides with the umbilical cord.
Thank heavens Tom had just washed and folded all of the towels in the house! First he grabbed a white towel to wrap the baby in but I made him put it back and get a dark one. Isn’t is strange, the things we think of! I can’t believe I was worried about staining the towels.
In the meantime, Baby J had already figured out the whole nursing thing. She’s my little piglet!
Tom was still a little freaked out, plus his friend had arrived and was hanging out in the living room. He helped be get undressed (I was still dressed to go to the hospital!) and found a chair for me, at least.
I told him how the midwife had said to get the bed ready (so I could move and be more comfortable.) We were supposed to put a sheet on the bed, put a shower curtain down, put another sheet on top.
So he went off to make the bed, and covered the shower curtain with our old red comforter. I managed to hobble over to the bed (without, I might add, staining the carpet. Go me!)
The placenta delivered just before the midwife arrived, and Tom cut the cord. All the usual post-birth things were done (including the uterus squishing. I hate that, it’s the worst part, I think!)
The tub needed to be cleaned out (we’d given the kids a bath the night before and there was a layer of our backyard in the bottom of it) and then I had a bath with Baby J.
Newborn babies float. Learn something new every day!
And that is how we went from homebirth with a midwife, to hospital birth, to unassisted homebirth.