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Joan & Matt

joan-mattThursday, November 29th at 2 am I woke up with a contraction. I felt a couple more, and then was able to go back to sleep. I woke up about 6:30 am and still felt contractions so I texted my midwife Jessica to tell her that I thought today might be the day.  I told her I would time the contractions after we got the girls off to school and keep her updated.  I asked Matt if he could work from home because I thought the baby might be coming.  He said he just had conference calls so it wouldn’t be a problem.

I stayed in bed while he helped get the girls up and ready for school.  Around 8:30 I texted Jessica again to tell her that the pressure waves were 10-15 minutes apart.  She told me to eat, drink, alternate rest and activity and keep her posted.  Then they sort of fizzled so I told Matt I wanted to take the dog for a walk to see if it would help.  His conference call didn’t start until 10 so around 9:30 we went for a long walk.  Nothing happened on the walk so he called in to work and I went upstairs to relax and decided to watch a movie.  I installed a contraction timer app on my phone and while I watched the movie I tried to use it to time the frequency.

They were all over the place, sometimes one on top of another, sometimes 20 minutes apart.  They seemed to really only occur when I was lying down on my side, though.  I tried sitting on the birth ball or walking around and nothing was really happening.  I texted Jessica at 11:30 and told her what was happening and she thought that I might be having the baby that night.  Matt had a break from work and brought me something to eat for lunch.  He said that he something he had to finish for work, then he was going to tell them he was done for the day because he wanted to focus on me.  Around 1:45 I was sitting on the ball and had a contraction there, and it was getting uncomfortable to sit down.  I texted Jessica again and told her this and told her that the contractions were about a minute and half long.  She said to let her know when I needed her to check on me and baby and to do what my body told me to do and that it was fine to soak in the tub a little.  I told Matt what she said, and a little after 2 he started to fill the tub.

I got into the tub around 2:30.  I thought the water would provide relief, but instead of making me more comfortable, the water seemed to make my contractions come more regularly and frequently and be more intense.  I used some of the visualization and other coping techniques that I learned in our home-birth classes to help me get through them. I asked Matt to time a couple of the contractions so that he could tell Jessica what was happening.  He found that my contractions were about 3-4 minutes apart and about 1-2 minutes long.  Without telling me these details, he called Jessica to tell her.  By this time it was 3 pm.  Jessica said that she was just dropping off her kids and would be to our place by 4 pm, but that her assistant, Natalie, could be there in 10 minutes.

She said to let her know if he thought we needed someone here sooner.  He also called my mom and asked her to come over since the girls would soon be coming home from school.  By 3:20, my contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, and Matt texted Jessica to ask Natalie to come as soon as possible.  At about 3:40, my daughter Anna came home from school and came up to see me.  My contractions were so intense that  I couldn’t speak to her.  My daughter asked if she could do some homework and went back downstairs to wait with my mom.  On my next contraction, I felt my body starting to push, and I told Matt that I was pushing.  He was very alarmed!!  He helped me take off my swimsuit bottoms, and thankfully, Natalie arrived before the next contraction started.

She told me to try to breathe through the contractions and try not to push.  She checked me and said that I was fully dilated and that the baby’s head was right there.  She said I could wait for Jessica, or she would help me deliver.  She also got out the monitor to check the baby’s heart rate but he was so far down (+3) that she had trouble getting good tone.  Then Jessica arrived having driven 85 mph to get to my house before the baby was born.  She also checked the baby’s heart rate and immediately told me to turn over onto my hands and knees.  She said that the baby wasn’t happy where he was and needed to be born right away.  She said that even though I wasn’t having a contraction I needed to bear down and push the baby out now.

I became very vocal at this point and with a loud scream I pushed my baby out.  Jessica caught the baby at 3:57 pm. She passed him through my legs, and I turned back around, and Jessica told me to stand up.  I was concerned and asked if the baby was ok.  She said “I just need you to stand up now”.  Somehow I did, and she lifted Zane clear of the water and un-looped the cord which was wrapped around his neck twice.  Then I was able to sit down in the water and hold him on my chest.  He started to breathe a little slowly at first, but soon cleared his lungs with a few cries.  Jessica showed me that in addition to being wrapped around his neck twice, his cord also had a true knot in it which had pulled tight.  The cord was no longer pulsating, so we decided to cut it.

Jessica helped Matt cut the cord, and then I just held him in the tub for a few minutes while I waited for the placenta to deliver.  Later, when Jessica and Natalie checked my bottom, they said I had no tearing, and in fact showed very little sign of having just given birth!  Jessica said that whenever we look at our son, we should say a prayer of thanks because that knot could have caused a lot of problems but in the end he was just fine.  I was shocked that the baby had been born so quickly, but was thankful that he was ok in spite of the cord complications.  We were grateful that Jessica and Natalie arrived when they did!  I am really glad that I had the chance to deliver my child at home, and that I was able to have a water birth as we had planned.  It was an amazing and incredible way to bring our son into the world.