When I had my first child everything was very by the book. Everything went all according to plan essentially. My labor progressed nicely and reasonably. The hospital we delivered at was very supportive of my un-medicated birth plans and for the most part I came away with a very positive, empowering birth experience. I really cherish my son's birth and essentially led me down my path and passion for doula work.
So when we found out we were expecting our second child we were basically striving for a similar birthing experience that was very family centered. We decided that I would be an excellent candidate for a home birth and I felt very comfortable and confident in myself to do this. We also live in an area with a large thriving birth community with a lot of highly professional respected midwives. It was easy to choose who we wanted to attend and help us deliver our baby.
Was my pregnancy easy? Absolutely not! I again suffered but survived hyperemesis gravidarum through the first half of my pregnancy with a couple hospital visits. I always seemed to get a nice break at the end of my pregnancies and generally was comfortable, as comfortably as pregnancy can be. My second pregnancy lined up perfectly with my first. I was sick for about the same amount of time, gained generally the same amount of weight, and measured like before. I basically figured my labor would be a lot like my first, but perhaps a little quicker, it being my second. What happened in our second birth was probably the last thing I thought would happen and probably the only scenario I didn't think to prepare for!
Hannah's birth story actually begins with her big brother Russell. After a delicious stroganoff dinner Monday night Russell threw up everywhere! He wasn't acting sick or anything so we basically shrugged it off as a fluke. Just sometimes toddlers throw up. As the week went on though Russell had one or two other episodes of potentially being sick. By Thursday we were in agreement that he may have caught a mild stomach bug but seemed to be okay. When my midwife came over that day she told me to take care of myself well and wash my hands and to not clean up any other "messes" Russell may make. She also told me it was important to call her if I got sick as well.
I didn't even make it 24hrs. I woke up in the middle of the night, 12:30AM with that lovely stomach bug. Very shortly after my first, of many vomiting fits to come, I started to feel some mild contractions. I told myself it was only because of being sick and that it was important to not get too stressed and calm down and sleep them off. I definitely couldn't be in labor. As I tried to "sleep off" my contractions they did not ease up. I decided it was best to call my midwife to tell her I was sick and ask her how to get these contractions under control before they became too serious. I kept trying to play them off as if they couldn't be as strong as I thought they were and that they were only this strong because I wasn't feeling that great. She told me to go ahead and try a warm bath to get them to go down. That is when everything started to become very eventful. The tub did not do a thing. I kept telling myself over and over again that this just cannot be the real thing. It felt incredibly like the real thing but the odds of this happening like it was happening was so small. This couldn't be MY experience. Less than 3% of women have what is known as precipitous births, a rapid labor and delivery lasting less than 3 hours from start to finish. I felt so silly calling my midwife again, around 2AM. I was so hesitant to ask her to come and help me. My contractions were very strong now, as if I were moving into transition and they were coming on top of each other because of my vomiting. When we called her the second time we were already talking about transferring to the hospital. There was no way that I would be able to do this as sick as I was if I was truly in labor at this point. I would suffer greatly. I was prepared and knew the possibility of transferring to a hospital when I signed up for my home birth but it still stung when I overheard my husband and midwife on the phone use those words.
I couldn't take being in that stupid tub anymore. I was not happy at this point. This was NOT what I planned. My husband couldn't have been any better though. He was so encouraging and Russell was still sound asleep in his room, thank heavens. Everything that could have gone wrong was going wrong, but in retrospect everything actually went perfectly how it needed to go with the circumstances we were given. I told my husband to get my doula out to our house as soon as possible.
And then it got very exciting. Yes, I was definitely in labor at this point. My baby wanted to come out! There we were, my husband and I. No one else even close to our place yet and I was starting to feel pressure. I laid down sideways on the bed and told my husband to get our midwife on the phone now because she really needed to get here as fast as possible. That last half hour I was on speaker phone with my midwife her coaching me what to do to keep that baby in until she came. My first labor with my son Russell was all about me welcoming and accepting my contractions and getting him one step closer to making his appearance. I fought Hannah the entire labor and delivery trying to stop her from coming. She fought very hard against me too. Everything was in such chaos and disaray we had not pulled out any of our stuff for our midwife and Larrin barely had the time to go unlock the door for her when she came. She didn't even park her car. Luckly it was 3:30 in the morning because she blocked a bunch of people in. When she got there she told me it was all going to be okay now and that I could push now if I needed to. My water broke when I got up on my hands and knees and Hannah was born only after two or three contractions later, less than 5 minutes from when my midwife came in the door. She was so eager she was already crying before she was all the way out.
So that was her story. No frills or gentleness for her. No warming and inviting water birth, or labor music, or peaceful labor environment with dim lighting and smell of delicious soup warming up in the crock pot. She just wanted to come out like a bat out of hell! Hannah was born 39 weeks and 2 days weighing 5.14 lbs and 19 1/2 inches long. It was not easy and it was not according to plan by any means. It was sure eventful though. She may be fairly small but not at all fragile. She is loud and strong! We are so happy and grateful that everything went so well for us. Did I want to labor while in a violent vomiting fit of rage? No, but we had our home birth like we wanted, I definitely had an un-medicated labor as planed (I would not have been able to get an epidural in time even I had wished), and she had no struggles or stress during or after birth. Recovery has been ridiculously quick and easy.
I'm so so grateful for my midwife in whom I trusted our lives with whole heartily and our incredibly sweet and amazing doula who, though didn't make it for the big moment and show stayed with me for hour and hours after delivery while I was recovering from my flu. My husband did so amazing and would have completely and confidently delivered our child by himself just fine. I'm glad he didn't have to though. For those who have experienced these rapid kind of births, WOW. It is quite a ride that is for sure. I will have much appreciation and respect for these type or births. Had I not been a second time mom already experienced labor and had a gauge for my contractions the first time around I know that my husband would have delivered Hannah in our home. The labor was pretty exciting but there is so much more excitement to come.