Iriyah's Birth Story
After a few hours of very light labor at contractions every 10 minutes, the contractions started to pick up to every 4-5 minutes so we decided to go home and get set up for the home/water birth. I called my midwife and told her that I was in labor but not quite ready for her to come (I was thinking I was way off from delivering as with my two previous births, hard labor meant one long contraction that never ended, I never have had the normal contraction ever 2-3 minutes with breaks in between thing, so since I was doing that this time I was sure I wasn’t “really” in labor). She, luckily, knew better and said she would just come down and set up and then head off to Starbucks to wait for me to be ready for her.
She came down and set up all her stuff while I walked a bit on the treadmill to move things along. By time she was set up, she ended up staying because she felt (and she was right) that I wasn’t that far off from delivering.
I started off just moving around, doing a bit of rocking on a birth ball, sitting on the birth stool, swaying, etc.
Once things got harder, I moved into the tub for awhile (which was AMAZING- it really took the edge off the pain and helped me to relax). I got a little too relaxed, though and slowed things down a bit so I moved to the shower so that the standing could help progress things. I knew the sooner I got him moving down, the sooner I could be done so I was on a mission to have as many contractions as possible. The shower was great, and I sang through the contractions and it really relaxed me. Unfortunately, we ran out of hot water so I was done with that. The birth tub and the shower felt so good that when I was between the two I practically ran and dove into the tub before a contraction hit because they hurt so much more “on land”.
Jacque was here for all this too- she was my designated birth photographer as Trav was needed for backrubbing and he was planning on catching the baby too. It was nice to have someone else to talk to and “entertain” me between contractions, and she was a great helping hand at the end too.
The last hour or so I just stayed in the tub as the contractions were really quite awful and I have no idea how I could’ve endured it without the water. I had a lot of back labor at the end too, so at each contraction, Trav would push on my tailbone and Nancy (my midwife) would push on my back and that really helped a lot.
Iriyah moved down really fast and it seemed like between when I first felt “pushy” and when he popped out was really, really fast. Nancy said I think it was a minute between crowning and him being all the way out. Once I felt pushy, I just couldn’t stop (she had to tell me to slow down so she could unwrap the cord around her neck, and it was almost impossible for me to slow down) and I just shoved him out really fast. It hurt so bad, and all I could think about is ‘if I just push, this will soon be over’. I’ve never before in birth been allowed to wait until my body just starts pushing- at the hospital they’ve always had me start pushing well before I was ready (push for a count of 10 as hard as you can!) so it’s amazing how much easier it is when you let your body do what it wants.
As he was coming out, Nancy said “his head is out if you want to feel it” and I had always planned on doing that, but it hurt so bad and my hands were clenched on the sides of the tub, I said “I can’t!”- there was no way I could focus on anything but getting rid of the pain.
So, altogether, the labor was a little over 4 hours. Iriyah’s agpars were 9 and 9- he was in great shape, very good color and very healthy. My midwife said that his placenta was the healthiest placenta she’d ever seen- normally placentas have little flecks of grey matter (I can’t remember what she called it) but that mine didn’t have any at all (she says it’s probably my diet that kept it so healthy). So that was pretty cool. Oh, and Trav wasn’t able to catch the baby as he came out so fast and his cord needed unwrapped. Jacque did a great job grabbing birth pictures. Thanks Jax. 🙂
After the baby was born, they (my midwife and her helper) had me hold him in the warm water for a few minutes and then moved me to the couch so they could keep an eye on my bleeding. They left the umbilical cord intact for about 15 minutes until it was flax so all that good cord blood could go into Iriyah before they cut it. Then my midwife waited until I had 3 good contractions and felt pushy for me to deliver the placenta (I’m used to them yanking it out of me at the hospital).
Iriyah started nursing right away and they moved me into our bedroom to rest.
Nancy did the newborn checkup there and they cleaned up all the mess while I nursed, and that was it.
It was SO wonderful to spend the first 24 hours at home instead of the hospital. I have rehabilitated so much faster this time- all because of the different way midwives do things. Not using the drugs and respecting the body’s natural process of labor and post labor really helps things to go better. My uterus has shrunk down much faster, I didn’t tear this time (I’ve had to get stitches with both the girls), I’m not nearly as sore, I was able to get some sleep since I was in my own bed, and I really feel like I’m a few days ahead in the healing process than I was with the girls. Iriyah has been really good at nursing, and he was so alert when he was first born since he didn’t have any drugs in his system.
Something I had read about concerning pain management during labor was this- basically, when you use drugs to prevent pain in labor, you are actually just bringing a lot more pain later on. If you have a natural birth, it hurts at the moment, but in the long run, the pain is much shorter. I really saw that with my recovery- I don’t have a sore epidural spot (my back actually hurt for over a year from Roslynn’s epidural), I don’t have tears as water births you rarely tear since the water helps you to stretch, and I was up and moving around easily after birth, where with the girls I could barely move for 48 hours. I also don’t have a sore IV spot! So that is kind of a neat way at looking at your pain options. In the long run, this one is much nicer.
Did Motherwise Midwifery help you with your delivery? Feel free to submit your birth story here!