I plan to be back to normal blogging next week. Thanks for putting up with my absence! I am thankful to have recovered quite well from birth and am feeling really good, aside from the sleep deprivation that comes with being the mother of a newborn. :)
On December 20, the day before my due-date, my midwife came over for a prenatal check-up. When we scheduled one for the following week, we both assumed it was just a formality--surely my baby would make his appearance within the week! To our surprise, the morning of December 27 found my mom and me making the trek to Lynchburg after contractions over Christmas weekend failed to get my little guy out (though they did manage to be consistent enough to cause my midwife to leave her family Christmas gathering over two hours away).
When my midwife did an exam, we found that I was 4cm dilated, 80% effaced, and Baby was pretty low. We decided to go ahead and give castor oil a try, quite confident it would do the trick. Mom and I stopped to pick up a few things (castor oil included) on the way home. When we got home, we had some lunch and then around 1:25 I mixed up 2oz. of castor oil with some kefir smoothie in the blender and gulped it down--not too bad. Katie went down for a nap and I took a hot shower, got on some cozy sweatpants and a t-shirt and took a seat on my exercise ball. An hour after the first dose, I took the rest of the bottle of castor oil--another two ounces. Within about 20 minutes, I started having some stronger contractions. Yes!
Over the next hour, my contractions continued and we decided I didn’t need to bother with the third dose of castor oil. I walked around the house, bounced on the exercise ball and the contractions continued to get stronger. Around 7, I talked to my midwife and we decided she would come after Katie went down for the night. My contractions were strong and close together, but not lasting a full minute like we thought they should be. My midwife arrived just before 10. Katie was tucked into bed and my contractions continued to get stronger. I started having some back pain as well. Leslie checked me and I was still at 4, but Benjamin was much lower and I was completely effaced.
Shortly after that, Ben, Mom, and Leslie started getting the birthing tub set up. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the water hook-up and it would only fill it with cold water, so they had to fill it with boiling water from the stove! Ben did eventually get the hot water working, but by that time, the tub was almost completely full. My contractions were getting a lot stronger, and I really wanted to get in the water, so at midnight, Leslie checked me and I was at 5. I was definitely hoping to be more dilated than that, but was relived to have progressed enough to get in the tub.
For a while (I‘m told it was around 20 minutes, though I don‘t really remember myself!), the hot water provided some very welcome relief. After that point, however, my contractions got much stronger and the back pain became pretty unbearable. Up until then, having someone rub my lower back had provided some relief, but now it seemed like absolutely nothing would help with the pain. At some point, I decided to use the bathroom and never ended up getting back in the tub. Leslie and Dorcas--another midwife who was assisting her--took turns squeezing my hips really hard and that took some of the edge of the back pain. The also had me try a couple different positions to see if that would help open things up a bit. Finally, Ben brought the ball into the bedroom and I sat on that through one contraction.
After that contraction, I climbed into bed on all fours and felt a slight burning sensation, so I asked, “Do you see his head?” Dorcas rushed to get my mom and the assistant in the room. I never got an overpowering urge to push, and really did not put a whole lot of effort into pushing. It was like my body just took over. Within two minutes, at 1:48, Benjamin was born!
Since I delivered him on my hands and knees, Leslie placed him between my legs as soon as he was out. I was overwhelmed at the sight of my sweet son, and so thankful we had been able to stay home for his birth. Once Benjamin was wrapped in a towel and snuggled up with me in the bed, Leslie checked and I only had a minor tear that didn’t require any stitches, which surprised me since Benjamin was over a pound larger than Katie and came out even quicker than she did! My placenta was delivered pretty quickly and once the cord stopped pulsing, Ben cut it.
None of the things that went wrong with Katie’s birth--high blood pressure, tearing, and extra bleeding--came up this time. My labor was about 10 hours from the start of early labor to the birth. Giving birth at home was one of the sweetest experiences of my life. Leslie, Dorcas, and Allison were amazing; I couldn’t have asked for a better team of ladies assisting my birth. Ben was an amazing help as well--what a blessing to have a godly husband who knows exactly what I need during labor! And of course, I was so glad my mom was able to be there; I really can’t imagine giving birth without her right there. Besides the pain (which I suppose is typical of an unmedicated birth!), Benjamin’s birth was everything I hoped and prayed it would be.
We are so thankful to the Lord for blessing us with another precious child. May he grow up to be a faithful servant of Christ and be used mightily for the advancement of His Kingdom!
This post is linked to Finer Things Friday.