Cord’s Birth Story - “The long wait for our little boy paid off.”
After reaching 40 weeks gestation I was ready to have my baby! My mom was in town and we had the house and everything in order for our home birth. I knew I would probably go past my due date so I was mentally prepared to wait a little while longer. Well, a little while longer turned into quite a bit longer. I was having spouts of regular contractions every day, but they would go away at night when I went to sleep. After reaching 41 weeks, 3 days, on May 9th I had a biophysical profile ultrasound performed to check on the baby and make sure everything was still going ok in there. The ultrasound (my first for the pregnancy) showed a healthy baby and high fluid levels. The high fluid levels were a sign that I might not be as far along as we thought. This information, along with reviewing my cycle dates, allowed us to adjust the due date 6 days further out with a new due date of May 6th. With an imminent hospital induction coming at 42 weeks, I was relieved and very thankful to have some extra time for our little one to arrive on his own!
On May 13th I had an appointment with Mandy and I was about 4 cm dilated. She did a membrane sweep and suggested I see the acupuncturist again (I had seen him the previous week as well) to help encourage labor and then return to see her the next day. On the 14th I had an acupuncture appointment at 5:15, and then went to Mandy’s office after the appointment at 6:30. I had been having light contractions every 3-5 minutes since around 5:00 pm and they continued through the appointments. I didn’t take them too seriously since I had been experiencing similar contractions almost every day during the previous week. Mandy listened to the baby’s heart rate for a while and he still sounded good. She did another membrane sweep and I was still about 4-5 cm and the baby was very low. We timed contractions during the visit and they were 3-4 minutes apart, but still not strong or painful. Mandy said she would call to check on us before bedtime and my mom and I headed back home hoping this would be the night! I’m glad I was not having strong contractions at that point because we got stuck in traffic on our way home.
My contractions started to get a little more crampy when we got home around 8:00, they were still about 3 minutes apart. At 8:30 my mom had run to the grocery store and texted Mandy with an update. Mandy texted me to see how I was doing and asked if she should come over. I still wasn’t sure this was the real deal and didn’t want her to have to sit around our house for hours so I told her I would check back in at 9:00. I called her at 9:00 and let her know the contractions were more uncomfortable, but I was still able to talk through them and move around. We agreed that I’d give her an update in 30-60 minutes. About 15 minutes later I was lying on the living room floor with contractions taking all my focus. My mom was home now and I told her to call Mandy to come over right away. The contractions felt like very strong cramps and it felt good to have warm pressure on my lower back and low abdomen, so that was Bret’s job. I would yell for him to come put one hand on my back and one on my belly when I felt the next contraction coming. During the couple minutes between each contraction I was trying to clean up the living room and get things set up for the birth! I wanted my mom to vacuum the living room since we were going to set up the birthing tub in there once Mandy arrived with it, so I moved to my bedroom floor (not sure why I just didn’t get on the bed).
Mandy arrived between 9:45-10:00 while I was on my bedroom floor. I remember her saying that she was going to get things set up and observe some contractions. At that point I was breathing and moaning through each contraction. I moved to my bed, which was much more comfortable, and around 10:15 started feeling lots of pressure. Bret and I were alone in the bedroom and I was thinking surely the baby isn’t coming yet! My mom and Mandy were starting to blow up the birthing tub in the living room so I told Bret not to leave me but to yell for Mandy. The air pump was a little loud so he had to call for her twice. She came in and found that I was almost complete and my bag of waters was bulging causing all that pressure. She asked if I would be ok not having a water birth because we probably didn’t have time to finish setting up and filling the tub. That was just fine with me; at that point I was ready to have this baby anywhere! Mandy started setting up for delivery in the bedroom and had gone out to her car to get the key for the oxygen tank when my water broke a few contractions later around 10:30. It felt so good to have that pressure from the water bag gone. Bret and my mom were in the room with me when it broke and we were all surprised how much water there was, Bret said it shot out 18 inches! Thankfully, we were prepared and had the waterproof mattress cover on and lots of pads underneath me. Mandy came back in, changed out the pads, and called June, one of the partner midwives who assist her with births, to let her know that the baby would be arriving soon.
After a few more contractions I moved to the toilet to try to empty my bladder. My mom had gone to unlock the front door and turn on the lights for June. I’m not sure why she went outside, but when she opened the front door there was a rattlesnake on the walkway! I heard her yell, “Bret, come here, emergency!” I figured it was just a scorpion because she got scared by one earlier that week, but then we heard them talking about a rattlesnake. Mandy, knowing I would start pushing soon, told them just to let it be for now and that June could come in the back door. I moved back to the bed with mom on one side and Bret on the other. It was about 11:00 when I started pushing. The pushing contractions were a little different, but still hard to manage. I would tell them when one was coming so Bret could put his hands on my back and mom and Mandy could help too. At one point Mandy starting instructing my mom what to do if June wasn’t there yet and she needed help with the delivery. I liked pushing in a way because I could feel the baby coming down with each push and felt like I was accomplishing something. I started out lying on my left side, and then switched to the right. Mandy would listen to his heart rate periodically with the Doppler to make sure he was handling everything ok. At one point he had a bigger deceleration in his heart rate, so she had me breathe through a contraction or two and not push, so the baby could get a rest too. It was hard to keep from pushing, but Mandy coached me through it. After that, I remember asking her if I should just push him out right then (ha ha), because I felt like I could if I pushed hard enough, but Mandy said that he was doing fine and it would be better to push him out slowly. It’s funny how our mind works in labor, I think I was just ready for him to be out! She also gave me the oxygen mask to breathe through which was nice and it helped me focus on taking deep breaths. Bret said a prayer for us during labor which helped me so much. A couple contractions later she said I could reach down and feel my baby’s head and I replied, “Oh, I feel him!” Thinking back I wish I would have reached down and felt it. The contraction before the last one was the hardest because I had to try to hold him in position, and Mandy said, “You’ll have your baby with the next push!” I couldn’t believe everything had happened so fast and June arrived right before the last contraction started. I said a quick, “Hi, June!” when she came in. With the next contraction I started pushing, I felt his head come out and Mandy said to give one more little push and the rest of his body followed. He came out screaming at 11:45 pm on May 14th! She wrapped him in a towel and placed him up on my chest right away. It was amazing looking down at that beautiful baby.
I told Bret, “Tell me what it is,” so he checked and said, “It’s a boy!” We stared at him in amazement for a few minutes, lots of smiling and some tears of joy.
Bret announced that his name was Cord and we snuggled with him on the bed for a while. I was able to nurse him within the first hour and he did great. The umbilical cord was left intact until after all the snuggling was done then Bret cut it, and Mandy completed the newborn exam. He weighed seven pounds, three ounces, and was nineteen inches long with a head circumference of fourteen inches. He was born with brown hair and blue eyes. I did have a small tear, but stitches were not necessary.
After everything was cleaned up, Bret, Cord, and I snuggled up in bed for the night. Mandy packed up all her things and left at about 3:15 am. June had left a little earlier. My mom was helping Mandy out the back door and as they were walking on the stone path Mandy spotted the rattlesnake! It had come around to the back of the house! My mom tried to push it aside with a broom but it started snapping at them so she came and got Bret to take care of it. Bret grabbed his gun, put on his boots, went outside and shot it. I’m surprised none of our neighbors came out because the gun shots were pretty loud, not to mentioned things had been pretty noisy in our house a few hours earlier! Needless to say, it was quite the ending to our very eventful night!
After less than four hours of active labor, the long wait for our little boy paid off. The first week with a newborn was full of challenges, but things improved every day. The first few weeks were definitely tough, but now, six weeks later we are all doing wonderfully. Nursing has become more comfortable and sleep is easier to come by! He has slept through the night a few times now and he is one happy baby. Everyone comments on how alert he is. He has started to smile and laugh and is so much fun to just watch. I’m glad he was able to have a peaceful, med-free entrance into this world. We are so blessed that everything went well with the pregnancy and birth and that we have a healthy baby boy! Thanks and praise be to God!