My Water started to 'break' or leak Wednesday evening while I was home baking 4 dozen bran muffins, a double recipe of homemade chicken wild rice soup, and homemade yogurt. For those who don’t cook/bake, that’s a lot for one night. I didn’t realize this could possibly be the start of labor until my husband came home for dinner break with a weird look on his face at our counter full of muffins and everything else going on in the kitchen-all I said was, “Yeah, I’m making 4 dozen bran muffins, yum!”
Upon realizing that the urge to cook was major nesting, I called my midwife; I wasn’t sure what the leakage was and we decided to keep an eye on it. My stomach was also cramping, it felt like menstrual cramps, and those painless Braxton Hicks started to tighten and actually hurt-another trigger that the homestretch was near.
Mentally,I had prepared to go over a week or so since this was our first baby and a few days before our ‘guess date’ so I was a bit apprehensive in thinking we were going into labor soon. Earlier that week I even changed our due date from April 1 to April 10 for my peace of mind-to relax, as things could take a while.
Thursday I went about my business as usual. I didn’t notice too much more leakage and kind of forgot about it. Later that evening after going to bed I definitely felt what I thought were contractions. I didn’t (and couldn’t) fall asleep and waited up for Patrick to come home from work so we could start timing them, and maybe prepare to have the baby! I texted him it might be time but not to worry.
When he came home around 1am we started timing; the contractions were intermittent, ranging from 3-5 to 6-7 minutes, so very close together at times, then slowing down a bit. I finally was able to fall asleep, decided to head to work Friday morning and started having contractions in the car on the way over. I stayed at work for a half-day and went home for our last home visit with LeAnn.
After I got home, I definitely had to start breathing through them and it was much easier to do that at home instead of work. LeAnn arrived, she checked me and the baby; she double-checked our birthing room and also swabbed to double-check if my water had actually broken before. As it had, she had me doing herbal and nutritional precautions to reduce risk of infection to myself and the baby.
LeAnn left after the visit, and I still worked through the contractions overnight and all day Saturday. I was surprised I could not lie down for any of them. I needed to be on my feet, swaying and really breathing through them. I did not sleep at all Friday night.
On Saturday, LeAnn showed up at our house early afternoon to listen to the baby and make sure things were going OK. My mom showed up shortly after. LeAnn left and had us also leave for a walk; we walked up the street to the DAHLC and walked below in the Mayo Subway for a bit thinking there wouldn’t be much traffic. I had to stop many times to work through the painful contractions (in front of other walkers!). I kept them out of my head and Patrick just smiled and nodded them on-some even asked if we need help. We were only out for a half-hour, and then had to walk back.
LeAnn’s birth assistant, Michelle, arrived shortly after to help take notes and work with me through labor. Because things were progressing so slowly, they had me walk up and down stairs in case the baby’s head was situated too far to one side of the pelvis. Contractions were still very painful and intermittent and I was not able to talk or walk very easily through them, though movement made them feel better. It had been 2 nights without sleep or much food already and the pain was such that I found myself asking if I could go to the hospital!! I do not believe in taking drugs, especially for the most natural act of childbirth but this was quite more than I had expected. Every time I doubted myself, LeAnn or Michelle would tell me, “You’re already doing it, just keep doing what you’re doing.” They helped me find different positions to labor in, being I was so tired and without much food, it was quite a challenge to keep laboring. I kept all my focus on breathing. My mom and I went outside for another ‘walk.’ This time it lasted only two houses down and back, and then one house down and back, then just hanging out in the driveway for a change of scenery. It was so painful, and I felt like nothing was moving along. I was panting and hungry and tired.
Saturday evening proceeded similarly. I continued my herbal protocols to reduce risk of infection, and showered after using the bathroom to keep clean. All through Saturday night I labored a bit on a ball, but mostly LeAnn and Michelle would take turns sitting in the room with me to watch and make sure I was OK. Each time I looked up out of my ‘zone’ they would say “You’re doing it; your body knows what to do.” Patrick found a hypno-birthing website and played their music, which really helped me keep a rhythm and focus on the breathing, as at this point I felt I was without any energy at all. My feet hurt so bad, my hips, groin and stomach were constantly contracting-and at stronger rates. I wanted nothing more than to get that baby out.
Finally around 4am Easter morning, I had an internal check done and found I was dilated to 8, almost 9cm, so they prepped our birth pool. It was such a relief to get in the water and keep some of the contraction pressure off my back and hips. I was in the pool for a couple hours and started to push, but it just wasn’t time yet. As the water cooled off over time in the tub, the birth team brought up pots of boiling water to keep it warm. My bag of waters had sealed up again as I could feel the bag coming first before the baby. Finally the bag completely burst in the water and we knew it would be time soon! We tried many pushing positions in the pool and finally had to get out and try something new.
We tried squatting with Patrick in a chair holding me, then me facing Patrick standing up, and then decided to switch rooms for new scenery. All this while they were feeding me bits of yogurt with honey and garlic, and sips of apple juice and water for some energy. I was so exhausted and sick of sipping apple juice, but it gave me a little burst of energy with each sip. At this point I knew I definitely did not want to go to the hospital, but I was frustrated-as I wasn’t feeling the baby move lower even though I was pushing so hard.
We switched to our guest room and I tried sitting up in the bed as if I were in a hospital bed-nope, that didn’t work. Our last call was breaking in LeAnn’s new birth stool. Patrick sat behind in a chair as I sat on the squatting stool-he held my arms up as I pushed and pushed and pushed; I don’t know if this was the right ‘time’ to push or if I had finally learned to push with the contractions. Michelle found a sturdy scarf in my closet. Patrick held me up on the stool and my mom and I tug-of-warred with the scarf until that baby came out. I was hot and sweaty and exhausted and frankly a bit worried it had been so long. I felt bad for our baby for being so tight down in the birth canal for so long.
LeAnn has oxygen and a resuscitation board in case there’s any problem with the baby, and upon realizing all that was in the room next to me I suddenly felt an instinct to get that baby out fast. I knew it had to be me and only me getting him out.
I didn’t even feel him coming out, maybe a little burning, but all of a sudden LeAnn said, “Here, take your baby!” All I could do was sigh and thank God I could breathe normal again. Patrick was so elated it was a boy (we did not know the sex beforehand) and I was so happy he was just finally out and my hard work was done. I was so exhausted at this point, but so happy we finally had our baby. He was healthy and breathing and just the most perfect thing, and I was so happy I had him at home. We didn’t need to pack anything up to leave for the hospital or pack up again to go home. I had been free to labor how I wanted, was allowed to eat or sip water or juice as I wanted or needed. There was no pressure to do or decide about anything I had not wished for or actually needed during our birth.
Afterwards our birth team cleaned everything up, made herbal sitz bath jars for me, and were just wonderful in making sure I had the gentle birth I wanted. They encouraged my body to do the work it is meant to do. I knew I had to be the one doing all the work to have the baby, but I truly needed their support in that long labor. I fondly remember how supportive they were in reminding me the strength of a woman’s body when I was having doubts about how long things were taking, and through the almost unbearable pain of contractions. I have no doubt this would have gone differently had I been in the hospital considering my water broke (tricked) very early and it was a very prolonged labor.
I am happy to say I have no regrets having my baby at home, drug-free, tear-free, natural and healthy! I can’t imagine having a baby anywhere else. Patrick was also happy with our outcome; we were both ecstatic and relieved when he finally arrived. In those moments, I have never been so happy or proud at the strength of my body. Desmond has captured our hearts and we are so happy and proud to call him ours.
Welcome to WomanCare
WomanCare is an independent midwifery practice providing health care for women of all ages
WomanCare provides prenatal care, homebirth and postpartum care
WomanCare also provides health care for women who are not pregnant: annual exams, birth control, Pap smears, screening and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, bladder infections and vaginal infections...and more
LeAnn van den Bosch is a midwife who will be there for you and with you. She has more than 30 years of experience in women's health care: welcoming more than 700 babies, providing innumerable exams, diagnoses, prescriptions and hours spent guiding you and listening to your needs.
WomanCare's office is located in Winona, MN
Please don't hesitate to call or email for more information
phone: 507 450 3422
Please don't hesitate to call or email for more information
phone: 507 450 3422