Warning, long post and slightly graphic birth details.
Selah Rose was born on Jan 26th, 2016 at 12:30 p.m. I was under quite a bit of pressure from my midwife about not going too late, and she was very concerned about how much weight I was gaining. It was a stressful few weeks/months leading up to Selah’s birth. I was trying to watch what I ate so as not to gain too much weight and I had the thought of “what if I go too late” hanging over my head. I like for my babies to pick their own birthdays, and not have it pushed on them. 🙂 I started having a lot of stop and go contractions the night of the 16th that continued until she was born. Often I would have them in the evening until 12 or 1 and then they would stop. In the end these stop and go contractions were what saved me from having to induce (even naturally) labor. Several times my midwife suggested stripping my membranes or drinking castor oil to push my body into labor. But I told her I wasn’t comfortable with that and it would stress me out so she said it was fine (again, because I was having stop and go contractions she let it go. I think if I wasn’t having those she would have been more pushy about getting things started). I was trying to walk twice a day, about a half a mile each time. It was terribly uncomfortable, and didn’t seem to help much. On Sunday evening the 24th I lost part of my mucus plug. I woke up on Monday the 25th around 6 in the morning with pretty strong contractions. They continued through the morning but were pretty far apart. Because I can’t get a hold of Titus when he is driving the bus he decided to take off the rest of the day just in case we needed to leave for Lander. Now these contractions were really strong, but very far apart. I told Titus they were at the point when we normally call the midwife to come, except they were sooooo far apart. I tried staying up in the bedroom to keep them going but they stopped in the afternoon. This was pretty discouraging. Emma and Titus took the kids to our church to play for a few hours that evening. I think I went to bed around 12 or so, but didn’t sleep. I got up a few hours later because again the contractions were so painful. I have never had that painful of contractions that early in labor. If I tried lying down they would get strong and close together, but if I got up and sat on the exercise ball they would stop or slow down. This is very odd because I have always prelabored on my beloved ball. 🙂 It got me through James long prelabor and Gideon’s prelabor! But it just wasn’t working this time. Luckily for me Netflix had just added a new season of “When Calls the Heart” to keep me busy. I normally read through prelabor, but again these contractions were so much harder to get through than normal. Around 3 in the morning I finally figured out that if I lied down on the couch until a contraction came I could jump up and sit on the ball to get through it. This kept them coming closer together I finally decided I was getting somewhere. I was pretty discouraged at how much pain I was in. I have always joked about going to the hospital and getting an epidural while in labor, but that is later in labor, not in prelabor. And when I thought about the epidural I wasn’t really joking, but seriously wishing for one. 🙂 At 5 I woke up Titus and said I thought we should drive to Lander. Lander is 75 miles, and we have never had to drive somewhere to have a baby before. The town we live in is so far from a hospital that our midwife wanted us to come to her home just in case something would go wrong. I told Titus I wasn’t sure I could get through contractions without the ball, so he took a back seat out of the van and I actually sat on the ball all the way to Lander. 😀 ha ha! It worked pretty well, although I had to concentrate pretty hard on keeping my balance since the road to Lander is pretty twisty and curvy. We made it to Lander in an hour, (around 6 a.m). a record time. 😉 Heidi, my midwife, check me right away and said I was a 6ish. I told her I needed to be at least a 7 for my own sanity and told her to lie to me. Heidi had a doula named Betsy there to help with the birth. And she was wonderful! Like I said, I had been having really hard contractions early on and was pretty worn out and discouraged, but Betsy made all the difference in the world. She started squeezing my hips and rubbing my back right away. It helped so much and really improved my mood. I really wanted to get in the birth tub, and all night and during the trip to Lander I kept thinking about that hot water. But Heidi didn’t want me to get in yet. Despite trying to get the baby to lie on the left side of my belly she had moved back over to the right side of my belly. This really concerned my midwife. So for several hours I had to labor in different ways. At one point I was on my hands and knees with a thin scarf around my belly. Betsy (doula) held the ends up over me and would rock my belly back and forth during contractions. I also labored lying down on my left side, and at for a few contractions in the yoga child pose position (that was pretty hard and cut off circulation to my feet). Every so often I would ask to get in the water, but Heidi kept putting it off, saying she didn’t want me to get in too early. She encouraged me to walk around the house, or even outside. I have never ever been a big walker while in labor. I would much rather sit on the ball. I did try walking around a little bit, and then I sat on the ball. Well sure enough the contractions slowed considerably. So that was the end of the ball. I was really tired at this point and would lie on the bed for a few minutes at a time just resting. Betsy, the doula, was amazing. She gave me hand massages, back massages, head massages, she used her own essential oils and would remind me to keep me voice low through contractions. She even french braided my hair. Finally Heidi had me get in the water. I have no idea what time that was, or how long I was in the tub. I don’t think it was very long, but I had really lost track of time at this point. I labored for awhile in the tub, but I was getting impatient, something else that I have never done in labor before. I started asking if I could push, even though I had no urges to push. I just wanted the whole process to be over. Heidi kept feeling for the baby’s head, and I even did that once too. I haven’t done that in labor before, it was pretty neat! Baby’s head was about a knuckle or two in, so I was close. But I didn’t feel like pushing. I decided to get out, with the hopes that I would start pushing right away because that was how Faith’s birth went. I don’t think it was quite right away but the urge to push did come pretty soon. So I decided to lie on the bed on my left side. My water still had not broken yet.With each birth it is taking longer and longer to break. Both Gideon and Faith I pushed a bit until it broke and they were born soon after. Well this time it didn’t break and I had a lot of pressure. I started saying I couldn’t do it anymore, and in my head I started thinking a c-section has to be better than this. Seriously! ha ha! I was really really done at this point! My water kind of broke at the same time I pushed Selah out, and that created so much extra pressure. I have read about other moms talking about burning, or a ring of fire. I think I actually yelled out, “It burns!!”. I also felt like my body was going to split in two, which is also a first for me. I really think it was all the extra pressure from my water not braking until the end. With both Gideon and Faith I felt a huge release of pressure when my water broke, and I never had that this time. I actually thought Selah would be born in the sack, and my midwife told me later she thought it was going to happen too. And then it was over. And I started saying my customary, “It’s all done. It is over. I am done” over and over like I always do. I didn’t even care if the baby was a boy or a girl, in my head it was just all done. You can’t imagine my surprise when I found out she was a girl. I really really thought I was having a boy. Her cord was really short so we ended up cutting it a little bit earlier than normal because I couldn’t get her up on me. Selah also pooped right away all over the place, and continued to poop constantly for 24 hours. Our midwife said she wouldn’t have any trouble with being jaundice, and she was right. Selah’s color always looked good. This is the first birth I was starving afterwards. So Titus went and got us some hamburgers and fries from a nice little restaurant. I ate a whole bunch of food. But then I started having some problems. I kept bleeding clots that wouldn’t stop. So Heidi had me take these little white pills. Then I got the chills horribly. Titus had to take the baby because I was too cold to hold her. I was planning on Selah and I taking an herb bath together but I was too dizzy to get in the tub. The dizziness and chills and bleeding continued for several hours. Heidi and Betsy had me covered with bath towels while I shivered but it didn’t help much. Selah cried more than our other babies have after birth, but I think she was cold. All of my midwives have put a hat on the baby as soon as they were on my stomach, but they never did that. They didn’t really clean up Selah either, even though she had pooped all over the place. She was just wrapped in a receiving blanket. I do feel like the midwife and doula didn’t pay much attention to Selah. Titus held her in the sun in front of a window and she really warmed up then, and stopped crying. I however kept freezing under the towels. Selah was very alert and wide awake after birth, both Heidi and Betsy commented on it. I am kind of sad I missed that, but I was too tired, sick, and cold to really hold her. Heidi decided to give me some more white pills only rectally this time, and boy was that awful! Selah was hungry after that so I was nursing her in the bed when I suddenly got really really sick. I told Titus to grab something but it was too late. I leaned over the baby and threw up. I remember Titus yelling, “We need some help in here!” Both Heidi and Betsy came running. I kept throwing up, at least three or four times. It was everywhere, on the bed, the floor, Heidi’s shoes, my hair, but some how I missed the baby! I also lost a lot of blood when I threw up. I think Heidi was starting to get worried about me because I remember hearing her mumble something about getting more help. But throwing up actually did help because the bleeding slowed after that. Heidi thinks by my throwing up I really really cleaned out my uterus. I was still terribly dizzy and weak. She had me guzzling electrolyte drinks, bone morrow broth and warm tea. Titus really really didn’t want to stay all night, but there was just no way to get me to the van. Plus I was a bit worried if I started doing poorly again we would be 75 miles from an ER. By 8 (7 1/2 hours after Selah’s birth) I was finally able to get up with help and make it to the bathroom. We did end up staying the night, and after a good McDonald’s breakfast we went home.
Selah was 13 days past her due date. My midwife had expressed concern that I would have a really big baby because of my “excessive weight gain”, but she was an even 8 pounds! 🙂 Selah was born on the perfect day too. If I had gone into labor even a day earlier we would not have had Betsy as a doula. Heidi met with her on Monday afternoon and asked if she would like to help with my birth. Selah was born the next day. I have had a doula before, but Betsy was the best doula I have ever had. Titus and her really got me through this labor, when I was mentally and emotionally exhausted. I owe getting through this tough labor all to them. 🙂