Monday, October 26, 2009

Thomas Quincy's Birth Story

"No one questions that labor and birth can be physically painful experiences for many women. Less well known is the fact that some women in all cultures have labors that are essentially painless."
- Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, p. 150

On Friday, I had my bloody show, but no real contractions.

On Saturday, more bloody show, and a few contractions each hour. They seemed to be coming closer together.

On Sunday, around 1 am, the contractions were about eight minutes apart and were strong. I called the midwives, who started their two hour trek, and I called the babysitting crew, my step-mom and step-sister. When the midwives arrived, they sent everyone to bed. I had to sleep sitting up, as laying down made the contractions excruciating.

I had one of those nights where I woke up for the peak of each contraction, but was able to sleep in between. In the morning, the midwives checked my dilation. I was one centimeter. One centimeter? After all that!

Everyone went home. I continued keeping rough track of my contractions, which slowed back down to a few an hour. My step-mom and Dad came over for the afternoon. My dad connected so well with my boys that we decided to add him to the babysitting team.

Dan worked second shift on Sunday and we went to bed late.

Around 2 am, the contractions started up again. I went to the couch to be upright. After an hour or so, I made Dan write down the times of each contraction. By 8 am, they were five minutes apart. I called my primary midwife who was able to listen through a contraction. She had the secondary midwife call me, who confirmed I was in real labor, and they, with the student midwife, once again started their two hour trek and arrived around 10:30 am. The babysitting crew, my step-mom, Tara, step-sister, Emily, and Dad, also came over.

The rest of the morning went fast. The baby sitting crew took Bobby for a walk. One of the midwives went and read in her car so there was less commotion. Everyone was kind of continually coming in and out.

It became clear that sitting was the best position for me. Standing made the contractions painful and laying down made them excruciating. The student midwife told me that I want to be in different positions, even though some are more painful. I could not bear lying down, so I took a shower, where I was forced to stand. I then alternated standing and sitting. I stood behind Dan and swayed back and forth through each contraction, clinging to him.

At one point, one of the midwives told me that all I could feel was the pressure, that there was no other feeling besides a strong sensation of pressure. For most of my contractions, this was true, even when I stood, if I focused on it.

With each contraction, I made a throaty "aaaaaaa" sound. The midwives thought I was singing, and they sang with me, which I found funny.

Dan, Daniel and I went for a walk with a midwife and the student midwife. We only got about a block and a half away before I started to feel very uncomfortable about being so far from home. It felt like every few steps, I had to stop, lean on Dan and sway back and forth through a contraction.

When we got back to the apartment, one of the midwives commented that with such powerful contractions and with them one on top of the other, the baby would be coming soon. I was thinking, these contractions aren't that bad, I hope the baby still comes soon.

We talked about checking my dilation again, which I was all for, except I had to lie down. I was six centimeters, and the baby's head was engaged low in the pelvis.

Things continued like this for a while. My primary midwife found a technique that really helped me get through the contractions. She would say positive, affirming statements and I would repeat them during the contractions.

At some point, my "aaaaaaaa" turned into "oooooooo" or maybe more of "aaaaawe". The midwives picked up on this, and told me I would be feeling the urge to push shortly. They wanted to check my dilation again, which showed I was about seven or eight centimeters and the baby's head was further in the pelvis. They became worried that the head being so low was preventing me from dilating fully. They were also concerned as they knew I was going to want to push soon and was not fully dilated.

They talked about the possibility of breaking the waters to get the dilating going more. They really don't like breaking waters, but prefer letting waters break on their own. I insisted they break my waters, as the baby was clearly in the right position, and I just needed to finish dilating. So, they did. In retrospect, I'm not sure this was the right decision. I just don't know.

Then, they had me go through some contractions on all fours. The student midwife gave me an herbal tincture to put under my tongue that would help me to dilate. Being on all fours was not my favorite, but not the worst either. The worst was what came next.

They wanted me to take a shower with Dan. I was a little uncomfortable with that with everyone in the apartment. They said us being close together would stimulate hormones to get the cervix dilated all the way. They said we could snuggle on the bed alone together instead. We had talked about making out during contractions, and had tried it before everyone got to our apartment and making out really does make you feel better during contractions. So we tried that in bed. But by now, I was in transition, which is painful anyway, and I was laying down, so making out did not relieve the pain at all. I screamed and screamed and Dan held me. Finally, after four contractions like that, I yelled that I couldn't take it anymore and I stood up.

They checked me again and I was almost to nine centimeters. My primary midwife suggested I push while she stretched open my cervix. Well, I forced myself to push once, but then pushing sort of overtook me. If I had ever had an out of body experience, this was it. I had no control. With each contraction, my body became a pushing machine. Fifteen minutes later, Thomas Quincy was born.

My birth was not painless, but it was not full of pain, either. It was not complication free, either. Along with my tricky cervical dilation, I needed three stitches for pushing too fast. The cord was around Thomas's neck, which happens in one in four babies.

My postpartum transition has been the easiest yet. Dan took some days off of work and school. Thomas is my best breast feeder and co-sleeper. I wasn't allowed to co-sleep in the hospital with either Daniel or Bobby, and neither of them took to co-sleeping at home, although both co-nap to this day. I don't ever see myself going back to hospital births.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like a wonderful birth story :)

Mine were the opposite, my oldest was three days late so I had a "scheduled" birth if you will, where my female ob gave me medicine to bring on labour (oooh that was painful), my epideral didn't work only my left leg froze, but after eight hours I had a 9 pound five ounce baby boy, 22 inches long, I had to get stitches as well, he had a really big head :)

My second had to be a c-section because of my SVT (which started at 7 months of pregnancy and continues to this day :( ) but I have to say my c-section in all honesty was easier to deal with and the recovier was easier as well, one hears alot of stories about c-section horrors, I was lucky to have not experience that.

My second little man was nine days early and already 7 pounds 7 ounces, he probably would have been well 8 pounds......

My family found my big babies hilarious because I am such a tiny person :)

Enjoy your little men Emily, you are truly blessed :)

Terry Lynn
Ontario, Canada

Devon said...

I'm glad it went well. I must admit, I am always nervous when I hear about people doing home seems like so much could go wrong and you don't have any immediate access to life-saving equipment...that's just me, though. I won't ever have a home birth, but I had problems in labor--didn't dialate past a certain point and had to have a c-sec as an emergency measure.

If you can do it, good on ya. There are just too many variables for me to trust a home birth.

Emily said...

To those wondering, after a long morning out, I came home to find my blog deleted. Someone must have hacked into my Google account. I have changed the email address and password, so it shouldn't be a problem in the future. It could have been much worse, and I am thinkful that undeleting a blog is pretty simple to do.

blessedmama said...

Congratulations!! Homebirths are SO wonderful! We're having another in March.

I was just directed to your blog and loving it so far. We live off of a similar amount and feel like we have more than we need most of the time- God certainly always provides! I look forward to reading more of your posts!

Nydia said...

YAY! I was so sad, I thought you deleted your blog. Here is alink I started stating how sad I was that your blog was gone.

Your birth story is beautiful. I have 4 babies and never got to experience child birth the natural way, they were all c-sections.

Anonymous said...

I was sooooo happy when I came back to check your blog and saw it was back up! I was really disappointed when it wasn't there this morning. I was hoping that you hadn't decided to take the blog down after some stupid comments from people. People like ME really enjoy your blog! You inspire me in many ways:)

Nikki said...

i was so excited to see that you had posted your birth story!! so beautiful, and so inspiring... thank you for sharing. :)

Pam said...

Whew, I am relieved to see your blog back! Been checking all morning!

Thanks for sharing your birth story!

Anonymous said...

Yes! Please dont even delete your blog on purpose. I had someone hack into my account when I first started it as well.

Im glad the at home birth went so well. I gave birth in a hospital and have mixed feelings about it. I had to be induced at 41 weeks because I wasnt dilating, the baby was already dropped into my pelvic and her heart rate was dropping so there was no choice. Lucky her heart rate went up and they were able to get labor started so I didnt have to have a Csection. But what bothered me about the hospital was one of the nurses had a bad attitude about breastfeeding. My DD and I were doing well and the first day she was born but the 2nd day the nurse tried to rush us and was rude about the way I was holding here etc and really that really bothered me since I was a first time mom.

I have a couple of questions though. I didnt scream at all during labor and wasnt too loud but I know several other women who were giving birth at the same hospital could be heard all over. Was it a loud labor? I was just wondering how much your neighbors heard since you live in an apartment? Also did anyone in the apartment complex see you walking around while having contractions?

I think your homebirth story is really neat. Thanks for sharing

Kimber said...

Thanks for sharing your story it was so great! I am also happy your blog is back. I have been checking all day to see if it was back!!!! Welcome back!!!!

Holly said...

That sounds like a great birth experience. If you don't mind me asking, what was the cost comparison from a home birth to a hospital birth? I have a 9 month old and I wanted to have him without pain medication, but I just couldn't do it in the hospital setting. I had horrible back labor when laying down and they kept making me lay down and get on the monitors. It wasn't the experienced I originally wanted.

I'm so glad your blog is back. I was out of town since Wednesday and I thought I must have missed something. So glad you didn't delete the blog. I have gotten a lot of useful information.

Emily said...

Debtfreemommy, none of my neighbors have commented about the noise or walking contractions, but my step-mom told my immediate neighbors what was going on, so they knew. It was a loud labor at times, much louder than I remember at the hospital because I felt more free to make noise.

Holly, the cost comparison depends on what insurance covers. Out of pocket, you save somewhere from 50% to 75% going with a home birth midwife over a hospital birth. My total care, including prenatal and post partum was a little over $4000.

Anonymous said...

Great birth story!

My grandma said that she never felt pain during her labors, just pressure. I was hoping I inherited her "pain-free labor" genes, but nope - my labors were very painful! I was blessed with three natural births, no episiotomies, no stitches - and I hollered through each of them!

I'm with you on the showering w/ hubby during labor. Don't think either of us would have been up for that at that particular time :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great homebirth! Thanks for sharing your birth story with us! Welcome to the world Thomas Quincy!!! I am preparing for our 4th homebirth now~ :)


Clisby said...

Congratulations on the home birth! If I'd had a third child, I think I'd have gone for the home birth. My first was in a hospital with an OB, the 2nd in a hospital with a midwife, so the natural progression should have been to a homebirth with a midwife. Unfortunately, I was 48 when #2 was born, so time ran out.

Elizabeth said...

I've never had a homebirth but with my second and third I use a midwife at the hospital and labored and delivered in a birthing tub. My labors were all very quiet, so quiet that the nurses said they couldn't tell I was in transition. Personally, I feel that the higher or louder your voice gets the more your body tenses up so the more pain you feel. Just my way of thinking though!

Rainbow Waters said...

I am so happy to see your blog back up! I check in everyday in hopes to see a new post so when I checked in this morning I was all worried you deleted it! LOL

Your birth story sounds amazing! Congrats on your sweetie.

Juliette said...

Thank you for posting the birth story, Emily!
I am curious, could you share some of the positive affirmations that the midwife spoke to you? I am particularly interested in positive affirmations and would love to know. Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

I agree that the more you scream the more you tense. I also think the more upset you get (crying, tensing up etc) the worse your body is going to be fighting the natural transition that your body goes through during labor.

Emily. Im so glad that all your neighbors were so understanding of the noise. Thats wonderful for you and your family. Glad the birth went so well.

amulbunny said...

I had 2 sections because I had a major cephalo pelvic deformity secondary to scoliosis. The hospital I was at made it as course of treatment to have a trial of labor, but i could have pushed till the cows went out and came home but those babies would have never dropped. I had no problems post op and was home safe and sound in 4 days. With the second I was up and running with 2 in diapers and did great.

My mom was a labor/delivery nurse so I had been in the hospital when i was a kid and I heard sounds that I never wanted to hear again.

Jill said...

Oh, what a lovely birth story! I'm hoping to have a home birth this time around (pregnant with baby #2!). I had gestational diabetes with my first pregnancy. If I develop it again, would that make me too "high-risk" for most midwives do you think? This question isn't necessarily directed toward Emily - just anyone who may have an answer! =)

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with a couple of the above posters - I found that making noise during childbirth relieved tension. I would have felt much more tense if I had tried to hold in the noise. I am not talking about crying or being upset, just the grunting and groaning that naturally occurs when you're working hard pushing that baby out :)

Penny Saver said...

Low bellowing was really helpful for me. At one point, the nurse came in to ask if I was okay because they could hear us down the hall. My husband, matter of factly, said, "She's fine. She's channeling her inner moose," and sent her on her way. Ha!

I read about kissing during labor in Ina Mae Gaskin's Guide to Childbirth, but I didn't find it helpful. At all. The many stories of positive childbirth were really helpful, though, for me to come into it with a positive attitude instead of a fearful place. We took a pain management class with positions, massage techniques, and specific partner support ideas before my second was born, and that was really wonderful.

Emily said...

Anon, I agree, most of the sounds I made during the labor were just what I needed and freed me to open up. Everyone is different, though.

Jill, there are so many kinds of midwives out there. I would call around and see who's in your area. I was tested for gestationa diabetes at each of my prenatal visits, so it's something at least my midwives were prepared for. Congrats on your pregnancy!

Elizabeth said...

To Anonymous Above,
I didn't mean to sound like you should stay silent during the labor. There were lots of grunts and sounds, especially during pushing. I mainly meant loud sounds, which can be heard outside of four walls. But then again, eveyone is different and maybe loud noises do help some!

blessedmama said...

I agree, everyone is different! I labor dead silently. LOL So much so that usually people are shocked once I'm actually pushing the baby out (still don't make much noise) because they can't believe I progressed that much...they always thought I was just having "such an easy time" that I couldn't possibly be that far into labor. LOL Ha!

Laura said...

Thanks for sharing your story and congratulations for having a successful home birth! I had five hospital births and always wished I had a home birth. Most likely would have prevented my 5th ending in C-section (bleh, I still hate thinking about it).

Anonymous said...

Now that you've had a few children, have you considered a DIY birth? Many resources are available to educate yourself. Check out, if you are interested. Much cheaper! Also birth can be easier when there are few or no unnecessary interventions by other people (even well-meaning midwives.)

Emily said...

Anon, I've looked into it and love the idea. My husband isn't ready for it, though. The idea makes him nervous and a nervous husband is the last thing I need in labor. Maybe some day, though.

Anonymous said...

Time to get him educated then! Have him read Chidlbirth Without Fear and/or the Emergency Childbirth Handbook. Blessings!

Allie Bague said...


A little late but Congrats! I've had all 5 of my children in the hospital so I think you are very brave!

Question? I had heard that having a home birth makes it difficult to get birth certs and ssn id for your children. Is this true? What did you need to do to get theses ids?

Emily said...

Allie Bague, definitely it is harder. There is nothing I do to get them beyond what I did with hospital births, but there seems to be a lot more work involved with the midwives. Also, my midwives were out-of-state and not familiar with our precedures, so I had to make few phone calls myself and it took longer for the SS# to come. I had to pick up a copy of the birth certificate, but I did that with all of them. Even with the extra work, I think it would take a lot of bravery for me to do another hospital birth. (:

nepamom said...

Glad I read through all the comments first...I was going to ask your opinion about unassisted childbirth also. My last was supposed to be but after 17 hours of labor with a nervous (and honestly annoying) daddy I gave up and checked into the hospital. It was a long drive to the hospital and I made it as long as I could but making him drive really slow and stop to get me a drink...I would have prefered delivering in our truck versus the hospital but didn't get that lucky. As it was I spent 45 excrutiating minutes on my back in the hospital bed before my son made his appearance. It was so frustrating because those last 45 mins. were worse than the first 17+ hours combined AND I had to deal with the whole "don't push we aren't ready yet" nonsense. I didn't listen and delivered all but his legs before the doc finally got her gear on and checked under the blanket.

Anyway, I'm really putting my foot down this time and have no intention of doing another hospital birth. It's trickier in Pa. (or so I've been told) but I feel like after 6 births I know what my body needs and is capable of. I think an unassisted home birth is the best option for me. My only issues are that I absolutely do not want step-son in the house at all during labor, I don't have a "baby sitting crew" for the little ones that I'd want around, and daddy is again not pleased with the idea and will probably be annoying again...but he's also gone for work and hobbies a lot so maybe I can squeeze in the delivery while he's gone and kids are asleep LOL

Keep working on Dan about it. I know ultimately he is the head of your household but I bet he will allow* it once he sees how much better it is for the wife he loves so much! Besides you have plenty of time before you'll need to make that kind of decision anyway...use it to educate yourself as much as possible so when you do get another positive pregnancy test you can get right to work convincing Dan and planning the birth!

*I dislike using the word "allow" because it sounds so inappropriate for a loving husband/wife relationship but hopefully you and other readers understand what I mean!

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