This pregnancy was different from my previous pregnancies in that we were expecting a GIRL (!!!) and also I was given progesterone shots/supplementation throughout the first & third trimesters. After having experienced two miscarriages prior to this pregnancy, we were excited to hear about natural hormone supplementation with progesterone and we have reason to believe it helped to sustain the life of our little girl.
As the due date approached, we were so excited to meet our little one. She passed her “due date” and arrived a couple days over 41 weeks gestation. We initially planned to have her in the birthing center (in KC) that her brothers were born at, but at about 28 weeks gestation I had a change of heart and really wanted to try for a home birth. Doors opened, connections were made, and we found a midwife who lives 8 minutes from our house that felt like a great fit. She was also familiar with NaPro Technology & the study behind additional progesterone supplementation during pregnancy.
I had a feeling my body was prepping to go into labor on Monday morning. Contractions were ever so slightly stronger than Braxton Hicks, and at that point in pregnancy, I would take anything I could get! During an afternoon cat-nap, one of my contractions woke me up, although I didn’t consider it to be that painful. My midwife recommended I go for a 20 minute walk since the weather was nice out. Upon returning home & eating dinner with my husband and boys, I noticed they were getting “really good”, as I like to call them. Harder? Yes. More uncomfortable? Yes. But ohh, sooo good. Call me crazy, but there is something so enjoyable about those early contractions. I could still talk through them and so I cleaned up my kitchen, waddled around like normal and kept myself from getting antsy & anxious with adrenaline. I had been tricked before thinking it was real labor, and didn’t want to be fooled again!
We put our boys to bed at 8pm. My husband laid on our bed with me for a couple hours while I rested and timed the contractions. My doula arrived around 11pm at my request. Things were going great. I was unable to talk through most of them. I was walking around my living room/kitchen, stopping to sway my hips when a contraction came. When my doula arrived it was great, an extra set of hands, and added words of encouragement.
Shortly after this my midwife arrived. She had me lay on my bed on my side with one leg propped under a pillow so that I could try to rest as much as possible. These contractions were uncomfortable to me and my husband was right behind me to squeeze my hips when a contraction would come. At this point every other contraction was a little lighter. I got up when that position wasn’t favorable and walked around. I loved this part because when a contraction would come I would just put my hands on the kitchen counter and sway my hips while breathing in my nose, out my mouth. I was even encouraged to walk through the contractions if I could. I was surprised to find that I could do this! She lowered a lot during this time.
Around 1am I went to the restroom and the contractions were closer together. Of course, while on the toilet, I felt one coming and managed to cope really well in this position so I stayed there for several more contractions. Baby girl lowered a lot at this time, pressure increased, but I just kept thinking about opening up and visually imagined her dropping lower. I also tend to yell and waste energy tensing up, so I focused on relaxing all that I could. It’s a really empowering thing to submit to pain in that way, and yet to cope with it and accept it. I knew if I freaked out or tightened up I was only prolonging the amount of time before I could hold my baby girl!!
While this was happening the midwife was filling the birthing pool. I got in the pool expecting immediate relief from all pain – kind of a lofty expectation, I’m in labor after all – and while the warm water comforted me, I realized I was feeling some pressure and coped with the contractions by…. pushing! Everyone in the room was surprised that I was pushing, including me! We thought pushing was at least a couple hours away. I was leaning on the side of the tub, elbows propped on the side and on my knees. When the contraction came I pushed with it, and everyone encouraged me saying they could see the head! I was thrilled but stalling a little because this IS the place “between a rock and hard place”. You don’t want them in, but you don’t really want them out either. This being my third baby, I knew that I was moments away from utter relief and joy. I decided to push (and scream) with the contractions and not stall in a state of fear. My water broke as her head came out her body came with the next contraction. I only know my water broke because I felt a “pop” (although, at the time, I was convinced I had tore a little. I forgot about the water sac 🙂 A couple more contractions later her shoulders and body came out.
At this point, it’s 1:40am and I can’t begin to articulate the feeling of relief that came over me. First, I picked up my baby out of the water only to hear a beautiful loud cry the minute I pulled her out. What will potentially haunt me when she’s two & three years old was music to my ears at this moment. I held her close, sat back, laid my head back on the tub and wailed right along with her! We did it! She’s OUT. There’s nothing like it in the world.
Soon after this the placenta came, I handed her to daddy, and with support I got out of the tub and walked to my bed (where I still am 3 days later…!) My bed felt amazing to be in after all that! I nursed her, and they weighed her. She weighed 9lbs! My biggest baby. I’m very thankful I had her in water because I hear that can help to soften everything when you deliver. To my utter amazement, I didn’t tear at all. It was incredible!
Here I am, 3 days later, and recovery has been great. I’m still tired, of course, but all things considered it was an incredible birth experience! I loved having her at home, and really wasn’t sure if I would or not. Labor is hard no matter which way you spin it, but having a doula and a trusted midwife was so crucial for me. If I felt discouraged or panicky, their words of encouragement lifted me right back up. I’m so thankful to God for preserving this precious girl in me and for a safe delivery.
Julie Powers (with baby Sophia Joy Powers)