Amy & Phil's Unassisted Birth (third baby)

Baby Leo Dane Themba, born 7:40 am Sunday Jan 17, 2010 about 10 1/2 lbs, 42 weeks and 2 days.

Well first I’d like to congratulate myself on doing so well with the longest pregnancy ever. It seems like this baby needed to grow a bit, and I’m glad I let him.

So baby was due on New Year’s Day. I was having zillions of contractions for weeks before which were a new thing for me. With the other two babies I never felt as much as a Braxton Hicks contraction before I was in labour. So I figured that with all the contractions I would probably not go much past 40 weeks. ANYWAYS….

On Friday evening I decided to try and see if I could feel my own cervix to see if I had started to dilate at all…well lo and behold I could actually feel that I was about 5 cm dilated, mostly effaced, and I could feel baby’s head through a thin layer of fluid and membranes! I was very excited. It made me feel much happier to be able to know I was making progress. I also began to think it would be a short labour once it started because I was already halfway dilated without any “labour”!

On Saturday I was a bit disappointed to wake up still pregnant, so I decided to stop moping and go grocery shopping. I walked around a few stores and then went home. Still not in labour.

That night, when we said our prayer together, Phil said “please help us to have a good rest and then that Amy will go into labour in the morning.” heehee! That was very specific. I guess God agreed it was time for baby to be born because I woke up after 5 good hours of sleep at 4:30 am with contractions.

I wasn’t sure it was labour though because they weren’t much stronger than the contractions I had been feeling on and off for weeks. I decided to get out of bed and go sit on my recliner chair in the bedroom thinking that an upright position might help things along if it was really labour.

I sat there for about an hour or so having a bunch of contractions, I couldn’t see the clock and I was purposely avoiding timing things because that’s not useful. So the rest of the story I will try to estimate times, but they aren’t accurate because I never looked at a clock until he was born. Anyway, I figure for that hour on the chair I was having a pretty strong contraction every 5 min or so.

About quarter to six Phil woke up and asked me if I was in labour. I was pretty sure I was, but I wasn’t sure if it was time for him to get out of bed and set up our birth room yet, so I said “I think so, but I don’t know”. And he asked if he should go set up the pool etc and I said “well I guess you could if you want.” so he got up and went downstairs.

I spent the next hour or so after that labouring upstairs getting more and more unable to find a good position. I mostly stood up and leaned on the windowsill or the two walls in the bathroom since I was finding it necessary to be near the toilet 😉 I tried labouring on the bed a bit, but there wasn’t anything to lean on, and I found it horrible to try and support myself with my arms during a contraction.

Eventually I thought it might be a good idea to try and eat something since I hadn’t had anything to eat since supper. I went downstairs to the kitchen where Phil was setting things up and was able to kind of drink some juice, but I really didn’t feel up to eating. By that point I was having really hard contractions and I was making some noise to get above them. I still stayed standing and just leaned on the counter or just stood in the middle of the floor and sort of rocked. The pool was almost ready, but the water was much too hot. I stood around the kitchen waiting for Phil to be able to cool off the water and get the level up where it should be. Phil was asking me questions, but I found it impossible to speak. It would take all my effort to muster a nod or a shake of the head, so mostly I just ignored his questions. It wasn’t that I was in so much pain; it was more that I was just totally stoned on birth hormones and was in another world.

By that time I was having contractions almost nonstop it seems like. I would only get a lull for a few seconds where the contraction would be duller, but it never totally went away. But in those lulls, it was like my head was floating and I would feel REAL good…the birth hormones are kind of pretty sweet drugs 🙂

So I guess it was about a quarter to seven when I got in the pool, and it was like HEAVEN! It made the pain so different and more easy to stay above. I just leaned on the wall of the pool and zoned out. While I was in the pool I had my most difficult contraction and I yelled swear words through most of it, lol. That was the only one where I really lost my grip on things. Labour is good like that because if you lose it for one contraction, you can regroup and start over with the next one.

It was about 7 or so when I decided to try and feel my progress again, so I reached up and I couldn’t feel any cervix anymore, and I could feel the bag of waters protruding out. That made me feel so much better to know I was nearly done, and I just kept my hand there so I could feel that during contractions after that point. I guess the older kids woke up then, but I didn’t hear them. Phil left me and went upstairs, brought the portable DVD player and some grapes and told them to stay in their room a while because mom and dad were busy! lol.

While he was gone I started to feel like maybe pushing a bit at the peak of contractions, so I tried some gentle pushing and I found it felt good! This was a happy discovery because my pushing with Roysten felt like torture. After that, I would push a little bit when I felt like it, and I could feel the bulge of waters slowly moving even more downward. Phil came back into the kitchen and around then the sac exploded during a contraction. I think if I had not been in the pool it would have made a HUGE mess! the fluid was clear and full of bits of vernix, but I didn’t notice that at the time. All I was thinking then was that I must be really almost done because after Roysten’s water broke in the pool, he was born within 2 or 3 minutes.

So, another thing that changed with the pushing contractions, especially after the water broke was that they didn’t hurt anymore. My body stretching around the baby did hurt, but not like torture, and the contractions themselves did not hurt anymore. and pushing felt kind of good to do even though it did hurt. I didn’t say anything to Phil about what was going on, but later he told me he could tell I was pushing by the sounds I made. He told me that when he went behind me to see what was happening. the room was quite dark though, so he couldn’t see very well.

I was making very loud roaring sounds, not because of pain, but just because it somehow helped to make noises as loud as possible. I wonder what my kids thought! They stayed in their room very nicely anyhow.

I could feel that the head was going to come down, and then I knew it was serious so I took my hands away from my bottom, and leaned on the wall of the pool again, kneeling. I just pushed how I felt like doing, which was sort of panting a bit and pushing hard, but panting a bit and then pushing hard… it hurt quite a bit, stretching around the baby, but I knew I wouldn’t tear so I wasn’t afraid. I gave one strong push with a contraction, and I felt his head be born under the water. I reached down and felt to make sure, and yes, there was his head sticking out of me! YEAH! I was glad. My mind got very clear then and I was happy that I had done the biggest part. Later, Phil told me that he was behind me watching, and he saw something in the water, but wasn’t sure what it was because it was so dark in the room, so he also reached in the water and felt the lump he saw, and figured, “yep that’s baby hair!”

Then, I rested for a minute waiting for another contraction, and I thought about just not bothering pushing the rest of the baby out because it was pretty painful with all the stretching, but I figured I had done the big part, and so I would just be tough and do the rest quick! heehee. So I just pushed like crazy with the next contraction and the baby slid out and floated into the water. Phil said “there’s the baby!!” or something, which was good because I wasn’t totally sure the whole body had come out, and then I somehow flipped over really quick, leaving the baby underwater for the moment, and Phil picked him up and put him on my chest! ahhh!! that felt so good! It was just amazing.

He was very quiet for a bit, but I could tell he was alive, just looking around, so I never felt worried that he didn’t cry right away. in fact, it seemed like it was only about five seconds that he was silent, but really I figured out later that it was the more part of a minute. babies who are born in water and whose cords are not cut are often quiet like that because they feel calm and there’s no big rush since the cord is still giving them oxygen for a minute or three. anyway, after a time I felt that I would like to hear him make a noise, so I said to him “ok baby, it’s time for you to make a noise.” and he cried a little, and then he cried a little more.

I wanted to wait until after the placenta came before cutting the cord, but after half an hour in the pool after the birth it hadn’t come out and I was worried the baby was getting cold, so I decided to get out even though it was sort of tricky with the baby still attached to me, and getting us both dried off! but anyway, we did it fine and I went and lay down on the couch with a towel and a couple of chux pads under me. after another half hour, I knew the placenta must be separated by then, and I was having very difficult contractions with the dumb thing just sitting inside me, so during one of them Phil wrapped a facecloth around the cord and pulled it a bit and it came out which was a relief. then we tied the cord with sterilized string, and cut it with sterilized scissors. it had been an hour since the baby was born.

Phil had gone and called the kids down when I was in the pool right after the birth, and they both came in and were very excited. Averie likes the baby, and has given him lots of kisses and wants to see him all the time, but Roysten LOVES the baby and is very enthusiastic…so basically I can never ever put this kid down or Roysten will crush him with loving embraces! lol. I hope he figures out how to be gentle soon. Roysten has even shared his blankie with the new brother, and has tried teaching him about dinosaurs already. also, he has named the baby Roysten. Averie wants to name him Molly, but she understands that’s not a boy name. Roysten might call the baby Roysten for a long time though.

So this little guy slept all day, but has been nursing ALL night since the moment we tried to go to bed. He literally nursed for about five straight hours, just going from one side to the other. Wow, I hope my milk comes in fast. This is a hungry giant baby.

Now that I’m on the computer he has finally decided to sleep. I put him in one of my slings, and walked around with him until he fell asleep. he liked that, but when I tried to go sit on my recliner with him in the sling, he started to cry, so that was a no go. Oh well, Phil is off work for a few weeks, so I can sleep today.

Right now he’s sleeping in my arms. He’s the cutest baby ever and we like him lots and think we’ll keep him 😉
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Amy’s first birth was a hospital birth with an epidural at the end. Second birth was in a birth centre managed by registered midwives in Canada.

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