Birth Story for August Cohen Singleton

By univirtualassistant@gmail.com
April 6, 2016

I was 39 weeks pregnant and woke up around 1:30 in the morning on 11/23/14 for the regular trip to the bathroom. Didn’t notice anything unusual until I laid back down and my lower back started to ache. For the next hour and a half I kept changing position, trying to ease the pain, not really believing that it could have been the start of labor. By about 3am, I went to the bathroom again and this time there was blood in the toilet (bloody show, I think). So I woke up my husband to let him know what was going on.

I called Patrice somewhere between 3:15-3:30 ish and she suggested I take a bath and time my contractions and call later. I was a bundle of nerves because at that time, it felt like everything was moving so quickly. My husband sat in the bathroom with me while I laid in the tub, timing my contractions that were about 4 minutes apart. They were uncomfortable and I had to breathe through them but I could tell these were just the early ones.

After the bath, I was using the birth ball in the living room. We called my mom between 5-6 ish I think, to let her know what was going on. She came over and my other 3 children started to wake. Contractions were still coming regularly at that point and I was uncomfortable with my kids being around, having a hard time relaxing. So we called my mother in law to let her know what was going on and have her come get the children. By mid morning, my kids were gone and things weren’t really progressing so my mom went home as well. This had never happened to me before, but things were actually slowing down.

The rest of the day was spent timing contractions (which had spaced out anywhere from 7 minutes apart to 15). Tried to keep myself occupied with things like funny tv shows, video games, and a couple of small naps. I wasn’t terribly hungry but I did have some ramen noodles and was drinking a lot of water. I was becoming quite discouraged and feeling silly for having had people over so early in the morning. I felt bad that my in-laws were watching my kids for me while not much seemed to be happening with my labor. So by late afternoon, I had my kids come home.

The rest of the day was spent timing contractions (which had spaced out anywhere from 7 minutes apart to 15). Tried to keep myself occupied with things like funny tv shows, video games, and a couple of small naps. I wasn’t terribly hungry but I did have some ramen noodles and was drinking a lot of water. I was becoming quite discouraged and feeling silly for having had people over so early in the morning. I felt bad that my in-laws were watching my kids for me while not much seemed to be happening with my labor. So by late afternoon, I had my kids come home.

Needless to say, by 7-8pm, things had started to pick back up. My contractions started to come back at a regular pace and were getting to be so uncomfortable I would have to stop what I was doing to breathe through them. I had my husband call my in-laws again to come and get the kids because I knew if they didn’t come then, we’d be calling them in the middle of the night. By that point, I was tired and very emotional because I had been up so long and was so sure I’d have had the baby already. None of my other labors had taken this long.

From that point on to when I had my son, I remember just being in the zone. Contractions were coming more quickly and were consistently more uncomfortable. I just let my body do what it needed while I followed along. I think it was 9-10 pm when my husband called Patrice. I really wasn’t paying attention. I took a shower and at some point before any of the midwives arrived my mom came over. The first midwife to come was Barb. I remember showing her where my home birth supplies were and her getting them set up. I wanted to deliver my son in the living room, preferably on/near the couch because I knew that’s where I’d be comfortable and it’s close to the bathroom.

I think Patrice arrived next but it’s hard to be sure, I remember everyone being behind or beside me, so I wasn’t really looking at anyone so I could stay focused on labor and getting through contractions. Jennifer arrived next, I think, and I remember her checking babies heartbeat while I was in the shower. I took at least 2-3 showers but during the last one, I began to feel pressure. Not quite like I needed to push but that baby was moving on down causing the sensation so I decided to move into the living room near the couch where I planned on having the baby.

My husband was very helpful to me while I was going through transition, putting pressure on my lower back while I leaned on my chest on the birth ball. I was very proud of myself for directing him while maintaining composure and staying focused, even thanking him after some of the contractions for helping. I had not felt this much in control w/my other 3 labor experiences.

Eventually, the birth ball and my husbands help weren’t working for me anymore. I could feel the contractions changing and feeling more pressure, almost like I might need to push. I had Jennifer check me to see where I was because I didn’t want to push if I hadn’t dilated enough. She said I was a 9+ w/a little lip of cervix remaining so I knew I just needed to let the contractions continue to do their work. I stood up and tried to stretch out and go through a couple of contractions before finally settling into position to push.

I got down on my knees, facing the couch so I could lean on it w/ my upper body. I started to push just a little bit w/ my contractions and while they were very uncomfortable, they weren’t painful like I remembered from my previous labors. It felt so much better to push when I felt ready and needed to instead of pushing when told and pushing hard. I was in my own little place, everyone behind me (the midwives, my husband, and our mothers), and I just kept reminding myself to keep my bottom relaxed and in my head repeating the word “open” because I knew that’s what I needed to do to ease the baby down and out as gently as I could. I had no sense of time as far as how long any of this was taking, I was just very focused on what I needed to do. I think someone gave me a cool towel as I got closer to the baby being born because I was hot and my knees were killing me because they were on the hard wood floor but I wasn’t moving.

Out of nowhere I felt something coming out of me and I announced it to the midwives so they could check (it wasn’t painful so I was confused because at first I thought it was the baby). It was my bag of waters and it broke shortly thereafter. That was a very interesting sensation considering that w/my first 2 labors they broke my water for me and the 3rd broke shortly after they gave me an epidural. Needless to say, I knew the baby was close.

As I continued to labor and push, I was so appreciative of the encouraging words of the midwives, telling me how great I was doing, etc., and their reminders to slow down my breathing between contractions. It didn’t disrupt my focus at all, which was awesome. I just kept pushing when it felt right and focused on remaining as calm and relaxed as I could. They were also using warm compresses and pressure on my bottom which was an unusual feeling but I knew it was helping w/the pain and w/the delivery of my baby. I also think they used olive oil.

Finally, the baby started to crown. I don’t recall feeling the burning sensation as terribly as I had felt before so it was hard for me to believe the baby was really there. I just kept pushing and next thing I knew his head was born. I expected things to move quickly at that point but it took a couple of contractions to get him out. I loved pushing him out and listening to everyone describe what was happening as he was being born. First came his head. Then, the upper part of his body. Then he slowly came out the rest of the way until he was fully born at 1:31 am, nearly 24 hours after labor had started. I was really surprised by how slowly he came out. Once he was born, I don’t remember turning to look at him right away, I just knew someone had caught him and laid him down behind me. When I finally did turn around, I picked him up and my husband and I sat w/him on the couch. He was so handsome (still is!). And of all my babies, he had the least amount of hair.

The order of everything else is a little iffy for me but I remember my mom asking Patrice how big she thought he was before he was weighed and she guessed the 7 lb range. My mom thought he was bigger and about an hour later when he was finally weighed we found out he was 8 lbs 4 oz (20 in. long), so no wonder he didn’t come out as easily as I thought he would.

I got the shakes right away after he was born, and Barb brought me some apple juice. I remember the baby latching on right away and Jennifer was helping me to deliver the placenta. That part seemed to take forever (I think it took 20-30 minutes) and I was holding the baby, nursing him and completely naked because I’d taken off the dress I’d had on shortly after giving birth. I had someone take him at some point because the cord wasn’t very long and it was getting hard to hold him and try to push the placenta out but eventually it happened. I was able to put on my nightgown. They had me lay down to check for tears which I had but they were very minor. It was the first time I hadn’t needed stitches after a birth and I was so happy. They checked me out and checked out our baby and everything looked good. I don’t even remember when they actually cut the cord! My mom and my mother in law each got to hold him a little and I remember hearing him “singing” while my mother in law and/or my mom was holding him, it was so sweet (and he still “sings”).

By about 3:30 I think they had wrapped up what they needed to do and had left. My mother in law headed home and my mom went in to sleep in one of my girls beds while my husband and I got comfortable on the couch w/the baby in his own little bed next to the couch. We had just started to doze off when my mother in law came into the room w/my older son, who just couldn’t believe his brother was here and needed to see him. They only stayed a few minutes and after that we went to sleep. It truly was an amazing experience and I would do it over again in a heartbeat. It was so awesome to labor in my home, in my own way, w/out any interference. I also sincerely believe it has had an impact on my bonding w/my son and how much more maternal I feel towards all of my children.

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