Birth Story: The Home Birth of Ellia Catherine Mae
Ellia's pregnancy went by quickly, but it was hard on me emotionally and physically. By the time labor came, I was so ready for it all to be over. Unfortunately, I had a hard time relaxing that day and stressed myself out quite a bit during labor.
Until around 33 weeks into my pregnancy, we weren't sure if I was going to really be having this baby at home or not. I was trying to keep my blood pressure under control. Luckily, I have some amazingly knowledgeable midwives who didn't give up on me and found the right combination to keep my blood pressure down. As the weeks went on, everything was going great health wise and Kathy cleared me for a home birth!
Although I was really miserable, the last weeks of my pregnancy flew by. On June 24th, my midwives came for a home visit. Everything was going well. After a cervical check, Kathy found I was about 3cm and 75% effaced, if I remember correctly. She really thought that the baby would come within the next 24 hours. I had high hopes she would, but in the back of my mind I wasn't sure since I'd never gone into labor on my due date before. I was excited for everything to start, because I had an amazing birth team to work with.
I really can't remember what I did for the rest of that day. I know I woke up to use the restroom around 1:45 a.m. that night and had what's known as a bloody show. I'd had this happen a few times though. By 10 a.m., I got out of bed, walked over to the closet to find clothes to wear for the day. In the process, I had a huge contraction and felt the baby really drop low into my pelvis. The pain caused me to grab onto a laundry hamper for support. Not the most stable object, but it was what was closest to me at the time! Joe asked if I was okay and I told him that he wouldn't be going to work today. I also let some close friends and some family members know what was going on. I also text Kathy, who said I probably had a while to go and told me to call her if my water broke, I had increased contractions, or any bleeding.
It didn't take long for contractions to start coming. Although they were regular, I knew that active labor was far off. I kept predicting she'd be born between 8 and midnight. Around noon/1pm, I got into the bath to relax and Joe took all of the kids to the store to pick up food for lunch and dinner. My mom would also be on her way soon. I was relatively relaxed and able to hang out in the living room with everyone for a while. When my mom arrived, she wanted to get something to eat and then take over with the older kids. After everyone was settled, I text my midwife saying that things were still moving along. Joe and I were going to get some food, walk, drive down bumpy roads, etc.
After a while, we came back to the house. I wasn't sure why, but my contractions felt like they were letting up and it was making me really nervous. By 8:00 p.m., I sent a text to Kathy saying I'd have good contractions for an hour and then half an hour of nothing. Kathy thought maybe it really wasn't time. She told me to take a hot bath, get something to eat, and get to bed at a decent time. "Ambien is your friend." Well, I did just that! I got into the bathtub probably by 8:30 after becoming extremely aggravated with my body. About an hour later, I started having random contractions here and there. No pattern, not close together. Close to 10 p.m., I said f*** it and took an Ambien so I could just go to bed.
It seemed like within seconds of crawling into bed, things ramped up quickly. I was screaming and crying for Joe and my mom to come upstairs. I couldn't concentrate on my breathing and I was really starting to panic. Instantly, I knew things were happening quickly. I didn't want to be alone. My mom came upstairs and said some one needs to call Kathy now. I had sent a text saying things were getting bad now and I couldn't get through them. She called me instantly and I was just crying my eyes out. The contractions were going down my legs and I couldn't get pain relief. She told me she would be on her way.
In the meantime, Joe helped me down the hall to get into the pool. He had started filling it with water. My older three kids had peeked upstairs out of curiosity and my mom told them the baby was coming. I whispered "no kids" to Joe and he got them to go back downstairs. This time, I just couldn't handle any one extra around me. He decided to try to help relieve my pain with really warm water, so he would let the hose run water down my body. I can't say it relieved the pain, but it sure did help me relax!
Before I knew it, I was making intense noises and I knew the baby was coming. I felt her come down. My body completely took over and forced me backwards. I was leaning into the door behind me and Joe was trying to sit me back up so I didn't hurt myself. The pushing was so fast and furious! Within four pushes, her head was out, one push for her shoulders, and another for her body. Ellia literally shot out "like a little torpedo" as Joe put it. My mom scooped her up out of the water and handed her to me. We were shocked at how large she was and that there was only one small spot of vernix on her.
We waited for the midwives to arrive. It felt like forever, but it happened more quickly in reality. My placenta came out not too soon after the baby did, but was still kind of sitting there. I was afraid it was partially attached and something was wrong since my body had stopped contracting at that point. Kathy gently got it the rest of the way out and thankfully it was just "sitting in there". It turned out to be a nice big, healthy, and complete placenta.
They decided it was time to cut the cord. Joe did the honors this time. I think after that the baby was taken to be checked over. I was aided in getting cleaned up and helped into bed. THAT was quite the experience as I found out I'd really hurt my hip in labor this time. I was instructed to pretty much stay in bed for a week. No driving and to avoid stairs. I stuck to my postnatal care instructions, that was for sure!
Ellia Catherine Mae was 9lbs, 20 1/4 inches long. She was born at 10:40 p.m. on June 25th, 2015. Forty minutes of active labor!