I want to get down my memory of Greer's birth before it gets too fuzzy!
Thursday September 16th
Sometime after 2am I started having some contractions. I had been having them every few nights for awhile so I didn't think much of it. I just started concentrating through them and figured they would ease up like the other nights. Eventually I got out of bed and started walking around.
3:11am I was back in the bed and had my first really intense contraction. Adam was awake and rubbed my back through this one like we learned from our Bradley method book.
3:22am Adam timed the second contraction. About 10 minutes apart. Great. Perfect. Normal. Or so I thought...
I asked Adam to run me a warm bath. I wasn't 100% certain at this point we were totally in labor so I didn't want to ask him to blow up the pool. (I got a pool to labor in because I expected a super long labor like my mom had with me)
I got in the tub and only was able to have about 2 contractions because the pressure in my bottom hurt too much to sit down.
I started walking around and Adam would support me through each contraction. He would take my weight and let me lean into him. He was trying to get me water, close the blinds (so the neighborhood didn't see his half-naked wife) and trying to time and write down contractions, all while supporting me through each one. The problem came when the contractions got so close together he was not having enough time to even walk away from me.
Here is a scanned copy of what he was able to write down.
The contractions became so intense and close together so quickly that he finally just drew a line down.
I kept telling him that they were just coming way to fast and I could not handle it because I wasn't getting a break. Everything I read told me to relax and rest in between the contractions. I had mentally prepared myself for a super long labor like my mom had.
I was getting scared. I was sweating and with the frequency I was not having a break at ALL.
4:20am I got Adam to call our midwife Debbie. He told her the frequency of the contractions and she ask for me on the phone. She asked what was going on and I told her that I knew I was a first time mom but that these were REALLY close together and that I was scared. She said she would come right away and check me.
Once I knew Debbie was coming and would be able to tell me what was going on I was able to relax a little. The contractions continued to come one minute apart but Adam was great and we found that if he leaned into a doorjamb in a sort of "wall squat" I could sit on his legs and with him rubbing my back I was better able to make it through the contraction.
5:00am Debbie arrives and gets set up to check me. It was really painful to get on the bed. The pressure was intense. She checked me and told me that I was complete!!
5:10am Corrinna, the apprentice arrived and checked the baby's heartbeat as I worked through contractions. She talked me through a few.
5:15am With the contractions coming so quickly Adam and I had no a chance to even set up the bed with any of the sheets for the birth. Debbie had to set everything up once she got here.
Once everything was set up I climbed back in the bed and started pushing. It felt great to push. I had read in Baby Catcher that during the second stage of labor the uterus can feel like is folding down and pushing and I really felt that.
I wasn't making enough progress so Debbie suggested I move to the birth stool. I was up for anything that would make my pushing more productive. Once I got situated on it she said my progress was much better.
Like I said before the pushing felt better, it relieved the pain that the contraction was causing. They showed me Greer's head starting to show in a mirror. At first I wasn't really into that but awhile later they showed me her head again and it was much farther out. This was very motivating! When the head was almost out, yes, it did really hurt, but I was so close I didn't care. I think Debbie had to free her shoulders and those hurt a lot too but the next thing I knew they had me reach down for her and she was in my arms. They asked me to move back to the bed and I stood right up and just walked around and climbed in. They rubbed Greer down and got her to take a big breath. She started wailing and didn't stop for almost two hours!
I was very shaky and tired. Corrinna brought me a big glass of apple juice and it tasted great. I drank that while they started asking me to push again for the placenta. I was super tired and that was totally not happening. So since the cord had stopped pulsing we went ahead and cut it then Adam took Greer while they had me sit back on the birth stool. One quick push and it was out no big deal.
The midwives left us alone for about 15 minutes to spend some time with our daughter. It was wonderful. There we were just lying together in our bed where just a few hours before it had just been the two of us.
They came back and checked to make sure I was doing okay. I required a couple stitches so Debbie numbed me with Novocaine and did those. Then Adam headed off to make breakfast and they weighed and measured Greer. She was 7lbs 13oz, 20.5 inches long. And did I mention amazing...
They let me get a shower after that and it felt wonderful. I had sweat so much and the hot water just felt great. Corrinna stayed in the bathroom with me the whole time to make sure I was okay and then helped me get into some fresh clothes. Then Adam and I sat down to eat some breakfast. It was about 9am at this time.We got on the phones and let our parents and siblings know that she was here. We were just as shocked as the rest of them that we went to bed without her and practically woke up with her!
My sister was the first to arrive. The midwives were just finishing cleaning everything up. We had clean sheets under the plastic sheet on our bed so when they left it was pretty much like our house was back to normal. But then again, not really!
Most people are shocked that Adam and I had a home birth. It was planned and had been for some time. For me even before I was pregnant I remember watching the oldest Duggar kid on "18 kids and Counting" have a home birth with his wife who is about our age. I cried at how peaceful the birth was and how she was surrounded by only people she loved and trusted.
After we became pregnant I sought out a Doctor who didn't promote drugs or Cesarean section deliveries. However I was STILL skeptical of all the medical interventions that would happen to me if I was admitted to a hospital and how I would not know my labor and delivery nurse until that moment and my doctor wouldn't show up until the very end.
After watching The Business of Being Born I was so emotional and said to Adam "I want that kind of birth". He just replied that if I was serious then we needed to research home birth and see if it was for us! I was so happy that he was supportive of looking in to it.
We interviewed two midwives and ultimately went with Debbie Pulley. She and I clicked right from the beginning and I knew I would trust her for this huge event. We did TONS of research on home birth. All the risks and all the rewards. We read hundreds of birth stories and I was so excited that barring no medical need I would not have to go to a hospital.
We didn't spread the word because it is something people are very scared to hear. Through our research we learned how little people know about how safe a home birth can be. Very few people understood that I wanted to be in a comfortable environment without strangers, beeping machines and IV fluids. And in case we did have to go to the hospital we wouldn't have to hear "told you so".
Of course now we know it worked out great for us and we could not be happier with the outcome. I feel that being comfortable was a HUGE factor in how quickly my labor went. I was not uptight about a car ride or being in triage once arriving at the hospital. Afterward I was able to walk, shower and move around freely. My midwives cared for me and my baby with the same efficiency of hospital nurses but they were women I had known for months and had developed a great trust with them.
My baby also didn't have any drugs going through her during the labor or through feedings right after. She's been active and a great feeder right from the start. I feel SO lucky that my research and stress and prayer all paid off in the end. I have not one regret about her birth and so far haven't had any "baby blues".
I know my decision seems extreme to most people. But if one person reads this and it helps them feel confident to look into all birth options then I am so glad! I don't think we all have to be scared of birth. I made it through the pain and I'm on the other side with a beautiful healthy girl. My heart has grown these last few days. Grown for her and for my husband. And I will totally go through birth again. Probably not for a long while but one day I will do it again. So it couldn't have been that bad!
Cooper and Jackie are handling our new arrival well. Jackie our tough pit bull is watchful and so gentle. Cooper is a little more high strung and starts crying when Greer cries. His bottom lip starts quivering but he keeps on wagging his tail. They already love their new little sis :)