DawningLife Midwifery

Experienced homebirth midwives serving Metro-Atlanta and North Georgia families for over 35 years!

Annabelle Homebirth

Annabelle
At 1:30am, my water broke in a few gushes, and I started having irregular, and occasionally strong, contractions. After one of the strong ones, N decided to call his mom in case things got more serious.

Around 10:30am, N and I left the kids at home with Grandma, and we went to my sister’s house so I could nurse her newborn. I had good, strong, regular contractions (~3min apart) for a while. Went to Panera to pick up lunch, brought it home to eat, still having contractions... but things calmed down by about 1:30pm. Later that afternoon I took a nap.

Annabelle
Thurs, Nov. 15, 2012

At 1:30am, my water broke in a few gushes, and I started having irregular, and occasionally strong, contractions. After one of the strong ones, N decided to call his mom in case things got more serious.

Around 10:30am, N and I left the kids at home with Grandma, and we went to my sister’s house so I could nurse her newborn. I had good, strong, regular contractions (~3min apart) for a while. Went to Panera to pick up lunch, brought it home to eat, still having contractions... but things calmed down by about 1:30pm. Later that afternoon I took a nap

Friday morning,
By 3am or so, contractions were lasting nearly a minute and I was starting to moan through some of them. I called Theresa (my doula) and Debbie, asked them to come, but contractions fizzled out once they were here. Debbie checked me, and the baby was low and all her vitals sounded good. I drank a glass of RRL tea, took some homeopathic blue cohosh, and went back to bed around 4am with Teresa and Debbie camped out in our living room. Unfortunately, I threw all of it up shortly after I went to bed, then fell asleep through contractions (which were spaced out 10-30 minutes from 4:30am on).

At 7am or so on Friday, I woke up, with contractions continuing but still very far apart. They were pretty strong and low. I discussed with Debbie the possibility that my water hadn’t broken; she left me with some litmus paper to test. I couldn’t get a positive result, but as it was Friday, I decided to set up appointment for NST (non-stress test) and BPP (biophysical profile). I figured if my water had broken, I didn’t want to go over the weekend without knowing everything looked good. I don’t really regret doing that, even though everything was fine and the timing of it ended up being less than ideal.

So at 1pm we left for the NST/BPP. Contractions were awful in the car! During this time, they were spaced out about 15 minutes apart.

From 2pm-4pm, I had the ultrasound and NST. Contractions were closer together now -- 10 minutes apart at first, then becoming more like 5 minutes apart. (The ultrasounds showed that my amniotic fluid was fairly low -- 6cm instead of 17cm as it had been before. The perinatologist said if I thought my water had broken, it probably had. He also said I would be fine going over the weekend, but he would want to see me back on Monday if baby hadn’t been born yet.)

At 4pm we left the perinatologist’s office and walked to the car. Contractions were coming super close together while I was walking; we had to inch our way to the car to avoid intensifying things. Then we drove home, in traffic. During the drive home I had strong contractions 3-4 minutes apart and lasting 1 minute.

At about 5:30pm we got home and ate dinner. (Which my wonderful mother-in-law had ready for us!) Contractions spread out somewhat while I was eating.

At about 6:30 the kids went upstairs, and I stood up from dinner and had an immediate and very strong contraction. N started timing contractions, and after two or three it was clear that I needed everyone here. I called Debbie between two contractions. Then called Teresa between two contractions. Meanwhile, N was putting pressure on my back to help me get through the back pain. (Presumably from the baby’s elbow, as she had a nuchal hand.)

At 7:00 my mom called to check on me, right in the middle of a very, very strong contraction. I didn’t answer, but I called her back after the contraction, completely out of breath. Was off the phone just in time for another contraction.

Shortly after this, Debbie arrived. She could see that things were serious, so she quickly set up, called the apprentices, and then checked me -- I was 7-8cm. I asked about the birth pool, and she said if I wanted to use it, we needed to fill it right away. So she and N got to work while I rode out a few more intense contractions. When N was no longer occupied with that, he came and put pressure on my back. Sometime in here, I told him (in very few words, with effort) to let Debbie know my decision about receiving pitocin postpartum right after delivery. (i.e., that I wanted it.) I think I may have already been in transition by this time. (I remember shivering, sitting on the side of the bed -- either right before or right after this.)

When it was ready, I got in the water. I sat for a few contractions, then switched to hands and knees. Sometime in here Lacey arrived, and then sometime in here Teresa called to say she was stuck in an epic traffic jam. Debbie told her she thought I’d be pushing in 30 minutes, but not to hurry and to drive safely.

With Lacey there, Debbie was freed up to put pressure on my back in just the right spot. The pain was awful, and eventually it felt like pushing was the only thing that would relieve the pain. I tried, and gave one push -- said, “I just pushed, is that okay?” Obviously she said it was okay, so I gave a big push after that, and Debbie remarked something about how that had been really effective. Pushed again, and maybe one or two more times, and then all of a sudden Debbie was coaching me to give small pushes as she was crowning. I half-heartedly scaled back the pushing, but still was eager to get her out so they weren’t exactly wimpy pushes either. I gave maybe one more push after that contraction, and the head was born. I had enough presence of mind to remember from the birth videos that I had watched that this was a water birth and that her head needed to stay under water, so I made sure I was low enough in the water for that.

Debbie checked for a cord, and at this point my body kind of took a break before I got another contraction. It took a few pushes to birth the body -- I actually thought I was done before I was, and I had to be reminded to keep pushing. Then her body was born, and I had a kind of “oh, yeah, that was the relief I was waiting for” moment. It was about 8pm when she was born. Lacey helped me twist around so I could sit down and hold her for the first time.

She was fairly blue and didn’t breathe for a bit at first. (But her cord was still attached, so she continued to get oxygen that way.) Debbie was encouraging me to talk to her and rub her. She did of course start breathing and crying, but I was certainly worried for a bit. Meanwhile Lacey gave me the shot of Pitocin. At some point Debbie wanted me to get out of the water (for the baby’s sake, I assume), so I stood up, and apparently gushed about 4 cups of blood at this point. The midwives hurried to get me on the bed lying down.

Once on the bed, I was given more Pitocin and later some methergine. This whole phase is kind of fuzzy to me... I know we were trying to get Annabelle to nurse because I was not getting any contractions and needed to deliver the placenta. I did eventually deliver the placenta... only 8 minutes after birth, by the midwife’s records.

Sometime in here, Teresa arrived. I remember we were patting Annabelle’s back trying to get her breathing to clear up a bit -- and I know Teresa was there for some of it, because she was demonstrating on my leg how firmly I needed to pat. Eventually the midwife got out the bulb syringe and sucked some mucus from A’s lungs.

I also know she must have nursed fine, because at the time I remarked that she was the quickest of my three kids to catch on at nursing. It did feel like a while before she latched on the first time, but probably that was because of the urgency I felt to have her help in delivering the placenta. There was lots of massaging my abdomen to help the bleeding to stop.

Eventually, my bleeding was not a concern, I was all stitched up, and we only had to worry about Annabelle. She was fairly pink, except some purple coloration on the top of her head where the hat covered, on her cheek where presumably she got a bruising from her nuchal hand, and then on the skin around her lips. Debbie was concerned because the purpleness would seem to go away, but then it would come back when she got worked up. Teresa called a pediatrician friend and let the midwife consult with her. (It was 11 o’clock by this time -- God bless that pediatrician for being willing to help us!) She advised that we wait another hour to let Annabelle “declare herself” as to whether the color issue was improving or not. She ended up improving enough that Debbie was comfortable with us staying home, on the condition that someone was awake at all times observing her color. N and his mom took shifts, and that was Annabelles’s first night.