DawningLife Midwifery

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

Riley Larkin

Riley
On Monday Oct 9th around 1:30am I awoke because it felt like I had wet myself. I went to the bathroom and there was a lot more fluid than usual but not enough to make me think my water had broken because I always thought it would be like a gush of fluid. I changed my undies and pantyliner and went back to bed. A few minutes later I had leaked again and this time felt like this must mean something. I went and woke Joe up to tell him and, after discussing it for a little while, went back to bed. I tried to sleep, but it was hard to knowing that this meant our baby would soon be here. Besides, I continued to leak the rest of the night and felt crampy.

Riley
On Monday Oct 9th around 1:30am I awoke because it felt like I had wet myself. I went to the bathroom and there was a lot more fluid than usual but not enough to make me think my water had broken because I always thought it would be like a gush of fluid. I changed my undies and pantyliner and went back to bed. A few minutes later I had leaked again and this time felt like this must mean something. I went and woke Joe up to tell him and, after discussing it for a little while, went back to bed. I tried to sleep, but it was hard to knowing that this meant our baby would soon be here. Besides, I continued to leak the rest of the night and felt crampy.

I called our midwives that morning and spoke with Debbie who confirmed that it must have been my water breaking. She advised me to check in every couple of hours throughout the day. I did, but I was not really progressing. Joe and I went for a walk but mostly we sat around in the living room. Around 3pm my doula, Teresa, called and suggested I go see my chiropractor/acupuncturist, Dr. Khalsa. I saw him at 5:30pm and he did acupuncture on me to help induce the labor and gave me an adjustment. Debbie came over that evening around 7pm to see how I was doing. She gave me a mixture of blue and black cohosh that I was to take a dropperful of every hour throughout the nite while I was awake. Joe was to do nipple stimulation and if by 4am I was not having more consistent contractions then I had to drink 4oz of castor oil. Well, I was determined not to drink that castor oil, but 4am came sooner than I had hoped. Joe mixed my OJ and castor oil for me. It was horrible, but I drank it. Around 5:20pm I barely made it to the toilet to puke. Then of course came the runs. Fun. My friend Alice had come over Monday evening while Debbie was over and stayed the nite. Amazingly, she slept through all the evening excitement.

The next day Debbie came over around 8am. She advised us of the challenges we were up against since my water had broken and I was still not having regular contractions. We agreed that we wanted to do everything possible to avoid going to the hospital. Joe and I went for a walk and my contractions were coming about every 15 minutes. When we got home he did some nipple stimulation which brought on the contractions almost immediately when he started and they were about 5 minutes apart. When he stopped, the contractions went back to random times...30 minutes, 15 minutes, 10 minutes. We went for another walk and it definitely felt like the contractions were becoming more consistent, just not close enough together yet. 

When we got back Debbie decided she would do an internal exam. This was my first one since my 1st trimester. She was reluctant to check any earlier because of the risk of infection since my water had broken. I was 7 cm dilated and fully effaced. Great news!

I think at this point we decided to fill up the birthing tub and Debbie called on Ruth the other midwife to come over. While I waited on the tub to be set up, my doula, Teresa, was giving me lots of support and rubbing my back while I sat on my birth ball. Joe had left the room and when he came back I could see he had been crying. I knew it was going to be emotional, but I did not think of things from his perspective. When I asked why he was crying he said it just made him sad to see me in so much pain and there was nothing he could do about it. I remember feeling like this was it...just as I had planned. Of course that was my problem thinking I could "plan" it. 

I got in the tub and was surrounded by my two midwifes, my two doulas, my friends, Kristen and Alice and, of course, Joe. Pam (the other doula) was taking photos and so was my friend Kristen so there was lots of flashing. I felt very relaxed and was enjoying my music that was playing in the room. Teresa and I were singing along to the Beatles even. I must have been too relaxed because my contractions slowed down too much so I got out. This is where it gets fuzzy. I think they had me try sitting on the toilet which i did not like. I am sure I went for another walk, and Joe did some more nipple stimulation. My massage therapist Tammy and her partner Lori had also arrived. Tammy gave me a massage but, ultimately, I started to get discouraged. I was exhausted and just wanted it to be over. I was fighting the contractions at this point and was ready to throw it all in and go to the hospital. 

Around 5pm Teresa called the midwives at the hospital, since that was my first choice, to see who was on call for walk-in's. And once the doctor knew how long my water had been broken he said he would make me have an automatic cesarean birth. We decided that another hospital, which is closer, may be a better choice.

While they were packing up to go to the hospital I was in the living room sitting on a chair where Tammy was massaging my back. This was really helping with the pain from the contractions. Next Debbie came over and told me how sorry she was that she could not come to the hospital and that she hated to send me there. She looked like she was going to cry and that really touched me because I could feel how much she cared about me. She asked if she could do one more internal before we left so we went back to our bedroom. 

At about 5:45pm Debbie and I went back in our bedroom and did the internal. This time I was like 8-9 cm and the baby had dropped. I think she could feel the head. Again things are fuzzy here. They felt convinced that I did not need the hospital and really worked with me to convince me the same. Again I was fighting it as I had already given up in my head and just kept saying "I can't do this" even though I knew I needed to be saying "I CAN do this". I think Debbie kept her hand inside me to do something to make my contractions more consistent and Ruth kept running her fingertips on my belly which seemed to be helping the contractions. Joe was also doing nipple stimulation. I kept insisting on going to the hospital even after being able to feel my baby's head just a finger's distance away inside me. Debbie told me that if I asked to go to the hospital one more time that we were going. Teresa leaned in my ear and whispered "be very careful what you ask for now". This made me shut up and go inside my head where I thought out why going to the hospital would just mean even more time feeling these contractions, whereas if I stay here then I could get it over with quicker. Once I had convinced myself I was having the baby at home I never asked to go to the hospital again. 

I do remember trying to get back in the tub, but they did not want me getting back in and the batteries were dead on the pump to drain the now cold water out. Next thing I remember I was being told to push. Well I thought I was pushing, but Debbie kept saying I was not really pushing. It was hard because I felt so out of breath and was sooo tired. Finally I pushed really hard and knew why Debbie said I was not really pushing. It felt like when you throw up (which I had done a few times already) and your stomach muscles take control involuntarily. I had to push hard enough to get it there and then it felt like these muscles just took over after a certain point. I think it was the contraction that was taking over. It definitely felt like a lot of pressure and at first I was holding back on pushing too hard because it did feel like I was going to poop (which i did a little). You really do get to a point where you don't care.

They kept telling me I had to get the head past my tailbone and this was the most painful. Ruth would massage me all over after every contraction and that helped tremendously! I was so exhausted I was falling asleep in between every contraction and would just lift up my legs when I felt a contraction coming. Luckily I never had any back labor (all my optimal fetal positioning work paid off). Finally I could feel his head as he was crowning. I did make some loud screaming like sounds when pushing. Once his head was being pushed out it did sting, but mostly just felt like all this pressure finally being released, and the final push to get the rest of his body out felt great. I knew it was over.

They had Joe look first to see the sex of our new baby and he announced it was a boy. Debbie put riley on my stomach and he pooped on me. My first words were "holy shit" and the expression on my face says as much. I was pretty distracted, but felt some pain as Debbie had to go inside me to pull out my placenta because I was bleeding so much. Apparently after Riley came out a bunch of blood went shooting out of me and I bled a lot. My placenta had torn and Debbie had to stop the bleeding so she had to pull out the placenta, which hurt, but after everything I had been through it was not that bad. Joe held Riley while they worked one me and he also got pooped on by Riley. By the time he was weighed he was 9lbs 6 oz, but since he pooped twice before I count it as 9.8 lbs. :-) 

My friend Alice had made a delicious quinoa casserole that we all ate. I'm so glad she thought to cook. I really did not think I would be hungry, but I was. I was definitely very sore and achy for a couple weeks and stayed in bed almost the whole time, but it's amazing how quickly the body heals. I know I waited too long to write this as the memories of the pain from labor have also been fading. Now I am left with a great feeling of accomplishment having had our beautiful healthy baby boy at home surrounded by such loving and supportive people.

To see pictures of Riley’s birth click here.