Elizabeth Ophelia Dearman
August 7, 2010
7 pounds 8 ounces
Born 9 days past estimated due date!
Friday night was spent playing cards with friends. My back was achey and I was not in the best mood. Contractions had been inconsistent and painless for days and I was getting more anxious with each hour that brought us closer to the 42 week mark. Zero complications and faith that my body knew how to take care of my baby were the only things that kept me going.
After our card game ended, I got into bed hoping my achey back would turn into real contractions during the night. Considering I had pinpointed different symptoms of labor for weeks, I didn't have much hope that tonight would be the night......
But, that night I woke up with contractions that I couldn't sleep through. Finally! Since the contractions were regular but not painful, I decided to get out of bed and let gravity assist Liza in her arrival. At 2:00am, I sat on my exercise ball at the kitchen table timing my contractions and watching the first half of "Loins of Punjab" on Hulu.
My contractions were weak but consistently 30 seconds long and coming every 3 minutes. Our midwife, Norma, lives an hour away so I was anxious to let her know I was in labor. It surprised me to hear her say she was leaving her house immediately. She sensed Liza was well on her way and knew she needed to be at our house soon.
I woke up Taylor to tell him I was in early labor but he needed his rest and to keep sleeping. As I walked out of the door, he called out "congratulations and good luck". Thanks, Tay! He decided to get up a few minutes later to make preparations in the house: remaking the bed with waterproof pads, filling the birth tub and making sure I had what I needed.
I called my mom to let her I was finally having this baby. Her assigned role was to be Henry's caretaker during and after the birth of his baby sister.
Contractions were becoming more intense and requiring my total focus. I found myself drawn to dark corners of our house. Facing the corner, I would sway my hips and breathe through the contraction until it passed. After reading a million homebirth stories online and preparing myself for a natural unmedicated labor and delivery, my body and mind instinctively knew exactly what to do -- sway and breathe through contractions and then walk around the house waiting and welcoming the next contraction that would bring our baby that much closer to joining us.
I found myself moaning through the contractions and knew transition was quickly approaching. As soon as my mind realized transition was near, I threw up and was immediately thrown into the most painful stage of an unmedicated labor.
Transition is the 3rd stage of labor in which the cervix becomes fully dilated and your body prepares itself for delivery.
The hallmark of transition is extreme pain, self-doubt and panic.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
I wanted a waterbirth so I got into the baby pool that Taylor had set up in our living room and diligently filled with water as I had worked through my contractions. The water was warm but I needed it HOT! Taylor hooked the hose up to our sink and began adding more hot water. Now I needed COLD water but found myself unable to communicate in an effective manner. I found myself tensing in the water and unable to focus and breathe through the contractions.
It went downhill fast.....
The logical side of my mind was saying, "Laura, this is transition, your baby is almost here. You know this is the most painful stage of labor. You CAN do this. You ARE doing this."
The emotional side of my mind was saying, "Laura, you can't do this. This is awful. You don't even need this baby to be born."
My mouth was saying, "I caaaaan't. This huuuurrrrts."
A total lack of concentration led me to hold my breath and at that point, Norma decided I needed to get out of the tub. As soon as I stood up, I felt better but still within the throws of transition. We moved to the bed and Norma threatened me with a transfer to the hospital if I couldn't get myself together. Hearing those words, I decided to refocus and get this baby out!
Taylor looked me in the eyes and told me I was doing a great job and reminded me our little girl would soon be here. His calm presence and soothing words were exactly what I needed to hear. Facing a big mirror in our bedroom, I watched as our little Liza was born on our bed in our beautiful house that my grandparents built in 1949.
A few notes:
Labor and delivery lasted exactly 5 hours start to finish. Not bad!
Henry woke up at his normal time of 6:45 and my mom arrived just minutes after Liza was born. Had I known it would go so fast, I would have called my mom earlier. Our friends Jason and Naomi picked him up within 2 minutes of Taylor's phone call and Henry had the best morning riding their golf cart and playing with their boys.
My water didn't break until the final push that delivered her body.
I had a "bleed" after delivery but our midwife was fully prepared and a possible emergency situation was quickly rectified by her quick actions and medical training. A shot of pitocin in the arm and I was all better.
I am planning a future post explaining why I decided on a natural unmedicated labor and delivery and what led to our decision for a midwife attended homebirth. If you have any specific questions, please post them in the comments!
Thank you for reading the story of our daughter's birth! Her birth was the most empowering and powerful experience of my life.