Charlee’s Birth Story

Not sure where to start my thoughts, so I hope you don’t get lost in this story. This is my 6th baby, and by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever in my life done. I’ve never felt more overwhelmed and forgotten by God then I did while going thru this labor. Sometimes I think its sad that I didn’t end my “baby-making” days with a more positive birth. But this is the birth of my 5th daughter and overall, one I’m truly proud of. If nothing else, I dug deeper within myself to “survive” and I didn’t even know I had it in me.

(Little history, first 2 babies were sections for CPD, then 3rd was a hospital vbac unmedicated, 4th was a hospital vaginal with epi, 5th was a homebirth. All babies weighed about 7 1/2 lbs, except last baby was 9lbs)

I had a perfect pregnancy with no complications at all. Only gained 23lbs total (lost a few in the end, to down to 23 total) No swelling, good movements, baby was in a great position and I felt fine. I’ve never gone post-dates before, but Monday, May 3rd was my due date. Saw MW on Wednesday (2 days over) and I was 3cm/80%/+1. I was a little discouraged, but overall keeping a positive attitude. I left Cathy’s and noticed I was having a few cxts. Called my friends (who were driving 4 hrs to attend the birth) just to talk. I mentioned the cxts but never thought they were going to progress. By that afternoon, my friends had decided to start the drive as the cxts were still consistent, even though they weren’t a whole lot stronger. That night I had some bloody show…..I ran out of the bathroom with no pants on to get one of my friends to look at it!! I was so excited!! I still wasn’t believing I was in early labor, even with the show, I was scared the cxts were going to “go away”! LOL! Finally went to bed and slept about 3 hrs or so. Woke up and within an hour the cxts were back. Still tolerable and able to walk/talk thru…still scared I wasn’t in labor. Had bloody show almost every time I went to the bathroom. Called Cathy crying and wanting to see her. She had me come to her house about 1pm to get checked. Had made some progress….4cm/95%/+1. Lots of bloody show with exam. Cathy said she’d call me about 4pm to see how I was doing. By that time, I felt like I was having to “work” a little bit harder to be able to talk thru the cxts, like when I was on the phone with someone. I told Cathy that and she said she’d be at my house about 5pm. She arrived with all her “stuff”….I’m still thinking I’m not really in labor yet and this is a waste of everyone’s time. But, she sets up anyway, we make the bed up for the birth. (I’ve got a full copy of the labor notes, so I can reference the timeframe of everything). After setting things up, Cathy had me eat a little bit. So we all head to the kitchen. My precious friends had made some munchies for everyone, so we just sat around the kitchen and ate and talked and had the best time. Cathy and Connie (assistant) would check FHT and monitor me, and time my cxts for me. At this point, they are coming anywhere between 4-7 min apart and lasting a good 60seconds. About 6pm I start to moan slighty with cxts. I get an exam at 730pm…I’m 4-5cm/100%/+1 and now my cervix is tight, where before it had been soft. I change positions a lot…walking, sitting on birth ball, leaning forward on bed, etc. At 850, I state, “I’m not having fun”, and I’m getting anxious to be able to get in the tub. At 910pm, Cathy checks me and says I can get in the tub, although she’d rather I wait till I was 5-6cm. This exam, there was no change, but I talk my way into the tub anyway. I LOVED the tub, and baby is starting its “nightly” move-fest!! I changed positions in the tub a lot and cxts are definitely more intense! At 1015pm, I get out and lay down on bed. Baby is moving like crazy…but a normal pattern for us! Cxts are about 3-4minutes apart by now. Exam at 1115pm show me to be 5-6cm/+1 station….still a tight cervix. Talk my way back to tub again, then out of tub, then leaning over birth ball, then sit on toilet for a little while, then sit on birthstool (btw, didn’t like this one at all!!), then back to tub again. Exam at 140am (Friday morning now) shows 6-7cm/ baby is now gone backwards to 0 station and tight cervix. We all decide to try and sleep a little bit. I “slept” for about an hour but with no support around, I soon was feeling overwhelmed with cxts so woke people up to get support. At 315am, 7-8cm, but getting discouraged with such slow progress. I asked Cathy to rupture me, but we talked with my hubby and decided not too. In tub again and getting back on top of the cxts. Changed positions in tub a lot! Cxts are definitely transition lasting 90sec up to 2min long with multiple peaks sometimes. They are coming every 2-3 minutes, so there isn’t much of a break. 450am exam shows 8-9cm and still 0 station. 500am I have a few, very gentle, urges to push….but not every time. 535am shows just a slight rim/anterior lip of cervix….not pushing, just panting thru cxts. 625, there is still a rim of cervix, so calls me 9cm, meaning there is slight swelling. I get out of the tub and left sidelying on the bed. I then try leaning over birth ball. At 715am, I’m still 9cm, but a little less swollen….we AROM…with clear fluid. To tub, and changing positions often in tub. At 835, cervix has swollen back to 8cm (this is NOT the direction I wanted to go!!). Cathy tries some evening primrose oil to try and reduce the swelling and help to soften that cervix….the whole time it had been tight and rigid and unyielding. I’m LSL on the bed, then back in the tub. About 9am, the moment has come…I have a fit! I mean a full blown tantrum. This entire time, I had been the most agreeable pregnant woman. Never arguing with anyone and doing whatever Cathy wanted me to try. I would get discouraged with the slow progress, but never let it get me down….I just kept on going and dealing with the cxts. Now, I’m done. I got furious and I was finished. I told them to take me to the hospital and I would be HAPPY to have a section….I had to have this over with immediately!!! So, for about 5 minutes, I just chewed everyone out….I can’t tell you how mad I was…mad at my body, mad at myself for getting pregnant, mad at this situation I was in and I couldn’t get out. I was so tired and exhausted. During this time, Cathy put some ice in a glove and then rubbed my cervix with it. I was still “in a rage” the whole time, but Cathy never gave up. When Cathy finished this, she said it had helped a lot and I was “over“ my fit by then. Cathy asked to try something else. I did, but only out of default, because I didn’t have any other choice. I didn’t believe her that it would work…I was still fuming inside. They wanted to try the rebozo scarf. They had John hold it up and I was to grip it and hang in a full squat. Then Cathy crawled between John’s legs to work my cervix. I remember looking down and seeing her come between John’s legs and thinking how hilarious this would be if I wasn’t so pissed off and “busy” dealing with these stupid cxts!! Cathy worked my cervix over the baby’s head. Amazing, but this was the ONLY position where it wasn’t intolerable to have her do this. All other attempts just about sent me over the edge in pain. But I could handle this. She was having me push at the same time and kept asking me if I was feeling the baby’s head move down. I was STILL mad and not listening to her and said I couldn’t. (I don’t normally feel the baby “inside” till after it rounds the pubic bone.) Anyway, I pushed hanging from the rebozo for just a couple of minutes. Then Cathy had me lay flat on my back with my knees pulled up to get the baby under the pubic bone. Now I can feel the baby in my birth canal! Finally, I feel like there is an end in sight….before I just felt like it was going to go on forever. I get off my back and John is sitting on the edge of the tub. I face him in a sqat and Cathy is behind me. Baby begins to crown and I come out of the squat so I’m on my; knees. I’m still facing John. I push just a few more times, and head is out. Another push or two and baby is born at 10:01. Cathy quickly passes the baby between my legs and I grab her. All I wanted to do was lay down and kiss/smell my new baby. I didn’t want to be rushed, I just wanted to “soak” in the moment. So I immediately laid down with my baby and did just that. We didn’t know the sex, so I put my hand under the towel and discovered I had just given birth to my 5th daughter. My only son was to announce the sex. He immediately came right beside me to look. He took a peek and told everyone it was a girl. Then he went into our closet and had a good cry (He REALLY wanted a brother). Dad followed and they just held each other and cried together. I am up and walking to my bed. Shortly afterwards, Joshua (son) comes out and climbs on the bed with me and kisses his new baby sister. After I cut the cord, Joshua took her in his arms and went into the living room to just hold/kiss and bond with her. It was really beautiful and he hasn’t kept his hands off of her since. She nursed about 15 minutes after the birth and placenta arrived around the same time. My baby weighed in at 9lbs 5oz and 21 in long. Her head was 14in. So, my biggest baby, and I didn’t tear at all!
I’ve struggled with the fact that I threw a tantrum….I felt like such a failure for asking to go to the hospital. I never did that with my last homebirth. I find solace in the fact that after I was finished “spouting off”, I still listened to my MW and still did what she said, and never mentioned the hospital again. Granted I was still mad inside, but I still did what I had to do to get that baby out. I know in the hospital, I would’ve had a section, especially since I have a history with 2 sections. And my last baby had a 4 minute dystocia. I am so grateful to everyone at this birth. The love and support from my friends was so amazing and I truly needed it. When they were gone, I could tell and I needed them in there. Cathy and Connie were amazing!!! Even when I wanted to give up, they never gave up on me and believing I could do this! My husband showed strength I didn’t even know he had. He was a man among men and made me more proud then I could ever ask for. God has blessed me abundantly with this man in my life and he’s more than I deserve. Lastly, I owe God so much. I doubted Him so many times thru that labor…and I still don’t know why it happened like it did, but I see thru all things, God never left my side. I see how he kept His hand on Charlee as her FHT never fluctuated….she remained perfectly healthy the entire labor, as did I. As hard as this was, I would still NEVER go to the hospital to have a baby. Both of my homebirths had some form of a complication. The first homebirth with a pretty good case of dystocia, and this last one with such a long labor. In the hospital, both of these situations would’ve been treated more aggressively and with worse outcomes for the baby and I. I have no doubt that both baby and I were much safer in the gentle environment of being at home and being cared for by a midwife.