It’s hard to believe it’s already been over two weeks since we welcomed little Phin into our home, but it’s true!
I finally sat down and got the details written out so I can remember it down the road.
P.s. This is a birth story and contains pretty specific details. If you’d rather not read about the details feel free to skip over this post and know that we had an awesome, fast delivery and everyone was healthy and safe.
Phin’s birth was so different than Noah’s it is still taking me awhile to wrap my head around it. After having Noah at 38 weeks totally unprepared, thinking that I would for sure be someone who carried their babies overdue I came into this birth somewhat expecting an early baby. When I started having contractions at 37 weeks to the day I became even more convinced that this would be the case. I had been drinking the NORA tea since the start of my second trimester and had been consuming tons of it the last few weeks in hopes that it would help speed labor along and help the entire process go well.
Well…..after almost 4 weeks of tons of Braxton Hicks including several bouts that felt a lot like the real deal, I found myself rather gigantic and very uncomfortable at 40 weeks and 5 days. And rather convinced that the tea wasn’t doing anything other than faking out my poor body.
Kevin’s mom Melanie had already come and gone for her 2 week visit from weeks 37-39 and my parents had arrived several days later to help keep the farm running and chase my super busy little man.
We were all getting anxious to meet the new little guy and simultaneously starting to become convinced that I may be pregnant forever as the days wore on and on.
But Friday was it! We had been asked to come take a family photo at our church that morning so we actually have the day he was born captured in their photo gallery. After that we came home and Mom and Dad went shopping while I had my (hopefully) last prenatal appointment.
Phin had dropped several weeks earlier and been sitting at +1 station, AKA he was basically ready to fall out and was sitting directly on top of some nerve that ran down my legs. I had been at around 50% effacement and maybe a centimeter dilated at our last appointment 10 days earlier.
At that appointment our midwife, Natalie, had encouraged me to start using Evening Primrose Oil at night on my cervix to help it prepare for labor. I used 6- 1,000mg capsules a night and wore a pad to help keep from making a total mess of myself. This proved to be a phenomenal help in the whole process of labor as it made my cervix extremely stretchy and overall seemed to help everything along.
I had my appointment at 4 p.m. We had decided that if everything was looking good at this appointment that we would strip my membranes and see if that got anything moving. When she checked me she was happy with the progress and was able to strip the membranes and gently stretch me to 4-5cm! This was extremely impressive to me and a big testament to the EPO as the whole process was really just mildly uncomfortable.
At that point she was pleased enough with the progress that we decided to try a few things to see if we could get my braxton hicks to strengthen into a consistent pattern and see if we could get things moving along. I was so ready to have this baby that I was willing to try just about anything within reason so I didn’t get risked out of my home birth desires.
I took a tablespoon of castor oil (in peanut butter which I definitely do not recommend) and a dose of Cotton Root Bark extract. Then I pumped for 45 minutes, five minutes on each side and off for 15 minutes and drank a bunch of NORA tea.
Natalie left and encouraged me to try to be by myself as much as possible in this time to try to get my head in the right place to have a baby. So I holed up in our bedroom and put on some nice relaxing music and some super cheesy mountainscape youtube videos to distract me from the process and the fact that everyone was busying around the house.
After a few hours of stronger but not unbearable contractions and 1 ½ doses of Cotton Root Bark, I started wondering if I was being silly and trying to make the whole process happen. I had several stronger contractions and squatted off the side of the bed for a few of them. Kevin was home at this point and milling in and out of the bedroom checking on me and keeping up with the family.
Suddenly it felt like someone had kicked me in the cervix hard….I called Kevin into the room and told him what happened and then had him help me breathe through the next contraction. I was silently convinced that I was having some other freak symptom and now was going to have these weird sensations that didn’t do anything. And then the contraction came and my water broke.
I don’t think there has ever been a happier person in the world. I cried and we laughed for a few minutes. We checked the clock and it was 7:30, Kevin called Natalie and she started booking it back to our house and getting the assistant on her way.
My contractions started picking up fast and I moved into the bathroom after announcing rather bluntly that my water had broken and that I needed my space to my completely shocked parents. Kevin and my dad started boiling hot water on the outdoor burner, while Mom made quick work of reorganizing our room so that the birth tub could get setup.
In the middle of all this Kevin realized that only half of the birth tub had made it out of Natalie’s car and that we would have to wait until she arrived to get it setup. Meanwhile I was in the bathroom getting quite thoroughly cleaned out by the castor oil, ugh. I was staying on top of the contractions though and doing okay.
Then they started picking up even more…..this baby was not wasting his time coming out! We called and found out that Debbie (the assistant midwife) had gotten lost and would be arriving after Natalie instead of before. I seriously contemplated filling up my own bathtub several times as mom and Kevin took turns helping me get through the contractions. Mom had me timed at minute long contractions one minute apart at this point.
Natalie made it to the house at 8:42 and made quick work of getting everything set up and moving me to the bedroom. In the craziness of how fast things had picked up there were things missing from what we were supposed to have ready to go so there was some panic in getting everything where it needed to be but everything calmed down relatively quickly.
I had discovered that being quite vocal somehow made the contractions more bearable so I think she was quite concerned that I might have Phin right then and there. She was able to quickly check me and I was at 6 cm and feeling like I needed to push through the contractions. This was super scary for me to feel as it had happened with Noah and I had been told not to push at all until I was fully dilated which was by far the worst part of labor.
This point was just super, super intense. Each contraction was just so incredibly strong and I started really having a hard time staying on top of them without pushing.
We tried a couple other positions and I still was feeling the same way so Natalie said to listen to my body and do what I felt I needed to do. It was amazing, I let myself push a little and could literally feel my cervix stretching and when it was too much when to stop. Within just a few contractions of this point I was able to get in the pool that they had gotten set up and filling in record time. The water felt amazing but things were so intense at this point that it certainly didn’t relieve much of the contractions. The biggest thing the water did was enable me to lean back during the contractions which was completely unbearable out of the pool.
At this point Debbie arrived….nothing like meeting someone for the first time right before you push a baby out!
We got baby’s heartbeat on the doppler and he was getting a bit squished with my forward leaning position so I got leaned back and he stabilized. Natalie checked me and I was a 10 already and baby was coming! It was really insane how fast things were moving. I was able to reach up and feel his head and so did Kevin which was such a surreal moment.
Within a couple contractions he was crowning and I tried to keep things as slow as possible to let things adjust. After one contraction that way it was clear that this was not going to be slow process. One more contraction and his head was out and one more and our sweet little Phin was in my arms. He was finally here!
He was born at 9:25 p.m. I was shocked to hear the time and realize that it had been just under 2 hours since my waters broke! He let out a few good cries while I was holding him and then quickly settled down. After a while Kevin cut his umbilical cord and they got him out of the tub and cleaned up. They got me up and I delivered the placenta in the pool with some help.
After that I was able to nurse Phin while they went through the process of getting my bleeding under control. That turned out to be quite a bit more of an ordeal than we would have liked. I was so grateful to have both Natalie and Debbie there as they worked through what we should do next together. Debbie was in and out, making sure my uterus was firming up properly while also keeping me fed and hydrated while I nursed.
Kevin called my good friend Leah and she came over to see the baby and sit with me while Natalie, Debbie and I worked through exactly what repairs we were going to do. After having very poor repair work done when I had Noah I was quite nervous about this entire process. I was so grateful for their presence as Natalie did the procedure and am pleased to say that it all went very very well.
All the while they were updating their charts and at some point in the mix Phin was weighed and measured. 8 lbs 9.5 oz, 20.5 inches long and 15.15 inch head circumference. He apparently had the largest head of any of Natalie’s baby’s so far!
After a while my dad was able to come in and get to meet Phin for the first time and Kevin took Phin out to see everyone in the living room.
They got me cleaned up and started working on the bedroom and pool and before I knew it we were all in our own beds drifting off to sleep. Nobody woke us up, nobody poked me or prodded me, nobody came in and unwrapped my baby in the middle of the night to take his temperature. It was amazing. I woke up in the morning rested, nursed my baby and ate a huge homemade breakfast with my family and Natalie in my own house. It was amazing.
I had done it. We had done it. Without all the fear and drama and craziness that I found in the hospital the first time. My body had done it. It had done the work and brought this beautiful little baby into the world on it’s own, at home. I am still so incredibly grateful to everyone who helped make it such a life changing experience. It was truly the best one I could have ever asked for.
Here’s a few snapshots from the next day: