Our Attempted Homebirth: Part One

 

The original title of this birth story was My Failed Homebirth…then later switched to My Unsuccessful Homebirth…to the current title of Our Attempted Homebirth. I think the title revisions reflect a process of healing. When I look at my son, how could I think anything about him was a failure, particularly his journey into our arms? It was not the journey we had hoped for him, but it is his journey nonetheless.

February 2006: Two lines, What Does That Mean?
After almost three years of trying to conceive, countless negative pregnancy test, and endless tears, we decided to pursue international adoption. This was a difficult path for me as it involved grieving the loss of carrying a child, birthing a child, and nursing a child. I shared our struggles with few others, but selectively shared with those individuals who could provide the support and strength I needed to survive infertility. A wise woman asked me, “Is your goal to become pregnant or to become a mother?” Those were the exact words I needed to hear and reflect upon. Some deep soul searching led me to redefine motherhood for myself and embrace adoption as our path to parenthood. We began to research agencies.

We selected an agency and made plans to attend an adoption information seminar they were hosting. That evening as I showered and got ready for the meeting, I decided I would take one last pregnancy test, have one last good cry over it, and then forge ahead leaving infertility behind us. After waiting two minutes, I checked the test. One dark line and a second very faint, but visible line appeared. I walked out of the bathroom leaving the test on the counter. I was in a state of shear disbelief and shock. I paced back and forth for a half hour until Buzz arrived home. When Buzz walked in I said go into the bathroom, look on the counter, and tell me what you see. A few seconds later he comes running out there is two lines…there is never two lines…what does that mean? Cautiously, quietly, as if saying it aloud might erase the second line, I whispered we’re pregnant. Then in that moment, as if a dam holding back all the emotion finally collapsed, I flooded the silence with tears… overwhelming tears of joy… We’re pregnant!

A Blissful 40 Weeks
I loved being pregnant. I loved everything about it. I loved my growing belly. I loved feeling the baby move. I loved eating everything in sight. I loved talking about the baby, thinking about the baby, and all the preparations big and small that go into getting ready for a new baby.

I could finally be in public places and not wince away in pain when a newborn in a stroller passed me by. I no longer needed to divert my wet eyes away from a pregnant woman’s belly. I did not need to choke back my tears when I saw a mother holding the hand of her toddler. I would be that woman. I am that woman. I am going to be a mommy!

October 25, 2006: The Waiting Begins…
When this day came and went with no baby, I was so sad. Throughout the pregnancy I told myself not to get attached to my due date, knowing that it was only an estimation at best. However on a subconscious level I guess I expected our baby to arrive by this day. As usual I tried to console myself through thinking logically: we had been waiting for a baby for years, so a few more days won’t hurt, right? Well every day beyond our due date felt like an eternity to me!

40 weeks

October 31, 2006: The Waiting Continues….
I went about my day as usual…okay that is a complete lie…there was no “usual” for me at this point, since all I wanted to do was birth our baby. It consumed me! Although I tried as best I could to engage in activities that kept me occupied. That afternoon I was cooking in the kitchen when the contractions began. Initially I ignored them since I had been having “false labor contractions” teasing me for weeks. Although at about 2:00pm, I decided to start timing them since they felt rather intense and seemed pretty regular. I timed them from 2:00 to 4:00 and realized they were coming every five to seven minutes lasting a minute to a minute and a half in length. At that point I called Buzz to see when he was coming home from work…soon he said…good I thought, because soon our baby will be here too…

We decided to wait a while before contacting our midwife. I wanted to be sure this was the real deal and to enjoy this special moment in private with Buzz. In the early evening the midwife came over to check me and our baby. Everything looked good. Knowing that we still had a while before the baby would make his/her arrival; we decided to have her leave. We wanted to labor for a while in private since these would the final hours that Buzz and I were a family of two.

November 1, 2006: Where is Baby?
We occupied the next several hours by getting the house ready. I was managing the contractions by stopping to squat during them. Early the next morning when the contractions were about three to five minutes apart lasting about 90 seconds in length, we called the midwife. Soon I will be pushing my baby out and holding him/her for the very first time. I couldn’t wait. My excitement overpowered any fears I had about childbirth.

The birthing team arrived which included the midwife and her two assistants. Labor continued, although progress was slow. I took a hot shower in the dark bathroom to collect my thoughts in private; just me and baby. Please come soon baby…we are all ready for you!

At the 24 hour mark, the birth team decided to leave for a while with the notion that a “watched pot never boils”. By now I was becoming tired both physically and emotionally.

early stages of labor

What happened over the next several hours is a blur to me. Buzz made me some food. He set up the birthing pool. He rubbed my back. He held my hand. He poured hot water over me. He helped me switch positions. He counted with me through each contraction as I rocked on my hands and knees. He kept me strong and focused.

Why is this taking so long? I thought I would be nursing our baby by now. I decided I was ready to intervene with some natural remedies. I drank a ¼ cup of castor oil. This helped, but also confused my senses. Several hours later I was in the tub again. I want to push…I need to push…this is the urge they talk about it…we made it! I expressed my urge to push. At first the midwife told me to follow my body’s cues, but then gently requested to do a vaginal check first. I think she was reading my behavior and wanted physical confirmation of her suspicion that I was not fully dilated. She told me not to push yet. I asked if I could push a little? She explained the risk of pushing too early. At that point, I had been in the tub for a long while…perhaps I was too relaxed? I was told I needed to get out of the tub, move around in effort to help dilate the final centimeter. So I walked around the house, stark naked…moaning softly with each contraction.

The house was dark and quiet, except for my moaning. Buzz was asleep. The midwife’s assistants were asleep. The dogs were asleep. It was just me and the midwife. She was my birth partner during this time. As I made laps around the house, I would stop next to her during contractions. She instinctively knew to rub my back. I did not express I was having back labor, but she knew. This went on for what seemed like hours. I was in a daze; circling around the house. Circling and circling. Waiting and waiting. I wanted to trust my body, but my ability to do so was slowly fading. Fear was starting to take over. Fear mangled with exhaustion. How will I ever manage to push this baby out when I am already feeling emotionally and physically drained?

I looked at the midwife and the words just came out…THE word. The word I dreaded. The word I did not want to think about or say aloud. Hospital? As the word floated from my lips, I knew it was not a question. It was a cry for help. I didn’t know what else to do. Somehow in that moment I foolishly equated going to the hospital as the answer to birthing our baby.

to be continued tomorrow….

Tags: adoption information, birth story, homebirth, hospital transfer, infertility, negative pregnancy test, positive pregnancy test

One Response to “Our Attempted Homebirth: Part One”

  1. molly says:

    Wow….you are SO close to me…and possibly even had your baby the same DAY as me !! MY little one was born Nov. 2nd early in the morning at the foot of my bed 🙂 If you are interested you can read about it here:

    http://owloveyouforever.blogspot.com/2011/11/birth-of-elodie-sue.html