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Felicity's Unplanned Unassisted Home Waterbirth

Felicity Ann Elise

Born 10/06/05

6:06 am

9 lbs, 20 1/2 in

I woke up at 4:30 Thursday morning and had a strange and intensifying burning and stinging feeling in my cervix. Looking back, I assume this was my cervix effacing the rest of the way. About 15 minutes later, I had my first contraction. It lasted only about 30 seconds, but it was difficult to breathe or talk through. I stood up, and had another one, also 30 seconds long. I decided to see if my positioning made any difference. I laid down, and had another one, 30 seconds long, about 5 minutes later. I stood up again and had one 2 minutes later. I thought this was odd, and called my midwife. She told me that my uterus might just be irritated from the evening primrose oil capsules I had inserted the night before (same effect as sex in late pregnancy with the prostiglandin's efffacing properties), or that it might be the start of labor. She told me to call her if things changed.

I endured a few more contractions by myself, and then had my husband get up to provide moral support through them about 5:20 am. This should have been a big clue that something hand changed, but we both ignored it. I used the techniques I remembered from my Bradley birth classes with my first child, to vocalize low and moaning, to keep my chin to my chest, those sorts of things. I hadnt used any of them for my second birth. I was shocked at how incredibly painful they were becoming, and how quickly they progressed to 2 minutes apart peaking after a minute.

My husband called my midwife again to tell her of the change, and I had some significant bloody show. I had NO idea what was going on, but the contractions were just monstrous. Having been through labor twice, I was not feeling terribly confident or competent. Don't you love transition?

I asked Rob to fill the bathtub, as I thought it might provide some relief, and then I called my mom to tell her we were having a baby today. I felt another rush coming, and got off the phone. During this contraction, my body started to push! I considered momentarily that I must be misinterpreting the urge to push, I didnt even know if baby was engaged!!! Well, by the time that rush was over, I decided I'd better get off the living room couch if I didn't want to have the baby right there on the floor.

I ran out of the living room tearing my pajamas off as I scurried down the hallway yelling "She's coming! She's coming!", and made it into the tub. I prayed very quickly that God would preserve me from tearing badly, and that he would keep us both safe.

I had no sooner gotten in the water than I had the most amazing contraction. I really did not push Felicity out. Felicity pushed herself into the world, and I just sorta held onto Rob's hand and the bar above the soap dish while I felt like my body was ripping into two pieces. My bag of waters exploded with that one long pushing contraction, and her head was out!

Rob supported her head in the water while I waited for the next rush to push her body out. The second contraction hit and she came out with the force of a torpedo. Rob says if he hadn't been there to catch, she might have hit her head on the other side of the tub with the sheer velocity of her exit. The express train route!

Her cord was nice and long, and it was looped loosely around her head, so we unwrapped her, and he handed her to me. She was breathing quietly, and alert, looking around at the well lit bathroom, but no yelling or anything. We weren't even sure if she was breathing at that point, she may have still been breathing from the cord, and she did seem a bit shocked to be perched on my knee.

Rob called the midwife and asked what he ought to know about delivering the placenta. She was in shock that I had already had the baby!!! Right on cue, Felicity let out a nice strong wail, and my midwife told him to get some chux pads from the birth kit and help me out of the tub. She said to wait for the placenta and to not cut the cord till she arrived.

My daughters woke up around the time he was on the phone, and they were able to see me and the baby in low light in the bathtub just minutes after her arrival. They were so excited. Grace heard me laboring, but was too scared to get out of bed. As soon as the baby cried the first time, she fairly flew in to see.

My husband is a very calm and levelheaded person. I always knew that if we were faced with a precipitous birth situation, that he would perform well under pressure and be a great source of strength and focus for me. He was just exactly those things, and I am so blessed to have a husband who can keep his wits about him! He told me later that I made it all look easy, not sure how that's possible since I was barely contained for that last half hour or so!

It was a fascinating journey, and I can say looking back that while being in the throes of a 1 hr 15 minute birth is terrifying, it was just as it should have been. My blood pressure was 150 over 100 when my midwife arrived, and I dont believe I could have labored for very long at home with blood pressure that high. I would not seek to repeat an unassisted birth, as I happen to love my midwife as a dear friend, but Rob and I enjoyed our "do it yourself" experience.

My Other Birth Stories

Grace's Unmedicated Hospital Birth
Lily's Home Waterbirth
Jack's Home Waterbirth

If you think baby might come too fast...