Emmett Augustin, 9lbs 8 oz, born at home at 9:35 PM February 27th, Apgars 9 and 10.
On February 27th, I was 41 weeks. My dates had changed from March 17th to February 20th, and so Agnes wasn't especially worried about me going over. In fact, the date mix-up was a good thing, and a way to "buy me time" should the need arise.
For clarity: Liam is my husband, Abbey and Agnes are my daughters, and my midwife is also named Agnes.Mei is another midwife from the collective, and Tina is a student.
The Aqua Doula was in my bedroom, and filled and warm, and I hopped in it often to relieve aches and pains. I had been seeing a chiropractor for SPD pain, and felt better at 41 weeks than I had at 30 weeks. The SPD pain was almost all gone.
In the morning, I took Abbey to Irish dancing. We spent the rest of the day uneventfully, running errands, playing with the kids, etc. In the early evening, we went to my MIL's as she wanted to give us a few baby things she had purchased, some gender neutral onesies and a little footed pajamas set. The whole day, I had felt constipated, and it was driving me nuts. I even had a stitch in my side. After leaving my MIL's at 6:45PM, we went to the grocery store to get a quick dinner for the kids and to get Abbey a pair of rainboots. Liam wanted to buy one of the roasted chickens they have ready to eat, but they weren't ready yet so we shopped for a few things. We hadn't planned on doing much shopping so we didn't have acart, and I was holding groceries and Agnes's hand, and was starting to feel quite tired and frustrated at being in a busy grocery store with two small kids and holding too much stuff. We paid, and I told Liam I would wait for him in the car with the kids as he went and waited for the roast chicken to be ready.
We got home, fed the kids, brushed their teeth, and I was in some amount of discomfort so I hopped in the Aqua Doula while Liam did bedtime stories with the girls. The water wasn't helping, and I started to pace the hallway upstairs. At this point, I stepped out of myself and realized I was pacing like a woman in labour. I got back in the tub, hoping that Liam would have time to get the kids asleep before things really started up. At about 8:00 PM, I realized the pain was getting more intense, and about 3 minutes apart, so I needed to do two things:1.call Agnes Sr, and 2. get the kids out of the house since there was no way we would get them asleep in the next half hour. At 8:15, I called Agnes, and told her that. contractions were about 3 minutes apart, but that I was not sure they were really contractions since I didn't think contractions started that close together, and that I was probably just constipated, and that I was terribly sorry to bother her and that I didn't think she should bother to come over just yet. just wanted to givge her a heads-up. Then I had a contraction over the phone, and she dropped her phone, put me on speaker phone, and told me she was getting dressed and coming over. I tried to talk to her through the contraction to persuade her that it was too soon to come over: "see, I can talk through it", and she said, "Melissa, the baby will be here before midnight". I called my sister in Montreal, and all I said to her was "get on the bus".
Liam called Suzanne, our neighbour and the girls' child-care provider. We didn't have a "plan" as to what the girls would be doing during the birth, whether they would be here with my sister taking care of them, or at Suzanne's. But when these contractions came out, I needed them out of the house or asleep, and the latter was not going to happen. Since Agnes is still co-sleeping and I wanted to labour and birth in my bedroom, there was no time to get her asleep and then move her to another bedrom. So Suzanne's daughter said she was out, but would be back very shortly, and that she would be happy to sit for the girls until Suzanne returned. Liam did not want to leave the house with me home alone, so he took the girls downstairs, dressed them, and waited for someone to arrive. At about 8:40, Mei, a midwife I had not met in the office, showed up. Agnes had called her to second and told her to get to me right away, afraid she would not make it to my house on time (she is a good half hour drive away). Liam said he was never so happy to see anyone in his life. He took the girls to Sue's, and Mei came upstairs to find me; I was bent over the stairs and asking her to "HELP ME!". I got back in the Aqua Doula and Mei offered a cervical check. I hadn't planned on having one but I was pretty curious as to whether I was really in labour or whether my appendix was about to rupture (I really did think that), and she checked me. She got this funny look on her face, and I thought "I am like 3 cms and freaked everybody out over nothing". She said, "you are 10 cms Melissa. The baby will be here very soon". I had no urge to push, but I did need to get out of the tub, so Mei helped me out of my bathing suit and I put on a t-shirt. Liam returned and Mei asked him to bring in her bags from the car. Mei was very soothing and calm, and I really liked her presence. At about 8:50, I heard Agnes come through the door. I remember crying out with gratitude that she was there. A student showed up soon thereafter too. At some point, I decided to get back in the tub, and so I jumped in. Agnes said she had never seen a woman in labour jump like that... and I was so uncomfortable that I jumped back out after a few contractions. I remember thinking to myself that the whole "water is a natural epidural" was a crock... Agnes explained that at this stage I would be incomfortable no matter where I was. But I got out, changed into a different t-shirt (a union t-shirt, incidentally-I had been on strike with work for three months in the fall), and knelt beside the bed and supported myself by leaning on the bed. I started to feel like I was going to break in half and very pushy. I pushed a few times, my water broke, Agnes whispered "clear as a bell, Melissa", and I felt the baby crown. Baby's head was born, and I screamed for Agnes to pull him out. She told me to give it another push, took both my hands and she passed the baby to me between my legs. I looked down at the baby, noticed how fat his little arms were and then saw that he was a boy. I announced that he was a boy, and I heard Liam and his mom repeating "it's a boy, it's a boy!" Agnes was kneeling beside me and we both looked at each other and I kept repeating "it's a boy, it's a boy!" I was quite weepy and out of breath. Her eyes welled up and the two of us had quite a sweet moment looking at each other and then at the little babe I had just brought into the world.
I remember thinking that it was quite fitting that I had birthed him in a prayer position. I had prayed so much trhough this pregnancy- when I had found a huge lump in my breast before I even knew I was pregnant, when I was worried I was miscarrying in August and Agnes and I prayed rosary beads over the phone together, when I was stressed as all get out from being on strike, when Agnes had to go out of town close to my due date; it made sense that this was my prayer-born baby.
So, enough of this kneeling by the bed; time to get cozy IN the bed. Liam helped me get up, and then I felt a huge gush between my legs, and the room went quiet. I heard Mei and Agnes whisper to each other in the corner. I noticed my legs and feet were covered in blood. One look at the midwives' faces and I knew to get the baby on the breast right away. He was pretty voracious and nursed forcefully right away. Somebody cleaned the blood off of my legs; i don't remember who. I don't remember much from this point on, just saying "that rocked!" a few times, and nursing the babe. I decided to name him Emmett, and Liam agreed. After 10 minutes, the placenta was born. Agnes cut the cord, and then she and Tina began to massage my uterus. It was not pleasant. They kept changing the chux underneath me, and the towels started going in the garbage instead of the laundry basket. Agnes told me she would have to give me a shot of oxytocin. More massage, afterpains from hell, more massage. Agnes suggested I go to the bathroom and pee, Tina came with me. She tried massaging my feet, which were still crusted with blood, running water, opening the window, cold compresses on the back of my neck, all sorts of little tricks to get me to pee but I just couldn't. Back to bed we went. More chux, more towels, more massage. Back to the bathroom to pee, this time with Agnes-I nearly passed out getting up to go to the washrrom. My sister arrived at that point, disappointed to have missed the birth but delighted at her nephew. I finally peed. Back to bed, more towels, more chux, more massage. Another shot of oytocin. At this point, I could focus on individual faces, but everything else was quite blurry, like a picture out of focus. My head was spinning like crazy, but I didn't want to let on that I was feeling really woozy. I started talking about how well the birth went, how great homebirth was, and wasn't it wonderful that we didn''t have to drive anywhere? Agnes looked at me right in the eye and said, "it ain't over yet", at which point I shut my trap and kept on nursing that baby like my life depended on it. .My SIL and BIL arrived at that point. Every one had champagne (I had OJ), the second midwife and the student left, and Agnes stuck around. We ate creme caramel I had made the night before, and then my SIL went downstairs and got me some fruit. I can't remember what I ate, I think it was a plum. At some point Agnes and Liam dressed Emmett and examined him, he weighed 9lbs 8oz.. We hung out some more. At 3 AM, Agnes thought the bleeding had slowed enought for her to go home, but she left a dose of ergotamine with my sister (my sister is an MD) which she did not use, and she came back the following morning to check on us.
Emmett is tongue-tied, we are hoping to have it released soon, and though I have had more issues with the bleeding, we managed to stay out of the hospital and are doing well. All my children were born naturally; the first two in hospital with a homecoming a few hours post-birth, and Emmett at home. Although the three births were really different, all of them were wonderful, but I have to say that everytime I go to bed, I think to myself, "my son wasborn here", and that is an awesome feeling. My husband, who was very reluctant at the idea of homebirth, is now completely sold.
Here is the little guy with his mama, and one of him is all his gorgeousness: