I just got this in my inbox and I'm excited to share it with you! No one thinks their birth story will take a long time to begin, but prodromal labor, or labor that starts and stops over a period of days or weeks, is more common than you'd expect, we just don't hear of it happening much because so many women opt for an induction instead of trusting the process. Prodromal labor can be a real trial, but knowing that it is a normal variation in labor is important. Thank you to Sam and Aaron for sharing another birth story here, you also read about the birth of their first son, Epic, who was also born at home.
Ace’s Birth Story
From the moment I saw the little blue plus sign, I knew what was to come. This was my second baby--I had gone through this before and it was a walk in the park. Two years previous I had a textbook pregnancy and at home water birth. To quickly recap that moment, 5 days before my due date, contractions began, slowly grew stronger (with breaks between them of course!), and 7 hours later (2 hours of which was pushing), my 9lb baby was born. This was my “birth pattern” and I fully expected #2 to follow in those footsteps and hopefully not push 9lbs much further…but he had another plan.
Once again we decided to stick with the at home birth along with the same midwife, and family friend, who delivered Epic, Leslie Drew. The nursery was ready, the supplies gathered, the tub inflated, we were ready. The last month of my pregnancy, my pelvic floor was killing me. It hurt to walk, it hurt to lay, it hurt to roll over. Baby was buried so deep into my pelvis, I thought that I could sneeze him out, but my cervix held him back tightly.
At 4am on Sunday (6 days before my due date) I was awaken by strong contractions. Could this be it?!? Grab a stopwatch!! 10-15 minutes apart. Awesome, I still have time before I call the midwives. I decided to go back to bed only to awake at 8am with no more contractions. Well, that was odd. Contractions didn’t stop with Epic. Maybe it’s just a case of that “false labor” I always hear about. The rest of the day I had irregular, random contractions, but nothing to write home about. I decided to call Jill, an acupressure masseuse, who put me into labor with Epic. I was determined that this birth would be the same as the first. She was available the next morning-Great! We will send Epic to stay with the Grandparents for the night.
Monday morning, 4am, I awoke to more contractions. This will be good! I won’t go back to sleep, Jill will come, and this labor will begin just like last time! Contractions are 5-8 minutes apart...better than yesterday. Good sign. I decided to eat an early breakfast, do some laundry and other ‘nesting’ chores, and go for a walk. Aaron and I went on a mile and a half walk so that my contractions would keep up. By 9am, Jill came and set-up for the massage-Yippee! I am getting my baby today! As soon as I lied down, I could tell my contractions were beginning to die off, but I wasn’t worried because this worked last time. I had a few good contractions throughout the massage, but it wasn’t happening like last time. Labor wasn’t beginning right now. As she finished her massage, I knew the effects could take up to 24 hours. We still have time. Throughout the day more irregular, random contractions, but still nothing to be concerned about. Aaron and I went on another walk. Epic stayed another night at the Grandparents.
Tuesday morning, once again at 4am, more regular contractions. THIS is it! It has to be! We are still less than the 24 hour window since the massage! Grab the stopwatch! GREAT! 3-5 minutes apart! I went to the bathroom only to find a “bonus” sign of labor—my bloody show. I will call Leslie this time. I was confident that my contractions would continue to get stronger and closer, so I decided to go lie down and rest for the big event ahead of me. Leslie told me to call back in an hour. I woke up 2 hours later, contractions at 10 minutes apart and getting further. You got to be kidding me. This baby is NEVER going to come. He is just playing with me by this point.
Family and friends keep asking how I am feeling…do you really want to know? AWFUL! JUST TERRIBLE! I have been a prisoner to my own house for the past 3 days, my pelvic floor hurts sooooo bad that I can’t even walk around the house, I haven’t seen my eldest son in 3 days and miss him dearly, and between my hormones, false labors, and the strange quietness that fills a home when a two year old is gone, I am going insane! INSANE! I just may punch the next person who asks me how I am feeling (which 8 out of 10 times is my poor, unsuspecting husband. I am pretty good at putting on a happy face no matter how I am truly feeling). How long can this drag on? I could have accomplished so much more work these past few days, but no…who knows when these contractions will really turn into labor. This is frustrating. I just want to be left alone.
Wednesday morning, 4 am, contractions 2-3 minutes apart. By this time, I felt defeated. So what? They will probably go away too, but I better call Leslie. She seems to think my labor will go fast once it truly starts (if it ever starts). She decides to come over, prepares her necessary items, and we wait. And wait. And then I went back to bed. They stopped once again and she measures me at barely 1cm. This is ridiculous. I have had contractions for four days now and have gotten, not even, 1cm. She suggested I go to an acupuncturist that she has had a lot of luck with. I call and get an appointment at 1pm. It’s worth a try.
By the time we got to the acupuncturist, it began to sprinkle rain. I wobbled my way up to her second story office to take my place on the table. She placed about 25 needles deeply throughout points on my feet, shins, hands, ears, neck, and scalp. She then “intensified” them by hooking up a machine that sent an electrical current through two needle points. She left me on the table for about 2 hours so that my body would really take it all in. I had about 6 contractions during that two hour time period…woohoo?
After the session, I decided to make the best of getting out of the house. I wanted a hot cocoa and a couple of toys that baby brother could give to Epic. My sweet husband ran through the rain to get me a delicious hot cocoa, toys for Epic, rented a movie, and even brought me flowers. These little things cheered me up. It felt nice getting out of the house. I wanted to see Epic too, so we picked him up from daycare. It was great holding my first baby. I snuggled him close as we drove him back to the Grandparents house for him to spend yet another night. I watched him play as everyone was getting settled down to begin eating dinner. I felt a couple more random contractions and then was ready to go home across the street. I was tired. It was 5:30pm.
When I got into our house, I had the urge to go to the bathroom (a very common occurrence with pregnancy). As I went, another “bonus” labor sign—diarrhea. Lovely. Let’s see if contractions begin. Sure enough, a contraction began…and held…and held…dear goodness has my uterus seized up?? My toes began to curl, I couldn’t get off of the toilet. “Aaron! Get me a stopwatch, call the midwives, and fill the tub!” He was on it. Ahhh, finally a break. Let me get off of this thing…I refuse to have my baby born in a toilet.
As I am leaving the door, another contraction hits me. I began the timer. I wasn’t able to start the stopwatch with the first contraction, but I knew it had been less than 2 minutes. I just got my pants up for heaven’s sake! I threw myself upon the bed into a hunched position to endure the uterine hug. After 2.5 minutes, the contraction began to release. Dear lord these are strong and last FOREVER. I feel like I have just been hit with a bag of bricks. I have to make it to the tub...nope, I need to go back to the toilet, another contraction is coming, and it has only been 45 seconds since the last one ended! BAM! Another contraction, once again not letting up for another 2.5 minutes. This is it! I AM IN LABOR! A smile filled my face…only to be followed by a frown. I was in labor 7 hours with Epic. This is going to be a looooong night.
I finally made my way down the hall to the other bathroom (between the master bedroom and my ever cherished birth tub). I underwent a few more contractions on that toilet. “Aaron! Where are those midwives!? Shouldn’t they be here!?!?” It had only been 20 minutes, which meant it was at least another 10-20 minutes before they arrived. These contractions are ridiculous! I don’t remember Epic’s birth having contractions this strong to begin with. They started out slow and grew as labor progressed. They were not like this until right before the pushing stage.
I finally made my way to the partially filled tub. Aaron was still boiling water to add to it. I didn’t care. I needed that tub now. I climbed in and instantly felt some relief. I took a deep breath. Another contraction. I was paralyzed with each one. As I tried to change positions between the short breaks, if I didn’t quite make it to my desired position, then that is how I would have to labor through the next contraction. I had to be quick during those breaks. It was hard to be quick though as the contractions were taking every ounce of energy I had. They were so intense, so strong. There is no way I have experienced this before. Epic’s birth was not like this. How in the heck did I survive my first home birth?? Am I crazy?? There are no drugs here. Well, maybe…the midwives did leave everything ready from this morning. I bet there’s something in those bags of theirs. If only I could get to them. Never mind, there is no time for that. Just go get a shovel from the garage and beat me until I pass out. Please, I beg someone. Another contraction, this time with an urge to push.
I can’t be pushing yet.
Hold off the urge.
The midwives arrived. Oh thank goodness a witness to these crazy contractions! No time to say hi—another contraction once again ending in an urge to push.
I need to be checked. It has only been an hour since this madness began. I can't be wanting to push. Don't push. I look to my midwife. She doesn’t check me...she doesn’t need to check me. “You are ready to push.” No…no I am not. I have at least 5 hours left. I’ll wear myself out if I begin to push! No pushing. Not yet. No way.
Another contraction, my body still wanting to push. I reached down and felt the tip of his head only about a knuckle deep. This was really happening. He really was coming. My body really was ready to push. I got into a frog like squat position. I slowly relaxed with each contraction to allow the baby to descend deeper and deeper. As soon as I felt burning, I would blow air upwards and out to allow stretching to occur. The pushing phase felt much more relieving. This was all going to come to an end soon. I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I felt a pop—my water had just broken. I flashbacked to that feeling from my first birth and the thought that my uterus had just burst. I giggled under my breath. A few pushes, and his head was out. I could see his right ear and his fuzzy, hairy head. I waited for the next contraction to push his body and to catch him. Aaron was behind me helping to bring him forward. As I gave the final push, he rotated to sunny side up. We brought him out of the water, and I fell backwards into Aarons arms as our new baby lay across my chest.
Ace (still thinking of a middle name) Magenheim was born at 7:16pm, approximately an hour and a half after my first set of contractions. 9lbs 1oz and 21.5 inches long, he didn’t make a peep. He just looked at us quietly, no need for crying. Everything was at peace.
As I sat in the tub, I waited for the after burn. I recollect it more than anything else from the first birth--The two weeks of not wanting to pee because it hurts so much. The constant frozen ice packs between your legs. The throbbing from all of the swelling. But it wasn’t there. Nothing was burning. I slowly got out of the tub to get dried off. I didn’t need that much help. I wasn’t hurting like my first birth. Leslie checked and sure enough, there was no tearing. Not even swelling. Oh praise the Lord! I will still be able to somewhat chase after my two year old!
During my check, Ace began rooting on Aaron’s chest. Aaron handed him to me and he immediately latched.
After getting all cleaned and dried, we had all four grandparents and Epic come down to see the new addition. It was so nice being able to share this special moment with our whole family—especially Epic, who was now a big brother!
Natural Birth Series
Sept 28 – Nov 15
Infant Sleep for Expecting & New Parents
6:30pm - 9:00pm
Gentle Cesarean: Planning & Recovery
Toro Park, 3-6:30pm
Natural Birth Refresher
Salinas, 1– 4pm
Preconception & Early Pregnancy Class
Salinas, 1– 4pm
Sibling Prep for Parents & Kids
November 4th & 5th
Toro Park, 2:-4pm
Fall Home & Birth Center Birth Series
Nov 7 – Dec 12
Natural Birth Series
Nov 29th – Jan 17th