I had a couple other posts planned for this week, but decided that since we are officially one year into this pandemic thing it is time to share our lockdown birth story.
Our baby boy was born in our Brooklyn apartment, near the beginning of quarantine. Everything in New York City was shut down and anxiety was high, as nobody knew what was ahead.
I wrote the draft of this story immediately after the birth, as I have with our other babies: 1) c-section story; 2) vbac in the hospital; 3)unplanned unassisted home birth.
Click through for the complete birth story. TMI warning for family and friends…it gets graphic, so you may want to skip this one.
The False Alarm
It was a weekday; we finished dinner and I suddenly felt sick. After using the toilet, contractions started. I felt very out of control, almost hysterical. I said “this can’t be it, this isn’t it”. But I was in a lot of pain.
Michael called the midwife, and she decided to come check out the situation. My sister came to pick up the kids and take them to sleep her place. Luckily, we had prepared bags for them ahead of time!
The midwife came with her lovely assistant and got her gear out. The assistant was great with rubbing my back for a bit. Once she checked baby out with a doppler, she declared the baby very low. They decided to hang out and sleep on our couches.
The contractions lasted well into the night, but eventually, they petered out. By early the next morning, it was as if nothing had happened.
We shared a cup of coffee on the couch, and off they were. [In retrospect, the contractions never stopped, they continued sporadically until “real” labor began].
Two days later…
Home Birth Story
9:40 pm-I got off the couch to go to bed. Why Am I watching mindless tv, I should just go to bed. I get up off the couch and feel a leak. My water broke or rather, sprung a leak.
M called the midwife. “Is it clear? Is it definitely amniotic fluid?”, she asks.
“Either that or I peed myself”, I respond.
I go to bed anyway.
M covers our bed with the shower curtain, a fresh sheet, and another towel. I do my usual routine hoping to catch some sleep before this all begins. Magnesium on my feet, Wetts rub on my back, and I lay on my left side.
10:20 Contractions begin. They are very mild so I stay in a resting position. M and I talk about what he can do to distract me through them. He tickles my back. Meanwhile he has downloaded a contraction timing app.
After a while, an hour or so, contractions are beginning to be more painful. I get on my hand and knees on the bed and just sway back and forth. I believe this is our second call to the midwife, now that contractions are starting to hurt.
The most disgusting thing: I really need to pee but don’t want to get up. M brings me a small bucket and I literally pee over the bed. Yuck. I’m starting to get more uncomfortable and I feel gross from the pee and the amniotic fluid that has been leaking out all night. I decide to get in the shower.
Into the Shower
M turns on the shower and gets it hot.
I stand in the shower enjoying the hot water and using it as a great distraction during the contractions. They are now painful enough that I can’t talk through them but M is being great about reminding me to slow my breathing.
Third call to the midwife now that I am not talking through. She’s on her way!
I’ve already been in the water for an hour and my hands are all wrinkled so I say enough. We decide to go back to the bedroom. I’m tired.
Back to the Bedroom
As we enter the room, M offers me some essential oils. I say ok peppermint; I don’t need the frankincense yet. Just a drop on my forehead for the distraction.
I stand at the edge of the bed and as the next contraction hits I lean forward with my head to the mattress and am immediately annoyed. “Take it off”.
I need water but can’t drink. So M brings me an ice cube to wet my mouth. That was the end of the talking because now comes the screaming portion.
Two back to back contractions when I can only scream grunt. I can feel the bones coming apart.
I am on my tippy toes still leaning over the bed. I need to push. M says don’t push. I try to hold back because I know that the midwife will be there any minute. I put my hand down to feel the head. It’s almost as if I can hold him in. It’s an odd sensation like a hard ball behind cling wrap.
But a contraction comes and I can’t help not pushing. The head comes out. Now that hard ball is all wet and slimy. M says push. He is concerned seeing only the head. I say “I can’t; I’m not having a contraction”.
But sure enough the next contraction is right behind it and out comes the body. “Wah!” The most reassuring sound as M catches the baby (Yes! Again!). The cord is wrapped once around his neck so he carefully maneuvers it off and gets the baby and me on the bed. He covers us with towels and sheets.
We have a baby!
And then, a few minutes later, the midwife and her assistant arrive. “We have a baby” we tell her. They are great springing into action: cleaning up the baby, delivering the placenta, getting me stitched up.
She weighs the baby, and leaves us in good shape. By the time the midwife is wrapping up, it is day break.
The next morning, the big kids walk into the bedroom to meet their newest baby brother. They all slept through the whole commotion! Best of all, we didn’t have to go anywhere and could stay cuddled in bed!