The labor position that worked best for me was to lean over the birth ball, that was on top of the bathroom counter. My midwife suggested a shower but I just stared at the tub like a kid in a candy store, and said "Uh, is there any reason why a shower would be preferred to the bath?" My midwife said, "Oh no, go ahead." As soon as I got into the bath everything changed. I immediately said "Oh my god, this thing is worth $500!" (It cost $150 to rent it and I had reluctantly justified the expense.) In the bath I could totally relax with the contractions and felt like I had control again.
The lights were dimmed very low. I had soft, beautiful music. Aromatherapy (ylang ylang) filled the air. My midwife, Pamelyn, brushed my hair while I leaned back peacefully in the tub. Randy massaged my hands. I lightly moaned through the contractions. It was very calm and beautiful.
The labor became quite intense. They had me get out (kicking and screaming :<) to go to the bathroom. When I got out of the tub the back pain was severe. I got caught in a contraction outside the tub, so I leaned over the birth ball. The doula did the double hip squeeze and WOW, a miracle! She taught Randy how to do it and he was my saviour! Back in the tub, Randy remembered the counterpressure on the palm thing. This allowed me to completely relax and greatly dimished the pain. I was leaning over the edge of the tub now, kind of like a supported pelvic rock position. Randy continued with the hip sqeezes and counterpressure. And my helpers squeezed my palms. I was perfectly supported and safe.
My mother arrived and she brought my 2-1/2 year old daughter in, who was perfectly silent and fascinated. I had prepared her thoroughly. She knew about the cervix opening and that this was "labor" and that it might hurt mommy a little. She was incredible. At one point my forehead was leaning on the side of the tub; eyes closed. In the middle of the contraction I sat up and I saw my daughter staring at me with this incredibly beautiful and loving half smile. I whispered "I love you" and plopped back down into my own little world.
Because of my borderline low iron level. (30, the lowest it could possibly be to have a homebirth), we opted for a just-in-case Heparin lock, which I HATED. I didn't want it before the birth, but I was kinda gently talked into it during labor. It was awful getting it in. For me personally, it took away from the birth. They tried to take my daughter out for this process, thinking that it would bother her. She screamed and said "I want my mama." I said "Let her stay." She didn't make a peep after that. She even rubbed my arm for me!
The midwife suggested that everyone leave the room for awhile, except Randy and the doula. After about 10 contractions the midwife and photographer returned and I started feeling pushy. Then I yelled "Sarah, you have to put your hands on me! I need support on my perineum!"
She reached into the water and said "Kimberly, the baby's right here." She said it was OK to push, but I couldn't. I felt the undeniable urge to push, and my uterus was pushing, but I had no control over my muscles! She said that the baby's head was crowning. I thought, OK, I guess I could push a little, since it's crowning! I managed a tiny push.
Pamelyn ran out to the living room and said "The baby's coming RIGHT NOW! Both my mother and Randy's mother hurried in to watch. I turned over and squatted, leaning back against the tub, while Pamelyn held me up under my arms. She said "Try just a little push, because the head is halfway out!" "Oh, I guess I could do that." I thought. Then the head came out and then I had to pull off another push to get the body out. The baby was gently born in the water. No tears. There was no molding on the head at all. I figure because: 1) BOW didn't break until head came out; 2) baby was born in the water; and/or 3) there was no strong pushing.
The video later revealed a total of four pathetic, little pushes on my part. I guess all the raspberry leaf and nettle I took during pregnancy truly toned the uterus! Because I certainly didn't help much. We have since speculated that I must have had a pinched nerve in my pelvis. (I've had this problem on and off this past year) because after the birth when I was on the bed, I couldn't lift up my bottom at all, not even to get the ice underneath me.
After rubbing the baby for a minute to stimulate consistent breathing, I stood up and walked to the bed with my baby. As it turns out, I bled more than my iron level could allow, so I had to have a shot of Pitocin in the thigh and drink a pretty nasty tasting herbal concoction. Along with rigorous, torturous fundal massage, the bleeding was controlled nicely.
My daughter came right over to the bed and kissed the baby and said "I love you baby." Bonding at its best! She brought the baby one of her diapers and some toys. I'm so glad she was there. At only 2 -1/2, she understood and enjoyed childbirth! She talks about mommy pushing the baby out in the swimming pool every day.
Pamelyn baked a cake and we sang happy birthday. There was 21 hours of total labor, with 2 hours active; and a 7 minute second stage. Madeline Nicole was 8 pounds exactly and 19-1/2 inches long.