By Hattiesburg Midwifery Mama, Dr Sarah Wilkerson
Our story starts just after midnight on a Sunday morning. I woke up to some mild contractions and had some bloody show when I went to the bathroom. My contractions started about 10 minutes apart and were very manageable. Around 2:00am, I had a bit more bloody show and decided to text my midwife to make sure everything was normal. My contractions were about 7 minutes apart at this point, but still short and mild. She assured that everything was normal and advised me to get up and eat something and try to go back to sleep. I was finally about to drift back off and sleep through my contractions until around 7am.
My husband got up and made us breakfast and then we went for a walk. By the end of the walk, my contractions had almost completely stopped. I let Amanda know how things were going and she came over to check my vitals and to listen to baby girl to make sure she was tolerating everything well. We were both doing great. My water was still in tact and Amanda said it was likely my contractions would pick back up again so to take that time to rest.
Around 4:00pm, my contractions started again. These were a bit closer together and a little longer than the ones I had that morning. We started timing them and at 5 minutes apart decided to call our doula, Emily. She came over and helped with some positioning to help labor continue. I walked up and down our stairs many times, did the miles circuit, and several other moves to help open up my pelvis. Around 10 pm Emily suggested I try to rest for a while, as it looked like it would be a long night. My contractions once again came to a hault around 11:30pm. We decided it was best I try to sleep. Emily went on home and told me to call her as soon as things picked back up again.
I woke up like normal on Monday morning. I had a few random intense contractions every 45 minutes-hour that morning. Everyone suggested I try to ignore them and go about my day as normal. I ran to target and picked up lunch, took a nap, got adjusted by my favorite chiropractor, Dr. Kaitlin, and had dinner with family. My contractions became more consistent again while at dinner, but still very manageable.
We went to bed like normal that night. Around 11:30pm my contractions woke me up from my sleep. I decided to move to the living room so I wouldn’t wake my husband. These were much more intense and lasting much longer than what I had felt up to this point. I was about to sleep between my contractions, but not through them. I had to get up and move through each one. Around 3:30am, I was tired of being alone so I woke my husband.
Jonathan made me something to eat and helped support me through each one. Amanda and Emily came back around 7:30am. Baby and I were still doing well and my water had not broken yet. The weather was supposed to get bad that afternoon so Amanda suggested we go for a walk. Emily walked with us and would hold a rice pack on my lower back during each contraction.
Around 10:30am my contractions slowed again. Amanda suggested some things I could do to help get things going again and discussed my options moving forward since she had some concerns with maternal exhaustion. Baby and I were still looking good and my water still had not broken so I decided to wait it out a bit longer. Amanda and Emily left to grab lunch so Jonathan and I could have time to discuss our options and decide what we wanted to do.
We chose to try some of Amanda’s suggestions and sure enough at 1:00pm my contractions came on strong and heavy. The intensity was taking every ounce of my concentration to work through. I had chosen not to have any cervical checks up to this point, but when Amanda came in I had her check me just to see if my body was making any changes since my contractions had been so start and stop. I was already dilated to 7cm. She called in the rest of her birth team and began to fill the birth tub in our living room while Jonathan and Emily helped support me through my contractions in our bedroom.
These contractions were all encompassing. I stood and swayed through them while holding Jonathan’s shoulders as Emily encouraged me through each wave, reminding me to breathe and stay in control. I could feel baby girl moving down and wanted so badly to get in the water. The tub was a tremendous help and took the edge off of my contractions. From this point on time is very fuzzy for me. The bad weather had moved in and I know that it was still light outside when I got in, but was dark out when I got out to go to the restroom.
Amanda asked when the last time I had peed was and I couldn’t remember. I wasn’t on the toilet for more than 15 seconds before baby girl moved way down and my body started pushing. I thought I was about to have this baby on the toilet! Amanda assured me that she wasn’t coming out just yet and asked if I wanted to try the birth stool. She got it set up for me and Jonathan came and sat behind me on the birth ball to help support me.
I started pushing with each urge. The ring of fire was more intense than I had imagined. Emily had some warm wash cloths that were a huge help for the discomfort between pushes. Amanda was checking on baby girl through this whole process and at this point her heart rate did drop. Amanda looked at me and said “Sarah, I need you to get her out right now.”
I pushed with everything I had, no longer waiting for my contractions to come. With several pushes her head was born, and one last push the rest of her body. My water didn’t break until this point when she was actually coming out. Amanda caught her and put her straight to my chest. Her eyes were wide open and she started crying almost immediately.
Jonathan still laughs at how quickly my demeanor changed in those few seconds. I went from roaring our girl into the world to lovey dovy baby talk in the blink of an eye. After a few minutes, they helped me move to the bed where I delivered my placenta. Emily helped me get Katheryn latched and made sure we could nurse on both sides. Amanda monitored my bleeding closely and got my mild tears glued up.
Once I was ready for a shower (Katheryn had pooped all over me at this point), Jonathan did skin to skin with her while Emily helped me get cleaned up. After she and Amanda helped me get dressed and tucked into bed, she performed the newborn tests and screenings right there in our bed. Jonathan got to cut the cord after everything checked out.
The birth team had been busy cleaning everything up and making us a meal which they brought to us in bed before they left for the night. We had the most amazing experience with Amanda and her team. After having our baby girl at home, we wouldn’t want to do it any other way.
I was 39 weeks and 6 days when she was born, and Katheryn was 7lbs 14oz and 20.5 inches long.