Today I’ll give part 1 of my second baby’s birth story. You can go back and read my first birth story here, about Jodi’s unplanned, unassisted homebirth here, about Sara’s near C-section here, or about Mary’s unnatural birth from a natural mama here.
The week before
The week before my second was born, I started feeling like she was never going to come. My firstborn came 8 days early, so I was expecting another early baby.
At my 39-week appointment, the midwife I saw said I may have to be induced if I went past my due date because of my gestational diabetes. This news discouraged me, as I hoped for a natural birth with minimal interventions. I knew an induction would most likely set me up for many.
But, on Tuesday, Oct. 19, I saw a different midwife, Beverly, who was extremely encouraging and told me that since my diabetes was well controlled, she saw no need to be induced until at least 41 weeks.
The day before
For a couple of days leading up to the birth, I had back pain. This was not out of the ordinary since I’ve had this same back pain since I was 15, but I asked Will if I could visit the chiropractor because I didn’t want to go into labor with this added ache.
So, on the day before my due date I visited the chiropractor for two adjustments. He told me at least 8 women he had adjusted in late pregnancy went into labor that night or the next day! On the way home from the first adjustment, my 2-year-old and I stopped at the park for about 30 minutes. I wanted to take advantage of what I saw as one of the last times I’d be able to take her to the park just the two of us for a while.
The whole day people kept talking about the full moon and how babies are born on full moons. We ate at my parents’ house that night, and they asked if our little girl could spend the night. I kept looking at the moon as we drove home and wondered if the baby really would come soon! I knew my favorite midwife, Beverly, was on call, and I really wanted her to deliver!
Will and I took a moonlit walk when we returned home, and I then took a lavender-scented bubble bath surrounded by pumpkin-scented candles before we both retired to bed around 11:30.
Around 2:30 a.m., I noticed the first sign of bloody show after using the bathroom. Knowing bloody show can happen days or even weeks before giving birth—and probably because I was half asleep—it didn’t really phase me, and I went back to bed. I had been experiencing painless contractions/Braxton Hicks throughout the day and especially at night pretty frequently for the last several weeks, and I didn’t notice anything different about them at that point.
I awoke to use the bathroom again at 3:28 a.m. and lost some more of the mucous plug—there were no doubts. I lay back in the bed for a few seconds before I felt my water break and soak my underwear. I wanted to be absolutely sure it was my water breaking and not more of my plug, so I got up and went to the bathroom (with my first, my water broke in a gush while I was standing up). When the water continued to drip out onto the floor and soak the towels I sat on, I knew it had indeed broken.
I woke Will and told him what happened, called and informed my parents, and texted my doula. I was relieved to know the baby was on her way, but I was concerned that, to my knowledge, my contractions had not yet started. My water broke prematurely with my first and led to a pitocin-augmented, 16 1/2 –hour labor that had me confined to the bed.
I texted a few close friends to tell them my water had broken and asked them to pray contractions would start soon on their own. Beverly had told me I needed to get to the hospital within four hours of my water breaking to receive IV antibiotics since I was group B strep positive.
I decided to try to go back to sleep. However, almost as soon as I lay down I began to feel menstrual-like cramps that were too painful to allow me to sleep. “Are these contractions?” I wondered. My back labor was so intense with my first that I hadn’t felt one “normal” contraction.
I called my doula to tell her what was happening and decided to take a shower while Will finished packing our hospital bags with last-minute items. I looked at the time before getting into the shower and counted how many times I felt the cramping. During my 15-20-minute shower, I experienced the cramping “sensations” 4-5 times. I started singing some hymns—“Jesus, Name Above All Names” and “He Lives”—while in the shower. It is just what came naturally.
When I got out of the shower, the cramping became more intense, and I noticed they started in my front and became stronger as they radiated down through my back, then stopped. It literally was like a wave that started slowly, crested, then waned. I told Will I was pretty sure I was having contractions and called Gayle back. I could still talk through the contractions, but even on the phone with Gayle they started getting stronger, so she decided to come on over.
While we waited for Gayle to arrive, Will continued to get things ready. I stayed upstairs in our room and yelled for him every time I felt a contraction coming. He brought my exercise ball upstairs, and I sat on it and rocked in between contractions but mostly got on all 4s during them. I had read about the all 4s position, and it just seemed to come the most naturally to relieve the pain.
Will put counter pressure on my low back while I was having the contractions. I tried to take deep breaths like I learned in my prenatal workout dvd.
When Gayle arrived, she and Will both put counter pressure on my back while I was contracting, and she also suggested I lean on her through the contractions, rock, and moan. I told her I’d rather sing, so she told me to sing. I sang—very loudly—“Jesus, Name Above All Names” and “He Lives.”
Will microwaved a heating pad belt, and I put this on. The heat felt good on the cramping. Gayle helped me through the contractions while Will packed the car.
We left for the hospital around 6:40. At this point, the contractions were getting stronger and probably were between 3-4 minutes apart. As we got in the car, I took one last look at the full moon and realized my baby would indeed be born that day—on her due date!
Come back tomorrow for part 2 of My Natural Hospital Birth and be sure to go back and read the other birth stories:
- My First Daughter’s Birth
- An Unplanned, Unassisted Homebirth
- “I Almost Had a C-Section”
- A Natural Mama…with Unnatural Births
For help with preparing for a natural childbirth, check out the #1 bestselling online childbirth course, Mama Natural Birth Course. It will empower you to have the natural birth you want…and you can watch the course in the comfort of your own home! You may also like Mama Natural’s FREE introductory video on 8 Keys to a Natural Childbirth. For more information on how to achieve a natural birth in a hospital setting, I recommend the eBook Unbound Birth.