The birth was two very different and quite separate experiences. There was the labor and the delivery. Labor was top-notch and delivery was extraordinarily sucky.
Mr A and I had planned on having a homebirth from the very beginning. The reason I never wrote about it here is because I was protecting my mother from this information since she expressed her concern about my dying in childbirth long before I even conceived. We had midwives, three of which would be at the birth. We had done all our homework and everything was looking good and ready to go.
I went into prelabor on Friday morning. Mr A came home early from work and we set about getting all our stuff ready (tub, herbs, hot packs, Performance, etc.). We ate lunch then played cards outside with our neighbors since it was a nice, sunny Aloha Friday. Around 4 o'clock I started to go into active labor. Deciding that I needed to concentrate, we went inside the house and called Midwife Beth. She came over and I proceeded to labor.
It was great. I lay on the bed for awhile, the three of us took a walk down the block, I took a shower, etc. The contractions were intense, but I felt really capable of relaxing and working with them. Mr A stayed with me the whole time and gave me tons of support. It hurt, but I never felt overwhelmed or like I couldnt do it.
Around 9 o'clock (I dont know the accuracy of a lot of these times since I unplugged the clocks and had no concept of real time anyway) I started feeling "pushy" so MW Beth told me I could get into the tub if I wanted. Gladly. Midwife Alicia came over since it seemed the babys arrival was imminent. Unlike transition, where I was just totally consumed by contractions even when I wasnt having one, pushing was tons of effort during a contraction and then in between we would joke around about something or chat about this & that. I remember saying several times to Mr A as I was leaning limply over the side of the pool, "this is pretty cool, huh?"
After awhile and no baby yet, Beth determined that I had a cervical lip and needed to get out of the tub and stop pushing to give it time to go away. I did, and that sucked (not pushing when you are in the pushing part was labor is shitty times) but the lip went away and I went back into the pool.
Later still, I am pushing and the babys head is visible but just not coming down. They are checking his heart and telling me to change positions. Mr A says he could tell by their faces that something was different. Finally, MW Beth says "the cord is wrapped around the babys neck and when you push his heart rate is dropping. Get out of the tub, put on a robe and shoes we are going to the hospital. No time for anything else, just get on all fours and dont push."
Well, needless to say, that was quite a shocker.
Now, Mr A and I, upon choosing to have a homebirth, had always known and accepted that hospital transfer was a possibility. In fact, thats what the midwives are for - to keep us all safe by making those kinds of decisions. Although, I think we were both stunned that this was happening, considering that both myself and the baby had been so "perfect" and healthy throughout the whole pregnancy.
So, anyhow, we get in the car and head off to Adventist, which is the nearest hospital. When we get there its just chaos. The nurses are, frankly, kind of rude and they are sticking me with IV and blood tests, etc. They strap on the fetal monitor, which from my understanding is the piece of equipment we were seeking by going there. We have to wait for the OB-Gyn.
Its very very difficult to regain my focus. The first push I had on that bed was terrifying. It was so much more painful than in the tub - I thought my body was going to break in half. After that first push I was hysterical and crying and telling Midwife Wendy, "I just cant do it" and "I want to go back home." At some point I suggested they just cut him out of me, but upon more contemplation I realized that a Cesarean is too expensive and changed my mind! Im scared to push because I dont want to hurt the baby and Im scared to push because I dont want to hurt myself! I think I was crying because I came to the realization that I had to push him out whether I wanted to or not.
The doctor was like Panic City and Im not alone in my opinion that the doc and nurses were slightly overreacting to the situation. What a bummer because it just contributed to the continuing chaos. There was a lot of shouting and noise and bright lights and it was just so far from the scene in my living room.
At some point, MW Wendy helped me regain my focus. And in the end, I pushed that baby out on that hospital bed even though I swore that I couldnt/wouldnt do it. And when he was out - it was over and I was just so shocked that I had been able to do it I could hardly believe it was done.
The final report was that the cord was wrapped like one and a half times around his neck and also around his shoulders, turning him into a vaginal yo-yo. The doctor officially said he had shoulder distocia. I think thats BS and Im not alone in that opinion. Like I said, Panic City.
Now, even though your first inclination might be to feel sorry for me in this situation, please refrain. The person who truly needs your sympathies is poor Mr A! I had a job to do. I was hurting, be sure of that, but I was focused on one thing and nothing else. I didnt have a lot of time to process small things that were bothering me. Mr A on the other hand had absolutely nothing to do but stand by and watch everything that was going on. He almost got into it several times with the doctor and nurses over administering interventions. When the baby was coming out he had to look away because he thought the doctor was poking Ikaikas eyes out (she wasnt). He had to just be there the whole time and was quite helpless to the situation. I dont even know if he derived any pleasure from the "dad" things like cord cutting because he was so frazzled. The whole thing was extraordinarily traumatic. He said it was one of the most stressful experiences of his life. Which is too bad because all I remember is how great it was to have him there and that I couldnt have done it without him!
So, what are my thoughts about this birth? Im really glad that I was able to do it. I wanted to have a natural childbirth and I did. I wanted to experience labor and birth and I did that. I wanted to be at my home and I was...for most of the time. The cord thing is something that is totally unpredictable and unpreventable so it was just how things were meant to be. I suppose that if we hadnt had the cord issue then Ickey would have just come flying out of me in that tub. This way, he was born at 1AM on Mr As dads birthday, which is really special for all the Arrayan men. Spirits. Im thankful that our midwives are trustworthy, professional and were capable of making a quick decision in the best interest of both me and our child.
All in all, I would say that it was nothing if not exciting. If you are wondering how I feel about homebirth after an emergency transfer, I can assure you that I would do it again in a heartbeat. Hopefully next time my kid can stay untangled!