Bump Squad mama Mikki on false starts and being surrounded by the perfect birth team.
This whole story starts with false labor exactly two weeks before Ezekiel was actually born. I had very consistent contractions for about 15 hours so I asked the midwives to come over for a quick visit to assess the situation. They agreed that yes I was in labor and suggested I start to prepare for delivery. So, Jonny finished up at work and came home to get the birth pool inflated and the beds ready with protective layers. I got Jensen ready to go to a friends house for the night and then focused on relaxing in the swimming pool downstairs. I let all our family know that I was in early labor and then just relaxed and waited. Jensen left for the night and the waiting began. Then, nothing changed. The contractions fizzled out and stopped. I was so embarrassed. Then a few days later it happened again in the middle of the night. I woke Jonny up and told him that it was happening this time. I went and bounced on the birth ball while he AGAIN got things ready for delivery. I timed contractions and finally decided that after the next contraction, I was going to call the midwives and my doula. (I had been waiting because it was the middle of the night and I had already been the “girl who cried wolf” a few days prior.) So, I waited for that next contraction and it never came! False labor #2.
I was beyond frustrated because I just wanted to meet my little boy and I was a week and a half overdue. Although it was October, it was unseasonably hot in SoCal and especially in our apartment which doesn’t have AC so that just added fuel to my fire about get this little oven out of my belly!
The midwives came over on a Monday afternoon for a routine check up appointment. I was 41 weeks and 2 days at that point. They were at our house from 3-4:45p and I was in a very chirpy mood. Earlier in the day I had gone thrift shopping looking for things to resell, picked up my daughter from preschool, and had lunch out with Jensen and Jonny at In-N-Out so it had been a pretty low key but enjoyable day. During the meeting they checked my blood pressure and the baby’s heartbeat. Everything was great! At one point while they were there, I jumped up from the floor where I was sitting because our dog was barking at something outside and told him off so that he wouldn’t wake Jensen up from her nap. Then I joked that jumping up so quickly had given me a pretty strong contraction. We laughed and joked about how the midwives should just stick around and get the party started. They both had other appointments to attend so they packed up and left.
They left at 4:45 and I remembered that I needed to drop off two packages at the post office before it closed at 5! So, I dragged Jensen quickly to the car and made it with seconds to spare. I jogged, (yes a literal jog) into the post office and dropped off my packages just seconds before they closed the doors. Then Jensen and I drove a few blocks over to Whole Foods to look for a homeopathic supplement that one of the midwives suggested might start some contractions for me. On the way there, I called my doula who was a close friend and told her what I was doing just in case things DID actually start happening. Then during our conversation, I had a contraction. It felt strong and I mentioned it to my doula. She suggested maybe going home instead of going shopping but of course, I continued on to the store.
I got to Whole Foods around 5:10 and carried Jensen in to the store until we could find a cart. (I guess you do crazy things without thinking about it during labor…) We went quickly through the store and I found what I needed. We checked out and then Jensen, who is potty training, let me know that she needed to use the restroom. So to the restroom we waddled together and I crouched down to help her use the toilet having contractions all the while. Done. To the car we raced. At this point, my mood started changing. I started to feel like maybe I really WAS in labor. I had been joking about it up until this point. On the way home I called my midwives who had just reached their next appointments and were about 30 minutes away at that point. We all knew that whenever I did go into labor, it would be fast and hard just like my first labor. So I told them I thought it best if they ducked out of those appointments and came back since LA traffic is unpredictable to say the least. I also called my husband and let him know that he should leave work to come home and the doula to give her the heads up.
We pulled up to our garage and suddenly I knew… IT WAS ON. Jensen and I walked up to our apartment and I took extra care assessing my feelings as I climbed the stairs. Yes. It was happening and it was happening fast. I opened the door and put Jensen in front of a movie because I didn’t want her to be scared. I also needed to feed her something for dinner. Priorities took over and I needed to pee first. Ahhh! Ok…there was blood on the tissue. Forget dinner. I called Jonny and told him he had to get home NOW! Hurry up everyone! (For time reference that all took place at around 5:30-5:45.)
Everyone was racing back to our apartment where I was laboring by myself and rushing around hooking up the hose to the shower head, pulling the already inflated birth pool out of our bedroom and packing a quick bag for Jensen. I texted the midwives telling them that I felt like I needed to poop. They replied promptly “It’s not poop, that’s pressure from the baby’s head. DO NOT TRY TO POOP UNTIL WE GET THERE!” Jonny arrived and helped the babysitter load the car seat into her car. Then he was finally available to help me through the contractions. I was feeling a lot of pressure in my back so I labored on my hands and knees with my bum in the air for quite a while trying to give the baby enough room to get a better position. Everyone else arrived and started setting up their things and getting the pool filled for me. The hot water ran out so our student doula boiled pots of water on the stove to add in! I labored in the bedroom with Jonny and the doula as the family room was set up to provide a nice “birth space.” Candles were lit and lights were dimmed.
In the bedroom, Jonny was providing much needed counter pressure on my back and the midwife tried to give me an IV with antibiotics because I was GBS+ this pregnancy. She couldn’t get the IV in my right arm so tried to start over with the left. My wrists were swelling with the fluid just under the surface. She couldn’t find the vein! I had taken one round of oral antibiotics that she had prescribed for me to take right when I thought I was in labor. (Again because we knew it would be fast and you’re supposed to have at least 2 doses over 4 hours before delivery) Anyway, she couldn’t get it in my vein and I was WAY too far in labor to put up with extra stimulation like that. So, I changed my decision to receive antibiotics and with informed consent, told her to forget it.
I moved out to the birth pool in the living room and got in on my hands and knees resting my head on the side. The hot water felt so nice. Jonny stood in the tub doing counter pressure behind me and Becky knelt in front of me saying encouraging things and stroking my hair. Jonny’s arms were getting tired from pressing so hard on my back. I vaguely heard him talking with Becky about switching places so he could have a tiny break. I didn’t want anyone to move. I started to get a little shaky and trembling. I knew that I must be close to done. All the sudden my body did a little push without my brain telling it to. My water burst and it felt so strange! Like a tiny little bomb went off underwater. It relieved the tiniest bit of pressure and felt good. Ah, a slight break. Nope wait… here we go again. Big pushing contraction! I looked Becky straight in the face because I felt lost. She was confident. Big push. I was in another world. I couldn’t focus on what people were saying. I needed some reassurance. I reached down to see if I could feel anything. Hair! I could feel hair. He was getting close! Another push, and I knew his head was going to come out. I HAD to slow down. I didn’t want to injure myself so badly again. Breath, breath, breath… Big push. There’s his head now WAIT!! Don’t do anything. Let him turn! I have to WAIT! Nope, PUSH!
And then he was born right into the water. I could see him down between my legs and then ever so gently, I raised him up out of the water and put him on my chest! He was so alert with his eyes open and no medicine in his body to make him sleepy! Jonny was next to me and it was one of the most empowering and most loved feeling moments of my life. After the placenta was delivered, I was ready to move to the couch where we had skin to skin time for the next two hours while the midwives checked everything to make sure we were both OK. Everything was great and hallelujah, no tearing on my part! (Which was my greatest fear for this delivery) Two hours later, I was in my own bed eating sushi with my husband while our newest son nursed contently. So, if you kept up with the time stamps in this story, I was only positive I was in labor from about 5:30pm-7:35pm when he was born. Talk about fast and furious! I could not have asked for a better experience or for a better team of people to surround us on this special day!