#Ninjababy’s Freebirth

As I sit here with a baby two weeks new it occurs to me that I should write the story of his birth before I lose the details. I’m sure that I’ll add and edit in the coming days, so bear with me!  Whether you call it freebirth or unassisted birth I know that not everyone agrees with delivering your own baby at home without a medical professional present – but this was our educated choice and the decision we felt was best for our family. Enjoy!  Parts of it are graphic, so consider this your warning!

I had been experiencing prodromal labor for three weeks by the time October 8th rolled around. I was only three days “late” and my other children were all born closer to 42 weeks, but I was getting tired with the near-constant contractions. I was on Twitter mentioning that some of the contractions tonight actually hurt and received a joking reply about #ninjababy arriving the next day – October 9th – which happened to be John Lennon’s birthday. ( #ninjababy is a big Beatles fan – the first time I felt him move we were listening to the White Album and he reacted with kicks and wiggles every time we played the Beatles for him.) Shortly after midnight I started to time contractions, realizing they were coming pretty regularly and were getting my attention. I didn’t want to say that I was “in labor” yet or get The Man’s hopes up, so we headed to the bedroom to watch the first season of The Walking Dead on Netflix. Romantic, I know … but I think I watched every zombie movie in existence the last two weeks of my pregnancy!

By about 3am I was definitely uncomfortable. The contractions weren’t painful, but I was sure at that point this was the real thing and asked The Man if he’d like to fill the birthing tub for me. “Really?” he said, and got an excited look on his face. I knew it was too soon to get IN the tub, but I wasn’t sure how long it would take to fill and I knew we’d have to stop at least once to let the hot water refill. While he was hooking up the hose and filling the tub I got up to walk a bit, rearranged the pillows and put a chux pad down on the bed just in case. I found a semi-reclined position felt the best and let me relax the most during a contraction.

We kept watching TV, and by the tub was full ( about an hour and a half ) I was really, really ready to get in. Sitting wasn’t comfortable, I couldn’t lay on my side, and standing and walking intensified the contractions to the point that it took my breath away. The hot water felt incredible! I draped a towel over the side, leaned on it and found that stretching out kind of frog-legged was the most comfortable way to be. My belly was almost resting on the bottom of the tub, but when a contraction had ended I got on my knees. We were still watching TV and I was focusing on breathing and staying totally relaxed and loose during each contraction. The pain was SO much less in the water and I loved how easy it was for me to move and change position, but …

After maybe two hours in the tub I realized I wasn’t progressing. The contractions were getting stronger, but further apart — from 4 minutes when I got in to nearly 10 minutes apart. I didn’t want to get out, but I knew that’s what I had to do to get things going again. The Man woke up when I got out of the tub ( I told him to take a nap while he could) and I wrapped up in his bathrobe. While my fantastic partner bailed water from the tub so he’d have room to top it off with hot for me, I walked. I labored on the toilet, leaned against the sink, made a trip to the kitchen for a cold drink. Contractions ramped up fast, and they hurt. I was having a hard time relaxing and breathing and just wanted to get back in the water!

I waddled back into the bedroom, determined to stay out of the pool until I couldn’t take it anymore. I got as comfortable as I could in bed and attempted to nap, and almost managed to doze off between contractions. I had labored nearly 12 hours at this point and had been awake more than a day, and I was getting tired. I sat there, looking at the gently steaming water – incense and candles burning – and realized this was as close to a perfect birth environment as I was going to get. I also realized that I was to the point that I had to close my eyes to focus through each contraction and they were coming faster. I was headed back into the tub!

I asked The Man to go start the dryer ( I had towels in there for after the birth) and asked him to make me my labor martini.  He was only gone ten minutes or so, but by the time he came back into the bedroom everything was getting moving.  I was having to vocalize through the contractions at this point, laying flat in the tub during a contraction and then moving back to my knees between.  I didn’t want to open my eyes, and it took concentration to stay very relaxed and open and just let the pain go.  My legs started to shake, and I said “Oh – this is transition.  It’s going to really suck for the next twenty minutes or so, but it’s almost over now.”  He came to the foot of the bed and held my hand during contractions, but I found that I didn’t want to squeeze – making a fist made everything else tight as well – but just holding his hands was enough.  I remember talking to the baby, saying things like “c’mon, then — come on down” and “not much longer.”  I was way  more aware of what was going on than I thought I would be, and was giving a running commentary of what was happening.  I never felt the urge to push – my body just did it all on its own.  After three very fast, hard, contractions I could feel his head coming through my cervix and said “Oh! I feel his head!” followed almost immediately by a pop and my announcing “and….my water just broke.” I let go with one hand and told The Man I wanted to check and see where the baby was – he couldn’t have been more than three inches away!  Four pushes and he was out – the first one had him crowning, and I was able to reach down for the first time ever and FEEL my babies head.  The second push and his head was out — I moved off my knees back on to the seat in the pool so that he could see what was happening as well, and told him that the next contraction would free him to the shoulders, then another and he should be free so be ready to catch.  I was almost laughing saying “It’s his head! It’s his head!”  I probably sounded like a nutter!  The next contraction came very fast and hard and I felt his shoulder and one arm pop free, then the other.  There was a pause that felt like forever between that and the next contraction, but in reality probably only lasted 45 seconds or so.  The Man reached into the pool, ready to catch … my body pushed, and the #ninjababy was free.  He lifted him out of the water, said “Oh my GOD!” and handed him to me, then ran off for towels.  I unwrapped the cord from around his neck, held him to my chest and rubbed his back … he gurgled twice, then opened his eyes and took a deep breath.  The cord had already stopped pulsing by then, and I was afraid the water was getting too cold in the pool, so as soon as the towels were there we wrapped him.  The man reached over my shoulder to tie and cut the cord, and #ninjababy looked up at him with these wide eyes and grabbed his wrist with his little hand.  As soon as he was free dad got some great skin to skin time while I was delivering the placenta.

I hadn’t intended originally to deliver the placenta in the tub, but I was having horrific afterpains and it was right there … so out it came, along with a clot the size of my fist.  I stood up, kind of shaky, and wrapped a chux around me to head into the bathroom to clean up, then back to bed.  I was bleeding more than I felt comfortable with, and I knew I hadn’t torn at all, so I took two doses of HemHalt while nursing the newbie — passed one more large clot and a gush that saturated the chux I was lying on and then the bleeding seemed to almost completely stop.  Funny side note, and probably TMI, but about an hour later I headed to the bathroom to pee and felt something dangling …. only to reach in and find the amniotic sac right there, nearly completely intact, and another large clot.  I remember thinking it odd, but my bleeding had nearly stopped at that point and I was tired.

We headed to bed, the three of us, and took a lovely nap while the #ninjababy nursed.  Well … the boys napped!  I laid there staring at the beautiful new baby that I had just delivered – on my own – and almost in the same spot that he was conceived.  It was both surreal and the most normal experience ever.

INTRODUCING:

Leonidas Danger Perry 9 pounds 7 ounces and 21′ long with a 12.5 inch head!

Born at 1:53 pm – in the water at home

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