Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Between Worlds: A Birth Story, Part 1

At about 5:00 am on Wednesday, December 7, I woke up to a leaking sensation. It felt like a period, or rather, it felt just like when I leaked amniotic fluid before my first birth. I got up and put on a pad and laid back down. At about 6:30, I felt a gush. Not a gush like all my fluid was coming out, but a definite gush. I texted my midwives and let them know this, and that I was not having pressure waves yet. I woke up my husband a little while later and told him that my water broke but it could still be a while before the baby came. He said that he would stay home from work. I also texted my mom, who told me she would get a flight for the next morning, thinking that if I had the baby that day, she would be there in time to take care of everything I would need postpartum. My midwife Kristin called and said she would come take my vitals and give me a Doppler so I could keep an eye on the heartbeat. She came by and she also drew some blood because she was planning to do a re-check on my iron level at my appointment on Friday. She instructed me to eat and drink well, to rinse with a hibiclens solution whenever I used the bathroom, and to take my temperature and check the hearttones every hour and just let her know when pressure waves started. She said she thought it would probably be that day.

My husband spent the day cleaning up the house, buying food for after the birth, and doing last minute homebirth set up preparations. I helped a little, but didn't want to wear myself out. Pressure waves started by that evening and were about 10 minutes apart for a while. Around 10:30 pm,still thinking the baby would come that night, I decided to try lying down and listening to Hypnobabies to try to get some rest, or at least get myself into hypnosis. I ended up in and out of sleep all night because they spaced out, but didn't completely stop. I had my ipod on a playlist of Hypnobabies tracks so that it would just keep playing while I slept. I probably would not have gotten any sleep at all that night if I had not had Hypnobabies to listen to. The pressure waves were manageable when I was awake and listening, but when one would hit while I was asleep and I was woken up by it, it was extremely uncomfortable.

I got up around 5:00 and took a shower to see if that might do something, but waves were very far apart, so I ended up going back to sleep for a while. Husband was up around 7:00 am. I was kind of getting frustrated with the waves because they seemed to be far apart but strong when I was lying down, weak and close together when I was standing up, and seemed to almost completely disappear when I was sitting. I told him I was having some fears about being able to handle it because the waves seemed stronger than in my last birth (my theory is that the difference had something to do with my water not breaking until 9 cm plus last time) and I think with them being so far apart, yet so strong, I wasn't able to get deeply into hypnosis like I had with my last birth where waves started consistently 10 minutes apart and gradually got closer and closer together. I also was a little worried that it could still be a long time before active birthing started and I would be exhausted from not getting enough sleep by then. I was conflicted--I wanted birthing waves to come consistently so that I would have energy for the birth, but I also was a little afraid of the birthing waves. I asked my husband to give me a priesthood blessing for strength and comfort and to help me know what to do.

We could tell the kids needed to get out of the house (preschool group had been cancelled both days that week, so they had been home all day most of the week), so my husband took them to the store with him to get some things. It took a while to get them ready and get out of the house, and there were a few other things he needed to take care of. We ended up needing to eat lunch before they could go. Before they left, he was also on the phone with his mom. His mom's adopted sister had recently gone into a coma due to a brain infection and she was given a very small chance of survival. My mother-in-law wanted to go to Tahiti to be with her family during this difficult time, but did not have the funds. We offered to help pay for a plane ticket for her to go. My husband wanted to get out the door with the kids, so he had her talk to me to get our credit card information and she and I had a sweet conversation. There I was, with my birthing in limbo, waiting to bring a new life into this world, while she knew she was waiting for one to leave it. Perhaps my child and his or her great aunt were both delaying their transition. Maybe there is a place between our world and the world of spirits, and they were both there, together?

After I got off the phone, I decided a nap was a good idea (it was early afternoon by this point). I got in bed and listened to Hypnobabies again. I think I did the Fear Clearing track. I knew I needed that. I got some sleep. I woke up and my husband and the kids came home. I decided to try some activity to see if it might kick start things. My husband tried to take a nap himself. I mopped my kitchen floor. Then,I stood in front of the mirror in my kids' bathroom and remembered something I had learned at the Dancing For Birth&trade Training Workshop: asymmetry. Asymmetry of the pelvis can help position the baby and bring it down. The move I started doing wasn't exactly one we learned in the training, though it was sort of similar to the mighty mama (sumo) move--I alternated raising each knee up, quickly, one and then the other, over and over, and then a strong pressure wave came, and a few minutes later, another. They were strong and they weren't stopping. This was it!


  1. Love reading your story! Love the powerful part at the end with the knee lifts.

    I have attended several births where death and birth are close in different family members...very powerful. Can't wait to read the rest!

  2. Ah! The suspense!
    I'm looking forward to reading the next installment.

  3. I'm so glad you are sharing your birth story Brittany. I remember you from August and I am really happy for you. Beautiful story so far, brought tears to my eyes. I am really happy for you!