This is the story of my third baby, Enoch, which was my second birth with Dinah. I love Dinah!! My previous births were at birth centers and this one was also. I prefer to get out of the house and go somewhere to birth rather than do a homebirth.
My pregnancy was healthy with lots of normal aches and pains, nausea and heartburn, and no health scares or concerns. Every appointment I had with Dinah was a time to relax, visit, and bond with her. This baby was definitely bigger than my others and from week 33 onward I felt like I had been kicked in the crotch because of the weight of his head on my pelvis.
My other babies were born two weeks past their due date and Enoch followed suit, just a tiny bit earlir. Going on 12 days past due I woke up at midnight with a gush of mucus. At first I thought my water broke but I didn’t feel the “pop” of the amniotic sac that I experienced with my prior two labors. I went to the bathroom and saw more mucus and some blood. Within a few minutes I started having contractions. I took a quick shower and then woke my husband, James, and called Dinah. The contractions were mild enough that I felt bad waking everyone up, but I knew this was the real thing and could progress very quickly. Dinah said I didn’t sound very “laborish” but trusted me anyway. We arranged to meet at the birth center in an hour. The contractions were coming once a minute and lasting nearly a whole minute. By the time we got everyone in the car I was having to pause to get through them, and 10 minutes later I was groaning through them.
Dinah was ready for us at the birth center and had several candles lit in the birthing room. It was very spa-like. We turned on relaxing music, a family member picked up the boys from there, and Dinah checked me. She told me I wouldn’t believe that I was at 8 cm and had only been in labor for 1.5 hours! She said she could feel the bag of waters bulging. She called her assistant, Joyce, to come and I was already having some pushy feelings. I undressed on the bottom, thinking that the baby was going to come soon! My water broke with a huge “POP!” and water shot all over the floor! It was a little yellow but clear so meconium wasn’t a concern. Water kept leaking out quite liberally and Dinah checked me again, afraid that we had cord prolapse. Thankfully she couldn’t feel any cord, just head, but the head was high up and not acting like a cork to keep the water from coming out. She also told me “you are going to hate me but you went down to 6 cm.” After the water broke there just wasn’t any pressure on my cervix helping to open it. She and Joyce, checked me several times and finally determined the baby was face up (posterior). He was moving around a lot though and when Joyce checked me she could actually feel his head turning under her hand! Contractions began to taper off. They never stopped but they became weaker and fewer because the baby was not moving down and wouldn’t settle into a position. Dinah had me try every kind of position they could think of to help the baby turn and come down. It was so weird because the baby wasn’t coming down but the whole time I was feeling so much pelvic pressure, like I would have to push him out at any minute. After a while I stopped leaking water and my cervix was opening a little more and was stretchy.
Going on only an hour of sleep and doing lots of squatting movements left me shaky and feeling that my legs would just give out. By dawn I asked if we could just take a nap and Dinah said sure, rest for 20 minutes and then we would turn on some Bob Marley and get active and get things going again. I laid down next to James, had a strong contraction, got up and said “I can’t rest, let’s just get the baby out!” We danced with Dinah to Bob Marley, I was pretending to do a hula-hoops with my hips. Then they sent us out to take a walk and told us to come back after we had 5 contractions. The cool morning air felt wonderful and energizing and we made an interesting scene for early morning joggers to watch as we walked up and down the steps, pausing to groan through contractions. In a very short time we had 6 contractions and went back in.
I got in the tub for maybe 20 minutes, which slowed down contractions but they were still nice and strong. I reached in and was able to feel the baby’s head and just started crying that he was so close to being born and this long, confusing journey was almost over. It’s amazing to feel your baby for the first time. Dinah started to hold my cervix back during contractions and they had me get on the bed because I didn’t want a water birth, plus I really, really didn’t want to tear and I had torn somewhat badly during my previous water birth. They had me start pushing through contractions even though I didn’t feel a strong urge, to kind of force the baby to move down the birth canal. When I pushed through one on my back something happened to the heart rate, which they were monitoring closely, decreased, and they urgently said “get on your hands and knees!” which I did right away with their help. As soon as I did that the heartbeat returned to normal and I stayed off my back. My right leg was cramping up at this point. I lay on my left side and pushed more with Dinah holding back my cervix, and suddenly started feeling the real, uncontrollable urge to push. I never officially dilated to 10 cm; instead we kind of used brute force of pushing to get the baby down. After only a few minutes I saw the baby’s head in the mirror they held for me. After that the contraction didn’t stop until the baby was out. James was lying behind me supporting me and holding my leg up. They said I could feel the baby’s head but nobody guided my hand so I don’t know what I felt and I didn’t care anyway, I was busy pushing! I felt the ring of fire and was told that I was stretching beautifully. I really had to push hard. I’ve loved pushing during my two previous births, but this time it was very different - hard and painful. His head came out, one more push and the body came out and finally this baby was born! It was 8:45 AM. He was born posterior and was 9 lbs. 8 oz. and 22.5 inches. James and I were both crying, it was such a relief for him to be born after all the intensity and frustration of the long night!
Enoch was crying in a grunty way and Dinah did a couple things to help clear his lungs and help him “adapt”. His hair was almost 2 inches long! He was covered in vernix and blond hair all over his body. He started breastfeeding in the first hour. After the placenta came out the midwives found that I DID NOT TEAR! Amazing! They said I had one skid mark and I wasn’t even sore. I’m serious, after birthing a 9.5 lb. posterior baby, I was not sore! I did not think that was possible. I ended up having a hemorrhoid from the pushing but no other soreness down there. Of course my abdominal muscles were sore for like a week after, though, from all that difficult pushing! We all had breakfast, the baby and I had a wonderful herbal bath, got dressed, and we went home. My bleeding was minimal and we didn’t have any concerns besides the baby getting jaundice at two days old.
Dinah and Joyce both agreed that if I could birth such a big posterior baby that I can do anything, and I believe them! Labor was long, frustrating, and painful but there were so many wonderful moments in the midst of it. It was so rewarding and so wonderful to have my husband and my two great midwives supporting me the whole time. The time after the baby was born and my memories of it are just euphoric. Sometimes the more effort you put into something, the more you enjoy the reward!