The five month lead up to this little boy’s arrival was anything but relaxing. Instead of getting ready for a baby, we had to move house (twice), negotiate buying a house, then, my husband’s father passed away. Work was crazy, we were sick for weeks and weeks at a time. Everything we did seemed to end in crazy. And those were the big things. We only moved into our permanent place when I was 36 weeks pregnant, just 3 weeks before the birth. Nesting? Forget it.
So many little things were also crazy, right up until the last minute and there was so much to do! But, I didn’t feel ready until all the boxes were ticked off. The very last thing that had to happen before I felt ready to birth this baby was our homeschool re-registration meeting. That happened on a Thursday. Finally… everything major was ticked off the list. I was 39 weeks the next day, and I knew that this baby was already cooked and ready to come out. I had accurately guessed with my previous two the round-about date when they would be born, and I knew with this one as well. The time was now.
The next day, I went to get an ayurvedic massage, I’d been going weekly since 34 weeks. My ayurvedic doctor told me it was important to get these weekly massages, as it helps the baby descend (brings the vata down). And, man, did it work because his head was down…waaaayyy down, which is apparently unusual for third babies. My ayurvedic massage lady gave attention to some marma points, energy points, to help if the baby was ready to come. That night, I had a mucus loss. And… my first real night of false labour was about to begin (although it had been sneaking up on me every night for weeks before).
False labour really messes with your head. The first night wasn’t too bad. I woke up around 11pm with mild contractions, about 10 minutes apart. I got excited! I also noticed the baby being really active, which was unusual because all had been pretty quiet for the past couple weeks down there. With every contraction, the baby would squirm and wiggle! (more on this in a sec). In between one contraction, I felt really tired, and laid down. I fell asleep and woke up in the morning! Labour had stopped… nothing happened all day. I felt really anxious… What was going on? In my head, I was planning and analysing. “It was the new moon, the baby should be born on the new moon, or on this date,” blah blah blah. But, then nothing.
The next night, the same thing happened. Same time of night too. Except, these contractions were slightly stronger, then they got much stronger and were perfectly spaced apart. My previous labour had only been 2 1/2 hours, so I figured I better call my midwife. At 11pm, I called her and told her to stay tuned. The baby was wiggling a lot again… then, I got tired, laid down, only to wake up again in the morning, with my babe still in my belly! I was exhausted, emotionally and physically. What was going on!? Surely, I knew my body better than this?! This was my third birth, how could I not know the difference between real and false labour?!?
Well, it turns out that the baby was most likely in a funny position, his little chin needed to be tucked in, but it was flexed. My midwife came the next morning and had a feel around. She could feel that his chin wasn’t tucked in. Our theory was that every time I would go into false labour, he would start to wiggle, hoping to tuck his little chin in so that he could negotiate that pelvis. In hindsight, he was very big and long, so it must have been hard for him to have enough space to get that head in the right spot. She showed me a few exercises I could do to help when I felt a contraction lift the belly up with my arms cradled and tilt the pelvis). Talking to her also put my mind at ease. She told me it was normal to have these false labours, and yes, it can mess with your head, but to try and relax.
I felt better after seeing her and immediately did the exercises… Then, BAM! A few hours later, it was on. I knew this was it. False labour tends to happen at the same time every day, and this was a different time, and a different feeling. I texted the midwife and asked her if she had gone far from the house. She had, indeed, gone all the way to her house, 45 minutes away. She asked me to time the contractions, they were strong and less than ten minutes apart. She was there for our last home birth, and that one had been quick, so she hit the road straight away when we told her how close together they were.
By the time she arrived, it was obvious, this was no false alarm. But, things weren’t too intense yet. Everything was light and fun. Our friend, Julie, was over, playing with the kids. Art was frantically filling up the pool. The midwives were setting up. We were chit chatting and I could still talk to everyone. About an hour after it started, I hopped in the pool… and then it hit me that I was going to have this baby, and it was going to happen soon… and that I WASN’T READY!!!
I don’t know what happened, but I sort of shut down. It COULDN’T be happening this fast! Could it?
And, what’s worse, was that I felt like I had to poo. The midwives joked and said, “Aw, you probably just have a BABY to push out… probably not a poo.” But, no, I definitely felt a poo and I was not about to poo in my birthing pool. The same happened with Goldie, I couldn’t have her until I pooed! I knew this was happening again. By this time, the contractions were very strong. My waters had not broken yet and there was so much pressure. An enormous amount of pressure that I felt I could not handle in that moment.
I climbed out of the pool, felt freezing and was shaking all over. I dried off and put a dress on and staggered down the hall way to the toilet. And yes, did a big massive poo. Hooray! But, I was really a mess in my head. Because, I knew this was it. I knew I would be pushing this baby out in just a few minutes. And, I felt such a resistance. I have no idea why. I stopped half way down the hall and absolutely could not walk another step farther. I put my head on my husband’s shoulder and starting sobbing and thinking in my head. “Why me?! I don’t want to be doing this! I hate this! This is crazy!” He said I cried only for a few minutes, but it felt like I was standing there for at least twenty.
I just wanted to jump out of my skin!!! But, there was no where for me to run and hide. It was me who had to birth this babe. Whether I liked it or not. I had not felt like this with my other two births, so it was a real shock to be going through this sort of denial.
I mustered up some strength and walked back to the birthing pool. It felt so nice and warm. A few minutes later, my waters broke, which was a huge relief of pressure. Then, I felt this baby’s head slam into my cervix. Still, the thoughts of ‘why me’ and ‘get me the f@*! out of here‘ were floating around in my head, but I had to ignore them, there was nothing I could do other than what I was doing.
The next contraction, I had that undeniable urge to push. Except, this was no airy fairy breath-your-baby out and have an orgasmic birth sort of urge. It was a ‘push like hell heave ho‘! And I did. In once contraction, his head made its way alllllllll the way down, and half way out. It wasn’t one push, it was a bunch of pushes, but all in within a minute or so. It was insane. And, he felt HUGE. I was like, “Oh shit, how many stitches, and what sort of surgery am I going to need for this one?!?!” (turned out to be not even a graze, amazing bodies we have).
His head was almost all the way out, and the midwife asked if I could push a little just to get the chin out. Push? You said push?! Yes yes! I can push because that’s all I want to do! I pushed a little, and his head was out.
“The head’s out” the midwife said.
“Oh God, yay, the head’s out” I thought.
I vaguely could hear Margo (6 years old) yelling, “The baby’s head is out!!! The baby’s head is out!!” to get her sister’s attention. I really had no idea what everyone else was doing during this whole thing. I think at one point, the kids were kicking the giant birthing ball down the hallway, just a few feet away from me. And, Julie was making a frozen pizza for the kid’s dinner. Everyone was joking, “which will come out first, the baby or the pizza?!”
The pizza came out first, but only by a minute.
Then, I thought I might just have a little rest for a second and wait for the next contraction to get the rest of the baby out. I flipped to my back, but oh there, was no waiting. I just couldn’t wait. The baby felt so massive in there. I had to push, had to had to push before that next contraction. In my head, that next contraction might be next century, for all I knew!
I gave a tiny push. Nothing. This baby was big. Then, I gave this all-mighty heave-ho with corresponding guttural growling scream. And out came our baby! But, he was like a mile long! It felt like I was pushing forever and he was still coming out! Arms and legs stretched out and it looked like I had birthed a giraffe! He shot so far out into the pool, he looked like an astronaut flying into outer space, only connected by his air hose. He seemed sooooooo far away from me. I started grabbing for him like he was going to slip away. It was pretty hilarious. Finally, I CAUGHT HIM like you would catch a slippery fish, and pulled him back to my chest.
I held him close for a few minute, then lifted his leg to take a peak.
“It’s a BOY!!!” I said!
And everyone chorused, “IT’S A BOY!!!”
Every birth is so different. His birth was so powerful and intense… more than I had experienced before. He was my ouchy one. The one that knocked me to my knees and made wonder how the hell the population of the planet had reached 7 billion people if every birth was like this. My previous two had been all soft and sweet.
I stood up to get out of the pool, thinking I would have to stand to get the placenta out. Two midwives and my husband were gathered around to help me out. But, I couldn’t move an inch. They were giving me a pep talk, “You can do it Kate, just one leg over… here we go..” I said, “I can’t, I can’t, Just wait!”
What I couldn’t articulate was that I was about to birth the placenta. Here they were trying to pull me out of the pool and I was standing like a donkey in quicksand. Finally, SPLAT! The biggest, juiciest placenta splashed down into the birthing pool and sprayed them all with bloody water.
“See! That’s what you all get for not listening to me!!!” We all laughed.
We walked back to the bedroom to get comfy. I ended up losing quite a bit of blood, not enough to be alarmed, but enough that I couldn’t stand up properly. So, I spent the night peeing in a bucket on the side of the bed. It had been the same with my last birth, so I wasn’t overly surprised. My rock star husband was there to help empty the pee bucket and he even helped me change my pads. Wow, you just don’t know who you’ve married until you go through a home birth together!
Our little boy was 8lb 6oz (3.93 kilos) and 21.25 inches long (54cm).
It was an intense birth, yes, but it was fun too. Anyway, the intense part was only twenty minutes. I can’t imagine how it would have been if I hadn’t birthed at home. Home is so comfy. You can really let loose and relax. The poo, the crying, blabbering on my husband’s shoulder, the peeing in the bucket on the side of the bed… And, the girls probably wouldn’t have been there to see it.
So, hooray for insanely intense home births! Looking back, there’s nowhere else I would have rather been. He doesn’t have a name yet, but the Baltrotsky boys have a long standing tradition of having no name for so long that written on their birth certificate is ‘Baby Boy Baltrotsky‘. I don’t think it will take that long though.
My midwives were from the My Own Midwife midwifery practice on the Gold Coast.