Laura’s 32 minute labor and surprise home birth

September 30, 2011

I absolutely love this story, partly because I adore Ben and Laura, and partly because it reminds me so much of my own birth. Except my labor was three hours, and hers was 30 minutes. They will be telling this story for the rest of their lives!

On Monday, September 26th, I was 40 weeks and 1 day pregnant and I was not happy about it! (I am not a very patient person!) I had an appointment scheduled with the midwives at Central Utah Clinic Women’s Center and I went to the appointment bound and determined to have my membranes stripped (ANYTHING to get this labor going!). Claudia was so great when I met with her. She could tell I was very frustrated with still being pregnant and was very sympathetic. But she was also very professional in expressing her feelings about stripping membranes. She really helped diffuse my frustration. She said that maybe we should just do a quick vaginal check to see where things were and then, if I still felt that nothing was happening and I really wanted it, she would strip them for me. So she did the exam and I was dialated to 5 1/2cm and 80% efaced and Claudia said my cervix was “as soft as butter”! But the baby was still fairly high up, and I hadn’t really been having any surges or practice surges, so I decided to not have her strip my membranes and we headed home with the advice to not wait very long to go to the hospital once surges really did start.

As I went about my day I became more and more certain that this baby was not going to come that day and that I was going to be pregnant forever! (I know, I’m a little on the dramatic side!) I had maybe two or three practice surges all day and they were very mild. So after a trip to the grocery store at 9:30 at night to refill the fridge I got ready for bed. I wasn’t feeling very well, a little nauseous and tired, so Ben and I just watched TV for a little while and then we both fell asleep shortly before midnight. At about 1:00 in the morning I woke up with a VERY strong surge. I breathed through it and thought “wow, that was out of nowhere!” I dozed back off, but woke up again very shortly after that with another surge. I breathed through it again and felt like I should probably get up and go to the bathroom and see if these were real surges or not.

As I rolled over in bed I felt a sudden warm gush. I was wide awake at this point! I went to the bathroom and got cleaned up and immediately felt another strong surge. I left the bathroom, grabbed my phone (which had the contraction timer on it) and headed out towards the living room to time my surges. I sent Laura Curtis a quick text telling her that my water broke and I was feeling strong surges and that I would keep her posted. I began timing and quickly realized that these surges were definitely coming very regularly and very close together. I timed through two contractions (that were each about 1 minute long) and realized that they were coming at less than two minutes apart.

I waddled back to the bedroom and woke Ben up. As he rolled over I started having another surge and began to breath through it. He looked at me and asked, “Are you okay?” I shook my head vigorously while doing my surge breathing (talking at this point was totally out of the question!) and then he asked, “Are we having a baby?” I nodded my head just as vigorously. He jumped out of bed and came to my side. He stood there and scratched my back and reminded me to breathe and relax until that surge was done.

I went to get my suitcase to finish packing, he grabbed his phone and said “who do we need to call” as another surge started. He rubbed my back again and did light touch massage on my arm and I remember him looking at me with a look that said, “should these surges be that close together already?” When that one finally let up we both went out to the kitchen where the number for the on-call midwife was. He called the midwives and I called Laura and as she answered the phone, I began to have another surge. She talked me through it until it started to subside, but before I could really catch my breath another one started! I just handed the phone to Ben and leaned against the counter and circled my hips and did some vocalizing while trying to breath and stay relaxed. Ben came around the counter and held me in his arms. I reached up around his neck and we swayed together while Ben was talking to Laura. She asked him if I felt like I needed to push or like I was going to have a bowel movement, he asked me and I said no, but the next surge came a few seconds later and I said, “YES!” At this point I just remember feeling so much pressure and I just wanted to relieve it somehow, so I headed to the living room where my birthing ball was, but I only made it about 5 steps when I dropped to my hands and knees and pulled my underwear off…I could feel the baby right there. Ben had followed me while still talking to Laura and I remember him saying, “Um I can see the baby’s head!” Laura told him to hang up and call 911, so he did.

As he was on the phone the baby started coming out even more. I could feel the burn on my perineum and was trying to just blow it away and slow down the baby’s decent, but the baby had other plans!! Ben put the phone on speaker and reached up to support the baby’s head as it was coming and one surge later, he received the baby!! I rolled over and he handed the baby to me and I brought him straight to my chest. Ben jumped up and flashed the porch lights for the police officers that had just pulled into the cul-de-sac. They came in to the scene of a naked woman on the floor with a baby on her chest and a man in his underwear!

Ben got some towels and a blanket for me and the baby. I remember the police officer asking the dispatcher what the time of birth was. It was 1:32! The whole thing from the first surge to the birth of the baby was 32 minutes!! The police officers asked if we had a shoelace or string to tie off the umbilical cord, but when we didn’t have something right there, he just said, “You know, the ambulance is close enough, we’ll just leave it until they come with their kit and they can clamp it.” We were so grateful! We had wanted to leave the cord attached for as long as possible and were concerned that the staff at the hospital wouldn’t let us leave it for as long as we wanted. But by the time the EMT’s got there, the cord had completely stopped pulsing and had totally drained. It was an answer to a silently uttered prayer. They clamped and cut the cord. I was able to stand up and get myself on the stretcher.

I had not delivered the placenta yet and they wanted to take me and the baby to the hospital to make sure everything was okay and to have the midwife deliver the placenta. As I rode away in the ambulance holding my precious little Owen on my chest, I was overwhelmed with love and gratitude and amazement. I remember most the feeling of calm that was in the room as I was giving birth. There was no fear. My husband and I both were so calm. It was such a personal, bonding experience. I was so thankful for the HypnoBirthing classes that had taught me what to expect. The whole thing was so fast that I didn’t get a chance to use the deep relaxation and the calm breathing. I didn’t get to try any different laboring positions or listen to the soft music that Ben had spent HOURS preparing for me. However, I knew that I was prepared. I knew that I could do this. And I knew that Ben could do this. I remember him saying over and over to me while I was breathing and birthing, “You can do this. You are amazing. You know how to do this. You are ready. You can do this!” Because of Hypnobirthing, I knew how to breath through my surges. I knew what to expect from my body and I knew that my body was made for this and I could do this! So, though my birth was nothing like how I had “planned”, it turned out to be perfect! Oh, and in case you were wondering, it took me longer to write up this birth story than it did to actually give birth!

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