126 Cornish St.
(Country Rd 15)
Sherman, NY 14781

Birth Stories

Matthew's Story

On Sunday, July 27th, I woke during the night with lower back pain, cramping, nausea and sporadic contractions and thought it was the official start of labor and Matthew would be coming the next day. This ended up continuing every night for a week and was intense enough for me to have to use my Hypnobirthing CD to get comfortable and calm enough to go back to sleep. On Friday I started having bloody show in the morning but no contractions. I thought for sure this was it as that had signaled the start of labor with my other two. I had plans to take my kids to visit friends that morning, so after calling Rick, my mom and my midwife, Jen, to give them a “heads up” we left on our outing. I laid down for a nap that afternoon but couldn’t sleep and when I got up around 4pm the contractions started up regularly again. I was so sure (once again) that Matthew would be coming that night that I had Rick set up the bed in the living room and had my Dad blow up the pool. I had also asked Rick to leave work early to get groceries because I couldn’t relax into giving birth with empty cupboards! Matthew continued fooling us, however, as contractions became more sporadic and another night and day passed.

On Sunday, August 3rd, the contractions started up again around noon and I told Rick I didn’t even want to tell him about them because I figured he wouldn’t believe me due to the week I had had! Contractions did become more intense and longer as the day went on though so I again called Jen to give her another “heads up” and tell her that I really felt like Matthew would be coming that night. Rick and I stayed downstairs that evening instead of heading up to bed and I labored hard throughout the night, with contractions coming every two to four minutes and lasting from thirty seconds to two minutes. I alternated between lying on my left side in the bed we had set up in the living room, walking throughout the house, and lying in the pool which we had set up in our dining room. By 5am I was exhausted and told Rick I was going to try to get some rest with the Hypnobirthing CD. He lay down next to me in the bed and we both fell asleep for about an hour when our kids woke us up for the day. At that time my contractions had slowed to approximately every half hour and I was feeling incredibly frustrated.

That morning (Monday, August 4th) I had a scheduled 37 week appt. with Jen at our house and started crying just before she arrived at 11am because I was so tired and didn’t think I could take this stop and start labor much longer. My contractions had once again slowed to about every twenty minutes. Jen measured me first and found me to be measuring 49 weeks! I had been measuring about 2 weeks ahead since mid-pregnancy and Jen kept telling me she really thought it was due to an excess of amniotic fluid as opposed to a big baby because when she felt my belly she didn’t feel baby parts. Everyone else, on the other hand, was convinced I was either having twins or my due date was off. I harbored secret fears that Matthew would come out weighing 12 pounds! She checked me next, which is what I had been waiting for, and told me I would be having my baby that day! I was shocked. I guess I had resigned myself to the fact that my contractions would continue like they had for another 3 weeks. I think she surprised us both when she announced the fantastic news that I was 7cm dilated, almost 8!!!! I guess the week’s worth of contractions had been doing something after all. I was ecstatic! It was also just the kind of day I had imagined myself giving birth on – not too hot or cold with a nice breeze blowing through the house. We were ready!

Jen had another home visit to make about a half hour away but said she was feeling that she should just stay with me. Since I was still only contracting every twenty minutes or so I encouraged her to go and told her I was going to take a nap to try and get some energy for the impending delivery since I had only slept about an hour the night before. She left, but only after telling me to call her at anytime if I felt she should come back. Almost as soon as she had pulled out of our driveway my contractions started picking up again. So much for a nap! I wanted to be in the water, so Rick set the pool up again and I got right in. I was so glad we had gotten the pool as the water felt great. It did seem funny to be laboring in an inflatable kid’s fish pool though! The contractions seemed to be picking up even more and Rick convinced me that we should call Jen back. One of his biggest fears was that I would have the baby without her there and he really didn’t want to be in charge of the delivery! She was back by 1pm and sat down outside of the pool next to me and poured cups full of warm water over my belly when I contracted while Rick supported my head and neck from behind. It was probably the most comfortable I’ve ever been in labor! We were still doing this at 3pm when Jill, Jen’s assistant who is an RN and midwife-in-training, arrived. At this point I started feeling really nauseous and threw up, one of the many times this would happen throughout the rest of my labor. Not pleasant!

After awhile I got tired of being in the pool and wanted to lie down on the bed. I lay on my left side, which seemed to make the contractions stronger than ever, but I was so tired that I didn’t want to move. Whenever a contraction would come on I would yell, “Heat” and someone would press my hot rice bag into my lower back, something Rick had been doing for me for days, and I joked that it was my new best friend! Jen checked me again and found that I was about 9 ½ cm dilated. She contemplated breaking my water, but said Matthew was just not down far enough for her to feel she could safely do this without the risk of his arm or something else coming through first, in which case we’d have an emergency. She suggested I try walking up the staircase, taking the steps two at a time, to try to get the baby to engage. I did this twice, stopping each time at the top and bottom to lean against Rick while I had a contraction. His support throughout the entire labor was fantastic. Jen also suggested I squat during contractions, but I had a hard time doing that. I ended up squatting against the bed for a bit, but wasn’t too successful with it. Jill thought the birth stool might help, so brought that in from her car and I labored on that for awhile. Rick sat on the bed behind me to support my upper back, head and neck and during each contraction I’d lean forward (curled around the baby like I was hugging it is what Jill told me to do) and grab Jill’s hands while Jen applied pressure inside. My natural instinct was to lean back into Rick, so leaning forward like they wanted me to do was hard. We were still trying to get the baby down though and Jen said if it didn’t happen soon we would have to go in (to the hospital) which was the last thing I wanted.

Finally, around 6:30pm, Jen felt Matthew was low enough for her to safely break the water. (My water has never broken on it’s own in all of my pregnancies.) She did so while I was still on the birthing stool and out it poured – “ungodly amounts” as Rick put it! He actually thought something was wrong when he kept hearing it come out without stopping, but when he heard Jen and Jill laughing about it he figured everything was okay. It seemed to me like it would never stop. They estimated I had about 10 cups of amniotic fluid as opposed to the normal 4 (so Jen had been right all along in her guess as to why my belly was so big).

As soon as the water was out I started feeling Matthew move down. It felt really strange to me and I got pretty scared and nervous for the first time. I had gotten partial epidurals with the other two so had never felt anything like this. Rick, Jen and Jill all did a great job of calming me down. At first I remained on the birth stool and when that started to feel too uncomfortable I switched to all fours on the floor. That didn’t feel good to me either and I ended up on my left side again, in the bed, with Jill lying next to me, Rick behind me on my right side and Jen at my bottom. The urges to push were so strong (something else I hadn’t felt with the other two either) and I became very vocal, screaming through each one – not quite the gentle welcome to the world I wanted to give my baby but I couldn’t help it. I was exhausted, so hot, and feeling out-of-control, not to mention that the baby coming out just plain hurt. There was an intense burning sensation as he crowned and Jen applied warm olive oil compresses to the area. Rick was trying to keep my right leg up and at some point I switched to all fours again, on the bed, and pushed Matthew’s head out. What an awesome feeling! As soon as his head was out he started making little mewing sounds and in the midst of all the craziness I asked Rick if the cats needed to be fed, thinking they were what I was hearing! Jen replied that I was hearing my baby! It was very surreal. Another few pushes and Matthew was out – HALLELUJAH did that feel good! He was born at 7:06pm; 31 hours after the contractions had started again the previous day and about a half hour after I started pushing. He was 7lbs, 5oz (my smallest baby) and 19 ¼ inches long. There was no episiotomy and no tearing. He had a short cord so couldn’t come up too far, but they laid him on my belly right away, all bloody and covered with vernix. He was beautiful! Jen told me the cord had been wrapped around his foot, something she had never seen before, so between that and the buoyancy of the extra amniotic fluid he had a hard time coming down, which explained the long labor.

Rick cut the cord and I snuggled Matthew on my chest for a bit and then Jen and Jill wanted to give him some oxygen (he had inhaled a lot of fluid and his breathing was a bit raspy) so put him skin to skin on Rick’s chest in our rocking chair and did it there. One of the huge benefits of being in our own home was that he wasn’t whisked off to the NICU right away for oxygen and observation but was able to stay in our care the entire time, even to receive oxygen. I started shivering and asked for a blanket and since we didn’t have any more clean towels or blankets out and available Jill ended up covering me with a picnic tablecloth that she found in our laundry room! I’m sure I was quite a sight! The placenta had not yet come out so Jen gave me a shot of Pitocin but then ended up having to assist it out when it still seemed to be adherent about an hour later. That was not fun and I was a big baby about it. Rick was watching all of this from the couch where they had moved him and Matthew and said it was a good thing Jen was small based on what he saw her doing with me to get the placenta out! After everyone got cleaned up they returned Matthew to my chest and we all had some champagne and snacks. Rick and I were on a complete adrenalin high, which lasted for days, and couldn’t have been happier. The birth was long and exhausting, and there were definitely times when I didn’t think I could do it, but I did. Hooray for homebirth!