This post is the second installation of a three part series of Luke’s Birth Story that ran this week.
Click here to read Luke’s Birth Story: Part 1, The Road to Homebirth
Click here to read Luke’s Birth Story: Part 3, The Birth
Fast-forward several weeks to Friday, September 7th, the night before Luke’s guess date. I began feeling intense pressure in my lower back, which I assumed was gas related to baby’s position. The pressure waxed and waned all evening, accompanied by strong contractions. One in particular had me doubled over the hood of our SUV in the parking lot of Chipotle.
The next morning, on Luke’s guess date, we arose early to go to our neighborhood’s annual garage sales. We walked alleys for three hours straight. At no point did I feel uncomfortable, the gas from the night before had faded.
That evening I experienced the same gas and bloating, but this time the pressure was accompanied by a strong urge to squat. So, there I was in my mother-in-law’s home-based beauty shop doing deep squats while Matthew got his first real haircut. He looked so grown up and mature.
Once again, by morning the pressure and bloat dissipated. I hoped and prayed that the night’s events and urges were bringing me closer to meeting my baby boy.
On Sunday afternoon I vividly remember telling Allan that we were to begin Operation Eject Baby. I was ready to meet our baby. Earlier that week I had purchased Pulsatilla, a homeopathic remedy that I had intended to take to ease some round ligament/hip discomfort I was feeling. However, I read that the remedy could trigger labor and wanted to wait until after my guess date to use it. During Matthew’s afternoon nap I took the Pulsatilla and Allan worked the acupressure points I had learned at my massage earlier that week. I did not notice a significant change in the intensity or frequency of my contractions.
After an early dinner we set off on a walk along the parkway. Matthew loves our evening walks. He happily leads Allan and I along the creek picking up sticks, admiring tree bark and stomping piles of leaves.
As we mosied along I noticed a change in my body. I could feel the baby descending into my pelvis. His descent was accompanied by pressure in my pelvic bones, cervix and lower back. I felt the urge to squat. I felt silly popping a squat in the middle of the park, but instinctively knew that it would relieve the pressure and aid him in his descent. Several times during our walk I took breaks to do deep squats and hip circles. I wanted so badly to have my baby and wanted to give him every opportunity to move into position. The contractions, which I thought were still simply gas pain, were starting to intensify and I decided that it was time to head home. Allan was positive that I was in labor. I was not convinced.
I assume that the pelvic pressure I felt during our walk was the baby descending into my pelvis with his hands next to his face. The week leading up to his birth he and I had several long conversations about moving his hands down to his chest versus keeping them by his face, as he had done for the majority of my pregnancy. Also, I knew that the baby was most likely still posterior at this point and desperately wanted to encourage him to turn anterior to aid in delivery.
We arrived at home at 7:30 PM and assumed our usual evening routine. Allan bathed Matthew and put him to bed. I tidied up the house and washed the dishes while on the phone with my mom. My mom later said that she could tell something was different about me and she assumed I was in labor.
Matthew was having a difficult time falling asleep and kept asking for me. He joined me on the kitchen floor watching me sway back and forth on hands and knees. Without saying a word he began to stroke my face and give me kisses.
At this point I was feeling very regular contractions, some strong enough to take my breath away. However, I was not convinced that I was in labor. Throughout the evening I remember asking Allan if he thought I was in labor and he kept suggesting that I call Kim. I would simply shrug it off, not wanting to be the girl who cried wolf. Besides, this was my second baby. I could recognize the difference between Braxton Hicks, gas pain and labor contractions, right? Apparently not.
At 10:00 PM I went to the bathroom and found blood on my underwear. I was excited, but still not convinced that I was in labor. I called Kim and told her about the day’s events. I remember her telling me “Congratulations, you’re dilating”, which made me laugh. She asked if I wanted her to come over to check on me. I told her that I was fine for now and simply wanted to lie down and try to get some rest. I had a few contractions during our conversation and was easily able to talk through them. I felt that I had some time before baby was earthside. Kim suggested that Allan set up and fill the water birth tub. I called Karen to let her know what was going on, but had her hold off on coming over as well.
We contemplated what to do with Matthew, who had just finally fallen asleep. Our plan was to have Matthew go to Allan’s parent’s house during the birth; but now I was conflicted. There was part of me that thought he may simply sleep through the birth, but I was concerned that the commotion might wake him. Allan recommended that we follow through with our plan. My in-laws came to pick up Matthew. I sobbed as I watched my father-in-law carry my baby out of the house, but knew that it was what was best for him and me.
Allan frantically ran around the house making preparations. He constructed a lovely birthing set up in the living room including a large plastic covered “landing area” to the side of the birthing tub. Around midnight he finally joined me in bed.
While Allan scurried around just outside our bedroom door I tried to relax. The contractions seemed to be coming in regular intervals. I knew that it was a bad idea to time my contractions, but I was curious. Around 11:00 PM the contractions were coming every 7-10 minutes and lasting 1 minute. With that knowledge I was able to let go and sleep.