Presley Claire Leggett
Born at home March 31, 2006 4:50am
Birth Story Timeline
Fairly consistent contractions from 5pm till 10pm.
Fairly consistent contractions from 5pm till midnight when I stop timing them and go to sleep.
7:30am: Wake up to the same regular contractions as the night before. Back is very, very achy and I’m full of energy.
9:30am: Have some bloody show, but not much. Take a shower and shave; I’m pretty sure this is it!!
11:30am: Leah comes and checks me. I’m dilated to a 3-4 and there’s LOTS of bloody show! THIS IS IT!!
Noon – 5pm: Make lots of calls, eat some pizza and try to get some rest. I tried to nap but I was much to excited to sleep, so I spent most of the afternoon knitting.
5:00pm: Took Caedmon to get his soccer pictures done and play in his Thursday make-up game. At this point the contractions still weren’t painful but I was getting very tired and annoyed. I didn’t really want people talking to me and I had an intense desire to just go home.
6:30pm: The soccer game finally ended and we headed home where my mom was waiting for us. We talked about going out to eat but at that point I was really not wanting to leave the house.
7:00pm: Leah gets to the house and we start setting up the birth tub. We don’t have a hose and Leah doesn’t have hose so Kevin calls Dann to see if we can borrow his. Dann brings the hose but it’s leaky so we send the guys to Wal-Mart to buy a new one. While they’re gone Leah checks me and I’m dilated to a 7-8!
8:30pm: Mom goes and gets us food from DQ. I pick at mine a little but was really not in the mood to eat. I did my last snuggle time (our bedtime routine) with Caedmon as an only child. And I cried. And I cried some more. And poor Caedmon just wanted to get off of the crazy crying woman’s lap and go to bed!
9:00pm: Caedmon’s in bed and my contractions are starting to get really annoying. They’re still not painful but they make my lower back ache, so I decide to get in the tub. Oh…my…gosh how I love the tub! Who needs an epidural when you have a birth tub?!
9:00pm-Midnight: I spent the good part of these three hours just relaxing in the tub and visiting with Leah, Lana, and Mom. Every once in a while I would have to stop talking through a contraction, but for the most part I was still doing fine.
Midnight-4:50am: Time basically stopped for me at midnight. Actually, when I found out that it was midnight I thought it was only 10 because time seemed to stand still from the time I got into the tub. Somewhere around 12 I had Leah check me again. As was expected, I was fully dilated and effaced. But, there was a cervical lip that was refusing to dilate. Leah asked me if I wanted her to hold the lip up to see if the baby would slide under it. Oh…My…Gosh that hurt. As soon as she held it up the baby flipped out! She started to squirm and push and kick and wiggle. She was bound and determined to get under that lip!
I was pretty panicky after that incident because it HURT and up to that point I hadn’t felt any pain at all. This scared me enough that I decided to lay down in the pool and keep the pushing phase of labor at bay. I’m not sure how long I stayed like that, but eventually I decided to have Leah break my bag of waters. I knew this would make the contractions harder, but I didn’t feel like it was going to break on its own anytime soon and I wanted the baby out before the sun came up.
Leah broke the water and the fluid was clear and perfect. It was a HUGE relief of pressure when she broke it, but as soon as the next contraction hit I knew I was in for some hard work.
The post water breaking contractions intensified quickly. I would feel one coming and would moan and sway through it. After it was over I felt fine, like nothing had happened at all. And, thankfully, they came in shifts. I would have a really hard one, a break, an easy one, a break, then a hard one, and so on and so forth.
Eventually the contractions became very painful. Leah asked me if I was feeling pressure or the urge to push. I didn’t think that I was. I felt like I needed to have a bowl movement, but didn’t feel any pressure in my cervix. That’s where I thought I was supposed to feel pressure. I tried pushing a few times with Leah holding up the lip, but it was just way too painful.
I remember laying there in between contractions thinking (and saying) “She’s never going to come out. I can’t push, so she’s not going to come out. You’ll have to take me to the hospital and they’ll have to give me a C-section. Leah, can she come out on her own even if I don’t push? Do I have to push?” This chorus was uttered in between each contraction during the last 2 hours or so.
During this time I would sort of lay down in between contractions and I could feel the baby’s head and shoulders moving rhythmically back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. At the time I was just in awe of being able to feel that, but after the birth I look back on it and feel really bad that she was working so hard and I wasn’t doing anything to help her out!
At one point, when the contractions had peaked, Leah turned off the lights. I sat Indian style at the edge of the birth tub and Leah sat on the birthing ball directly in front of me. During the contractions I would sort of pant and blow and sway. I didn’t know it at the time, but mom said that Leah would rock the birth tub in rhythm with my swaying. She also panted with me and spoke in a really calm, soft tone. She was telling me what my body was doing, why I was feeling like this that it was almost over, etc. I can’t say enough about how wonderful she was.
While I was sitting at the edge of the tub I was able to sleep in between the contractions. Leah tells me that she slept too, but I really didn’t have much ability to focus on anyone but me at that point.
Leah started encouraging me to try and push while I was sitting because she could tell through my breathing that everything was ready to go, I was just holding it back. I decided to get on my back again and let Leah hold the lip up while I tried to push through it. OUCH! That only lasted one contraction before I begged her to take her hand out.
Finally at about 4:30-4:40am I decided that I was just going to do it. I was going to get over the fear of pushing and just get this baby out! I tried pushing through one contraction on my back and it did nothing. Mom and Leah suggested I get on my hands and knees (which I already knew I needed to do). I got up on my knees and as soon as I did the baby slid through the cervix. It felt like a 10 pound bowling ball had just dropped in my birth canal and I let out a big grunt and said “She’s coming!” I pushed once and her head crowned. OUCH!! Ring of fire!! Leah told me to reach down and feel her head but I couldn’t. I couldn’t do anything but focus on getting her out. Leah told me not to push but to just breathe the baby’s head out. I’m not sure if I did that or not. I could feel Leah’s hand supporting my perineum but I honestly don’t know if I was pushing or not. All I knew was that it was hurting and I wanted it out. Finally I felt relief and said “The head’s out”. I don’t know why I said that as everyone was behind me and could see for themselves what was going on. Then Leah asked me to get on my back again. I said “no” and began to push the body out. I heard Leah say that the cord was around the neck and that she had unwound it. Then she said “Amanda, you have to get on your back the baby is trying to breath underwater.”
4:50am: I flipped over and Kevin grabbed my shoulders to support me. I lifted my pelvis up, trying to get it out of the water so she would be able to breath and I pushed her very big shoulders out! Leah caught her as the rest of her body came out and I grabbed her and brought her to my chest.
The first thing I said to Presley was “I can’t believe you’re out! I can’t believe you’re out! I didn’t think you were going to come out. I don’t ever want to do that again!” I also apologized repeatedly for making it take so long and for not pushing her out sooner.
We soon determined that even though this baby was a week past her due date, she was in fact early. She was completely covered from head to toe in vernix and had no eyebrows and no eyelashes. Leah assured me that my calculations weren’t wrong; some babies just take longer to “cook” than others do.
Leah put a wet towel over Presley and a wash cloth over her head to keep her warm. Because of the towel, I wasn’t able to see whether or not we actually had a Presley or an un-named boy! So, I felt around and announced with relief that she was, in fact, a girl. Kevin asked me about 20 times if I was sure and Leah said “Well of course she’s a girl. Look at her face, she’s beautiful!”
We sat in the tub like that for a few minutes and I had a few contractions as the last stage of labor began. Presley was getting REALLY eager to nurse and the placenta wasn’t going to come out with me sitting like that, so we decided to cut the cord and pass her off to Grammy and Daddy. Presley let us know that she didn’t like that idea too much as she grabbed on to my bathing suit and screamed for dear life!
I got back on my hands and knees to deliver the placenta. It took about 5 minutes, a couple of contractions, and two pushes to get it out. It slid out with ease and was completely in tact.
As soon as that was done I got out of the tub, wrapped up in a blanket, and sat down to nurse my little girl. She latched on with ease and nursed like a champ for half an hour!
Giving birth at home was truly the most awesome experience I’ve ever had in my life. I’m sad that I didn’t do it with Caedmon and I’m sad that I’ll probably never experience it again. There are no words to describe how awesome it is to sit back, relax, and let your body give birth the way God designed it to do.
::EDIT:: I forgot to mention this (and I’m sure the other mothers around here would be interested to know) After giving birth to a 10lb 4oz baby with a 15.5 inch head, I had absolutely zero tearing. Not one rip, not one scratch. I did, however, tear with Caedmon who was only 7lbs 8oz with a 14inch head. Caedmon, of course, was delivered in a hospital while I was lying flat on my back and being forced to push when I wasn’t ready to push.