Note from Mercy: Sometimes despite working really hard, some of my clients need a little more help than what they can get at home. Kaja tells her Homebirth transport story here. She has a beautiful accompanying video. Photo by Chelsee Thomas Photography. Videography by LifeTree Photography.
Going Into Labor
On October 9, 2018 at 42 weeks and 5 days pregnant, I went for an acupuncture appointment to try a last ditch effort at going into labor. During the appointment, I started having contractions. Through the appointment and up to almost 1pm, my contractions were consistently 15 minutes apart, but quite bearable.
At around 1pm, we arrived at Cotton Patch Cafe, and as I got out of the car, I had a stronger minute-long contraction that I had to breathe through. Through lunch, my contractions stayed at 10 minutes apart and were keeping intensity. I thought “finally! This is it! I’ll have a baby this week!”
Mercy was due to arrive at our house for my prenatal appointment at 2. She arrived about the same time we did, and I had a contraction at the front door. Once we got inside, I started having stronger contractions about 7 minutes apart. I was having to concentrate and breathe through the contractions.
I asked Mercy to check my dilation, and she did, and told me that I was indeed, quite dilated. Finally!
Shortly thereafter, I had bloody show and knew I was going into labor. We had to go pick up Max from school, so Mercy and I loaded into the car. By the time I got into the pick-up line, at 3:30, less than a mile away, my contractions were 5 minutes apart. We called my doula, Katie, and let her know. When we got back to the house, I knew things were going to pick up. Katie headed our direction, and I let our videographer, Haley, know that I was in labor.
I don’t remember much of timelines and such, but I do know that contractions DEFINITELY feel different with an intact amniotic sac. I labored for just over 12 hours with my waters intact.
At 4am on October 10, while in the birth pool, my waters broke, and I saw them! It was amazing. I was so excited, I think I yelped a little! Everyone, in their exhaustion, jumped up and got around the pool. I wasn’t pushing yet, but knew it would be soon.
About an hour later, I started pushing. However, I didn’t feel like i was making much progress.
I got in and out of the pool, tried relaxing, tried taking naps. By this point i was really tired, but I just wanted to meet my baby, my second boy, my third little squish.
I tried position after position. I made slight progress getting his head down, I could feel it with my fingers. But no matter what I did, I couldn’t get him lower. My strength was waning quickly. Standing became difficult, the miles circuit we tried was hell. I cried. And I yelled. And I cussed. I just couldn’t understand why my efforts hadn’t brought my baby earthside.
After a tough round of the miles circuit, I could barely stand. I went into the bathroom and sat on the toilet. Cole joined me, and I cried and I cried. I told him (it was about 3pm) that I didn’t have the strength to do it any longer. I needed to go to the hospital. I wasn’t able, yet again, to deliver my baby at home. He spoke with a Mercy and Katie, and we started getting ready to leave to United Regional. Cole packed me a bag, and packed Lennon some things, and Katie helped get me dressed. All I remember from the thirty minutes of the hustle and bustle, was having to hang on to Katie to not collapse. I don’t know where that girl got her strength, but it was that of a goddess, for real. I beat her up the entire time i was in labor. I squeezed her arms, her hands, her legs, her hips. And she didn’t once complain about it. She basically supported my full 195 pounds from my bedroom to the car.
Transporting to the Hospital
We arrived at United Regional shortly before 4pm. I was in a room just seconds later, and in less than 10 minutes, I had the sweetest doctor give me an epidural.
Dr. Thomas came in, and our sweet nameless baby’s heart rate was dropping to low-80s during contractions. I freaked out. I started crying, and Mercy and Katie had hell calming me down. Dr. Thomas said that it seemed that because my waters were broken, contractions were stressing the baby out, so she was going to try an amniohydrosis to see if that would help. Sure enough, the amniohydrosis worked. I “labored” for several hours and napped for a while. At around 9pm, the head nurse said I was fully dilated (again) and could start pushing. So, I did. And I moved, and my back started hurting immensely. I tried pushing on the hospital bed in four different positions: laying back with my legs held, laying on my side with one leg propped up. Squatting using a bar, and on all fours. There was little to no progress. The epidural that I asked them to turn off, completely wore off. I felt like my entire body was ripping open. My back hurt so intensely I couldn’t even move. I was exhausted. I started crying, and with each contraction I screamed in pain. I was done. I couldn’t do it anymore. They turned the epidural back on for me, but my back still felt like it was going to rip open. They turned the epidural up higher, and still, I was in immense pain. They turned it up further, and it worked, but, I couldn’t move my legs at all. There was no strength or feeling in my legs- they were completely like stumps. That was it. There was nothing more I could do. Dr. Thomas came in the room and proposed that we continued on with a c-section, as my baby’s head was not descending past a +1 station. I felt some devastation, and I cried for about a minute. But I knew that I didn’t have another option. His heart rate was declining with each contraction again, and my lips were cracking from the oxygen mask. I couldn’t feel my legs. I just wanted to hold my baby, to meet my son, to be done with this labor.
At 11:30 ish I was rolled into the OR. At 11:34, Lennon was born. I got to kiss him and then they quickly had to suction insane amounts of meconium out of his lungs. They got out as much as they could in the OR, he pooped all over their table, and I kissed him once more before they took him out of the OR to work on clearing his lungs further. At that point, with my uterus straight out of my body, my hormones and adrenaline mixed together, and I was shaking so violently that I couldn’t control my arms. I kept asking if they were done yet. The nurse kept telling me that my uterus wasn’t back in yet, so it would still be a while. My shaking was getting worse. I asked the nurse to please help me. She asked if I wanted some anxiety medication, and I told her yes. She put it through my IV and said it would make me drowsy, as soon as she said that word, I watched Cole and Mercy leave with the baby, and I fell right to sleep. I woke up in the recovery room, to Cole sitting by my side. He was visibly shaken, as our birth plan, yet again, went awry, but this time it ended in surgery. I started shaking again and told him to get our older two kiddos and go home. I asked the nurse for more medication, she administered it, and I fell back asleep (thankfully). I know Mercy was with me at some point, and I remember thanking her and telling her goodbye. I next woke to them asking me if i wanted to nurse my baby, because he was trying to eat the nurse’s hands. I shot straight up because of course I did! I finally got to hold my sweet boy shortly after October 11th began.
Although my birth was not anything like I had planned, I’m so very grateful that I have a healthy and beautiful little boy. I am so much more at peace with this birth than I was with Libby’s. What really made a difference for me was the respect that Dr. Thomas showed me when we transferred to the hospital. She didn’t talk down to me or say anything negative about my homebirth plans. She not once tried to shame me for trying. Instead she worked her hardest for me to birth vaginally. She explained all the risks to everything she proposed during my labor in the hospital, and was so kind and uplifting when she told me it was time for a c-section, and while in the OR.
This labor video means the world to me. It reminds me that I worked so hard, that my birth team worked so hard. Katie worked through the night to help me, she didn’t sleep much. No one slept much. Haley made sure to capture me at my most vulnerable, and I am forever grateful for that.