After an elective induction with my first baby and two medical inductions for the boys, we weren't sure how my body would behave. In Idaho the midwives for homebirth in our area (CPM) are only able to attend births between 37-42 weeks. I also wanted to avoid vaginal exams, but had concern of the possibility of scar tissue affecting dilation from 2 D&C's since my last birth. We envisioned our midwife's role to simply be one of life guard---there to spectate and only intervene when necessary. As I discussed my feelings with the midwife, we decided to be proactive about preparing my body for birthing time. We were in no hurry to get Shipton here, but wanted to make sure my body was ready when he was ready to come, preferably by 42 weeks.
I felt like he was going to come on the earlier side of that 5 week window. I was nesting like crazy! We worked hard to get everything ready. I went through every closet and cupboard and cleaned and organized. We got all of the baby projects and house projects done. I cleaned and paid the kids to help reach the baseboards and other areas that were challenging with a round belly. Everything was ready.
I "turned" 37 weeks on Saturday. I had one last gospel doctrine lesson to teach and 12-step to facilitate for the last time. I waited until after church then took the herb combo and evening primrose oil approved by my midwife. I also applied some essential oils and listened to the Hypnobabies "Come OUT Baby" track as I napped. (You can find Hypnobabies tracks HERE).
As I attended the meeting that night, I noticed some cramping comparable to menstrual cramps. It continued through the meeting. When I came home, I decided to try for a change of pace and did yoga. The cramping stayed.
My birth team wanted to be notified of potential birthing day even if it ended up fizzling. I texted everyone and gave them a heads up. After a few hours the cramping left, but returned shortly after a good sleep.
They were getting closer together. Now 7 min, then 5 min for 2 hours. As we updated the midwife, I still didn't know if this was "it," but recognized I wasn't a first time Mama and it may be wise to have her at least come to do vitals and check on me and baby where they were that close together.
When she arrived, she ended up staying because things seemed to be progressing. We planned for an IV lock for good luck and she inserted it. It was difficult for me to gauge if the pressure waves were increasing in intensity because they kept changing from the front to the back, to both at the same time. I kept saying over and over things like, "I remember Hypnobabies makes it easy, but I didn't remember it being this easy," (which is very funny because of how things eventually unfolded) and "I still don't know for sure if this is the day."
As things "progressed," we filled the tub and got in. My pressure waves had been coming a few minutes apart and all of a sudden they stopped. I had a long pause in the pressure waves, then with the next one I felt a bit of pressure I hadn't felt before. I asked if it was possible to have a "rest and be thankful" where the uterus changes from opening pressure waves to pushing pressure waves.
I attempted to push for some time. I told my midwife that it felt different than with Leland. She reassured me that the water softens it. After a while, I just felt like it wasn't feeling like how I had expected. Pressure waves had spaced out. We got out and I listened to a Hypnobabies track and slept. When I woke up, things had not picked up.
My midwife gently approached me and acknowledge my desire to avoid vaginal exams; however, asked for permission so she could see where I was with things. If this was early birthing time, she wanted to go home and rest so she would be fresh. To my embarrassment, I was 1-2 cm open and 50% thinned.
My team who had assembled for the "birth" one by one went home. I was still having pressure waves about 10-15 min apart, so we decided to keep the tub and supplies ready over night and went to bed...and woke up pregnant the next morning.
I was surprised I had such strong possible signs of my birthing time at 37 weeks. I wasn't upset that I was "still pregnant," just embarrassed that I had assembled my team and went through all of the "steps" minus a babe in arms.
My husband gave me a blessing and told me that our time that day had purpose. I'm still not entirely sure, but as we talked about our "dress rehearsal" and what went well and what flopped, it set things up for our actual birthing time to go more smoothly.
*I need to listen to my body and instinct. I will be the one to say when I know for sure it's the day. Even when I was "pushing" I still kept saying, "I'm not sure if this is it."
*I needed to be in a groove on my own before anyone comes/there are any disruptions.
*Once I am in my groove, we next need to be in a groove as a couple.
*I felt really watched. Mark suggested turning my back to the couches and roomful of people when in the tub.
*I was going to need more tracks and scripts read than I had during the practice run.
We also learned a few logistics such as:
*We don't have enough hot water in the heater to fill up the tub at one time. We would need to fill it part-way early on, even if that meant draining it for another false alarm.
*We rearranged some furniture so I didn't feel so cramped.
I also want to throw in here how supportive my hubby was in my choice of location for our "birth nest." We have an almost 400 square foot basement that would lend the best to having an open space for everyone on our team, plus our little ones at the end without feeling cramped. The biggest hurdles were that we don't have a bathroom downstairs. No toilet. No running water to fill the tub. No obvious way to drain the tub.
As I expressed my desires for this to be the space, my husband one by one checked the items off the list. We used a camp toilet seat that snaps onto a bucket for the toilet. Not ideal, but worked out great when I wasn't up to climbing the stairs for a different potty. We used an adapter that fit onto the sink in the half bathroom and ran a hose downstairs to fill the tub. We have a sump pump attached to a pipe in a hole in the floor of the hotwater heater closet with lots of pipes over head. We have never used it before and weren't sure how it would work. We tried it out and it behaved like a toilet tank: when water reached a certain level, it triggered the pump to turn on and drain the water from the hole. We purchased a second pump and attached it to a hose and ran the hose into the hole and it was pumped out by the other pump. Whew! It took some creativity, but was so worth it to have that space!