If you are a client or potential client of mine....stop reading now! Read this after you have had your baby. Every birth, every baby and every labor is different.
This is my experience, this is not meant to give anyone medical advice or replace the expertise of a midwife or doctor. If you need medical advice in the use of castor oil or ruptured membranes please contact your midwife or doctor.
At about 11:30 am November 30th 2009 and 41 weeks, my water started to leak while I was at work. All my 3-4 year old students thought I pee'd my pants, and to be honest, so did I. After going to the bathroom and being fairly certain I did not pee my pants, I called my midwife, Heather Chorely. She confirmed that it was most likely my water breaking. She suggested that if contractions didn’t start by 6 that night I take a bit of castor oil to help things move along.
Six o’clock rolled around and still no contractions so we went to the store and bought castor oil. I drank it with a milk shake and it tasted like paper. A few hours later I started to get really gassy and really minor contractions. Then came the wonderful diarrhea. At 1:30 am December 1st the rest of my water bag broke and I had my bloody show.
By morning my contractions were gone so I went in for a non-stress test at the office and everything looked great. Heather suggested a few things that could help move things along as well as more castor oil. After we left the office we talked to the office manager (who is also a massage therapist) at our work about pressure points that help start labor and then walked the kite hill at Gasworks Park. We went home, did another dose of the castor oil with orange juice and laid down for a nap till about 5 pm.
After waking up to nothing, I called Heather and let her know I wasn’t having contractions yet but we were about to walk to the store to get more castor oil. We discussed transferring if labor had not started by morning due to increased risk of infection.
As soon as we left the house I started getting contractions. We walked to and from the store, it took about 40 minutes and was about a 2 mile walk. On our way to the store I threw up my last dose of castor oil in the bushes. I remember vividly standing at the check out waiting for my wife to come back with peppermints and to pay for our castor oil and mints, I was having a fairly strong contraction. The check out clerk asked me if I was okay, and my response was "I think I am in labor. I need to go home." Lauren arrived, payed and we walked home. The contractions were becoming more frequent.
When we got back I started to time them and they continued to get more intense. As I was attempting to walk through my contractions I would walk on my toes. At 7 pm I gave Heather another call to let her know they were a minute long and 3-4 minutes apart. She told me to relax and if they were still this steady in an hour give her another call to let her know how it was going. At 8 pm I called her again and she said she was going to get stuff and the student midwives together and she would be there in about an hour and a half. At this point I was on my hands and knees in the bedroom. I stayed this way for most of my labor.
She arrived at 9:30 pm and by that time we had turned off all the lights lit the candles and I was making horse noises to get through the contractions. She said she wasn’t going to check me yet because my water had been broken for so long she didn’t want to risk infection. At around 10 pm she noticed my breathing had changed and one of the students checked my cervix and I was 9 cm dilated! Just when I thought I was starting to get weak, I felt strong.
There was no time to finish setting up the birth pool. Minutes later I started feeling the urge to push. I let the contractions do their work and move her down. I got on my hands and knees and just let my body do its own thing. I suddenly felt the urge to pee and waddled (for the first time) to the bathroom. When I reached down I could feel her head. After going to the bathroom I went back to the bed and started to push. With each contraction they could see her head bulge more and more. All I could think was "holy shit I don’t know if I can do this" during contractions and then when they stopped I would tell myself to "suck it up cause I don’t have a choice." After some pushing and feeling lots of stinging out popped her head. They checked for cord around the neck and with the next push Lauren caught her at 11:11 pm.
I rolled over and she was placed on my chest and I was instantly in shock of this thing that came out of me, but completely in love with her. They let the cord pulse for a bit but had to cut it early because the placenta was about to come out right after. (I learned later that I could have let the placenta stay attached till it came out. I had a 2nd degree tear at the bottom and a small tear on my labia that was stitched up. I also received two shots of pitocin after because my uterus wasn’t contracting down quite right.
Everyone was very gentle with us and kept cheering us both on and it was an amazing experience.
Thank you to Heather Chorley at Seattle Home Maternity