So, with my second son I found out at 34 weeks that I had cholestasis and I would have to be induced at 37 weeks. I was concerned that would happen again this time, but everything seemed to be going fine until… the day I hit 37 weeks. That morning I woke up very early with very itchy hands and feet, the telltale sign of cholestasis.
I messaged my midwife and let her know. I had an appointment coming up so she said we could do blood work at my appointment but if the itching seemed to get worse and I wanted to start some natural labor encouragements, I could.
This was on a Thursday, but I decided I would wait until Sunday evening, so I could get some more things done and spend more time with my husband and kiddos, just in case the midwives brew worked! Friday and Saturday night I woke up with contractions that kept me up off and on all night, but fizzled out by morning. Sunday morning we woke up and went to church, then afterwards I went to my mom’s and she helped me prep freezer meals for after the baby came. My oldest son decided to spend the night with my mom but the rest of us headed home. I had an upset stomach and a feeling labor was imminent, but I decided that evening to go ahead and drink the midwives brew. It was TERRIBLE. My husband and I went for a walk, hoping it would distract me from the nausea— but it didn’t. When we got back home I tried taking a shower to distract me from the nausea— that didn’t work either, neither did eating, watching TV, or laying down. I ended up not being able to keep the drink down but around 9:30 I started having noticeable contractions. I began timing them and they were about 4 min apart and lasting for at least 1 min. Since I had contractions the two nights before I wasn’t too excited by these. I laid down and tried to go to sleep. However, by 11pm the contractions were more uncomfortable and laying down was making it worse. My husband and my toddler were going to bed just as I was getting up, and my husband asked me if I thought the baby was going to come tonight. My answer, “I doubt it”.
Short backstory, we sold our house in June and decided to downsize and travel when possible.
We now live in a 44ft fifth wheel camper. So I went into the living room/kitchen area and tried sitting on the couch. Unfortunately that was not comfortable either. So I paced back and forth through the camper, did squats, hung on my kitchen counter, swayed and whatever else felt “right”. Around midnight I decided to apply some of my essential oils that are said to help labor continue progressing. I wasn’t super uncomfortable as long as I was standing or walking. But I said to myself if the contractions don’t stop by 2am, I’ll give the midwife a call. Around 1am, the contractions were getting closer together. They were about 2-3 min apart and lasting at least 1 min. I went to the restroom and noticed a decent amount of blood, so I gave my midwife a call. We talked for a bit and around 1:20 I decided I wanted to head into the birth center. Up until this point, I was in total denial that I was actually in labor. We still had to drop off my son with my mom and then drive to the birth center, so it would take us at least a hour to do so. I woke my husband up, grabbed our bags, and headed to the car.
The car ride was not fun at all. But even with the more intense contractions, I was wondering if I would get there and be dilated enough for admission.
When we arrived, it was 2:15am and I was 8cm!! I was so thrilled. Having two prior inductions, I honestly did not know if my body would know what to do without pitocin. I went straight to the tub and it felt so good! The warm water helped my body release some of the tension I was holding onto. Soon my doula (yes, even doulas need a doula!) and photographer showed up. The last 15-20 min were TOUGH. The contractions were back to back and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath, but my baby was almost here and I was ready to push. My midwife reminded me to focus my energy on pushing and 2 pushes later my sweet baby was here! My husband and I caught him. It was such a special experience! Holden Elijah was born at 3:10am less than a hour after we arrived at the birth center! He weighed 7lbs even and he was perfect in every way.
We stayed until our midwife cleared us to go, about two hours later and then we headed home for a nap in our own bed.
My birth honestly could not have gone any better. My recovery and breastfeeding journey have literally been night & day from my two previous births. I haven’t had a trace of postpartum anxiety like I did with my first two boys and I’ve been able to exclusively breastfeed Holden, which was not possible with my older two kiddos.
I am SO grateful for everyone who helped me achieve my goal of an unmedicated, out of hospital birth. And so thankful for Guendy capturing this beautiful moment of our lives!
midwife: Journey Birth Center
To read more birth stories, read one of our very own, Guendy’s birth story