The Birth of Harriet Rose

Now the story you have all been waiting for…Harriet’s birth story.

Frank and Greta were both two weeks late so I assumed Baby Luther would be late too. The baby’s due date was April 5th and nothing happened on that day so it wasn’t a big surprise. On the night of April 6th, my husband went out to Home Depot to get some stuff and I was at home making my final shopping list for Easter dinner. I still needed to get the ham, make dessert, finish sewing the napkins, make my centerpiece and color eggs with the kids. I didn’t worry though I had all of Holy Saturday to get everything done. However, Baby Luther wasn’t aware of the plans. My husband and I got to bed around midnight that night.

At 3am, I turned around in bed and suddenly felt a small gush of water. I jumped out of bed and went quickly to the bathroom were I called out to my husband that I either can’t hold my bladder or my water broke. Since I never had my water brake with the other kids, I wasn’t completely sure what happened. My husband called the midwife to let her know and she said try to get some sleep and call back when I started getting contractions. I never got any contractions, but around 4am I felt another gush of water and this time it was much larger. Luckily, my husband had just covered the bedroom floor with plastic so nothing got wet. Yes, I am obsessed with not getting the floor or our bed wet.

Again my husband called the midwife and let her know. This time she said that I would be having the baby at some point today so she was going to come over and hang out at our house until that time came. In the meantime, she told me to get some rest. I think I might have slept a little, but not much.

The midwife and her assistant came around 6:30am. She checked the baby’s heartbeat and was having a hard time finding it. After what seemed like forever, she finally found it. The heartbeat was nice and strong and the only thing to do now was wait for the contractions to start and the baby to come out.

We waited and waited and waited. I took a couple naps, ate, walked around the backyard, walked up and down stairs and this baby didn't want to come out. I would get contractions here and there, but none of them were strong or consistent. During this entire time, the midwife checked the baby’s heartbeat often and the baby was still doing fine. She also started to think that the placenta must be on the top of the uterus and this was the reason it was difficult to hear the baby’s heartbeat.

Around 4pm, the midwife asked if I wanted her to check how much progress I made. I said yes. She checked and I was at 7cm. She could feel the baby’s head and she said it still felt rather high. For whatever reason, the baby wasn’t dropping. I ate some dinner and then went back to walking. I really wasn’t in any pain at this point. A contraction would come and it would sort of hurt, but nothing real painful.

Since my water already broke in our minds we had the 18-24 hour deadline the medical professionals normally give you to get the baby out. I didn’t want to go to the hospital to be induced so agreed to take various things to help bring contractions on, however, I still refused to take the castor oil. I had bad experiences with that when I used it with Frank. By 7pm, I was started to get desperate and decided to take the castor oil and hope it did something. The castor oil didn’t seem to help bring on contractions, but I did throw up a few times so maybe it was doing something. At this point, I took a break from the whole laboring thing and made Easter baskets for the kids. Haha…yes, I am crazy.

Whenever I got a contraction the midwife had me get in random positions to help the baby move downwards. Then they tied me up in a large piece of fabric to help lift my belly up while I was having contractions. (The fabric contraption really makes no sense unless you see it). I really should have taken a picture of myself since it was rather funny. I used the fabric contraption for some time and it actually seemed to be working. Contractions started coming harder and closer together.

After a little while, I stopped using the fabric contraption and sat backwards on the toilet. This also helped move contractions along. By this point contractions started to hurt more so I went into my favorite laboring place, the shower. While in the shower I realized if I squatted and lifted my belly at the same time I could control the contractions. When ever I stood up the contractions would stop, when I got into the squatting position and lifted my belly the contractions came back and HURT. I did this for some time and then we started to loose hot water so I got out of the shower.

My husband asked the midwife if there were any other positions I could get into to help the baby come out. The midwife said yes and suggested a few. I hesitated trying those positions at first because I knew they would cause pain, lots of pain. However, they would also help the baby out. I took a few minutes to mentally prepare myself for the pain that was going to come and then got down on one knee while leaning against the bed. I was right, the pain started pretty much instantly and contractions were coming non-stop. I dealt with contractions for what seemed like forever and started thinking…this baby is never going to come out, I am going to be pregnant forever. Then my midwife said “you are doing great. I can see the head.” I was actually sort of surprised and then thought…oh okay, I can do this. I continued to push a couple more times and then the baby popped out. My husband announced we had another girl…Harriet Rose. It was 11:26 pm.

I was beyond thankful that she was out and was fine. However, this is when all the “fun” really began. It was taking longer than they would have liked for the placenta to come out, but it did finally come out. They started rubbing my stomach to help the uterus clamp down, however, I was still loosing a lot of blood. The midwife continued to rub my stomach and then the assistant took over once she got tired. Finally it go to the point were they were happy and I used the restroom and got into bed.

Harriet was 8lbs 11oz.

Daddy and Daughter
Harriet and I
The midwife showed my husband how to check the uterus and rub it if it needed help clamping down again. She also told me if I was to use the restroom to wake up my husband so he knew I was up and if I felt dizzy to lay back down in bed. Then they left us and the new member of our family to get some sleep. Remember we only got 3-4 hours of sleep the night before and by this point it was 1am Easter morning. Hubby and I were both EXHUSTED.

At around 3am (I think), I had to use the restroom so I woke up my husband like I was supposed to and then got up. In the process of getting up, I felt a small gush and being afraid I would get blood on the bed I rushed up (while feeling slightly dizzy) and went to the bathroom. That was a very BAD idea. As soon as I did it, I thought “that was stupid” and even then instead of going back to bed, I continued to use the restroom. I sat down on the toilet and then I really started to feel dizzy. I called out to my husband that I was feeling dizzy and I thought I might pass out. Then I heard a ringing in my ear and my hearing went and everything went black.

My husband rushed to the bathroom to find me passed out leaning against the wall. He called to me and tried to wake me up, but I wasn’t responding. He started rubbing my stomach like the midwife told him and then I woke up slightly, but passed out again. He continued yelling at me trying to get me to wake up and finally I did. At first I didn’t know what was going on, I was still sitting on the toilet, my head leaning again the wall and my husband was yelling at me to wake up and he was going to put me on the floor. I told me him I could get to the floor on my own and I did manage to do it. I still wasn’t all there, but I was awake and just kept talking in hopes that I wouldn’t pass out again. By this time my husband had called the midwife to let her know what happened and to ask what he should do.

She said we could either have me stay at the house or call 911and possibly be transferred to the hospital in case I needed an IV or worst case scenario a transfusion. (I lost a good amount of blood in the gush I felt and right before I passed out.) My husband asked me what I wanted to do and I told him to make the call since I wasn’t really in the state of mind to make the decision. He said okay and called 911. Thankfully, the midwife stayed on the phone the whole time with my husband to help him keep a clear head…remember we were still working on 3 hours of sleep. Plus, he just had to go through me passing out and thinking I could die.

At this point, my major concern was Harriet. I was afraid if I had to go to the hospital they would find out we had a home birth and want to take Harriet away for whatever reason. The midwife did tell my husband to make sure he don’t sign Harriet’s name to anything and keep her with him at all times. I was also slightly afraid that the paramedics would come and right away rush me off in the ambulance and then it wouldn’t be some time before I saw my husband again. These are probably all irrational concerns, but on only 3 hours of sleep all the worst case scenarios are gong through your head.

The paramedics come and were as nice as could be. My husband told them what happened and they checked out all my vital signs. They didn’t rush anything and agreed to help get me into bed. I got into bed and then realized it seemed like there were a ton of people in our bedroom. I seriously think there were around 10 EMTs in our bedroom. They continued to check my vitals to make sure everything was okay. Even in the process of doing all that, they noticed that Harriet had one of those explosive baby poops and changed her diaper and her clothes for us. I really can’t thank those people enough for being there. They left and said to just give them a call if we changed our minds and wanted me to be transferred to a hospital.

Once they left, my midwife told my husband that I couldn’t leave my bed for any reason for at least 24 hours. She said to call if we need anything and she would come back to the house the next day. I fell asleep immediately from pure exhaustion, but my poor husband couldn’t sleep for fear I would pass out again. He did finally fall asleep, but it was Easter day so he got up at a reasonable hour for the kids.

I should note we had my husband’s cousin’s daughters staying with us so they were taking care of the kids. We are forever thankful to them because I don’t think we could have made it without them watching the kids and keeping up the house for us.

My father-in-law and his girlfriend came later in the day and brought dinner, eggs for the kids to decorate, lots of candy and toys for the kids. They definitely made the day special for them. It was an Easter we were all to remember. 

The next day I begged my husband to let me get out of bed and take a shower. The 24 hours were up and I was feeling better. After much coaxing, he let me crawl to the shower where I sat down and took a shower. It was the nicest shower I ever took! My midwife came later that day to check Harriet and me. She checked my iron levels which turned out to be borderline anemic. She suggested I take Floradix and chlorophyll along with lots of greens to get my iron levels back up. Plus, I was to stay on bed rest for at least another week. I could get up to use the bathroom and walk to the living area, but that was it. After a week of that, I could get up and do simple things around the house, but not much else. By the end of the two weeks, I was feeling much better and ready for life to go back to normal. Well, as normal as life could be with four kids under four.

At least on bed rest this was my view for most of the day.
And there you have it…the story of how Harriet came into the world. Exciting, right?

Harriet is proving to be another calm happy baby. She spends the day eating, sleeping and getting lots of attention from her siblings. I can't put her anywhere without all the kids flocking to her. Edith and Frank always want to hold her and Edith "reads" to her whenever she gets the chance. 


The kids playing with Harriet

I am very happy God has blessed us with little Harriet Rose. 

Harriet at 1.5 months old.
Want to read more birth stories? Then you are in luck...Edith's birth story, Frank's birth story and Greta's birth story. 

2 comments

  1. Wow! That was dramatic, Elena! Glad to hear everything turned out all right. And thanks for posting this. Love birth stories.

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    1. It was very different from the other three births. I now wonder when/if there is a fifth birth what it will be like.

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