A Precipitous Labor: A Surprise Homebirth Story of baby Silas in Naples on 2/18/20
Today's birth story is shared by Courtney, mom of 3 in Naples, FL. Please join the Mindful Birth Doulas in welcoming baby Silas Jay, who was in a big hurry, into the world!
"Going into my third pregnancy with a third baby boy, I was unsure and a little freaked out by “how I was going to get this baby out”! I think having already experienced labor twice before, and just knowing that such a big challenge was awaiting me had me struggling with the whole idea of doing it again. With my first pregnancy, I had prepared my mind and body by practicing yoga, hypnobirthing, and meditation and had a great natural, drug-free birth at the hospital. A really incredible experience. With my second pregnancy, I didn’t practice any of that and actually dealt with depression. I had been induced one week before my due date because of excess swelling and high blood pressure. It was a harder labor and I had an epidural put in. Regardless of my labor experience, both babies were born healthy as can be and I’m grateful! So now with this third pregnancy, I think that the unpredictability of it all was a bit unsettling for me and knowing that no matter what I could do to prepare and plan, ultimately anything could happen- every pregnancy, birth and child can be entirely different.
During the beginning of this pregnancy, my good friend Sarah, had entered me in a raffle for a maternity basket from Mindful Birth Services and I ended up winning! I got to meet with the owner Chris and right away felt a connection. I loved the idea of having a doula and wanted her specifically, but she explained that she would pair me up with one from her team. She definitely chose the perfect doula for me- Tara! We got to know each other and grew a great relationship and bond over the months leading to my birth.
With this pregnancy I learned a lot more and became more informed and mindful of things like how I didn’t want to lay on my back throughout labor, and all the useful and effective positions there are that can help the process. Mental imagery to focus on what is really happening to me and my baby during contractions helped me instead of only thinking of the pain which can be intimidating and make it all so much harder.
My doula shared some great podcasts, yoga videos, techniques, and a book called ‘Mind over Labor’ with me. It all really was my source of info and clarity that became my strength during labor.
I had never heard of the term precipitous labor. Basically, an extremely rapid labor and delivery. It is defined as “expulsion of the fetus within less than three hours of commencement.”
Lesson here: don’t always think you have time. I was in my third trimester one week before the official due date.
Like I said already, I struggled with the unpredictability of labor when I would try to figure out how I wanted this all to go down, especially having two older kids to consider when the time came to give birth. My intent was to stay in the comfort of my own home as long as possible knowing how close we lived to a hospital. Initially I thought I wanted to give birth in the hospital because I loved the idea of having a nurse help me and care for me before I would have to come back home and take care of my family, but the more I learned throughout this pregnancy, I began to change my mind and wish I had planned on a home birth or delivering at a birth center with a midwife where I could have the freedom but most of all comfort throughout labor and birth. Turns out, I was able to experience both of these because of this precipitous birth.
At 6:30 pm on a Tuesday night, I drove my boys to their belt ceremony at karate. I was having pain, but I dismissed them as Braxton Hicks. The cramps kept getting stronger and stronger in just the short time we were there. I literally thought right then and there, “what if my water broke here?” I got the boys home around 7:20 to get them ready for baths and bed, but before that I remember eating some leftovers from dinner in the kitchen. Before I knew it, the pain was growing stronger and I had to lean over the counter and brace myself with each contraction. I remember it being so intense that I dropped to all fours when another would come. My two-year-old thought I was playing and hopped on top for a ride! Surprisingly I was super calm and never stopped to think that this could be actual labor. Duh! Little did I know as I played on the floor with my toddler that I was, in fact, in labor. I just breathed through the pain. I bent over my yoga ball and texted my husband to let him know I was in pain and struggling to get the boys ready for bed. I needed him to come home. It wasn’t even a matter of suggesting to take me to the hospital. This was around 8:30.
Then I texted my friend Sarah who lives about a mile away. She said she’d come over to bring me a calming natural drink she had used just a year ago with her own contractions, (her third child has the same birthday now as mine). I texted Tara, my doula, and she said to get into the bath because it would relax me. When Sarah came over around 9pm and saw me in the bath, she saw how serious my pains had become and how quickly it had escalated. Then I got to talk to my doula on the phone and she calmly told me she was at another birth, which had never happened before! She knew I was in serious labor because I couldn’t talk to her through a contraction. She said she’d call and send my back up doula who lives about thirty minutes away. After that call, Sarah turned off the lights, lit a candle, played meditation music, and softly talked me through my now full-blown contractions. My mind was at peace - somehow I had neither panic nor anxiety. Sarah had never been in this position, but she does have the experience of giving birth three times with her doula and midwife.
She sat next to me timing my contractions which were 60 seconds long and 3 minutes apart. She predicted I may have been anywhere between 4-8 centimeters. Sarah told me later on that she didn’t really realize it was already so serious because I was so calm, but I was really just in the zone. She had thought it would be a long night of labor ahead. I imagined every contraction was getting my baby closer and closer to where I could finally meet him. Every single surge and squeeze of pain was purposeful and necessary to massage the baby and to energize his circulatory system and nervous system for the outside world. I knew that all I had to do is submit to labor and let it happen. After a few minutes I calmly and softly whispered to Sarah: “I think I need medication.” (Which we found to be humorous when we talked about everything later on.)