We planned a home birth and my whole family secretly thought that I was crazy. My sister warned me that the labor pains would be hard to get through without an epidural. My mother said the same thing and thought her baby had no idea what was ahead. They were both right, but 11 days before my due date our baby came with a will to meet her parents.
All throughout my pregnancy I was parched. I couldn’t drink enough water and I was thirsty. During a check-up visit at around month seven or eight, my midwife noticed that I was dehydrated. She was right. I had stopped drinking large amounts of water. I was tired of drinking with no reward. She recommended that I diversify my fluids and pointed me in the direction of Stinging Nettle tea and Raspberry Leaf tea. I began brewing big pots of these teas every other day or so before going to bed. I used three bags in one large pot that I’d let sit over night. In the morning I’d pour the tea in my 36 oz apple sauce jars and refrigerate them. I’d bring one jar to work and drank a second one when I got home. I continued to drink water throughout the day and started to feel more hydrated.
The weeks leading up to the birth of Baby Popcorn I met with my doula who showed me exercises that I should do before and during labor. I was mentally preparing myself for the task and freaking out as the DD neared. I wondered if I’d be able to do it. I wondered if I’d be able to tie up all my loose ends at work before the baby came. I wondered how bad it would hurt without the epidural.
A week before she came I remember feeling like I wasn’t ready for her to be here. I actually said that to my doula. We had just moved to a new place a couple of months earlier, the baby’s room wasn’t done, and I had so many things left to do to prepare for our home birth.
That week I hustled to finish my projects at work and I ordered the remaining supplies needed for the labor. Finally, at our next appointment I told our doula that I was ready for the baby to come. I shared a dream that I had had the night before about the midwife delivering the baby in our living room. The Friday before Baby Popcorn arrived, I remember thinking that I would have to work from home for the rest of the pregnancy because the thought of taking the train and walking to work drained me.
The next day I ran errands that completely exhausted me. I returned something that I’d been meaning to return for some time in midtown. Then I went to the Babies R Us in Times Square to get a changing table pad and then went to Costco to buy food in preparation for the baby’s arrival. Let’s just say that I was totally beat went I got home. I laid on the couch for 4 hours. A few friends came over later on and I did my exercises while we hung out. I went to bed around 3am—a couple of hours after Mr. Popcorn got home. I usually nap for a few hours between 9pm and 12am so that when he does come home, we can hang out for a little bit. I can’t remember if I napped that night, but I woke back up the next morning at 8:15am to start my day. When I woke up, there were no contractions. But, while I was in the shower something gave way. I didn’t see anything but called our midwife and doula to let them know what happened. Fast forward to 9:45am – my water was trickling down the hall as I walked to the living room. I had no idea how far along I was in my labor. I was trying to fold clothes just moments before while hunched over staving off the pain. I thought I was in early labor. Oh silly me.
I resolved to let Mr. Popcorn sleep until 11am since we had just gone to sleep at 3am after a very long day. By the time 10am rolled around I couldn’t do it alone anymore. I yelled his name and he got up ready to go. He took a quick shower only to find me on the floor working through a serious contraction when he came out. Minutes later I was throwing up. Little did I know that I was in transition. Poor Mr. Popcorn was running around boiling water, holding my hand, and moving boxes. Remember I said we had just moved a couple of months earlier? Argh.
Our doula arrived at 11am or so and asked how far apart the contractions were. Since I did not effectively communicate when the contractions were ending, Mr. Popcorn said that they were seven minutes apart. Wrong answer. The doula quickly realized that they were much closer together. They called the midwife to let her know what was going on. She quickly drove from Brooklyn to us while she coached us through everything on speakerphone. Her assistant who lives closer to us was also in transit at this point. Baby Popcorn was holding true to her name because I felt the need to push before either of them arrived.
The assistant arrived close to noon… just in enough time to catch our popping kernel. Our midwife was still trying to get to us from Brooklyn and arrived after Baby Popcorn popped out. Don’t worry. She played a pretty major role in the labor. How you ask? She ended up having to manually remove my placenta after Baby Popcorn’s birth. Let me just say that having Baby Popcorn was bliss in comparison. That feeling was no bueno!
I still wonder how it all happened so quickly. Truth be told I think God knew a 36 hour labor would drive me crazy. And, I think the abundance of raspberry leaf tea made a big difference along with all the city walking I did.
Though the baby came unexpectedly and our midwife wasn’t here to physically catch her, there was never a moment of fear – even with the placenta drama. I learned after that Mr. Popcorn was freaking out. Such a good husband not to show it! My body did what it knew to do and if I could do it again, I’d do it the same way…well minus having Mr. Popcorn move boxes around during my contractions.
Note to self: when you decide to have another baby, stay active until the end, drink lots and lots of raspberry leaf tea during the last trimester, and stay home—the next one may arrive when you least expect it.