It was about 3pm on March 8th, 2012. We had just had our 40 week appointment earlier that morning. The week before I was 4 centimeters dilated. Labor was so close. Ethan and I had just had lunch downtown. Delicious pizza. We were headed down to the lake to go for a little walk. Hoping it would help things progress and get labor started. I made a quick stop at the public restroom while Ethan went to grab my jacket. The moment I sat down to use the potty, I felt pressure release from my belly, water flow out and bubble noises were coming from the right side of my belly. My water broke! I paused for a moment to think about what just happened. It was so unexpected. Once I came back to reality I quickly pulled my pants up and ran out of the bathroom. I said "No! Not here!" The lady in the stall next to me must have been very confused about what was taking place in my stall. I could feel my pants becoming wet. I ran across the street without even looking both ways. Ethan was watching me run towards him (and when I say run, it was obviously not a normal run. It was a straight legged, I look like I just wet myself awkward waddle) I started yelling "Call our Midwife. Call our Midwife. My water just broke." He seemed so confused and startled by what was happening, you can tell he wasn't sure what to do for a moment. We quickly got into the car.
On our way home I called my midwife: No answer. Paged her. Called my other midwife: No answer. Called my doula: No answer. This couldn't be happening. No one was answering! I had just had my 40 week appointment earlier that day. I knew they were all available. I naturally went into panic mode. Poor Ethan had to listen to me yell at my phone the whole car ride. One of my midwives called back quickly (thank goodness). She asked if there were any contractions. Contractions? Oh man, at this point I forgot I was going to have contractions. No contractions yet. She told me to call her when I started having contractions. It was very uncomfortable emotionally being in the car. I wanted to be in the comfort of my home with my birth team. Then I could focus on laboring.
Once we got home, Ethan started getting the birth tub set up, as well as the bed. At this point I was sitting on the toilet because it was really the only place I could think of being until everyone arrived. I notice meconium was mixed in with the water. I was a little concerned, but I was reassured by my midwife over the phone that it is normal for the meconium to come out with baby being breech. I was conflicted on whether I could use the restroom or not because I wasn't sure if that urge to "push" was baby trying to come out or my body just trying to relieve itself. One midwife came not too long after we got home, and then my doula. I was so relieved when they arrived. It felt safe enough to have our baby now. My doula sat with me in the bathroom until I felt comfortable enough to get up and go into the room. Contractions were sporadic at this point.
Once I got into the room I decided to get onto my knees and lean onto my birth ball and rock during my contractions. Ethan was still setting things up with our midwife. My doula stayed with me. Talking with me in between contractions and helping me stay relaxed during them. Not knowing how much time has passed at this point, I eventually decided to sit on the ball and rock my hips with the contractions. Figuring being upright would help with labor to progress. My other midwife and her assistant showed up about this time. I felt conflicted with Ethan being out setting things up. Things had to be set up, but I also wanted him next to me. I asked when he would be with me, and it didn't seem like too long after, he was by my side. He sat on the bed while I leaned my head and arms in front of him with each contraction. He held my hand and rubbed my hair. He put music on for me, which was wonderful. I enjoyed the distraction of the music.
I wanted to try being in the birth tub. It seemed like forever before it was ready for me to relax in. Once it was ready I quickly got in. Thiswas nice. I felt like it was my own bubble that nobody could invade. It helped with relieving some of the pain from the contractions, butmostly was just another nice distraction. It was so relaxing to the point it was slowing my contractions down. My doula suggested I get out for a little while to see if the contractions would pick back up. Ethan and I stood together as if we were dancing. The contractions were more intense like this. Standing definitely helps with baby dropping lower. I wasn't prepared for the contractions to feel the way they did at that point. My doula helped with pressing on my hips, and Ethan held me up when I seemed like I wanted to fall onto my knees. They were a wonderful pair to have during all of this.
I eventually got back onto my knees and leaned onto the birth ball. My midwives came in every so often to check babies heart rate. She was so strong during the whole process. I really enjoyed listening. This was great reassurance that everything was moving along nicely. I was fed a popsicle, juice box, yogurt, and lots of water during labor to help keep my strength up.
I was able to get back into the tub. After this point, labor seemed to progress quickly. Contractions were coming on harder and faster. I heard someone say "transition is happening". Boy, transition happening was right! I was not a quiet laborer by any means. This shocked me because my whole pregnancy I was sure I'd be quiet. Typically when I don't feel well I just stay quiet to get through the discomfort, but the only thing that seemed to help was just to moan and let out noises that showed to everyone how tough this was. My doula was great. Every time I let out a cry of some sort, she just sympathized with me. This really helped me to stay comfortable and not be embarrassed by anything. It also helped to kind of hit the side of the tub when a contraction was happening. I didn't want anyone to touch me. To be honest, I wasn't sure what I wanted during contractions. In between contractions I just relaxed to save my energy for the next one.
The urge to push started happening. This was the hardest part of labor because of the breech presentation, I was feeling the urge to push before I was fully dilated. I wasn't allowed to push until I was dilated enough for the head to come through. Not being allowed to push seemed backwards, because all my body wanted to do was push. With each contraction that urge became more and more intense, and I wasn't able to control it. My whole body was pushing her down. I probably apologized a dozen times to my midwives for my body doing this. After they checked that I was fully dilated, I got out of the tub. I went over to the birthing stool and sat down.
With each contraction I pushed... and I pushed hard. I wanted labor to be done with. I was ready to meet my little angel. Ethan sat on my left side and one of my midwives in front of me. My midwife held a mirror for me to show my progress. I couldn't see the mirror past my belly most of the time, but I wasn't really focused on this. She started rumping. You could see her butt coming down. Once she was fulled "rumped" I felt like I was going to tear at every angle. It was a burning/stinging sensation. It was a bit terrifying to push the rest of her out. Again, the only thing to help me through this was to let out yells, moans and groans. She then descended more. You could see her back, this was incredible to me. I was actually doing it! I told them to just pull her out, but I knew they couldn't do that. Once her legs fell out, I let out this sigh of relief. The girth of her wasn't as bad at this point. Her left shoulder popped out, and then with one last push her arms and head came out all together. My midwife put her into my arms and the only thing I could think of saying was "Oh my god" "Hi Sweetie." I kept focusing on Ethan's reaction. It was the sweetest thing to hear his excitement and happiness about seeing his little girl. I held her as we talked and touched her. My midwife was trying to stimulate her, it seemed like a good minute before she cried. I wasn't at all worried about it taking too long, as I knew she was getting enough oxygen through her umbilical cord. When she let out her first cry the whole room lit up in "Aww's". This was the most magical sound in the world. Ethan and I kissed. I felt this sense of strength and accomplishment. I just pushed out a baby in the comfort of my own home.. breech.. in about 15 minutes. No complications.
Emilee Nicole McCaughey was born at 10:05 pm, weighing 8 lbs 6 oz, measuring 20 1/2 inches long. She had dark hair and lots of it. She was a mini Ethan. We climbed into bed to cuddle with our little peanut and deliver the placenta. There was no tearing which surprised me because of how big she felt coming out I was sure I was going to. Another sense of accomplishment came over me at that point. Ethan cut the cord. He seemed very proud to do this.
This was truly the most amazing experience I've ever been through. I grew as a woman, mother, and fiance this day. My birth team was wonderful, and I couldn't have done it without them. I wish I could put it into words what this experience was to me, but I simply cannot.This opened my eyes to how strong women really are. We are beautiful and can achieve anything.
I think back to all the work we did to try to get her to turn. From pulsatilla, breech tilts, ECV, chiropractor etc.. And all the stress andanxiety it caused, but baby was completely content with staying close to my heart. It's so true when they say baby doesn't turn for a reason. So why force it? Because the medical community refuses to practice breech births, so therefore they c-section all of them? No. It is possible, and I'm living proof that it is not necessary to go through major surgery to have your baby, as long as mommy and baby are healthy. I wouldn't change anything about my birth experience. I'm proud that I have this story to share with other women, and I hope ithelps them to make an informed decision about how they want to birth their baby. "When you change the way you view birth, the wayyou birth will change." Marie Mongan, Hypnobirthing.