On Tuesday, December 11th, I was one month and three days overdue with my first baby. During weeks 40 to 44, I had tried everything to start labor. Acupuncture, massage, speed walking up hills, chiropractor work, swimming, red raspberry leaf tea, spicy foods…..but he wasn’t budging.
I cried and prayed more in those four weeks than I ever have in my entire life. I constantly checked baby’s heart rate throughout the days with my fetoscope and we had two ultrasounds and non stress tests done to monitor fluids and other activity. Nate and I became reclusive to avoid the never ending “where’s the baby?” question from everyone under the sun. If we told them he wasn’t here yet, they asked when the doctor would induce me.
I had no intention of having a hospital birth, much less an induction. I had a team of midwives and my husband and that was all I needed. At 43 weeks, the doctor who performed the ultrasound told us that fluids were seemingly on the low side and the baby was measuring 9.6 lbs and getting bigger! He let us know that he “recommended delivery” and that it wasn’t my fault labor hadn’t started, it was the baby’s and he “needed to be evicted.” We thanked him for his time and went home to think about some options.
I immediately upped my own fluids to help with the amniotic fluid levels and we decided to march on. I never felt in my heart that the baby was unsafe or that something was wrong and I fully trusted that God was guiding our steps. It was hard though and I needed support.
I found a group of women called Ten Month Mamas on Facebook and was shocked to find a secret society-like group of moms who had all gone 40+ weeks. Their support and informational resources eased my mind and I felt good about moving ahead with our home birth plan. We just took things one day at a time.
At 3:30pm on Tuesday afternoon, I was sitting on the couch wondering if this baby would ever come on his own. I had taken a dose of castor oil that morning and the effects had come and gone with no sign of labor starting. I decided to have a dance party in the living room. I walked to the computer and turned on my disco playlist. The second I stood up, my water broke. I couldn’t believe it! FINALLY!!
Contractions started coming irregularly around 2:00am that night. Nate and I were too excited to sleep so we got up and chatted about everything. Contractions kept coming but were inconsistent so we went back to sleep. He stayed home from work the next day and we waited for things to pick up. My water was still leaking so we knew something was happening.
Wednesday night I called the midwives to tell them the contractions were getting stronger. They agreed to come over and arrived sometime around 8:00pm. I was in and out of sleep at that point but was starting to feel the pain. They checked my blood pressure and baby’s heartbeat and let me keep sleeping.
Eventually I couldn’t take it anymore. The contractions were getting intense and I was scared to accept them. It was terrifyingly intimidating and I started moving my body in ways to make the pain manageable instead of making the labor progress. I just wanted to be left alone.
Sometime around midnight we decided to try the birth tub. It was hot but felt amazing and the contractions actually stopped for awhile. I laid in that tub for what seemed like hours tossing and turning, trying to navigate each contraction. The pain soon became unbearable and while the midwives checked on me intermittently, my husband never left my side. He kept me hydrated and kept a cool washcloth on my forehead while I painfully groaned my way through each surge.
After an hour or so, the midwife could tell that the labor was stalling. I also knew it was stalling and I was honestly glad. I couldn’t face the reality of what was coming and the birth pool became a means of escape. She instinctively knew this and decided we needed to go on a walk. I thought she was insane to be dragging me out of the house to go for a walk in the middle of the night!
I reluctantly got out of the tub, put my clothes and tennis shoes on and off we went. It was two midwives, a lady in labor and my husband with his backpack full of tactical supplies (lest something happen on our nighttime adventure!) I wanted to hate them but I also knew it was time to get things going. No matter which way I looked at it, that baby was coming and there was only one way out.
Into the night we went, marching up Kamehameha Highway with coffee trees and pineapples fields on both sides of us. The sky was clear and full of stars and even though I was having increasingly painful contractions, the night air was crisp and boosted my urge to keep going. One person pulled over and asked if we needed help. Nate replied, “No. She’s in labor and we’re trying to get things to progress.” Judging by the way the guy sped off, I think he thought we were all insane and I can’t blame him at all.
Once we arrived back home, I hid in the shower for a long time, trying to get relief instead of trying to birth a baby. It was a hellishly long night and by the time the morning came, I was rocking back and forth, crouched on my hands and knees in bed, praying for it to all be over. I had tried several different pushing positions but nothing seemed to work. He wasn’t coming and I felt like a trip to the hospital was our only hope. I was exhausted and feeling defeated.
With Nate and the midwives standing around me, I questioned if we should go. I hated the thought of coming this far and having to quit. The thought of this baby being forcefully removed from my body was horrifying so I decided it was finally time to make something happen. Lori knew we needed a better, more effective position so we all ended up on the kitchen floor. Yes, the kitchen floor.
Nate sat behind me with his back against the wall while holding my knees. Annie, one of the midwives, stood in front of me with a rebozo and while I pulled one end, she pulled on the other. Lori, the other midwife, coached us all through it and handled the delivery. Slowly, slowly, slowly we started making progress. He was finally coming. Lori said she could see his head and that was just the motivation I needed to keep going.
Push after push after push. I was definitely going hoarse from the growling sounds I was making but it was uncontrollable and my instincts had fully taken charge. Lori held a mirror up so I could see what was happening. (Later on, Nate told me he had refused to look. Poor guy!) Finally the head came out, followed by the shoulders and before we knew it, that sweet baby was laying on my chest, crying his little lungs out. His head measured 15 inches which explained my instinctive stalling! He needed to come slowly. He was perfect in every way and mine and Nate’s hearts exploded into a million pieces. I couldn’t believe he was finally here. Our little family was finally complete.
Through the last month, I was asked over and over when I would be induced. The main reasons overdue babies are induced are because the baby could get too big, amniotic fluids are too low, the cord could get compressed, meconium in the waters, the placenta is going to fail, your body can’t go into spontaneous labor, the risk of stillbirth rapidly increases and on and on it goes. Not one of these things was true for me. I had plenty of fluids, no calcification on the placenta, no meconium, a beautiful umbilical cord and the baby even had some vernix!
Through this process I have learned that although they may be medically necessary at times, inductions should not be pushed upon a woman just because she is overdue. If your body isn’t ready for labor, medical interventions can lead to an onslaught of otherwise unnecessary complications and undue stress on mom and baby.
- Doctor’s don’t have the final say over a woman’s body. It is your choice and your responsibility to bring your baby into the world in the safest way possible. They will come. Just give them time to finish developing. Trust your body, trust your baby and trust that God will move when the time is right.
Samuel Scott Crowson
8lbs & 8oz – 21 inches long
Born at 44 weeks and 3 days
Thursday, December 13th, 2018
(Original Due Date – November 12th)
“Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord.”
1 Samuel 1:20