Jennifer DeRosa's Homebirth Story
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Alexander Patrick DeRosa
Big story of our big baby boy who was born at home without the use of drugs!
58 hours of labor from the time my water broke, and it was the best experience
of my lifetime. A special thank you to our wonderful midwives.

Birthday: August 7, 1998
Weight: 12 pounds
Length: 24 1/2 inches
Head: 15 1/4 inches
APGAR score: 9/10

August 5: For the previous few days, I had been waiting for some "signs" that my
labor would start. My due date was August 1 (based on our real conception date) or
August 4 based on the pregnancy calendar. When I stood up from bed, I felt a
trickle of water run down my legs, and when I went to the bathroom, just as I got
ready to sit, my water broke at 9:20 am. My son, who was standing with me, said
"That's ok Mommy, sometimes my pee gets on the floor too". Well, I waited for
some contractions to start, and within about an hour I had irregular contractions.
They were not consistent at all, and some large time gaps between them. I decided
not to call anyone yet. Within a few more hours, I decided to call my husband and
midwives to at least put them on notice. My midwives were 1-2 hours away, and I
didn't know when or how fast may labor would be. I laid down for a nap in the
afternoon, and woke up to a "good" contraction. This happened all day off and on
with contractions always 7-10 minutes apart. My midwives called a few times to
check on me, and I just went about my day as usual. Occasionally, I would have a
painful contraction, but they were still about 7-10 minutes apart. Right before I
went to bed, one of the midwives said "see you tonight!"

August 6: I woke up after a few hours of sleep, and was still having consistent
contractions, so I decided to time them, and they were about 5-7 minutes apart
lasting around 70 seconds! The length made me nervous, since I knew that longer
contractions meant they were effective. At 4:20 am Tom called midwives. At this
point, I was only about 5 hours away from breaking the "24 hour rule" regarding
my waters. I started taking my vitamin C every 2 hours, and was sure I would have
this baby by tonight. I wasn't in any "pain" but I really felt like something was going
on in there! At this point, it felt like hard period cramps. The midwives decided to
come out, and check me. I was only dilated to about 2-3 cm. This was terrible,
since I had been dilated this much since my 32nd week! The contractions I was
having were effacing my cervix, and I began to get some "pink" cervical mucus
each time I used the bathroom. At around 1:00 pm the midwives left, with
instructions "don't call until your in at least a little grouchy!" This was because I
would have a contraction, breath through, and then hop up. "Anyone need some ice
tea?" This was a big joke at the time. (but I felt great!) Somewhere around dinner
time, I felt like I might want someone here. I didn't want all of the midwives to
drive back, but I thought maybe 1 or 2 could return, and then call the other 2 when
they thought it was more appropriate. When they arrived, I was in the tub. I poured
water over my belly with each contraction, and this worked really well. As things
progressed, we tried a lot of different positions. One of my favorite at the time was
squatting with my back resting on the door. One of the midwives brought some
aromatic oils, and my friend held them near my nose as I breathed through the
contractions. This was something we hadn't planned on and worked really nice! I
didn't know it at the time, but my midwives had told my friend that they didn't
think I was progressing since I was still in "too good of a mood". I really did feel
great. My contractions hurt, but I was completely relaxed and comfortable in my
home. I continued to labor in 101 positions. At some point, one of the midwives
started putting searing hot washcloths on my perineum/vagina with pressure. This
was terrific. It really countered the pain, and made the contraction very enjoyable. I
know that sounds hard to believe, but I was still feeling really terrific. My back
began to hurt a little around 11 pm or so. One of the midwives brought a "rice bag"
that could be heated in the microwave. It was also searing hot, and felt terrific! My
position of choice at this time was sitting in a big soft chair in between contractions,
and during a contraction I squatted in front of the chair. The midwives applied
pressure to my perineum with a hot cloth, and started to get the area in my living
room "set up" for my birth. They put down a lot of chucks pads and a large plastic
sheet. They decided to call the remaining 2 midwives around midnight. It has now
been 39 hours since my water broke. Because of this, they were not checking my
progress. My contractions were about 3 minutes apart and lasting 55 seconds. Of
course, they hadn't been 70 seconds since I called them! I had only been checked
one time (back around 2-3 cm.) so I wanted to be checked again.

August 7: Within a few hours, the other 2 midwives arrived, and gave our first 2 a
much needed rest. I was more tired than anything, and still not in a lot of pain. The
contractions were hard, but I managed to deal with them by only dealing with one
at a time. Yes the peek hurt, but it would soon be over, and I felt totally relaxed
and enjoyed my labor in between. I knew I was getting close now. The midwives
began setting up the rest of their supplies, and I asked them to "guess" how much
longer it would be. This, by the way, is a bad idea! Her best guess was "definitely
before daylight comes!" I'm not sure of the time, but I asked to be checked again. It
was still dark outside, so I think it may have been around 4:00 or 5:00 am.
Everyone in our home was trying to get a little sleep. Getting my check pretty much
got everyone's attention! They put me at about 7 1/2 to 8 cm. Everyone cheered,
but I went into the bathroom to cry. This was really disappointing to me!! I wanted
to be finished. I felt like I was coping so well, and on no sleep. I was hungry, but
nothing sounded good. I munched a few grapes, and drank some RRL tea. In
between drinks, my midwives were giving me "labor enhancer" every 15 minutes. I
also knew that it would get worse, and that made me a little afraid. I got into the
shower, still crying. My husband tried to come into the bathroom, but I wanted to
be alone. After a few minutes, I had realized that I was having a really good labor,
and that aside from the contractions every 3 minutes, everything was ok. When I
got out of the shower, I was rejuvenated. I tried a new position. This would end up
being my favorite. I pushed 2 kitchen chairs together side by side, leaving a small
space between them. (Similar to a birth stool but higher) We put towels on them for
comfort. During a contraction, one midwife sat in front of me holding up my belly,
while my feet rested on her thighs. Another midwife applied perineal pressure with
a hot cloth, and my husband applied back pressure. In between contractions, they
would massage my legs and feet, or I would stand and stretch. Well, daylight was
peeking in, and still no baby. I was actually getting bored with labor. I wanted to be
done, and at the same time, I didn't feel like anything new was progressing. After
lunch, around 1:00 pm I wanted another check! I was at 9 1/2 cm. This was great
news!!! My midwife said "I feel bulging waters!" Which meant that my main waters
were intact, and that it had been my upper waters that had broken earlier! This was
good news, since that greatly reduced the possibility of infection. They began
coaching me into pushing, or so I thought. I wasn't doing any serious pushing, but
trying to "gently" bring the baby down. Somewhere around 4:00 pm or so, things
were getting really bad. Every contraction I pushed with seemed to kill me. It hurt
so bad for the first time. I tried everything, and couldn't get through these
contractions. I felt out of control and powerless. The solution was to get the baby
out, and push through the hurt! Pushing hurt worse than anything. I kept saying
that the pushing was useless, that it wasn't working at all. I really did not feel the
baby coming down or even pressing on my cervix. (This is an important point to
remember) I didn't want to push anymore. Somehow I had convinced myself that I
didn't have to push. I thought that if I didn't push, the baby would come anyway. I
also thought that without the pushing "urge" it was too soon. It is amazing, by the
way, how this natural instinct kicked in. Around 5pm I had to vomit. And at that
point, I was so angry that I nearly punched my husband's dresser. I was changing
position 2-3 times during one contraction with no relief! I decided to lay in bed. I
thought maybe if I tried the position similar to that in a hospital (lying down, head
elevated, knees to chest) that it might feel better. Eventually, the midwives came
into my room and assisted my husband with this position. This was the first time I
had even been in my bed since labor began 2 days before! Eventually I began to
push with more force. Once I began to let out loud grunts and moans, I felt more
powerful. The more noise I made, the less pain I was in. Eventually I thought that
the neighbors would hear me! (on the video, I wasn't half as loud as I thought!) My
bedroom began to fill up with people. My midwives were doing serious perineal
massage at this point. At 5:55 pm the head was born. The cord wasn't around his
neck and he had turned to anterior (face down!) I felt the shoulders pushing my
pelvis open. I was very aware of everything. Much more so than with my first
labor. At 6:00 pm exactly, the baby was born! It took so much effort to get that
baby out. My midwives were really helping my push and pull. After a few minutes,
I asked to weigh my little guy, and he was 12 pounds!!!! They all gasped! Our
midwife had over 2000 births under her belt, and this was a record! This explained
why in the hands and knees position, my stomach felt "too heavy" for a good labor
position. They then measured his head- 15 1/4 inches! Another record for her! This
translates into dilating to 13 1/2 cm!!! I had no idea that a cervix would or could
dilate past 10! Thinking back, this explains why my "transition" was so easy and the
pushing wasn't feeling effective. We all had thought that my "pushing stage" was
about 6 hours, when in reality, my transition was from about 11-13 1/2 cm, and
only lasted about 45 minutes!! His length was 24 1/2. With this huge baby, I didn't
even tear. I give my midwife 100% of the credit for that! She used an entire bottle
of olive oil in about 30 minutes doing perineal massages. As a comparison, my first
baby was 8#, 12 oz, and I had a little tear. It hurt much worse the first time. I didn't
even have the "ring of fire" with this one! I have no vaginal or rectal pain, and I
attribute 100% of that to our midwifery team! Within about 20 minutes, Alex was
nursing like a pro and I expelled my placenta. I said that I was ready to do it again if
all of my labors/deliveries could be like this one! A side note, my first labor was 31
hours, so much for the "half as long" rule!! Since we didn't have an ultrasound, we
had no idea we were in for such a big baby. If I had known, I might not have dealt
with my birth so well. I also know, that a C-Section would have been performed in
ANY hospital. I feel really powerful, and hope that other women know that they
CAN birth a HUGE baby at HOME and feel GREAT!


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