Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Confessions of an Unassisted Mama who Handled a Hemorrhage

©Mary Wroten 2011. Mary shares her perspective of birthing unassisted (UC) with her husband. She talks about handling third stage complications (hemorrhage) and how new babies transition into families.

“The UC of Tyler Benjamin, born on November 23 at 7:05 pm, weighing 10 lbs 8 oz, 14.5 in head, 15.5 in chest, 21 inches long.

Contractions started Monday night completely out of the blue. They were 5-10 minutes apart. They were fairly short, less than a minute each, but pretty intense. I had to focus on relaxing through them. The horselips concept really helped a lot with that. Things stayed this way until around 2:30 pm on Tuesday. I was able to sleep some that night but would wake up with every single contraction.

I did get into the tub for a while and was able to get a block of sleep by laying my head on a towel on the edge. It only ended up being about 45 minutes, because I have a little apartment tub, and I'm about 5'10, so the space was a little cramped. I was able to go about my regular routine for the morning and early afternoon Tuesday; I just had to drop to hands and knees and do loose lip noises every 5-10 minutes. My 3 kids (6 yo, 3 yo, 2yo) thought this was absolutely hilarious! I made a complete stash of mama cloth to keep myself occupied.

Around 2:30 or so, things really started to get more intense, so I sent DH (dear husband) out with the kids to do something to give me some alone time. Contractions were a lot closer, a lot more intense, but thankfully, not too much longer. I was getting tired by this point; I don't deal very well with broken sleep.

It was around 4 pm when contractions were intense enough that I felt as if I was losing control and could not stay on top of them any more. I tried pushing, and that eased the intensity enough through the peak of the contraction that I didn't feel so out of control. This went on for a while. Jeremy and the kids got home somewhere between 5 and 5:30. That was about the time that I couldn't handle being on my hands and knees anymore.

I had a stack of pillows on the bed, and laid back on them in a semi-upright, semi-reclined position. I would grasp my ankles and push with contractions and just flop back and fall asleep in between. I would occasionally start to lose it with a contraction and my husband would center me again by calmly saying, "You're doing great, remember, it hurts less to push." I remember thinking that I couldn't keep doing this forever, and thinking about how tired I was.

I must have said it out loud, because DH said, "But you are doing it, and soon you're going to have a little baby to kiss." My water broke at some point during a push and it arced up and over the shower curtain, flannel sheet, chux pad, to the one little place on the corner of the bed that wasn't covered! It must have been around 7pm when I lost control several pushes in a row when DH calmly asked if maybe I'd like to try hands and knees again. I was so tired that I didn't really want to, but I did.

He helped me up to the side of the bed, and I felt a contraction coming so I hit the floor on hands and knees and felt the baby move down. I literally felt as if my body was turning inside out. I was trying to crawl away from that feeling and ended up with my shoulder pushing against my bedpost and my head pushing against my dresser.

I reached down to feel the strangest sensation. I cupped my hand around his head, which wasn't out yet; I could feel all my tissues stretched around it. Another contraction, and he was out to his eyelids, then the rest of his head. I swear to you, the most excruciating feeling in the world was after his head was out and he rotated. Those little legs and feet moving around inside hurt, The next push was such relief that I thought he was out, but I looked down and saw his head and arms hanging down--it was just his arms popping out.

One last push and DH caught him, flipped him around, and handed him to me. I did it! We hadn't discussed names at all this pregnancy. Right then Jeremy said, "How about Benjamin?" Then I asked, "What about Tyler?" That's how we got his name, completely in the moment!

The kids were watching TV in the living room and came in to see him. Jeremy and Bella were immediately in love. Lily was sleeping, and met him about 20 minutes after he was born. She still is unsure of him. LOL

I felt a gush about 2 minutes after he was born, and got up on my knees to deliver the placenta. I didn't really have any pushing strength left, but could feel it just inside, so was able to slide it right out by just barely hooking my finger on it. I sat back to get to know baby. I had Jeremy put the herbs for the post partum bath on the stove to simmer.

There was a lot of blood on the sheet, pooling and congealing when I moved to a chux pad. I sat there, resting. It was probably about 45 minutes after he was born when I decided I wanted to get in the bath. I tied off the cord, and my Bella, my three year old, wanted to cut it. I wish we'd have thought to get a picture of that, because it was the most adorable thing ever.

When I got up off the chux pad, it was full of blood. Completely saturated--just about to the point of what it looked like when we tested what two cups of blood looked like on a chux pad. It was also very heavy, so I knew it wasn't just a little looking like a lot. When I stood up straight, I felt like I was going to pass out. I also had to hold a chux pad under myself, because I wasn't just dripping; I was leaving a streaming trail down my leg and on the floor. I got in the bath, because it several handfuls of shepherd's purse in the herbs and had Jeremy bring me the Hemhalt.

I took a dose of it, and then ate a couple of servings of lasagna, and drank some water and juice. I couldn't tell how much blood was in the water when I got out--it was pretty dark from the simmered herbs. I felt faint again, and went to sit on the couch. After half an hour there, I was sitting in another pretty big pool, so I took more Hemhalt, ate more lasagna, drank some Floradix, drank more water, drank more juice, ate a sandwich, and finally, finally started to feel better. I lost the faintness, and the bleeding slowed down to normal. I didn’t have bleeding problems again.

I don't know if it's a sweet consequence of having a homebirth, having so many kids, or both, but Tyler seamlessly fit into our family. It's almost as if he's always been here. We just haven't had the adjustment period that we've had with the others, and I love it. I would absolutely do it all over again. I simultaneously feel on top of the world, like "I DID IT!" and yet it feels so completely normal that it’s absolutely no big deal at the same time. It's an odd feeling.

I do have to mention one irritating thing, though. Everyone so far has treated my husband as the hero [for catching our baby]. To his credit, he does deflect it and say, "Mary did all the work, all I did was catch him and hand him to her." I just think this speaks volumes about our culture and is fairly demeaning to the women who birth their children.”

Hemorrhage in the third stage is one of the more common reasons for maternal injury and mortality. There are a variety of ways to prepare for it during pregnancy and to manage a 3rd stage complication either naturally or with allopathic intervention. Here are some resources you might not have heard about:

Hemorrhage remedies and tons more at:

Another option to consider is placenta encapsulation, said to reduce the risk of post-partum pain, complications and depression.

1 comment:

  1. I had the exact same experience only I completely passed out for a minute. took cayenne pepper in hot water alternated with orange juice. that girl is just about to turn 13 :)