Wednesday, November 4, 2009
I have really wanted to write about the home birth story of my daughter but it is so hard to put down into words. Birth is such a private and sacred event that it is difficult knowing what to share and what to make public. Let's see how this goes.
I was excited with this birth to finally be planning a home birth. Truthfully, it is something I had considered with my others but was either too scared to do or just too broke to pay for since insurance did not cover it. My first was born in a hospital with midwifery care and my second was born in a stand alone birth center.
I was so lucky and blessed this time to find a home birth midwife willing to allow me to make payments. I want to give praise to all those midwifes out there that are willing to be so generous so that women can have the beauty of a home birth.
I felt strongly with this birth that it should be at home and I knew that all would be well with this choice. It is a wonderful thing to feel comfortable and safe in our decisions regarding birth.
I was of course a week and a half overdue!!! Which is frustrating when you are uncomfortable. I had been going to bed every night HOPING that I would go into labor (since I had always started at night with my others).
This time I woke up in the morning and started laboring. Since I knew I was having the baby at home I spent the morning running around trying to clean things up, picking grapes with the kids, and making a dinner for that evening. I just couldn't get everything done fast enough.
I think the idea of having children at birth is wonderful, but honestly, having my kids climb on me in the middle of a contraction was a little distracting so in the afternoon I called my mom to have her come pick them up and take them to eat and play. (MacDonald's anyone?)
Time is always blurry in labor but I think I called my midwife around 3 in the afternoon to give her a heads up. My husband had some patients at 4 and I told him to go see them (always thinking about cash flow, that's me). Around 4:30 my mom came to get the kids and my mother in law who we live with realized that I was in labor. My mom wouldn't leave me alone and around this time I had her call the midwife, and I told her that my husband needed to come home NOW.
My midwives were both about an hour away so I was honestly worried that they wouldn't make it.
My husband came home, my mother in law was busy cleaning and bringing me damp cloths and ice chips, the kids were away and my midwives showed up.
This was my most intervention free pregnancy and birth and it was wonderful. In labor was the first time I had exposed the baby to any ultrasound at all when they checked the heart rate intermittently with the Doppler.
The midwives knew that I wanted this to be as hands off as possible so the only suggestion that they made was that I not labor in a sitting position. For some reason when I sat the heart rate was difficult or impossible to find.
So I labored all over the house. I was in the tub when I asked to have dilation checked because, honestly I just couldn't take it any more and wanted to know if I was close.
I was at a 9 1/2 with a lip on one side. My midwife recommended that I roll over so that the lip would disappear on that side. I did that and got out and was ready to push! YEAH!
About this time my mom showed up with my kids to see if she should take them to her house or what and when she heard how far along I was she said she was not going anywhere. I heard my midwife tell her that we would have a baby in a few minutes.
I had envisioned this birth a very certain way and that is much how it played out. I went into our TV room and squatted by our couch. I had really seen myself catching the baby. I just wanted it to be something that I did on my own without being messed with.
So, with my mother, mother in law and children in the next room, listening but not watching, and me, my husband and the two midwives in the TV room, I started to push.
I have to admit that pushing is the hardest part for me and I kind of dread it. I have heard that lots of women love this but- well, I don't.
I started to push- and I admit- this time I really understood the epidural. This for me is the most intense time. I hate to call it pain because pain is such a small and silly word to use when talking about labor and birth. However, it was intense beyond belief. This is definitely my rock and a hard place. Something that has to be done but something I really wish someone else could do for me.
My water burst all over the place (kind of neat actually, I had never had this happen before) and in a few short (or incredibly long) minutes my sweet baby girl is born!
I had imagined catching the baby myself but I was starting to slip while squatting and I had to hold onto my husband so as not to fall over, so the midwife caught. The baby was born with the cord wrapped around the neck which explained why some positions were bad for the heart beat.
I have only been to a few births and one thing I noticed when I wasn't the mother was that when the baby is born it is kind of all over for the birth team. There is not much to do except clean up and leave. But with the birth of your own child the birth is just the beginning of something beautiful. Now you get to get to know this new sweet person that you have been waiting for for so long. It is the beginning of a new life for the whole family.
What I Loved
This birth was so amazing and satisfying in so many ways. I have loved the births of all my children, but this was so untouched and pure, it just seemed like birth with no regrets. It was birth how it should be. I feel so blessed and lucky to have been able to have a birth like this.
I am so grateful for two midwives that were not only generous, but so incredibly respectful of me and my wishes. There was no ego involved for them. They seemed to have zero need to feel important. They were fine with just being on the sidelines, just in case, because that was what I wanted. They respected all of my wishes and needs, even if what I wanted was to be left alone. I never got any pressure from them to do anything that I felt uncomfortable with or pressure to have the baby on a certain day or in a way that worked well for them.
I know that from the outside I just seem crazy to people. Here I am, a housewife, obsessed with natural childbirth- who cares right? This is why-
I want so badly for women to know that birth is beautiful. It can be hard and crazy, even painful, but it is so much more. It is awe inspiring, amazing, and heavenly. It is our moment to be so close to life and death that we can just taste it. It is overwhelming and it is worth it.
I wish that women everywhere were respected and loved in this most sacred moment of their lives. I wish that we all could look at birth as so much more than just something that you have to go through in order to get a baby. I think of birth as a right of passage, a preparation for motherhood, a gift of love to your baby, yourself, and the world.
I know this sounds cheesy but it is true!
What more can I say! I love birth and I feel grateful everyday to be blessed to experience it in this life.