Mama's Version- First Birth Unassisted
Here is an unassisted birth story from on of our Mama Birth Facebook fans! It is an amazing first birth. Tomorrow we will have Daddy's version! Enjoy!
Let me start from the beginning....which began long before she was conceived. The way this pregnancy, labour and delivery happened was not by chance, nor by our decisions alone. I know that our Heavenly Father was very aware and involved in the whole thing, and that He also not only approved of the methods we used for this delivery, but was instrumental in bringing them about.After two years of trying to get pregnant, following the loss of our baby at 11.5 weeks gestation, in May of 1996....our home was once again blessed with the potential of a new life joining ours. I have to be honest and say that when I saw the positive line on the test, that I cried in joy and gratitude and the first thing I did was thank my Father in Heaven for answering our prayers. I also knew that it was time....the right time for our little one to come into the world. And I knew from the start that she would not only be born and stay with us, but that she would be healthy and that we had a responsibility to do the very best we could to make her entry into this world as peaceful, problem-free and joyful as possible.
I knew from the beginning that we wanted a home-birth...I was not prepared for an unassisted birth this time around, although DH (dear husband), by this point, was more than prepared to do that. So we began the journey through this pregnancy, with ample prenatal care (that I am now very glad we got, as our decision to birth her at home, on our own, was even more reinforced.....including from our doctor). We arrived in Alberta when I was 10 weeks pregnant, and I set about finding a caregiver. Midwives are scarce in this area of the province, and so it was more difficult that I anticipated. I first found a doctor who, although a medical professional, has shown nothing but support and acceptance with our desires and decisions right from the beginning. He is one in a million. It took a little longer to find a midwife, but find her we did and were very pleased with her outlook on pregnancy and childbirth. Her feelings and practices totally meshed with our desires. The pregnancy continued to proceed well and happily. I had so little discomfort and literally no complications. I knew this would be the case, but I was pleased that my thoughts were verified.
Okay, fast forward....We had been planning to have a midwife assisted home-birth, and knew that there were some who were even alarmed by this. But both of us have researched and prayed and sought counsel on the different methods available for delivering one's baby, and knew that not only was this the right decision, but that to not have a home-birth, at least in this case, would be going against the counsel of our Heavenly Father. Neither of us are against the use of hospitals in such circumstances as they become necessary, but we know that birth is a natural event, that can be complicated when controlled by an intervention-trained caregiver. Doctors are trained to use interventions to control and avoid problems in the outcome of health concerns. Hospitals are designed for the sick and dying....and for surgery, We firmly hold the position that a normal pregnancy, coupled with spiritual, mental, and physical preparation, and divine guidance and confirmation, should take place in the home where possible. As a student midwife myself, I have studied and learned extensively, and I personally felt the very best about this decision. DH also knows and has learned so much that was of great benefit and importance to the whole pregnancy and birth. I have to let everyone know how amazing he was. If everyone could have such a supportive birth coach and husband and attendant as he then they would be able to have the experience that I had.
Okay, on to the juicy details. On Sunday, Jan 10, I started having some bloody show and the head was definitely engaged. My aunt had told me to try the "crossing the legs" test, and if I couldn't cross them, then the head was engaged. Well, I could barely get them together, never mind crossed. Needless to say, I didn't feel very lady-like that Sunday, at church...or anywhere else for that matter. Later, the Primary President told me that she and some other ladies were amazed I was at church, and knew from looking at me that delivery was not far off. However, I had no such feelings. As this was my first delivery, I figured I had a good week...I knew that the head engaging and even bloody show can show up a few weeks in advance. The next morning I had a mild contraction...which I knew was a contraction as it was more like a menstrual cramp rather than Braxton Hicks. Oh, I should point out that we had already decided to have an unassisted birth because of some legal issues that had arisen regarding our midwife's ability to attend home-births...new laws had recently been introduced that only allowed registered midwives to attend home-births.
We had gone back and forth...okay, let me be honest...I had gone back and forth, between giving in and going to the hospital, because I personally felt we couldn't do it alone this time around...and doing it alone.....but the thing is, I never felt nervous about doing it by ourselves, just had "logical concerns" arise, but when it came down to it, I felt more peaceful about doing it on our own than going to the hospital. Of a great benefit was Laura Shanley's book, Unassisted Childbirth. I learned so much from her experiences.
So there it was......I didn't have any really painful contractions, and no regular ones, until later on in the afternoon. It was funny...I was teaching a voice lesson, and sitting nice and still...twice when I got up, I had contractions that must have made me look like an invalid...that poor 9 year old girl must have been confused with why I looked almost decrepit.
This continued on for awhile, I have to say that up until that evening (Monday) I was not even thinking I would deliver...I thought they would stop and would maybe continue next week. Well, I was wrong....they started getting really strong, but not regular, around 3 PM....okay, I THOUGHT they were really strong......boy was I proved wrong!! They were nothing compared to the end of it! We had friends who popped by to visit, and as I sat there, every time I contracted I would phase out a bit and breathe ....I apologised to them, but they had seen their sister do the same thing, about two weeks earlier. Kim didn't want to let any of our family know, as he was concerned about people phoning all night. Well, I had to tell my mum, my mother in law, my aunt and my grandma....I got my way....I am glad I did, because I got support and assistance that was very needed. And no, they didn't call all night :). My mum also didn't believe I was in real labour...boy was she surprised when she got the phone call from DH the following morning informing her that she was a grandma.
Well, we prepared the bedroom with candles and a drop sheet and supplies....unfortunately I had not finished getting all my herbs (as I thought I had more time), so I had nothing really for the pain. I should have called my midwife, but I didn't really think of that once we had decided to do this. Although I had called both her and my Dr, letting them know what was happening, earlier that evening. She didn't think it was imminent...he said that if I wanted, to come into the hospital and get monitored, but basically to do what we felt was right. So we continued on....the contractions were regular enough to keep me pretty much awake, but weren't progressing fast. Which was fine. I didn't mind.....they hurt, but I breathed through them, and tried visualisation. DH brought me food, and sat with me, ran me a lovely hot bath, which helped immensely! I kept going back and forth from the bed to the bath. I laboured standing up, sometimes lying on my side, but mostly in the bath...which felt so good.....I had about five all through the night! I dozed for maybe 2 or 3 minutes at a time, and we vaguely timed the contractions, to get an idea of where we were at. Kim couldn't find my cervix (hehe...) so we couldn't figure out my dilation...oh well...obviously it happened! I kept watch on her movements after the contractions and noticed that they were regular and problem-free. It would have been nice to have had a faetoscope to check her tones, but we both had the calm assurance that everything was just perfectly fine. Kim gave me a blessing at the start promising me a good delivery. I was comforted, but at the same time I was hoping for something in there about "painless"...wishful thinking on my part.
As the contractions got stronger, I felt I had never experienced such pain in my life...I was glad there was some respite between them...I was becoming exhausted, however, not unbearably so. DH sat there with me, encouraged me, and guided me. When I was in the bath, he sat on the toilet and held my hand, let me squeeze the life out of his, talked me through it and lifted my spirits when I felt I couldn't do it. Thoughts of "anything for the pain!!!" ran through my mind, and I knew that if we were at the hospital, I would likely have given in and probably asked for something...and I really didn't want that. I even told him that I just couldn't do it anymore. See I am not sugar-coating! I really needed DH, and he was perfectly amazing. He is my companion, my eternal mate and the most incredible support. He knows my mind, he knows what we wanted, and he helped me through it...he helped me have faith in myself... he was the reason I got through it....at least one of the reasons!
They got stronger, and heavier all through the night, and as morning approached I started to holler and scream as I breathed heavily (but correctly! lol) through each contraction. I am surprised our neighbours didn't call the police.....they must have thought something awful was happening in there. But I continued to bear with it and strive to stay on top of each contraction...I kept thinking and even saying, " Okay, this is good for the baby, each contraction brings her closer to being born". And it helped. I tried to work with it, and sometimes that even helped. I thought there were times when I would just give up, that I couldn't continue on...but I did...I knew I had to, and I knew that I just would, because what else can you do? The contractions moved lower, I could feel them stronger in my back and in the lower pelvic region.
My water broke and some came out, nice and clear, her head blocked the rest. I knew she wasn't far from coming. I was labouring on my hands and knees at this point and finding only relief from that position. As they got stronger and time between them ceased to have meaning, I knelt and bore down with all my energy, letting my breathing and voice box ease it! :) It worked!! As her head came down the birth canal, I knew it wouldn't be long....we were heading for 9 am, and DH was right there, supporting my perineum guiding me, giving me positive reinforcement, and being just wonderful. I am so blessed to have him. I wish I could have given everyone just a glimpse of what he was like during this whole delivery. He was my warrior through this...he really was. I know that without him, I wouldn't have had the experience I had, I would have been weaker. He kept me strong.
The urge to push came gradually, and her head kept sliding at the start...back up, when I tried to push her out. But after a few pushes, her head did come out...I felt I had torn, but I hadn't ...at least only a tiny tear on the inside vaginal wall, the perineum was perfectly intact (didn't even go white), because DH was wonderful about massaging and supporting it. He couldn't have done that at the hospital, and I may have ended up with an episiotomy.
When her head came out, I just gave one final push and out came the rest of her, DH caught her beautifully, and as I turned onto my back, he handed her to me. The first thing I asked was " Is she a girl?" We had known she was, but you know, I wanted confirmation...and yes, she was...a beautiful, healthy, and strong girl. She didn't need suctioning she gurgled, cried and spit up any mucous, immediately. Kim put her on me, and I started to nurse her...it took a bit, but we got the hang of it!
After a bit, I went back into the bath (mistake, shouldn't have done that, as there could have been a risk of infection) to deliver the placenta. We didn't cut or tie off the cord for 1 and a half hours...until it had given her all she needed. I should also note that she was perfectly pink right away. I know that if we had Apgars done, she would have been right at the top.
She opened her eyes, blinked, and had a calm peaceful look....even after all that hard work! Don't know if I had the same look on my face. I finally realised that being in the tub wasn't moving that placenta along any further, and got out , to sit on the toilet...within seconds, I delivered the placenta......no tugging was necessary! It came out intact.
The phone calls were made, we started to get cleaned up and prepared to go have her checked at the doctor's office. I felt, once I delivered her, a sense of awe and gratitude that such a wonderful, spiritual and blessed experience was ours to have. I know that this is the way our daughter was supposed to be born. The feeling in our home was one of calmness, strength and peace. I am so thankful for that. At the Drs office, we had her weighed and measured ( 7 lbs. 14 oz, 19 3/4 inches). And checked over. She was and is perfectly healthy and strong....Really strong, she has a grip like you wouldn't believe, and tries to lift her head all the time. She is two days old, and is already focusing. She knows us, she is happy, she is calm and she is the most beautiful person in the whole world! (okay, I suppose I am biased...but she is!!).
She has a lovely head of dark hair, she has a sweet round face, a pretty button nose, the tiniest ears, so delicately formed. Her head had a bit of moulding at the beginning, but it is now nice and round. She is so perfect and precious, I can hardly believe that she is ours and that Heavenly Father has given us this most valuable of all gifts. Her birth was perfect...it truly was. I know that having her by ourselves and bringing her into the world in her own home, was a custom made birth. She is content, healthy, happy and just wonderful. She has been in mine or DH's arms for the majority of her life , so far. She knows us, and I believe she is glad to be here with us.
Thus has the life of our first daughter started. We are grateful for her, we are grateful for her in our lives. My mum said that my grandma told her she felt strongly that my grandpa, who died almost 2 years ago, was present. I believe he was, and my midwife ( who came over later) said she could feel the presence of angels...they were here. I know that they were offering support and guidance. It is a bit emotional, remembering this. All through the pain, when I thought I couldn't do it, I never knew that the price was so little compared to the reward. She is worth every single moment I went through, and I know that I will do it again....and again...and again...whether it hurts, or not! I love her so much and so does DH. She is the greatest blessing we have.