Monday, December 26, 2011

Born Into Daddy's Hands- Birth Story

 This is such a glorious way to welcome a new baby- with just the people that helped create him.  An amazing accidental unassisted birth with the midwife on her way.  This is a must read-
Enjoy!

The (accidental, unassisted) planned homebirth of Tyler! 

Everyone knows I'm pretty obsessed with all things pregnancy and birth. It led me on my path to becoming a doula and has resulted in me meeting some of the most amazing, interesting women who have shared my passion, increased my yearning for knowledge, and empowered me as a woman and a mother. 

So, why do I need to start this story with that? It's taken me a while to really process what happened that day, and I'm sure that Tyler's birth happened the way it happened because I've been lucky enough to learn so much about birth... 

Or maybe just because precipitous 2nd/3rd labours run in the family :)

When I was five months pregnant, we moved from the UK to Maryland in the US.  Lucky for me, through the power of the internet, I was informed of a couple of midwives who would be prepared to come to a home birth and I arranged to meet with them as soon as we arrived in the US.   I was so nervous about what to expect and went to 'interview' my potential midwives with a list of "please don't do these things to me". 

I could feel myself physically and emotionally relax as I went through my list and the midwife looked at me, smiled and said, "well, of course we won't do that".  Before I knew it, my prenatal care and home birth plan were sorted and I could focus on the enormity of moving to a foreign country rather than stressing about hospital birth and unsympathetic doctors!

My experience with the midwives and their assistants was like nothing I had ever come across in the UK. They made every appointment seem special. They never rushed anything, they were always willing to discuss anything and everything, and they all seemed genuinely excited as the weeks ticked by and December approached. I had a great pregnancy and felt at peace and excited as well as I waited for my Mum & Dad to arrive, praying that the baby would wait too!

My first son was born ten days 'late' on December 19th 2008. By my estimations I reckoned he was due around the 16th, but being a first-time Mum and not appreciating how much importance was placed on that date, I never argued with the midwives when they selected the date based on the 12 week ultrasound.  It was only when we reached that date that I realised what a mistake that had been.  

Although willing to listen to my requests for no mention of sweeps or induction, I began to get pressured into agreeing to growth scans and was told that I only had two weeks and then my home birth request would not be granted.  Two weeks took me to Christmas Eve, which I'm sure helped them decide to go off call for me :)  Luckily for me, I went into labour on the 19th.

This time round I decided I wouldn't take too much notice of the 'due date'.  I didn't tell many people what the date was, I had just decided that my baby would most likely be born in mid-December. Officially the UK date was set (via ultrasound) to December 10th; unofficially by my estimations I put myself closer to the 14th, and this is what my brilliant midwives agreed to.

In the week before Tyler was born. I was very uncomfortable in my ribs and woke up a lot at night. I didn't want to believe something might be happening, because I knew how impatient I had become with my first! I also wanted to relish in the simplicity of our life as a family of three. More and more I was beginning to remember how much of a life change having my first son was, and I just wanted to hold on to our life of peaceful evenings and family dinners for a little bit longer!

On December 9th I woke up feeling crampy. With my first I had thought I was in labour two days before he was born which turned into nothing so I wasn't going to get excited this time round. We decided to go to downtown for the morning and by the time we got home, I was more convinced that things were happening although I wasn't in any pain.  

The cramping feeling started to feel more contraction-like around mid-afternoon but it still wasn't painful and I knew this kind of feeling could last for hours or days so at 6pm we went to the local Italian for dinner.  I'd told my husband contractions were every ten minutes or so and got him to download an app on his IPhone as I was starting to get curious about the timings. We looked at the readings around half an hour later… 6 minutes, 6 minutes, 6 minutes, 6 minutes, 6 minutes… oh, maybe something was definitely happening!  We came home and my Dad went to bed, his parting words "this baby isn't coming tonight".  

I went upstairs to kiss my son goodnight and told him that when he woke up, his baby brother might have arrived. He was very excited!  I took out my gifts from my Glasgow Blessingway, my bracelet and labyrinth and crystals and lit the candle a good friend had given me.  I got in the bath around 9.30pm. The contractions were the same but I just felt like having a break and knew this early on that they would most likely stop. 

I was OK with that, I just really wanted a bath!  As anticipated, everything stopped. I got out and sent a message to the midwives to tell them that things were progressing but I still had a way to go so I was going to bed to rest. Off I went at 10.30pm.

I woke up at 11.15pm.  The contractions were stronger now and I was having to breathe through them. They were still erratic though, varying from 6-8 minutes, never any shorter.  My husband wanted to phone the midwives but I was sure it was too soon.  We were lying in bed, me on all fours, breathing into the pillow each time a contraction came.  I held my husbands' hand.  He stroked my back.  Then I cried.  I remember thinking "I've got hours to go, how can I do this?" (ummmm, hello transition!).  It hurt but the gap between contractions made it OK.  My first labour had been ten hours of unrelenting back labour, with wave upon wave of contractions. This was so different.

Just after midnight a pretty painful contraction hit.  My husband insisted on calling the midwife on call even though I was still unsure. She said she would come over and would be about 45 minutes.
A couple of minutes later, another big contraction came and POP went my waters!  I ran to the bathroom, shouting at my husband "My waters just broke! Wake up my Mum!". 

The next part is a blur. I was sat on the toilet and felt this incredible urge to push.  I got off the toilet and squatted by the sink, moaning and panting, trying desperately not to have this baby.  My husband was putting the futon mattress down on the floor in the bedroom (nothing like being prepared in case of a quick labour!), my Mum was next to me saying "don't push, don't push", I put my hand down and I could feel the top of the baby's head poking out. 

I held onto it (haha, what a sight!) and waddled to the mattress and kneeled with my head on the bed.  Another contraction came and I couldn't stop it, I thought I was going to be sick, but out came the head instead.  There was no pain at this point, that had stopped as soon as my waters broke.  I felt so calm, so in control, I could feel everything.  

My husband looked down to see if he could see anything and said "the head's out!", whoops, seemed I'd forgotten to mention that!  The next couple of minutes were incredible.  I felt a movement and shouted at my husband to stop touching the baby! "I'm not!" he said.  Then again, another movement - "DON'T touch him!", "I'm not!!". 

A few seconds later, and out came Tyler, into his daddy's hands, 12.48am - maybe twenty minutes since my waters broke.  He had been moving himself, rotating his shoulders and turning in the birth canal, and I felt every single part of that journey.  My husband passed him to me, through my legs, and I held him to my chest.  My perfect baby.  My perfect birth.

The placenta came away very quickly, maybe 5-10 minutes later, and Tyler was already breastfeeding when the midwife turned up five minutes later.  I couldn't stop apologising, I was so sad that after all these months they had missed out on the birth! 

My midwife just looked at me and said, "this birth happened exactly as it was meant to".  I know she was right and I am so grateful they were there just after Tyler was born, to check him and to check me, and that they were there on the phone with my husband, telling him what to do.  Their help and support and aftercare were invaluable and I love them :)

My dad was downstairs waiting for the midwife when he heard the cries of a newborn baby :)
My oldest son slept through the whole thing…

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