Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Phoebe's Homebirth

It was an unseasonably warm day when I went into labor with P. The middle of February and the sun was beating through the trees as though two more months had flown by without me even knowing. That certainly wasn't possible because being pregnant you are aware of every second that ticks on that 10 month clock. You wait in wild anticipation for that due date to come, calculating weeks and days hoping for your precious child to be in your arms. Babies however tick to the tock of there own and not even they know when they will enter this world; however P came right on time, quite unexpectedly.

I woke up that morning late the day before my due date, like most of my mornings, sleeping in while my husband M took care of our first daughter L downstairs. I'm sure the only reason I woke up that morning before 10am was because my sister was in town and I wanted to take her to the Farmer Market with me. So, after a quick bite and putting on my nice spring clothing we traveled to the next town over for their wonderful Saturday morning farmers market. Soon after we arrived I started to feel some light contractions, mostly like pressure which I laughed off and continued on with my shopping. Fresh fruits, yummy veggies and some beautiful flowers to look at while in labor. I finished my other errands, getting loads of groceries thinking that maybe, just maybe this will be the last time I grocery shop before my baby is born.

We arrived at my mother's house around 3pm and strangely enough I was still having these mild contractions, they were light waves of pressure but certainly nothing painful. I started to pay a bit more attention to them, noticing that they were about 15 minutes apart. Still I talked and visited with my mother and sister while silently hoping that today would be the day. As the pressure became more noticeable I decided to head home to get some dinner and rest just in case this did turn out to be "the big day". L said that she wanted to stay with her aunt so M and I happily went home to our quite house.
We got home and M made us a stir-fry and I started to read Spiritual Midwifery, which I had planned to read before the baby was born. When dinner was ready I sat on the birthing ball instead of a chair as it was much more comfortable. I also hoped that because it had the word birth in it that it might somehow make this be true labor. The contractions were a bit closer together, maybe about 6-7 minutes or so, but I was trying to just ignore them, since they weren't that painful and I thought that they might not lead to anything. I called my midwife Paula, just to give her a heads up since I knew she worked her second job on the weekends. At 6pm I went into the bathroom and while wiping I had some bloody show and was starting to lose my mucus plug. I was very excited at this point and called Paula back to give her the update. I felt it was a bit silly calling twice in a row, but I felt an urgency to tell someone. I then decided to call my mom and ask how L was doing and was informed that she had asked to stay the night, so that worked out perfectly. We had the house all to ourselves, it seemed like everything was just falling perfectly into place.

The contractions continued around 6 minutes apart, they didn't hurt at all just felt like pressure. I made sure to relax my jaw and my pelvic area during the contractions and focus on my opening. M was already doing the dishes so I decided to get in on the clean up so that we would have a nice clean home to give birth in. I wiped down the counters, swept the floor and then vacuumed. I had wanted a clean and quite home to birth in, but I hadn't thought it would be so easy! At 7:30pm I asked Micah to install the car seat, which I felt he could no longer stall on. While outside my contractions started to die out to every 15 minutes apart and only about 20 seconds long. So we then hopped into the car and went to the store and walked around there. My contractions kicked back up as I walked and spent some money I didn't really have. At about 9pm my abdomen was starting to hurt from the weight of my belly so we left and went to rent a movie. Once home we popped in the movie and I lay on the couch hoping to get some rest, but apparently my body had different plans for me. My contractions started to pick up to 5 minutes apart and 40 seconds long and I had to breathe and concentrate through them. At 11pm we turned off the movie and started to fill up the birth pool, just in case which was in our dining room.

While M was busying himself with the pool, I turned on Mad TV and walked around watching that between contractions. I also gave Paula an update at this point. Around midnight I turned off the TV. and stood out on my back porch looking at the stars with M for awhile. I went back and forth from the living room, to the porch, to the kitchen where the tub was being filled feeling lots of pressure. I took the time to slow dance, kiss and look into my husband's eyes during the contractions. I felt so alive at this point truly connecting with my baby, my husband, God and the earth around me. The pain woke me up and filled me the great knowledge that only laboring women can know. I knew at this point that I would have this baby by morning so at 1:00am I had M call Paula and tell her to come on over.

It took her awhile since she was at work and would have to call someone in to replace her. I started leaning heavily on M for support during the contractions feeling his love and strength. I would look into his eyes and feel all the love and faith that he had in me. I imagined this birth being a gift to him, as we danced under the stars, my wonderful husband who is my strength. We kissed each other softly feeling the love and warmth this baby would be bringing into the world.

The tub was filled now as Paula arrived at 2:30 am. As a contraction would come on I would call out for M and he would help me to find a comfortable position to labor in. Paula checked my Blood pressure and the baby's heart rate and started setting up her equipment. At 3:15 am she asked if she could check my cervix and I said OK since I was curious to know how things were going down there anyways. I was 3cm dilated and 90% effaced, active labor. During the exam I felt a popping sensation and had my hardest contraction yet. It came so fast that I was unable to get on top of it as I moaned out in pain. I stood up expecting to feel a gush of water between my legs, but there was nothing. I needed something to take the edge off, I wanted water, so I went upstairs to take a shower with M. The hot water only lasted a few minutes before it ran cold. I felt defeated. I came downstairs and tried walking outside with M for a few more contractions. At about 3:15am I told M "I have to get into that damned tub". Paula said OK and I went ahead and got in. I tried getting into the position that I had envisioned giving birth in, on my knees with my arms lying on the side of the pool. This position however did not work for me I felt extreme pressure on my pelvic bone, so I flipped around and ended up in the crab position with the water supporting my weight. I was able to sway my hips around in circular motions which I had been doing for the past few hours. This helped a lot with pain and I was able to get the pressure of my pelvic pone.

At 4:06am I asked Paula to check me which she said she could do right where I was. I was 6cm and fully effaced. I felt relieved and empowered! My labor was going fast and I was thankful. Within minutes my body started to shake and Paula put more hot water into the tub. My shakes continued and Paula asked if she could give me Rescue Remedy, but the thought of having any taste in my mouth sickened me and I covered my mouth and shook my head. The contraction were surging through me and not leaving, they were overlapping like the tide and had peaks the size of title waves. I said things that I don't remember and that I didn't believe. I didn't want to be here anymore, but I wasn't going anywhere. Paula reminded me that I had made a comfortable cozy place to birth in and that I didn't really want to go anywhere. She didn't have to convince me, there was no way I was getting out of that tub. The precious water that was keeping me safe. It enclosed me in its warmth and gave me the comfort that I needed. I have always felt so free in the water, so much so that my skin will ache for it at times. This was one of those times and it was there for me. I was moaning low and steady through my overlapping contractions, through the energy surging through my body, begging for just a little break. I just needed to rest for a minute, but my body would give me no such thing.

Then my body started to bear down in that all too familiar "urge". I exclaimed that I needed to push. Paula checked me and there was no cervix to be found just my babies head, it was 4:24am. M then moved from his position near my face to be in position to catch his daughter. Paula tried to check the baby's heart beat with the Doppler, but it put to much pressure on my pelvis and I batted it away. Between contractions I asked her to call my mother and tell her I was pushing and that she needed to come over. I felt the head descending into the birth canal. My body was doing most of the pushing for me; I was just a mindless servant bending to its will. I followed the call and got behind it. The head started to crown and I reached down and felt my little girls head. It felt like a hairy brain all folds of skin mashed together as if it was trying to get every inch possible out of my body. I gave another push as my husband hands stood waiting. I felt I slight tearing sensation as her head emerged. M cradled her precious head and I gave another push as the rest of her body flew out of me into the water, it was 4:33 am. A time I will never forget, as she was resin out of the water to my bosom. She was a beautiful purplish thing covered in white vernix. I starred at her in amazement, complete shock that she was finally here. She didn't cry she just breathed. Her eyes were closed and she lay still in my arms. After a minute she let out a slight cry like that of a mouse as Paula checked her heart beat. Everyone became at ease after hearing that little voice knowing that her spirit was here and that she was with us. I asked M to turn off the overhead light so that she could open her eyes and once he did that she started looking around. I then asked Paula again to call my mother and tell her that the baby was born and to wake up L and my sister to come and see the baby.

The women of my family flooded into my home as the sun started to rise above the trees. My mother, my aunt, my little sister, and my two daughters. Sarah, the other midwife also came, a little late, but there all the same. We gathered around and looked at the beautiful new girl in our lives. We rested, she nursed and we examined my healthy placenta. I then climbed the stairs up to my bedroom and lay down with my beautiful babe. After examining my tear, which was nothing, doing the newborn exam, and having my mother cut her umbilical cord the midwives left us. Our families left us and my husband and I settled in our bed with our new little girl and fell asleep to dream of all the wonderful things our family would become.
Happy Birthday P!!!!


Nicole said...

What a lovely birth story! Here's hoping your little one had a wonderful birthday today.

Julie said...

Happy birthday to your little girl! And what a beautiful birth story. I love hearing homebirth stories.

Melissa said...

Wow, I can't believe two whole years have passed since her birth! What a great birth story!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing.