Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It took me a year, but I'm ready to share.

I was up late Sunday night, laying in bed thinking about Lala's birth. Replaying the whole thing in my head. I can't believe it was a year ago already that I went into labor. October 4th is when it all started. Full moon.

It's taken me a full year to write about it. Now I'm not sure where to begin. The whole thing was so beautiful to us, but a few times right after she was born I shared the story with people who didn't understand and made comments that made me feel sad. So I closed up and saved the beauty deep with in my heart, sharing only with close family and friends. Most of whom where there when she was born. Now I feel like it is solidly in my heart and mind, the wonder of it all, and I'm ready to share the story of her birth. Less hormonal now I guess... ;) If you don't care for birth stories, and the details involved you might want to skip this one. I've included some pictures, all modest, which really limited the pictures I could use, ha ha! The pictures show raw emotion, which while not pretty, are my favorite kind. They also show a very tired mommy. 31 hours of labor can do that to a women.

{ This picture cracks me up. Wasn't in the mood for pictures.}

Let me start with saying that I fired my midwife when I was 36 weeks along. Yes you read that right. I should have done it sooner but she was my midwife for all my children and I really cared for her. You form a bond with someone you entrust your care too, your life and the lives of your children. She is truly a wonderful person and does an amazing job and I will not talk bad about her. But for personal reasons I did not feel comfortable with her services anymore. It's complicated and I don't want to go into it on here. Midwives in general are amazing though, every women deserves a midwife. :)

I was pretty emotional on that day as you can imagine. I cried the whole hour drive home from the appointment and made my decision then. I talked with my husband when he got home and he supported me all the way. He was behind me 100% no matter what my decision was, which is a beautiful thing. I called her the next day and let her know we would not be needing her for the birth, it was one of the hardest calls I've ever made. But I knew with out a doubt it was the right one.

Two weeks later I made an appointment with a doctor in our area to be on the safe side. That way if we ended up in the ER we could call the doctor. They couldn't get me in until October 6th. Her official due date was the 15th. Although I had a feeling she'd be born around the 4th. Didn't matter though because quite frankly I wasn't going to the hospital unless absolutely necessary.

I got my team together, which included a family friend who used to be a midwife. I'd felt a huge need for a big female support group during this pregnancy. I told them all about the change of plans and they all supported me. I researched home births {which we were already planning with my prior midwife by the way} and even unassisted home births. Watched some inspirational birth videos {non-stop}. Got my herbal tinctures ready, my birth kit, prepared the bedroom, wrote down all my wishes and needs for during and after labor. Wrote down notes from my Spiritual Midwifery book by Ina May Gaskin. Which I've read during each and every pregnancy. Cried. Acknowledged the fear I'd had during the whole pregnancy about having a girl. Talked nightly about the game plan with my husband. His support meant so much to me.

Then October 4th came and sure enough by 10 pm my rushes were regular and uncomfortable enough that I called up my girls. They came right away, some with babies, in the middle of the night. All had to drive for a hour or more to get to me and most had to work the next day. They are all amazing women. I started to feel like pushing around 4 pm...then all of a sudden it stopped. Just like that. I had read about how women can regress in labor and even become undilated, and I ended up experiencing this first hand. My body just shut down, I think partly because I knew that most of my support team had to leave in the morning and I didn't want to do it with out them. As the light started to shine into the windows I sat in a chair and cried myself silly. Everyone took turns hugging and kissing me and reassuring me. My water hadn't broke so there was no worry there, but I was so tired and felt so defeated. Everyone left soon after except my good friend Iva and my mom. I spent the remainder of what ended up being a beautiful day resting and doing a little walking around on the back deck. I was continuing to have mild rushes but I could tell she was still high up and not engaged in my pelvis at all. I can remember holding onto the railing on the deck, rocking my hips with my eyes closed, sunshine on my face, begging her to come out. Tears streaming. Nothing happening. Even Iva eventually left. That night our friend/midwife called to check on me and told me to take a bath, take a little valerian tincture and go to bed. So Ryder sat with me while I did just that and it really did feel wonderful relaxing in the tub for a bit. I laid down and tried to rest but as soon as I laid down the rushes picked up. I was determined not to call anyone this time until I was certain it was the real thing. So I waited and waited and wait. I waited until I literally felt her starting to move down and things were getting hard to stay on top of. Those rushes that feel like a wave that could easily drag you under. The ones that take all your concentration to roll through and over. They were coming on regularly at this point so I woke Ryder around 9pm and told him to make the calls. Then I prayed that it was the real thing this time. It felt even more intense then the night before. It continued to be intense until around 2 am, I won't go into details but it tested my limits way more then Spikes birth, probably because it was taking so much longer! I changed positions over and over again. I was so tired but when I laid down on the bed everything would slow down and my husband would suggest switching positions so I grudgingly would and everything would pick up again. Then we hit 2 am and for a scary moment it seemed like I was shutting down again. I knew if I didn't have her soon I would run out of energy. I was exhausted beyond belief and 30 hours in. Then all of a sudden I was almost overcome with three strong rushes in a row, I could barely keep on top of them and with and audible pop my water burst. And it was go time. She came fast from that moment on. I had to force myself to NOT push and let her ease out, because I have big babies. It's necessary, trust me. She came down the birth canal so fast that her head didn't even mold, it was perfectly round. Then just like that, there she was. Our little baby girl. I could feel the love and joy in the room and it felt wonderful. I was beyond exhausted and sort of in shock that she was actually finally out! My husband assisted me through the whole thing, with the support of everyone in the room. He is my hero. She was born into her daddy's loving arms.

And then he passed her to me. My beautiful baby girl. Big round head, full lips, Rosy body, healthy sweet bundle of joy. Right after she was handed to me I started to snuggle her and then as an after thought I lifted up the blanket to check and make sure she was indeed a girl and everyone laughed through their tears. Because there wasn't a dry eye in the room. She was born at 3 am on the dot. {the clock was off in our room so we went off the clock on our camcorder.}

She ended up coming out with shoulders squared, she didn't shift like she was suppose to {stubborn baby} so one of the first things my husband said was that she was going to be the football player in the family. Pretty funny. She was another big baby although when weighed ended up being the first of my babies to weigh under ten pounds, so she seemed tiny to me.

My husband had to take a break after everything settled down {my sweet friend/midwife did all the not so fun after stuff and clean up thank goodness} so he went out to his shop and surrounded himself with his tools {and possibly drank a beer...} all us girls had a good laugh about that! He needed a little manly time. I have never been more proud of my husband then I was that night.
After we were all cleaned up we snuggled in bed until the early morning hours unable to sleep even though we were both beyond exhausted. We stared at our beautiful baby girl and talked. I felt so great, so loved, and I felt so much affection for everyone who had made the experience what it was. I loved that I didn't have to listen to beeping and noise in the halls. The hustle and bustle of the hospital. I hated my hospital stay with my first born. I loved that I didn't have to bundle into the van and go home. What I loved about Spikes birth was that I got to go home four hours after he was born {unlike the prior two day hospital stay with my first born} but I didn't like the car ride. Which is why I knew a home birth was the best match for me. And it was. That morning after we woke up I called the doctors office and let them know that I was cancelling my appointment because she was born right on the 6th, the day of my appointment. It was kind of a fun call to make. Then I was pampered in bed the whole rest of the day. And the next. As it should be.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. At first I just told people we didn't make it to the hospital in time, but that's not true, because we never tried. I just got tired of the reactions. I felt a strong want to keep the story selfishly to myself to preserve the beauty it held for me. But I've come to realize, as this first year flew by, that no matter what her birth was beautiful to use and it was perfect for our family and it will continue to be regardless of what anyone else says.

In my circle of friend midwifes and home births are common, but I know it can be shocking to some people. {my own mother had four home births, three unassisted, I was the only one born in a birthing center.}I hope you have read my story with an open heart and my wish is that you can see the beauty in it as well.

Now my beautiful baby girl is turning one tomorrow. On this very day last year I was wondering what she would look like and wishing she would hurry up and come out already! Now I've had the joy of watching her change and grow for the last 12 months. Her daddy and I feel like this was the fastest year in our lives yet. I have a feeling that from here on out every year will be the same. You blink and they are grown.

All my children came into my life in so many different ways. I love that I can have such a rounded view of the different way that a person can be blessed with a child.
My first born was a C-section because he was breach and big. My second was an adoption. It wasn't physically painful but by far the most emotionally taxing of them all. My third was a water birth at the midwife's clinic and my favorite birthing experience of all was by far my last...a home birth. I feel amazingly blessed to have experience my children coming into my life in so many different and unique ways. When all is said and done they were each perfect in there own way. Birth, no matter how it happens, is a powerful thing.


Brittany said...

A) I can not believe its already been a year! WOW! TIME FLIES BY!!!!

B) I love this story! I HATED my hospital stay, and I think that a home birth may be right for me as well! Although I really did love the drugs. Maybe if I was more prepared like you were I would LOVE it natrual! I have PLENTY of time to decide :) lol

C) Happy Birthday little strawberry!

MGM said...

I love (and envy) your story! I would have done home births or at least used a midwife if I could have. But on the other hand, thank God for modern medicine. Without it my first baby would have died. Emergency c-section saved her. And without modern medicine my second would have died too--and I probably would have too. A VBac isn't always allowed with docs around here. Mine was fine with it, and we tried, but my nine pound 23 inch boy wouldn't fit. I started bleeding and we had to rush back for c-section again.

I would have much preferred home birth any day, but I was thankful that I had the care I had under my circumstances!

Lisa said...

wow...can' believe she is 1 already. :) I am so happy to know you and your precious bundles of joy! Your story was awesome. Happy Birthday baby strawberry!

Kat said...

I am one of those weirdos that actually enjoyed my hospital stay. Especially when I had little ones at home to take care of. It felt like a vacation, just me and my baby. ;)

I have a few friends that did home births too. They are definitely gaining in popularity.

I still haven't written or talked much about Grace's birth either. I don't know why. All my other kids I wrote/talked about it right away. I still haven't written about Grace's on my blog. Strange.

So, so glad that you had such a wonderful experience at home. What wonderful memories. :)

Riahli said...

You're funny Kat...You're not a weirdo for enjoying your hospital stay! I think women should have what ever kind of birth that makes them the most comfortable. With out judgement. If that is a hospital birth, then it's perfect, for them. :) I'm glad you have been able to have a wonderful experience with your hospital births. What works for some just doesn't work for others.