Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Birthing Story

****Warning, contains gross stuff***

"You had a home birth! Are you crazy?"
"How'd you do it without the epidural?"
"You mean you didn't have a doctor?!?"

These are just a few of the responses I have gotten so far to sharing my birthing experience. Society as a whole is mystified by natural childbirth. I have always been excited to have the chance to utilize my God given power as a woman to bring His miracle of life into this world through a home birth. You don't have to understand it, just know my birth was the most wonderful, empowering, miraculous experience I have had thus far in my life.

Labor started somewhere in the middle of Saturday night/Sunday morning. Diarrhea and contractions lasting a minute long started around 2am. I don't know for sure because I tried my best to keep sleeping knowing that if this was REAL labor I would need my energy. At 6am I counted 6-7 contractions within the hour. Going to the bathroom every 30 minutes was starting to become real annoying.

The realization started kicking in, I'm in active labor! At 6:45am I text my dad "Happy Birthday, I'm in Labor" in between 3 contractions and pooping. I woke Alan up to let him know I was going to call my midwife due to the contractions. Contractions now 6 min apart. My midwife, Dana, was notified around 7:30am. She recommended that since I was starting to get too uncomfortable to sleep that I should eat breakfast and take a shower and call her back with an update. After attempting my routine breakfast of 2 eggs, 2 slices of bacon, glass of milk and English muffin, I slowly made it to the shower. I could feel my body shifting to right-brain function only...Labor Land. Labor Land is a dream-like, non-analytical, place where you just go off intuition, voices and decisions did not matter, and I could not answer questions easily.

After the shower it's 9:30 and contractions are now 4 minutes apart. My midwife is on her way over. I'm still moving around the house and hanging out in my robe. Unable to lie down comfortably, I settle in an upright indian-style position on the bed loosing track of time. I made Alan start a load of laundry since I had left washing the brand new baby clothes for a project later in the week.

Dana arrived around 10:15, looked at me and said, "You ARE working hard, I'm calling Jenny (doula)". At 10:30am she checked me...I was 100% effaced and dilated 8cm with my water sack intact. Alan started preparing the birthing tub (which we could not fill with hot water fast enough to utilize). Jenny helped me through the contractions providing me with heat packs and pressure to my sacrum where my hips were spreading the most. Dana checked fetal heart rate with a Doppler every 15-30 minutes; his heart rate consistently stayed in the 130's. His heart rate slowed once only to realize I was holding my breath from the intensity of a contraction; he rebounded quickly. My highest blood pressure identified was 118/82...and afebrile. No signs of distress.

The hormones were making my legs shake uncontrollably, but I didn't care. Water broke at 1220 and the hard labor started. I moved to the birthing chair and got too comfortable that labor started to slow, a nice break for me. Dana made me eat 2 tablespoons of honey for the upcoming energy boost despite my slight nausea.

We tried hands and knees position to try to move my cervix forward. Unsuccessful with position alone, Dana manually flipped the anterior lip of the cervix to keep my labor progressing. I now had the urge to push. With every contraction thereafter I gave 2-4 pushes. Dana was massaging my vagina with olive oil during each contraction. Jenny was holding my right hand. Alan was on my left side constantly telling me "you're doing a good job"...I had more motivation to keep pushing harder. Cognitive of every ache/pain/twitch/cramp I somehow kept finding more strength. I felt his head with my fingers as he crowned. I felt his head pop out. I felt such a deep surge of adrenaline as I did the last push to get his shoulders out...and then I felt him wiggle and kick my vaginal wall the rest of the way to my belly. Skin-to-skin was the BEST and made me instantly forget the pain and hard work I just accomplished.

He had 10 perfectly pink fingers, 10 perfectly pink toes to make a wiggly, slimy, warm baby boy. Jenny reminded Alan to capture the moment in a picture as we were drying him off. I remember shrieking in joy. This was an amazing and empowering feeling. Only I could have done this and I DID!!!

The cord took 5-6 minutes to stop pulsing. Alan was slightly timid to cut the cord, until Dana looked at him and said, "Don’t worry, I'm holding his penis."

Long fingers, tons of hair, and he was perfectly healthy.

While we were still cleaning him off on my chest, Sammy (my cat with attitude) came in and gently but intentionally bit my left forearm as to say, "I do not approve, and you had better stop of this racket"...and marched out. (Sam adores Joey now)

Once my baby was wrapped and safe in Alan's arms, I was placed on the birthing chair to deliver the placenta. I simply relaxed and out gushed the placenta which grossed Alan out. The endorphin high was the best drug. I was wonderful. I had some vaginal abrasions, but NO tearing, NO stretch marks, NO hospital transfer... Just a new, healthy family of three.

I can't imagine how different my experience would have been in a hospital... Would I do it again at home? Absolutely!!! It WAS wonderful!