Little Loves Home Birth

"On the way home from Austin I had 3 really good contractions but they were 8 minutes apart and 20 minutes apart. We got home about 8:30 and W wanted to do our acupuncture pressure points again. He lit some candles, I got out my iPod and got comfy on the bed awaiting the pampering to begin. He started out like he had the night before and I practiced my deep breathing techniques. After about an hour of that I told him we should get some paper and start timing contractions. I was beginning to feel them pretty regularly. I didn't want to get out of the zone and zen-type feeling we had going on so I didn't go downstairs to tell anyone goodnight. He came back and went back to my toes and feet. I tapped his phone whenever I had a contraction and he'd take note of it...

This is where our birth story begins..... "

Before W started pampering me with my acupuncture pressure points I had to use the restroom. At 9:40pm I had some bloody show. This can happen hours before labor begins or during labor. I was so excited about that happening that I came out of the restroom with a huge grin and told W all about it! I'm sure he was thrilled. So, W got out the pen and paper and started taking note every time I tapped his phone. For about an hour he rubbed my feet and legs and pushed on the pressure points. We both began to notice a little consistency with the timing of the contractions. They didn't feel like braxton hicks contractions but I was still skeptical that I was actually in labor. My back was hurting with the contractions and I became afraid that it might be back labor. I had back labor with Mess because she was posterior and at our appointment earlier in the week our midwife said Little Love felt a bit posterior. W and I talked and couldn't remember how long we were suppose to time contractions before we called our midwife, Illysa. We called and she said to call her back when the contractions were 5 to 7 minutes apart. She said she'd need a little extra notice since she lives about 45 minutes to an hour away from our home. After 2 hours of timing contractions and noticing that a lot of them were about 5 minutes apart we called Illysa at 11:30 pm. She talked with us and wanted to hear me go through a couple contractions. She noticed that I wasn't breathing hard and could talk through them; I even made a joke or two. She told us about a really cool app for the iPhone that times your contractions. She told us to download that app and for me to relax. Illysa said she felt like she didn't need to come yet and that I still had a while. She told me to get a warm bath, have a half a glass of wine and try to take a nap so I'd be rested for the stronger labor and birth. W got me the wine while I filled the bathtub. He set up a little table next to the bath with his cell phone, with the newly added contraction app, my iPod, and the glass of red wine. I laid in the tub for about 45 minutes and noticed that the contractions were beginning to get a little longer (about a minute long) and a little closer together (about 4 minutes). I decided it was time for me to get out of the bathtub and try to take a nap like Illysa suggested.

As I was drying off I felt this small gushing feeling. I looked down and saw some liquid that had some blood and mucus in it. I called out to W in the bedroom, "Hey babe .... I think my water broke but I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure that this stuff doesn't come out of your pee hole." Hahaha! He said to me that he wouldn't have any idea if it was my water breaking and I told him I thought we should call Illysa back. By this time it's 12:45 am. Illysa said that it did sound like my water broke and that she had everything in her car and would head our direction in a few minutes. W suggested that I get into the cute, comfortable birthing dress that was purchased just for this occasion. A lot of women will walk around naked during labor but I don't feel comfortable enough which is why we bought the dress. I had bought one sundress for labor but my mom found an even better dress at a little boutique in Gruene. So I get my pretty little dress on and continue to time contractions. By this time the contractions were becoming a lot harder. During the contractions my right leg kept cramping up and it was becoming pretty painful. W was going to wake my mom up to let her know we were in labor and I wanted her to go to Walmart to get me some bananas. My thinking was that the potassium in the bananas would help with the leg cramp. Illysa said I could eat during labor but to try and make sure to eat things I wouldn't mind if they came back up. I figured that if I threw up a banana it wouldn't be to big of a deal. After Mom gets up and is getting ready to go to Walmart I decide that maybe Dad should go instead. I wanted mom to be around for the birth and wanted her to be able to experience it with us and I knew that Dad wasn't into the whole "seeing" thing. So, Mom goes and gets dad up and lets him know that we're having a baby and I'd like a few things from Walmart.

By this time the contractions were closer together, now about 3 minutes apart, and the duration of the contractions was about a minute and a half. They were really hurting and every time I had a contraction I swore that I needed to use the bathroom. I was trying to find a more comfortable way to be during the contractions and thought that it'd be more comfortable if I sat on the toilet backwards so I was straddling it. I asked W to bring me a pillow so I could lay my head down and rest when I wasn't having a contraction. When I had a contraction I was basically grunting (and maybe cussing a little, hehe) to release the pain. I even yelled at W "WHY DID I DO THIS?!" Later Illysa told me that almost every woman says this in one way or another and that is usually when you're about to birth your baby. Well, when W wasn't running around getting things ready for Illysa he'd come check on me and rub my back. He would let me know how great I was doing and how much he loved me. He was being a wonderful birthing partner. At 1:40 am, an hour after my water broke, I informed W that I wanted  to push and started to freak out because Illysa hadn't arrived yet.W said he'd call and find out where Illysa was. As he was calling her Illysa walked in the front door.

She immediately came upstairs to the bathroom to check on me. I told her that I wanted to push and she told me that she wouldn't tell me not to push if that's what I was feeling. She smiled at me and told me that I should move if I didn't want to have my baby on the toilet. She checked to see if she could feel Little Love's head and then I heard "We're having a baby!" I moved from the bathroom to the bed. I crawled up onto the bed on all fours and stayed there. Immediately Illysa put my mom to work being her assistant as the backup midwife was on her way to our home but hadn't arrived yet. My mom jumped right in trying to take care of everything Illysa threw her way. W got up on the bed with me and provided his shoulder for me to lay my head on. Illysa got some olive oil and warm compresses to put on me to help with the stretching. It felt like heaven! Whenever I had a contraction I began to push. I didn't pay attention to anything else going on around me. I don't even remember when the second midwife came in. Whenever I pushed I was completely inside myself. I didn't have a thought going on in my mind. I made very primal noises and could feel Little Love moving down into my pelvis every time I pushed. W stayed right there with me and gave me such encouragement. Later he told me that during one contraction I started to bite him on the shoulder but I must have realized what I was doing and stopped. Sorry honey! There were a couple times Illysa told me to breath through a contraction to allow Little Love's head to better form for birth. To me was the hardest part of labor. It was so hard NOT to push during those contractions. At some point during my pushing Illysa told W to come get behind me so he could catch his baby girl. Mom got on the bed and took over his post of being my head holder. I started talking about how much it burned "down there" and I said "Oh that must be the ring of fire that we've heard all about." Illysa confirmed that it was and said to me "Vanessa reach down and feel your baby's head.".... W told me later that I made a giggle noise when I did this. Mom was still being my support person while W was behind me awaiting the arrival of Little Love. I pushed again and Little Love's head came out. I heard Illysa say she needed to check the cord to see if it was around her neck. It was and she unwrapped the cord. I pushed again and her shoulders came out and W was able to catch his baby. He said that he caught her head in one hand and her butt in the other. Meanwhile, my mom went into the big girls' room to get them for the birth of their new baby sister. I am not sure if the girls saw W catch Little Love but I know they were there for Little Love's very first moments in her new world... Just like we wanted.

After I birthed Little Love, June, the second midwife, and Illysa helped me lift my legs up and around the umbilical cord so I could face and see my baby, my Little Love. W and I chose to keep Little Love's cord attached to her for as long as we could for the major health benefits. I turned around and ended up laying on the bed with Little Love still attached to the cord and the placenta. When I laid over I heard Illysa say that there was a separation. The placenta separated and I needed to birth it right away. Usually the placenta is birthed roughly 30 minutes after the baby, i believe. I birthed the placenta and we were told how wonderful and beautiful the coloring of it was. W, my mom, and I had never seen a placenta and were very interested in seeing what mine looked like. It's very interesting! We took pictures of it and Illysa showed us what side faced which way inside the body. It's smooth on one side and rough on the other. We have some fabulous pictures of it, but I will spare you. Little Love was still attached to her cord which was still attached to the placenta. The placenta was wrapped up and covered.

Keeping Little Love attached to the cord until it stops pulsing allows her to receive important nutrients that a lot of babies miss out on because in a hospital they cut the cord right away. It's sad if you read the research, anyway, I digress. After Little Love was born she was handed to me and we started nursing. She latched on right away and we nursed for a long while. She was bright-eyed and alert the entire time. No drugged baby here this time! I'm not sure of the time frame after the birth but after Little Love had been nursing for awhile Illysa needed to do the newborn exam. W's parents couldn't come down to New Braunfels for the birth of Little Love, since his mom couldn't travel far from home, so to show off Little Love and to see the newborn exam we hooked up our web cam and gave them a call. Illysa started checking Little Love out, doing her measuring and weighing. She was 7 pounds 12 ounces, 19 3/4 inches long and was born at 2:12 am.

After Illysa was done checking her out W got to cut the cord. He was so adorable; such a proud proud daddy. Something I forgot to mention is that during all this time, for about an hour, the girls were hanging out with us on our bed. Illysa didn't interfere with our family bonding, only checking on Little Love and myself when she needed too. I also got to eat after birth. Dad brought back muffins and fresh fruit from Walmart and made me up a plate. Mess and Big Mak took turns feeding me while I laid nursing Little Love. They were both completely fascinated with their baby sister and that mommy had given birth at home. They enjoyed getting to be such a big part
of everything. Mess became a little mini midwife. She was very concerned about me and wanted to make sure that I was okay. Mess never left my side. Big Mak was her usual self and was back and forth here and there.

Another thing I should mention is that dad left to go and get a few things from the grocery store, which is only 10 minutes down the road, and when he got back there was a baby! Things happened so fast that he didn't even have time to get back before miss Little Love was born. After the fact I was so happy that I had changed my mind about mom going. I'm glad she got to be there for this extraordinary event. I'm also very grateful that mom thought to grab the camera! We wouldn't have these amazing and beautiful pictures of Little Love's birth if she hadn't been quick thinking.

One of my favorite parts of birthing at home was Little Love's first bath. June and Illysa ran a bath for us in our bathroom. For her very first bath I got to be in it with her! And the best part was that we weren't alone. New big sister Big Mak wanted to join us. So she striped down and hopped in the tub with me and Little Love. I asked Mess if she wanted to get in too but she didn't, not even with a bathing suit on. While Little Love, Big Mak and I were soaking in the tub Mess would get her hand wet and rub warm water on my shoulders. She was wonderful. During our bath Little Love got hungry again so I nursed her a little in the tub and then it was time for us to get out and try to get some rest.

By this time it's probably 4:30 in the morning, and we had been up all day. The previous day, Friday, had been a busy and fun day for all and the birth of Little Love just topped it off so we were all beat. We got out of the tub and Illysa and June got Little Love all dried off and swaddled up all nice and tight. I put on a tshirt and climbed into bed. Illysa went over the instructions for W and all the charting he would be doing for the next few days. Dad went downstairs and fried up some bacon, scrambled eggs, made a fruit salad and toast for everyone. He was such a wonderful help. Everyone had their little jobs that they started taking over and it was lovely. The worrisome part of my experience happened after eating breakfast. I felt the need to use the bathroom so I got out of bed. I felt a lot of blood start running down my legs onto the floor. I said to mom "Am I suppose to bleed this much? I don't think I am, will you get Illysa for me?" She went and got her and Illysa had me lay back down... Long story short W and Illysa had to carry me to the restroom and when we were in there I lost a huge blood clot and was hemorrhaging. Sounds worse than it probably was but it was a little scary. Illysa carries pitocin and oxygen with her for cases like this. She gave me some oxygen, she and W carried me back to bed and Illysa kept an eye on the bleeding. She gave me a few herbs that she uses but June suggested giving me the pitocin (in a shot) to make my uterus contract. Let me say... I cussed more when she gave me that shot than I did at any point in the labor or birth. Illysa had to inject it into my thigh and it hurt. I am not a baby when it comes to pain or needles so I was surprised at the pain I felt. Illysa stayed and slept a little before she made her drive home and W and I finally got some sleep. The girls had gone back to bed and I believe that dad did too. Mom stayed up and chatted with Illysa for awhile and I think she might have eventually gotten some more sleep.

Giving birth to Little Love at home in the comfort and privacy of our home was by far the most amazing experience I've ever had. I felt completely empowered and euphoric. I've had people ask me if childbirth hurt and the answer is "yes" BUT and it's a big BUT it was bearable. I never actually thought I was going to die and I know that if we ever had another baby I'd go the same route and give birth naturally at home. Americans need to be better informed on our options for pregnancy and childbirth. Only 1% of our births are with midwives and this is to small a number. In Europe it's closer to 30 +% and they have lower maternal and infant mortality rates. I won't get on my soapbox right now but I wish more women would do their homework and research when it comes to this important topic. Society and media show childbirth in an unrealistic light. It's the most beautiful thing a woman can go through and we aren't taking advantage of the power we hold. If I could go back in time and change the births of Mess and Big Mak to be unmedicated births I would. I believe that our birth is reflected in the demeanor of Little Love and her personality. She's so calm and laid back.

No comments:

Post a Comment