Monday, June 11, 2012

Madeline's Birth at Home

August 30 is a day that I will always remember. How could I forget when I now have two children whose birthday falls on that day? August 30, 2011 ended the most chaotic week that I have ever lived in my life. I think for anyone on the East Coast of America they would agree with me. Just the Tuesday before I experienced my first earthquake. I've lived in Delaware my entire life I would of NEVER guessed I would ever feel an earthquake here. That weekend a visitor named Irene came to visit. All I could think about was keeping my family safe and hoping I wouldn't go into labor during the storm. There were tornadoes and floods that night but my precious baby listened and stayed safe inside the womb. Did I mention that two of my older children were sick all week? Not fun! Clean up came on Monday. I felt much better and relaxed from all the stress of preparing for the hurricane. I took a shower late that night. While I was in the shower I told the baby that I felt safe for her to be born and if she was ready I was ready. I went to bed that night wondering if I would wake up in labor or not. I had been wondering that every night for weeks though. Every night around eight I would start out with contractions and go to bed with them. By morning they would be gone.

If you've ever been nine months pregnant you know how your nights are. Either you can't sleep comfortably or your up anyway going to the bathroom every five minutes ( not really but it feels like it.) So at 12:45 I was back up going to the bathroom. I always check for bloody show or a mucus plug. No such luck. I stood up almost disappointed when my water broke. I was still having random contractions. My previous labors were similar except I never had contractions. This time would be different. I yelled for my husband downstairs. He was still up playing Xbox. He came up and helped me clean up and get me back into bed.  I called my midwife and let her know what happened. She told me to call her when I was ready. I stayed up talking to a few people on Facebook and texting my friend. I was too excited to get much sleep but eventually I did. Our oldest daughter heard the excitement and slept in my room that night in case I needed her. It was now my oldest son's birthday. I woke him up and told him the new baby would be born on his birthday or the day after. He was SO happy. He wanted the baby to share his birthday. My contractions were pretty strong and coming somewhere around ten minutes apart. I hated timing them. It annoyed me because I could barely tell when it would start and end. I didn't really understand when to look at the clock or to push the timer button on a contraction app I downloaded on my phone. So I just guessed.

I called my best friend who wanted to be there for the birth and told her today would be the day. She knew I had been having contractions for weeks and was excited when I finally told her it was real. She came over and almost instantly my contractions stopped. I became disappointed. All the kids had gone back to sleep so I told my husband that I was going for a walk. I had a couple contractions on the walk but I knew I wasn't 'in labor' any more. When my husband woke up he told me he wasn't happy that my friend was here. They really don't get along. I wanted and needed him to be as happy with this birth as I would be. I knew this from the beginning. I suspect that this is why my labor stopped. My body wanted to be happy and stress free for the birth.

My midwife came over after lunch to check on me. She checked my blood pressure. It was fine. I gave her a sample of my urine. That was fine. She gave me a strip of something to put on my pad to prove rupture. That was pretty obvious. She went over her protocol to keep me infection free since my waters had broke. She never once checked my cervix. I was glad. She never even asked. Having my cervix checked annoys me, to say the least. Plus with a rupture it can introduce infection which is NOT what I wanted to do. I felt very comfortable with her. There was a sense that I had with her from the beginning. She had been the midwife to a family that I love, look up to and miss SO much. To this day she is still close to them. I knew if they loved her and trusted her I should and would too.

When the midwife left I suggested to my friend that she go ahead and go home. Her kids would be getting off of school soon and I wasn't in labor any more. She agreed and told me to call her if they started back up. As soon as she left my contractions started right back up. Soon I was in labor. It was funny though because by this point I was in complete denial. I posted on FB asking if any one had a birth ball. A good friend of mine messaged me and said she would bring one over ASAP. The only way I could work through a contraction was to kind of squat and walk through them. Another good friend of mine asked if we needed anything to eat. She came over with pizza for the kids and subs for Tim and I. Since it was Timtim's birthday I asked her to bring over his favorite pineapple pizza and he LOVED it. With two different friends here my contractions didn't stop. I felt like I didn't have to explain anything to them and my husband almost didn't care that they were here either. We were all relaxed and my body was doing what it needed to do.

After I ate I started to become afraid. I had never had an unmedicated birth before.  These contractions were coming strong. The only kind of birth I had ever had was with pitocin. A pitocin labor is hard. The contractions come steady one over top of the other. The contractions are strong and nonstop. With a pitocin labor I always had stadol. A drug that puts you to sleep through contractions. I had always just woken up when it was time to push. Now it suddenly hit me that I would have contractions one on top of the other and they would be stronger than what I was having and I would have no relief. I texted my midwife and told her I was scared. Being the person she is, honest and straight forward, she asked what I was afraid of and what I wanted to do. I told her I wanted a homebirth more than anything. She said ok cause she doesn't have stadol and to not be afraid. I could do it. She knew I was having contractions and told me to count how many I was having in the next half hour and call her back. Haha! I'm glad she knew what was going on because I was still in denial.

After thirty minutes I had concluded that I had three or four strong contractions. I told her I felt something else but that it was just fake contractions between my strong ones. I had just walked upstairs and she asked me what was going on now, wasn't I having a contraction. I was out of breath and yes I was cramping but it wasn't strong so I just blamed it on walking upstairs and being out of breath. She told me to call her when I was ready. I agreed. I wasn't sure what I was going to do next. I remember laying down. I wanted to take a nap. My four year old was staying pretty close by me. I remember him hiding under my papasan chair next to my bed watching me. I had prepared all of my children for the birth. They watched plenty of you tube videos and they had all watched Ricki Lakes documentary The Business of Being Born on Netflix with me. I told them they could do what they wanted during the birth. They could be in the room or they could play or whatever they felt most comfortable with. My oldest daughter, Makayla, who is just 9, wanted to be in the tube with me while I gave birth. She was super excited and checked on me and brought me water and ice all the time. She was my little doula. She even told everyone that she wanted to be a midwife when she grows up.

Around 8 I remember telling one of my friends, Iris, that I was going to get in the shower. I wanted to see if it would help me any. Besides I didn't want to smell horribly while giving birth. The shower helped SO MUCH. When I got out I bounced off a few ideas to Iris. I wanted to get in the tub. I wanted to relax. The contractions hurt. She knew I was in full labor. But I was convinced I wasn't and even told her that I was going to get into the tub even if it relaxed me enough to take my contractions away. I started filling the tub. Makayla was so excited at this. She knew that she had to get a shower before she could jump in with me. I told her to wait a while for the tub to fill up and then she could get in. Since I had just taken a shower the hot water ran out before the tub filled up. Makayla had told Tim that I was filling up the tub. He responded with is the midwife on the way? I didn't know if by getting in the tub my contractions would stop so I didn't want to call her yet. He stayed downstairs and played with the four boys. I assume that he put them to sleep. I don't really know what was going on downstairs. I do know that Jezaniah, my four year old, stayed up and kept an eye on things from my bedroom. Makayla of course was waiting to jump in the tub.

Once the tub was full I jumped in. It felt SO good. I could still feel the contractions but they didn't hurt like they did when I wasn't in the tub. My friend Trish played with Makayla for a while. I remember hearing them and I knew Makayla was coming back and fourth from her room to check on me. Iris stayed in the bathroom with me. I don't remember what we talked about. Probably me being in denial. I know I fell asleep. When I woke up I yelled for Makayla to grab me a bowl. I had to throw up. She got me a little cereal bowl and I ended up filling that up and a huge Royal Farms cup. After that I felt much better. I wasn't in denial any more though. I knew it was time. I told Makayla to call the midwife. She knew how to do it. I could hear the midwife on the phone. Makayla told her that I said it was time. The midwife, said she would be right on her way. Makayla told Tim that midwife was on her way. He came up to check on me. He told all of his friends that the baby was the way. I lost track of time. I know I asked what time it was pretty often. I wanted to know how much longer till I would have the baby and if the baby would be born that day or after midnight.

Makayla stayed in my room from that point on. My friends Iris and Trish stayed in the room too. I could hear them all talking and playing a card game. When I looked up I could see them. I took comfort in the fact that they were there but left me alone. Things where getting pretty intense. Makayla would come hold my hand and rub my head. I wonder if she knows how much that meant to me. I still tear up thinking about how much she cared for me. She was so brave to not be afraid of Mommy's pain but to help her through it. Jezaniah would not come into the bathroom. When I started vocalizing through contractions I think it became too much for him and he would cover his ears. My midwife would come over and talk to me a little bit. She would check the baby's heart. I didn't have to have one of those things wrapped on my belly the entire time. I was comfortable. Yes I was in pain but I was as relaxed as I could be knowing that the people there loved and supported me. The midwife reminded me to listen to my body and to push when I could no longer stand not pushing. When a contraction would come I could no longer sit down. I would hold onto the sides of the tub. There was a towel there and I would bite it. I know at one point I thought I had 'quietly' cursed. I heard the midwife say "I know that word". I couldn't really laugh but I did laugh. Apparently everyone in my room had heard me too.

I told Makayla to go and get Tim. He is pretty uncomfortable seeing all the pain of labor. He had stayed downstairs until I was ready to push. Makayla got into the tub at this point too. The way I was pushing through contractions she ended up sitting on the side closest to the wall. I was getting loud and at this point it might of scared her a little. Then suddenly everything stopped. I was so surprised. I was having a break. My body was preparing me to really really push. I had heard of this break from other moms. I never expected it myself. I laughed and was reminded how great it was to have an all natural birth. I knew my baby would be in my arms soon.

This time I was pushing and pushing hard. I wanted my baby to be here. Makayla could see the baby's hair and said it was a lot of hair. I liked watching her facial expressions as the baby was born. As I felt the 'ring of fire' I tried to say ring of fire but no one could understand me. Her head came out and I was waiting for her body to just slide out. I gave another strong push and the midwife told me to catch her. I tried. She was so buttery I needed help to grab her. The first thing I said was 'my baby' and then 'my baby is perfect.' We had kept the gender a surprise and through all of this I had forgot to look. My midwife picked up one leg and told Makayla it was a girl. There were cheers coming from in my room. Makayla was crying. I asked what was wrong. I had some fears of how she would feel if there were another girl in the house. She told me through her tears "I'm so happy I have a sister!" I think we were all choked up. I will never forget that moment.

I got out of the tub to get into my bed. Later on Makayla told me that even though I had no clothes on, as I was walking on the towels completely nagged holding the baby she thought that I looked like Miss America or that I had just won first prize at something. I cant imagine a better way to think of someone who had just given birth at that moment. She has such a positive outlook on birth and being a woman now. I am so proud of her and so glad she was there. I birthed the placenta on my bed. Tim hates placentas. I love them. Tim continued to take pictures of the process but he would cover up what he could see of the placenta with his hand. I had to laugh at him. Jezaniah came and checked out his sister. Through out my pregnancy he would hug my belly and say I love that baby several times a day. He gave the baby a kiss and said I love you Baby. I imagine that he is going to be a very protective older brother. Shame on any one that mess with my baby girl. She has four older brothers looking after her. Makayla cut the cord after it had stopped pulsing. She had done the same with my youngest boy. Daddy doesn't like cords and placentas so it seems like that is Makaylas job. She likes to do it. Not many nine years old have cut two baby's cords and been to a home water birth.

My baby girl weighed exactly 8 pounds. I had been worried that she would be under 7 as I am a vegetarian. I had told myself I wanted an 8 pounder. My older babies were all in the 7 pound range. I was so happy to reach 8! She was 20 1/4 inches long. Her head was 13 1/4 cm. To me she was just perfect. Tim and I talked about her name one last time. After all the craziness of the week I teased him and said we should name her Sunshine. He was thinking about it and I told him we could call her Shiny for short. We laughed about that for awhile. Later on we agreed to stick with the name we had talked about the entire pregnancy. Madeline Louise. The name Madeline means woman of Magdalene. Louise is my Grandmother's name who I was very close to. I helped take care of her before she passed. She once made me promise that I would have six boys before I would have a girl. So I made a deal with her in my head that if I named the baby Louise could I have a girl. I guess she agreed.

I nursed and went to the bathroom. I even took a shower. I ate pizza. I shared with my family and friends how much I loved them and glad they could be there. We woke up Timtim to tell him he had a baby sister to share a birthday with. I knew he wouldn't remember in the morning. He looked like he was sleep walking. I called my friend who had been there that morning. She was upset that she missed the birth. I think she forgave me once she got to hold her. I am really stingy when it comes to holding my newborns so she knew she was special by holding her. Soon everyone left. It was three a.m. when I remember Makayla saying she was too tired to stay up any more and was going to bed. I held her and told her how much I loved her and was so glad she was there for me. Tim and I fell asleep cuddling our new baby in our own bed. It was all very surreal. The time flew by way too fast.
I love that I gave birth at home. I love that I gave birth in water. The water is very special to me. I am trying to soak up every second of my baby girls life. I am so in love with my family. I want to say Thank you Tim for realizing how much a home birth means to me. Thank you for supporting me and loving me. Thank you Makayla for being there, RIGHT there for me. You might not know how great of a service you did for me that night. Our bond is so strong now. I love you. Thank you Iris for the ball, even though I never ended up using it. Thank you for taking pictures. Thank you Trish for dinner that night. Thank you for the bag of ice from Sonic. Thank you to my midwife for believing in me for knowing I could do it when I was scared and reminding me of it through out my birth. I couldn't be more happy with how everything turned out.

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