Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Today is the baby girl's birth day! (and a sharing of her birth story)
Alert baby girl - a day and a half after her birth
In our home birthdays are not a marking of years passed or age acquired. They are a celebration of the gift of life; they are a celebration of our joy in having this person in our lives.
With my children they are also a remembrance of birth. With each and every birthday that my children experience I remember their births and the absolute joy of carrying them in my body. I remember how blessed I've been to have them in my life and how blessed I am to learn from them.
All three of my children together - six days after birth
So in the spirit of birthdays I share with you the baby girl's birth day. As you will read she was born in our home without the assistance of a professional birth assistant. This is sometimes called freebirth or unassisted childbirth. In our home it's simply called normal.
I woke up around 3:15am on Monday, March 31, 2008 to use the bathroom. When I returned to bed and turned over I noticed a big gush of fluid and asked my husband to get me a towel. Since I had just emptied my bladder I was pretty sure that I was leaking amniotic fluid. Another trip back to the bathroom confirmed that.
I put on some clean panties, stuffed a cloth diaper in them and went back to bed thinking I’d try to get some sleep before the big event began.
Contractions began at 3:33am.
I had easy contractions varying in length and frequency throughout the early morning hours. I got up and checked MDC (mothering dot com) and left a post about my SROM (spontaneous rupturing of membranes) and went back to bed. I got up and used the bathroom a few more times and finally abandoned all hope of getting sleep at around 8am or so when our 3 year old daughter woke up.
I was really enjoying spending time with my daughter and husband and finished up some sewing I had to do for a customer’s order. I packaged and labeled two orders and got them ready for my husband to take over to the post office.
My husband and daughter went off to the grocery store and post office and I stayed home. Contractions intensified as soon as they left and began to move into a more regular pattern.
I turned to MDC for entertainment and distraction between contractions. I’d get up and walk around during the contractions and then sit down and read and write in between them.
I loved the freedom of movement and position! With my last midwife attended birth the midwives ushered me upstairs to the bedroom as soon as active labor hit and I felt trapped and restricted. During this labor I was happy and at peace.
At around 3pm I noticed that the intensity and frequency was increasing to the point where I didn’t want companionship. I told the Hubster I was going upstairs because I sensed I was reaching transition and didn’t want to deal with the distraction of our 3 year old daughter. My husband stayed downstairs with her.
The next two hours were intense! I had contractions lasting 1-2 minutes long and about 2 minutes apart. I was working hard!
I finally called my husband up at around 5pm because I needed his presence to help ground me. My 16 year old son took over the care of our 3 year old daughter (what a blessing he was!).
I labored through another rough hour of contractions and after much prayer and talking with the baby I felt her descend and I moved into the bathroom. I wanted to sit and was ready to push!
I alternated between squatting above the toilet and standing upright pushing against a towel rack. The first few contractions were still pretty intense, but after about 4 or 5 of those I moved into that blissful stage where the contractions are purely productive and you begin to feel your baby moving through!
My husband asked me to move back into the bedroom at that point because our daughter’s head was crowning and he was afraid I’d reach a point where I couldn’t rise back up from the toilet (side note – he wants to build a birthing stool before our next child is born!).
We moved back into our bedroom and I squatted against two mattresses we had placed on top of each other as a makeshift sofa/bed. I continued to labor and push our daughter out for about 20 minutes.
It was the most amazing sensation to know when her head was passing through and to feel her shoulders moving out. With my first daughter’s birth the presence of the midwives and their dictation of my position and coached pushing made me numb to the process and I don’t recall knowing what was happening during the second stage.
With the baby girl’s birth I was acutely aware of every sensation and in touch with my daughter throughout the labor and her birth!
When she finally exited at 6:44pm, I looked down and saw her on the comforter below me and I turned and picked her up. I reclined to a lying position and held my beautiful baby. At this point we still didn’t know her gender as neither my husband nor I had looked!
I held her and rubbed her. She was completely covered in vernix and was quiet. I asked my husband to bring us a towel and another comforter to cover us up. I held her to my chest and talked to her as I rubbed her. We watched as she began to take her first few breaths. It was an amazing process to see the transition from her reliance on my body to independent life functions. She slowly began breathing as my body released her placenta.
After I birthed the placenta, she continued to breath stronger and stronger. While this was happening, my husband watched her umbilical cord and later told me that she fully breathed on her own only after the umbilical cord stopped pulsating.
We called up the other kids to meet their new sister!
My son said hello from the hallway as he prefers to meet his siblings when they’re a bit cleaner, but my daughter bounded in to say hello to her “newborned baby.”
We left the placenta and umbilical cord attached for about an hour after her birth and then clamped and cut it.
This birth was an amazing culmination of experiences and the end of a road long traveled for me. My first birth experience was in 1991 with a team of OBs that coerced me into a pitocin induction at just past 40 weeks that resulted in the c-section delivery of my son. My second birth was an HBAC in 2004 with a team of midwives that believed they trusted birth, but their actions proved to me that at the very least they didn’t trust mine. Finally, I was able to experience birth as G-d intended it to be - completely and utterly controlled by His divine plan without intervention from others.
Mama and baby girl about a week before birth
Immediately after her birth - cord is not yet cut
Sleeping baby girl - one day after her birth
first bath - 3 days after birth - gentle and notice no crying from the baby - they do not need to be traumatized with baths immediately after birth
Daddy and his two girls - eight days after birth
The baby girl today - two years after her birth
- A 40 something mama meandering through life with an eclectic 21 year old boy-man (the boy), an 8 year old girl (big girl) who is a ball of lightening, and a 4 year old girl (baby girl) who brightens our lives with her smiles. I'm grounded by my 40 something husband and partner (the hubster) whose quirky mannerisms brighten my days.
I've been a single mama, married mama, divorced mama, career mama, SAHM, and WAHM. There was a short time of my life when I wasn't a mama, but that was a LONG time ago!
I hold an AA, BS, and MA and most say I'm wasting them by devoting my intellectual capabilities and energy in the nurture of the wee ones that I've been entrusted to raise, but there is nothing else I'd rather be doing these days. :)
I love hearing from readers, so please share your thoughts and leave comments, too!