By Nicole, USA
Friday afternoon, June 30, 2006, dh left with our 2 sons, 2 nephews and niece to head up north to his parents for our annual 4th of July vacation. I was sad to be missing it, but excited at the prospect that I may be holding a new baby in my arms when they arrived back home. I took advantage of the empty house and cleaned until my heart was content. I even got a bath in for our Great Dane, Roxanne!
That evening I went out to return some things to the library and to the video store, so while I was out, I ran into Dunham's Sports store to see if they had a fish scale that I would be able to weigh the baby with at the birth. They did! Now I was really ready. I fell asleep easily that night with all the hard work I had done, it was nice knowing the house was clean and prepared for a new blessing.
Saturday, July 1, 2006, 8 am. I couldn't believe I had slept so long! I usually found myself miserable and aching in my shoulders and hips by about 5 am and here it was 8 o'clock! What was it that woke me up again? Oh yeah, that warm gush of fluid. My water bag was just trickling a little amniotic fluid, good thing I had thought to lay the waterproof pads down on the mattress in my cleaning frenzy the night before.
Well, that got me up quickly and I started in on the day. First things first, a cup of ice. Ahhh. Then I decided to give Roxanne a good day-after-bath brushing, badly needed and I didn't want dog hair all over my nicely cleaned house! When I came back in from that, I noticed a little surprise when I visited the bathroom, my mucous plug!
I knew the birth could still be a ways away as my water bag could easily reseal itself and I could continute to lose parts of my mucous plug for weeks, but I set about pulling things out for the birth anyway. I had blown up the birth pool the night before, so I opened up the brand new hose dh had just bought for the birth and started filling the pool with warm water from the kitchen sink. I laid plastic down leading from the pool to the bathroom and also to my bedroom. I felt those would be the main areas of the house I'd be visiting in a potentially messy physical state.
Once I had that task completed, I went online and read uc stories on c-birth until about noon. I decided I should try to take a nap, as contractions were coming every 4 to 12 minutes and I knew it could be a very long day ahead of me.
No sooner did I lay down and start dozing off than I heard the squeak of my back door and my darling little sister tiptoeing over the plastic I had laid down in the hallway. She seemed startled at the birth supplies out in the house. I reassured her that everything was fine, tried to convince her that I was not in labor, and after a few questions, she was gone. No nap for me.
I had hoped to labor in the peace that no one would know I was laboring and I wouldn't be receiving any worrisome phone calls or visits wondering if I had produced a baby yet. Oh well, I could still hope for a little of that.
I decided to get up and lock all the doors, pull all the blinds and turn the phone off. I also started on the second round of filling the birth pool (could only fill it about 1/3 of the way at a time before the hot water ran out). It was almost 3:30 by this time, contractions were gaining in intensity, but still about 3-12 minutes apart.
I found it helpful to start visualizing riding a horse during each contraction. I would imagine myslef on a big pleasure horse loping around in a nice easy circle. Each stride the horse took was a deep breath that I took through another contraction. It helped tremendously, until about 6:30. At that time I made a note to myself on the paper I had been recording contractions on, “The excitement is over, now I have a job to do.” It was clear that the baby was coming.
The phone rang and it was dh calling for our daily chat. I didn't answer since I was right in the middle of a contraction and didn't want him to worry once he knew I was in labor. As soon as that contraction passed, I called him right back and made sure to cut the conversation short before the next contraction arrived.
I realized by now that it was probably safe to get in the birth pool. So I began on the final filling, but I just could not wait for it to be completely filled before getting in. I decided I'd just have to find it in me to get out and shut the water off once it was filled.
It was about 7:30 pm by now. The water made the contractions easier to focus on since I didn't have to support any part of my body other than keeping the back of my head on the edge of the pool. I would just let my legs and arms float through each contraction, it helped in keeping my body from tensing up too. I had 8 or so of these intense contractions that way and I thought to flip over onto my belly, hoping a change in position might help keep me more comfortable. So now I had my arms and head resting on the edge of the pool, my legs floating out straight behind me.
I only had a couple of contractions this way before I noticed that I let out a little grunt at the peak of a contraction. It kind of startled me as I had been totally silent up until this point, not wanting to waste any extra energy on vocalizing, I needed all the energy I could get to stay on top of each contraction. The next contraction I noticed a couple of grunts coming from me and they were getting louder. I couldn't believe what was happening: my body was pushing, it was time to push!!! I never checked myself for dilation since I remembered being so disappointed during Cassius's birth when I wasn't farther along than I had hoped.
I couldn't believe how quickly things were moving along this time. So at 8 pm I started pushing in earnest. I had placed a 5 gallon bucket near the edge of the pool to put the placenta in after the birth and also to vomit in if the need arose (thankfully, it did not despite having eaten all throughout the day). I really needed something solid and firm to grasp while I was pushing, so the bucket proved to be useful for that as well. I only had about 4 pushing contractions before I could start to feel the bones in pelvis moving apart. The baby was descending.
Next contraction I felt that ring of fire and I quickly sat up onto the bottoms of my feet, still squatting and then I could feel a head. It was a hairy, squishy head with little ears onthe side. Oh, what glory(!!!), I knew the hard part was over.
I immediately started talking to the baby, asking for patience for the next contraction, “you're almost here…” The next contraction came within a minute or two and I slowly started to feel those little ears rotate in my hands, the baby turned to allow the shoulders to pass and then was floating face down in the water, all limbs outstretched.
Whew, I did it! I noticed the cord was around the shoulders, so I unwound that before I lifted the baby onto my chest. I grabbed an arm with one hand and the little butt with my other hand. When I realized I had a hand full of testicles, I knew Caine and Cassius had been right all along, we had ourselves a boy! And he was just perfect, a full head of black hair, fat rolls everywhere, and covered in thick vernix.
He didn't breath right away, waited maybe 30 sec or a minute, but I was never worried as I could still feel the cord pulsing and knew he was getting everything he needed still from the placenta. I tried sucking any mucous out of his nose and mouth with my mouth, but there just wasn't any there. I just rolled him onto his belly so any mucous could drain out of him and rubbed all of that vernix into his soft back.
I was just so elated that he was here! And the only ones to witness it were the Lord and my sweet dog, Roxanne. She had laid on her dog bed right next to the pool the entire time and just watched me. It was comforting having her there. She refuses to go outside now for any length of time, just wants to be inside with the baby and I.
I knew that the next decision to be made was whether I should get out of the water before the placenta came or wait for it in the water. I didn't have much time to ponder that, as it came exactly 10 minutes after the baby had left my body. Even though it was floating outside of my body, I could feel that a small piece of it was still attached, but I just gently tore it away (should have probably waited to see if another contraction came to let it completely separate).
I put it into a strainer over the 5 gallon bucket and carried the baby, the bucket and myself out of the water and to my bedroom. Boy, was I ever glad I laid all that plastic down on the floor! I didn't want to take any chances of hemmorhaging with me being completely alone, so I never hesitated in eating part of the placenta. I just tore a piece off of the maternal side with my hand. It was a much bigger piece than I had intended to eat, but never wanting to be wasteful, I just crammed the whole thing in my mouth before I could change my mind. I chewed on it as long as I could tolerate and swallowed.
Then I laid the baby on my bed wrapped in a towel with his placenta next to him and quickly jumped in the shower to wash all the blood off my legs. Finally I was able to get us situated and cuddling in bed.
I couldn't wait to share the news with dh. It was now only about 9:00pm or so, just a few hours after I had talked to him earlier in the day to say hi. I told him we had a baby, his first question was,”what kind?” Cute, I told him we had a boy! My niece must have been right there next to him because she was the first person he told. She really wanted a girl, but when she got on the phone with me she told me she'd love a little boy too. Al yelled to Caine that he had a new little brother and I guess he was excited, but not enough to stop playing. Cassius wanted to end his vacation and come home right away to see the baby, but they still had a few days left.
Although I would have loved having the boys here to experience the birth with me, having the house empty for those first few days really turned out to be a blessing. The contractions following this birth lasted 3 days and they were as bad as the labor contractions, I certainly was not anticipating that!
I reluctantly cut the cord on the 3rd night, it kept getting caught in between his toes when he would kick and it was pulling at his belly button. I was hoping for a full lotus birth but I'm pleased that we made it as long as we did. His placenta is now in our freezer and will be planted under some glorious tree.
He's looking just a tad jaundiced now so we've been spending 5-10 minutes in the sun each day to help take care of that. The milk fairy visited me on day 2, so that's made him more comfortable and me a little more uncomfortable – all just part of having babies!
So all in all, the birth was perfect and I'll give all the glory to God. I feel so utterly blessed to have this child and also to have had the chance to give him such a peaceful birth. He never cried once until the second day. Unfortunately, I didn't find much encouragement for my birth plan from friends and family during my pregnancy, yet never once did my heart waiver from knowing everything would be fine.
I hope that my experience and this birth story can help shine a light in other's hearts that there are options in childbirth for those that seek them. It's not medically necessary that it be managed by “professionals,” after all, pregnancy and childbirth are not illnesses that need to be “treated.” I never saw a doctor once (other than getting chiropractic care every two weeks) through my entire pregnancy,just took care to eat right and rest when I needed it.
I never had one “scare” thrown at me from a doctor that you so often hear about. I attribute the ease of this birth to the intentional and complete lack of outside interference, I wouldn't change a single thing, praise God.
ANNOUNCING OUR THIRD BLESSING:
Cougar Russell Dodson
born 8:15 pm, Saturday, July 1, 2006
9 lbs, 22 inches, 14.5 inch head