by Kate, Canada
We had planned to have our baby at the birth centre, with the help of our midwives. I didn't want to go to the hospital because I was worried about the ‘slippery slope' of interventions that might occur. During our prenatal classes (Birthing from Within) we had to discuss what would be our fear, and I picked being transferred to the hospital. But they told me to draw a picture of how that could happen and still be ok, and it really made a difference to me. I saw my ‘angels'; my midwives, my husband, and my best friend being there, and the doctors being behind a fence!
3 days before my due date, I got up to pee in the middle of the night, and my water broke! I was so excited, and wanted to immediately call my best friend, since she had a 6 hour drive to get to me. But my husband told me to wait until morning. I went back to bed, and nothing happened.
The next day, my contractions were quite mild, so we went shopping for a peri bottle. My friend arrived in the late afternoon, and we went back to the mall. I was walking around, trying to get things going, but my contractions still were only about 10 minutes apart. Later that evening, my mom came and we went for a walk. I must have walked about 5 miles, but it didn't seem to help. The whole time, we were keeping in touch with our midwife, and finally she called to tell me to stop walking and go to bed because tomorrow I would have a baby to take care of. We had decided that since it would be 32 hours since my water had broken, we would induce labour.
I had a good nights sleep, and in the morning we went to the hospital so I could be induced. The midwife checked with the doctor (I never saw any doctors or nurses at all) and then hooked me up to the drip. I had an internal fetal monitor, so I couldn't move quite as much as I would have liked.
It took about 5 hours to get fully dilated, and at about 8 cm, I had a premature urge to push. This was the hardest part, I knew I shouldn't push, I knew it would hurt, but at each contraction I couldn't seem to stop myself. I needed the midwife to guide me through each time, she would get me to say ‘Huff, Huff' to keep my breathing in the upper parts, so I couldn't push. I asked her to check me again, and she said 10cm! I was thrilled, because finally there was something I could do. I pushed for an hour and 40 minutes (it didn't seem that long). I held onto my husband with one arm, and my friend with the other arm, and pushed for all that I was worth. (The day after the birth the sorest part of my body were my arms!)
The baby's head would come out and then back in again, and I asked ‘Why does she want to go back” The midwife reminded me that the slow stretching would help protect my body.
Then suddenly her head was out, and the rest of her body followed. My first thought was “Oh my God, she's so tiny she must be only 5lbs” (She was actually 6 lbs 7.8 ounces) She had tons of dark hair and was quite purple. The midwife put her on my tummy, and rubbed her to get her to breathe. She was a bit slow to breathe, and her hands had been up by her head as she was born, so they were purple all night.
She looked around, and looked at me, and then started to cry a bit, but she was quite calm. The rush I felt holding her in my arms is indescribably wonderful!
My friend began calling family, and my parents walked in 15 minutes later. They had been hanging out around the hospital all day! (they live out of town). I got in the shower, while they dressed her. The midwife told me I couldn't go home until I peed, but I couldn't for some reason, so she finally told me to call her when I peed. We left at 8 p.m., 2 hours after Gabriella was born. The funniest was the people on the elevator, who said “That's a pretty new baby” My husband said “Born at 6 o'clock” They said “This morning?” He told them “No, 6 tonight” Then they asked “Where's the mother?” He said “She's right here!” They couldn't believe I was walking out of the hospital 2 hours after giving birth!
I was on cloud nine, and got home ready to do laundry and all sorts of things, but instead we took her to bed with us. The first night, my husband and I were so worried about her, she was so new and tiny. We watched her all night.
I had a hard time getting her to latch, and she didn't really get it until she was 24 hours old, but since then she's been great. My friend said she is the most alert newborn she's ever seen, and I think it was because she had such a gentle birth. She's 3 months old now, and absolutely wonderful!
The hospital wasn't as bad as I thought, but I'm glad we had our midwife, who cares about our baby and me, and sees birth as a natural wonderful process that women were meant to do!