I guess the story begins 5 years ago with the birth of my son by emergency c-section. His heart rate crashed during an induction. I was 9 days past my due date and my doctor told me that we were "lessening our chances of a happy ending the longer he stays in there." Scared, young and ignorant about birth, I believed him and was terrified. I agreed to be induced even though I had been briefly told of the risks. My son was handed to me like a beautifully wrapped package... I did not feel like I had given birth.
2 years later I had my daughter - in a hospital with a midwife. This birth was managed by a nasty OB who wanted to induce my labor with drugs - we refused and she angrily waited in the wings for something to go wrong. I had IV's and continuous monitoring, I was either in bed or next to it throughout my labor. Nothing went wrong andNatalie was born vaginally - all 9lbs 2oz of her. I was lucky. If my midwife hadn't stood up for me, and Mike hadn't kicked that doctor out of my room - things might have been quite different. Before I even got pregnant this time, I had chosen my midwife... Karen Webster. it was obvious to me that the best thing I could do for myself and my child was to have her at home.
This was a great pregnancy. I found out in Disneyworld that I was pregnant! So much for Space Mountain... I took very good care of myself - only gained 6 lbs. I just couldn't wait for my homebirth and to find out if this little kicker was a he or a she.
On Friday afternoon, April 11th, I had an appointment with my midwife. Tho I always tell my clients there's no need to get checked because I really doesn't tell you anything, I was dying to know if my body was showing any physical signs of preparing for labor. Karen checked me and wahooo! I was 2cm and the baby was at a "very low" 0 station! Seeing how none of my other kids had ever gotten past -2 before labor I was thrilled! Karen and her assistant both thought they'd probably see me over the weekend.
Later that night, I lost my mucus plug and started having some random contractions. This pattern continued through the night and into Saturday afternoon. My friend called to check on me and I told her what was going on. My friend was going to be my doula, I told her that it was what we call the VBAC stutter.... it wouldn't be long! Saturday evening, there was still nothing "real" happening but I got the feeling that would soon be changing. I asked my husband to change out the water in the Aqua Doula. The tub had been in my room and I had been using it for back pain relief over the last few days. It finished draining after midnight and we debated refilling it immediately, or waiting until morning. We decided to fill it.
Around 1 am, I started to notice more regularity to the contractions, so I decided to call my doula; I didn't need her, but I wanted her to know that I may need her at some point during the night. I called my midwife later who let me know that I was the 3rd call that night! EGATS!! We left it that I would call when I needed her.
At 2 am I decided that I wanted her to come -- I was feeling the baby move down during contractions and even though they weren't painful at all, they were 3 minutes apart. I wanted someone to check baby's heart tones just for comfort. She told me she was on her way, as was my friend.
I guess Active labor started a little after 3 am. My midwives were here, as was my doula and another girlfriend. It wasn't' horrible at first, but it got painful FAST! For some reason even though baby was positioned perfectly I was feeling most of the pain in my back. The bad news was the tub was too cold for me to get into! Everyone started running up and down the stairs to the kitchen boiling water trying to heat it up faster. It was actually quite comedic.
I was so scared that the back pain meant the baby was in a bad position (ah the joys of being a doula and having too much knowledge) - my midwife listened with a fetoscope - baby was positioned perfectly, so that wasn't it. She checked me at that point. I was 7cm with a bulging bag of water. THANK GOD... It was moving fast.
I was finally able to get into the tub and felt total relief. Then a contraction came. I thought the water would take some of the pain away... ummm NOPE. The contractions were coming so fast and hard that I think jumping out the window may have been the only thing that helped. I tried pretending that I was ready to push - I really wanted it over, but my doula called my bluff. I was scared, as I had never experienced anything so intense in my life. Knowing now how fast things happened, I understand why I was so scared. The pain was bad - the first panic I had was that it was my c-section scar opening. My midwife and doula tried to reassure me that it would be a different kind of pain if that's what was happening, and that I would be bleeding (I wasn't) baby would be in trouble (heart tones were perfect!) but I was really scared. I definitely felt that I couldn't possibly do this another minute.
Fortunately - the fear was accompanied by a tremendous pressure and my declaration that baby was coming!!! I felt my water break, Mike quickly exclaimed - "I see Head" and my midwife hurried over to check. Baby's head was out with one push. My midwife checked quickly to make sure the cord wasn't around her neck, it wasn't. Baby's body came out with the next contraction. Mike said she dropped right into my wonderful midwife's waiting hands. I had been on my hands and knees so after doing a little dance I had her in my arms. Nobody checked the sex right away. I held her in my arms, and tried to feel for private parts. I felt a scrotum and a penis - and declared I was holding boy parts. About 2 minutes later I LOOKED under the towel and saw a swollen labia and a loop of umbilical cord... OOPS... hee hee. SHE was born on April 13, 2003 at 5:08 am... just 2 hrs after the onset of active labor. We waited a while before cutting the cord and separating her from me completely. She was a little slow to get going - we think it's because she came out so fast - but soon was nursing and warm and 100% fine.
I am sad at the thought that this is my last baby, but I am in heaven with the sheer JOY surrounding her birth and her health. I can't imagine birthing any other way. From the minute she left my body, she never left my side. Her newborn exam was done on my bed with everyone present. She was declared healthy, our midwife went to take a nap, and her daddy and I spent the rest of the day laying in bed enjoying our daughter and catching up on some sleep. She's a week old as I write this, nursing beautifully, and my postpartum hormones have kicked in - so remembering has made me cry. I thank God every day that Julia has blessed our family. Her birth was like my re-birth - the physical wounds from my c-section healed long ago, but the emotional scars barely fade. Julia's birth reminded me of the strength I have as a woman and in the power of birth.