Not sure if you’ve noticed but I’ve been MIA for the past couple of months.
I’ve been brewing up this little munchkin.
Her name is Anna and after 3 1/2 hours she was born at home on October 17 at 8:37 pm weighing in at 7 lbs. 4 oz. This is the story is of how she came into the world.
Finding a Midwife
I gave birth to my first baby at the Birth Center of Gainesville and I knew I wanted to have this baby natural as well. The problem came with finding a midwife in my new town. After searching I discovered there was only one midwife who was not associated with hospital births. Her name was Amy and she owned the only birth center in the area. She also happened to be a midwifery student at the Birth Center of Gainesville the same time I was receiving care for my first pregnancy and she was one of the assistants at my first birth! I called her up and she instantly remembered me and expressed how excited she was to work with me again.
I was beyond relieved to find a midwife I knew and trusted. In fact, the guidance she provided me during my first birth was the only reason I made it through those hellacious contractions. Thank God for midwives.
A Good Pregnancy
I had an excellent pregnancy. I gained the perfect amount of weight and by and large had an easy time of it (until the end when getting in a comfortable position to sleep is pretty much impossible).
Then at 37 weeks baby girl decided to turn around in a breech position. Amy immediately had me visit a chiropractor to receive a treatment known as the Webster Technique to help turn her around. I also did a lot of walking, Breech Tilt exercises, and Forward Leaning Inversions. The hokey-pokey stuff worked. A week later an ultrasound confirmed she had turned and was head down again. Thank God for Flipping Babies.com
My due date was October 19 but was certain I would go into labor a day before on the 18th; the 18th was when a full moon lunar eclipse was scheduled to happen. I gave birth to my first daughter on a full moon a day before my due date so I was positive it would happen again. It didn’t.
On the 17th, I started having light contractions at 2 am but they stopped a few hours later. Brian decided to stay home from work and I went on about my day. As the day went on, my contractions picked up again but were sporadic and short. I had a midwife appointment at 4:30 and Brian kept asking me if Amy should come to the house instead of us going to the birth center. He was very concerned that I was going into labor. I told him I was not in labor, he was crazy, and that I needed to make my appointment.
The birth center was 30 minutes away and I continued having contractions on the way there. When we got there Amy checked me and confirmed that I was 4 cm dilated. We asked her if I was going to have the baby that night and of course she said she couldn’t be sure; maybe, maybe not.
She did recommend getting something to eat (we agreed sushi sounded good) and she thought it would be a great idea to get a quick chiropractic adjustment after my appointment with her. She called the chiropractor to make an appointment but the office was already closed. It would only be 20 minutes later that these plans would seem like the craziest ideas ever.
We left the birth center but before I even made it to the car I had a major contraction. I advised Brian that I didn’t think getting sushi was a good idea and to maybe get drive thru on the way home.
The Car Ride from Hell
Before we left Amy mentioned that the car ride home would probably pick things up. Boy, was she right! It was the car ride from hell! My contractions got so intense I started moaning, and soon, crying. Riding in a 20 year-old stick shift in the middle of traffic didn’t help things either. I wanted nothing more than to get the heck out of that car. Needless to say, we did not stop by KFC.
Back at home, Brian filled up the birth pool while I moaned through contractions in a rocking chair. He tried to feed me food but the contractions were so bad I spit it out. This clearly was not the time to eat. I honestly thought that once I got out of the car, my contractions would stop or at least slow down. Pfftt. I was in full blown labor and the contractions were super intense and coming quick.
Brian told me to get in the birth pool but the water was too hot for me. I stood in the water and leaned against a window praying for the contractions to stop. Brian managed to get away from my death grip and called Amy to tell them to hurry.
I thought I felt the urge to poop and told Brian to help me get to the bathroom. Then my water broke. It was scary and chaotic and Brian thought I was going to deliver the baby before the midwives had a chance to get there. He did not want to catch this baby alone. He called Amy again and told them to hurry the H up. Amy instructed me to lay down in the water on my side with my legs closed to prevent the baby from coming out. Everyone thought I was going to have Anna right then but that wasn’t the case. I had about one more hour of contractions before the urge to push came.
A Peaceful Meadow
Laying down in the water with a death grip still on Brian is when I entered Labor Land. The contractions kept coming and I was having a hard time staying on top of them. I tried to just let them happen but they were taking every ounce of energy I had. I remember Brian whispering to me saying he had to go to bathroom. Unfortunately for Brian, I was not letting go of him. Little did he know he would not be able to relieve himself until after it was all over.
It’s hard to describe what a contraction feels like. They’re like a wave that peaks then resides only to come again. The pain and intensity of them seem to come from another planet. They got so strong that I left the room I was in and “went” some place else. That place was a peaceful green meadow. No one was there. Trees were in the distance and insects buzzed about. It was sunny and there was a gentle breeze that caused the tall grass to sway. It was quiet and calm and beautiful.
I did not intentionally visualize this escape. It just happened. I cannot be for certain but I wonder if this is the same thing that people experience when they are being tortured (yes, I did just compare labor to torture).
In Your Own Time
Amy arrived and I was VERY relieved to see her. She checked me while her two assistants buzzed around setting things up. Amy confirmed I was 8 cm dilated and I remember asking her when would I be 10. She looked at me and said gently “in your own time.” Duh. I don’t know why I asked her that. Oh yeah, I know- it was because I was in the pit of hell and I wanted it to be over.
The contractions came for another 30 minutes but now I had Amy there coaching me through them. I finally felt the urge to push but I really didn’t want to. I half-heartedly pushed a couple of times and Amy said the baby did not like water- her heart rate was decelerating and I needed to get out and on the bed.
I could not believe she was expecting me to stand up, get out of the pool, and walk to the bed! I was terrified to do so (now I know why she insisted on the pool being so close to the bed). With the help of Brian and Kristen I made it to the futon and started the monumental task of pushing again. I was very scared of the pain. I pushed as hard I possibly could and screamed. It really was like a scene from a movie. Amy, Kristen, and Jackie said I was doing great and to keep pushing but I was scared. In hindsight I could have taken it slower but I wanted it to be over so I pushed hard and quick.
A New Person
It was about 3 or 4 pushes later that Anna was out and on my chest. That brief moment was awesome. There was a brand new person laying on me! This person was not here a few seconds ago and now she was. It was miraculous. A lot of women will say that at this moment all their pain is gone and all they can do is lovingly stare in their baby’s eyes. Not me. My pain receptors were on high alert. Kristen examined the baby and Jackie hooked me up to an oxygen tank. I tried to rest while Amy checked for tears. She said I had a little tear on the inside but it was not even worthy of a stitch. Still though, I was mentally out of it and physically trembling.
Meanwhile, Brian was given smelling salts because he said he was about to faint. His dizziness was either due to the fact that he had been holding his bodily functions for hours or by what he had just witnessed, or both.
The Three Weeks After
Amy and her team stayed until midnight examining myself and Anna, doing paperwork and cleaning up. Anna was healthy and breastfeeding and everyone was doing well. It was the weeks that followed that were rough. The first week sucked (pun intended) due to breastfeeding. It hurt so incredibly bad! I cried not wanting to re-live the pain of breastfeeding my first daughter. I don’t think the reality of breastfeeding is accurately displayed to new moms- it HURTS. At least in the beginning. At least for me.
I thought that since I breastfed my first baby (5 years prior) for over a year that I would be physically prepared to breastfeed again. Nope. The twin peaks had to readjust all over again. Anna also contracted thrush in her mouth during labor which also contributed to the pain. But Amy, in her infinite wisdom, prescribed Jensen Violet (a natural thrush treatment) and the infection was gone in a week and breastfeeding began to feel normal.
I had a hard time resting and recovering from natural birth. Amy essentially wanted me bed-ridden but that was impossible for me. I wanted to just jump back into my routine of cleaning, cooking, going places. But I couldn’t do any of those things. I had to rely on Brian for everything as I had a hard time taking care of myself and a newborn. For the first couple of days I could barely walk and after that my whole body ached.
I developed a slight case of the “baby blues” but it only lasted that first month. After that, I healed enough to do the activities I was used to doing and emotionally felt much better.
I have had babies in both a birthing center and in my own living room and to me, both are great places to deliver. I have never had a baby in a hospital so I can’t comment on what that may be like. While I prefer a home-like setting, I know of women and babies who would not be here today if it weren’t for the skilled doctors and medical equipment that only large hospitals can provide.
But Brian, Amy, Jackie, and Kristen were amazing. I don’t know what I would have done without them. I’m beyond blessed to have had them with me and to have a healthy, beautiful baby girl in my arms.
What was your birth experience like? Would you ever have a baby at home? Share in the comments below and thank you for visiting us!