After 3 weeks of "early labor" i was completely exhausted. Thursday (the 18th), I slept most of the day and was dragging when not asleep. So, I once again resigned to see what happened tomorrow, had some sleeping pills and called it a night. Despite being exhausted, I am, and always have been, a ridiculously light sleeper. As I was drifting off, mind racing, john was rubbing my back, trying to help me ignore the contractions. I guess I finally fell asleep. This time though, the pills didn't let me sleep through anything. at 3am, they were impossible to sit with. I couldn't go back to sleep.
John, my husband, and the kids woke up at 7:30-ish and I told john to hurry dropping Jackson (7 in a few days) at kinder. He was back in a flash (they go by bike) and changed the water in the pool (as he did every day because the water is being turned off a few hours a day to conserve it for tourists... ugh. But we needed to keep the pool fresh and hot constantly, so i doubt they saved ANY water just due to us using 18 times more than usual - a 180 gallon pool being heated fully 2x a day).
I picked the spot for the pool months ago. I knew our ornery neighbor, Antonio would hear, but it was the place I felt it needed to be. I was treated to Johnny Cash blasting once I started making a lot of loud noise. I'm just kidding- I wanted the music OFF and complete silence. Unfortunately I couldn't go threaten him to turn it down at that point, and so began the battle of louder noises vs. louder jonny cash. I won. Playa Chiquita could hear me for 200 meters in all directions, at least.
John was taking me seriously but we had Cole (4) running around wanting to stay, but I said he made me feel inhibited. I didn't want him to get scared from the noises. John rode him over to Mi Jardin (Jackson's School, although he started the year there in february and stopped goig in April due to not liking papaya and today he asked if he can go back and... they let him. But anyway, it was immensely cool that they let John drop him off to play.)
So, I was sucking down nitrous oxide waiting for the pool to finish filling. I had one and a half left when i stripped and leaped in (not literally, but oooh, that felt SO MUCH BETTER. I hardly moved from being on my knees with my elbows and chin on the side except for 2 times when I felt a little more direct pressure was needed and sat on my butt through 2 contractions although it was much much much less comfortable then being upright. John has to open the restaurant. I tell him to send Cook home (yes, it's his real name) and he says he will. He didn't, and I knew he wouldn't. Cook did very quiet prep work from 11am-12pm. John kept having to go out and drop kids off, do restaurant stuff, get pipa juice and all sorts of things around, so I was alone a lot. It was alright, for the most part.
John told me "i've been timing your contractions while you didn't know." Ok, well? "every 2 minutes lasting 30 seconds" "that's completely impossible." "but it says right here... oh." It seems the part that he was counting must have been the LOUD noises that I was making (I will learn him :) That was frustrating to hear until I realised it was completely impossible. About, oh, 10-20 minutes later the baby was born. I consciously thought I should add in a round of shouting "no no no no no!" because I did the previous 2 times and maybe it needed to happen. I also spit out a mouthful of pipa pieces that were in the juice. I went to feel what was going on and her head was coming through. I was about 9 cm.
The most intolerable part of giving birth each time has been, for me, not "transition" but the pushing. I can never get that baby out fast enough. I think 3 or 4 REALLY LOUD screams and her head came right out all the way. Then, she was half in and half out. I don't like that feeling either, but she didn't make the final twist yet. He said, "her eyes are open!" John asked me if he should pull and I said, "no" at first and then "a *little*". Then she twisted her shoulders and her dada caught her. I don't think he realises he is quite special for catching his own baby...
We kept her under for a minute and brought her up face-first. She wasn't breathing for a bit, so I gave "the kiss of life" and it looked like she was breathing- maybe- but I asked john to use the bulb syringe in her mouth and he did her nose a little bit too. She was still getting oxygen from the placenta, but I birth the placenta quickly, so we didn't have all the time in the world. She was staring at me, blue and gray. FINALLY she sucked in some air and let out a cry. I have never been so happy to hear a cry in my life. Jackson and cole both breathed right away.
John announced it was 11:55 (I forgot to even think about the time). She was so beautiful and perfect and "we did it!"; "no you did it!" was exchanged (and kisses...). She was tiny like Jackson. And yes, a girl, confirmed. We'd been calling her Mackenzie since I was about 6 weeks pregnant. It was important to me that she had a name. John found a beautiful middle name for her a few weeks ago. Mackenzie Azul Lewis was born on October 19, 2012 in Costa Rica. Our TicaBaby!
John went down to the restaurant to ask Tony (the waitress) to pick the kids up at the Kinder and she did. Meanwhile, I was on the couch not realising I had absolutely nothing to put the placenta in, but it came anyway. I smushed in onto a plastic plate and scooted to a towel on a yoga mat until John could come back. I don't know how long he was gone. He brought me strawberries and got the scissors sterilized. We waited for it to stop pulsing, clamped one end and tied the side next to Mackenzie's belly with sterile string ("umbilical cord tape"). John cut the cord (he thinks this is a major accomplishment even though he CAUGHT A BABY because he was too squeemish to do it the previous 2 times. He even checked it for obvious missing pieces, but I wasn't bleeding a lot, so the plastic plate went into a freezer bag and there it remains.
A few hours later, after the kids got to know her a little bit with me, John came in with the metal fish scale and the sling so we could weigh her. 3.4 kg/7 lbs. 4 ounces. I tried measuring her length, but she was all curled up. The best I could figure was about 18 inches.
She's 3 days old now and sleeps through the nights in our bed. I am sleeping well too. John is temporarily sleeping with Cole. I started writing this last night, but you know how it is...
Anyway, I remember thinking at one point (must have been transition) that we were insane and I can't believe I wanted to do this again and I was going to remember to tell myself how incredibly uncomfortable it was. John asked me one day later which birth was the easiest. I said "Cole's". I am not sure what I would say today if he had waited to ask me.
The specialness and beauty of having a private, intimate birth is indescribable. I feel so proud of myself, my husband and my strong family (who put up with a few crazy-pregnant-woman-rages: sorry guys!). All births are unforgettable, I'm sure, but this one... this was different because we did it ourselves. This difference was noticible even though we only had a midwife and a doula at each of the other 2 births. I feel like I would have liked more reassurance. I didn't like Anotnio's music and knowing that people could hear me (the restaurant...). I LOVE the photos John took (I just found some on a different camera of her crowning).
The afterbirth pains were intense, but they finished last night/this morning. I used Afterease (Wishgarden) tincture and ibuprofen. My milk came in fully and the engorgement is tremendous. I hope she wakes up soon to nurse. Currently the boys are asleep and Mackenzie is sleeping on John. I had a piña colada and am trying to relax and remember to eat. I wish I had a postpartum doula to help us.
Amazing, amazing experience and our beautiful baby girl is loved so so much. Her 2 big brothers are doing well, although possibly a little bit jealous.
And a link to photos :)
Update: I don't know if it was clear, but all of my births have been at home waterbirths. Once you have a homebirth, you can do anything- that's how I felt, anyway. Please feel free to share this story with others where *positive* messages are helpful/needed regarding home and unassisted birth. I am a doula by training, but an educator at heart. I fully believe that anyone with confidence and trust in their body can do this.
Edited by aggie pop - 12/31/12 at 10:31pm