Madeleine Diana's Birth Story
I woke up with contractions and knew they were the ones. I timed them for a little while and they were 5-6 minutes apart and around a minute long. I felt peaceful this time, as I was excited for my homebirth and had complete faith that my body would work as it should. I straightened the house a bit, made a grocery list (wanted to have more food on hand for the midwives), and then decided to sit on the couch and work on my knitting until Neil or Olivia woke up. Olivia, my 2 year old, noticed that I wasn’t in bed around 7 am and woke Neil. I called the midwives to let them know that I would give birth some time that day.
Neil got Olivia ready to go to my mom’s. He dropped Olivia off, shopped, and was home by a little before 9 am. I am really lucky that I have my mom in town and that she and Olivia have such a close relationship; Olivia has no reservations about going there and Neil and I have no worries about her care.
The contractions got more intense and I sat on the birthing ball near the couch. I felt them in my back as I had with Olivia’s labor and they were painful, but I felt very clear between them and I affirmed with each contraction that they were helping my body to open up and do the job of giving birth to this baby. By 10 am I told Neil that I felt ready for some more relief, and wondered if we should call the midwives. We both doubted that I would be far enough along to get in the birth pool, but I wanted to get in.
Neil called the midwives and Jen came and checked me. She told me later that by my composure when she walked in she expected that I would still be in early labor, but I was at 7, almost 8. My body was working so efficiently! Neil filled the pool, and Jen called Kris (the other midwife) and got things set up in our bedroom.
Floating in the water took the extra weight off and dulled the contraction pain, although I still wanted Neil to place the hot water bottle on my back during each contraction. Kris arrived around noon.
After the midwives set everything up, they sat on my bed and Neil pulled his office chair from the hallway. I thought my water had broken as I had an intense contraction with some bloody stuff coming out of me in the water [ed note: probably the mucous plug]. At this point it seemed like my contractions were further apart than they had been and I started feeling like a watched pot. I was questioning how far away transition was, as things didn’t seem to be building. Kris assured me that I was working harder than when she first arrived. I was almost ready to ask everyone to leave the room and leave me alone, when things got really intense.
The contractions were all of a sudden one on top of the other— and bam— it felt like a softball shot out of me. It turned out that my water hadn’t broken earlier and this time it really did. After my water broke I had 3 big contractions and felt the first really intense pain. After the 2nd big contraction I told Neil to call my mom so that she and Olivia could come over. But there wasn’t time: I was in transition and this baby was coming out! There wasn’t going to be any easy leisurely pushing phase as there had been with Olivia’s birth, the ring of fire was there and it HURT. Then her head was out and I hadn’t even pushed, my body just did it. I was on my hands and knees and the midwives felt her head (no cord) and urged me to push her body out. They asked me not to stand up, as they didn’t want the baby to get a little air and go back under with the water birth. I pushed and got her body out, but they couldn’t bring her to the surface. Kris jumped in the birth pool with her jeans on and determined that her cord was so short that they couldn’t get her to my stomach. They had me stand up in the pool. This was difficult because the pool is designed like a raft with high sides and an air filled bottom. I stood with legs shaky from exhaustion and the unsteady surface, touching the baby while one midwife held her and the other one rushed around for cord cutting clamps. They cut the cord and handed her to me after I sat back down in the pool. I didn’t sit there for long as the pool looked like a bowl of Kool –Aid™ and the midwives were concerned about my bleeding as I had hemorrhaged during my first birth. Jen took the baby, wrapped her up and handed her back to me once I was on the bed. She wasn’t interested in nursing as I was working on getting the placenta out, but she held onto my finger and looked into my eyes, with a look that felt like she knew I was her mother. The placenta didn’t come out until they had me stand and then it came out with one easy push. I had a couple small tears so I handed Madeleine to Neil while the midwives did three small stitches. Before they were done stitching me my new little girl let out some good wails and took to the breast easily.
Jen did the newborn exam and Madeleine was perfect, exactly 9 pounds and 22 inches long. She looked so calm as they gently examined her. My favorite early photo of her is during this exam. In hindsight, I am glad that Olivia wasn’t there for the birth because it was so intense that she might have been scared. She showed up with my mom around 4 pm to meet her sister. She had been asleep when Neil called and then my mom had told her that she could stay and play after her nap and she chose playing at Grandma’s over coming to see the baby.
So far the adjustment to being a mom of two children has been difficult, but Madeleine has been a good sleeper, a good eater and has a mild temperament. Olivia has been adjusting well to her sister but constantly wants to hold her and give her kisses. It took me two weeks to feel comfortable going out with both of them and a month to manage Olivia’s nap alone. But now at six weeks post partum I am feeling like a confident mother of two although sometimes sleep deprived and often touched out. I have started looking for enrichment classes for Olivia, as they will be easier to attend while Madeleine is still small and content hanging out in the sling. Olivia wants to be held more, but has stayed potty trained for this big life change.
I am so happy that I had Madeleine at home. My labor was short, my recovery fast and my confidence in my body high. The big difference between having Madeleine at home compared to Olivia in the hospital is that I had total control of my birth and confidence in my body, this made my feelings about childbirth more positive this time around. The thing that made me feel the best about my home birth was that Madeleine’s first experience outside my womb was our calm home and not a bright noisy hospital, and of course that we could sleep in our own bed afterwards.
See video picture collagehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgiLNHTwcj8