From the moment I learned I was pregnant, I knew childbirth was inevitable and it was time to face one of my biggest fears-childbirth. I'd been dreaming of my own child for years. I thought about holding it, breastfeeding it, teaching it, but when I thought of birthing it, I felt ill. I had such a misconception of childbirth. Afterall, most of the people I know had induced births in hospitals. I heard all their horror stories about epidurals & headaches, cutting & stithes, babies that got stuck, babies that couldn't latch on....... I would then recall how my mother birthed me. It was in a hospital, and she did have an episiotomy, but she didn't have an epidural. If she could do it, so could I.
I knew I for sure wanted a homebirth. I found a midwife who did prenatals for several months. I felt about 75% comfortable with this plan to have her present for my baby's homebirth. DH and I were both feeling like we were not connecting with the midwife the way we should be. I was looking for other options. I stumbled upon the MDC Unassited Childbirth forum at work one day. I was so intrigued! I then spent over a month researching the UC archives and birth stories. I didn't have internet at home yet so daily I had 2 fifteen minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch break that I devoted to searching the UC forum. I was getting really interested in the idea of having a UC. Around that same time DH and I went to the movie theatre and saw The Nativity Story. The protrayal of the UC of Jesus Christ confirmed my decision to UC. I had made up my mind but then I had to slowly break the news to DH.
I told DH that I wanted a UC. When I explained what that involved (and didn't involve) he was a little shocked. I didn't talk about it a lot at once. I thought he should slowly be "broken in" to the idea. When he heard me call the midwife and leave a message to tell her that I didn't need her to come to the next appt. and that I didn't need her to come back at all, I think he realized I was totally serious about a UC. Meanwhile, we thought the midwife would call back and see what was going on. I was very polite in the message I left her. She never called back. That was a sure sign to me that she didn't really care about us. We'd already paid her $600 of our hard earned money. I wasn't going to ask for it back. Maybe she thought I was or something, but she should have at least returned my call.
I was thrilled because we were well on our way to a UC. My due date was now only 3 months away. And all those fears I had of childbirth- they were completely gone. As for DH, he was in denial. I knew he was excited about the baby, but he was not exactly exctited about the birth. He really didn't want to talk about it. So without him to talk to all I had was all those mamas at the MDC UC forum. They became my biggest supporters. My parents had no idea that the midwife was out of the picture. Everytime they mentioned her I kindof changed the subject. I was going to tell them the truth of the UC after the birth. Well, DH changed that. A few weeks before my due date, DH told my parents that I fired the midwife and was having a UC. We were all either in tears or yelling soon into this conversation. I told them all this was how it was going to be and they didn't have to agree to it.
As the weeks went on my mom, dad, and DH became a little more informed and comfortable with the idea, but they still had many doubts. The day that DH read most of Emergency Childbirth, I knew we were making progress.
My due date came and went. I was loving my pregnancy. I have no real comlplaints of it other than the morning sickness in the first trimester. My belly was big, my baby was active, and I was patiently waiting for labor. This is when so much anxiety came to those who love me. They were getting more worried by the day. They wondered why the baby wasn't born yet. I wasn't worried. There was no instinct telling me there was a problem and the baby was still moving a lot.
Here is where the signs of labor begin:
Thursday 9:00pm DH feels my belly and notices the top is really hard to the touch. It stayed hard. This was the first sign of the upcoming labor.
Saturday 3:00pm I fell asleep. I must have got out of be every 15 minutes to urinate. My lower belly was beginning to contract. Finally at 9:00pm I woke up DH. At 10:00pm we ate. After that I got on my hands and knees and scrubbed the kitchen and bathroom floors. I finished cleaning and took a bath Sunday at 2:00am. By 3:00am my contraxtions were about 6 minutes apart. I then saw a very small amount of bloody show. I told DH the news of the bloody show. He was getting more nervous as I was getting more focused. We both were almost sure this was what we'd been waiting for for so long. Between 4:00am and 6:00am I tried to sleep. At 6:00am I ate a snack. At 6:30 am I took a bath. At 7:00am I noticed another small amount of bloody show. I begin pacing thorugh the house during the contractions. I just walked the same path over and over and over. I moaned lowly and breathed deep and steady. I blew out the candles I'd lit cause the smell was nausiating me. So much for that candle lit birth I'd imagined. At 7:30am I noticed a larger amount of bloody show. At 8:45am I pooped. At 10:30am contractions were about 3 minutes apart.
Sunday 10:30am I ask DH to move my little birthing pallette (sleeping bag folded and blankets) from the bedroom where I'd always imagined the birth into the bathroom. I became very serious and focused. From this point on I stayed in the bathroom. May I add... this bathroom is soooo small. I couldn't have layed down and stretched my legs out straight if I wanted to (and I am short). I think in some way I liked the smallness of the room. Maybe I felt secure or something, but I knew this was where I wanted to be, no doubt about it. I shut the door and begin laboring on the toilet. I pooped just a little. THen I'd have another contraction and poop some more. I always knew people said your bowels would clear out, but I thought it would happen all at once. That was not how it happened for me. I would poop a little with each contraction. I would get off the toilet and lean over the bathtub. Dh kept coming and peeking in (there was no room for him to be in there with me, unless he were to sit or stand in the bathtub) He would ask if I was ok and did I need anyhthing. If I was in between contactions, I would half smile at him and say I was fine. Some of the times I'd ask him for cold water. At this point the late morning sun was blairing in through the window. I asked DH to hang a towel over the window. I wanted it to be as dark as possible. I asked DH to get my balance ball and bring it in. There was barely enough room for it. I shut the door and put the ball against it and this was the perfect setup. The ball was comfortable to lean on. I continued to labor throughout the day. I told DH to knock each time he came to check in cause I may be leaning on the ball up against the door. DH spent the day researching childbirth on the internet. This was the most time he'd ever spent learning about childbirth-talk about waiting till the last minute! When he came to check on me, he'd update me on what he was learning about childbirth. I already knew what he was telling me but I just nodded. The day progressed rather quickly for me but DH said it felt like an eternity to him. At 9:00pm I was leaning on the ball while sitting on my knees and pushing and I heard 'pop' and water was coming out everywhere. I yelled "DH, my water broke!" He said, "I heard it!" He was all the way down the hall researching childbirth on the internet and he'd heard it. That was almost my favorite past of the whole experience. I just loved the popping sound. Dh brought in another blanket and we put it over the pile of "water". My birth palette was becoming quite layered. I was still pooping when I pushed. I'd turn on the light every now and then and see that poop was all over the place. It was really gross. It was even between my toes! I tried to sorta clean it up in between contractions. I threw up a little water at some point. I then decided just to put a little water in my mouth and then spit it back out to keep my mouth moist, but I didn't swallow it cause I thought I'd throw it up again. At some point I decided to see if I could feel the baby's head. I felt something hard inside me so I thought that it must be the head. Dh came to the door and told me that once the water broke that if the baby wasn't born in 24 hours that I could get an infection. I said ok, I'm fine. I know DH was ready to take me to the hospital. My moaning was turning to screaming. From the way it sounded, I guess he was really concerned. I told him over and over that I was fine and that I felt good knowing he was close by if I needed him. He said to try not to be so loud cause the nighbors may hear me and thibk I was being attacked; I didn't really care. Finally DH fell asleep on the couch. I am suprised he could sleep through my very loud screams, but I am glad he got some rest. When he woke up he came rushing to the bathroom. I told him I was fine (once again). I contined to labor rotating between sitting on the toilet, leaning on the sink and bearing down on it as I opened my legs wide and bent my knees while pushing, and sitting on my knees while leaning on the balance ball.
Monday 6:00am I felt that the baby was getting lower. I could feel the head getting lower. I kept waiting for that part of labor that I heard everyone experiences where they think they can't do it. I still felt like I could do it so I figured I must not be close to the birth.
6:15am I still hadn't felt the "I can't do it phase yet" but I knew the baby was getting pretty close to coming out. I called out to DH and said. I think the baby will be born in about 30 minutes. DH said when the head comes out turn on the light so we can see. I leaned against the balance ball while sitting on my knees. I was dreading the "ring of fire" I knew I needed to make this as easy as possible and anticipating a "ring of fire" didn't seem too calming. I begin to focus on the sounds. I could hear the early morning sounds of birds singing. I could also hear all the early morning traffic whizzing by, but I blocked that out. I focused on the birds. I imagined the mother birds flying to their nests and laying eggs. As my vagina begin to open and the head got lower I imagined the spring flowers blooming open. I then begin to imagine that my vagina was a flower blooming and the baby's head was the center of the flower. As my vagina "bloomed open" I pushed the baby out at 6:45am. I'd been prepared that the head would come out then to wait a couple contactions and then push the baby out, but that is not how it happened. The whole baby had been born all at once. I said to DH, "The baby is born! Turn on the light!" He hurried to the door, opened it, and turned on the light. It was at that moment that we both saw our child for the first time. I peeked between her legs and said, "It's a girl!" She was realy slippery. I sat her up so she could breathe easier. I could tell she had a little mucous in her mouth, but she coughed a little and seemed to be breathing fine. I knew that it was never a good idea to pull the cord, but I couldn't figure out where the rest of her cord was so I pulled it a little. I realized she had a very short cord. I held her against my leg like I'd read you should do if there is a short cord. Within about a minute of her birth the placenta slid right out. Both baby and placenta were so slippery that I had to hold pick them up with a towel. DH got the pan for the placenta. I put the placenta in the pan that DH held while I held baby. While trying to hold the baby with a one foot cord attatching it to the placenta that was in the pan that DH was holding I told DH to help me stand up. I was really weak. He helped me up and we walked to the bed. I melted into the bed. I was bleeding all over the bed and DH was trying to find towles to put under me. I was peeing uncontrollably. It was pretty messy. I told DH I needed some water. I think I was dehydrated. I drank soooo much water. DH was really worried about beginning the clean up. I said for him to bring me the phone so I could call my parents. It was 7:00am and I wanted to tell them the good news before they left for work. My dad answered and he could hear the baby lightly crying in the backround. I told him it was a girl. He yelled to tell my sister who isn't normally awake so early. She went to tell my mom who was outside walking the dog. By the time my mom picked up a phone she was histerically crying for joy. I couldn't understand a thing she was saying but I knew she was relieved. She had been really worried about the UC but even more worried because I was 2 weeks and 6 days past the due date. As I held my daughter to my breast and held the phone in my other hand I listened to my mom histerically expressing her feelings. It was then that I realized how worried she'd been and as I held my own daughter I kindof understood the love and concern a mother has for her child. At that moment I forgave my mother for her unsupportiveness for my UC and for all the annoying things she'd said to me. I knew she'd said these things out of true concern because of her love for me, her daughter.
DH was carrying my birthing pallette out of the bathroom. I noticed blood streaking down our white painted wall. DH was so kind to clean up such a mess. I asked him to just relax for a minute and come and sit with us. We stared lovingly at our daughter and discussed what we'd just experienced. We were both shocked that her head and body were both born in the same contraction. We both had missed seeing her birth, but when DH had come in and turned on the light, we both got to see her for the first time at the same time. We were both a little suprised with how short her cord was. We left her placenta in a bread pan and it stayed there for one week. Exactly one week after her birth, the cord fell loose. It was really good cause during the first week we stayed in bed. We had no visitors until the fifth day after her birth. Then we had 3 visitors. Everyone sat around the bed while baby and I sat in the bed. Noone held her cause of the placent still being attached. The lotus birth gave her a gentler introduction to the world. She wasn't passed around and wasn't carried around. She mostly laid in bed between her mother and father and we all rested. I was a little sad when her cord fell off. We buried it that day. Her perfect belly button was so cute. I could type even more about the miracle of her birth and the days that followed, but this is the main part of the story. The day after her birth we weighed her with a fish scale. She weighted 8 ponds and she was 19 inches long. I loved my UC and loved the end result even more. My daughter is a wonderful baby. She had a calm entrance into the world and I think that makes a difference to a child. I am thankful everyday for a successful UC and most importantly a healthy baby.