So, I was writing the long drawn out version of the birth story, and had to save it to come back to later. And today I was emailing a friend of mine who I haven't been able to get a hold of for nearly a year and I wrote the basics of the birth our for her. I figured I'd post it here and I'll finish the one with all the details later. If it sounds funny it's because its copied-and-pasted with little to no editing from how I sent it to her. Be aware, she's also not particularly familiar with home birth, and I wasn't sure how much she actually knew about normal birth, so some things that may be obvious to you guys are included.
Well... let me fill you in some...
Lilli was born at home! After having my son born in a hospital, Brian and I decided we wanted a home birth this time around. It was GREAT and unless there's an emergency, I'll never deliver in a hospital again.
I went into labor 5am on Tuesday April 22, and I'd labor well for a couple hours, and then the contractions would stop for an hour and I'd get a little break. By 10 pm I was no longer getting any breaks and things really started moving. We had bought a big inflatable pool and we had this up in our bedroom, and then we filled it with warm water from a hose connected to my shower. The water was wonderful!
I got in and out of the tub quite a bit. At one point I was laboring on my hands and knees near the bed, and I could feel the water sac ballooning during a contraction, and it was making me feel a little pushy, so I started pushing gently with each contraction to ease the pressure. The second time I did this my water broke. It felt great! I was so excited, because with Evan I was totally unaware of my water breaking, so I wondered what it felt like. I didn't lose much fluid with it because her head immediately engaged, but the water was no longer ballooning and causing pressure, so I no longer felt pushy. I'm guessing up to an hour or two later I was squatting on the bed and felt suddenly cold and nauseous (I'd been burning up to this point so it felt weird to suddenly start shivering.) I know now that I was in transition at this point, but at the time I questioned myself. Shortly after this I got back into the pool.
Home birth is intense, and chaotic, but the chaos is completely internal. Everyone else said it was calm, but I was inside my head the whole time, questioning how far I was dilated. It worked wonderfully. One of my biggest fears was that I'd be so anxious to push, that I would push against a lip of cervix and cause swelling which would necessitate a transfer to the hospital. I was so terrified of this that I fought pushing up until my body totally took over and started pushing on it's own. Once that happened all the doubt disappeared because I finally knew there could no longer be a lip. I knew for sure then, no question, I was fully dilated, and the baby would come soon. I was joyous! My moans before this point were full of pain and I felt lost, and totally sick of being in labor. Once I felt my body take over my mood did a complete 180! The moans were joyful and full of cheer. I knew this was it! I could stop doubting myself!! The feeling when your body pushes on it's own is amazing; both terrifying, to be totally out of control of your body, but also wonderful, feeling all this power and energy in your body, working to birth new life. It's a humbling experience, to know that your body had this power, lying dormant everyday of your life, waiting on this one moment when a new child is delivered.
The actual pushing phase lasted longer than I thought it would, but every contraction seemed to bring so much more progress than each contraction during pushing with my son... I pushed with each for about 20 minutes, but with Evan it didn't seem to do anything until the very end. With Lilli I felt everything with every push, I felt her head on my pubic bone, and then I felt it slip under my pubic bone. The next two contractions I felt her coming rapidly down the canal. I felt her crown then, and it was so wonderful to think all this waiting was almost over, there she was right there, I could touch her with my hands! At this point I confronted my biggest fear of all about birth: tearing. I wanted to ease her out so slowly, I absolutely DID NOT want to tear! I felt her crowning, and my body was pushing, no matter how I tried to stop it so I could do this slow...
So she was crowning, and I put my hands down, one to provide counter pressure on her head, and one for perineal support. I'll skip the detail, it might be TMI for you. I felt her head ease out to the eyebrows, and she stayed that way for a good long while. My body skipped two contractions or so, I believe to give the tissues time to stretch, and I got a little break. The next contraction REALLY made up for the two I missed cause her head came flying out. I couldn't think, I couldn't breathe, all I could do was roar with the contraction while it did it's work. and her head was out. I was ecstatic! I said to my husband over and over "I didn't tear! I didn't tear!!" I was so proud!
After I got over the thrill of knowing I got past my biggest fear of birth successfully, I began to explore her features. Brian grabbed the video camera to get a shot of her head, since my belly was in the way and I couldn't see her, only feel. I began to describe to him what I felt. We still didn't know at this point (of course) what gender we had, but I was lost in the moment, and continually referred to "it" as a "he". I figured later that this was because my only experience with labor was with Evan where I knew I had a boy.
So anyway, I was feeling of her head, and ofter I rubbed it awhile, it washed some of the birth goo off of her, and I could feel she had hair, LOTS of hair, and I told him so. I moved my hands to the side and felt her tiny, perfect little ears, and then down to her cheeks, where I whispered to my husband how big they were! Just like mine! I got a good long break in the contractions here where I began the process of acquainting myself with her, just feeling her features and trying to relax and enjoy the break. (Don't worry about her still being under the water at this point... She's also still attached to her umbilical cord!)
So I start getting impatient for the body to come, and the contractions start again, but my body is not pushing like it was, so I start pushing on purpose, and she barely moves. I couldn't believe her body was so much work, after all, Evan just slithered right out after his head! After a contraction or two, my body came back full force and pushed like never before, and suddenly she was in my hands! I lifted her out of the water and finally got a look at her face, and then looked to see what it was, and the whole time I was screaming in joy, and then I screamed again "IT"S A GIRL!!" Oh I was so happy to finally know! Then came the part I didn't know about babies whose cords are not cut right away, and is also common in a waterbirth; she didn't breathe or cry. Brian got a towel, and my friend Suzanne is giving me tips on how to hold her to help the fluid drain. I started rubbing her, and she opened her eyes at me a little and started heaving every 20 seconds or so, moving the water out. My aunt started freaking out a little, since she'd never actually SEEN her children after birth until they were cleaned and given back to her, she did not realize how floppy most babies really are when they're born. I also firmly believe that because of her gentle birth, she was born asleep. The reason for this is because when she did start crying, she only cried for about two minutes, and then she stopped and went back to sleep... for TWO HOURS! Now again, don't panic... In a hospital birth most mothers are given a shot of pitocin immediately after the birth to stop any bleeding. Unfortunately this also causes the placenta to detach prematurely, which then cuts off the baby's blood and oxygen supply from the mother. Under normal circumstances, the placenta and cord will continue to function for 20 -30 minutes, and sometimes much longer. We did not cut Lillis' cord. I got out of the pool and sat on the edge of the bed with a bowl underneath me, waiting for the placenta. She fell asleep before it got there. I pushed it out into the bowl and then handed her to Brian while I went to go clean up and get dressed. We drained the blood off of her placenta and then wrapped it up to help it dry. We cut it off the next day, but left her cord intact. When not cut, the cord dries rapidly. On first day it was already very dry, so we cut off the placenta, and on the second day it was completely dry, like a horn. On the third day we shortened the cord because it was scratching her, and on the fourth day the remaining stump fell off. Compared to Evans' cord stump which did not fall off until 2 1/2 weeks!
So after about an hour we brought her out to introduce to our family who had been patiently waiting. The ones who couldn't wait we called to let them know all about her.
We named her Lillith Suzanne Braun. She was 10 lbs 4 oz, and 21 inches long, born at 2:25 am Wednesday April 23rd after almost 21.5 hours of labor.