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Here is my second birth...our daughter Angelina nearly 9 months ago.....

If you had asked me 5 yrs ago if I would consider a homebirth, I would have looked you in the eye and laughed. Over the 5 years of parenting our 5 yr old daughter Julianna, I had come to love and cherish all things natural and soulful, comforting and by choice. I had become well read and educated on all things regarding breastfeeding and birth. Compleat Mother magazine and the like were my bibles. We naturally parented our daughter by gut instinct and with great love and compassion. As she approached the age of 3 we knew we were now ready to add to our little family and began trying to conceive. We did so immediately, however, we soon lost that precious child within weeks. A devastating blow to our lives. What followed was even more sadness, 9 long months of trying again without success. Our lives became a roller coaster ride into the unsure world of fertility books, charting temps and lots of crying.

Near the due date of our lost child, we finally conceived our next child, who we soon learned via ultrasound was another girl! We were beyond excited. We knew from that point on "WE" wanted total control, and opted for midwifery care. We found a wonderful practice and met some amazing women who soon became our midwives. The natural care and love shown to us, the compassionate visits and depth of understanding about our desires always left us with a sense of comfort and inner peace. We knew our birth had to be as such, and so we decided on a homebirth. After a long tiring pregnancy that introduced me to morning sickness, sciatic nerve problems, possible placenta previa and aches and pains I'd never imagined, labour began quite normally and to me not a moment to soon.

We had planned to attend a Disney on Ice show during March break from school, as our oldest child Julianna (Jules) adores Disney and was very excited about going again as we had the year prior. The date of the show was exactly one week from my due date. I had been having pre-labour symptoms for weeks by then, slight and easy, but obvious. The days leading up to the show I grew more tired, sore, and knew things were happening. I was so afraid we'd have to miss the show or send her with family and stay home and birth. But somehow I mentally got my body (and baby!) to agree and we made it to the show, albeit while fighting slight contractions the whole time. It was just very important to me to have our family of 3 enjoy one last fun event as just 3 of us. We knew Jules would have some major adjusting to do after that.

That late evening after the show, I woke at 3am to contractions I had to breathe through. Nothing I couldn't handle, but annoying enough I could not remain sleeping in between, so I tried my best to doze on and off for a few hours, knowing this had to be it. It resembled how I started labour with Jules' birth. After 2 hours alone in bed doing so, I got up and went downstairs to Mark, who had fallen asleep on the couch, to let him know he didn't have to go to work that weekend (3 day shifts). He was surprised but happy. I laboured throughout the entire day easily, breathing and walking around, making sure to eat and drink a lot. My young daughter, who was well prepared for this, helped me do my breathing. It was very much a family event. My body cleansed itself and I spent most of the day in the bathroom emptying myself. It was wonderful to just be home relaxed with my child and my husband, the three of us helping me relax and breathe, timing contractions and talking about the imminent arrival we knew was about to occur that night.

Having had a very long difficult labour and delivery with Jules, I assumed things would not go fast this time around, even though my midwives warned me to not wait to call them. They knew I handled pain well and might wait too long. I assured them I wouldn't but deep down knew I would be holding off again calling. By early afternoon my contractions were ten minutes apart and harder but still manageable so I figured we had lots of time. I'd get the odd one at six minutes or eight minutes apart, but everything was still ok. By 5pm seemingly all of a sudden, I had a hard contraction, went to the bathroom and had another while on the toilet! Then as I walked to the living room again I had another! Suddenly my calm self began to flinch. Why were they starting to be on top of one another? From that time on they remained 4 or 5 waves in a row that had me really taken aback and fighting to breathe and remain calm, but knowing things had changed very fast. I hadn't been able to get to transition with my first birth as they gave me an epidural just before it, so I had no idea I was in transition, which turned out to be good for what lay ahead. We decided to call the midwives just prior to this and they were on their way, saying 20 minutes. My mom and sister were due to be there to watch Jules while we birthed up in our bedroom, however we couldn't reach them by phone now. Things progressed fast, and Mark took over as the amazing coach he was. He had me lean over his neck and hang through each massive wave of 4 or 5 transitional contractions, which by now had me moaning and nearly grunting through. I tried to fight making noise as our daughter was getting a bit scared hearing me, although we assured her constantly how this was normal and how to have a baby. The midwives were still not there and I was needing to push, and my mom and sister finally came by, having had car trouble, and they immediately helped. My sister took Jules to play in the playroom, and my mom assured me I was in transition, which helped me to mentally get back on track, knowing all was well and normal. I somehow managed to walk upstairs to our bedroom "while transitioning", something my mom says was amazing.

As soon as we got up there I started to panic, as I had to push, my bum feeling like it was falling out! The midwives were still not there! My mom and hubby held me through contractions while also getting the bed set up, and finally the midwives rolled in at around 620pm, stating a train crossing had slowed them. I yelled I needed to push, and they had me go to the bathroom one last time to empty my bladder (NOT easy while in transition!) and then told me to get as comfortable as I could on the bed, anyway that I needed to. Nothing was comfortable and everything hurt. They checked me and I was 9cm dilated. At this point I could not open my eyes I had to focus very intensely inward on breathing. They told me to do as my body wanted, which was grunt (I swear I wasn't consciously aware of making sounds at all, it was like my body simply took on another presence, another being, something very primal which I'd read about other women doing but had no idea how it happened so naturally and out of control) groan and push. I started to push and they saw baby right away, and after 15-20 minutes of intense pushing, filled with burning like I couldn't believe, Angelina was born very quickly! She came head first, then all of her body right away! They placed her on my belly immediately. She was totally covered in furry vernex and had big bright eyes. She didn't cry much. Mark cut the cord, and Julianna and my sister joined us. In our room during the birth were the 3 midwives, Erin, our midwife in training attending her first homebirth, Annita our secondary who became our primary as our original one was off that weekend, and Helen whom we had not yet met but proved to be a wonderful calming presence. My mom who videotaped it, and to this day is still talking about how much she, a mother of two who birthed in the early 1970's, finally learned about birth. Julianna came on the bed as our new family of 4 lay quietly.

The midwives made sure we were well, the baby and I. They truly know how birth is meant to be, and after I delivered the placenta (which we kept and will bury in backyard) they cleaned up, my mom brought me soup and crackers and they (midwives) tucked me into bed, with Julianna beside me, and Mark as well. Angelina weighed 7 lbs 5 oz and was 20 inches long. She started nursing right after birth, and brought in my milk by day 2 amazingly enough! I did have a slight 2nd degree tear, no thanks to my prior episiotomy, which was sewn up easily and painlessly and healed in days. Overall the homebirth experience was one of utter bliss, healing, nurturing and love. It is amazing, calming and so beautiful. I've never felt calmer, more like a woman, a mother, or more alive. Natural childbirth is the ONLY way to experience the divine line between life and death, of becoming primal. Of being one with the universe.
 

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I am thrilled for you that you had such a wonderful birth experience, and that you finally got the baby you waited so long for. It sounds like you had the BEST birth attendants ever!

A lot of what you said rang true with me. Having our son has given me a major interest in birth, breastfeeding, and natural and healthy living- it is amazing what having a pure little one to raise can do to your lifestyle!
 
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