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At my July 31st appointment with my midwife Valerie, I told her that I thought I would have the baby on August 2nd. I had looked in my moon book, & had seen that the moon would be a waxing half moon at 1:46 on that morning, & that had caught my attention since the baby had reacted to that phase of the moon throughout the pregnancy, with much activity & contractions. August 2nd is also Lammas, which is the multi-cultural celebration of Mid-Summer: first harvest, breaking bread, & goddess of abundance. So it seemed an auspicious time to give birth.
Monday night I dreamed of being outside of a house in the forest at night. It began to lightning & thunder, & then suddenly hale; huge shards of ice- fell from the sky all around me. Then there was an orange glow that quickly turned to flames, & the forest around me burned, as the ice still crashed in jagged shards. I struggled to make my way into the house, where, upon entering, I fell to the floor in the pain of my first labor contraction. At this point I awoke, still in the grips of this contraction. I laid there, half asleep, but soon realizing that I was having strong contractions every 15-20 minutes. After about an hour & a half of this I got up, & began straightening the house, & doing a bit of laundry. But as the sun rose, I realized that they had tapered off, so I went back to bed. That day Chris went to work as usual, & I went through my day in a different state of mind, & rather uncomfortable for the most part. I had lots of crampy, menstrual type aching in my lower belly & back, especially when I laid down. I also noticed a little fresh blood loss, but wasn't having contractions, so it was weird. I knew something was happening, but it was a new experience to me, as I had been induced with Wylie, & never went into labor naturally.
That evening Chris came home from work an hour or so early, & we went for a walk around the neighborhood with Wylie, picking blackberries. It felt a little surreal to me, walking around the hill with my huge belly, & conscious that it was probably my last family walk with just Chris & Wylie.
That night after I laid Wylie down in our bedroom, Chris & I made sure we had all of our birthing supplies ready, & then went to bed. But not for long! A little after 1am I awoke to painful contractions. Chris woke up as I was getting out of bed, & followed me into the living room. He began to prepare for the birth, putting down plastic & getting the hose attached for filling the pool. I lit some candles, & some lavender essential oil, & made myself a bunch of super-strength red raspberry leaf tea, in between contractions. Chris started timing them, & they were a few minutes apart, and lasting usually at least a minute long. But they never did get regular, like exactly 3 mins apart, they were more sporadic, though close together. During the contractions I would squat through them, holding onto my birthing (exercise) ball, or pillows.
We debated whether to start filling up the pool, & about calling Val, the midwife. I felt laborish, but didn't want to get everything in motion if it was just going to taper off like it had the night before. Finally, after one particularly long, strong contraction, I told Chris he better start filling up the tub, & soon after that I had him page Val. Val arrived at around 3:45, with the two apprentices shorty after. Val checked me & I was already 7-8 cm & papery thin. Which shocked me! I had expected she'd say I was maybe 4 or something. By this time my contractions were so intense that I would hold onto Chris through them. I got into the pool, & WHAT A RELIEF!!!!!! So much of the crazy pressure & pain was instantly diluted. It was heavenly. The pool was the perfect temperature, & was so nice on my achy lower back. It seemed that once I got in the pool everything just wrapped itself up. I had several more contractions that were very strong, but I just stayed focused the whole time on what I was doing, & staying relaxed. I totally tuned everyone & everything out, & stayed in instinct mode, getting into whatever position felt right & breathing through the contractions. The atmosphere of our home was completely conducive to a beautiful birthing experience. Very low lighting with lots of candles, a waterfall fountain making relaxing gurgles, & good music- Eryka Badu, & The Afro Celt Sound System.
At one point there was a lull, & I said that I wanted to take a nap. Val laughed & said that I must be fully dilated, because she's seen that women often feel this way right before they begin pushing. And sure enough, next contraction I was pushing! My water bag finally popped at this point. I put my hand down, & didn't realize at first that it was his head I was feeling, since it felt all scrunched & wrinkly. When the contraction ended his head was halfway out. I asked Valerie what I should do, if I should keep pushing or wait, because I didn't want to tear. She told me to listen to my body & do what it tells me. At first I was like 'what'? but then I silenced myself & paid attention. It felt like he went back in a little, & then the next contraction I pushed his head out. When his head was coming through, it felt incredible. It was an intense, slow stretching, pressure, & relief. It could've been painful, but I focused on the feeling that wasn't pain, & dwelt on that. And to tell the truth, it was almost a pleasant sensation. Not exactly sexual, just good. Then another pause while his head was out. Val asked Chris if he wanted to catch him, but Chris was a little hesitant, & so I jumped in & said that I wanted to. (I'd always wanted to catch my own baby!) Val was happy with this, & so I then pushed him out, & led him gently to my chest.
He opened his eyes right away & we checked each other out. He was so peaceful & sweet. Then Chris cut the cord, & I birthed the placenta. My son made his entrance at 5:17am, right as the sun was rising in the sky. Afterwords I relaxed on the inflatable mattress, & nursed my new baby. He latched right on his first try & began nursing away. Even though I was still kinda in my own zone, there was a definite party vibe goin' on! Chris made a fresh pot of coffee, & he & the midwives drained the pool & straightened up the scene. It was nice to have the midwives there to make sure all was well, & they were so helpful with the cleaning process. I was surprised when I realized that they had been at my house for only a little over an hour before the baby was born!
The baby was weighed, & he was 7lbs, 15oz., & 20 1/2 inches long, with a head circumference of 14 inches. I felt a good, but of course exhausted, & had two tiny skid marks; no tears.
After the midwives left, Chris woke up Wylie. (who had slept peacefully though out the entire event!) On the way to the living room Chris gave Wylie a sun drop (healthy M'n'M). After staring at the baby, Wylie looked at the sun drop in his hand, & then tried to offer it to the baby. Awwww! So they were off to a good start.
We named the baby Cosmo Beauregard. The name Cosmo is Greek, & means 'Order & Harmony in the Universe'.
I feel so blessed to have had such a wonderful birthing experience. I never experienced unbearable pain, as I had with my first birth, & I was at ease & empowered this time, allowing me to birth the way I've always dreamed of: uninterrupted & in water. I loved every second of this birth, from the first contraction 'till the last. It was a natural, beautiful, miracle.
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