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This is long and a little emotional. I wrote it the day after he was born so that I wouldn't forget a single detail. I FOUGHT for this homebirth and overcame many obstacles to realize my dream of birthing at home. We struggled through insurance and financial issues and made some serious sacrifices to pay a midwife. We also fought the medical establishment when I was told that my bleeding disorder would risk me out of birthing at home (which is what happened with my last birth as well). Many, many, many doctor's appoinments, second opinions, desperate phone calls, interviews and referrals paid off in the end. I would do it all OVER again without hesitation! My homebirth was even more beautiful and wonderful than I had even dreamed! If you are reading this while fighting for your own homebirth (I know I read the stories here a lot while I was pregnant) let me encourage you to not get discouraged! The pay off was a million times worth the price!!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
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My first contractions started on Sunday around 8pm. They were weak but I wondered if this might be “it.” It turns out I was still a full week away from the main event! Prodromal labor had begun! It was Sunday, December 28th, just 3 days after Christmas. My due date had been adjusted to December 30th but I had a feeling this baby would be coming a bit early. I had lost bits of my mucous plug at 35 weeks and had bloody show at 36. Joni, my midwife, said she would be surprised if I made it until Christmas. Ciaran had other plans. I had steady contractions all through that week. They started around noon each day and intensified until around midnight, when they slowed down through the night while I slept. I was getting frustrated with all of the starting and stopping, especially being so uncomfortable. DS and DD had left with their dad on the day after Christmas for their vacation and I was afraid their baby brother would arrive while they were gone.<br><br>
The week dragged by, though I did attempt to keep busy by planning something to do each day. Monday I had lunch with my best friend, Tuesday my mom and I went furniture shopping, Wednesday my brother and I had dinner at the casino. I felt sure I would be pregnant forever! Friday and Saturday were quiet. Matt (my DP) and I slept in and enjoyed our last few days together as just “us.” We went out to dinner on Saturday and watched a movie snuggled in bed together that night. The contractions intensified as they always did but I ignored it and went to bed. I felt a little nauseous but wrote it off as normal. While I was sleeping the contractions got stronger until they started waking me up. They weren’t truly painful yet but were uncomfortable and different than normal Braxton Hicks contractions. They started lower in my abdomen and radiated circles of pain through my uterus and back. I slept well despite the contractions and tried to rest just in case.<br><br>
A little before 7am a very strong one woke me up from a sound sleep. It was definitely different than the others but I was still denying that this could be the real deal, hesitant to get my hopes up after all the prodromal labor from the past week. I needed to pee so I snuck quietly out of bed to avoid waking Matt, not wanting to get him excited if it turned out to be nothing. I climbed back into bed and checked the clock. It was exactly 7am so I started counting contractions. In the next hour I had 16 of them and they were intensifying a bit. A little after 8 I woke Matt up and told him that I thought maybe today would be the day. I got up and called Mom so that she could come pick up the dogs before things got intense. She said she would be right over. I made breakfast and got things ready around the house. Matt inflated the birth pool and I swept and mopped the kitchen floor and did a last minute check of the birth kit and supplies. Mom came and picked up the dogs. I told her that I was still a long way away from “real” labor and that she could go home and I’d call her when things picked up. She left and I got busy in the kitchen making lasagna so I’d have something to eat after birth. At about 10:55 I had some bloody show with lots of mucous. I texted Joni and let her know what was going on. We were both excited that things were progressing and that this might be the day after all. I also called Dave and had him pack up the kids and get started on their trip back here from New Jersey.<br><br>
Once that was through I decided it would be a good idea to lay down and rest for a while. It was about noon when I climbed into bed and turned the tv on with the intention of taking a short nap. It turns out I was too excited to sleep but I did get some rest. After about 2 hours laying down things were starting to slow to a crawl. I’d only had a handful of contraction in the last hour. I got out of bed and told Matt I needed to walk for a while to help things really move along. He suggested we go to the mall since the weather was really nasty and the roads were still snowy and not safe to walk on. We left the house around 2pm and made the 15 minute trip to the mall. As soon as I got in the car the contractions picked back up and started becoming more regular. We got the mall and started walking. Within just a few minutes I needed to pee again and, in the bathroom, I realized I had a whole lot more bloody show and mucous. For the next hour and a half we walked circles around the whole mall. The mucous and blood just kept coming and the contractions were intensifying nicely. At about 3:30 I told Matt that it was time to head home, about the same time that I was unable to walk through the contractions and had to keep stopping. On the way home I got a bagel to eat and we picked up some essentials at the convenience store.<br><br>
I tried to rest and eat when we got home but the contractions were becoming really uncomfortable. By 5pm they were strong, but still short at only 30 seconds or so. They were still too inconsistent to really time them. I hung out on the birth ball while Matt started filling the pool. I decided to shower around 6, though I’d heard a hot shower could sometimes slow labor. I wanted to shower so I decided to risk it. Well, it was quite the opposite for me! Matt said he would be in in a few minutes and by the time he made it into the bathroom I’d already had 3 strong contractions and they were still coming. I hung onto him in the shower and let the contractions roll over me. I controlled my breathing and felt strong and confident. I also knew I had a long way to go and that these would be totally bearable compared to the contractions I would feel later on. We got out after about 30 minutes and I felt very nauseous. I knew it was time to make phone calls but wanted just a little more time to labor alone with Matt. Holding him and swaying with him during the waves felt wonderful and we were working as a great team.<br><br>
I called Mom and Joni around 7:30. Mom said she would be on her way and Joni said she was going to finish dinner and head over. I got dressed in my nightgown and Matt finished filling the pool. The contractions were still about 2 minutes apart and 30 seconds long, the same as they had been in the shower. They were short enough that I thought I still had many hours of labor ahead of me. We made the bed with the second set of sheets and got the supplies we needed and brought them into the bedroom. I told Joni to take her time when she called to check in with me but she listened to me breathe through one contraction and she said she was on her way. Mom arrived around 8 and, while I had been previously hoping to distract myself with some tv but I was in too much pain to pay much attention. When Joni came in around 8:30 I was still staying on top of the contractions but they were getting a little overwhelming. I asked her to check my cervix and so I waited through one contraction and then got onto the bed. She checked and waited until a contraction started to work it down a bit. I breathed through the contraction and the stretching and it was not unbearable. She told me I had been at about 2cm but posterior. As soon as she brought it forward I stretched to 5. I stood up, so thankful that I was not stuck in the hospital in a bed on my back and another contraction hit. They were different now! Joni suggested I get into the pool. I climbed in and the water felt amazing! Mom and Matt supported me through the contractions while I hung over the side of the pool and breathed deeply. I was very light sensitive and wanted all the lights off while I labored. Joni called Vicki (the back-up midwife)and made sure she was on her way but told her not to rush, we both thought I had plenty of time. She prepared the bedroom for birth and turned the heat up in preparation for baby’s arrival. It was about then that I lost track of time entirely. All I know was that it was going to be less than an hour and a half before I was holding my little boy in my arms.<br><br>
I was ready to get out of the pool and wanted to use the bathroom and lay down and rest. Everyone helped me get out and get dried off. I went into the bathroom and laboring on the toilet felt good and gave me some relief from the pressure. I wanted Matt holding me every second. I made my way back to the bed and laid on my side covered by my big, fluffy blanket. Matt snuggled in behind me and held me while the contractions took over. I kept reminding myself that I could do anything for one minute and, when I couldn’t think anymore, Matt whispered it to me during each contraction. I wanted to sleep between contractions but they were coming way too fast. I continued to lay in bed until I couldn’t handle the pressure anymore, which was probably 8 or 10 contractions. The pressure was becoming really intense and I found myself moaning during contractions and the sound was getting continually lower and more gutteral. I got up and tried to get to the bathroom but couldn’t even make it down the hallway between contractions. Matt continued to hold me while I moaned and hung on his shoulders. On the toilet the contractions were right on top of each other. I had to pee during each one so I was glad to be in the bathroom. I buried my face between Matt’s arm and his stomach and held on for dear life. I was starting to feel a little out of control and hoped that getting back in the pool might help. With assistance, I made it back into the kitchen and into the water. I got on my hands and knees and Matt and Mom took turns pushing down on my lower back and tailbone during contractions. The counter pressure was the only thing that was getting me through. The back pain was excruciating. I heard the door open and knew Vicki had arrived and I felt badly that I couldn’t say hello to her or even look up to see her but I was so in my zone that I couldn’t break my trance. I started growling, groaning and practically singing during contractions. The sound took over my body entirely and gave me focus. If my sounds got too high-pitched Vicki would gently make a low sound deep in her throat to remind me to keep my sounds low and deep. I kept my face, mouth and throat very open and found that it was the only thing getting me through the non-stop contractions. At one point I laid my head on the side of the pool and singing into it made the walls of the pool vibrate, which I found strangely comforting and soothing. It felt strange being so loud after I had envisioned a quiet birth like I experienced with DD. I briefly thought about how grateful I was to be at home and I know that was helping me not have any inhibitions about how I birthed. I never experienced the panic and loss of control that I had during my last birth. It was my safe space and it felt so right to be at home.<br><br>
The contractions were coming without a break now. Mom started pushing my hips together just like she had during my last labor. It took the horribly excruciating back labor down to a level that I could at least attempt to manage. Suddenly I started to feel pressure at the height of my contractions. I found myself grunting at the peak of each one. I still didn’t believe I was nearly as close to birth as I actually was. Joni handed me my DDAVP spray, which I was supposed to take during pushing. I took it skeptically, still thinking I had a long time ahead of me before pushing. My mom gently reminded me that I didn’t want to birth in the water and told me that if I still felt that way that I should really consider getting out. She knew I felt strongly about having my baby in my bed, which I did. I asked for Joni to check me before I got out. I reached in but couldn’t feel his head at all. I was discouraged but was surprised when Joni checked me and said my cervix was gone. I loved the way she phrased it, it was so encouraging! I decided it really was time to get out and try to get to bed. I was three steps out of the pool and into the living room when a contraction hit me that really threw me! I immediately dropped into a squat holding Matt’s legs and peed on my living room floor, which struck me as hysterical at that moment! When it passed I rushed the few more steps into the bedroom and scrambled onto the bed just as another wave was rolling over me. It was so hard to move during the contraction but my carpet wasn’t protected and, even as a crazy laboring woman, my sense of cleanliness took over. I didn’t want my water to break on the carpet. I was on my hands and knees on the bed with Matt by my head. The contraction passed and there were mere seconds before the next one was on top of me. At the height of it I heard a pop and my bag of water burst with some serious pressure! It was an amazing feeling as my water was never allowed to break naturally during my previous labors. I was grunting and pushing with it and I knew my baby wasn’t too far away now. Vicki warned me that the next contraction would feel different and I was glad for the reminder because the warning allowed me to be prepared. The next wave hit and the pressure was all but overwhelming. While they were still incredibly painful the ability to push made them feel manageable and more productive. Pushing was such a relief. I am still in awe of my body’s natural instincts and pushing was not a conscious choice at all. My body just knew it was time. With that contraction I could suddenly feel his head in the birth canal. The stretching was incredibly intense as his head moved lower. I was grunting and had become very vocal. I had a moment before the next contraction to take a big breath and then it was on me again. It caught the midwives by surprise when his head started to emerge. They hadn’t expected him to descend so quickly and, frankly, neither did I. The feeling was amazing as his head moved through the birth canal and stretched my body as it emerged. I wanted to reach between my legs and feel his head but my arms were supporting my body and I couldn’t get them to move during pushing contractions and simply didn’t have enough time between them. I was down on my elbows with my chest on the bed as his head was born and the midwives saw the cord around his neck. They checked it and it felt a bit tight but Joni was able to hook her fingers underneath it and slip it over his head. My body was pushing even between contractions now and with a big breath I pushed and he was born. I loved the feeling of his body squiggling out once his shoulders were free. It felt all wet and squirmy and came with a huge wave of relief. It was 11:53pm on Sunday, January 3, 2010. Ciaran Phoenix was born onto my own bed in my own bedroom in our home. I immediately reached between my legs, scooped him up and pulled him into my arms. I collapsed onto the bed and snuggled him up to me. We were wet, sticky, slimy, bloody and exhausted but I held him close and kissed him all over. I watched as he started to breathe, taking his first few delicate breaths in the comfort and safety of my arms, something I had never experienced before. He reached his arms out and our skin touched and our breathe mingled together. I felt safe and loved and whole and healed all in that moment. I laid there on my bed, covered in every bodily fluid you can imagine in a pool of blood, fluid and meconium and it was paradise. There was no where else in that moment that I wanted to be. Matt held me while I held our son for the very first time.<br><br>
The midwives were quiet, carefully monitoring my bleeding. It was only a few minutes before I was delivering my placenta. It came out easily, whole and perfect. The midwife gave a very gentle tug to be sure it had detached and with a gentle push it was birthed into a bowl I had bought just for it. My uterus began to contract immediately and my bleeding was very normal. Joni offered me the scissors and I cut our cord, which was symbolic for me and important. For the first 45 minutes I just laid there, holding our son and enjoying our first moments together. In that time no one held my baby but me. When I was ready, the midwives helped me up and Joni helped me to the shower. My mom swaddled Ciaran and Matt got to hold his son for the first time. I quickly cleaned up, which felt wonderful, and climbed back into my nice clean bed. I wanted to nurse him but there was so much meconium on both of us that I wanted to clean up first and he wasn’t quite ready to nurse immediately anyway. Once I was showered and back in bed I held him close and nursed him for the first time. He latched on right away and had a good, strong suck. The midwives hung out in the living room and talked quietly to allow us some time together as a family.<br><br>
Once he had nursed Joni and Vicki came back in to weigh and measure the baby and to check on me again. It was around 1am. Ciaran weighed 9 pounds 15 ounces and was 22.5” long with a 14.5” head and a 14.5” chest. He was a big boy! Joni gave us postpartum instructions and, with lots of hugs and congratulations, said goodbye. My mom and Vicki said goodbye as well and left Matt, Ciaran and me to spend our very first night together, safely tucked into our own bed, in our own room, in our own house. It was bliss.
 

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What a wonderful, inspiring story mama! Thank you so much for sharing!
 

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So beautiful !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for sharing and BIG CONGRATS!!!!
 

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What a wonderful story! Congratulations.
 

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Awesome story!<br>
So glad that all your hard work and fighting was worth it.<br>
I've had to do some fighting myself and keep reminding myself that it will all be worth it to have my child be born into peace.
 

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what a wonderful birth story! i enjoy reading all the details! what a great and loving support team you had. how cool that your mom was such an intimate part of it. i'm so glad you got your homebirth!
 

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Wow, what a beautiful birth story! ITA with everything Awaken said. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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What a beautiful story. Congratulations.
 

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Thanks mamas! The whole experience really was amazing!! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love">
 

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What a wonderful story Beth! I am so happy you had the birth you have been wanting! Beautiful <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngbiggrin.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="orange big grin">
 
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