I am so sorry that I have been offline for soooo long! I want so badly to blog and am finding it very difficult to get two hands to myself in order to do it... I will continue to try to write more and hope you will check back from time to time.
I am so pleased that I was able to have my beautiful baby girl Sandy at my home! I am also in awe of all women who give birth. It was way tougher than I expected!!! BUT I DID IT and everyone who has ever given birth should pat themselves on the back at a job well done!! I have to say I am so incredibly proud of myself both for succeeding in following through with my choice to have my baby naturally at home and for giving my baby girl a beautiful start to her life here on earth!
I’m sure not all of you want all the details of my birth so I will provide the “Coles” notes version... do Coles notes even exist anymore??? Regardless, here goes... For a week and a half or so I was experiencing abdominal cramping every evening which I knew could be early labour so each night I did my best to get a good night sleep knowing it might be my last for a while. On April 7, changes in my body led me to believe we were hours or days away... I was a little excited and a lot nervous, but I went to bed for a good night sleep. I woke up on April 8 at 8 am and my contractions were about 10 minutes apart and I used my Hypnobirthing breathing to work through them thinking this is totally manageable!
Around 10 am I thought I should probably get up while I can and get anything done that I need done... like shower and eat. I managed a shower, but by the time I went to eat, I couldn’t. So I went back to bed having emailed my doula to let her know things were progressing. I continued to use my breathing techniques and was surprised to discover that my contractions were progressing rapidly and didn’t have a rhythm to them anymore... I called my cousin to talk to her about it and get moral support and she told me I shouldn’t be alone so I called the doula and was trying to explain the situation, but had to stop talking when I was having contractions and sometimes they were back to back... to back! From my original email she had figured we had hours to go, but given the number I had while I was on the phone with her she came right over. In short order we had my birth partner there as well, that was between 12 and 1 pm.
I called the midwife around 1:30 and she said from the sounds of it I was hours away, but asked if I was doing Hypnobirthing because that could mean that I was further along than she would normally think given what was happening at that time. She said she would come by to check. She arrived at 2:45 or so and said I was fully effaced and 3 cm dilated... only 1 cm away from being in active labour! At this point I was in the tub and I had an audience of my doula and birth partner as I worked through the contractions or surges as they refer to them in Hypnobirthing. It’s funny I had anticipated enjoying the jets of my jacuzzi tub yet I never wanted to turn them on! I was in there for hours and as things got more intense I discovered to my surprise that making low guttural sounds was very helpful. Things progressed... quickly at first and then more slowly and at one point I was back to feeling like the labour was manageable and I was telling everyone stories... and that is the point when my doula started giving me homeopathic remedies to speed things up again... I tried to refuse, but they assured me we had to move things along!
Progress was very slow as I began pushing Sandy through the birth canal... I couldn’t feel her at first to know how to push so it was very difficult. Once I got her past a certain point I could feel her again and I was much more effective with my pushing. Sandy was in the birth canal for quite a long time, but she was never in distress. What I didn’t know was that the two midwives (one for me, one for the baby) had decided if I wasn’t moving along much faster by midnight they were going to have to transfer me to the hospital... luckily I was making much more progress by midnight, had the head birthed by 12:09 and the body a minute later. Unbelievable that the body was so easy compared to the head! Turns out part of the reason she was difficult to deliver was because she had her fist in front of her face... the whole way! And as she emerged we discovered that the cord was wrapped around her neck but was of no concern given it hadn’t tightened and put her in distress at any time.
I reached down to receive my baby as they placed her on my chest, she was so alert and quite content. She cried as is necessary to clear out her lungs so that she can start breathing air rather than amniotic fluid, but didn’t seem too concerned with what was going on... I held her and chatted with her for about a half hour as they dealt with everything else. At this point we didn’t even know if it was a girl or a boy! The midwife asked me how I wanted to find out... she offered to pick the baby up and let me announce the sex or let my birth partner take a picture of the bits and announce. I chose the latter because frankly I had worked so hard to get her I didn’t want her an inch away from me! My birth partner announced it’s a boy... and the midwife made a face and said let’s try that again! And a girl it was... my baby Sandy, by the end of my pregnancy everyone except my shaman and I thought I was having a boy, I had girl vibes throughout the entire pregnancy, it was nice to discover I was right!
Such a surreal experience, you’re working so so hard and then all of a sudden its over and you’re holding your beautiful baby! Let me tell you, it was very tough, the midwife said they usually expect active labour of first time moms to be 18 to 24 hours and here I had crammed it into 8! There were two points that I would have been happy to have been transferred to the hospital, had an epidural, Caesarian, whatever it took because at those two points I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. The first of the two was when I wasn’t getting any breaks between contractions... no time to recover and the second was when I couldn’t feel her to be able to push her out! I can’t thank my birthing team enough for helping me through the whole experience, specifically those two junctures because if they hadn’t been able to assure me completely that I would get through those two points I would have ended up in the hospital.
In hindsight now I can say what an incredible experience! I am so glad I was able to have the baby at home, it was incredibly special and even writing this again I feel enormous pride in myself for having succeeded in achieving my goal. After the birth I kept saying that I hadn’t been able to utilize the Hypnobirthing techniques, but they assured me that while it wasn’t one of the quiet births they show you on the Hypnobirthing videos, that it was short and sweet because I had employed the Hypnobirthing techniques. Everyone is different and every pregnancy and every birth is different even for the same mother so of course each woman should choose the type of birth that is right for them. That said, if anyone is considering either a home birth or using a midwife in the hospital I would highly recommend using Hypnobirthing and a doula is wonderful support.
To all those women who have had babies, hats off to you and to those who will have them in the future, you can do it, you’re tougher than you think! They say you forget just how tough it was and at the time I kept saying I’m not going to do this again... now I would be open to it under the right circumstances!
Ciao for now