Even writing this does not do it justice...and i cannot put into words the gratitide I feel for my lovely midwife and amazing family. Both the prenatal and post partum care is unparalleled to any hospital care you would EVER receive. The entire process was by far life changing both during my pregnancy and afterward. Ivan Hendrix is my everything and he received the most gentle, natural and 'normal' birth possible...
I was assuming all along I would give birth early. My mom and sister
both had - I thought at least a week early. Here I was at 37 weeks
staying at my parents (where I was to give birth) with John, my
boyfriend and partner. We eagerly anticipated the beginning of my
labor. Every day I would have many contractions, lots of aches and
pains, but no 'real' labor. This frustration is hard to explain. It is
like your body 'wants' to begin, but everything is not in sync. All the
hormones from both you and the baby have not yet 'clicked'. So you just
wait... the frustration mounting... by week 40 I decided to go back
home and wait some more. At least I would be near to my things,
especially my cats that I dearly missed.
As my due date of Sept.
26 came and went many tears flowed... I no longer was sleeping much,
the aches and pains sometimes overwhelmed me. John massaged me often,
hugged me and wiped my tears. He just was amazing through everything?so
patient. He, of course, also was so anxious. I just kept thinking 'this
baby is NEVER coming out'!
Finally, at 41 weeks we decided to
start natural labor inducing methods (yes, no pitocin!) with the
guidance of my midwife... the final one which seemed to get things
really going being nipple stimulation! Every 5 min. for an hour. I did
this the night before I went into labor and the morning of... while
sitting on my birth ball. I stood up after an hour that morning and
felt some cramping and fluid began to flow. I thought this was my water
breaking - but found out later it was not - just cervical fluid. But,
man I was SO excited! I knew this was FINALLY IT!!
So, I called
my midwife that afternoon and let her know the developments. This was
Monday, October 8th. She told me to keep an eye on my contractions - if
they begin to come every 4 min. lasting a minute for one hour she would
be on her way. So... John and I stayed at home until about 4 - then I
felt we should head over to my parents house. We got there about 5 pm -
contractions still mild, but pretty regular. I sat down with the family
and had some chicken soup. My sister had been at my parents with my
nephew that day, and instead of heading home she stayed with me - she
was to act as my doula and overall labor support, being she to had a
previous home birth.
At about 7 pm we called my midwife to let
her know the contractions were coming strong now - and were very
regular. She headed over with her apprentice - by the time she got
there I was IN PAIN. The contractions were hard to get through - I just
moaned through them. With John and my sister helping me - giving me ice
chips, drinks, bites of food (yes, food!) massages, cold cloths. I took
showers, I got in and out of the tub, I walked, I laid down - you name
it - just to get through each wave of my body contracting. You can't
describe this feeling in words - only a woman who has felt contractions
knows the sensation. Yes, it is 'pain', but it is different than
typical pain as most know it.
So... I just kept contracting -
trying not to be overwhelmed. The midwife and/or her apprentice checked
me periodically - and I had A LOT more dilating to go... the night
passed and became daylight. I no longer knew what hour it was ... what
time. All clocks were turned away from me. I didn't care. I just wanted
to know I was progressing. I remember my MW (midwife) checking me and
telling me that my cervix was not opening fully. She asked me if I
wanted her to break my water - that perhaps this might help. I agreed.
After my water broke the contractions began coming harder and closer
together. After more position changes (more than you can imagine -
squatting, laying on side (the worst one!), sitting on birth ball,
sitting on toilet, sitting on birth stool, walking, kneeling, sitting
in tub...) I wanted her to check the cervix again. Much to our dismay,
she told me the 'lip' of the cervix was still there... this meant - the
baby was not descending. Ugh!! I was SO upset. She wanted me to rest...
I cried. I wanted to die.
Nothing is harder in the world than
trying to sleep through contractions! BUT, amazingly my body would let
me get a half hour here and there... enough to allow me to keep going.
This was the point (I believe this was Tuesday night - about 24 hours
in) that I really was questioning if I could keep going. I just wanted
the pain to end and I wanted the baby out. My MW really thought at this
point that the length of the labor was really due to the baby's
positioning. She felt something was up with the way he was trying to
descend... I was SO upset. I didn't know what day it was... I couldn't
focus on anyone. I drifted in and out of sanity. It was crazy. BUT, I
knew my only other choice was to go to the hospital. My MW supported
me. She told me what would happen at the hospital. She talked through
everything. She wanted it to be my decision. She understood my
feelings. She empathized. She would be there no matter what I decided.
talked to my MW and John and my family for a long time. I was so torn.
I thought I couldn't go on. BUT, something in me decided to try and
rest one more time. To allow my MW to try and again manually open my
cervix (ugh! this sucked!!) while I contracted and began to push the
baby down. This was the only solution. If I went to the hospital, it
would be an uphill battle. Checking in while in agony, filling out
paperwork, dealing with the attitudes of the staff because I had
already been in labor for so long at home (and had pushed for several
hours already), not knowing if they would want to give me a c-section,
not knowing when/if I would get pain medication or of they would try
and use forceps or suction - and number one in my mind - how my baby
and I would be treated both during and after delivery. The main reason
I wanted to birth at home was for the baby ? second was for me to feel
I was in control. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't go.
So... I rested...
after my MW worked again with my cervix, I began to want to push - this
was in the middle of the night Tues/Wed morning. My sister was truly my
strength during this time. I started to give over to the pain. The
contractions OVERWHELMED me - they pushed me up into the air and back
down again - they were pain, but they were relief. I KNEW something
good was happening to my body - that I was FINALLY progressing. John
and my sister and MW all took turns holding me while I had these insane
contractions. I sat on the toilet contracting for at least an hour ?
this really got things going. I had my MW check me to make sure my
issue with the cervix was gone? and it was!! She told me to keep
pushing. So, I squatted, I walked, I kneeled, I laid down with my legs
in the air, you name it and I did it - and I could feel his head!! ME -
I could feel it!!!
So, I ended up in the bed (had planned a
water birth, but DID NOT CARE at this point!) - typical laying down
style, but the best position for me and the baby since we weren't
really even sure what position he was in coming down... I held my own
legs. John held my head. My mom and sister my hands/arms. My sister did
reiki on me. Energy from the universe overwhelmed me! Everyone helping
me to gain the strength to push Ivan down. After 3 full hours of
pushing (6 total to address cervical issue) - Ivan arrived!!! Everyone
telling me how much hair he had - how they could see him coming - I
knew I was doing it!! He came out - it HURT LIKE HELL, but I got him
here - he and I worked together to bring him into the world ... he
cried. He looked at me and John intently... he was big and beautiful...
he laid on my bare chest ... both of us together... I couldn't believe
it - he was finally here.
Those 41 hours of pain, of frustration
and tough decisions... of not knowing if I could do it... they have
forever changed me as a person. As a woman. I feel reborn. I feel like
the things in life that used to matter don't anymore. My family is
closer now than ever before ... John and I have this amazing love and
respect for each other. All this was given to me by my son. My
beautiful son and the amazing birth experience we had together. Yes,
his darn hands and arms were in the way - crossed over his chest and up
by his face during descent - a little bruised when he came out - this
is why I labored for so long, but, now that I look at it and have had
time to reflect, I would have it no other way... Ivan is a miracle. He
has forever changed me as a person and I can never thank him enough for
My midwife visited me the next day - went over my
labor length and times, talked to me about my strength. She told me had
I gone to the hospital she is sure they would have performed a
c-section. They only let you push for 2 hours at the hospital ? and
forget all the position changes. I avoided major surgery and much
psychological damage. I know that there are times when babies need to
be born this way - but, I am proof that there are times when a WOMAN
can birth her own baby, in her own way if you just allow her the
opportunity ? even a 9 lb. baby! Not every woman and child needs to be
saved by a Dr. or surgeon. My baby NEVER once had a dip in his heart
rate. He was happy and healthy all during labor. He just had a hard
time getting here. Ivan and I are proof that if you allow a birth to
occur naturally and in its own way - it will happen, and will happen in
a profound and amazing way.