Born January 18th 2008 at 4:56am. 8lbs 10oz.
It all started around bedtime Wednesday night. I was having contractions every 15 minutes or so while we were watching TV. They didn’t hurt… and although I *thought* I was going into labor, I was still unsure. We ended up going to bed at 2am and I had fitful sleep until 4am or so, when i woke Alex up and told him that I wanted him to take the girls to my moms house. He told me to try and relax…. it was too early and he was right. I left him in bed to sleep a bit longer and got up. I tried to watch a movie. I couldn’t concentrate because I was just excited! I came downstairs to surf the internet and timed contractions which were now 5-8 minutes apart. They were definitely starting to bite a bit. I woke Olivia up at 7am for school and told her she’d probably have a baby sister when she got home from school. The squirrels heard us talking and they woke up. As soon as they started talking, my contractions slowed down to about 20 minutes apart. We took them over to my moms house at about 10am and then went to pick up some food at the grocery store. I walked around the store feeling like I was keeping the BEST secret! We picked up fruit, muffins, cheese, and sandwich ingredients.
I called the midwife and told her what was going on. I had an appointment with her at noon anyway and we decided to keep that appointment. We dropped the groceries off and headed in to her office. She checked my cervix there and told me I was 3 cm dilated. She told me to go home, take a nap and to call her when we needed her. I did plan to try and sleep. We picked up some burgers and brought them over to my moms house. Alex and the girls ate and then Alex and I headed home.
I’m not sure when the birth pool was filled. I think Alex filled it after we got home… but everything is kind of hazy. I remember that by now, it was 2pm or so, and the contractions were back to about 8 minutes apart. We really started timing them about 4pm and they were close. 3-4-5 minutes apart and they hurt a bit. We called the midwife after about an hour of closer contractions and she wanted to come over. She was finishing up at work but she said she’d be over in a half hour or so. She arrived at about 6pm. Maybe it was earlier. Maybe it was later. While I was waiting I told Alex that I wanted to get into the pool. I didn’t know how far along I’d be, and I had wanted to wait until I was 6cm to get in because we didn’t want it to stall labor, but it was getting painful. I lifted the lid of the pool and stuck my hand in. It was so warm and inviting. I took my clothes off and got in. It was bliss. The pain disappeared. The contractions started coming faster but they hurt less. I will never labor without a birthing pool. EVER.
The midwife arrived and I got out of the tub so she could take my vital signs and check my progress. Everything looked great and I was 6 cm dilated. I was amazed that I had made it to 6! With my hospital births, I was begging for the epidural at 4cm.
The contractions were coming about every 3 minutes and hurt a lot worse out of the tub. I wanted nothing more but to get back in. I did labor in the bathroom for a while before I got back in… but it didn’t last long. Dawn called her assistant Erin and told her she should head down from Seattle. She arrived about 45 minutes later. Time is such a blur. In fact, the whole experience is a blur. I could be leaving a lot out. I remember that we were talking and laughing for what seemed a really long time. Alex was telling the midwives stories about how we met and other stories behind pictures on the walls that the midwives asked about. He was charming and funny. And he was making us all laugh. I remember feeling proud that he was my husband. My contractions hurt and I had to breathe through them. I got out of the tub in that time and labored in the bathroom for a good while. I sat down between contractions and then I held onto Alex during them. I remember I really had to vocalize through them in this position. I was checked at 9pm and I was 8cm. Alex joked that our baby WOULD be born on an even numbered day like all the rest of us. I was not amused. Not one bit. There was nothing funny about laboring for another 3 hours. I labored a bit more on the toilet and then got back into the tub. The contractions at this point were hard to deal with. But I was doing it. I could still talk between contractions, but had to focus and breathe through them. I was often having to vocalize through them. That is the last that I really remember fully.The rest is seen through a haze. I remember the contractions becoming more painful. I’m not aware what time it is, but I do remember at one point Alex saying that it was an even numbered day by then. I remember being checked and the midwife telling me the my cervix had a swollen part and that I needed to really focus and relax so the swelling could go down. I fell apart a few times. I asked to go to the hospital and Dawn said that we could try an IV of LR (electrolytes and glucose) for energy and hydration and some herbs. The only one I remember the name of is skullcap. She also said that she could break my water and there was a good possibility that it would help melt away the rest of cervix that was left. Alex reminded me how disappointed I would be if I went to the hospital. I was exhausted with only 2 hours of restless sleep in the last 48 hours. I went between thinking I could make it to sobbing and back again. The crying felt really good, though. It felt like the release that I needed and I cried until I didn’t have any crying left in me. He asked if I trusted him and he said that I would be fine. I agreed to try the IV and herbs. I labored in the bed and tried to relax. They wrapped me in warm towels and a heating pad. Dawn easily broke my water without a hook. I was really scared that after my water was broken the contractions would be worse. They were more painful… but I think that the herbs and IV fluids, plus the reassurance from the midwives and my wonderful husband I was dealing with them a little better. I labored and rested for about an hour and I was checked again. I told the midwife that if the swelling hadn’t gone down that I wanted to go to the hospital. She said ok…. but I think they’d have convinced me to stay home anyway. My cervix was a bit more dilated to maybe 9cm and the swelling was less but still there. I was told to keep trying to relax and I tried.
I remember Alex, Dawn and Erin rubbing my back and speaking to me gently. I remember Alex didn’t leave my side. I remember the tremendous love I felt for my husband during those moments. I wanted to get back into the tub because being in bed was too much for me to handle. As soon as I was in, the contractions became unbearable. I don’t know how long I was in the tub or what time it was. I was starting to panic with some of the contractions. Then I’d have a milder contraction. Then a harder one and I’d start panicking again. I said NO, no no no no. I wanted to give up and thought that maybe I’d made a mistake wanting to have my baby at home. I tried to feel for myself where the baby was and I could feel her head a couple inches inside me. It was what I needed to get through this! I told Erin and she came to check. I wasn’t fully dilated yet and I felt panicky again. I felt like a scared, caged animal in pain. I screamed through the contractions and cried in between them. I remember that I called out for Dawn and she came over. I felt a little bit like pushing and was trying to gently push. I could feel my baby lower and lower with each contraction. I was floating on my back and I asked Dawn if I could push harder and she said yes so I did. I screamed with each push. I felt as if my back would break in half and I pushed through it. I felt powerless floating and got to my hands and knees. I screamed with another contraction and push and felt her crown. I screamed another push and I felt her head slide out. Dawn checked for a cord around her neck and Alex watched the rest of his baby come into the world. He said she swam up to me like a dolphin. The next thing I remember was holding her on my chest, and touching her face and saying Hi, baby. You’re finally here!
I delivered the placenta in the pool. Alex cut the cord and held her while I was helped out of the pool. I wanted to snuggle with my baby, but I desperately wanted a shower so I was helped to the bathroom for the quickest shower EVER. I got in bed with my beautiful baby girl and nursed her.
The midwife left a couple hours later and we fell asleep together at home in our bed.
I fell in love with my husband a thousand times over again during Marisol’s birth.
It’s a hard feeling to explain, but I feel like a completely different woman. My home birth captured the strength a woman has but that I didn’t even know existed in me. It was primal and beautiful. Somehow, now… I feel like I touched something of all the generations before me. And I KNOW when my babies have their babies I’ll tell them how this experience changed me.