Monday, November 24, 2008

Ainslie's birth

Our baby was due on the 20th of October. I was kind of hoping to go a little early this time as my first baby was 8 days overdue and my second came right on her due date. I figured it was time for an early baby! But I was wrong - babies only come when they are ready.

I had a really good pregnancy, and felt really well right the way through. I was so lucky not to suffer with symphysis pubis and nerve pain in my leg like I did the last two times, which is apparently unusual - it's supposed to get worse each time! What a difference it made though.. I mainly felt like myself with a big bump out the front!

My baby was sitting posterior the whole way through the pregnancy, just like my first two, so a week before my due date I had some acupuncture with one of the midwives who works with my midwife. I'd never had it before, but it was fine. I had trouble relaxing because I'd been having really restless legs during the last part of my pregnancy and really struggled to stay still! The baby turned though! Two days later at my midwife check up the baby was anterior for the first time ever - I was so happy!

I had niggly period pains every day, lasting for most of the day for the last 2-3 weeks of this pregnancy, but I'd had that with my second baby too so I knew to just ignore them the best I could.

Our two daughters had been sick on and off for a good month with a D&V bug and a cold each. My husband had also been sick so I was starting to feel quite distraught at keeping / getting everyone well so that I could relax and surrender to my labour whenever it started. None of us had had much sleep in the past few weeks either. I was still feeling happy though, and we were all excited to meet our new baby.

My due date was a Monday and my husband was really hoping to not go back to work! Over the weekend I developed a sore throat! Ugh! I was so annoyed!
We had a fantastic weekend anyway and did lots of family things. We drove to our favourite beach, went for a bushwalk, and drove around and around the bumpiest car park (just like we did the day I went into labour with #2!), much to the amusement of a group of people in the carpark! I was so crampy and hopeful things would start that night.. but no. I woke up on the Monday feeling rotten with the beginnings of a cold and tearful. DH decided to stay home from work anyway, which was great. I had another acupuncture appointment with Carly, and this time I managed to last a whole hour, and I really relaxed and focused on letting the acupuncture do it's trick. I spent the whole time imagining my labour, and imagining holding my baby. I said my birth affirmations over and over and also found I had a song going over and over in my head. "I'm ready" by Tracy Chapman. I had a lovely relaxing hour, covered in warm towels. It was exactly what I needed.

Monday afternoon and Tuesday we decided to spend as family days. We took the kids out, went for walks, went for long drives, went to the zoo, tram rides, ice blocks, fish and chips on the beach, playgrounds etc. We had a fabulous time, and it was almost like a holiday at home.

On Wednesday my midwife came for our antenatal appointment (isn't she great coming to our house?!). Baby was great. STILL in anterior position! She asked if I wanted a stretch and sweep, and I accepted because although I was keen to follow my body and let things happen, I knew the stretch and sweep wouldn't do anything if things weren't ready.

At this stage I was about 2cm dilated and everything was really soft and well effaced. I had a little bit of a show afterwards but nothing much. I sent DH back to work because I was really feeling by this stage that this baby was never going to be born! We took our eldest to kindy, and everyone was so nice and sympathetic about me being overdue.. I just felt like crying, and then I felt stupid because I knew I was only 2 days over! My friend (who is just the SWEETEST) invited me over for lunch, and it was too nice an offer to refuse. I spent the afternoon there while she fed all our kids (my two, her two and my neice), gave me some delicious homemade lasagne and made me sit there. I had a great afternoon just chatting away, and she made me leave Miss 4 there to play. We arranged for DH to pick her up on his way home from work. I hope I can return the favour one day because it was exactly what I needed!

Wednesday night I got on the trampoline and had a bounce (as suggested by the midwife, lol) - and when I say bounce, I mean that my feet never left the mat, I just gently rocked up and down. It was quite fun actually! We bundled the girls in the car and took another bumpy ride into the city to our favourite South Indian restaurant and got the hottest takeaways. Such a treat!
That night I finally lost my mucous plug, and continued having a show all night, every time I got up to the toilet.

Thursday arrived and I felt rotten. Sick, grumpy, tearful, FED UP! It wasn't so much the pregnancy, I still felt ok except for the cold, but it was the waiting, and people ringing me several times a day to check if anything was happening! My Mum offered to pick up Miss 4 from kindy which was great because I was starting to feel like I couldn't really cope anymore. I should have rung DH to come home, but I didn't want him to use another day of leave if he didn't have to. I kept losing my mucous plug all day, and was still crampy, but nothing more than usual. When DH got home he took over everything and made me just relax. We had a lovely, relaxing evening, and then both of us had a great sleep that night. I still had to get up lots of times to pee though and each time I felt this huge pressure, like I had to pee urgently! I thought to myself "my waters are going to break soon" (just like my last 2 labours).

I woke up at 6.55am and looked at my phone to see the time. Said good morning to DH, and I think we had a quick conversation about how it was a shame he had to go to work (can you tell we were hanging out for his 4 weeks of leave?!). I remember saying "I need to pee SO bad", and as I went to move out of bed I felt a big gush and started laughing. I leapt out of bed as fast as I could and stood at the side of the bed as my waters broke in a spectacular fashion.. LOL. DH was laughing too - I didn't need to tell him what the noise meant - it was his third labour cleaning up a puddle of amniotic fluid from beside our bed!

I felt SO excited - finally things were starting! I remember saying to DH "YAY! You don't have to go to work now!!" I went and had a shower. I had contractions straight away, but the were mild and only just stronger than I'd been having for the past few weeks. When I got out of the shower DH had made our bed (with the plastic sheet underneath, lol), and was getting the girls all ready for the day. I set myself up in my room with my birth affirmations (which my lovely friend K had given me), my iPod, some nice moisturiser, my water bottle and some toast. I had some nice quiet time in my bedroom while the girls got ready to go out for the day. DH kept coming in and seeing if I was ok, and I was fine. The contractions were getting stronger, and I was having to breathe through them. I was feeling really nice and relaxed, really excited that things were happening, and I was focusing on my affirmations, on breathing nice and deep like I learnt at yoga, and keeping my body nice and soft and relaxed. I sent a few text messages to my sister, my Mum and my midwife, just to let them know what was going on.

DH and the girls left to take Miss 4 to kindy, and I had about 20 minutes of really focusing on relaxing. I even stood up and danced and rocked to my iPod. When they got back from kindy my midwife rang (about 9.30am), and I spoke to her about what was happening. I had two contractions whilst I talked to her and had to stop talking so I could focus on breathing through them. We agreed I would ring back when I wanted to be checked out. My contractions were still coming frequently - they were never more than 3 minutes apart, and still lasting 30-50 seconds each time.

DH's Mum arrived to take Miss 2 out for the morning, which is the usual Friday routine anyway. My sister A arrived at our house (she is training to be a midwife so my plan was always that she would be there). I was still listening to my iPod and was getting frustrated that it seemed to be playing the same 10 songs over and over. I heard Miss 2 and my mother in law leave the house, and DH came and fixed my iPod for me (I'd loaded it wrong the night before, lol). It was funny because I'd filled it with music that I enjoyed listening and singing to - and I'd included lots of yoga music. When it came down to it the yoga music was completely irritating, too slow! I was enjoying listening to all sorts of things, like Cat Stevens, Tool, Paul Simon, all sorts of things. When DH handed it back to me and pressed play, you know what song was playing? "I'm ready" by Tracy Chapman!! It was exactly the right song to hear. I felt myself go deeper into my labour, and I let the contractions really wash over me. Just like the song says.

"I want to wake up and know where I'm going
Say I'm ready
Say I'm ready

I want to go where the rivers are overflowing and
I'll be ready
I'll be ready

I'm ready to let the rivers wash over me
I'm ready to let the rivers wash over me

If it's love flowing freely
I'm ready
I'm ready

If the waters can redeem me
I'm ready
I'm ready

I'm ready to let the rivers wash over me
I'm ready to let the rivers wash over me

Oooooh, Oooooh

I want to wake up
I want to know where I'm going
I want to go where the rivers are over-flowing

I'm ready to let the rivers wash over me
I'm ready to let the rivers wash over me
I'm ready
I'm ready
I'm ready"

You can listen to the song here. (I can't listen to it without getting chills and feeling teary now!)

I think it helped knowing that the girls weren't home too, and I could really relax and start moaning through the contractions without them hearing.

They were getting nice and intense now, and stronger. I was really trying to focus on going with them and feeling myself open up, rather than feel tense and fight against them. It wasn't easy, but the affirmations helped so much.

I had specifically asked that I be left alone as much as possible, so that I could focus. I really found in my last labours when people came and talked to me, I had to stop focusing on my contractions and start focusing on what they were saying and I had a feeling that it had really interrupted the flow of things. This time I was determined that I would just get on with the job, and allow myself to go into 'la la land' - that space labouring women go into where you are really off in another place. It worked really well for me this time. By this time I was finding that I was the most comfortable perched on the end of our bed, and in this position I could feel myself opening up nicely.

My Mum arrived around this time, and was surprised to hear me moaning so much. She came and talked to me, and my sister had just told her that I wanted to be left alone, so after a quick chat she asked when I was going to call the midwife back, and I remember saying I didn't want to ring her back and then find out I was 3 cm again (that happened last time!) - and she suggested to me that I might be further along than I thought. To be honest, I suspected I wasn't 3cm, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. I decided to leave it till I was sure. Mum left the room and I got back to my own little world.

It was about half an hour later that I decided that YES I did want my midwife to come back. I was thinking that if she came and said I was 3cm then I was going to cry!!

DH came and told me our midwife would be here soon. I found out afterwards she had said she would be 40 minutes, but could come ASAP if needed. I was blissfully oblivious to this, and could really feel things heating up. I knew I was dilating up nicely, and I was reassurred by knowing G (midwife) was coming soon. It seemed to take ages for her to get here, and during this time my contractions were really long. They would roll one after another, washing over me, with no gaps in between. I focused on breathing through them, on moaning louder and louder. I had my eyes closed and really concentrated on relaxing as much as I could.

It was about this stage that I started thinking I might need to call out to my sister and tell her she might have to deliver the baby. I was wondering where G was, and thought I could feel that I wasn't far away from pushing, even though I didn't really have the urge to yet. Little did I know, A (my sister) was sensing the baby was very close and had formulated a plan of what she needed to do if G didn't make it!

G finally arrived and organised another space on the bed for me so I could recline back so she could check my progress. It was such an effort to get up and change position but once I lay back I knew I wasn't going to move again. She checked me, and the look on her face was priceless. She gave me a huge grin, and rushed over to give me a hug and kiss, and exclaimed "It's all going to be ok this time Kate, you're 9cm and the baby's head is right there!!". That's exactly what I needed to hear. I remember grinning and relaxing into the feelings even more.

The contractions continued nice and strong. G rang her back up midwife, and while she was getting all the emergency equipment and delivery equipment ready, T (back up) arrived. I remember feeling really relaxed, like I was in good hands, and things were happening as they should. They tried to encourage me to get out of bed to go to the toilet, as I needed to pee, but there was just no way I could. I tried so hard, but it felt impossible! I started feeling quite grunty and pushy around this stage. DH had left the room for something and I remember saying to G "I want DH!". She called him quickly back, and then I asked for A to come in too.

This bit is a bit blurry because the pain was intense and it was taking all my concentration to listen to what people were saying to me, and to concentrate on doing my job. I could feel my baby moving down as I gave small involuntary pushes. My sister was holding my hand, and I still had my eyes closed, trying to concentrate. DH was ready to catch the baby. G was really encouraging and talked me through all of this next bit because I was past it really.. I just did what I was told! We had talked in our antenatal appointments about trying to slow the birth down, because both my previous births had gone so fast (the birthing stage), and it was really important to me that this time, the baby had time to clear the mucus from it's lungs.

G got me to pant and breathe the baby out, and not push. It took all my concentration to focus on doing this. I'd really lost sight of the fact that a baby was coming, and I remember feeling like my whole body was splitting in two. Everyone kept saying they could see the head, and the baby was coming, but I could hardly believe it really. I just kept breathing and panting and kept my eyes closed. G said to me 'Give a little push, and then we'll be able to see the nose' - I thought to myself "What?!" - I had really lost sight of the fact there was a baby coming, and I really didn't think we were that far through with the birth!

There was intense pressure and burning as her head was born, and then the rest of her just slipped out, into DH's hands. He handed her to me, and she was all warm and wet and just lovely! I had no idea if we'd had a boy or girl. DH came and gave me a kiss and I was just in complete shock that there really was a baby!
I just thought she was the tiniest little thing!! I asked Joseph if we had a boy or girl, and he said girl. Another beautiful daughter! How wonderful!

I was just so delighted that she was here, and I'd done it! I was all smiles and feeling fantastic. I did feel a big gush of liquid about now, and looked up at G to see if it was what I thought it was... and yes, it was a bleed. She asked me if I was ok with an injection of syntometrine, and I agreed, knowing it was important now to get the placenta out. I didn't feel the injection, and we quite quickly got the placenta pushed out, and the midwives had a quick check of my perenium at the same time and I was completely intact. (Woohoo!).

I got the baby latched on to the breast, and she was quite happy there. I remember holding her little bottom and saying to my sister 'Feel this!' - because it fit in my hand exactly the same was as it did when she was in my belly and I could feel it! My sister had spent lots of time palpating my belly too so she recognised it as well, so funny.

Miss 4 had arrived home from kindy with my Mum just minutes before the baby was born, so she came in to meet her little sister, and was delighted!

About 5 minutes after that, Miss 2 arrived home with my mother in law and she was a bit bewildered and said 'What's Mummy got that for?" - hehe!

After everyone had met our little baby, the midwives did the newborn exam and found everything was just right. Someone said that we'd had a big baby, and I seriously didn't believe it.. she seemed so tiny! But when they weighed her.. yes, she was 10lb 11oz (4.8kg) and 57cm long.

DH and I had a quick conversation about her name and we decided to go with the name we had ready for a girl 'Ainslie Theia'.

So here we are, parents of three beautiful daughters!

Welcome to the world and welcome to our family, sweet girl!

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's a girl!!

We are delighted to announce the birth of our lovely new daughter... Ainslie. Born at 1.12 pm, Friday 24the Oct, into her Daddy's hands, at home, after a fast 6 hour labour. All is well, she's absolutely lovely! Weighs in at 10lb 11oz (!! - I thought she was going to be smaller than the others!!). No tears or grazes etc. I love home birth! Photos and birth story to follow.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


3 days overdue, but it's not all bad.. baby just isn't ready yet. I'm trying all the natural induction stuff of course, but kinda happy to wait too. It's Labour Weekend here in NZ this weekend.. will I be in labour? LOL.
Fingers crossed I can come back with some good news soon. :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

39 weeks

One week to go, officially, but who knows what this baby will decide!

Feeling good, nice and peaceful, ready to birth. Very much looking forward to meeting our baby and having a cuddle, but not too impatient (although today would be good, lol). Feeling well.

Just had some accupuncture this morning to try and get baby moved out of posterior position, that was interesting.

Will try and get more bump photos soon, and will update here if I have any news!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Home Birth for a Healthy Baby

Fantastic post over at 'Birth is Good' by Rebecca. I agree 100% whole heartedly.. YES, this is why we home birth!!

Click here to read

Saturday, August 02, 2008


For anyone playing along at home, I'm 29 weeks now, feeling great, just a little tired at times. We are planning our third home birth (not sure in #2 really counts as a home birth.. let's just call it an out of hospital or any medical setting birth! LOL). I'll keep this updated closer to the time with any news!

Georgia's Birth Story

Some of you may remember this birth story. It is the story of Jacob's birth, and I've linked to it before. I found it an incredibly inspiring story of a woman who was absolutely determined and hung in there during a hard labour, like I've never heard of before. I was in absolute awe reading it, and it stayed with me for a long time.

It is with absolute delight that I get to share his little sister's birth story link with you today. Here is is: Georgia's Birth Story. Rebecca, you ROCK! Another amazing story. This one's had me teary for the last few days because it's just so beautiful.

Thanks for sharing!!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Birth videos

Here is a great post from Bellies and Babies - it's full of birth video links. I know I love a good birth video... my husband is always looking over at me saying "Are you ok love?" as I wipe away tears.. all I have to say is "Birth video" and he just smiles and blows me a kiss. Hehe.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

More beautiful stories

From this great website Bellies and Babies


2000 birth of our first...

I was 19 when I became pregnant with #1. I was also unmarried though the father was very supportive and he and I are happily married now. I was due in March. By April 6th, my doctor called to let me know that, after we discussed alternatives and issues, he had scheduled an induction for me the following morning. Wanting everything as natural as possible, I attempted natural induction the night of April 6th.

I tried a castor-oil cocktail (OJ and castor oil – blah! Never again!), right after a meal of schezuan chicken (my doula friend did not TELL me not to try both at once! - I thought 'the more the better'). After that, I went for a walk, that ended in a run when I found myself 1 mile from home and the castor oil kicked in! I tried squats, nipple stimulation, everything!!! Nothing worked. So, at about midnight, I gave up and went to bed.

The following morning, I went to the hospital for my scheduled induction. The nurse wanted to hook me up to an IV immediately. I told her to please read my L&D plan on my chart (which outlines all of my requests and refusals – including no IVs or hep-locks). So, she told me that my only other option for induction besides Pitocin (via IV) was a cervical ripening gel placed on the cervix.

Within 15 minutes (7:45am) I was feeling mild contractions. At 8:30, we went to the café for breakfast. At about 10, I took a nap. Afterward, we played cards and walked the halls, visiting with the new mommies on the floor, after which I had a late lunch. At about 2, I took a shower (felt sticky and hot). That is where my water broke. Then we walked the halls some more. I plateaued at 4cm around this time and stayed that way from 1:30ish until 3:40ish.

At 3:40, I asked them to fill the Jacuzzi. Before I went to the Jacuzzi, they checked me (still dilated to 4 cm). My coach (now dh) and I were watching my emotional signposts and knew that we were on the homestretch… very close to delivery, even though my medical signs said I had quite a while to go. Well, I walked two doors down to the Jacuzzi room, disrobed, and sat in the water. I had two contractions in the water, JUST got comfortable, when I felt like I had to poop. So, my coach called the nurse who helped me walk back to the room.

So, anyways… this old bitty of a nurse was helping me back to the room and I was peaking and resolving one on top of the other. I told her that the baby was coming and all she did was look at me with this look that said ‘NOW she is starting to feel REAL labor... I told her so’. Well… we got back to the room and she was going to just leave. I basically jumped her and told her to check me.

She, literally, rolled her eyes at me and said, while pulling on her gloves ‘there is no way that you have dilated that much in such short a time… just relax’. Well, she checked me… and her jaw just about dropped to the floor. She told me not to push, that she was calling the doctor. On the phone I heard her say that I was 10cm, completely effaced, and +3 station.

* I have to tell you, I was in complete control, hardly any hard pain, through the whole Labor process. But, when they told me not to push, even though my body was saying that it was time; that is when it was painful… when I got in the way of what my body needed to do.*

My doctor, bless him, got there in 5 minutes and, literally, walked in the room, took off his winter gloves and coat before slipping on his surgical scrubs and gloves. So, here my doc is, winter hat still perched on his head, between my knees and telling me, blessedly, to push. With the first push, her head was out, but we found the cord wrapped twice around her neck and she was not breathing as a result. He gave me an episiotomy in order to get to the cord so he could cut it (it was acting as a noose as it was shorter than normal (17 inches), everytime I pushed her further down, it got tighter). I pushed three more times and she was out.

It was wonderful. I was able to walk around 15 minutes after her delivery and had a nice dinner (snuck in ribs and potatoes) that evening.


2003 birth of our second...

I went into labor on May 24th, arriving at the hospital at 9pm. I began solid contractions about 10:30. We talked, walked the halls, and watched TV. When the contractions began to get stronger, I took a shower and walked some more. I literally DINED on saltines, apple juice, and American Cheese… it was all I was craving!

My husband got sick to his stomach (too much coffee and no food) around 3am and went to lay down in the waiting room to try to get better. During that time, our Point Person, Shari, gave me back rubs, walked the halls with me SOME MORE, and helped me get to the bathroom so I could throw up my saltines, cheese, and apple juice (lol). I went down to the Jacuzzi at about 6 am, as I was only 6 cm, and relaxed there for about 30 minutes. Then I got antsy and we walked…. Again. I really could not sit still.

* The nurse assigned to my room was very old fashioned and rude. She was about 70 years old and wanted me on IVs and strapped to the table the whole time. She did not want me walking, eating, showering… nothing. My point person finally called my doctor and told him everything. He basically told the nurse that, if she couldn't cooperate with my birth plan, to take my room off her rotation. She was, in essence, fired from me... lol!*

At about 7am, Shari went and woke my husband and told him I was close (from my emotional signposts again). The doctor came in and checked me at 7:45am when I told him that I felt the strong need to push, I couldn’t sit and was in a crab-like squat... He replied that I was only at 7cm. I argued that it was impossible, that I knew I had to push. So, after watching me with a few contractions, he got the idea to check me while I was contracting.

Kairi was descending completely during the contractions, only to go back up after the contraction ended. So, doc told me to push once with the contraction, and, if she stayed down, I could continue. So, on the next contraction, I pushed… and we kept on pushing.

(BTW, he was adamant, because of the level of scarring from my first episiotomy, I would either tear extensively or REQUIRE an episiotomy. I told him I would rather tear. I also asked him about perineal massage and warm compresses... he said he never even tried it as no one had ever asked before. So, he and I read up on it together and put it to practice).

He began warm compresses and perineal massage so that I would not have to have another episiotomy. And, on the next contractions, though I held off on pushing, her head was birthed gently. She blinked and looked around at all of us. She was posterior. No wonder I didn’t want anyone near my bum.

During this whole time, my husband and Shari were running back and forth from the sink to me to alternately hold me (as I was in the modified squat position) and put cool compresses on my forehead. With the next contraction, my doctor had me push gently and firmly to birth Kairi’s shoulders. And, on the final two contractions, she slipped from my body.

She was born 20 minutes after the start of pushing. She was immediately given to my husband who got to hold her while they did the postpartum checks on me and all the newborn checks on my daughter. When the umbilical cord stopped pulsing, I was able to cut it.

Then, she went to breast and began to nurse. 15 minutes after that, I was well enough to walk the hall and get a breakfast tray followed by a long nap. I had no tears, no episiotomy, no pain medications, and no complications. The entire labor was 11 hours. I was 23 years old, and it was my second wonderful birthing experience.


2004 births of our 3rd and 4th children...

On May 31st, 2004, we went in to B Hospital for a routine NST and ultrasound. The NST came back wonderfully, but, during the ultrasound, they found that Twin 2 had only a small pocket of water under her chin. For this reason, and after attempting to restore fluid naturally and having time to discuss pros and cons of waiting, my doctor, Dr. V, and we agreed on an induction for that day. Calvin took the girls home to call and wait for their babysitter and to get my hospital bag. When he returned at 11:30, they hooked up the hep-lock and began the EFM. At this point, I was already at 3+cm dilation and -1 station. The initial plan was to simply break the bag of waters surrounding Twin 1, but her head was not at a good seal against my cervix and there was a small chance of the cord prolapsing if we simply broke the bag of waters and my body didn’t begin contractions immediately. For this reason, at noon, they began pitocin to bring her head to a good seal against the cervix.

The contractions began within the hour, though I only began to feel them with any intensity at 2pm. At this point, they stopped the pit drip to see if I would take over on my own, I did. Shari and Calvin went to the cafeteria while I took a short nap to gather my strength.

Around 3pm, the contractions were now intense enough that I had to have Calvin coach me through them and have the room silent while contracting. The intensity of the contractions continued to build while they also continued to get closer together.

Right about the time I reached 7 centimeters, I began feeling the slight urge to push. This was around 6:50pm. I was becoming extremely sensitive to the light, so Shari diligently placed cool washcloths over my eyes and forehead while Calvin reminded me to relax through the contractions and rubbed my hand. Doctor Van Slooten came to check me around this time and found Twin 1 to be descending nicely with each contraction. He instructed me to push when I felt I could not resist the urge. A few contractions later marked that time. I was 9 cm when I began the pushing stage.

She descended rapidly and was soon crowning. When she crowned, I reached down to feel her head. Calvin remarked on how much hair she had. I asked if there was more hair than Bri and Kairi. He said yes. I then said ‘great, we’re giving birth to Sasquach’. I have always, with all of my pregnancies, cracked jokes at the pushing stage. We believe it is my coping mechanism. The attendants could not believe that I was cracking jokes at this stage of labor and stood in uneasy silence until my doc began belly-laughing. Laughing helped move her down almost as much as pushing did and her head cleared with the next contraction. As I began gentle-birthing her shoulders, she began to cry. Immediately afterward, with no help from me, her body slid free and they placed Twin 1 on my belly, skin to skin, and began to clean her. Charis Nevaeh was born at 7:21pm. She weighed in at 5lbs 13ozs and measured 17 ½ inches long. She was born with dark black straight hair.

Shari clamped the cord and cut Charis free of my body as Twin 2 was coming up quickly behind (thanks Charis for the nipple stimulation). My husband then passed her to Shari so that we could begin birthing Twin 2. Five minutes after the delivery of Charis, I began having pushing contractions for Twin 2. Though the contractions were not very strong, I gave one push and she raced down the birth canal to crowning. Surprisingly, she was head-first (we knew previously that she was breech and were planning on delivering her breech). She must have flipped after Charis was out. With the next contraction, her head was delivered. I pushed through the next contraction and her shoulder and body slipped from mine, she shot into the doctor’s hands. Again, they placed her on my chest and began to rub her down as she was not breathing well. She made quite a fuss. We waited awhile before my husband clamped and cut the cord. Jocelyn Makena was born at 7:34pm. She weighed in at 5lbs 9ozs and measured 16 inches long. She was born with dark black wavy hair.

The placental delivery was easy, as I was entranced with the sight of my two new daughters. As the placenta showed two sacs sharing one membrane and one placenta (when we thought there were two) they are 70% sure they are monozygotic twins. Two healthy babies, a med-free vaginal delivery, God has blessed us.

Dr. V tells me 'thanks for the bragging rights' of being the only doc in their office that has delivered twins unmedicated... and one of the few who have delivered vaginal twins. He also told me he is extremely impressed with the unmedicated mother, labor & delivery and to send patient's his way if I have any friends... that the questions and learning together was 'fun'.


Here is the LONG birthstory of our most recent addition, Xander.

On Thursday, Oct 5th, around 8pm, I began feeling contractions that were low and steady. They lasted around 1 minute in duration and were 30 minutes apart in frequency. From a previous apt that day, I knew that I was 4cm, with a very pliable cervix in the anterior position. I finished folding the laundry in our living room and visited with a friend who brought over a camera for us to use in the coming birth. Once she left, Calvin and I got our showers and played a few games of Yahtzee. Around 11pm, we turned in for the night. By this time, my contractions were about 10 minutes apart and feeling the same.

I had been having contractions 10 minute apart and only slightly less intense nearly every evening for the last few weeks and did not see this being any different but, just in case, we retired with my stop watch and bag near the door and a few chux pads under the sheets. I fully did not expect this to be it. But, we prayed before bed that, if this was it, it would be a gentle and easeful birth. Around 1am I noticed I was waking around every 4 minutes to the same intensity of contractions, they only became quite hard when I had a full bladder.

Thinking this might be it, but not wanting to wake Calvin and because I was no longer comfortable in bed, at 2:30am, I got out of bed and began walking and tailor sitting, timing contractions, and biding my time. At 5:15am I could no longer time my own contractions while working through them as I was loosing sense of time, so I woke Calvin and he went down to relight the water heater (as it went out the night before and he was planning on fixing it that a.m.) so that I could take a hot shower.

Then, we both got ready for the day and began timing contractions. They were, at this time, around 2 and 1/2 to 3 and 1/2 minutes apart, lasting 45 minutes, and I felt inclined to labor dance through them. As they were not increasing dramatically in intensity and were still not completely consistent, I took Lisa's suggestion (my doula, friend, and fellow Bradley teacher in the area whom I had called by this time) to try knee to chest position. As I was looking forward to the shower, I set a rolled towel in the bottom of the tub and let the shower beat on my back while I assumed the knee-chest position in the shower for about 30 minutes. Calvin went to pack Charis and Jocelyn's overnight bags, and wake and ready the kiddos during this time.

How comforting to hear the noises of the house while I worked at bringing this kiddo into the world. The coffee smelled great, the cheerios tasted great, and the chatter made me feel peaceable in a way I did not expect. Bri, our oldest, and Jocelyn, our youngest, came to the shower curtain and peeled it back to watch mommy through a few contractions. Pretty soon, Bri had placed her hand on my head and said 'so this is it, huh mommy? You are doing a great job'. Jocelyn just rocked back on her heels after every contractions and awarded me with one of her chipmunk-cheeked grins. My kids were turning out to be great coaches.

After a bowl of Cheerios, I went to the bedroom to assume the knee-chest position once again; this time on the bed. I stayed there for around 45 minutes and fell asleep between contractions - only to find myself the last time on my side. Around 7:30, and after labor dancing through increasingly lower contractions, seeing off the twins (who were staying with my grandparents), Kairi (who wanted to see her papa and meema), and my mom, doing another bout of knee-to-chest on the bed, and eating some breakfast, I began to feel antsy. Calvin noticed a change in me and asked if we should head to the hospital. My next two contractions felt slightly pushy at the peak, so we decided to pack up Bri and head to the hospital.

We called Lisa, Brenda (our midwife), and Deb (Calvin's mom who did professional videography of the birth). After admission, and through admittance, around 9am, we found that I was 7cm along and the bag of waters was well intact with a large forebag (Xander was still -2 station). I got settled into my room, my mom and Kairi showed up, Deb and Lisa came in, and, after the initial 20 minute strip and getting hooked up for my GBS treatment, we began to walk the halls. At the beginning of a contraction, I would lean against Calvin's chest and, as the contraction came to fullness, I would bend my knees and sway my hips in rhythm to my contraction. He would apply counterpressure to my hips, and, at the conclusion of my contraction, would reward me with a sweet kiss. I remember picturing our baby in our arms and getting those same sweet kisses from my husband - that was my goal for each wave of childbearing.

We noticed that for the few moments that Calvin was not with me, my contractions would not be as affective (strong), nor my relaxation as complete. Between Lisa, Briaunna, my mom, and Calvin, though, I walked the halls for a good 3 hours, with only moments of pelvic rocks and birth ball rocking, before asking to be checked again. I was still at 7cm and 75% effaced. Calvin and I retired to the bathroom for a half hour and had a mini makeout session, trying nipple-stimulation and open-mouthed kissing (per Ina May).

It was very intense and beautiful to be in a dimly lit area, showing love and affection to my soul-mate while feeling the ebbs and tides that would bring our child forth. Though I have heard it called erotic, erotic is too strong a word; I would call it sensual and beautiful. Lisa mentioned, when I emerged, that there was a difference about me and the labor. I would definitely say it was a pivotal moment, stepping through the threshold of laboring lady and into bringing-forth-life lover, mother, and woman.

We enjoyed some white bean chicken chili, apples, cheese, crackers, and water for a midday pick-me-up. Hoping to get descent going, I hopped in the shower to do squats during contractions and to have hydrotherapy applied to my tailbone as lower pressure was getting intense enough that it was hard to find relief. I stayed in the shower for about 45 minutes. As the family had moved down to the family waiting area so that I could try to get some rest, Calvin and I nested for 30-45 minutes, getting side-relaxation and a few moments of shut eye.

I felt restless, though, and we were soon up again. Walking the halls again, Briaunna joined us and helped with verbal encouragement and applying her fists to my ever lowering pressure. As we rounded the corner to my room, Calvin mentioned trying the jacuzzi and shower again. So, I got in the jacuzzi and labored there for a little over 2 hours. I alterated the shower and jacuzzi.

My contractions picked up immensely in intensity and in frequency while in the tub, while I could really feel them moving DOWN while dancing in the shower. I did my own vaginal check around 4pm and could feel the bag of water at about +2. I asked Calvin to confirm that was what it was and after he checked me, he said 'yep, there it is'. My contractions were quickly becoming so low I was grunting through the peaks of them and instinctfully bearing down. The nurse wanted me to get out, but Calvin and Lisa protected my space and I continued to labor until, during one immensely fulfilling contraction, I felt the bag of waters move out of my body. I looked down and was able to see, for just a second, the bag of waters hanging from my body. It was about the size of a large water balloon. Then, from the weight, it ruptured, and I felt Xander racing down the birth canal immediately after. Those in the adjoining birthing room say it sounded like a bucket of water had been thrown on the ground. Lisa went out to find Brenda and Calvin began helping me toward the birthing room.

After having a few pushing contractions standing beside the bed and feeling hip pressure (I felt my legs would give out - those in attendance say this was my 'transition'), I climbed onto the bed backward so that my torso was draped over the raised back of the bed (simulating the all-fours). They tried, fruitlessly, to cover me with warm blankets, but I was so focused on moving our baby through these last few inches into the world that I yelled that is was 'too... grunt... much..... grunt... CLOTHE!'. They got the hint. So, all naturale, I began the final stage of hard work to bringing our child out of my womb.

After a few very confusing contractions where I felt immense pressure bowing out my hips, Lisa leaned in and suggested I give a push with the next contraction, even though I felt no inclination to push. As I did, I felt Xander move past my hips and down. Calvin positioned himself to catch and Brenda, Lisa, Calvin, my daughters, and mom all began cheering me on as I instinctfully pushed through each contraction. He decended rapidly and came to crowning.

As I grunt-pushed through contractions, I heard my family talking in awed, hushed voices, and my husbands hands supporting me and my midwives hands guiding me brought me close to delerious euphoria. As his head emerged, I lost all sense of bearing down and became disoriented. Brenda told me I had to get him out. His mouth was at my perineum and he was not descending any further. After a few futile pushes (my body was not obeying) she placed her hands over Calvin's and began manually rotating his body into the correct alignment. My 'little' Xander was giving us shoulder dystocia.

Luckily, the Gaskin Maneuver worked beautifully and, within the next few contractions, he slid free of my body and Calvin caught him. He was immediately passed to me between my legs and I sat back on my haunches to get him to nurse. He wanted to cry more than anything, but he eventually (10 minutes) latched on. Briaunna and Kairi got as close to the bed as they could and touched their brother all over. Remarking, teary-eyed, how 'He's here!!! He's Here!!! You did it mommy!!!'. It was beautiful. We went through the anatomy of a newborn and talked about his cord. They touched his cord to feel the pulse running through it and did more newborn googling.

Briaunna had the honor of cutting the cord once it stopped pulsing and, as she did the final snip (it only took her two), she exclaimed loudly 'now I KNOW I want to be a doctor!'. As my placenta began to descend, Brenda noted that I was going to start bleeding and we talked options. Once it was birthed, she attempted fundal pressure and 'massage'.. It didn't slow. So, we finally opted on pitocin.

I had no tearing. My 'area' actually feels remarkably well and I attribute that to the position I labored in. My hips on the other hand, they need my chiros skills! Breastfeeding is going great, mom and baby are recovering beautifully (though tiredly).All in all, his birth was beautiful, empowering, humbling, and fulfilling.

I was given the knowledge of my bodies FULL capabilities. I was given the gift of a family witnessing the birth of their family. I was given the joy of my husband being the first to touch our only son as he emerged from my body. And I was given the grace to have had a long, but gentle and easeful birth.

Welcome Xander Baylis - "Swordsman and Defender of Mankind"
October 6th, 2006
8lbs 13.4oz
20 1/2 inches
36 diameter head
32cm chest

Saturday, June 21, 2008

More birth stories

Here at Wise Woman ChildBirth. Each one has left me in awe and teary, and so excited about birthing my next baby!

(I'm 23 weeks pregnant with my third!)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another good reason I home birth!

Check out this article, I've worked in hospitals and I don't care what anyone says.. they AREN'T clean! I'd rather my newborn baby be surrounded by our family bugs at home!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Surprise twin birth!

About now 33 years ago I was on my way to the hospital to have a baby! We had dropped of our 17 month old at DH's brothers and sister in laws house. No real labour pains at this stage, they had eased but I had been having contractions on and of since late morning the previous day! As our first was born by an emergency C section they wanted to monitor me this time and I was told to come into hospital as soon as I had contractions. I had been awake most of the night, a couple of times thinking I had better get on my way. But the pains kept easing and stopping. I wasn't sure if this was the real thing! So of I went, really quite sure it was a false alarm and I would be sent home again.

As we left the house, I remember DH saying it would be great if it was twins! Don't be silly I told him, this is my due date and I would have gone in ages ago if it was two! His comment was made because of all the twin jokes that people had been making. I ended the pregnancy lighter than I started (due to severe morning sickness - almost 9 months of it) but I was huge!!!

We got to the hospital and there was no doubt I was in labour, the pains kept going constantly. No description is needed but I thought I was in hell! The specialist who delivered our daughter appeared on the scene. Somewhere during the day, they mentioned I may need another C section, but you know me, determined! If I could have this baby naturally that was what I wanted. So they let me.

About 32 hours after the first contraction, I was on my way to theatre to have our baby. In those days they didn't tell you anything. But there was mention of something been done to help me? I couldn't have given a toss, I don't even think I was on this planet. As they thought the baby was going to be around 9 - 10 lbs they opted for a Ventouse delivery as opposed to forceps. I was the first woman in this hospital to have this delivery (or so they said) so they asked if some student nurses could watch. Bring them all in - I couldn't care!!! I was drugged up to the eyeballs. Soon I heard a baby cry. I tried to move to see and was asking 'is that my baby?" La la land!! No-one would answer. The dread feeling went over me, so I was firing questions, still no answers but this was a bit of panic going on and despite been dopey I clearly remember the doctors words. "Jesus Christ there is another one!" I seriously thought he meant there was another woman needing to come into theatre.

I looked up at the nurse who was holding my hand, and she said "you are having another baby, they're twins." I was so out of it, I just though "oh ok" and lay back down. The student nurses who had watched the delivery had all left the room, if they had waited another 4 minutes they would have seen the second baby being born! It seemed like ages before they would tell me if the babies were ok, or even what they were. I'm convinced when they showed me the babies they showed me the same one twice because they looked so much alike, yet the following day they weren't alike at all. I had the briefest hold before they were whipped away. So we had a 5lb 4oz son, and a 6lb 9oz daughter. Not bad weights considering no-one knew! Really unbelievable as the twelve or so hours I was in hospital they were monitoring the heart beat (s)!

Where was DH when this was going on? Out in the waiting room eating a toasted sandwich!!. Some lovely nurse had offered him one as I was wheeled away. Husbands and partners could watch in those days if it was a simple natural birth. It wasn't an option for him to be with me. A nurse rushed out to tell DH the news, he told her "wrong man I'm Mr R".

The babies even though been good sizes were sent to neo natal unit. The nightmare started - both ended up very jaundiced and were under lights. One was been fed every 2 hours and one every 3. As I wasn't successful breast feeding our daughter, I was adviced not to try with two. So while all the other woman in the ward would have their babies delivered to them every 4 hours to be fed, I would be drudging down to neo natal to fed, it seemed and endless task. Then one nurse told me I was favouring one baby over the other. The reason - I had missed some feeds for the baby that was been fed every two hours! 10 days later I was sent home with one baby, they other had to stay in the unit for what was another 10 days!

In our typical way - we had lots going on!

Home - we didn't quite have one, we were due to move into a new home 20 minutes from the hospital, that the builders were rushing to finish. Can't remember the sequence or timing, but we got in the house while it was still being worked on.

So we had one baby at home, one baby in hospital, along with our first daughter who went into hospital the day after I got out with a severe gastro bug!

I couldn't drive.

The doctor wrote a letter to DH's work requesting he be given time of to help - they said no!

DH was doing electrical fault work and was working huge hours.

They wouldn't let us visit the neo natal unit if we had been to visit our eldest daughter who was in the infectious ward! We worked around this by going to the neo natal unit first. It was heart breaking. I can't remember how we made the daily trip to the hospital. It's a blur.

About a three weeks after the birth, we had our babies home along with their big sister.

The first five months I didn't leave the house with them, I couldn't drive and we couldn't afford a twin pram! We had a lovely single one! As we had just moved there, I didn't know any neighbours and the only visitor I had during the day was the odd visit from the plunket nurse.

PND? Well I was never diagnosed, but looking back I can remember spending a fair bit of time in tears. I did cope well though and it took no time at all until having two babies was a breeze. They were sleeping through the night by six weeks and really quite good babies. I loved having the kids close in age. They had a lot of fun growing up.

The doctor who looked after me during the pregnancy? Well he was our family doctor, he was elderly. I and others suspected two babies, but he laughed it of. I felt I had a head up under my ribs but he assured me the head was in the right place!

LOL - we originally thought five would be a good number of children to have. There was no way I was going back for another!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Breast Crawl

Just had to share this beautiful video my sister put me onto, it's about how babies can actually initiate breast feeding them selves, and how they are encouraging & promoting this method in developing countries.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tytus's birth

Tytus Jamie born July 18, 2007:

Went to bed as normal - couldn’t get to sleep so went and slept on the couch. 2:30AM up from ‘gas’ which was really contractions. I just didn’t feel well. I got up and did some little tasks like wiped counters, checked email, etc. Realizing it was probably labor and not gas or ‘sickness’ I started timing contractions at 3ish. They were about 3 minutes apart and 15-20 seconds long but not too strong. The doctor said to call when the contractions were 5 minutes apart for an hour. I hopped in the shower hoping to lul the pain and thinking I better enjoy 1 more shower before birth. I got out, with no success lulling the pain the contractions were only stronger, but still 3 minutes apart for 20 secondsish. Around 3:30 I called the doctor (an hour finally passed!) and he said we should probably mozy on in as Alexia’s labor wasn’t extremely long and my contractions were pretty close together. I got the OK from the Dr. so I woke Mark up (yes he was sleeping through this). I called Mom W. and told her the news and that she should head over. I packed up some stuff and we headed to the hospital - arriving at 4am. They checked me and I was dialated to 5cm (I thought this was disappointing as I was dialated to 7cm when we arrived with Alexia). I prepared myself mentally for a long labor. They asked about ‘drugs’ and I was sure I wanted Staedol ASAP and Mark insisted on an epidural but I was not too sure about that. It took FOREVER for them to get me the Staedol - I didn’t get it until 6AM!! I decided to try the epidural so they called the anesthesiologist and once again it took what seemed like forever and I got the epidural around 7am (at which time the Staedol was about worn off so I was ready for more pain relief!). OK I am convinced, Mark was right, epidurals are AMAZING! Soon after I dozed off and Mark attempted to rest also. 9:30am the nurse came in for a routine check and I had fully dialated (what! already! I didn’t feel a thing!) so it was time to have a baby. They called the doctor and he headed over. He arrived around 9:45 and he broke my water. The nurses came back in and had me start pushing. I gave a couple pushes and then they said STOP! (what?! stop!?) they almost had to deliver! Doctor came back in and a little baby BOY was born at 9:57am! I had pushed for about 7 minutes total and didn’t rip or tear at all (that is so great!) We enjoyed lokking at and holding our new son while the doctor and nurses scurried around doing who knows what (we didn’t pay attention to them we had an amazing son to pay attention too!) I felt amazing after giving birth - a completely different experience then Alexia.

Welcome to the world Tytus Jamie!

Alexia's birth

Alexia Rae born June 10, 2005:

June 10, 2005 5:07am you arrived! It was a Friday. I went in to work on June 9 at 8am and worked until about 4:30. When I went into work I was already having contractions, but since I had never had Braxton hicks I just assumed that’s what the cramping was. When I got home from work I realized the “Braxton hicks” seemed to be somewhat regular, so I decided to take it easy for an hour and time them while I read quotes. The contractions were between 4 and 6 minutes apart, but didn’t seem very strong – so I just hung out for a while. At 8:00ish I called Mark at work to ask him how things were going and tell him I thought we had some “action” going on. He came home soon after. He said “I thought we were supposed to call the doctor when they were five minutes apart-I think you should call.” So I did. Dr. Geerlings said – “Try and wait till midnight, plus then you don’t have to pay for the extra day” (Yes he’s Dutch). So at 9:30ish Mark and I decided to go for a walk to the Soft Spot – an ice cream parlor in Borculo. I got a small chocolate twist and mark got a small deer tracks. The contractions started getting worse on the walk back home. When we got home Mark decided to try and get a quick nap before we left. The contractions definitely were getting worse. At 11:30 I woke him and said – lets get ready to go – it’s getting more painful. He got up and packed the car. The ride to the hospital was painful but short (thankfully the doctor had called ahead so they knew we were coming around midnight.) They brought us right to a labor delivery room at Zeeland Community Hospital. I asked for drugs immediately as things were getting VERY painful. They checked your and my vitals and everything looked well so out they gave me some drugs. I got my first dose around 12:40am June 10 and that made things a bit better. When I got to the hospital and they checked me I was already dilated to 7cm and the nurse said “You did some work before you came in.” I thought ‘good, because it sure felt like it!’ I started pushing around 3:30 and my water broke just after I started pushing (yes I pushed for 1 ½ hours). The doctor barely made it – you almost came before the doctor arrived. Man did it feel good once you were out! You sure were a surprise to me as a little girl ~ but either gender I was very in love. The doctor and most of our friends and family thought you were going to be a boy, but boy were they wrong! You had so much dark hair! You immediately pooped and then as they wiped you off it was smeared all over you! You let out a good scream when you were born too. Mark cut the cord – what a proud new daddy! Mommy was proud too.

Welcome Alexia Rae Vander Pol

Monday, April 21, 2008

Niklas's Birth Story

I was four days overdue when going to bed on Monday night. DH had been at work and said he could not really concentrate since he was anxious to meet the baby and to start three weeks parental leave. We fell asleep and I soon woke up with a weird sensation. It felt like something was happening, but I thought I was being over sensitive and just went to bathroom thinking I should pee (happened like five - six times a night in my third trimester). I had asked my mother and friends what contractions feel like, and everyone was like "Oh, you'll know, you can't stand straight, you can't talk, and when the labour starts you've never been so uncomfortable in your life". It was not like that at all. I was awake for about an hour, feeling the new sensation, and then DH woke up. I guess I had started to breathe heavily. I said I think there's something going on, and DH wanted to start timing. I said I was not sure if I had contractions, but the urge to breathe heavily came every 4 minutes. We called the number they had given us to the hospital, and they told me to wait for an hour, take a shower, and then call again. After an hour I was already leaning to the wall and contractions were 3 minutes apart. We did call to announce we were on our way. It was 5 a.m. when we took the 10 minute drive to hospital - I was very excited and could not wait to finally get into business! When DH was driving I remember seeing everything very clearly, it was very dark and very quiet. We were talking with excitement, and wondering what was ahead.

We arrived at hospital at approx 5:30 a.m. A nurse measured my cervix, and I was already 4 cm dilated. I was enlightened to learn this having heard horror stories of moms being in horrible pain and labor not proceeding. We were guided directly to delivery room. A morning shift had just started, and I was lucky to have the same midwife from start until the baby was born. She was young, in her mid-20´s, and 5 months pregnant :) I put the hospital gown on, and wanted to try welcoming contractions sitting on a huge gym ball. It felt good, contractions were still 2-3 min apart, I was rolling my hips from side to side and DH was rubbing my lower back. I was holding a laughing gas mask on my other hand, and took a deep breath of the gas with every contraction. I can't say if it helped - I felt really good in any case, and was thinking that if it was going to be like this all the way, the pain was bearable and I would be able to make it! Then the midwife suggested I'd take a shower, and I rose up to notice my waters had started to leak. The midwife examined the fluid and confirmed it was the water. I never made it to shower when contractions suddenly got A LOT more painful and there was only a very short break in between - I kind of a have a memory gap here, the next thing I remember is lying on my side on a hospital bed holding the gas mask like it's my last straw.

It was approx 9 a.m. when doctors had their round, and I was told to lie down on my back so that they could examine me. It was awful. I felt like I was no longer connected to my body, and when I was lying on my back there was no gap between contractions. The doctor examined me and said I was still 4 cm dilated - the same than three hours earlier! They finally said I could turn on my side again, I tried to get comfortable, but still there was just one huge contraction with no gap in between, and I felt like my whole body was cramping, and I was not able to move along with contractions anymore. When we visited the hospital and met the midwife three weeks before giving birth they asked if I wanted any medication. I said I wanted to try without, but if I felt like the pain was unbearable, I wanted the epidural immediately. When I learned there was no progress in three hours I was thinking "Ok I think I'm going to be in this delivery room for some time, this is one of those horror labours that lasts for 48 hours, I need some rest". I thought I could rest for two hours while the medication lasts, and then have new energy and be readier to push. I managed to gasp from behind the mask "canIpleasehaveanepiduralplease". Luckily the anaesthatic doctor was available, and he came right away. I got the epidural at 09:45, and was almost asleep by ten. It was a funny sensation - I was still able to feel the waves of contractions, but the pain was completely gone. I was half asleep, and DH was reading a book on a bed by the window (I think it was very thoughtful from the hospital to provide a bed for dad too!)

Soon I felt like I had to poop. I had heard that's what it feels like when you're fully dilated and ready to start pushing. I said to the midwife that I think I should start pushing- She examined me, and confirmed I was fully dilated. It was 11:00 by then. At this point I was a little bummed I took the epidural - if I had known I'd be ready to push in one hour, I totally would've gone without! The midwife told me to turn face down on my knees and start to push gently whenever I felt the urge. At this point things started to get serious. There was a heart rate monitor attached to baby's head, and his heart rate started to drop when I started to push. Midwife told me to stop pushing and go into "prayer position", face down and bum up - this gives the baby most space to breathe. The heart rate corrected, but dropped immediately when I started to push again. Midwife paged a delivery doctor, and suddenly the room was full of people. There were two midwives, two delivery doctors and one pediatric doctor. A beautiful young lady doctor was guiding me, and said she's here to help the baby and we need to co-operate seamlessly. She was very professional and I had no fear, I felt like we were in good hands. She attached a ventouse onto baby's head, made eye contact, called my first name with a demanding tone and said "PUSH NOW!" The cup de-attached, and the doctors panicked a little. They attached the ventouse quickly again, and within the next push the baby was on doctor's arms.

DH looked really worried. Doctor's rushed my baby to be examined - he cried with a small voice, and I was at complete peace. I felt wonderfully happy - in spite of all the drama I knew my baby was well, and I had taken a huge leap into world of motherhood.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Birth of Miette Grace Hamilton
Sunday 22nd July, 2007
Sunshine Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria.

Due to my Dr going overseas 9 days past my due date he was in a hurry to induce me. I was booked to be induced on Monday 23rd July but we never made it that far.

Friday 20th July - 40w6d
It was my brothers 21st Birthday so we had a very busy day. We went into the Casino for breakfast and also out for dinner. Once we got home at about 9pm i realised that i hadn't felt baby move more than 4 times all day. My baby had been VERY active since 22w so it was very strange not to feel any movement. I rang the hospital and they suggested to come in, so we did. I packed my bags just incase hoping they would keep me in and i'd have a baby sooner rather than later.

10pm: We were hooked up to the monitors and all was fine. Baby was kicking but i just couldn't feel it. The midwife convinced the powers that be to let me stay overnight and be induced, i can't tell you how excited i was but little did i know that was the begining of the longest 30hrs of my life! The jell was inserted at midnight and we stayed the night in the birthing suite.

Saturday 21st July - 41w
7am: My Dr came in and broke my waters, this was rather painful, as were the internals which i hated!! He left pretty much straight away and i was left in the care of the midwives who were fantastic. Contractions started pretty much straight away and i used the gas which didn't do much other than give me something to focus on for a while.

I'm not sure what time it happened, but i was given a shot of pethadine which took the edge of the contractions, however it wore of very quickly. I was getting 3 and 4 30+ second contractions one after the other with no break, then i'd have 5 minutes where i had nothing. I think it was about lunch time when they gave me more pethadine, it was a big dose this time and worked really well. Although the same thing happened with the contractions. To get through them i used the gas and rubbed by belly with the other hand, this helped me focus on something other than the pain.

Time gets away from me here, i'm not sure exactly what time the rest of this stuff all happened. By about 2 or 3pm i was desperate for more pain relief so i asked for an epidural which is something i really didn't want. My dr was due to be back by 4pm so they asked me to wait for him and he wanted to do an internal. I wait for him and he didn't arrive until 6.30pm. By this stage i'd had no pain relief since lunch time and i was having contraction after contraction - i was in hell. I had an internal and they realised i was only about 5 cm dilated, i was absolutely guttered and just cried. All that pain and i was only half way... What crap! At this point we'd been at it for about 11 to 12 hours and i couldn't imagine going through another 12 hours in all that pain so we agreed an epi was the way to go.

After the epi i was in paradise, but unfortunately this slowed the contractions down a lot. My husband and cousin went home at midnight since my dr said it would be about breakfast time (on the sunday) before we'd have a baby.

Sunday 22nd July - 41w1d
2am: I woke up with the urge to poo, the midwife checked me out and said i was 9cm dilated. YAY! I rang Adam who had just gone to sleep (poor thing) and he and my cousin came back by 3am.

4 to 5am: I started pushing and OMG the pain! I felt like i had an orange bulging out my butt... I was crying again as the epidural did nothing for the pain in the butt, i could feel everything. I had pushed for almost 2 hours when my dr finally arrived. When he got there he said something like 'You've had a rough time love, i'm going to help you get this baby out'. I was very happy but i had no idea what he meant, it all happened so quickly.

6.45ish am: Apparently my little baby was sideways so i was never going to push her out myself. My dr started with the forceps (sp?) and i would also need a Kellans (sp?) delivery (which is when they turn her). This was so very painful. I just remember crying and begging for the dr to 'get it out'. I also had an episiotomy at some stage too. Then my cousin said 'the heads out' and about 5 seconds later she started saying 'Hayley, it's a girl... OMG, hayley it's a girl!' I had thought i was having a boy, i got my student midwife to look at my ultrasound video and she said she thought it was about 80% a boy. I hadn't told anyone but my cousin that it was a boy and i'd secretly been buying boys clothes and even a name plaque with LUCAS on it! All along we desperately wanted a little girl, so it was the most amazing surprise in the world!

6.55am: My little girl, Miette Grace was born. Weighing 7lb 14oz. They put her on my chest for half a second and then took her away. She wasn't breathing and was very blue. Her AGPAR score was 2 :( It took them 2 minutes to revive her (none of this i was aware of at the time) and all i kept saying was 'Are you sure it's a girl?' lol...

All up, my labour went for 24hrs and was NOT what i wanted. However, i now have my gorgeous little girl and i dont care how she got here. She had to spend 6 hours in the special care nursery but then she was fine and got to come to the room with us.

Writing this she is almost 4 weeks old and it the highlight of my life. It just amazes me how much you can love someone you've only just met, she's such a blessing to us and our family. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Amazing underwater birth photo

Hehe, I thought this was so cute! My Dad sent it to me in an email today!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Brielle's Birth

Brielle's Birth Story

Before I begin the story of our baby's birth, I feel it is important to share a little background information first. I am 31 years old, and have been married for 12 years. My husband and I have two boys, who just turned 12 and 9 years old. We were never planning on having more children; we had never even considered it. We were using a form of family planning birth control and it had worked well: for 8 years. I had returned to college after a 7 year lapse, and was just finishing my sophomore year. I was also working part time at a preschool, where I had been for four years. Obviously, we had a huge SHOCK!!!

My first two experiences with birth were very medical. With both I had epidurals and with my 2nd I was induced, given pitocin, and pretty much spent the entire 6 hours watching a machine print out what my contractions would have felt like, had I felt them. After having my 2nd (I was clueless about birth with my first) I felt weird. I felt like I had just gotten jipped. Shorted. I couldn't put my finger on it, and I sort of felt guilty because everything had went so well, and my fear of a cesarean had not come true. He was normal and healthy and fine, it seemed. But something had been missing. So, as time passed and I reflected and talked to other women about birth and the medical aspect of it, and how some women longed to reclaim it by promoting midwifery, I made up my mind as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I was going to have a my baby at home. I felt confident. Unfortunately, my husband wasn't as confident in that idea. So…I searched for birthing centers. None. I kept searching. I found a place called "The Farm" and learned everything I could about them. I called them and set up an appointment. I spoke to the midwife there several times over the phone, and she answered so many of my questions with a strong, encouraging voice. She understood what I wanted. I wanted to go there and give birth. We drove the 2 ½ hours there and had our first prenatal exam. My husband and our boys heard the baby's heartbeat at the same time I did for the first time. We discussed our desires. My husband's fears were eased quite a bit after meeting our midwife, and I felt good that this was going to work. The biggest concern was the length of the drive there. BUT I planned to have my baby late remember? So I would plan to be there before my due date. I was getting excited. Then we had a financial fall out. We were unable to get the loan for the cost of the birth, and we were qualified for state insurance. I resisted and tried to figure out how to work around this. But nothing seemed to fall into place. I started searching for midwives who took state insurance. I found one group. One. In all of middle Tennessee. (Note: The cost of a homebirth including prenatal care is now 1/3 of an OB/GYN visit and hospital birth). I set up an appointment because I knew that I needed to get my lab work done regardless of where I went. Fortunately, I found a wonderful group of midwives that were working from a branch of Vanderbilt in a little clinic called Vinehill. They were so amazing, and I couldn't believe that I was actually coming around to the idea of them, because I really didn't want a hospital birth. I was still in denial. In fact, when I finally called Sharon (my midwife) to tell her, I was crying so hard and she was working so hard to help me understand and encouraging me to pray for peace over this. I did. And I realized that it didn't matter where I had my baby: in my home, at The Farm, or in the hospital. My baby would come. And that was all that mattered.

So…I continued to research, to learn, and to ask my new midwives (a team of five) a million questions. I declined almost all of my tests, including the ultrasound. (I had to sign waivers of refusal). I prayed a lot. I drew up an extensive birth plan. I revised and shortened it. I printed it, along with directions to the hospital and contact phone numbers, and passed them out to the three other women who would be involved (my sister, my doula, and my very close friend). Every new midwife I saw I liked, and each had been informed about my desires by the other. I drove myself to the prenatal visits, which were an hour away. The last one I went to was on a Monday. I met a new midwife that day and she said that I either had a small baby, or I still had a few weeks to go. On Tuesday I should have worked, but I had decided to stop working a week earlier than planned. I tried to do a lot that day, but my body kept telling me to stop, I felt so tired. Everyone had kept reminding me to "rest while I could." And so on that day I did actually listen to my body and laid down to rest several times when I wouldn't have normally done that.

But I still felt some hesitation in me, something that I was afraid of that kept bugging me. I felt I could have it all planned out, and still, nothing would be in my control. I feared hospital medical interventions and cesarean section rates. I feared not being able to bear the pain. I feared not fully releasing all of this fear to God. But I knew that it was necessary. At one point during that particular day, I remember thoughts of labor/birth really gnawing at my brain in a negative way, and I knew that they would just continue to get worse as time went on. I felt like the enemy was finding a way into what should be a wonderful experience. I knew that I had to give up everything fully to God and trust Him and know that His plans never fail, they are always good and He will sustain me. I decided that whatever His plans were, they would have to be totally fine with me. Whenever baby was due to come would be the perfect time, and the circumstances surrounding the event (here I was releasing my hospital fear mostly) would glorify God, and that was all I wanted all along. I felt so much peace settle around and within me. I didn't think much more about it, I just felt better. I fell asleep on the couch (a rarity for me) around 8:30pm that night, then got up and went to bed at some point.

Sometime in the late morning hours of the next day I began to feel these small waves of what felt like cramps in my lower abdomen. They barely woke me, and I wondered about them, but I would just fall right back to sleep after they were gone, and I think they were about fifteen minutes apart. At 5:41am however, one woke me up for good. It didn't hurt or feel very strong (they actually felt kind of good and I remember smiling about them). It was definitely "something" and so I began praying. More came, about every ten minutes for the next hour and I just lay there experiencing them, thinking "what an interesting sensation!" I mostly expected them to go away. Honestly! Here I was eleven full days before my due date, having expected to go right past it! But when my husband got up to go to work, I heard myself say, "better keep your cell phone close by today, it might be the day." He said, "Noooooo, it's not until December 9th. Remember?" And he got up and got ready for work. The contractions didn't cease, and I wasn't really aware that they were intensifying, only that they were consistent. I sent our older son to school with the warning that he may get picked up early. He laughed when I told him why. He said, "No….it's not even December yet Mommy." I assured my husband that he could go on to work, that this would probably take hours to progress, if it was even the real thing. He was hard to convince, but he finally left. That left just our younger son who I walked to the bus stop, walking and praying right through two contractions. He had seen a couple at home just before we left and he said "I just might think you are going to have a baby today now that I see how you are." I walked back from the bus through a much stronger contraction, while praying, then called my really close friend. She decided to come over, saying I didn't need to be alone right now. I said, okay if you insist, but take your time….

I tried to do some strange things at that point. I attempted to record a little video for our video journal (?) Then I began rocking in a circular motion through contractions. This was not strange of course, it really helped and felt good. But surely I would have realized this was real labor at this point. I thought I would just take a shower. I started throwing everything on my bed that I would be taking with me to the hospital, and called my doula and my sister. Neither of them answered, so I left messages to call me back. For some strange reason I was still in partial denial and didn't want to tell them that this was it, so I didn't leave that particular message in their voice mail box. I got into the shower, which felt nice I think, because I don't remember much of it, only that I thought I should be getting out soon. My doula called me back and said she would be getting ready to come over, then I called my sister back at work and told her it was time. When she called back a few contractions later, I told her it would be a good idea for her to go ahead and pick up the boys from school (as we were planning on them attending the birth). I couldn't imagine trying to check them out of school in my current state! I heard the doorbell ring, and still only partially dressed, tried to make my way down the stairs, but I just had to stop and kneel on the stairs going backwards, trying to take each step one at a time. After the rush passed, I opened the front door but there was no one there. Then I heard someone come in through the backdoor. It was my very close friend. She began gathering stuff from upstairs for me. I was crawling on all fours in my living room, holding my pants (trying to put them on) and my hair pic (trying to brush my hair) very frustrated that of all days I didn't think to use conditioner! I never could get my pants on. I was on my knees for almost every contraction, and my hands were either on the floor or the couch. I tried to do stuff in between contractions, but they were so intense and close together that I felt like all I could do was rest in between them. She helped me get dressed and I told her I felt like it would be best if we could start moving the stuff out from the house and into the Durango. I felt that would help me to know that we were progressing. All the while, the contractions were increasing in speed and intensity. I felt like I could not focus, I tried to relax, but mostly all I could do was pray. And I felt pretty incompetent at that too. I had planned on praying scripture and had even preplanned prayers for certain stages of this labor. All I could do was cry out, "God, Father, Please, I cry out to You. Please help me." Earlier, while I had been gathering stuff onto my bed prior to my shower, I had laid my pocket bible onto the bed, then picked it right back up, thinking I would need something from the Word to take with me for the upcoming moment (thinking I'd be reading a lot more along the journey of the labor). I opened to Psalm 17 and read this:

I am praying to you because I know you will

answer, O God.

Bend down and listen as I pray.

Show me your unfailing love in wonderful


By your mighty power you rescue

those who seek refuge from their enemies.

Guard me as you would your own eyes.

Hide me in the shadow of your wings.

I began to reach for that verse and parts of it would just come to me while I was praying. The best was that during a contraction, or even between, I could envision God coming near to me to listen to my prayer and rescuing me through His mighty power. I am so glad I opened my Bible at the moment I did, because I never got another chance.

I grabbed a jacket and put my summer shoes on, despite that it was chilly outside, and we started out of the house and into the truck. My husband had been calling off and on for the past hour checking on me. The last time I talked to him was right before I got into the shower, and he knew that my close friend was on her way over. I told him to just go onto his job site, which was on the way to Nashville anyway, at Exit 24 (about halfway from Clarksville to Nashville) I told him we would pick him up on the way down. My sister arrived at the house with the boys. I remember wanting so badly to hug them. They got out of her car and were walking so very normally towards the house, where I had just come out from. They had their backpacks on, and Josh asked if the door was already locked. He wanted to go inside and change into shorts. I remember thinking that was incredulous, but at that moment another rush hit me and I turned and knelt onto the concrete porch steps for another contraction. I decided then that the boys should probably not ride with me in the Durango on the way over to Nashville. We were in completely different states of mind, and I wasn't quite sure what I would do. So they got in with their aunt, and I climbed (on all fours) into the backseat of the Durango. My left knee was on the hump on the floor in the middle and my right knee was up on the seat. My left hand was on the seat behind the passenger's and my right hand held the back of that seat. This is the position I maintained for most of the journey.

The worst part of the entire trip was the back up out of the driveway and the drive down my short street, a left onto the next short street and down that street. It was during a contraction and though it was probably ½ mile total, it felt like the bumpiest ½ mile of my life! Then we were on the parkway and my close friend who was driving my vehicle asked if my doula knew we had left. I said, "Oh no! Call her!" She did, and we were passing her at that time on the parkway. They debated on where to leave her car, at the nearest gas station or back at my house. I remember thinking I'd be willing to go back over that nightmarish ½ mile if it was the only way she would get into the vehicle with me. I yelled, "I need her in the car with me!" She met us at the nearest gas station and climbed in the front seat. She immediately turned around and began to see how I was doing. She stayed turned around for the entire rest of the ride, I think. I was still having contractions that were closer and closer together and this part of the ride (to get to the Interstate) took forever. I would pray, moan, attempt to relax through the rushes, and try to rest in between them. My doula would rub my lower back, pray out loud and encourage me through each contraction. Very early in the morning I had been so hungry and thirsty that I had drank a small cup of orange juice and a few bites of bananas, all of which came back up now. Thank goodness my friend had grabbed the plastic bag I had almost used in the house and my doula was there to hand it to me! The midwives were aware that I was on my way to the hospital. I had contacted one of them, who was working at the clinic that day and she had let me know who was on call for deliveries and would meet me at the hospital.

On the Interstate I began to feel more intensity and frequency with each contraction. I realized later that a lot of what I had read and had learned about how to work through contractions I had been doing, which had been obviously working to both ease and progress my labor. The best book I read was entitled "Christ Centered Childbirth" by Kelly Townsend and I had just finished it recently. I was really aware of my need to depend on Christ to carry me through each rushing wave. I knew I had to release myself to Him in order for Him to hold me, and I would pray "Lord, be my strength for me." There were times in the middle of a contraction that I would remember this, pray this (or my doula would), and release myself to Him, and it was totally amazing what would happen. I could feel (and she can testify to this too) the tension and fear releasing its hold on my body and myself surrendering to the Almighty. How amazing He was! He was carrying this for me, every moment I that I would surrender to Him. I could hear my doula praying at the most intense moments when I was unable to speak or even think and I felt God's touch, both strong and soothing at the same time. We were experiencing and witnessing amazing things happening!

At one point I began to get very hot in the jacket I was wearing and I thought there'd be no way I could take it off, so I just cracked the back window and the fresh air smelled so good. I focused on the sound of it and the coolness of it. I wanted it get closer to the crack in the window and I probably even would've put my face out of the window if I could have reached it.

In between two specific contractions I straightened up my body to rest and felt a very strong sensation come upon me. I could feel (and see) the baby on the left side of my belly almost like clench up and push itself out away from my body and I said, "Oh no! Baby don't move! No, no, no, no…" because baby moving during the contraction was extremely more intense. I didn't realize that at that time the baby, submitting to gravity and by extreme will, was moving itself down into the birth canal. I'm not sure at what point the girls called the midwives at the Vinehill Clinic, but my doula was talking to them sometime around here. I was aware of the passing vehicles, sometimes they were passing us, sometimes us passing them, and I wondered if they could see me and what I looked like to them. But I didn't really care, I mean, why would I? I just thought it was interesting.

The contractions that followed the baby's decent were much different than the ones that preceded it. I felt a burning sensation and thought about the "ring of fire" I'd read about. I thought that was crazy because I didn't think that would be happening yet, did this mean I was close? The next contraction I felt the urge to push. Now that was really crazy to me, because I couldn't really believe this was the stage of labor that we'd reached! The girls up front asked me if I wanted to pull over or drive on as I informed them that I thought the baby was coming now, or at least very soon. I kept saying, "the baby's coming" immediately after a few of those kinds of contractions. My doula said later that my eyes were huge when I told her it was time. She was relaying this to the midwife and her and my close friend were conversing while we were moving. I couldn't hear any of it, which was a good thing, because of the wind noise. I just wanted to make it to Exit 24 for my husband, sister, and the boys to be there for the birth! But we drove past Exit 24. But when we did I was okay with it. My sister & boys were going to pick up my husband and meet us at the hospital.

The urge to push was getting stronger and sometimes uncontrollable. I asked my doula why my water hadn't yet broken if we were this far along in labor. She said, "it's because you have strong membranes." I thought that was a good reason. I'd always had my water broken by someone before. The very next contraction my waters broke and I said, "okay, there it is." I was relieved and I remember being glad because I'd always wanted to know what that would feel like! I felt the vehicle speed along faster (I found out later she started going about 90-100mph at this point). She was doing a great job though, speeding in and out through traffic, I felt like it was all under control and I didn't worry about that part of it. I knew she would be praying like crazy and that God would protect us to all the way to our destination. We did pull over along side the Interstate and I had to take off my pants (good thing, because I did envision trying to have the baby with them on, having no idea how I would take them off by myself). My doula ran to the back and grabbed some wet wipes as I was soiling every thing (my favorite blanket was under me L ). But I was glad to have my favorite pillows and blanket surrounding me, even if we did have to trash them afterwards. They had slept with me every night for my whole pregnancy. It was homey and comforting (as could be given the circumstances).

I thought we were going to deliver right there alongside I-24, and I wondered why we didn't pull more off away from the traffic and onto the on ramp that was visible from where we were parked, so I said so. So we got back in to move the vehicle and surprisingly just kept driving down the interstate. My doula had me switch positions so that in case the baby did come she could see and catch it. I put my pillow behind my back and was mostly sitting up, but kind of reclining against the back seat door behind the driver's side. She was still in the front seat, turned around, on the phone with the midwife. They told us to drive on and to have me pant through contractions and to resist the urge to push. I had no idea how that was going to work out, since I now felt very ready to have my baby. I remember thinking, "I'm actually going to give birth naturally! I really am!" And I was so glad. I had been singing the same line of the same song through most of this labor. It was Shawn McDonalds' "Open Me," asking God to open me. And He had!

When I saw the Nashville skyline on the horizon I felt hope at reaching the hospital. I began to feel so different. I felt more aware of everything going on around me and much more relaxed between these contractions. I was able to resist the urge to push on most of them, though I could feel the head crowning on a few (and I could hear Kelly telling Bess on the phone that she could see the baby's head emerging) but I was closing up between contractions with all my best efforts. I laid my head back and rested against the window pane. As we neared I-65 and I felt the sun on my face as the road turned South. It felt so wonderful, so warm, so bright and brilliant. I just basked in it, very aware of each breath I inhaled. We had reached the part of the road that I didn't think I'd be able to handle because it is extremely rough where the interstates meet. I'd actually thought about this while traveling to my prenatal appointments. But we flew over it and I felt as if we barely touched the bumps. We had closed the window in case the baby came so it would be warmer inside, but since it was apparent we were probably going to make it and I was burning up, we cracked it again. I remember my lips and mouth being so dry that I could not even close them together, as I tried to moisten them. I got one contraction here that I was attempting to pant through but on the tail end of it the pressure to bear down was too intense and I felt a groan escape me that was totally involuntary and I bore down. I felt the head crown big time that time. But we were almost there. The city was on our left and my friend was doing a great job of whipping through traffic while my doula was still praying and panting with me through contractions, keeping me focused on what I was trying to remember to do. I honestly think if she hadn't been there reminding me, I would've just pushed the baby out. She did remind me that people have birthed unassisted plenty of times over the course of history which did help to alleviate any fears I might have of just simply having my baby. I was okay either way. I looked up and we were in the lane heading down I-40 at the split and I yelled, "get to the right!" She looked back over her right shoulder and whipped it right over onto I-65 in just the nick of time. She had been so busy maneuvering through traffic and skillfully weaving in and out of it, that the split had come upon her quickly. I can't believe I had even noticed what was about to happen, but it felt like something right out of a movie! Right afterwards we were off of the Interstate and on Charlotte Ave, which presented it's own set of challenges and traffic. She just drove right around and through it, she honked through stoplights and drove the SUV like it was an Emergency vehicle.

When we reached the hospital's ER drive-up I saw my midwife walking out in her blue scrubs. She looked like an angel to me! She was carrying something in her hands, and I remember thinking, "That's not who I expected." I had just seen this particular midwife at my prenatal appointment two days prior. She came in through the passenger side back door and assessed the situation. I couldn't get out because I was having an intense contraction. I think that actually having arrived and seeing my midwife was like permission for me to give birth and I felt the head crown and not go back in this time. She asked me if I could scoot myself back onto the stretcher that someone had wheeled up behind me. I was still having the contraction and was shaking my head and asked, "Like this?" incredulously. That would just be too weird with the baby partially out of me. She said very calmly and confidently, "Okay, we'll have the baby right here then." She got something set up and Emergency medical personal came out of nowhere. Every door on the SUV was open, but there were people in and surrounding the vehicle so it didn't feel cold at all. Someone said something about what to do with the baby after it came out and my eyes must've looked stricken. I said, "Oh no. Please don't take my baby from me!" I felt like I would close up and put the head back in where it came from if they were planning on taking the baby, as that had been one of my greatest desires, to hold baby directly after having it. My midwife knew this was a great desire of mine and said, "Baby goes directly onto Mom. That's the warmest place for him to go. Get blankets ready to cover them up after he comes." I relaxed immensely. Then she looked at me and said, "Okay, you can push your baby out now." I said, "Now? I don't feel the urge until the next contraction." She said, "You won't tear right now. Baby's head is almost out. Go ahead and push your baby out." So I pushed a little. Not much. And out came the rest of the head. I was a little scared that the rest of the body would hurt coming out (I thought this was where I was supposed to feel the "ring of fire." I should have read this part over better, obviously. I remembered though that I had a "small baby: 6-7lbs" (this is what everyone had told me) so I thought that would make it easier.) Then I felt the shoulders and chest come out, then the bottom, legs and feet. It didn't hurt at all! It felt incredible! So, baby came out in three parts kind of, but I don't remember actually pushing the last two out. Baby just sort of emerged out of me. Which was an awesome feeling to have something come out of your body like that and to be aware and able to feel every movement on the inside and the outside! Baby came straight up onto my stomach and chest area and was immediately covered up with heated blankets. Someone from the ER said something about cutting and clamping the umbilical cord and my midwife said, "I'm not going to." They told me to hold baby and back up onto the stretcher behind me so they could wheel us into the hospital. I did back up, but all I could think of or focus on was this incredible life that was now on top of me, that had just been inside of me for the past nine months! Baby was so warm and wet and I could feel so much strength in its little body as it squirmed around on me. It felt absolutely wonderful as baby lay directly on my skin. Someone said to keep rubbing his back. I think they wanted to hear that he was breathing and okay, but I could see very clearly that baby was fine. I wondered why they had said "he" though. Had they seen something that I hadn't? I had no idea what the sex of the baby was, and as far as I knew neither did anyone else. It didn't matter. Baby was healthy, born beautifully, and felt like a miracle lying on top of me. I was fascinated and mesmerized. I couldn't keep from looking at that beautiful face and black hair. I had no idea what was going on around me. I don't know where I went when I came into the ER, who I passed, whether they looked at us or not, and I didn't care. We were moving along in our own little world, baby and I. It felt like a dream.

We finally reached the room that they put us in. I had no idea if it was even in the labor & delivery ward. It didn't feel like it was. It felt like an "extra room." But I didn't care. My midwife took a look at the baby and cleaned her up a little with a towel, saying we both looked good. She put the baby to my breast and it began to somewhat nurse. I don't think it really was, but it seemed to be trying to figure out what to do there. Then she delivered the placenta, which was a weird sensation. I was surprised at how big it felt like it was. I began exploring the little body all over under the warm blankets: arms, hands, fingers, back, legs, feet…and then discovered that this baby was a girl. I had to check again. A girl. I had to look to be sure. A girl. Will & the boys arrived about this time and I told them. It's a girl. They all three smiled. A girl.

When the umbilical cord eventually stopped pulsing she clamped it. She offered for Daddy to cut the umbilical cord, but he declined (as he had twice before as well). Our younger son would like to do it though, and so he did, making Daddy nervous that he would cut me, and me nervous that he would cut the baby. But of course he didn't cut anything but the umbilical cord and when it bled a little he said, "See Mommy, that doesn't even bother me." Our older son pointed my husband to the bowl where the placenta was and where they were trying to get the baby's blood out to determine her blood type. He said, "that's nothing compared to that over there! Look Daddy." Will looked and is still to this day haunted by that image (I never saw it, though I meant to look at it, but according to the boys it was "cool" and was called the "meat looking thingy.") The other girls that were supposed to have been there for the birth came in.

All the while the baby stayed on top of me. I was afraid to move her or let anyone else hold her because I thought that as soon as I did they would whisk her away to the nursery to be measure & weighed. So we just stayed there like that, me on the stretcher bed, baby girl on me, our family and friends surrounding us. I was able to maintain skin to skin contact with my baby for 2 ½ hours! Then they put some other laboring mom into the bed next to ours, after closing the divider curtain of course. Everyone said that I looked really good, and Will said I looked better than I had after having the boys. I felt wonderful. Exhilarated. (I never even went to sleep until midnight that night.) We finally moved to a postpartum room and baby went to the nursery, where daddy stood for two hours and watched her lay under the warmer and get her first "bath." Then she came back to me in the room and stayed with us the entire rest of our hospital stay there. I think they thought we weren't very compliant patients and maybe took offense to the fact we didn't let the baby go back to the nursery. With seven babies on in the postpartum ward she was the only baby who didn't go to the nursery. They all asked us if we were first time parents when they came to our room to check on me or the baby. We just smiled and said, "No. She's our third child." We even had to debate with them to be allowed leave the next day, and even then they didn't release us until the late evening. I'm not sure why they wanted to keep us there longer, but despite it all most everyone was still nice to us.

We named her Brielle Jenae. She was 8lbs 5ozs and 21 inches long. Brielle comes from the name Gabrielle which means "God is my strength." How so appropriate for this girl. God was certainly my strength during my pregnancy with her and especially during my labor and delivery of her. It is my prayer that God is her strength throughout the entire journey of her life. I've truly witnessed the strength that He has already given her, as she moved so much while in my womb, and the strength she exhibited while she was on her way into this world.

We are so glad that everything turned out the way that it did. I could not have contrived a better Birth Plan than this wonderful story that God choose to be ours. His timing is perfect and His Hand was on it all. It remains to be so this day as we enjoy our beautiful blessing, and experience His gracious giving through this joy He lights for us through our daughter. The boys are wonderful big brothers, of course. When they stop to look at her, kiss her, or let her wrap her fingers around their finger they say, "I just love her." We love each of our children so much and know that they are unique gifts from God. We are so blessed and amazed at the goodness of His Love.

So, even though I was unable to have a home birth I was close enough to home in the back seat of our 5 ½ year old vehicle surrounded by my own comforts from home. I was a little sad that not everyone was surrounding Brielle and I as she came into the world. But as my good friend said, "It happened as it was supposed to happen. God was there." And though I had really set my heart on having the baby at The Farm (a community in Southern Tennessee), there was no way that would've happened even if I would've went ahead with the plan for that. God knew that. He knew exactly when baby would be born,. He knew I would never have been at The Farm 11 days prior to my due date (I was planning on going there to stay for a week starting on two days prior to my due date - back when we had decided to do have the baby there last July--), nor would I have made it for the 2 ½ hour drive with only 4 hours of waking labor. But, how beneficial it was to have considered having our baby there, and meeting such a wonderful midwife, who gave me priceless wisdom and confidence in myself that I continued to hear throughout it all, and even now still. How much better it is when we surrender our dreams to our Father! He knows everything, and works out everything in order to His perfect will. I'm so glad that I relinquished control to Him, something He allowed me to experience quite a bit while I was pregnant also. He is the Creator and Designer of birth, who else better to depend on through its amazing process?

While my story still amazes me to read and recall it, I know that I have been given it in one way as a gift to share with you. There are many choices that women have in birthing decisions and also through prenatal and postpartum care of themselves and their babies. It is really knowing those choices and knowing that how making those decisions will effect the outcomes both physically, emotionally, and psychologically of mother and child. No one really tells women about their options or the risks. The information and the answers must be sought out by inquisitive women who desire something more profound for their birthing experience. Our birthing experiences impact us,and we tell our stories of them again and again. Seeking information requires us to no longer act in innocence and be reliant upon doctors. We become responsible for ourselves, for our babies, and we take part in a higher way of deciding, instead of allowing another to choose for us. We take our birth experiences back that way. And even though the most detailed birth plan may totally never work out (I laugh when I reread mine) it doesn't matter. Have one anyway. Know why you choose what you choose and what the consequences of those choices may be. Then, in wisdom, trust your body as a woman, to believe that it knows exactly what to do. Because I am testifying to that truth. It does. And it's an amazing experience just waiting to happen.