Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Miriam Grace // A Homebirth Story

This pregnancy was tough. Pregnancy sickness hit me like a rock at exactly 6 weeks. It was draining, deep, and overwhelming…. There was a couple weeks where i was completely couch ridden. I felt pathetic. How in the world was i going to take care of a newborn baby, if i can barely survive this phase? Once it began to let up a bit, around 22 weeks, it left me feeling just sad and exhausted. It had been a rough winter, and i was desperate for the sun, and outdoors. I was an emotional boat, just riding the waves of my 2nd trimester, and wanting to get through it. Once my 3rd trimester hit, i was feeling refreshed, re-energized and my nesting kicked in. I had about 2 good weeks and then the nausea came back. 
I felt a lot of guilt that i wasn’t enjoying my pregnancy. I was constantly trying to will myself into happiness. I had absolutely loved my first 2 pregnancies, and even amidst the sickness, never wished for it to be over. This 3rd pregnancy, I was grateful and thankful to be caring and growing a life inside of me, but was also filled with a longing for the end to come quickly. 

My estimated “due date” was Saturday, the 5th of September. It was Labor Day weekend, and i inwardly hoped for things to get moving along. We walked to our local coffee shop every morning, watched the parades, fireworks and went to the Carnival. I pretty much spent the whole weekend on my feet, walking and enjoying the time with my family of 4. 
I had a birth photography client due anytime, and i was lucky enough to be able to capture her little one coming earth side in the wee hours of Monday morning, Labor Day. It was beautiful and left me feeling so eager to meet my own! 
That evening we went out to dinner and at one point i mentioned to my husband, Dan, that if my Braxton Hicks Contractions got any stronger that it was sure to be labor. That evening when we got home, i made many trips to the bathroom and felt like my body was clearing itself out. I cuddled with my boys in bed and fell asleep. 

On Tuesday, at about 4AM, i woke up to some light contractions. I went to the bathroom and noticed i had some bloody show. My adrenaline kicked in and i knew i wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep, so i started walking around the house and picking up here and there. Hoping the movement would intensify things. The contractions were between 6-7 mins apart and lasting about 50 seconds. I notified my Midwife at 5:40AM.
I was doing the dishes when my husband came out at 6AM for work. I told him to Call In, because i was in labor. He took over the dishes, and i went back to bed. 
I woke back up at 9AM and my contractions had nearly stopped. I had about 1 or 2 an hour. Dan went back to work at Noon and i was disappointed. 
The boys and i went about our day as usual. The contractions slowly came back, and i was having more and more every hour. By the time i was preparing dinner, around 5PM, i was having to stop what i was doing and squat down and take cleansing breaths. 
I was in the Kitchen and Isaiah, my oldest, came in and rubbed my back at one point and asked what i was doing. I remember jokingly thinking “I’ll take that epidural now”, and just desiring the comfort of my husband being home from work.
He came home at 6:30pm and the night went as it normally does. Dinner, bedtime reading, and cuddling the boys to sleep. As soon as the boys drifted off, i let out a sigh of relief. Laying down in bed was uncomfortable and the contractions made me squirm. 
I went out to the living room and sat in my rocking chair. 
I texted my Birth Photographer at 10:30Pm, to give her a heads up. Contractions were still only 7-10 minutes apart. 
Dan went to bed around 11Pm. 
As the night went on i sat with my knees on a pillow on the floor and rested my head on the couch. During each contraction i would pick up my legs to squat, as that was the most comfortable position. There were a few times that i would crawl up onto the couch and lay on my left side, but every time a contraction came i would regret it and go back to squatting. 
At 2:45AM, Wednesday morning, i texted my Midwife. I told her the contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart, and were feeling pretty intense. She asked if i would like for her to come out, and i said yes. I went into the bedroom and woke up Dan. I needed him by my side. He sat on the coffee table and rubbed my back in between contractions. Every time a contraction would come, i would gently push his hands off of me. I couldn’t stand being touched. But i needed it when a break would come. He caught on quickly. I asked him for a wash cloth for my forehead and i had bites of a banana, and drank my water and Red Raspberry leaf tea throughout. 
At 4am my Midwife, and her 2 lovely apprentices arrived. I texted my Birth Photographer to come. 
They set up the supplies and made themselves comfortable on the other side of the room. It was dark, light music was playing in the background and my husband was working on getting the hose hooked up for the Birthing Pool. 
My 2 previous Homebirths were land births, but i decided to have a pool set up this time to labor in if i wanted to. I couldn’t picture myself actually giving birth in the pool though. 
It felt like it was taking forever to get the pool filled. I was so ready to get into the water and was hoping for a bit of relief. I was tired of leaning over the couch. 
Just as i was taking off my dress to get into the pool i heard my Birth Photographer pull up to our house. It was 5:30am. 
The water felt good, and warm and comforting and the pool itself was so soft. My midwife said that if my contractions slowed at all that it would be best to get back out. She went and sat back down. and with my thoughts anticipating hours left of labor i soaked up the comfort of the water. 
My first contraction in the water came and i was surprised at the intensity of it and that my body was beginning to bear down. The water was pretty low, and i had to squat deeply for it to come above my hips. I had a 2nd contraction just like it. I told my Midwife that i felt “pushy”. While all 3 of them got up and came around the pool i had another big contraction and my water broke. 
I was leaning forward over the pool and my Midwife asked what position i wanted to deliver in, so i turned around to a sitting position. 

Between each contraction my mind swirled with thoughts.
I was conscious of how little light there was in the room. They had moved a small lamp near the pool, but i felt bad that there wasn’t much more light for the photographer. I thought of the windows that were all open, and how the commotion might be disturbing our neighbors. I thought of how i was lightly moaning and breathing heavily during these contractions, which was louder than my previous births. I thought of my Mom, and told my husband to let her know to come, as well as my Mother-in-Law. It was all happening so fast. I told Dan to go wake up our oldest, and he carried him out. My shy boy was overwhelmed with all that was going on, and went back into our bedroom. 

I don’t remember how many more contractions i had, but with every one, my many thoughts would quickly disappear and i would fall into myself, and focus on breathing and pushing. I could feel the head crowning, and at that point my pushes became weaker, as i knew how much more pain was to come. My hand shook as i touched the top of my babies head for the first time. I pushed the head out and i let out a laugh of relief. It was almost over! I questioned my Midwife about how much time should go by, and asked if everything was alright. She assured me the baby was fine, and to wait until the next contraction. I tell you, it felt like an eternity. 
The next one came and i pushed the body out and my Midwife immediately brought the baby up out of the water, and onto my chest. And oh, i cried! I will never forget how absolutely overwhelmed and full my heart felt at that moment. My baby was in my arms, it was warm and wet and finally in my arms. I consciously told myself to embrace all the emotions that came. It was 6:04am. 
Then i blurted out, “Wait! What are you?” I lifted her away from me, and exclaimed, “It’s a girl!” and burst back into tears. I could hear the laughter and sniffling around me and i was so happy. 
I delivered the placenta, my Mother-in-law ran in the door, Dan brought Isaiah out again, and then he cut the cord. While he went back to the bedroom to get Ezra, I started to breastfeed and she latched on wonderfully. Then he brought out Ezra. I’ll never forget the look on Ezra’s face when he saw her. He completely lit up. He was a big brother and i could see the love all over his face. We named her Miriam Grace.
After about a half hour i was ready to get out of the pool. I transferred her to Dan and my Midwife helped me out and to the bathroom. Then escorted me to the couch. I sat down and nursed her. She was weighed and measured next to me and then i latched her back on. I called my mom and told her the news. I cried at the realization that she had missed it. She had been there for my previous 2 Homebirths.
I chatted with my Midwife and by 7:30am everyone had said their goodbyes and we were able to cuddle alone on the couch as a family of 5. I took a photo and sent out a couple announcement texts. The sun had come up and the tiredness had hit me, so Dan helped Miriam and i to the bedroom and her and i fell fast asleep. 

Right before Hubby left for work. Can you see the disappointment on my face? 

The dress i labored in.
Laying in bed before going out to the living room to labor.

The following pictures were taken by my Birth Photographer, Sarah Pyper from Hello Darling