Thursday, February 02, 2006

My Son's Birth Story

Between the birth of our daughter and the conception of our son, my husband became seriously disabled, so though we truly believe in Unabirth and desired to do things our way, we had decided to hire a hands off midwife to do my prenatal care for the pregnancy, and for back up at the birth.

We wanted urine checks, heart tone checks, and one ultrasound to determine placement of placenta etc, which I feel is personally important when planning a possible unassisted birth t rule out things that can cause variations from normal in births, like trying to deal with placenta previa.

We also wanted a back up plan in case DH was feeling to tired or in pain to be my complete support for the birth. There were many things that made us both uncomfortable about hiring a midwife at all, but it was the best compromise we could come to in order to ensure that I felt supported in case he wasn't able to support me, and still have our home water birth.

His illness causes him to need to spend a lot of time in bed due to severe pain and fatigue to the extent that he cannot lift his head off the pillow and we never know when those days will be. But thanks to adrenalin on his part when I went into labour he was a super dad and my perfect and full support through the 3 days of labouring. ( for which he paid dearly for health wise afterwards for over a month)

On Monday, January the 31st, 2005, 38 weeks pregnant, I woke up sore and in pain as usual for the end of this pregnancy, my hips were so loose and in pain now I could hardly walk upright. My swollen belly was very large and very much entering the room before I did. My feet were swollen with edema and looked like fat flinstone feet. With being only 4 foot 11, there is no where else to carry baby but OUT IN FRONT, so I looked like a living and breathing weeble, and felt pretty crappy at this point. Along with my already existing carpel tunnel in my right wrist, my hands were cramped and swollen and in severe pain with pregnancy induced tendonitits from hormones loosening everything to get ready for this birth since the 6th month, and I could barely function on daily basis from heart burn. I would cry the pain in my hands were so unbearable at times. I was falling asleep whenever I sat down on the couch from pure exhaustion from not being able to sleep comfortably all night long. Sleeping sitting up on the couch with ice packs on my hands on my chest was the only place I could get any comfort for short periods of time. DH has told me that how I was feeling through this pregnancy was very similar to how he feels every day with his illness. I just don't know how he manages that kind of pain daily. It gave me a new appreciation for his illness.

Early that afternoon, I called my neighbour, S to say hi and just chat as usual. Though she just lived across the hall, literally less than 6 feet away, we chatted on the phone to allow us to get other things done at the same time. In the last few weeks of this pregnancy she was coming over daily to do my dishes, help me clean up and organize the living area of the apartment for the birth, and help me feed my daughter as I could barley even butter and cut toast my hands were so bad. She was an absolute savior to me! I couldn't ask for a better friend.

I was feeling crampy low in my pelvic area that day like premenstrual cramps, and I mentioned it to her and told her I was feeling close and not sure I wanted to go anywhere that day. I knew that feeling was cervical changes happening. She said I should stay home if I felt that way, but I knew that I had to go out, because it was the last day of our family swim pass at the rec centre and throughout this pregnancy we went swimming as a family as much as possible, for fun and exercise. My 4 year old daughter was looking forward to swimming that night. I could not let her down.

I puttered about the apartment for a few hours trying to cook us some food and then got dressed to go. I was still feeling crampy, but not any contractions. We got ready to go at about 4 pm. DH wanted to go to the Zellers first as he and our daughter were looking for a "bear bear" like her's that she could give the baby when he/she would finally arrive. ( a musical soothing sounds bear with a light in his tummy, that she still sleeps with, since birth)

As we were getting in the truck I felt some stronger twinges like contractions, but I dismissed them and kept getting ready to go, warming up and clearing snow off the truck on a cold snowy day... While sitting and driving things felt fine. I had already told DH I was feeling closer, but because I had been saying it was getting close for 3 weeks he didn't believe me. I was 38 weeks that day and knew from about 35 weeks that I would not make it to see 39 or more weeks of pregnancy.

We got to the store and went in to look around, I was lagging behind as I had to go slow with the swaying hips and fat feet. I walked half way of the length of the store isle and I was really having starting to have a lot of front contractions.They were so strong, it took my concentration away and I could barley walk 6 feet without getting hit by one and needing to hold on to a store shelf and breathe! They looked at a few things but didn't buy anything, as I was feeling pretty urgent at wanting to get home where I was safe.

Though he was irritated that I was adamant we go home, DH agreed it seemed like we needed to go. We got back to the truck and drove across town in rush hour afternoon traffic. I was doing the driving since DH cannot drive well with his disability and contractions were about 10 minutes apart. I kept thinking as I looked at cars passing me, or sitting at red lights beside me.." I'm in labour careful!" You never know under what conditions people on the road are driving under do you!

All the way home, as we explained that the baby was making mommy's body have the belly waves we talked about, and we needed to get home, my 4 year old daughter was getting mad that it was still January and we told her the baby was coming in February, so he just had to wait and we still had to go swimming! LOL

We got home and I knocked on S's door. She was surprised to see us back so soon. I told her this was likely "it" and she needed to clear her calender, and come on over when she was prepped. Having your daughter's "doula" living 6 feet across the hall, only separated by two apartment doors was a great advantage. The next few hours was a buzz of action of setting up the pool, running water in it and getting comfortable. The contractions seemed to slow down when I was sitting still, so I hung out on the ball and then in the pool. DD ran and got her bathing suit on and joined me in the pool. It helped her feel less upset about missing swimming I think. She stayed until it bothered me to have her in there and she was splashing around too much while I tried to breathe through a contraction.

This began the marathon of the 3 days of labour.Yes THREE day... I'm living proof that "Failure to progress" DOES NOT EXIST if your patient :)

During the three days, much refilling of the pool went on, getting out to pee, to walk, and bounce on the birthing ball. DH was timing contractions and it seemed like I was having clusters of contractions and then it would stop for an hour or more. We ordered Swiss Chalet Chicken dinner to be delivered ( my favourite) and stuck " knock quietly- birth in progress" on the door for the delivery man. Then switched it to "DO NOT DISTURB- Birth In Progress" afterwards.

Through the first evening we called my brother in law (I call them BIL1, or 2, or 3, or 4, starting with the oldest behind my DH being BIL1 and down to differentiate from the 4 of them)

We asked BIL2 to pick up some things for us and drop them off since the only driver in our home was a bit busy contracting in the pool. ( S didn't drive either) We needed diapers for the early days as I didn't want to use cloth for the mec poops and pulling out a washer to wash them in my babymoon was not my idea of fun. We also needed a few groceries we had not picked up. We were fairly certain that BIL2 was the only family member we could call who wouldn't want to stay and would not tell anyone else we were in labour.We wanted peace and quiet and no calls of " did you have it yet" ... We were right :) Though he emailed for the three days to see how things were doing and then was the first family member to visit afterwards when the baby was just hours old, he was happy to leave us be.

I had called my midwife through the evening to let her know that I was having intermittent contractions so she would be aware that I may call her at any time to come if and when we wanted her.

We hung out for a while.. me in the pool, hubby on the couch, my daughter being cared for by S for food and bedtime routines etc.. and keeping her occupied and away from us so DH and I could have some time alone in the living room/kitchen where the pool was set up. S was amazing and I don't think it would have been the same without her there.

IT was rather nice 3 days, being cut off from world news, just being there in the moment. The water was so great I LOVED just lazing in the pool. Between contractions I slept in the pool, watched tv from the pool, talked on the phone from the pool. I was enjoying this part, the contractions were handle-able at this point though I had to breathe through them. I had all back labour with my daughter and front contractions were nice to feel. I was getting to labour finally, as I had missed out with my daughter's birth 4 and bit years earlier not knowing I was in real labour until my water broke and her arriving 17 minutes later.

I got on Monday night chat with some internet birthing sisters and sat on my birthing ball naked at the computer just reading and snacking and talking about the labour so far. It helped to pass the time as the contractions were still coming throughout the whole time, every 10, then every 15, then every 5, in small clusters. I'd have longer breaks of nothing as well. and that would be when I would pace the apartment or get back in the pool hoping walking would bring things back a bit.

By midnight with nothing really happening, but contractions still coming every 10 minutes... I called my midwife to see what she was thinking ( should we try to bring on some more labour, or just rest) She advised I just try to get some rest if possible and let things take it's time. Just what I wanted to hear :)

I got about 4 hours of sleep, and apparently DH got none, because he said that through my sleep I started contracting and moaned and rocked through them in my sleep. He timed every one of them.The darling

Day two and now at about hour 16, my midwife called to see how I was doing, and I said pretty much the same, clusters of contractions then times of not much at all, I said I was good for now and she advised me that her back up would have to come if I called anytime soon as she was having some personal family emergency issues going on.

Through the day we filled the pool again and again, taking out small amounts through the water bed kit and then adding back in hot water to warm it up again, I chatted on the computer, talked to S, laughed and listened to Mozart, let my daughter come in the pool with me for a bit again.

The backup midwife called at about 3 in the afternoon and asked how I was doing and I requested that she come out when she could to check the heart tones. She was in the city and would not be able to make it until later in the evening, to which I agreed was ok as I felt fine, I just wanted some reassurance the baby was ok with so long a labour so far.

During the evening about an hour before she came, DH checked my cervix for dilation and I was still well dilated but the baby's head had not moved down any further. He could feel the bag of waters bulging a bit through the cervix and the baby's head behind it. I reminded him to leave the waters be to break on their own when they decided to.

He remarked that he could feel the suture lines of the baby's skull plates more to the side when he probed and he thought the baby was perhaps stuck acynclitic. We needed to wiggle him out of that position and let him re engage in my pelvis more straight on in order to see some progress beyond this point. It felt right to me, so we got on the bed on a pillow wedge for sitting up in bed, and put my butt way up in the air and my head down on the mattress and DH used his hands to wiggle the baby up and out of my pelvis. I got up and I felt more "full" right away so we determine that it worked. The back pain started after we unstuck him. DH then checked dilation again and felt like I was half way dilated now as compared to before.

The back up midwife showed up a little after this and did a doppler check and the heart tones were good and strong. Contractions at the moment were not happening, she asked if she could do a dilation check and stomach palpitation to see position of the baby. She felt the bottom of my stomach above my pelvis and told me where his head was. I told her " ya I know, we just put it there" LOL. She confirmed that the baby's was head down and I was about 5 centimetres dilated now. She told me it would be a while yet as I was not progressed very far, and there was a ways to go yet... LOL. I'm sure they think I was a early labouring complainer LOL, when I was really having active bouts of labour with the baby trying to get down farther to come out but couldn't.

The acynclitic position was not documented on my records since we did this ourselves and they didn't witness it. I'm not sure to this day if they really believe he was crooked, though his little ear was smooshed and he had a sore neck and a preferred side to nurse on for the first week, from the contractions trying to push him out crooked all that time. It is kind of funny that they didn't witness this, and we diagnosed this minor stall in progress ourselves, but to prove that stuck babies don't need c sections, I wish they had of seen it before we unstuck him. I am so proud of my mid-husband for caring for me and his baby the way he did, he truly was an amazing birth companion and support.

The midwife went out for coffee for an hour and said she would come back to see how things were progressing and to see if we wanted anything to speed the process. She was an amazing gentle woman from England, and I just felt so calm in her presence. She remarked how beautiful I was standing there naked swaying my hips from side to side as we talked, and she remarked at how the body is an amazing thing and a mother in labour is an amazing thing to see when they follow their instincts.

We ordered Boston Pizza's BBQ Chicken Pizza for a late dinner and it arrived when she had come back to check again. There was no progress, but baby's tones were well, and I was glad for the reassurance. I refused any interventions to which she was happy to comply with, she was just letting me know what was at my disposal if I wanted it. She suggested just getting some rest for when transition hit and things would be fine. After she left we ate pizza and hung out until after midnight, timing contractions , sitting in the pool, getting on the birth ball.

I had a prenatal appointment the next day so she or my primary care midwife would be there at that time to do a check up.

We stayed up late talking, laughing, labouring in the pool, taking labour pictures, emailing, timing contractions ( DH needed something to do) When the contractions came on they were intense, but they were still in clusters and the cervical progress was slow, very very slow.

Somewhere around this point now we started saying that I'd had enough labouring to make up for none with the first baby and anytime now would be nice to see some progress. I figured it would be while yet as DH had jinxed me early on Monday evening when labour first started, saying that a ground hog day baby would be cool. BY this point is was looking like it would be!

I got about 6 hours of sleep, and DH, once again could not sleep. I got up early the next day, and called S and she came back over across the hall to help with Anj and have breakfast with me. A local fellow AP mom friend was chatting on MSN with me and I as telling her I was in labour. I asked her if she could do me a favour and run to the store for me and I'd pay her when she got here. I asked for a few things and she said she'd drop it off on her way to the zoo with the kids. She ended up bringing over a care package of much more then I asked for, and refused any money. What a doll! I was thankful for the fast snacks like yogurt and fruit, and the pads I realized I'd need once the baby came. DH was thankful for the pick me up of a case of coke, he needed some caffeine he was so tired. She wished me good labour vibes and went on her way.

I convinced DH to go lay down for a few hours around noon as he was exhausted. It was hard to convince him, but he eventually went and I sat on the birthing ball chatting and writing email to pass the time. I snacked and chit chatted with S who was an amazing "doula" and helper through the whole 3 days flitting about cleaning things and keeping our daughter entertained.

By about 1 I started to feel stronger contractions that I had to really concentrate through. S would watch as I would stop talking and lean over the ball and put my hands on it, in a standing cat yoga pose arching my back and breathe deeply and moan. We would then continue on between contractions with our idle chat as if it were any other regular day... I loved that!

After a while I couldn't them handle alone anymore and I knew we were actually getting somewhere. Only after 45 minutes of sleep I went to talk to DH and asked him to get up and be with me now, as I couldn't handle them alone anymore and I needed him. He knew I was serious as I was crying as I begged him to get up and then he witnessed me have another on the side of our bed.

He was getting back up and I got back in the pool and about 15 minutes later my primary midwife knocked on the door. As she came in and asked how I was doing, I told her we were finally getting somewhere as I just had a few contractions that made me emotional and cry.

At our last appointment we agreed that she'd bring the student midwife with her to meet me to prepare for her to attend my birth. Believing in helping home birth revolution again, I agreed to have a student attend my birth so they could count it as one of the many births they need to witness for their training.

Well, thinking I was not really going to have this baby any time soon the student came as well,expecting to do a prenatal visit. So, there I am naked in a pool, inviting a stranger into my home while I'm in labour about to birth my child. being it was Feb, I couldn't see asking her to wait in the car, and at this point I didn't really care anyway, I'm not shy, so I talked to her and grilled her between contractions about why she wanted to be a midwife, and how she got interested in birth at such a young age etc. I asked her what the most important thing about being a midwife was to her etc. I told her she was lucky that I liked her answers so I she could stay LOL.

The Midwife prepared her birthing supplies and started charting my progress and called other clients while I was in the pool to cancel appointments. My midwife asked if I would allow the student to do a heart tone check, as they need to record that every 15 minutes in active labour, I allowed her to do two checks, but then requested they stop monitoring anymore, as I was finding it intrusive.

Having such a small apartment with me, dh, S, a midwife, a student midwife, a back up midwife and my daughter was a bit cramped feeling. I found myself paying attention to the goings on around me more then going inward and concentrating, though they were trying to be quiet. I asked for some Mozart to be put back on the stereo. While sitting in the pool, I was having more and more back pain and I could not find a comfortable position any more. DH was starting to get annoyed as well with the buzz in the air and we were just about to ask them to leave the apartment for a while to go to S's for some tea until we called them back in, and I got a really strong contraction. As I was pulling up to get on my hands and knees my water broke- a very neat pop under the water of the pool, my amniotic fluid, clean and clear mixed with the water of the pool between my legs. Though I could not see it, I could feel it happen.

There was no asking them to leave now since immediately the back pain came screaming at me with such intensity I though I was going to die! DH went to get on his swim shorts and shirt ( we wanted to be alone and naked.. but oh well.) while I asked the student midwife to use counter pressure on my hips while on my knees but she could not push hard enough to make any relief , and her touching my just annoyed me that I snapped at her to stop, it wasn't working.

As with my daughters birth I thrashed around in the pool trying to find a comfortable position for when the urge to push would come.The contractions were on top of each other right away, the same as when my daughter was born. DH climbed in the pool with me and I was still on my hands and knees. He got in beside me and I grabbed onto him around his shoulders and neck. The contractions were so strong , and much more intense than my daughters birth, and I was grasping to concentrate through them. I growled like an animal with each one and complained about how much it was killing my back. With the next contraction I still was not feeling any desire to really push come on it's own and my midwife gently suggested that I try to do an efforted push rather then wait for the urge. Though I believe in letting the body do it's own work in it's own time even if it takes a few extra contractions, with the back pain I was having I thought this was a good idea to me.Fewer minutes of this back pain would be ok with me! On my hands and knees again, I pushed a bit with the next contractions and pooped in the pool as I was pushing. I told them I was doing so , so they were aware of it, as I was worried about the baby being born in crappy water. They reassured me it was ok and normal. I couldn't make my mouth say what I was thinking anymore at this point but I was thinking." You don't need to make me feel better about it, I don't care that I just shit in the pool, that's normal, just clean it out!"

Someone took care of scooping and I decide the hands and knees was not working well so I flipped over onto my butt and leaned into the sides of the wall of the pool. With the next contractions I yelled, groaned and screamed through the pain again, and I scared our daughter with the noises though we had prepared her so much for the event with roll playing and watching videos. She walked away upset and a bit scared wanting me to stop now. S assured her that mommy was fine and working hard to bring the baby out. This was exactly why I wanted S there and she did everything right! She followed our daughter's lead and supported her and made her feel ok with things and with doing whatever she decided to do.With a hug and a reassurance she decided that she wanted to go back and see mommy some more and became my coach. I remember feeling so much pain and pushing so hard and in the same time feeling her small hand on my arm rubbing me softly and her small sweet voice telling me it would be ok. It gave me strength she'll never know.

DH got between my legs and felt for the head. When this happened, the midwife started to try and use the doppler on my stomach to monitor heart beats with the baby and I was MAJOURLY annoyed, but in such pain I could not even speak. After four trys without success I snapped at her " Stop doing that!" It felt like every time she touched me with the doppler between contractions, she would bring on another contraction. It would start on top of the last one, and I didn't want to be touched.

We had discussed so much in advance about if she were to be at the birth, that I though we covered everything, but I was not aware that it was procedure to do fetal heart tones during the pushing stage, had I known I would have made it very clear that I didn't want that at all to start with. I made them aware of it in the assessment survey of their care I did, and suggested they mention that to all clients so they are aware that that will happen if they don't opt out of it a head of time.

DH could feel the baby's head coming but descending back in a bit between each contraction. He asked if I was having any burning sensation but I didn't. He applied support with his hand against my perineum to prevent tearingas I pushed again.

The secondary back up midwife told me when I growled and yelled again that I was putting my energy into pushing vocally and I should try to push the energy down deep to make it more effective and to save my voice if I wanted. I loved her gentle approach to coaching, where it made it my decision rather then a command from her. Still though I was a bit annoyed that she suggested it at all, but only because I KNOW that and in that moment wasn't thinking of that, I was just DOING.I was annoyed with myself for not thinking that on my own. When I did what she reminded me of, pushing became more effective and the baby's head came out farther in this one push than all the others.

Another contraction, and I pushed again.

It is funny that having such an easy first birth, I never really anticipated how much work this birth would be and I was thankful for the verbal cheering the midwives were doing as I pushed and held onto DH for dear life. I don't remember saying it but apparently I said this was the last time I was ever going to do this again. I remember the back pain was so intense, i felt like I was going crazy. Feeling like a trapped caged animal unable to get away from impending death within your own body is insane. Though I was very annoyed at the lack of privacy and the buzzing about, the heart tone checks, I was thankful in this moment for the midwives being there, for without their voices to concentrate on at one point I thought I was going to slip out of this realm into a realm of insanity I would never be able to come back from. The pain was so intense everything was blacking out around the edges and I felt like I was looking at stuff in black and white, but they spoke the right words at the right times, and I concentrated on their voices telling me I was doing amazing, and listening to DH give details of where the head was.

I gave another push and finally the hardest part ended. The baby's head popped out. DH felt for a cord around the neck, and confirmed that there was nothing there. But he said " I can't feel anything" and the midwife took that to mean he didn't know what he was feeling and she stuck her hands in to feel. This annoyed DH beyond belief, and still makes him mad to this day. She felt his neck as DH pulled the baby up and out of the water onto my chest.

AHHH total BLISS and no more pain.The instant it is over, you don't even really remember it as it was.

John looked and asked me if I wanted to guess at what the baby was, I said, " a boy right?" and he turned him over to me to reveal his little baby boy parts. He laid on my chest with his cord in tack pulsing away. He was sleepy and just peeked up at me as if to say " oh mom, it's you, ok, I'm going back to sleep now." I rubbed him and talked to him and we wrapped him in a blanket to keep him warm.

I guess the midwife was worried that he was sleepy and not being active, so she took a small tube of oxygen right away and started to put it to the baby's face, which annoyed me, as he didn't need it, his color was fine. He didn't cry much as most water babies don't. I felt an air of panic about the midwife at this point and that bothered me as I felt it was intrusive and I didn't want to be feeling her emotions, I had enough of my own to be processing at that moment. I guess she thought he looked like he needed some attention?

The hustle and bustle of documenting times and her giving him oxygen leaning over the pool, while the secondary midwife checked his heart tones from behind and above me was intrusive, as they moved our daughter out of the way to get them. The primary midwife snapped at the secondary for not giving her the stats right away when she was trying to get a heart tone.. but was being quiet for us to have our moment with our new baby. I was annoyed at that.

Sometimes people don't realize the impact their presence has on a situation or moment. this is why I prefer to birth alone.

Shortly after the cord stopped pulsing, we let our daughter cut the cord and introduce our son to the world as a separate being.He was officially named and introduced to the family. DH took the baby out of the pool with the help of the midwife, and they cleaned him up, weighed him and took his measurements. He weighed in at 8 pounds 13 ounces.

The back pain for me was coming back and any thought of not being with my baby went away and were replaced with "Get me out of this pool". We headed to the shower hoping the hot hot water could help on the back. While this was going on, DH, S and our daughter got some first of many pictures of our daughter holding her baby brother and beaming down at him.

The midwife was trying to help me in the shower and kept talking about the placenta as it was coming on a half hour since I had the baby. Though we had talked about it prior and I wanted to let the placenta come in her own time, I felt she was being anxious and pushy to get it out. She reminded me that it was protocol to transfer to a hospital for a "retained placenta" after 30 minutes. The standing in the shower was so painful on my hips and lower back that I could not tolerate it anymore so I asked to be helped to my bed. With much assistance, I managed to sit up in bed in a reclined position and tried some ice packs on my back to no avail. The Midwife wanted to check my vagina for any tears that may need attention, and when she checked I was completely intact. When she went back to the living room to document her findings she remarked to DH that he should be a midwife because his pressure and support during pushing was successful and there was not one tear. I finally was settling to a comfortable position on the bed for my back to not be in such pain, as DH handed me the baby, when the midwife asked the secondary midwife for the syringe and Pitocen.

I have an INTENSE fear of needles or anything that breaks the skin. So prior to birth we had discussed that if I started to hemmorrage or anything and they felt it was necessary to stick me that I'd want it done fast and not in my eyes view. I didn't want to know it was coming. I didn't like how uncomfortable she was getting about the placenta not coming and how close the needle was getting to the bedside table next to me, so DH asked for some quiet time alone and they went to the living room. DH and I and the baby just sat and rested and talked and took pictures and tried to breastfeed for about an hour.

Birthing was exhausting for the baby as well as me... as he just fell asleep on my breast for a pillow rather then nurse at all. :) DH held the baby for a while and at the two hour mark I stood up, felt a contraction, did a small push and our placenta was born into my bread baking bowl, the very same one my daughter's was born into. She was so much smaller then my daughter's had been, her's near filled the bowl and his was only 1/4 the size with a really long cord.

We went out to the living room to let them know she had arrived. They were happy, and the secondary midwife was so gentle and commented "see,she just needed some time to come on her own too." It felt so good to hear her say that. She then asked me for my permission to check the placenta over, and she was so gentle and wonderful, she treated it so gentle as she would have treated my newborn son. When she turned over the placenta she showed the student midwife the veins on the exterior of the placenta that attaches to the uterine wall and remarked in a breathless tone " oh such a beautiful tree of life Ril, good job!"

She asked me what I wanted to do with her and I mentioned doing placenta prints and she asked if I wanted some help. I was relieved to not have to do it myself, as I was still so sore. I asked her if she would do them for me herself while I watched and she said she would be honored. This too, made me feel so good I got teary eyed as I watched her make 4 prints of our placenta. The best one now hangs framed in my son's room, the cord had made a heart shape at the end when she printed it so I chose that one. The treatment of my placenta was important to me as I had lost the opportunity to do anything with my daughter's Placenta, and it was thrown away as hazardous materials in the hospital when we went in after our Unabirth for a check.

The choices in this birth was in many ways, a healing process for the things in my daughter birth that I regretted.

I decided that I would go have a much needed HOT shower and clean up get dressed, and then eat as I was starving! S came and helped me get clothes and into the shower. The secondary midwife came to say she was leaving now and thanked me for letting her be there for the birth and told me I was an amazing birther and she wished all her clients birthed so well. I hugged her and thanked her for everything and after a little longer the other midwives left and S did some cleaning up while my little man started to wake up and want to nurse. I put him to my breast and though his first suckle attempt caused a blister on my nipple which blocked some ducts and caused a bit of pain and heat on day three, he latched on thereafter like a pro and has been going strong ever since.

A few hours after the birth, we had our first visitors. BIL2 ad his wife came for a visit. They were amazed that I was fully dressed showered and visiting only mere hours after a birth. :)

After they left, I emptied the pool and cleared out the leftovers of the pooping in the pool that had settled to the bottom. I felt that no one else should have to see that and the pool care was my responsibility anyway, the midwives didn't do any of that care, though they will attend water births, the client is responsible for the set up and take down.

While cleaning up the pool I noticed a weird long piece of some biolocial matter and wasn't sure what it was... I examined it without touching it and just assumed it must be a waterlogged blood clot or something. 5 days later when Bupba still had not had his first mec poop, and the midwife was getting concerned, we realized that that was what that was. He pooped in the pool too when he was born.

After bleaching out the pool and sticking it in the tub to dry out, we all decided we were still hungry at about 10 pm, so S, DD and I went to go grab take out while DH got to stay home and rested on the couch with his son alone for their first bonding session. We ate and S helped get DD down to bed for the night and then headed across the hall to home.

Then my two men and I crawled into bed together and I slept on my stomach after we nursed laying down, for the first time in what felt like forever. AHH I'd missed that so much!

AS an unassisted birther choosing to have a birth attendant present, there were things that annoyed me and bugged me, but a year later the good moments are what I remember the most and it took a lot of time in the last year to be ok with our decision in retrospect.

All the important things we wanted to happen did, and I got to prove that failure to progress doesn't exist. Throughout the labouring three days , many times we sat there talking about how if we had been in a hospital I would have been c-sectioned by then.

I got to experience and enjoy being in labour, my son was born at home in water, his daddy caught him, his sister cut the cord, my placenta came in her own time, and she was respected for her job well done, and we spent our first days after the birth at home in bed as a family, were we were meant to be.

This birth healed a lot of pains for me from my daughter's first days of life. It also taught me some things as well. I found I could put trust in women again, something that was due to a bad relationship with my mother and shutting myself off from female friendships due to being so hurt by friends in my young teen years. I learned that from being with my friend S for three whole days, and having her come through completely for everything we needed in those three days, and many afterwards. She is a true blessing to us and our daughter. I also learned that by allowing two complete strangers at my birth in the student and the secondary midwife, who respected my space and me, and made me feel safe and secure in their silence and awe of my birth.

Looking back though, I believe that for such private people as ourselves, going from unassisted to assisted was a hard transition for us, and though we admire and are thankful for everything the midwives did for us and for letting us call the shots mostly without interference. I'd never birth with anyone there again. Though we feel quite finished with our family, if we ever have the unforeseen opportunity to welcome another child into our family she or he will be birthed at home with just mom, dad and big sister and brother there... It is how I birth best and how I and my husband are both most comfortable.

In the days after Bupba's birth, DH and DD painted "it's a boy" on the window of our balcony door to let the neighbours know about his birth.

Thank you to my DH for being my soft place to fall and my hard rock to lean on at the same time. Thank you,to my 4 year old daughter for her sweet and tender touch when I needed it most and thank you Bupba for your presence in our lives since that day, this year has been an amazing one, watching you grow to a delightful toddling comedian. Your smile and infectious laughter fills my heart minute by minute. I am blessed Mama Ril Written February 2nd 2006

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