Monday, April 13, 2009

The birth of baby Amelia

I thought that I would share my birth story with you as it is very precious to me. I had planned to have a home birth from very early on in my pregnancy and I had done a lot of research and reading about what to expect. I knew that pain medication would not be available to me if I opted for a home birth but I had been told that laboring in water could provide a lot of relief. I bought a birthing pool and hoped for the best. I started experiencing contractions fairly early in the morning on March 18th, three days before my due date – so I didn’t take them seriously. I assumed that I would be at least a week and half late. I managed to sleep until 11am and then I started to look on the internet for “signs of early labor”. I think that I was in denial. I didn’t call anyone and when my husband came home from work and told me that he might be laid off for a couple days I said “great, because I think that I am having contractions”. I decided that we should go grocery shopping because if it was false labor than the contractions would most likely stop. They didn’t. I had some serious contractions in the frozen food isle. :0) We got home and Nathaniel started timing them contractions – a healthy 5 minutes apart. I decided to call my doula and she told me that I should also call my midwives. When my doula showed up she immediately started helping me breath through my contractions. I was worried about making noise, but she helped me make these great low moaning sounds that felt great. Between contractions I chatted with my family and walked around the house. It felt really good to walk and I only laid down for a few minutes when my midwife showed up and asked me if I wanted to know how far I was dilated. Although the contractions were pretty intense, they were not as painful as I had anticipated so I was not sure how far along I was. I remember closing my eyes while she checked me – I was hoping that I would be at least 3-5 centimeters, so when she told me that I was 8 centimeters my eyes flew open with surprise. I was so excited to be so far along and coping so well. The midwife said that if I wanted to have my baby in the birthing tub that the boys, my husband and dad and brother, better get the tub inflated and filled. There was a flurry of activity while the midwives set up their equipment and the boys got my tub ready. In the meantime I clung to my doula and we did our little slow dance moaning thing. It was brilliant! As soon as the tub was filled I climbed in and had a big *sigh*. It felt amazing to be surrounded by warm water. The lights were low and I had some really great acoustic guitar music in the background. I dilated to 10 centimeters within the next 45 minutes and clung to my husband, who was behind me. Once I was fully dilated my midwives told me that I could push. I didn’t want to push before my body was ready because I had heard that it can cause your cervix to swell – which is quite painful. The pressure down below was pretty intense at that point so when it was time to push I was quite relieved. I remembered what you had told me about “pushing like you are going to poo”. Very helpful! I got to feel my baby as she moved down the birth canal and I felt her head as it was crowning. Between pushes I had lots of time to rest, talk to my mom and sister who were sitting on the couch nearby and drink water. About 45 min later a slippery little girl was placed on my chest and Nathaniel cut the cord. My dad and brother, who were in the other room, hooted and hollered when they heard Amelia’s first cry. It was a special moment. I got out of the tub to deliver the placenta and Amelia was passed to Nathaniel. He cried when he held her for the first time. It was beautiful. My labium, on the overhand, was not so beautiful, and required at least 8 stitches. My midwife did a fantastic job stitching me up, but unfortunately, the freezing didn’t have much effect so it was incredibly painful. Afterwards the midwives cleaned up the living room, and weighed and measured Amelia. My doula brought me tea and food and stuck around until 3am helping me with breastfeeding. All in all it was a good day.