Jun 9, 2008

Sophia Elanna's birth story.

I knew I wanted this birth to be different. I wanted to fulfill my longtime dream of a home birth, but financially a hospital birth was more reasonable. However, after being dissatisfied with my first two midwives, and then having little issues come up with my third midwife, who then told me she was not delivering after April, I decided it was time to listen to my heart and follow my desires. A chance conversation on MDC (Mothering Dot Commune) with a local woman inspired me to start searching again for homebirth midwives for the third time, this time I spoke to Jan Eklund, whom I could tell had a great passion for midwifery and was willing to work with us financially.

Once I was at ease with my decision I informed my family, who were very uncomfortable with my decision, however they were able to put their own feelings aside to support me. My mom even decided to fly in during my 40th week of pregnancy in hopes of being here for the birth.

My due date, May 30th, came and went without more than Braxton Hicks. The 31st my mom flew in from Washington. On the 1st, my husband, kids and I packed a large picnic and ate it at a local park. That night at 7 pm I started having contractions 8 minutes apart lasting 3 minutes long and needing to be concentrated through. They continued all through the night slowing around 2 am and stopping at 4 am.

I was frustrated and Bobby and I were both exhausted from lack of sleep, so he took the day off from work to stay home with me (June 2nd). Austin and Christopher were acting wild and we were all tired, so I sent them outside to play on their scooter and bike so they would burn off some energy while Bobby and I tried to recover ours. Shortly after leaving, Christopher came in crying, he had fallen off his scooter and we decided it probably needed x-rayed so my mom and I took him to urgent care to get it looked at, sure enough it was broken and he needed to see the orthopedic specialist the next day to see if it needed a cast.

Tuesday morning, I woke up at 7 am no longer able to ignore the contractions that had been waking me in the night. Before he left for work, Bobby told me I had been groaning all night and he would reach over and feel my stomach and it would be hard. I called my midwife Jan and my doula Candace to let them know I may be in pre-labor. The contractions were stronger than the ones on Sunday, but irregular. I took a nap after lunch and they really started to intensify, to the point where I sent my mom and son off to the Ortho with my insurance card and a note because I did not think I would do well at the appointment.

Around 8 pm, on the 3rd, Jan called me to ask how I was doing because she was getting ready for bed and wanted to know if she should expect a call in the night or not, and after talking we decided she would come over just to check on me since I had canceled our appointment earlier that day. When she checked my progress, she said I was 4-5 cm dilated and 95% effaced and wanted to camp out because she felt this was the real deal.

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I went ahead and called Candace and she called Kim, who was going to be my second doula, and they arrived around 10 pm. Once everyone got here, my contractions responded and started getting much stronger; however, they were in my back and required a lot of rubbing and counter pressure. Candace and Kim helped me find different positions to labor in and helped me with stair walking activities to make sure my baby was in a good position.

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They also rubbed my back with the contractions and my feet and shoulders between them. Around midnight, the pressure was getting more intense so I asked if I could get in the tub, so Jan checked me again and told me I had not made a lot of progress, but she could probably stretch me to 7cm and I was ok to try laboring in the tub.

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Once she stretched me, the contractions started coming a lot faster so the water of the birthing tub was heavenly. My contractions slowed and I was able to rest between them, but when they came on they were extremely intense and in my back. I was trying very hard to remain calm, but inside I was starting to feel panicky. Halfway into each of the rushes, I started grunting and pushing a little, but I still was not feeling the urge to push, I just wanted to vocalize and express the sensations I was feeling.

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I remember hearing one of my doulas ask Jan if I was complete, she was in the tub with me, and I heard her say “don’t worry; she will push when she is ready”. Hearing these words gave me hope that I may be near the end. The back labor was like nothing I have ever felt before, I did not have the urge to push, yet my body was pushing the baby down and my support team was telling me to push through the sensations and it would feel better. I was feeling frustrated that I was doing all this work and nothing was happening, and the power I was feeling was very intense. I was roaring like a lion with each surge and clinging to my mom and husband for support. Soon I felt the most amazing thing ever as I could feel her coming down into the birth canal, it felt like I had a bowling ball inside of me and I was feeling so powerful, I pushed again and I heard the midwife exclaim the head was out. The rest of her just seemed to slide out and my baby was here! At 1:43 am on Wednesday, June 4th, 2008 my baby girl Sophia Elanna came into this world with open eyes and a very calm demeanor. She also was born with a nuchal hand (hand born next to her head) and I had a tiny “skid mark” which is a tiny abrasion, but not a single tear. I did not need any sort of repair.

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The flood of emotions I was feeling was so intense, from trying to process the physical sensations I had felt, to having my baby there in my arms, to just feeling disbelief that I did it. I felt so powerful and even was able to climb out of the tub and onto my bed with little assistance while still holding my baby who had a very short cord. Not long after getting in bed, I delivered the placenta. This was amazing to me since I did not remember that part of my other deliveries, as they wasted no time in my hospital births and pulled it out almost immediately.

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Everyone worked on cleaning up while I got a chance to bond and cuddle with my baby girl. She was so calm and wide eyed, and alert. She just took everything in, lifting her head to look around. Jan then did the newborn exam, her APGAR was 9, and she was 6 lbs 10 oz and 18 7/8th inches long.

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When the cord stopped pulsating, and was ready to cut, my midwife asked Bobby if he wanted to do it and he declined, so I was about to cut it, but asked my mom to do it, since she was such a key element to my positive birth experience and I felt if anyone deserved the honor, it was her.

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Around 3:30 am I took my shower, it was so wonderful, and by a little after 4 am, I was able to go to bed, however I do not think I slept at all until around 7 am when Bobby took her downstairs for a little while to get some cuddle time. Sophie is such a sweet, calm little baby; she is a cuddle bug and nursing like a champion. She does not really have a fussy time, but she does have times where she is active.

This birth, by far, was my most rewarding. Even though I had epidurals to take care of the physical pain in Christopher and Matthew’s hospital births, that could not take away the mental pain of regrets and dissatisfaction with all the interventions. Being in my own home, in my own comfort zone, with an amazing birth & support team, and the amazing techniques I learned from my Hypnobabies home study courses made the entire experience breathtakingly beautiful. I felt so calm, Zen-like during my birthing time, and I was able to handle each contraction as it came, and let it go when it left, and not think about the next one until it was upon me. My head space stayed clean and I never once felt like I could not handle it anymore and needed drugs. I cannot get over the feeling of accomplishment and pride I feel. I did it!

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Special thanks to my doulas Candace (above) and Kim (below) who reminded me of my strength through the entire labor and birth, and who's tireless hands comforted me through each contraction helping me keep my calm. And of course to my calm and collect midwife, Jan, who brought so much wisdom and experience to my birth, and for making it possible for me to fulfill my dream of a homebirth.

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And I just had to include this picture, because it shows how tired my poor family is the morning of the birth.

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And of course, thank you to my beautiful mother, who flew in to support me during my birth, even though she was uncomfortable with homebirth. She never once wavered in her unconditional love and support. She never once showed fear, even though she told me later she was scared when Sophie was taking a while to clear the mucous from her throat and we let her work it out without suction.

12 comments:

Aunt Angie said...

Heather, you are an amazing woman and I am so proud to have called you my friend for the last 15+ years. You have inspired me to change my own birth plan (eventhough I won't need to sort out the details until March 2011) and made ME feel powerful simply by reading your story. I am bawling like a baby and all my Australian friends are wondering what the hell is wrong with me (I am currently in Grafton, New South Wales). Stay rested and I will talk to you soon. -Angie

Hester said...

That's beautiful! I'm so glad she got here safely and she's doing so well.

Keri said...

Heather, reading your story and experience I have learned what a strong woman you are. I would have loved to experience what you did. I think it's great..the amount of support you have. Your daughter is so beautiful. Get some well deserved rest and congratulations once again. - Keri

Grena Pryor said...

Congrats on your beautiful baby girl, you make me want to do it all over again.Just had my baby girl April 15, 2008.

May GOD bless you and your entire family.

Sheridan said...

Horray for you! I loved reading your story. I am so glad that your mom supported you, despite her concerns. I am so glad that you enjoyed your Hypnobabies tools. And of course a big congratulations on your sweet baby girl! :)
Sheridan

Carrie said...

eeek! She's simply gorgeous! You did it! We all knew you could, congratulations to the whole bunch!

Mary said...

That is awesome Heather! You are so much stronger then me. I'm not sure I would ever be able to do that. Of course I wouldn't have the support you did becuase my husband would be passed out from all the blood. :) You baby girl is absolutely beautiful! Hope all is well

SumnerRain said...

LOL Thankfully because I was in the water, there was not much blood, but I am thankful my husband is not faint of heart. However I was lucky to have the support of my doulas too, what a blessing they were and I tell everyone who will listen how important doulas are. Not just for me, but for my husband too. Their presence allowed him to get up and stretch his legs, get something to eat and drink, and praise his efforts without me ever being left alone. So if one's husband is prone to fainting spells, it is SUPER important to have some one to catch him and get a nurse so you don't have to. Someone to rub your back and remind him not to lock his knees (the #1 reason why you see people faint at weddings, they lock their knees and restrict bloodflow and then wham, lights out!)

Thank you for the compliments, we think baby Sophie is pretty special!

Hypnobabies Homebirth « Hypnobabies Blog said...

[...] Sophia’s Birth Story - Beautiful Hypnobabies Waterbirth with some pictures [...]

Babs Modern said...

That is a great story, and how brave you were! I never had the courage for a home birth.

My first one, she came two weeks early during a heatwave in Seattle, I had a wild and dangerous cab ride to the hospital as soon as the cabby realized I was in labor (careening down the streets, running red lights), and by the time arrived I was in so much pain from labor contractions, I was walking up the stairs of the hospital hunched over, knuckle dragging. I was actually considering throwing aside my principles for the drugs when I was informed I was already too advanced so it was too late anyway. It was going to be natural childbirth for me, even if I did want to chicken out.

While waiting for my doctor to arrive, and after throwing the clipboard of forms at a nurse who'd been trying to get me to fill them out, that overwhelming urge to push hit, shuddering through my entire body. I hadn't had childbirth classes because they were all full all over the city, but I'd read one chapter in a book that week informing me not to push when the push sensation hit, so I didn't. After that, the contractions were faster and more furious, but without training I had to make up my own system for handling the pain. I pretended every contraction was a giant wave and I was surfing it. It really helped!

When her head was stretching my vagina I kept yelling, "It feels like a hot poker and a hot bowling ball! Can't you just get the baby out?!" My doc would say, "I can if I use forceps. Is that whatt you want?" And I would yell, "No! No! Never mind! But it feels like a hot poker and a hot bowling ball!"

My water broke that morning after a sleepless night from the heat, and my daughter was there 4 hours later. (The women in my family are notorious for short childbirths. My mother's shortest, with my sister, was only 45 minutes, which is dangerous to the baby!). I only had a few small tears; nothing requiring stitches.

After my wild taxi adventure and four hour labor and birth, I was all finished before they had a room ready for me so I reclined on the labor table, watching soap operas, and ate two entire trays of lunch while I waited for my room!

When I had my son, it was a C-section and I grieved over it afterward. I didn't feel like I'd actually given birth to him, and really, that feeling has never gone away. I felt we were both cheated somehow, and in a way, so was his dad.

Milana said...

I know this post was written years ago - but I am having a home birth with Jan E. and found your story online :) - very inspiring and encouraging to me. Thank you for sharing.

SumnerRain said...

It was awesome, I still think back and get warm fuzzies 3 1/2 years later. Congratulations on your pregnancy, and I hope you have a wonderful, blessed, peaceful birth at home. <3