October 2013, a positive pregnancy test.
I get excited in spite of myself.
Week after week there is growth,
Still no heartbeat.
I deliver a perfect little one inch human.
My Next Pregnancy Journey
That was to be my last birth story. I had experienced too much loss, too much pain. Fertility treatments, never resulting in anything more than 2 lines on a stick. I had found a passion in my schooling, plans for graduate school, goals to help women, infants, and children, with developmental psychology. We decide to be happy as parents of one child, joy in what that life will look like. October 2014, I have a dream of taking a pregnancy test, and it being positive. I know I cannot get pregnant without medical intervention. I am shocked to see two lines when I take the test in reality. A second test confirms what I see. I call my husband scared to death of reliving the previous year. We protect ourselves. Saying we will wait to see the results of two quantitative HCG tests. Nothing is set in stone until there is a heartbeat. Just a few days after the first two lines, we see a tiny flutter on an ultrasound machine- a heartbeat.
One of the first things I request of my husband is that we have a homebirth. He agrees. We chose to stay with our OBGYN, and hire a midwife as well, that way we can get my high risk prenatal care, but have the homebirth my heart craves. It is good I had both kinds of providers. I needed the emotional care from a midwife. I required the medical care of an OBGYN. From day one until around 27 weeks, I was throwing up so much I was losing weight. At 26 weeks, I was put on bed rest for dehydration, preterm labor, and several nutrient deficiencies. I tried to take things slow, but life is busy and I found my body being over taxed repeatedly. I couldn’t even grocery shop; by the end of the pregnancy we were using a wheel chair so that I could still be involved with my family. In the end I started to develop pre-eclampsia and it was time to meet my daughter. Every moment of suffering was worth it. Holding my little girl has changed my life. My son’s birth set me on the path that will help me change other people’s lives. My daughter’s birth showed me I have the power to face insurmountable challenges.
Around 9 am on May 22nd my Midwife Jennee arrived at my house to get the birth going. A few days before, when I saw my obgyn, we tried to do a membrane sweep, but I was barely a 1. She used some midwife tricks to help my cervix to dilate and get my contractions going. Jennee ran to the store and I was left alone at my home. Derek, my husband, was running Dungeons and Dragons at a Science fiction/fantasy Convention; where I was supposed to be all weekend as well. Our son was at my parent’s house for the weekend; this was prearranged thinking that he would have more fun with them than being at a hotel convention all weekend, little did we know baby would come at that time. With contractions being easy to manage, I bounced on the birth ball while reading. Around 11 I decided I wanted company and called my friend Mekale to join me. I was the doula at the birth of her fourth child, and she wants to be a doula someday. I was very grateful ‘Kale was around. She is at my home often enough that she knows where everything is and could run things when my answer to questions were grunts. We watched some movies and ate popcorn to pass the time. At noon Jennee check my progress, I was at a two. As this tale continues you will notice a trend, after each person shows up, I progress more.
My mother was the next to arrive. She came with an Amazon box full of the last few items I needed, including plastic sheeting and sheets I didn’t mind throwing away. They made my bed and we sat around talking. Cara (photographer) and Katie (doula) showed up next. We did pressure point, light touch massage, and counter pressure. This first circle of women helped me talk to my body and let it know that it was okay to release the baby now. I had spent the last 9 months telling my body to hold onto the baby, so it took some convincing.
During my last cervical check Jennee and I discussed that we would break my water when I reached a 4. We could tell there was a cushion of water preventing baby’s head from fully engaging. After talking with my body, and the safety of this circle of women, I was a 4 at the next exam.
Breaking my water was just what my body needed. I grew-up with stories of my mother having babies within an hour or two of having her water broken. I followed in her footsteps. I spent some time in the restroom alone during this next level of intensity. As I left the bathroom I used the counter for support. Katie, proved her doula worth, as she did hip press in the smallest space available. During this point my son, who was with my father an hour away, was crying that he needed to be with me. My Dad was asking me to Skype to R2 (my son). My response to the request was something like “I am too busy to talk right now.” My father and son were told baby was coming soon, and the loaded up the car.
Things started getting more intense. I could not find a place I was comfortable I tried dancing, the ball, the bed, the floor, nowhere seemed right.
The level of intensity brought me back to the bedroom to be checked again. Remember how my water was broken at a 4? Well now I was a whole 5… This was the low point of my birth. I didn’t think I could do it anymore. Looking back I know why I was still at a 5, no more people showed up yet. I started to hurt, but not because it was intense, but because my daughter was elbowing me with each contraction. I started to panic. I begged my mom, with my eyes, to get me to a hospital for drugs. She did not get that message; she just thought I was focusing on her. My midwife reminded me that it would be painful and that was okay. Two things happened at once that helped me progress. My midwife’s assistant looked me in the eyes and told me “You are keeping the baby where it hurts. If you push her down, it will stop hurting.” This was exactly what I needed to hear. I started grunting baby down. She empowered me to be the loud birth warrior that I needed to be. The second thing was Sarah, my videographer, showed up.
I hid in the bathroom with my mom. I spent some time laboring on the toilet, it helped, but wasn’t exactly what I needed. I ended up in the tub, somewhere I didn’t expect to be, I did not want a water birth.
While in the tub, I held my belly up and said over, and over, “down baby down, down.” I had tapped into my primal self; and have never felt more powerful. Holding my belly helped move baby through my pelvis. Jennee checked me and I was a 7, but I only vaguely remember this because I was so within myself. I told my mom to get Derek to the house; she told me he was on his way. Luckily, my father called Derek and told him to get home from a local Convention as my father and son started their drive here. When I saw my husband, I shouted a primal cry that changed half way through to something that told us baby was coming. I told everyone that I felt the ring of fire. Oh should mention it wasn’t 10 minutes since I was checked at only a 7. My husband lifted the showed doors off and then lifted me from the tub. I put my arms around him, and surrendered to his strength. I heard my son and father in the other room, and knew I could have the baby now.
Walking the 20 feet to the bed I had one thought, “I totally need to poop, it is just the baby, but it feels like poop.” It was decided that I would be on the bed to help baby if she had should dystocia like my son did. There was such an urge to push. I reached down and felt the hair on my daughters head, and resisted pushing. I did not want to tear. I felt my body stretch and would push just a small amount at a time. Once the shoulders were out baby we placed he on my chest.
Breastfeeding came right away and was very easy.
R2 gets to meet his sister.
She was born at home, in the room where her grandmother passed away. I was surrounded by angles, both physical and spiritual. She was a surprise blessing that brought more healing than I could have ever imagined.