Saturday, June 20th, I was feeling radiant. Hot and exhausted. But Radiant all the same! I took my 5 year old daughter to a birthday party, at which nearly everyone asked when the baby was due (of course). I responded to almost everyone who asked~ “ last Wednesday, but I’m having the baby tomorrow.” I was ready. It just seemed right that the baby should come. My best friend had been telling me for months that the baby would be born on her birthday (June 21st). Anyway, we left the birthday party and went to a cookout at my folks place where I picked a bunch of green beans and continued to insinuate that the baby would be born tomorrow. “Bye, see you at the pool tomorrow unless I’m having a baby!”
2:30 am, June 21st I awoke to my usual extreme urge to pee. It was a pretty intense pee though. Hmmm… 4:30 am I awoke again for another usual urge to pee. This time it was obvious though that it was more than that. It was very uncomfortable to squat and there was no pee! HOORAY!!! I had my birth ball already in the bedroom and started right away hugging it in a kneeling position. The first few hours of gentle labor were enjoyable. I stayed in the dimly lit bedroom with my ball while my partner, Matt, called Debbie to let her know that the baby was on its way. He ran downstairs to get water and mango for me and a stopwatch and paper for him to time the contractions. He really gets into it and is very precise and attentive! During the next 2 or 3 hours, I had probably 5 good bowel movements (guess I can forgo the enema that I thought I would need!)
Around 8am, Debbie and Tanya arrived and I could feel my consistent labor slow and stall a little. Relax, I told myself and within a very short time, labor resumed and continued to be regular and contractions became stronger and more intense. Closing my eyes, I could melt into the sensations of the coming birth that I would soon give. I felt as though I was going into the womb with my baby…a place of calm and repose amidst the intensity of labor. When Debbie first checked me I had already dilated to 7cm”! There was another slight stall when my parents arrived. Matt was busy tidying up the sunny room where we found ourselves while running to my side whenever there was a contraction…He quickly got the pool ready and I got in as soon as I could. Ahh…The warm water felt so comforting.
As the contractions became stronger, my back began to cause more pain than I had ever imagined possible! Later I learned that baby had her elbow in my spine on her way through and was causing my tail bone to move more than a normal birth. Back Labor! We tried so many things to ease the pain. Different positions, in the water, out of the water, I tried to walk, stand through a contraction, Debbie and Tanya tried putting heavy pressure on my low back during contractions. That seemed to help for a little while but the pain just grew more and more unbearable. Then I started to feel hopeless and I even started to feel the need to be numbed~ physically. I thought, if my back would just stop hurting, then I could focus on pushing. It seemed impossible to expect my body to deal with any other action at that moment. Again, I tried to go inside and tell myself to just deal with it. After all, it won’t last forever. Debbie was very re-assuring and encouraging~ always telling me how great I was doing, she would say: “That was great progress, Rachael” and I would feel a little like a pro. Matt also was very helpful and loving during the experience. “You’re doing great! You’re so amazing! Wow, you look beautiful! You’re doing it!”
At last, I was able to get into a comfortable squatting position on the birth stool and I really started feeling that pushing urge. The head was now visible and you could see the baby’s dark, thick hair. With my mama behind me, Kaia (the 5year old) buzzing around the room (and later filming the birth), and Debbie and Matt in front, I pushed and pushed, groaned, growled, grunted and moaned. Soon, I felt a fire between my legs and knew that the baby was crowning. Wow. What a burn! I remember feeling at the end of my rope and saying that I couldn’t do it, to which was replied “you ARE doing it”. Of course, I knew that. “Just take it out!” I pleaded with Debbie, thinking at that moment in time that she actually may be able to do just that. No need though. Within the next five minutes, I had pushed hard enough to deliver the entire head and we could see our baby’s face. Another 2 or 3 good pushes and the entire body slithered out into Matt’s and Debbie’s hands and right into my arms! Matt laughed blissfully followed by Kaia’s laughter and my whimper of relief. This was my first Vaginal Delivery and I felt that I had been waiting for this experience since the first one turned into a c-section. I feel renewed and resolved, at last. This birth has given me new life and I am very grateful and fortunate to have had the experience, and to have had it in the comforts of home and with confident and kind people helping me.
We didn’t know the sex of the baby until about 10-15 minutes after she was born, when we were finally able to take our eyes off of her enchanting face to look between her legs! Another strong, beautiful daughter : ) She is thriving and growing and is, for the most part, calm and happy and is always very, very loved!