As pregnant women in the US we are bombarded with negative images/stories/ideas on birth and how scary and horribly painful it is. In truth though, childbirth is a wonderful thing. There can be complications, but a trained midwife or OB can detect those kinds of things ahead of time to prepare for them and/or know to go to the hospital. The majority of births are complication free and should be totally natural.
I feel so strongly about home birth/natural birth. I had a wonderful birth with Nora and I look forward to the birth of every child Eric and I are blessed with because it was a peaceful, cozy, absolutely beautiful, empowering, and most memorable experience. Which brings me to my next point. As I said, child birth/labor is painful, and that is what most everyone remembers(and tells everyone) most about their births, but however weird it may seem or sound, what I remember is this: How wonderfully weird it felt when Nora squirmed her arms and legs out of my abdomen and how peaceful and serene everything felt the moment she was born (and the days after) and the immense joy on Eric’s face as he looked at her and me.
The Story of Nora’s Birth, as I remember it: December 9th 2010
I was at dad’s office for an adjustment. I realized I was definitely in labor around 7pm on December 8th. I went home and waited for Eric to get home from work. Mum came over. Then Monica. Eric got home. He called Wendy and told her to head over. At this point (probably 8:30…9ish) the contractions were at the point where I did not want to talk or move or anything. I laid in bed with Eric and he held me and let me squash his hands and arms until each one passed. After this point I eventually kind of went it to a half sleep mode(Wendy later told me it was “birth Heidi” 🙂 ). I remember being in the shower for a little bit (per mum’s suggestion) to help with the pain, but I just remember feeling tired and ready, like I knew I was in charge of what was happening even though I couldn’t control it. Eric sat on the toilet next to me for silent support(he later told me he felt so helpless, poor guy). Then I remember telling him to get Wendy because I thought that Nora was going to come soon. She tried pressing on my back to help with the back labor. I got out of the shower and sat on the toilet for a bit. I could feel the amniotic sac out of my body. So cool. I got in the birth tub (best thing ever! warm water) and the contractions slowed a little bit. I felt the pushing urge so every contraction, I did. At this point I was so tired I was falling asleep in between each contraction. I think it was probably around 11:45pm because I remember Wendy telling me at one point I had 10 minutes to push her out if I wanted her born on the 8th (the 9th is my stepmother’s birthday and I didn’t want her to share a birthday, but oh well :P). Either Eric or Wendy (they were the only people in the house. I had banished everyone else to their cars) got me a cold washcloth for my head and I remember that feeling wonderful. As well as cold water to drink. For what seemed like a while (ended up being a little over and hour) I pushed and pushed through each contraction until Nora’s head was crowning and I was exhausted. Eric told me later, her head stayed there for 10 minutes! Now this, this is the feeling/part I remember most vividly, I finally pushed, probably two different pushes, and her head was out and then the feeling of her arms and legs moving in my abdomen as she came out was like nothing I could have ever imagined or describe. It was like this super fast wiggly wiggly. Wendy quickly took the sac off of her(waters never broke during labor) and Eric scooped her out of the water and she was in my arms! It was nuts! I can’t even describe how wonderful the feeling was… At that point, everything was silence and blur except Nora, Eric, and me (she was born at 12:54am Dec 9th 2010) I stayed in the tub for quite awhile nursing and relaxing. She was so wonderful I couldn’t believe it. We went to our bed for Wendy to check me and Nora. Then we took our herbal bath and she relaxed and nursed. We went back to the bed and Mum brought us food and Wendy’s assistant brought coffee(which I realized in the morning that I never drank) and water. We were so cozy. We went all went to sleep.
The story of Josephine’s Birth, as I remember it: October 14th 2012
(A quick comparison, aside of the obvious in the story, to Nora’s birth. I felt much more alert and aware for Jo’s birth. Probably because it was so quick. I didn’t have time to get into birth mode except at the very end.)
Eric, Nora and I went to get some groceries. One the way home Eric asked what I thought about this little babe and when they might arrive. I told him I didn’t know but I’d say it seemed either very soon or in a couple weeks but not in between. We arrived back home(mum’s house). Eric carried a sleeping Nora to the bed and we put away the groceries. We hung out for a bit and went to sleep. I woke(slightly) around 11pm and thought “hm..maybe baby” and went back to sleep for a few minutes. I woke again and began timing the contractions on my phone while in bed. I timed about five and decided to get up and text Wendy. I went to the bathroom (had diarrhea and was a bit worried as that didn’t happen in labor with Nora). I called Wendy. She assured me by bowels were simply preparing for birth. We talked for a minute and hung up. We texted back and forth a few times about the timing of the contractions and how I felt. She decided to get going and head out. I don’t remember exactly when I realized I should wake Eric, but I did. Probably around 11:30ish. I told him Wendy was on her way. He was confused as to why I had not woken him until then. I guess I figured he should get some sleep. I also probably figured we had at least a few hours to go… I walked around, pausing for each contraction. I was leaning on a cabinet breathing through, a gush of warm water soaked through my pajama pants and trickled down my legs. I asked Eric to bring me a new pair of underwear. I noticed that Wendy had arrived (this was around 1am). He brought the underwear to me and I realized that there was no point in putting them on. I set them down on the cabinet. I continued to walk around the dining room breathing and swaying through each contraction. I went to the living room and sat on the couch through a few contractions. I slopped down to the floor to my hands and knees. I asked Eric for pillows. He brought them. I remember seeing Eric and Wendy setting up the pool in the dining room, just for a brief moment (I was in birth mode now). All I knew was what my body was doing. Wendy came over to see how I was doing. I was pushing. It was involuntary and strong. Wendy called Eric to come and leave the pool. He did. I believe I pushed …maybe five times..maybe. My body just did it all. I felt the burn and thought I really wanted to be done. It was so intense. My body pushed and babe was born(1:35am Oct 14th 2012). It was so quick and so strong and our babe was here. Wendy passed her between my legs. They were very shaky. I held our sweet babe. Eric asked if we had a boy or a girl..I hadn’t thought to check. She was wonderful and squishy. Tiny and precious. We sat in aw for awhile, she nursed. And then we thought we should wake mum. Eric went to tell her. She came out to the living room sleepy and shocked that she had not woken earlier and that there was a new life in the room. Eric cut our cord. We went to the tub for our bath. It was lovely. She nestled in my chest and slept. Eric and I just stared at her. New life is so unbelievably, indescribably wonderful. We basked in that wonder. We dried off and got in bed. Wendy checked us out. Weighed and measured. Pushed and squished. We nursed and went to sleep. The next morning Nora woke to a new sister in the bed.