The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.
Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy
These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.
A quick recap of my first birth with my son for those of you who don't know. He was born in the hospital with stripped membranes without my consent or knowledge, broken water before labor, pitocin, epidural, episotomy and a 4th degree tear. I think I would describe it as a typical hospital birth and I was mad about it for 2 years. I vowed that the next child's birth would be different and different it was...
On thursday I woke up from a nap and I felt fluid coming out of my yoni, so I thought my water broke. I called my midwife, MM, and she came over to do a nitrazine test because it sounded weird that I only had a bit of water and no gush(I swear I didn't pee, I have excellent bladder control ;-) After the test came up negative and MM left, my 3 1/2 days of prodromal labor began. I had contractions that would catch my attention and I had a difficult time sleeping at night. Sometimes the contractions would scare me at night - probably because I was sleeping and then all of the sudden I was catching my breath and trying to get on top of things.
So those 3 days were spent weeding the garden, going to the pool, mowing the lawn, taking lots of showers and just trying to get something really going with out taking herbs or castor oil. On Saturday night my contractions finally became regular - 5 minutes apart, about 60 seconds long and had to breathe through them. I called MM and her apprentice, AP, and let them know what was going on and to be ready...By 10:00pm there was no change and I went to bed knowing how important it was to rest at this point. I neglected to call MM and tell her that I was going to do this. I ended up sleeping fairly well, and I never felt like it was time to call her to come over, so she and AP spent the whole night in a panic, checking their phones and their pagers wondering why I haven't yet called. I ended up taking a few showers in the middle of the night just to try to relax - I was starting to get quite frustrated.
The next morning, sunday, I called MM and told her that there had been no change and that my husband and son were going to the pool so that I could rest. She suggested I take some calcium and a glass of wine to get some good needed rest. I did exactly that. After about a 90 minutes nap, I had a whopper contraction that scared the shit out of me - again probably because I had been sleeping and it took me by surprise. By this time I had had it. I was so frustrated and upset that I paged my husband and asked him to come home and then I went into the shower and just cried. I cried for about 20 minutes and was still really crying when DH came home and he said that he thought it was time to call MM (2:00pm). I still felt it was premature since my contractions were about 8 minutes apart, but they were strong. I told MM about my concerns and she said, "Well, you know some women just do it that way," and my guilt about having her there too soon just vanished.
So we spent the day assuming I was in labor and just hanging out. Around 6:00pm, MM thought that we should probably call my babysitter for Jacob because he might be the reason why I wasn't really progressing. Around 7:00pm, they left to go to the park and all of the sudden I felt transitiony - I started crying again and shaking uncontrollably - hooray things were picking up! Then they came home...my labor all but stopped. I had one contraction while they were there (about 20 minutes) and I was pissed that I had to do that shaking stuff all over again. Of course when they left (about 8:30pm) that is exactly what happened - I was shaking so bad but I think I was going with it pretty well. I laid down in bed to do some contractions and had my husband pushing my butt together (oh that felt good) and my water broke (8:35pm) - clear with good heart tones (god it is hard to know so much at your own birth!). Here we go - there was no stopping it now.
I did a couple of ctx and felt sort of like pushing, so MM did an exam - I was 6 cm and pissed - I wanted to be more. I did a few more ctx in bed, told MM that this was definitely easier that pit - and I still believe it. I know that pit has its place, but you will probably never hear me say a positive thing about it. I got out of bed knowing that I needed to apply the baby's head to my cervix. Enter transition...
I did every contraction in a different position - in the shower, in the birth tub, in the kitchen, in the hall, on the toilet, back to bed, back to the toilet all the time standing with each contraction, hanging on my wonderful husband, swaying my hips and getting really aggressive with my breathing. I felt like all the anger, frustration, aggression and hate in my body was leaving with each breath - and these intense emotions were really helpful in getting me through this part. I think this is also where I said, "I don't want to do this anymore, I want the baby out." Inside I was thinking, boy that was cliche, but outside I was showing all the signs that this statement was true. Finally my husband went to change out of his bathing suit and I did a contraction on MM - which felt so good, I told her, but it was also accompanied by that good ole uncontrollable urge.
Back to bed to do a quick exam and I had a LIP! Grhhh - I wanted to push so bad, but I had to hold back again. I think it was gone in one contraction, but it felt like 30 minutes - I really focused on melting and I think that is what did it. AP got into place to catch the baby.
I should stop here and say that AP had become a dear friend of mine in this last year. We are both apprentices for midwives who back each other up, we do a study group together and our kids play together. I knew AP had not yet caught a baby, and I felt like mine should be her first. I knew she was ready and I also knew that I was completely comfortable about the fact that she would need instruction in doing so and that did not scare me (like I always think it would scare some clients).
So I pushed on my side for a few contractions and I did not like that at all. I did not like the vulnerability and lack of my control over it, so I told MM that I wanted to sit up. She told me that I might tear a bit if I do that and I said I knew and was fine with it. So I sat up and growled with all my might. My hands started to feel tingly and I wanted a washcloth so that I could completely separate myself from everything else in the room - I did that at my first birth as well. I tried to breathe into the washcloth to get some more CO2, but it wasn't working. MM asked if I would like to have some O2 and I said yes and I think it helped me tremendously. There were decels at the end of each contraction and I was glad to be able to hear and understand the heart tones at this point because I knew that if I gave my baby all my breath that the fht would recover quickly - and that is exactly what happened. A few contractions later (with absolute progress each time) I could feel intense burning on the top and I heard MM say, Ok, 1 more push - so I pushed - Ok one more push again - and I pushed despite no contraction - it took me three pushes to get that head past crowning, but it was finally out. ROA and rotated to the left (strange since he had been LOA almost the entire pregnancy) and then the shoulders and then the body. What relief! I came out of my washcloth shell and look at this incredibly huge child with a very molded head and I couldn't believe it was over - 4 days of labor were finally over. I held him for quite a while before I looked at his gender and it was a boy - my husband and I both knew it before we looked.
So here we are, a beautiful baby boy who looks exactly like his brother except this one has blue eyes at the moment and of course he is about 2 lbs bigger at birth that his brother as well. We are happy, exhausted, thrilled and incredibly positive that homebirth is it. Oh, btw, I had 4 stitches, which compared to the size of the baby and the amount of damage that occurred at my last birth, I was thrilled.
Well, I have poopy diaper, full breasts and a rooting child - I best take care of some of his needs. Hope you enjoyed my birth as much as I did...
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