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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Avalon's Home Waterbirth

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Two years ago, I was blessed with the ability to give birth at home. It’s not for everyone, and not everyone that wants to do it, can…but I fell into the category allowing me the opportunity to do so. I hadn’t even considered home birthing until I was 7 months pregnant. A couple of my friends had done it and I thought they were amazing, strong, daring, and absolutely insane. (Love you Erin and Kelly.)

My Husband had been working out of state from February 6, 2011 to May 1, 2011. When he left in February, I was already 20 wks pregnant. I was receiving exceptional o.b. care with the same doctor I had been with throughout my 1st pregnancy in 2005-2006. Around April though, I bought the book “Natural Childbirth the Bradley Way: Revised Edition”. It was so fascinating, that I read it in 1 whole day and kept re-reading it until my honey got home from Virginia. It is all about Husband-coached labor, how the husband is your advocate to keep as much medical and medicinal intervention out of your “natural birth” as possible, and how to labor in such a relaxed state that you save energy for the pushing. The book also stated, that if you want to have a TRULY natural childbirth, then you need to stay out of the hospital. I had a moment where I dreamed that would be possible, but I quickly brushed it aside because I knew my husband would never go along with home birthing.

For the past 7 months, I had been worrying myself utterly sick about every possible thing that could go wrong with this birth. My first birthing experience was everything BUT what I had planned for. I wanted the no-drugs, “natural” birth. I had my birth plan all diligently written out, everything in perfect order. Needless to say, that did not happen. On her birthday, I will write her birth story.

He arrived home on May 1st. We took a 7 day camping trip (at 7 months pregnant, sleeping on the ground sucks, by the way), came home, I had him read the book and he took his time doing so. He didn’t think it was that urgent so he only read a chapter here and there. One night though, on May 15th, he slapped the book down on the bed and said “Fire your Doctor. Hire a Midwife. We need to have our baby right here.” I looked up at him in utter disbelief, with a smile slowly creeping across my face and said “First thing in the morning”, secretly screaming “YES!” in my head. The next day, I called my doctor’s office to cancel all my upcoming appointments. I thanked them for the fabulous care in the past and said I was deciding to have my baby at home instead. They weren’t happy, but I didn’t care. For the first time in 7 months, I felt free. I felt like the entire world was lifted off my shoulders and this was what I needed to do. It felt…right. I hired the most amazing midwife, that day, after talking to several on the phone. She just seemed…right, also.

I had my first appointment with her the next day. Just a month and a week later (3 or 4 appointments total with her) my water started leaking. Wednesday, June 22, 2011, I leaned over to grab something and a small gush of water came out. I got super excited…except it was 3 1/2 weeks still to my due date. I called the midwife, and asked if we should be concerned…maybe this is just my lot in life. My 1st born was early term, born at 37+0 & she was 6lbs 2oz. My midwife said it would be ok, that my membranes would most likely seal back over and to go about my normal business. So, just in case, I headed to Sam’s to stock up on birthing supplies. Chucks, pads, shower curtains for the bed, at a local thrift store I bought several crappy receiving blankets, and sheets and bedding. I got home, washed everything and started preparing my home for the birth. I knew she was coming. I wasn’t in labor, but my water was still gushing out in small spurts anytime I twisted, bent, coughed or anything. I was drinking insane amounts of water also, to replenish what I was losing of the amniotic fluid.

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My Mom was out of town taking care of my Grandma in Illinois, but 3 days before my water started leaking she saw 3 signs that told her Cindy was coming early. She started preparing and headed home Friday morning. My Mother-in-law came over to clean my bathtub hardcore for me. She scrubbed and scrubbed that tub with bleach until it sparkled. Then, after she rinsed it out thoroughly, she started cleaning it with a bathtub cleaner that was ammonia based. For some reason, it wasn’t enough rinsing and the toxic gas cloud that was released was slowly making itself throughout our apartment. She kept cleaning, not realizing its level of toxicity. My Husband rushed in there, yelled at MHG and I to go outside, grabbed his Mom and led her outside, opened all the windows, turned on all the fans and aired the apartment out. Later that evening, she had to go to the E.R. for chemical burns on her lungs and was bed-ridden for about a week. She’s never really been the same since when it comes to her breathing. I appreciated what she did to clean the tub, but I was absolutely terrified to lose her the day my daughter was going to be born.

I spent the next 66 hours leaking amniotic fluid and not in labor. By Friday, June 24, my midwife was starting to discuss my “options”. She was so kind and compassionate, but all I was hearing was “we would have to go to the hospital”…and at that point I knew it would be game over. We were a few days from 37 weeks...so I knew she would be a guaranteed NICU baby. If my doctor heard how long I had been waiting, I would have been sent straight to the O.R. for a c-section…my biggest fear. Then my midwife said something I’ll never forget. “Drink a glass of wine tonight after you go for a walk with your husband and daughter. It’ll relax you enough that you can finally get some sleep.” I hadn’t slept since Wednesday, because I was too excited. So, I went for a brisk, hour long walk with my family, came home and drank a glass of red wine at 10pm. I fell asleep for one hour and woke up with contractions.

From 11pm to 2am, I started to relax and prepare for what was to come. The contractions were getting intense, but I could still handle them with grace and ease. I didn't hit Active Labor until around 2am. At 2 am, I couldn’t walk around anymore, it was time to kick these contractions butts and in order to do that, I needed to get to bed. At the same time I headed to bed, my Mother AND Midwife both arrived in the parking lot. My midwife came from across town, my Mother on the other hand, spent 18 hours straight driving back here from Illinois. She did amazing and got here in the knick of time. She was here to help keep Faye calm.

My midwife and I decided against checking to see how dilated I was. That’s when you introduce bacteria, and I didn’t want go there. I knew I was far, but still had some more to go. She laid down and drifted in and out of sleep on my couch. My Mom and Daughter went back to sleep in her room with the door shut, and my Husband and I laid down on my bed. He’ll tell you he never went to sleep, but at one point he was snoring, Goddess love him. That’s how quiet I labored. Everyone was sleeping in my house. I laid on my side, going through hot and cold flashes, @ 2 am I forgot to mention that I threw up 3 times, and looking back now I’m wondering if I prolonged stage 3 labor for hours just to muster up the strength to push?

Anyways, from 2 am to about 4:30 am I quietly labored away. At one point my Midwife came in to check on me because she thought my labor had stopped and I was sleeping, I broke concentration to tell her I was in fact quite occupied laboring and by doing so, I lost control and let out a yelp. She excused herself from the room, and I re-focused on my goal. The way I was able to labor silently, was to Yogi breath. Ujjayi breathing definitely paid off. I was meditating the entire time as well. I acknowledged that my uterus is a muscle, and it was doing its job marvelously. When I wouldn’t fight it, it didn’t hurt AS much, but it still hurt quite a bit. Every time a contraction started, I would visualize myself walking down a long, dark hallway and at the end of the hallway was a door. The door was closed but it had the most brilliant blue light penetrating the cracks around it. After my contraction peaked and started to subside, I would finally get my hand on the doorknob to the door. I would open the door and see myself holding my baby…(which ironically enough, looked IDENTICAL to her). At that point, the contraction would be over, I would have 30 seconds to recover, the next contraction would return, and I would do it all over again.

At 4:30, I sat up in bed, told my husband it’s time and to add the water to the bathtub. (I was determined to have a water birth.) He added the water and I waddled in excruciating pain to the bathroom. I sat down in the tub, acclimated to the water and took a big breath and pushed.

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It was an intense and hard and long push and it hurt like a b****. I couldn’t push again for another 15 minutes. I was internally cursing myself for not sleeping for days straight. If I had, I would’ve been able to push her out in seconds, but alas, everything happens for a reason. I pushed, waited another 15 minutes and this time, I pushed while letting out a much needed, healthy guttural yell. I stopped, and said something along the lines of I can’t do this, I wanna stop, blah blah blah, and my midwife said I had one push left. I reached my hand down and I could feel my baby’s head. It was only about the size of a quarter though, and I told her she was crazy. She said, one more push and that baby was going to be out. I had her get my Mom and Daughter, and once they came in, I gave one more push. My poor Daughter was crying because she didn’t like to see me in such pain, and at only 5 years old, it was hard for her to understand what was happening to me. She tried to leave the room, but Grandma held her tight, and out the baby’s head popped!

I breathed a sigh of relief, my Daughter stopped crying, and waited with the rest of the room in anticipation. I was so relieved, that I forgot I still had to push the rest of her out! I gave the last push about a minute later. Out she came, slowly and gracefully, and my Husband was the first person to touch her. He gently pulled her out of the water, then placed her on my chest. She was beautiful and pink and wasn’t crying. Her eyes were wide open and taking in her surroundings. At this point everyone is smiling and relieved and my daughter crying tears of joy. Our little Avalon has finally been born.

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All of sudden, she started to turn grey. My heart tried to jump out of my chest! My midwife grabbed her, accordianed her legs into her chest a couple times, she spewed out some extra amniotic fluid and THEN she let out a ridiculously strong, hearty and LOUD cry. She pinked right up, and from that point on, she had no more issues. My own breathing & heart rate returned to normal.

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I stood up, holding her to me, the cord still in tact, and made my way to my room. I laid down on the bed, and after an hour I gave birth to the placenta. We placed it in a ziplock baggie at my side so she could stay attached to it for another hour. (Once it turned white, it was no longer needed.) Meanwhile, my midwife did her tests and exams on her and then Nic cut the cord.

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our girls 3 of em

I held her to my chest and started to nurse her. From that first nursing session, the kid was a freaking pro.

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She was born Saturday, June 25, at 5:25 am. She weighed in at 5lbs 6oz, and was 18 3/4 inches long. My Midwife had determined, after doing her assessment of her, that my OB & I had been off on my estimated conception date. Avalon had been born at 35 weeks & 4 days. That means, that I just gave birth to a perfectly healthy, premature baby...at home. I was lucky. I realized then, that THAT had been the reason why my gut was telling me all along to switch to a homebirth. There would have been so many unnecessary medical interventions for she & I, had she been born in the hospital, that Goddess only knows what would've happened. My brown haired, steel-blue eyed girl, came peacefully into this world, and my life would never be the same again.

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She is an incredibly independent little girl that likes to take her time figuring out what she wants out of life, but once she makes up her mind, she attacks it with all the ferocity in the world. After all, she is a Cancer (astrological sign). I love my children and I can’t believe that 2 years has already flown by. There are so many special memories I have with my baby girl, but I’ve already written a book.

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So here’s to you little miss. You are the Moon in my dark sky, you are the first sun rays in the morning and you are the song in the wind. I love you with all my heart and I thank Goddess everyday for bringing you into my life. You and your sister are the greatest things to ever happen to me (aside from marrying your beautiful Father, of course). I love the sparkles in your eyes and the sound of our laugh. I love how you love me with unfailing loyalty. When you throw your arms around me tight, knock me backwards and sprawl your body out on me, saying “Mama, Mama, Mama” you absolutely melt my heart. I spent 2 years nursing you and nursing our bond and though you are my little barnacle baby, it was all worth it. I know that you love me with a fierceness that cannot be described, and every month that went by that I swear I just sat on my couch and either held you or nursed you, was another month proving to you how much I love you, too, and that I’ll always be there for you.

Your daddy loves you with complete reckless abandon, as well. He missed your first birthday last year, because he had just come to Virginia to support us, and he wasn’t allowed to leave. It completely crushed him. He is so grateful to be with you for your birthday this year. He had vowed that if for some reason we couldn’t join him in Virginia, he refused to miss any more of your birthdays. He loves you and your sister with all his heart. We love you baby girl. Happy 2nd Birthday!!!

2nd Bday