Birth Story Retold

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

I realize I have told this story once before, but I feel that at the time I wrote it I was mostly telling it as a sequence of events instead of a profound life experience for both myself and Eleanor. I believe that there are a few reasons it came out like this; one is because well, I was busy with a newborn (I'm still plenty busy with a 4 month old, just not in quite the same new mom/two people getting to know each other way) and didn't write more than 2 sentences at a time. The second is that I don't think I gave myself enough time to process and reflect on our (I say our because I believe that birth is something mom and baby do together) birth before I wrote it down.

My entire pregnancy I was excited, not just excited ecstatic. Finally I was carrying the baby I had been waiting for. My little miracle. I knew from the beginning I wanted a natural birth and originally planned to birth in the hospital, this was all I really knew at the time. I had never known anyone who gave birth at home, or who had even considered the option. I had however been on several online forums during my IVF journey and had come across the idea of hiring a doula, this appealed to me and the more I researched (I am always researching something) it the more convinced I became that it was what I wanted. So we got recommendations found a doula we liked and hired her. Then the more I thought about birth and the more OB appointments we went to, I realized that I wasn't getting the type of care I really believed in. I also realized I wanted a more peaceful birth for my baby than what I felt I would get in a hospital. I had a new research topic, home birth.

It was scary to think about at first but as I researched and read personal stories I started to believe that this really was something I was interested in doing. We talked to and met with midwives and then made the jump. Some people told me I was crazy, some people told me I was brave, all I knew was that I felt I was making the best decision for myself and the precious little miracle I was carrying. I didn't want to be told how to give birth to my baby, because I felt that birth was something we would instinctively know how to handle. From the time I switched forward I was much less anxious about giving birth. We started taking a natural birthing class and going to midwife appointments instead of OB appointments. It felt like things were falling into place.

As I got closer to my due date people kept asking me how I was feeling, if I was uncomfortable yet, if I was just ready to have this baby already. I was never quite sure how to answer because yes I was excited to meet my baby but I was enjoying my pregnancy. I wasn't uncomfortable, I was feeling fine, I was still doing most of the things I had been doing at the beginning of my pregnancy. I was enjoying the feeling of having this little being growing inside of me and the connectedness we shared. I was excited to meet my baby but I was also patient and trusting that my baby would come when ready and that only baby could know when the right time was.

About 2 weeks before my due date I started feeling like baby was telling me to prepare myself because she(I am going to reference her being a girl even though I didn't know that at the time) was starting to prepare herself for an appearance. I knew it would probably still be awhile but I also felt I needed to start facing any fears I might have so that they wouldn't slow my labor down. The thing I felt would hold me back the most was that I enjoyed carrying her inside of me and felt like I had enjoyed being pregnant so much that I would miss it or that during labor this would keep me from opening and letting go of her. So I concentrated on accepting that our relationship would be different once she was in the outside world. I also concentrated on looking inside myself to see whether there were any other fears hidden inside that I needed to face. I continued walking, Yoga, gardening and meditation. I worked on the baby room and waited.

The day of I went into labor Daron and I walked the dogs to my mom's, we went to Menards, we went to Farm and Fleet. I was having contractions the whole time but I really thought nothing of it. It was enough that we timed them, but they weren't bothering me and I didn't really pay attention to them. I still knew she was telling me she was coming soon, and I felt ready. I felt ready to give birth whenever she decided she was ready to make her appearance so I carried on with life and trusted my body. When I realized later that night that this might be the real thing I was feeling both nervous and excited. I knew it could take awhile though so I still concentrated on patience and acceptance. As I labored and came to the conclusion this really was the real thing I progressed into confidence, I was no longer nervous this was totally doable and I was most definitely doing it. I can look back now and see when I entered "labor land" as many call it.

 My body was working hard but my mind was calm and peaceful, I could feel that my baby and I were working together at this and that we were making an awesome team. I felt the need to vocalize and tried to concentrate on keeping it a deep sound. When I started feeling the urge to push I resisted for awhile, then when there was no way I could resist anymore I gave in and it felt good to give in. It didn't even really register to me at that point that this baby might come before my midwife made it to my house, I just trusted that things would work out. I remember a point while I was on my bed pushing where I felt like I couldn't do it anymore, I just kept saying out loud, "we can do this, come on baby we can do this!". When I was able to get in the water relief washed over me and then as I realized my baby was crowning I felt the pain, but I knew we were almost there. I felt a strength that I never knew I had before, I was proud of myself. I realized I was about to meet my baby.

Then she was out, Karen the nurse was telling me to go ahead and pick my baby up out of the water as I reached toward her. I picked her up and I was instantly amazed. She was beautiful, I fell in love instantly with the tiny baby in my arms. I loved her more than I ever would have imagined I could. My exclamation of "Look what we made!" described exactly the amazement I was feeling at the time. I loved her before I even knew she was a she. Perfect in every way. The rest is sort of blur as I birthed the placenta and got stitched up, I just know that I was indescribably happy. I was meeting and already getting to know this little baby. All I could do was stare at her she was and still is so incredibly amazing to me.

While I believe that the story I told the first time around needed to be told. This is my real birth story, this is what I want to remember when I look back. The emotions and the feelings, the strength I found. The real journey to becoming a mother, a birth that both my baby and I worked together to make happen. After it all, I don't think i'm crazy, I don't think I was brave. I think I was just confident, confident that birth was something I knew how to do. Confident to choose what for myself and this baby was the right thing to choose to give this baby the calm and welcoming start I wanted her to have in life.


Jules said...

What a lovely story. I'm so glad everything went well and she and you had a peaceful and healthy birth experience!

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