9 Years ago, at 3:12 AM my smallest baby was born in my first, totally awesome and triumphant homebirth.
I had started my pregnancy seeing a CNM in the hospital. My father, a plastic surgeon, rolled his eyes and said "I suppose that's fine, but you know, SOME people do it at HOME!" "Oh," I quickly and firmly replied, "I would never do THAT!"
I was a La Leche League Leader by then. All my co-leaders had had homebirths. I signed up to take a Bradley class because they all assured me that it would make a huge difference. My Bradley teacher was pregnant with her third... and it would be her third homebirth.
By class three, I was begging PreacherMan to consider it. He very reluctantly agreed to meet the midwife. There was no turning back. Her name was Yolanda. She was a total hippie. I loved her so much. Her office was funkycool with an old psychiatrist couch for an "exam" table, a large carved wooden desk, a bird in a bamboo cage, Aveda's Calming body wash in the bathroom... all wood toys in the waiting room, a rocking chair from Ecudaor, and of course birth art and sculpture everywhere.
She had such a calm and mellow voice. She spent an hour with me at each visit. If she would call and have to cancel an appointment because she was at a birth, I would cry because I didn't get to see her.
I had a wonderful easy pregnancy. I ate an excellent diet, exercised, read everything I could get my hands on and practiced my relaxation every day.
At my home visit, the baby had dropped into my pelvis so deeply that the backs of my legs were going to sleep. She felt around the baby like always and said, "I can see you having a couple more weeks to go!" To which I replied, "NOOOOOO!". I was 38 weeks that day. It was a Friday.
Sunday night, on our way to church, I started feeling pretty regular pressure waves. That's all they were. Pressure. They were every 8 minutes. Through the service they continued. I told my mom afterwards that they were happening, and to be on alert, but that they might stop.
We went home, fed the kids some pizza, I ate a big salad and we put the other kids to bed around 9 pm. I started practicing my relaxation through the waves and made myself a strong cup of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea.
At 10 I decided to squat on the sofa during contractions and see if I couldn't get things going a bit. When I did, I felt a spurt of water during one. I went to the bathroom and there were pieces of green stuff in the fluid. I am still convinced it was meconium although the midwife later said my water was clear. Oh well.
So I called her and she said she wasn't sure if it was water or not, though it sounded like liquid plug, and said to come to her office in the AM if nothing changed. We decided to go to bed and try and rest. PreacherMan was still talking about possibly going out of town in the morning, which was giving me a lot of anxiety.
Around midnight I just couldn't sleep because the waves kept waking me up and I had to pee with every single one. I sat on the toilet for a few, and finally called Yolanda again at 12:30 AM to tell her things were picking up. I asked her if it was going to stop. She asked me if I had to breathe slowly through braxton hicks? I said no, and she assured me it wasn't going to stop, and that the next time I called would be for her to come.
We went downstairs at this point and I gave PreacherMan a whole list of instructions, "Vacuum the family room, get the birth tub ready, get me some chicken soup, start a fire, and put on my music." He said, "What do you want me to do FIRST?" LOL. So I had him vacuum and start a fire. I stood in the kitchen swaying against the counter making a low sound. I told him not to let the sound scare him, that I wasn't in pain, it just felt better to make noise. We called my mom to tell her to come too, knowing we'd need extra hands.
My mom arrived around 1:30 Am. I was really in the thick of it by then, but still, it wasn't painful, just intense. I would get in some really funny positions -- one leg on the floor, one knee on the sofa -- and spent a lot of time on the toilet. At one point, I was kneeling on the floor with my head leaning on my mom's chest. She said, "This is so beautiful. I'm sitting here holding my baby while she's having her baby and there are three generations in this one embrace."
PreacherMan was trying to fill the tub and I was back and forth to the toilet (it was a small half bath with barely room for knees in front of the toilet, a sink immediately to the right of the toilet, and the door opposite the sink). Finally at about 2:30 I realized I had been "serious" for a while. I was vocalizing quite loudly by now and told my mom that she could call Yolanda now. She did and when she said, "Christine says you can come now" Yolanda could hear me bellowing in the background and said, "UH, YEAH!".
I went back to kneeling in front of the sofa. After every contraction I would ask two questions, "Is the tub ready yet?" "no, not quite" and "How long till Yolanda gets here?" "about X minutes". I knew she was about 1/2 hour away.
About 2:50 I knew I would need to push soon and wanted an empty bladder, so I went to the toilet. I sat down and the first contraction led to a huge GRUNT as my body bore down. PreacherMan and my mom started flailing around in the hall saying "Don't push! Yolanda's not here yet!" LOL.
10 minutes later, Yolanda ran in the door. She got out her doppler, which she never had time to use, and put on a pair of gloves. I wanted to be checked to make sure it was really time to push. Silly, really, looking back on it! Yolanda came in the bathroom and sat on a little booster between my feet. I was hollering, "She better check me now!" She checked and looked at me so calmly and serenely said, "ok." "I can PUSH????" "ok."
She asked me "Where do you want to be?" I answered with a very big voice, "NOT HERE". She said, "Ok. After the next contraction, we'll move to the family room."
there was no after the next contraction. It became clear the baby was coming right there, over the toilet. Yolanda suggested I scoot back for the head and that I would stand for the body. I pushed her head out. There it was! PreacherMan leaned in so I could put one arm around his shoulder. With the other hand, I pulled on the towel bar, which yanked out of the wall and crashed to the floor. I braced that hand in the corner of the bathroom wall instead and puuuuuushed my baby out.
Oh, Lord, was it fabulous. She was perfect. She cried right away! She was pink and perfect! And I had done it. It was 3:12 AM. She weighed 7 lb 2 oz. My smallest baby!
What a glorious and empowering birth. I was King of the World after that one and knew that there was nothing I couldn't do.
My Sweet Violet is such a tender, sensitive and creative soul. A stern look will cause her to burst into tears. She just wants to be an artist, take care of her baby dolls and dance through life.