This is the birth of my daughter, Maude Violet, who was born at home.
wow...where to begin?
it seems crazy that just a little over 24 hours ago, our sweet little girl was inside my tummy and now she is here! i am falling in love with her even more every second...she is so darling!
maude's birth story really begins with max's birth - in short, although max's birth was a beautiful and amazing experience, i knew i wanted to do it differently this time. i knew i for sure wanted to give birth naturally, without any drugs. when i first found out i was pregnant again, i decided to hire a doula to help me with the natural birth in a hospital. however, as my pregnancy progressed, i started researching more and more, and ultimately decided at 32 weeks (after months of research and prayer) to have her at home. it felt like such a right decision and i felt so peaceful about making it. everything totally fell into place. i knew everything would be okay.
on saturday morning, december 26th, i woke up with lots of crampy contractions that were about 10 minutes apart. by midday i was thinking that surely this was labor...because when i went into labor with max, that is exactly how it felt! we went for a long walk and i called my parents to let them know that i was maybe in labor. i kept them updated throughout the day and although my contractions were not really getting stronger, they decided to hop in the car and drive down so as to hopefully not miss her birth. they even drove straight through the night (17 hours) from boise to mesa to get here. we were very touched that they would do that! my midwife met me at target on saturday night and gave me some herbs to take that would help my body get going (if it was time). i took them about 4 times (and man they were disgusting!) and my contractions picked up around 10:30 pm. i labored until about 2:00 am and then, since they weren't getting stronger, i just decided to go to bed. we had the house all prepared - nice and spotless, and everything ready, in case it was time. i was a bit disappointed to wake up at 6:30 am on sunday morning and realize that nothing had changed...and actually, that my contractions were gone! i was really trying not to get my hopes up but after laboring that night, i felt like it was for sure the real deal.
we went on a nice walk sunday morning but still not many contractions. we also went to church, but then i came home early because i was so tired and just wanted to rest. i didn't get a nap though because max wouldn't go down for a nap! so, instead, i just hung out with my parents and waited for trav to come home. my midwife came over to check me because i sort of felt like i could feel something bulging into my vagina - we just wanted to be careful, especially because the baby was sooooo low (her bum was half way down my tummy - she was super engaged and just ready to come!). her heart tones looked good and my cervix was at 4.5 centimeters and basically completely effaced. my midwife said the only reason i was not going anywhere was because my cervix was still really high up (posterior) and needed to move down (anterior). she helped pull it forward but it went right back up...darn it! she stripped some of my membranes then left and we hoped that maybe that would get things going finally.
about an hour after she left, i began to have very regular and painful contractions that were about 5-6 minutes apart. after timing them for an hour or so, we decided to call the midwives to come over because we all thought my labor would go pretty fast considering how low she was. oh how we were so wrong!! i labored all night long (until 5 am) with contractions 4-5 minutes apart and then when things were just not picking up at all (and in fact, they were even slowing down!!), we decided to just go to bed (i was only dilated barely to a 6 after 12 hours of labor...such a different story than with max!). i was so tired of the laboring! it was really not that bad since i had so much time to rest between, but i was mostly just tired of the mental game. i was just ready to have the baby and i started to feel so hopeless...like how long was i going to have to labor all night long before she came? we didn't really want another night after 2 nights of laboring. the midwives went to eat at about 5 am and when they came back at 6:30 am, i was still sleeping and we just decided that they could go home and we would call them when my contractions got closer together and were really going somewhere. we were all basically in amazement that i didn't have a baby in my arms at that point.
i didn't really have any more contractions between when they left until 8:30 (just a few but not terribly close together or painful) but at about 8:45 am on monday morning (december 28th), i woke up to a LOUD pop and i was like...oh crap...my water just broke! i hopped out of bed and ran to the toilet and told travis to call alison right away! i knew inside that things were going to go so fast and i was so not prepared for an unassisted birth. it took about 15 minutes for my contractions to really start coming but once they started coming, they were incredibly painful. the midwives were on their way but i knew it'd be about 25 minutes. i started to feel pressure almost right away and i started to get really scared. i wasn't scared that anything was wrong, i just was scared that my body wouldn't hold out long enough for alison and sally to arrive. i had travis say a prayer and that gave me some comfort. i was laboring on my hands and knees (that was the position that felt the best to me during my whole labor) and alison told travis over the phone to have me lay on my side - hands and knees was too effective of a position! if i would have stayed on my hands and knees, she definitely would not have waited to come! laboring on my side was incredibly painful but i only had about 4 or 5 contractions that were right on top of each other so it didn't last very long. i was definitely losing the ability to cope however and i am sure the pain was stronger since i had a lot of fear inside. the moment i heard sally and alison come in and throw their bags down, it was like my body took over and i immediately felt maude's head shove down against my perineum. i cried out "i have to push! i need to get on my hands and knees...can i move???" i felt so paralyzed by the pain but they helped me move and my body started pushing. i said "it's burning!" and i was so suprised by that because when i imagined pushing, i imagined having to push for awhile before i would feel the burn. feeling it on my first push, i knew that she was almost here and that i could do it. pushing was such a relief! i could no longer feel the contractions and my body was just taking over. even though i felt the "ring of fire" it was not as bad as everyone has said it was - i just wanted the baby to be out! sally asked me if i wanted to change positions so as to slow it down so i wouldn't tear but i said "no! i just want to push! i want her out!" i pushed a few more times and she was out! oh it was such a relief! i couldn't believe it was over!! they helped me lay down on my side and i reached through my legs and grabbed my beautiful baby. she was bigger than any of us thought! i held her down by my belly until her cord stopped pulsating and we cut it (only 4 or 5 minutes probably). the cord was short so i couldn't hold her up by my breasts. once we cut the cord, i delivered the placenta and just laid there on the bathroom floor (don't worry, we've got a big bathroom!) holding my baby. she cried and cried but once i put her by my breast, she calmed right down. her apgar was a 10 both times! she was very healthy and so beautiful. i also only tore a tiny bit, but not even enough to need to stich up.
*side story: the midwives got pulled over on there way to me after my water broke!! thank goodness they still made it in time (well...like they made it with only 4 minutes to spare!)
we brought max in just after she was delivered (he was playing with grampy in his bedroom) and he was very in awe of everything. he was very excited and rolled all over the ground on the pillows making crying sounds just like the baby. we laid there for awhile then we went to the bed and i tried to breastfeed her but she was really not interested. during that time max was just playing around and then he went into the bathroom and started rolling around on the pillows again, this time moaning! it was hilarious because he was totally copying me giving birth! i said to travis "go look at him...he is pretending he's having a baby!" he was rolling on the ground, making moaning sounds just like i had been doing. it was the cutest thing in the world. he is so observant! and obviously none of it phased him...he handled it very well (which i knew he would).
the midwives got everything cleaned up, helped me get a shower, and did a newborn exam on maude and then after about 3 hours, they left and we were able to spend time as our little family. everything surrounding her birth was so incredibly peaceful. even though i was in labor for such a long time, it was so do-able. i felt so relaxed and comfortable - i walked around, talked, ate, laughed, etc. it made it so easy. even though my contractions were painful i was very lucky and really only felt them at their peak, so i only had to breathe about 4 deep breaths to get through them. then i had a long time to rest before i had to do it again. i only had about 30 minutes of super intense contractions (the ones right after my water broke) and even though they were intense, i would do it again in a heartbeat. i loved giving birth naturally and will definitely have the rest of my children the same way. i feel such a sense of accomplishment. knowing the power that my body has is incredible. it is such a divine power and i really felt my divinity as i labored and made such a sacrifice for this baby. i have never felt anything so rewarding in my life. I am so grateful for Sally and Alison and the amazing job they did. They went above and beyond and made this birth such an incredibly good, positive, and spiritual experience. Their expertise and experience helped me so much.
i feel so good. i told my mom that right now i feel about how i felt 6 or 7 days post partum with max. i am hardly sore at all and have a lot more energy, even though i haven't gotten very much sleep. maude is breastfeeding so well and i am so grateful for that!
as travis wrote below, maude is a big beautiful healthy baby! 8 pounds 13 ounces...21 inches long. she is so beautiful! we are giving her a bath today so i will post more pictures later but she has beautiful dark hair and lots of it! AND she looks just like max! her cheeks are definitely chubbier than his were but when i look at her, i see my little baby boy! i need to get a head band on her to help me remember that it's not max :) jk.
max is really loving his little sister and is being so soft! he came in from his nap yesterday and i was surprised when the first thing he said as he came up to me was "baby!" (he couldn't even see her and had remembered she was there!). he is going to be a great big brother!
Maude's birth transformed me. There is no other way to say it. I am a completely different person after having her. The process of making the decision to have a home birth and her birth itself were two very important things in my life that taught me a lot about myself. Her birth gave me confidence. Confidence in myself, my body, my intuition. Her birth taught me how God speaks to me. I learned how to release my fears as I prepared for her birth. I came closer to my husband. More importantly, I came closer to God. Her birth makes me crave more births. Her birth makes me want to experience that miracle over and over again. Every decision I make in my life now, whether it is the food I eat, the places I go or the way I take care of my family, is done with a consciousness that I did not previously have. I am now a conscientious person, a conscientious parent. I question things and I research. I follow my heart. Her birth empowered me. And for that, I am so grateful.
(There are a few things I would change about her birth: First, my midwives would be there, hehe. I got very fearful at the end because they were not there. I truly believe that if I can release that fear at the end of the birth, I can have a painless birth. Her birth was not painful up until the end, and that coincidentally, was when I had the most fear. I am interested to see how it plays out next time around! Second, I would do more skin-to-skin time with her. It seems like there were so many visitors that I always wanted to be covered up and modest. Next time I will do skin-to-skin time and have that be my first priority, and modesty my second priority. Meaning, I will be with her and then if someone wants to come in, I will cover up. But I will not stay covered up just for the sake of being covered up. Third, I would maybe have left the cord attached longer. We did wait to cut it until it was done pulsating but I may wait longer next time to detach it from the placenta. Truly, there are not many things I'd change about her birth. It was pretty close to perfect for me!)