Tessie's Birth! By Cathy Print
Birth Stories - Siblings Present Birth Stories
Tuesday, 03 February 2009 08:34
Finding out I was pregnant with our 3rd child was a little surprising! I was still nursing our 2nd son, then 20 months old, and had just come back from vacation. I had been charting my fertility signs for a few years and knew there was a chance we had conceived, but fully expected the pregnancy test to be negative. But it was positive! So much for travel delaying ovulation!

Our first two children were delivered at the hospital using the Bradley method, so the idea of unmedicated childbirth was something I believed in strongly. We didn't have insurance this time and decided to use a midwife. We looked into homebirth and birthing centers. I called almost every midwife in the yellow pages and set up interviews with several of them. I was leaning toward a birthing center, but after visiting the most popular one in our area (just a few minutes into the tour)I realized I really wanted a homebirth. I had chosen a midwife but still had one interview left the following day. I had planned on cancelling the but forgot and decided I should go ahead and keep the appointment. As soon as I drove up in the driveway and the midwife said "Hi!" I KNEW she was the one for me! I can't explain it, but something about her just clicked with me and I decided she (Michele) would be my midwife! It was quite a relief to have finally chosen! I made my first prenatal appointment the next day.

During the course of the pregnancy I was so in awe of the the care I was receiving! I knew Michele truly cared about me and the baby! It was nothing seeing an OB! She scheduled an hour for each appoinment and encouraged my questions! She NEVER made feel even a teensy bit rushed! I felt as though she was a friend, and I never felt like a "patient". I enjoyed each and every visit! I think the most wonderful thing was that Michele was very supportive of nursing throughout pregnancy if there were no problems! I definately was not ready to wean and neither was my son!

The pregnancy was very routine. I took several different vitamins, minerals, and herbs as Michele recommended. I had some very rotten varicosities on both legs and my labia, as well. I was told to take extra vitamin E and White Oak bark. I was surprised to find the varicosities never hurt (they had been very painful with my 2nd pregnancy). No problems at all. I worked the whole time (I clean houses as a business) and other than the usual pregnancy fatigue, I felt just wonderful! My milk supply began to decrease around the 3rd-4th month and I no longer felt the let-down at all. My nipples remained sore the entire time, but I continued to nurse my son. He was not slowing down at all! Sometime around the 7th-8th month he began to nurse a little less, but this would soon change! The baby seemed determined to stay posterior until the last couple of weeks.

We had been planning a big "birth-day" party with friends and family. There would be lots of food and drink, and cake for everyone! My husband and my best friend would be my main support through the labor and birth. We invited several friends, as well as our parents, brothers, sisters, and other family members. I read lots of birthing books and really wanted to be active throughout the labor. I talked with my oldest son about what to expect since he would be watching. We discussed ways he could help me and what to do if it became too intense for his comfort. I had my birth kit ready . Sometimes I felt almost TOO prepared!

At 37 weeks I had Michele check my cervix and she found me to be about 1/2 cm. dilated and about 50% effaced. About what we expected. The last 4 visits were home visits, these were fun!

My "due date" (July 10th) came and I was feeling some contractions. It was a Saturday so we decided to go for a long walk with the kids. My contractions really picked up when walking and were pretty strong at times. We came back home and my labor seemed to stop. So later that afternoon my oldest son (5 1/2 yrs) and I went for another walk. More contractions. My son told me to "walk through it mommy" and "you're doing great"! Later at home, things seemed to slow down . I began feeling really crummy that night. Almost as if I were coming down with the flu. I had stirred up lots of hormones evidently and felt really yucky! I was awake most of the night with contractions and just feeling terrible. I was sure labor was beginning.

The next day I was exhausted, not hungry, and my contractions had stopped. So I worked around the house and later went for a walk around the highschool track, in the rain. My contractions started up again, but would slow down dramatically when I stopped. I decided not to go for another walk that night, but to rest since SURELY labor was beginning.

The next morning my contractions did not start up so I worked around the house and stayed on my feet to try to get things going. Nothing worked this time. By Tuesday morning I felt great again (not a single contraction) and I resigned myself to let things move at their own pace. I told my husband to go to work, labor would not happen today I was certain. My Mom came to the house and we decided to go downtown to eat and to a few shops. We walked into the Hallmark store 5 minutes later (about 11:00am) and I had my first real contraction. I just ignored it, probably was just hunger. I had several more in the store and then we walked to the restaraunt. We ordered our food and by the time it arrived I realized I was in REAL labor!! I tried to eat, but had to stop when I felt a contraction. Finally I told my mom we should get to-go boxes and head for the house.

By now it was about 12:00noon. Since this was our 3rd child, we figured I would progress pretty rapidly, and since we lived about 30-40 minutes from Michele I decided to get in the tub (we have a large clawfoot tub) hoping to slow things down till the midwives (Michele, Patty-the mw who works with her, and Cynthia her apprentice) could get here.

With my previous 2 labors I never felt a contraction till I was about 4cm and completely effaced so I figured I was close to that, but feared I would only be 2cm when everyone finally came. I called Michele, Patty, and Cynthia at about 1:oo or so, then called Mark (my husband) to tell him to start heading this way within the hour. I then called my friend, Jennifer, who was picking her mom up at the airport and would come as soon as she dropped her and the kids at the house.

I quickly set up my birth altar which included newborn pictures of our two boys, a moonstone necklace that was a "birth-day" present from my mom, a small statue of the Egyptian goddess Bastet, a crystal given to me by my mom, incense in a holder, and a statue of a kitty I had made at the Birthing From Within seminar I took months before.

Another friend of ours, Christine (nurse/lactation consultant/etc), was the first to arrive. Cynthia and Patty arrived next, around 2:15 or so. I got out of the tub and asked for an exam which showed me to be at 2cm and about 75% effaced! Ugh. Just as I had feared. The baby was also at -3station so I had a long way to go and technically I guess I wasn't even in "real" labor. Ha, it sure felt real!

I was quite surprised to be feeling anything so early on! The boys were really excited, especially our oldest since he would be taking part! I decided to try to nap a little and Cynthia and Patty went downtown for coffee, pagers in hand. Michele arrived at about 3:20 and my back had begun to hurt with each contraction. She and Christine applied gentle counter pressure to my back which felt great! I was up and about, rocking in the living room and chatting with everyone. I felt just wonderful! Christine had to go and unfortunately wasn't able to come back.

My Dad came by on his way home from work and I talked to him for a little while. At about 4:00 I was given a shot of antibiotic because the Group B Strep test was positive. I think it hurt far worse than the contractions, but was infinitely better than the continuous IV of antibiotic I had with my 2nd labor! My butt was quite sore for a long while! OUCH!

Jennifer was here now and we exchanged presents. I gave her a tiny "birthing goddess" figurine, and she gave me a beautiful candle and a "mother goddess" figurine! We definately think alike. These gifts went up on my birth altar. Mark and I went for a walk hoping to help the baby move down a bit and apply more pressure to the cervix. It had cooled off a bit, but was still pretty hot. We were gone for only about 30 minutes because I began to feel a little too overheated.

My mom and Jennifer were busy preparing the birth-day feast and the food smelled SO good! I ate bites of toast, canteloupe, watermelon, and drank Recharge to keep up my strength. By about 7:15 I was only at 3cm and still 75% effaced. I decided to let my youngest son nurse hoping that would kick labor into gear. It didn't. Nipple stim didn't do anything during my 2nd labor, either. Oh well.

I walked around the house, sat in the rocking chair, and spent a good while on the birthing stool. I talked with everyone in between contractions, and basically tried to stay upright as much as possible. It seemed that my contractions really picked up when I was lying on my side, so I tried to take a nap still expecting labor to start taking off any minute.

At about 8:30 my mom took the boys to her house. We thought maybe that would let me relax a bit more and labor might go faster. I had been thinking about them quite a bit. Wondering if they were eating and had juice or milk to drink. Were they getting too dirty and when was the last time my son's diaper had been changed??

Sometime around 9:00pm Mark's sister and her fiance arrived. They were going to spend the night and had a funeral (Mark's uncle had died the day before) to attend the next afternoon. We hoped Mark would be able to attend as well. Jennifer and I decided to go for another walk. It was dark and had cooled off considerably. I squatted, assissted by Jen, with each contraction. By this time I was moaning a little with each one. I was feeling a bit tired, but still energized by the fact that our baby would soon be here! Besides I generally enjoy labor and birth anyway!

I tried to nap again after we came back. Not a lot of luck there, however. My contractions had definately picked up a bit and lying on my side made them pretty strong. At about 12:00am I decided I wanted my oldest son to be here with us. I really wanted him to see the birth and he would be SO disappointed if he missed out. He had prepared and studied so much during the pregnancy! So Mark and his sister went to pick him up.

It was about 12:30 when they came back. At about 1:00am I was about 4cm, but baby was still at -3 station. So I spent quite a bit of time on the birthing stool or in a supported squat to help bring the baby down. I walked around the house and ate and drank to keep up my strength. Everyone but Cynthia and Jen were sleeping. It was so quiet and peaceful in the house. So relaxing, definately the antithesis of my hospital births. No monitors, nurses, shift changes, etc.. it all felt so wonderful. I really felt happy and relaxed!

By 3:00 I had definately settled into a labor pattern and was moaning quite loudly with each contraction. The vocalization really helped me relax.The contractions were much stronger and closer together by now, and at about 3:45, Michele woke up and we decided to do another exam. I was about 6cm and 80% effaced, baby was at -1 station! I felt much better about my progress! My bag of waters were bulging through the cervix with each contraction so the baby still had some cushioning. My contractions were about 2.5-3 minutes apart and getting stronger so I sat on the birth stool again. Jen was behind me supporting me. As a contraction was beginning to fade and my moaning quieted down, Jen said she felt a little funny as though she were going to faint (she was a couple months pregnant at the time). Suddenly she just passed out and began to fall backwards. I turned around on the stool just as she began to go back and caught her hands.

Michele rushed over, took her head and put it down between her knees. She was entirely limp. She quickly came to, but looked quite pale and weak. She said hearing me moan and just the intensity of the moment had sort of unconsciously taken her back to her previous labor which went VERY quickly and became incredibly intense for her. All of this just overwhelmed her and she fainted. Michele ( who was Jen's midwife, too, thanks to me!!!) told Jen to eat something then take a nap.

I got back in the tub and just let my body sink deep into the water with each contraction and moaned. The water felt so wonderful and my back was not hurting anymore. I felt great in between contractions and talked with Cynthia, who was sitting in the bathroom with me. Michele listened to the baby's heart tomes during a contraction while I was in the tub. Everything sounded great! At about 4:00 my contrax had really picked up. They were very intense but my waters were still intact. I asked for another exam and it showed me to be about 8.5cm and a very bulging bag of waters. The baby's head was not applied to the cervix so I had a little anterior lip. We talked about breaking my water, and the fact that I would need another shot of antibiotic soon. Both seemed none too pleasant.

Michele suggested I give a very slight push with the next contraction, and when I did my waters broke and the head was fully applied to my cervix! We decided not to go ahead with another shot unless labor stalled I got back on the birthing stool, supported by either Mark or Cynthia and moaned loudly. We had planned on having pictures and video of the birth, so I loaded our camera with film between contractions.

I told Patty where the coffee making supplies were, helped Mark find more tapes for the video camera, told Jen where to find the the film, and joked that "what was it about labor I liked??". I began to feel a slight urge to push with each contraction, but it would fade as the contrax faded. I still had a lip on my cervix that needed to go away. Sitting on the stool became all at once completely overwhelming and I decided to lie down on the bed again.

When I did the contractions were incredibly strong.We decided we should wake up our son who was sleeping. He came in and layed down beside me, half dozing. I had about 2 contractions while I lay there, each time with a stronger urge to push that faded away with the end of the contrax. In the middle of the 3rd one I felt an incredible POP! and had a sudden intense urge to push. With my last 2 labors the pushing part felt wonderful, not at all painful. This time was very different. It felt exquisitely painful and engulfing. I quickly sat up and said "I need to push".

My son jumped up and grabbed his camera and began taking pictures. It was about 5:20 by now and after a few pushes it began to feel better and I could feel the baby move under the pubic bone. Mark's sister had heard me moaning and come downstairs just in time to see the head begin to come out. The baby crowned while Patty and Cynthia were supporting my perineum and using warm olive oil to help it stretch. Mark was helping support me and Jen took pictures while Michele videoed it all! With another couple of pushes (it felt better by now) the baby's head was born and I reached down to touch. Michele said the baby had lots of hair! Then the baby opened its eyes and looked around briefly! Patty DeLee'd the baby while Mark got ready to catch our baby.

My contrax had stopped completely and it felt great, but the baby was just there with only the head out so Patty rubbed my belly to stir up another contraction. Mark gently pushed the baby's head down and then up. The baby slid quietly into his hands as tears welled in his (and everyone else's!) eyes. It was 5:42 on the morning of July 14th and our baby was born!! Mark brought the baby up to my belly and Michele asked him what the baby was and he said he thought it was a boy. He lifted the leg and with a very excited and slightly shakey voice said,"It's a GIRL!". Our son said,"YEAH!!".

Our brother-in-law-to-be arrived downstairs as Mark said this. Everyone cheered! We all were sure the baby would be a boy. Only my mom and our son felt certain we would have a little girl. A few minutes later the placenta came with another contraction and the birth was complete. Our little girl lay there on my tummy contentedly nursing, wrapped up in the same warm blanket that had swaddled me as a baby. She was beautiful. Everything seemed just perfect. After a little while Jennifer cut the cord.

We all admired our little one for quite some time, and then Cynthia and Michele did the newborn exam while Patty gave me 3 stitches to repair the very superficial vaginal tear (it tore just along my old episiotomy scar).

We began calling everyone and soon my mom and our youngest son arrived to see little Tessie. The midwives cleaned up, and packed up. They were all exhausted! I sat in the bed with our little girl while our family and friends sat with us. It was so incredible to be at home, holding our new baby, and surrounded by people who love us! I asked for something to eat and drink and tried to relax.

The afterpains began kicking in pretty quickly, so I took a dose of Afterease tincture. I used it quite a bit over the following days. A little later my Dad came by. We had emailed him at work so he left early to see his new Granddaughter. Mark's sister and her fiance left. Mark would not be attending the funeral afterall. Soon the midwives all left, as well. Later that day Mark's mom and her fiance came.

That night after everyone left we settled in for a nice sleep! Our oldest son had said earlier, "This is a good day because our baby is coming out!". It was a good day indeed!