Emily's Birth Day

Ideally, I would have liked to have been able to have Emily in my hands after 2 small sneezes.  What I got I think was the next best thing.

As cliched as it may sound, I have to say, Emily's birth day and the days to follow, have got to be the best days of my life.  I never could have pictured what this would have been like.  When I found out I was going to have a baby, little did I know the journey I was about to go on.  A journey which has seen me grow in confidence and stregnth both individually and with my husband, Robert.  This is carrying us forward into our new parenting roles. 

When I found out I was pregnant, I was soo confused and overwhelmed. I did not know what to do and received poor/little guidance from my GP.  Basically, the choice I was given by my GP was which hospital did I want to have my baby 'delivered' in, public or private.  I had never known of anybody having their baby any other way, never heard of private midwives or home births, let alone known that I could actually choose to have my baby this way.  All I knew was that 99% of the birth stories that I heard were horror stories, with women even using the word 'traumatising' to describe it.  Someone I knew said that birth is dangerous.  I was also advised, dont be a hero ... take all the drugs you can.  I was scared.  I knew I didnt want to have a pregnancy or birth with intervention, my husband went one better and said, 'a woman's body was built for birth.'  What did he know?  Why would there be a whole birthing department in hospitals if I could actually believe in my body?  And that's what happened: I learned to believe in my body and my baby.

We also didn't know what we were having.  99% of people who saw me told me I was having a boy.  Strangers in shopping centres would tell me that I was having a boy.  It's funny how when you are pregnant, everybody wants to talk to you and share their birthing stories, and so many are not that pleasant.  I was trying to collect all the good stories that I could to take me through my birth.

I googled birthing without intervention and came across Melissa Maimann and her practising philosphies, which totally went in line with what I was feeling at the time.  Melissa was a private midwife, which would mean that my whole pregnancy my baby's birth would be cared for by her. I never heard of this before and thought it was great.  This was definitely important for me.  How could I trust / be comfortable in the presence of a stranger at my birth? 

My consultations with Melissa were great.  Initally, I felt overwhelmed with the amount of information and material to read that was recomended by Melissa, but this was definitly an important part to me embracing the pregnancy and the birth.  As I learned about preganncy and birth, I felt as though I owned my pregnancy and my birth.  I had never known anybody else to have prepared as much for their birth.  I didn't know that you could.  There was so much that I had learned about the whole pregnancy and birth, thanks to Melissa.  I was able to embrace the upcoming birth.  I replaced the fear with trust and  was able to believe in myself.  I trusted that my body and my baby were built for the birth day and would know what they needed to do.  Where did I hear that before?  Having Melissa care for me during the birth, meant that I would be able to concentrate on just that, allowing my baby and body do what they needed to do.

We also decided to have our baby at home.  My pregnancy was a low risk pregnancy and essentially health problem-free.  Having my baby at home felt totally right: hospitals were for sick people and my body was in the best health it was ever in.  I had total confidence in Melissa's ability to look after me and the baby should there have been any issues with the birth.  I knew I was receiving the best possible care.  I was going to birth my baby and not just have it 'delivered' .  As I read somewhere, pizzas are delivered.

The birth itself was amazing.  I have never felt anything as intense, and never have felt so awesome.  I was 10 days past my EDD.  It was a Friday.  A visit to a chiropractor got the proceess moving (unkown to me, my hips were not aligned).  The chiropractor cracked me into place.  By the time I got home, I started to 'feel funny'.  Like a twisting sensation in my cervix.  So, I went for a 2 hour walk to try to feel better.  The twisting sensation got tighter, making me stop walking every so often.  I thought I should probably get myself home in case things got worse and got stranded in a gutter somewhere.  As this was my first pregnancy and not having felt contractions before, I did not realise I was in pre labour.  I got home, heated up the left over meal from the previous night's dinner, figuring I might need it for energy and plonked myself on the lounge in front of the telly while I waited for Robert to get home.

It was about 5 pm, and Rob was due home about 9.30pm.  I was watching 'The Block' and felt the tightenings more intensly and more frequently and thought maybe I needed to start recording these to see how frequently I was feeling them.  I got a couple of heat packs and put them on my lower back. I started to feel a bit uneasy in my back now as well.  I also had to now use some of the techniques I had learned (thanks to my prenantal yoga) to manage the pain in my back/pelvis by kneeling forward and rocking and rotating my pelvis.  By the time Robert got home, contractions (which I still did not realise were contractions at the time) were getting close to the 5 minute mark and about 30-40 seconds long. When we called Melissa, I was barely able to speak!  Melissa was on her way.

Being in my own home, I was able to move around as freely as I needed to and use anything I needed to help me through a contraction.  It was now game on for Robert, having to fill the pool at the same time as have to squeeze my back during a contraction and then rehydrate, get me a drink/iceblock/blanket /face cloth and whatever else I was calling for between contractions.  Things started to feel pretty intense for me.  I eventually got the poiint when I was standing I wanted to be sitting, when I was sitting I wanted tot be kneeling but had to wait for the contraction to pass.

When Melissa arrived, I was on my hands and knees of the bathroom floor.  I thought  I was going to get into the bath while I waited for Robert to finish with the pool, but I was too scared that once I got in the bath, I wouldnt be able to get out of the bath.  Melissa asked if she could examine me.  Was I dialated?  Was I only in prelabour?  Was that 'the show' on my knickers that I saw from the corner of my eye?  Was it not?  My mind thought frantically, until I heard Melissa announce I was 8 cm!!  "ARE u F&%$ing serious??" I screamed back??  I couldn't believe it!! 

I got into the pool.  Things started to feel more intense.  I could hear noises/grunting/screams from my mouth that I had never heard from me before.  Robert said he had these noises stuck in his head for about 3 days after the birth.  And to think that I felt awkward with 'vocal toning' in my Yoga classes!  I was hanging over one side, with my eyes closed breathing/screaming and squeezing Robert's hand as I continued to feel the contractions.  I feel a 'pop', that must be the waters having broken.  Melissa announced she could see the top of the baby's head.  I told Robert he could have a look etc if he wanted to.  Robert later told me that Emily had that much hair, it looked like I was giving birth to a toupee.  I could feel the burning, the 'ring of fire' as my baby's head was slowly making its way out.  I feel it 'bob' in and out about 2 or 3 times, before I feel another 'pop' that must have been her head.  'Her head's out', Robert announced. "I effing  know!!", I remember yelling back!  I felt aother 2 contractions, a 3rd pop and the rest of Emily slid out.  Melissa passed Emily to Robert.  "We have a baby girl!" Robert exclaimed. "Oh my god!" I yelled as I felt her brush against me as Robert passed her into my hands.  I couldn't believe it!!  She was in my hands, our little baby GIRL!!  I felt awesome!!  We did it.  Me, Emily and Robert!  We had our birth at home.  Totally drug free!  Totally by Emily and me!! 

Once the placenta was delivered (this too was drug-free), we all got out of the pool. 

Melissa checked me - no tears, and it was time to bond with Emily.  She was in my arms from the time she came out of me.  The first breast feed was initially a little tricky, but having Melissa watch and assist totally helped me get it right.  Baby Emily was checked, and after making sure we were all healthy, Melissa left the 3 of us alone.  Our family time started there and then, in our HOME!  That was amazing.  No other babies to listen to or doors slamming in corridors,  just each other.  I felt safe in the whole experience of it.

The one on one care that then followed with Melissa, the daily visits for the first week helped incredibly.  I think this was definitly the key to ensuring that breast feeding was a success.  The one-on-one after care gave me the confidence and provided me with the neccessary affirmation that we were doing good.  One thing with being pregnant and after you give birth is you are vulnerable, and having the right kind of support is I think very important to ensure that the whole experience is one that is very positive.  So that you can look back on this time with a smile form ear to ear and scream form the roof tops about how great the experience was, as it should be, rather than talk about it as a dreadful process.  As a result, no baby blues, another added bonus.

We didn't tell any body our intention of the home birth.  I didn't want to have to 'justify' why we were doing what we were doing before we did, that way there was no unneccessary pressures on me and Emily.  I certainly haven't stopped telling people about it all now, and in a way educating people about it, not many people understand or know the choices that are avaialble with pregnancy and birth.  I know I certainly didn't.  Would I do it any other way?  NO!  I was able to be present in the birth of my baby, and experience a labour of love, all with the support of my husband and care of Melissa.