New Moon Babe
Somewhere out there
if love can see us through
then we'll be together
somewhere out there
out where dreams come true
We really wanted this birth to be special, authentic, and empowering. Although we have good memories of our son's birth in the hospital, there were things we definately wanted to do differently this time. We wanted a birth attendant who viewed pregnancy as a natural and normal process. We wanted this child to enter the world peacefully and gently in a natural birth free of medications, in order to give her the best start possible. We wanted our baby to be handled gently and have the birth attendants honor the mother-baby-family bond. We didn't want to be pressured to give this child potentially harmful and painful interventions. We wanted birth to be a family event...allowing pur son to participate as little or as fully as he wanted to. With all of this in mind, midwifery care was the best choice for us. We choose to have our birth and prenatal care at a birth center about 75 miles from our home.
My labor can be thought of as very long, or very short,
depending on how you look at it. I had 5 days of podromal labor (start
and stop patterns of contractions), followed by one incredibly powerful
3-hour active labor. It was diffiuclt to protect myself against emotional
and physical exhaustion during those 5 days..as my emotions were running
high, and I wanted to rest in order to save my energy for when the most
intense work of birthing needed to be done. My contractions were
really strong during this time..as strong as my active labor contractions
with my son. I needed to sound through them and stand up and rock
my pelvis in order to cope. I was hoping that they wouldn't get any
stronger when "real labor" started, as I wondered if I could handle anything
stronger. (luckily the intensity stayed the same...the contractions
just got closer together) We almost got out the door to go to the
birth center several times..only for the contractions to stop when my husband
had the car packed up! I talked to a midwife from the birth center
almost every day during this prodromal labor, and we all aggreed to watch
and wait. Contractions were very strong...just not very close together.
(about one or two an hour, with runs of them at 10 minutes apart at times)
The real doosies happened on the middle of the night...when I would wake
up during the peak of a big one, without the benefit of
We live on a pot-hole-laden, hilly, and generally bumpy street one mile from the smooth highway. I cursed it furiously as I felt every bump and dip and change in elevation. This was the only time I felt irritable during the whole birth, which is good...I was hoping it wasn't a precident I was setting. We turned out on the highay, much to my relief, and drove on through the night at around 10pm. I was bracing my left leg against the door jam and half-sitting on my right buttock
Contactions were coming about every two minutes now. It finally dawned on me now that I as in active labor, and it won't stop until the baby is born! (looking back on it, it seems obvious) At about 30 mies into the trip, my legs began to shake. Was this transition, or fatigue from bracing my legs during contractions? I didn't
say anything to my husband, but maintained the quiet, watching the road, feeling very alert, and not really diving down into my subconcious self like I had with our boy's birth. Our son had fallen asleep, and my husband didn't speak unless I asked him a question. Contractions were about one minute apart, with multiple peaks now. I was needing to sound louder and louder to cope. The contractions were very low in my abdomen, just under the buldge, and radiating around to my back. They felt like really intense menstrual cramps. I also felt a dull ache in my perineum, and an all-over achy-hormonal feeling. In-between, I felt these sensations go away, and took some deep breaths and relaxed in my relief. About 50 miles into the trip, my husband picked up the cell phone, and called my mom to tell her to head for the birth center, that "this is it". Soon after this, my water started to leak at the height of several contractions. I told my husband this, and he calmly replied, "We are almost there."
We were in the city now, and my husband was timing his
speed to get all of the green lights. He did pretty well! Soon,
we were passing the hospital, which is just across the street from the
birth center. I breathed a sigh of relief...I didn't have to stay
in the truck much longer! Over the speed bumps, and into the
birth center parking lot...During all of those prenatal visits, I imagined
what this day (night) would be like. my husband parked, and I was
really glad to be there at last!
Maria helped me inside, and Sharon, our midwife, gave me a kiss and a big hug. I really felt cared or by these women! I felt their deep respect for the birthing process, and honored as a woman in labor and giving birth. As I made my way to the bathroom in our room, my husband and a now awake little boy brought our bags inside. I looked at the tub briefly, wanting to fill it and get in. I must have had 3 contractions from the toilet to the bed, where Sharon wanted to listen to Baby's heart tones and check my cervix.
She had me lie on my left side (very uncomfortable...I
wanted to be standing up) and listened to Baby's heart through two
contractions. my husband was at my right side, and my son was sitting
in Maria's lap in a chair on the left side of the bed. Heart tones
sounded good, and I was surprized that Baby's heart rate didn't decellerate
during the contractions. (My son's heart rate dropped by half in
transition of his labor) Then Sharon checked me...I was 8 centimeters
dilated! My husband and Maria cheered. I was up and standing
immediately after that...much more comfortable! During the immediately
following contraction, I held onto my husband, and was glad that
At this point, my son was getting excited...he exclaimed, "Mom! I see the head!" With the next push, Baby's head came all he way through! What an intense relief! The room filled with jubulant energy. "Push stronger, Mom!" my son cheered. I smiled quietly to myself...I was so glad he was getting into his sibling's birth, and was seemingly taking to the sights and sounds of labor so well.
When the baby's head was out, I remember Sharon talking about removing the cord from around Baby's neck, and saying that it was around there only very loosely.
One more fire ring to endure as the shoulders came through...and
there was no more sensation of stretching and burning. As I took
a deep breath and let out a sigh, Sharon said, "Kristy, hold your baby!"
I opened my eyes, and saw my baby"Kristy, hold your baby!" I opened
my eyes, and saw my baby between my legs! I pulled Baby up onto my
chest My first impression was that she definately looked like
our baby...with many of our vastly different features. Her eyes were
wide open, and I took in her deep gaze with so much joy! I rubbed
her back to stimulate her to breathe, and she let out a few cries, and
went back to gazing at me. I talked and talked to her... I don't
remember what I said..but we were locked in on each other's eyes.
Sharon also rubbed her back to get her to breate some more, and then gave
me an oxygen mask, and told me to hold it in front of Baby's face for a
few seconds. She let out another cry, and then pink color came to
her skin. She was now breathing on her own.
After about 5 or 10 minutes, Baby started licking her lips and rooting for the breast. I lifted her up a little more to position her, and happened to look down her body as I did...and saw that I was holding.....our baby girl! As I looked, I exclaimed, "Oh, it's a girl!" Cheers rang out in the room. I smiled knowingly and felt content....that our daughter had come to us.
At some point here, I had a tiny urge to bear down, and the placenta came out, stretching my perineum slightly, and felt another brief burn.
Olivia brought me a hot mug of chamomile tea, and put
it on the nightstand while I nursed our baby daughter. This was a
very nice touch, and tea was wonderful
After the placenta came out, my husband cut the cord,
as our daughter continued to nurse. I didn't feel the sense of seperation
anexiety like I did with our son when my husband cut his
As we nursed, Sharon and Olivia checked to make sure my uterus was still firm and contracting. I assured them that it was, as the "afterpains" were pretty strong. Olivia began her series of blood pressure and temperature checks on me and the baby. Sharon looked at my perineum, and yes, I had torn, and needed some stitches. It turns out that I had a second degree tear, all along the incision of my old episiotomy. So Sharon repaired the tear while my daughter finished up her hour-long 1st feeding at the breast.
My mom arrived while Sharon was finishing up. She
came in to meet her granddaughter, and then went into the "family room"
to play with her grandson and watch Charlotte's Web on tape.
Maria left for home about then, and Sharon left shortly after, with Olivia staying on throughout the night. Grandma got my son settled, and the two of them napped in the family room together. my husband held our daughter after she finished nursing, and I got cleaned up in the bathroom. He sat in the recliner while I relaxed on the bed, and we talked about all that had happened that night.
My husband was almost asleep at this point, with
Baby Girl progressiely making her way off his lap, and I was afraid she
would land on the floor. So with great protest from him, I took her
back in the bed with me, and just lie there with her next to me as the
dawn light peaked it's way over the horizon, and the warm breeze came through
the open glass door in our room. Although I was starting to
get sleepy, all I could do is marvel at my new daughter as I listened
to her snoring. Contentment washed over me.
links to other pages on this site that may interest you:
my first birth