The gentlebirth.org website is provided courtesy of
Ronnie Falcao, LM MS, a homebirth midwife in Mountain View, CA
An interactive resource for moms on easy steps they can take to reduce exposure to chemical toxins during pregnancy.
Other excellent resources about avoiding toxins during pregnancy
These are easy to read and understand and are beautifully presented.
I woke up on my due date, Monday morning, October 19th, with a bladder that felt ready to explode. As soon as I stood up, I had a contraction, but figured it was because my bladder was so full. After I got back in bed, with my mind knowing that was a "real" one, I couldn't really get back to sleep. 20 minutes later, I had another contraction. There is definitely a difference between the real ones & the Braxton Hicks, so I knew what was happening. I couldn't believe it was happening on my due date though!!
I woke my husband after the 3rd contraction. We got up at 8:00am & when I wiped after going to the bathroom, I saw that I had a bloody show. At that point I told my husband that we were going to have our baby today. We were supposed to go for a prenatal that morning. I knew I wasn't going to the midwife's house, but that she would be coming to ours. This was all very exciting to me because I did not start labor on my own the first time & I never lost my mucous plug.
I called Ellen & told her we were in labor. She said unless my water broke before 9:00am, she would call me then and decide where to go from there. So from 5:30am - 8:00am, the contractions were consistently 20 minutes apart lasting about 60 seconds each. Once I got up at 8:00am, they were consistently 10 minutes apart. They weren't horrible, but a little uncomfortable & they were involving my low back. We had some breakfast (I only felt like eating a piece of toast & a glass of OJ), I had some last minute things for daddy to do, and I played with Tyler. We told him that our baby would be coming soon & he got really excited. With one contraction I leaned over our linen cabinet & my husband pressed on my low back & Tyler looked between my legs & said, "Is my baby coming out? I've waited so long!" It was truly adorable!!!
We showered & decided to go for a walk. My parents live down the hill from us, so we decided to walk Tyler down there to stay with his Gramma until it was "time". It was nice to be out walking, the fresh air felt wonderful, I stopped for one contraction, but was able to walk through the other one. We chatted with Gramma for a while & kissed our son & promised him we would call him so he could come watch his baby be born. He was happy & excited & blew kisses to us all the way up the street.
We walked up the hill past our house waiting for Ellen & her apprentice to arrive. The contractions were coming closer together & demanding more of my attention. There was no more walking through them. Matt timed two & they were 6 minutes apart now. Ellen arrived at about 11:30am & said, "Are they about 6 minutes apart now?". We laughed as we told her yes & that it sure was nice to know I was working like a well-oiled machine. They went upstairs & were setting up a bit & I ate a few bites of fruit salad. She asked if I wanted a check & at 11:45am I was 4.5-5cm, 50% effaced, & baby was at a -3 station. She said I was very stretchy & that baby just needed to move down more. She suggested we go for another walk while they finished setting up. We did & it was so nice & relaxed. We talked & joked, laughed, and stopped to work through the contractions. We weren't out there long before I felt like I wanted to be inside again. It was exciting to see everything all set up. Wow! We were going to have a baby here!!
They went down to have a bite to eat & I got on the computer & read a few notes of support from you all & went to have her check me again when she was done with lunch. The contractions were coming pretty quickly & they were getting more intense. It was maybe about 1:00pm when she checked me & I was at 7cm, 80% effaced, & baby was at 0 station. I did not feel like I was in transition. This was totally unlike my first labor where I was miserably writhing in pain & unable or unwilling to speak between contractions. This time, as soon as a contraction was over, we were talking & laughing again! I sat on my bed & Ellen French braided my hair (which took a while since it's almost past my butt). I didn't have a contraction until about 2 seconds after she was finished.
Ellen started filling up the tub & said I could get in whenever I wanted to. Part of me thought I had a while to go yet & didn't want to get in too soon. But once it was filled, it looked so inviting!! I put on a jog bra & made the last minute decision to try to be modest & put a shirt on over that. I had a doozy of a contraction in the bathroom & as soon as it subsided, at 1:40pm, I stepped into the tub. Oh it felt so luxurious! The next contraction felt like the ones I was having while we were still walking around in our neighborhood at 5cm! Everyone laughed as I said, "OK, I'm sold on waterbirth!"
She checked me again at about 2:15pm when I was feeling a lot of pain & pressure. I was at 9cm, 100% effaced, baby was at a +3 station, & my bag of waters was really bulging. I really couldn't believe I was that close to birth because as soon as the contraction was over, I had a smile on my face & we were talking normally. Another couple of contractions, and we called my mom to bring our son. They started not to really go away & I was feeling a lot of pressure.
I loved that Tyler was finally there. He was such a comfort to me. I did worry a bit because I think I was a little more vocal this time. Nothing more than groans & saying "Oh God" & "Ow", but I was afraid that I would scare him. He didn't seem scared at all. I am thankful that we practiced noises before the birth & practiced different things that I might say. He was pretty interested in all the equipment & wanted to use the fish net after he saw Ellen scoop some "baby goop" out of the tub with it. She was really great with him. My heart is even more full because my 1st born was at my side during the baby's birth.
Back to work! Some whopper contractions that never really let go and I felt so full of baby. I was ready to have this baby! All of a sudden, in the middle of a contraction, I felt this undeniable urge to PUSH. I never felt that with my first & even though it hurt like all heck to push, I felt great letting my body do the work it was made to do. I said, "I'm puuuushing!" The midwife said, "Wonderful! Let your body work for you! You're doing this! All on your own!" That lifted me up so much. I felt so empowered, so alive, so primal, so........woman.
I only gave 2 small pushes with that contraction. On the next contraction, I waited until my body made me push & I felt a "pop" & Ellen said, "Water bag broke". Her apprentice said, "2:38" Another contraction & Ellen took my hand & put it on my baby's head. I felt the hair & the wrinkly skin & smiled. Oh how it burned. I said, "Oh, it burns!" My toddler said, "It's gonna burn a little Mommy". We all got a laugh (even me) & Ellen said, "You're right, Tyler, it's going to burn a little." Another contraction, another few second push & Ellen said, "head is born, here's a hand". Her apprentice said, "2:45". Our plans were that my husband would catch the rest of the baby after Ellen checked for nuchal cord, but I had another contraction & gave a push & the baby's hands, shoulders & body came out. It seemed so fast! Ellen said, "give me another little push" & I did & the baby slipped out. "2:47" Ellen guided the baby up out of the water & I pulled the baby to my chest. I heard Ellen say, "oh, took a breath" before she was out of the water, but I felt such relief holding my little baby. I had my hand on the little bottom & thought it was a girl, but I felt the cord & thought I better wait to say anything until I saw for sure.
I heard my husband crying & then Ellen was next to me with the Delee suction. Baby tried to birth with both hands by her head. Ellen pushed back the hand that was first, but I tore a bit when I pushed out the baby's hands & shoulders together. One hand came out of the water which must have triggered the breathing reflex which is why the baby's chest started to expand. But I felt the baby moving & heard little noises. She suctioned the baby & we got a little cry. She got the oxygen out & told me to cradle the baby over. Ellen had Matt hold the oxygen tube over by our baby & she suctioned again. The baby was pinking up & gave us another little cry of protest.
I took a peek & confirmed what I already knew, "It's a girl!" It was really wonderful not knowing beforehand & finding out for myself with my precious gift in my arms.
Rose is absolutely beautiful. She did try to take a breath under the water & aspirated a bit of meconium in the process, but her lungs were totally clear after the suctioning. She had a bruise on her left upper arm probably from being pushed back in and/or birthing with her arms up. Her cord was 36 inches long (average is about 18 inches) & we thank God she didn't get wrapped up in it. The placenta was starting to calcify in places even though we are positive about dates & she was not overdue. Or midwife said the placenta was velamentous where the cord attaches to it & again we thank God for no complications because if it was pulled tight for any reason, it could have broken off. But of course nothing went wrong because we did it at home, naturally, perfectly, & as birth was & is intended.
Before my homebirth, I considered my 1st birth to be a "natural" birth. Now, I would say my 1st birth was an unmedicated vaginal delivery. This 2nd birth was truly natural. No one told me to do anything. I really wanted pain medication at my first birth but knew it wasn't good for the baby & never accepted the offers. This time, I never even thought about pain medication until my very medical nurse friend was on the phone with me after the birth & said she would never be able to do it without drugs. It wasn't because I knew nothing was available here. It was because I had wonderful support, I felt relaxed in my home, the water was such a comfort, and I had 100% faith in my body.
Today is day 5 & Rose is back to her birth weight, I can't believe how great I feel physically, we're working through some jealousy with Tyler, and I'm still on the homebirth high.
I love you all for all of your support!!
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