Monday, December 8, 2014

Amelia's Home Birth Story

Good afternoon to all my lovely readers! Today I am going to share with you the beautiful story of my home birth with my daughter, Amelia.

As you know from reading my about me page, I am a birth junkie. For reasons I will disclose in an upcoming blog post, I chose to have a home birth with our daughter, This was our first successful pregnancy, and I will undoubtedly have a home birth with any and all other babies we have! My experience was so amazing, and although I dealt with a mild case of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), I cannot wait to do it all over again. I got pregnant with Amelia in July 2013, and she was born at 41 weeks 3 days. Her birthday is April 14, 2014. What a fun date! (4/14/14) To make her birthday even more special, she chose to share her birthday with my best friend, Liz!
 Here is Amelia meeting her aunt Liz for the first time! 

For weeks I had been having what seemed to be prodromal labor. We began trying everything we could to encourage labor. I had my weekly appointment at the birth center on Wednesday April 9th and discovered I was 2cm and 80% effaced. My midwife said she didn't believe I would make it to my next appointment. I hoped she was right, as I was so ready to meet my beautiful girl! Saturday of that week (April 12th) we cooked Eggplant Parmigiana for lunch. We used a recipe that claimed it would send you into labor, and had done so for many other women. I laughed about this, but my husband wanted to try everything, and it was actually really good. I ate A LOT of it. Seriously devoured half of the whole casserole dish. Oops. I went to bed knowing in my heart the time was near, and that Sam would not be going to work on Monday. I kept telling him this, and he didn't believe me. I don't know if it was just me hoping she would come that weekend, or if it was genuine intuition. Sunday morning at 3am I was awoken by contractions. Because I had been experiencing smaller ones for weeks I decided to give them two hours to remain consistent before waking Sam. I timed them from 3-5am and they were consistently 5-8 minutes apart. That is CRAZY! I still didn't really believe it (and they were so mild they didn't bother me at all), but I told Sam and we sat up together watching TV and resting. I couldn't sleep anymore, I was so excited at the thought of my little rainbow baby coming earth-side so soon! We called the midwife, not knowing when we should call for her to come over, and she told us what to do. I needed to rest as much as possible so I would have energy to birth when the time came. We spent Sunday relaxing, watching movies. I took long showers and baths, and finally at 11:30pm I felt a shift, checked my purple line, which was now half way there, and knew it was time to call my midwife to come over. Weeks earlier, my midwife came over for a home visit and brought all the home birth supplies. I also had a blessing way where beautiful candles, and posters with birth affirmations were made for my birth space. Sam moved the furniture around in our room to make space for the birthing tub. He set everything up so beautifully and began to play my hypnobirthing tracks. (side note: just as first time mothers are unsure when to head to their birthing place, I was so unsure when or if I would know when to have my midwives come to the house for our home birth!)
The birthing pool in our bedroom. We had to cover the floors in waterproof table cloths to protect the carpet!

Some of my candles and affirmation posters. That flower was painted for me by my cousin and close friend, Olivia! 
Affirmation poster made by my aunt!
Breathing through a surge, and somehow smiling! I guess I am a pretty happy birther! 

Some of the last photos taken of my pregnancy with Amelia. These are so sacred to me! Pregnancy and birth are so beautiful. 
41+3 weeks

My midwife arrived at 12pm and checked on Amelia and I. We were both doing great. In my birth plan I had originally said I did not want vaginal checks, but I changed my mind in labor and felt that I needed to know as it had now almost been 24 hours. I was prepared to change my mind about this, as I knew I would end up being curious. However, there are a lot of ways to check your cervix without actually checking the cervix internally! Unless you want them, vaginal checks are never necessary! Anyways, I was at a 5. My two midwives took shifts checking on Sam and I. They fed me a banana to keep my energy up. For the most part, they gave Sam and I the space I wanted to labor together in peace. I am so grateful for this, It was exactly what I wanted; peace. I was having a lot of  hip and lower back labor and needed my hips squeezed tight on each contraction. I labored on the birthing ball, on all fours, in the birth tub, and in the shower. Monday morning my midwife cooked me breakfast, and I could barely look at it, let alone eat it. Sam fed me a little bit of it before I gave up on trying. I felt so nauseous and although it was delicious and normally I would have loved it, food had never tasted more disgusting. My midwife knew that keeping my body hydrated and fed was crucial to how well I would birth Amelia, and at this point I was so exhausted and needed all the energy I could get. 
The next check I was at a 7. I was beginning to get really tired. My midwife wanted me to try a nap but I just couldn't seem to fall asleep. I rested as best as I could. Several times, to help thing move quickly, my midwife gave me herbal tinctures and beads. Halfway through the day my waters still had not released, so my wonderful midwife suggested we try a trick to get them to. She covered Sam in chucks pads and I sat on his knees, hugging him. One contraction and my waters released all over! It was amazing. I stood up and started laughing with joy, and honestly when they released it felt like a ton of pressure was released along with them! I felt like I was really close to transition, I was at a 9 but there was still some cervix in the way. In the tub, during a contraction, my midwife pulled it out. (yeah, ow.) I was so exhausted I was able to fall asleep between each contraction, although they were only seconds apart. I had spent some time breathing down on the birthing stool, and then in the water as we planned a water birth. My body was not working well with the anti-gravity of the water. I felt the uncontrollable urge to push and was unable to do so how my body needed in the water. My midwife suggested side lying on he bed. My hips hurt too badly to lay on them so she laid me on my back. This was not what I previously envisioned, but I was more than happy to work with my body in whatever way it needed to birth. Typically this is the worst position to birth in, but if your body is telling you to lay on your back, or stand, or sit, or whatever, you listen!! With my midwife and husband at my sides, supporting my aching legs, I pushed for over 2 hours. As I was pushing, Stetson (our sweet 2 year old pup) slept next to me, her head resting on my midwife's lap. She would open her eyes and watch occasionally. It was adorable. She was a great little doula throughout the whole process. With a mirror, I watched my little angel Amelia crowning. I felt the top of her head, and cried with so much joy and love in my heart! Her head was out, her eyes were open, and she was turning her neck to see what was going on. I was so happy and excited, and through happy tears and smiles I gave the last push for her little body. Her cord was short, so she laid on my tummy as we waited for the placenta. She was so tiny, and so perfect. At 41+3 weeks pregnant, she no longer had any vernix, and looked very clean, she did not look like she was just born! I was holding her there for thirty minutes until my placenta detached and came out. Her cord took all that time to become loose and white. Sam cut her cord and we wrapped her in a soft blanket and I nursed her. She was so strong and already trying to lift her head. She latched on right away, and Sam and I just watched her and fell even deeper in love. We finally had our rainbow baby! During this time my midwives cleaned and checked out my placenta. I was fortunate to have had absolutely no tearing and minor swelling. (Thank you water and hot compresses!) When Amelia finished nursing and had over two hours of skin to skin, my midwife helped me use the bathroom, and take a shower. I lost a really large clot when I was getting into the shower, but that is totally normal as I was sitting for so long! Sam got his time with Millie. 
My placenta and sac where Millie lived for 41 weeks

Daddy holding his girl

It was time for the midwives to check Amelia out. They weighed, measured, and clipped her tongue and lip ties. They checked her whole body to make sure she was healthy, and she was perfect.
Amelia weighed 7lbs. 12oz, and was 20 in. long!
Maren checking her ties

Getting weighed

Stetson protecting her baby sister

Although I was exhausted after 32 hours of active labor, I didn't want to sleep- I could not stop staring at her!

My birth experience was amazing, and I wouldn't change anything about it. Not everything went exactly as planned, but that is why we call it birth preferences, and not a plan. I was determined to do whatever it took to bring my baby earth-side in the safest, most calm, peaceful, and loving manner I could. 

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