Posts tagged ‘homebirth’

March 14, 2009

Seth Alexander’s Birth Story

by Hannah
I am going to attempt to write my birth story, though I feel like so much of what happened is a blur in my memory now. On Sunday, February 8, I began having contractions that I knew were more than just Braxton Hicks, but they were very irregular all day and into the night. They were uncomfortable, but I was able to just continue on with my day. On Monday I began to feel like I may be able to time them, and sure enough, they were about 6-10 minutes apart. I called my midwife, Connie, around 1pm to let her know what was going on. They became more and more uncomfortable all day. We went to a park with Manny’s parents to walk in the late afternoon, and though I wasn’t completely aware of it at the time, looking back I know that I was in early labor then. Every so often when a contraction would come I had to stop walking and wait for it to pass. Monday night I could no longer sleep through them because of how much they hurt. I would wake up every ten minutes after barely drifting off, and try to get in a position that would make them more bearable- usually on my hands and knees in bed, rocking. I was hoping this was it, but trying not too get too excited, knowing it could go on like this for days. Tuesday morning I felt like they were getting closer together, but tried to keep going about my day the best I could. Manny was home that day anyway, and we spent the morning doing things around the house. I got the point where I had to completely stop what I was doing with each contraction, and we decided to time them again- six minutes apart, and sometimes as little as four, lasting about a minute. When I talked to Connie, she said to stop timing them and ignore as much as possible that they were happening. It was difficult to ignore them, as soon I could no longer talk through them, and soon after that each one had me on my hands and knees or the birthing ball on the floor. I walked and bounced on the ball in between- tried to keep moving.

My mom came, as was the plan, once we knew that I was continuing to progress. Manny had already set up the tub and was filling it, and then Connie came. I thought she was just going to check on me, but she never left. She checked me, and I was 4 centimeters dilated. She had us go for a walk in the neighborhood- each contraction had me leaning on Manny or my mom wherever we happened to be. People driving by were probably kind of weirded out, but the walk helped a lot- by the time we got back to the house the contractions were coming really close together. I’m hazy on the order of things at this point, because by this point I was entering what they call “labor land” :)- at some point Connie checked me again and I was 9 centimeters. Sometime after that I decided to get in the birth tub, though I tried to hold out until I felt like I truly needed it. When I got into the warm water, the pain was instantly dulled. It felt truly amazing. The contractions still hurt, but so much less than outside the water. After that, I only got out to use the bathroom, which seemed pretty frequent as the baby moved lower and lower. I tried different positions in the tub, and by the time the contractions had become really intense I’d settled on leaning my arms and head on the side, and resting on my knees, rocking my hips back and forth. My mom and
Manny took turns sitting near me and comforting and supporting me.

Once when I got up to go to the bathroom, Connie put clary sage essential oil in the water, and the scent seemed to sort of intoxicate me (in a good way). I was in such a deeply focused mental state- I was completely unaware of everything going on around me- I was in another world in which the only focus was birthing my baby. I remember feeling a few times like I just couldn’t do it anymore, and like it would just never be over. It is very hard work- they certainly don’t call it labor for nothing. I began to feel the urge to push during the contractions, and had already thrown up (which I’d heard might happen in transition). I knew it was getting really close (or at least I was praying that it was!). Connie’s assistant, Judith, had come, and I reached the point where I had to push, and it was a relief that I could. At some point I could feel the baby’s head, and Connie encouraged me to put my hand there during contractions, while I was pushing. Apparently I pushed for 45 minutes, and with one last contraction- the last two pushes as I remember it- Seth was born, at 8:22pm. Immediately Connie handed him to me, and I sat there in the water rubbing his back and talking to him as he began to breathe and then cry. After a few minutes (I guess?) They helped me get out of the tub and sit on a birth stool. Manny cut the umbilical cord and it was clamped- I was just staring at this amazing little person in my arms. They encouraged me to try to nurse him, and I remember pushing the placenta out, and then I was helped into my bedroom and into bed, where I nursed the baby, with Manny in bed next to me, and we got the chance to admire our son together. I had some tearing during the birth, and while Connie stitched me up, Manny and my mom got some bonding time with Seth.

Judith helped me rinse off briefly in the shower and get dressed, and I lied down and watched while Connie examined Seth at the foot of the bed. I was really surprised when he weighed only 5 pounds 11 ounces- I never imagined I’d have such a tiny baby. But he was perfect and very healthy, and honestly the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on. She did all the checks, gave him his vitamin k shot, took his footprints, and then went over all kinds of instructions for caring for myself and the baby postpartum. I tried to listen and comprehend through the haze of sheer exhaustion (thankfully she gave us written instructions too!)

Before we went to sleep that night, Manny and I stared in awe at our amazing, beautiful little guy, knowing we’d never be the same. I feel like childbirth was the strongest time of my life- I have never been pushed so far, physically and emotionally, and I feel that the experience has made me stronger and more confident, and as motherhood presents its various challenges, as I know it will, I can look back and remind myself of what I did, and know that I’ll be able to get through anything. I am so happy that I chose to have my baby at home- I look back on Seth’s birth as such a good experience, and I attribute that to the fact that I was in a comfortable environment and had control over what happened during my labor, and my birth was attended by an amazing midwife who made that possible.

I am so thankful.

January 18, 2009

35 weeks, and counting…

by Hannah

I am going to be 36 weeks on Tuesday, and I literally feel it getting closer every day. I’m always wondering when it will happen- when will I meet my son? I think he’s “dropped” as people call it- or engaged in my pelvis. I don’t think it is obvious by looking at the shape of my belly, but I feel a lot of pressure from his head- more pain and backaches. He is getting stronger all the time, and is still very active. Sleep is harder to come by- I guess I am being prepared for new motherhood in that respect. I went to a breastfeeding class this week, which was good and really informative. In a few weeks I’m going to “Naturopathic Care of Your Newborn” by the same teacher, who is a really great naturopathic doctor and also assists my midwife frequently, so there’s a chance she could attend my birth with Connie. We are getting ready- there is a list of supplies we need to have for a home birth, and Manny and I will go shopping for those in the next few days. Connie is coming to the house for my visit this week, so she can check everything out and make sure we’re ready, etc. From then on I’ll have an appointment each week until the baby is born. All of this makes me realize how truly close I am to becoming a mom- it’s amazing.
Here’s a picture- 35 weeks 5 days:

November 10, 2008

Lots to Learn

by Hannah

25 week belly picture:

This weekend I went to my childbirth class Friday night and all day Saturday. Manny and my mom came too, though on Saturday it was just me and mom because Manny had to work. It was a really great class- I feel much better about giving birth now, and actually I’m really excited to be having a home birth. It was good to meet other pregnant ladies and their husbands- there were two other couples whose due dates are very close to mine, and it was really fun to talk to them. There was such a huge amount of information to absorb that it was a tad overwhelming, and I hope I remember it when I actually need it. I think it will come back to me though. There is so much to know, especially about taking care of a newborn, but I think that when the time comes instinct will play an important role as well.
I have been so emotional over the last few days- much more so than usual. And I’m having some super weird dreams, and lots of cramps… I’ve been totally stressed out. School is really tough, and I have a paper that has kind of been freaking me out. As soon as I’m done with it I’m taking a day to relax and regroup. Working and taking two classes while pregnant is challenging. I’ll be relieved when the semester is over and I don’t have to feel guilty about reading parenting books anymore. Just a few more weeks.
Seth is super active as usual- I amazed at how often he kicks. Yesterday I felt him really high up- near my ribs- which was a very strange feeling. Manny and I both talk to him, and I play music loud enough for him to hear- it’s really cool to feel so connected to him already, I love it and can’t wait to meet him.

August 27, 2008


by Hannah
13 weeks- August 12th
About 12 weeks- a little earlier in August
It is good to be in the second trimester. The risk of miscarriage goes way down after the 12th week, and that’s a relief. I am now 15 weeks pregnant- the books say the baby is the size of a large naval orange. They use a lot of fruit analogies in those books.
I have heard the baby’s heartbeat twice now at midwife appointments. Yes, we have a midwife rather than an obstetrician and we’re planning a home birth, which I’m really excited about. We watched this documentary called The Business of Being Born, and it was really eye-opening as to the state of maternity care in the United States.
I have been feeling a little better- less tired, though still nauseous sometimes. I’ve had a couple very bad headaches, one that lasted for ten days, which is hard because I cannot take any medicine for it. I did get acupuncture though, and I think it helped.
We’re finding out the baby’s gender sometime in October, and I’m totally looking forward to it. Manny is about to finally start his new job, and I started online grad school classes on Monday. So life is busy, but we’re happy and excited about the future.
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