Monday, July 23, 2012

A Perfectly Normal Birth

Goosey's birth was wonderful, peaceful, and almost uneventful except that at the very end I got to hold a precious baby girl.

I wasn't sure when I was due. According to my own calculations my estimated due date was around February 12th which meant that I would probably deliver around the end of the month. (My babies like to stay in as long as they can.) 

7 months pregnant In Chicago
To be honest, my pregnancy was largely unassisted. I met with a midwife for a checkup around 8 weeks, saw an OB around 21 weeks to get an ultrasound and a few follow ups, then found the most wise and sage like midwife I've ever met around 35 weeks. In the time between official care providers I paid close attention to my body and to the baby's movements. I knew that everything was going well. 

On Sunday February 19th Michael was working on a project at the coffee shop as he often does on Sundays. I was home with the kids feeling pretty tired and having a lot of cramps. We were all snuggling on the couch watching Wild America DVDs. You know that awesome old nature documentary series? So, as we learned about the great horned owl, and as I scrambled to fast forward through wild pig intercourse, the image of which still hasn't left my mind, I kept having contractions. I assumed that they were nothing because I had been having contactions for weeks and no baby. I even wrote this post that afternoon! I called Michael to let him know that I was having a lot of cramping but told him to keep working. He doesn't get a lot of time to work on his projects and if I wasn't in actual labor there was no point in coming home. Around 5pm I decided that I was just too tired and crampy to make dinner so we ordered Romeo's pizza. I also poured a few tablespoons of my calcium and magnesium supplement that my midwife had given me into a bottle of sparkling water and sipped it continually. It helped to ease the contractions. 

As the kids were eating their pizza I started to realize that I probably was in labor but didn't want to admit it. I called Michael to tell him that the contractions were getting closer together but to keep working. (Crazy??) At one point on the phone I had to stop talking and hang on to the table because the pressure was so great. Still, told him to work on! Finally 15 minutes later I told him it was time to come back and head down to my parents house for the long journey. 

Once I acknowledged that I was in labor I realized that I needed to stay completely relaxed and get the kids and dog packed up and out of the house quickly because my parents live an hour and half away and the midwife was about an hour from them. Still, everything on my end was very calm. The kids finished their dinner, I gave them squeezy fruit packets for the car ride and just walked through the contractions. At the same time, as if in an alternative universe, my dad was at home freaking out, watching all manner of youtube videos on how to birth babies at home. He was so convinced that he would be delivering my baby that he cleaned the bathtub when I called and said we were leaving! 

I left my midwife a voicemail telling her that I was pretty sure I was in labor and was heading toward her house. She has a small clinic behind her house/farm. When she called me back we were in the car and she said she could tell from my voice that I was farther along than I realized and wanted me to come right to her clinic after we dropped the kids off. I had entertained the idea of hanging out with my parents for a little bit.

E with Goosey at home
Through the car ride I just relaxed through the many contactions, called my dad and assured him that I was just fine. When we got to my parents house I walked in to use the bathroom and had maybe 3 or 4 contractions just getting to the powder room, but they didn't hurt too much and I smiled and laughed and walked as natural as I could so that my parents could chill out about us not making to the midwife's. The kids were so excited, I told them that we would have our "new baby" tomorrow and they gave me big hugs and kisses. 

As we got closer to the midwife's we sang through the an entire Waterdeep album and continued to do so until Goosey was born. Things were getting intense, I could feel it. We talked about any fears that we each had, gave them to God and didn't look back. Fear is the enemy of a beautiful birth.

As we drove down the winding back roads past Amish homes and farms I felt at peace. This was exactly how and where I wanted to give birth. I even called my mother in law when we were just five minutes away, I sounded as chipper as bird despite having contraction on contraction on contraction. Our families tend to worry a lot and I wanted them to relax as much as possible, besides, I did feel good, my body was opening up to deliver my baby!

First hug
It was 9pm when we pulled into the driveway. I was so happy and excited to get into the clinic and see my midwife. I was practically bouncing when I walked in. I told her, "I feel great! Except when I'm having a contraction, then I can't talk, lol." I wanted to have as few cervix checks as possible in labor because all it really serves to do is push bacteria up the vagina and increase the risk of infection. My midwife wanted to do one check just to see how dilated I was. I assured her that I was maybe 3 cm, certainly no more. She looked at me with complete confidence and said, "honey, I think you're further along than you realize." And I was! 7 cm! Awesome news! 

I spent the next 3 hours walking, standing, singing, talking, vomiting, praying and bossing everyone around. :) I needed to have Michael touch me for every single contraction, and if he moved more than 5 feet from me I would boss him and make him come back. All he could do was drink the coffee the midwife fixed for him and hold my hand. Through my labor with Noah I reached a point where I had lost control of myself, it felt like I couldn't get a break between contractions to clear my mind for even a second. I didn't want that to happen this time. I communicated clearly how each rush felt and asked for whatever I needed in the brief moments between rushes. I would have a rush, vomit into a bucket, ask for water, ask Cyndi (midwife) to put some essential oil in the puke bucket to help, then after the next rush/vomit tell her I hated that oil and to wash it away immediately!
"Too bright Daddy!"

My midwife is Ina May good. She was able to look at me going through a contraction and know exactly how strong it was, when I was at the peak was and when it had ended. After trying to spend some time in the tub (FAIL!) I really wanted to sit down but doing so made the pain of contractions really uncomfortable. My body was like a conductor of energy. When I was standing the strong waves of contractions could flow all the way through me, but when I was sitting or laying down the energy seemed to bunch up around my uterus instead of flowing down and out. Leaning up against the bed was my best option. At this time my super sage midwife says, with no cervical check mind you, you are fully dilated and ready to push, if I break your bag of waters your baby will be on his way out." I was shocked and thrilled to hear this! Though I declined the breaking of my waters, making a joke that maybe the baby would be born in the caul (in the sac). 

About 10 minutes later my water did burst and I proudly told everyone that I wanted to give birth standing up! Laying, squatting, sitting, all too uncomfortable. My midwife was like, "... okay" and laid clean blankets and pads all over the floor, she really was awesome. After about a minute of trying to have a baby standing up I quickly moved to a hands and knees position on the floor. There was no getting on the bed at this point, my body was engaged to go! Cyndi pressed on my perineum with a hot compress and I yelled at her to get it off, then as the baby made her way down the birth canal and Cyndi was supporting my perineum and massaging it with olive oil, I yelled, "move your hand, move your hand!" She did of course. Two seconds later I realized that it was the baby causing that pain and not her and I yelled, "put your hand back!!!" We later laughed heartily about this. I only pushed for 20 minutes and our precious baby was born on the floor in the middle of Amish country at midnight. It was perfect, it was normal, it was peaceful. I was so excited to see my baby that when I had finished pushing I nearly spun around while she was still attached to me and the midwife was in the process of catching/checking the her out. 
Holding my new baby!

I held her in my arms kneeling until I birthed the placenta, then, I think Michael cut the cord and I got in the bed to snuggle my little girl. The most shocking event of the night was my baby being a girl and not the boy we had all been suspecting. Cyndi massaged lavender oil into my feet to help me settle down after the rush of hormones from having Goosey. Then she left us alone to bond. She cleaned up and cooked us eggs and toast, a favorite meal of mine. In my opinion, this was better than a home birth. I didn't have to cook or clean! ;)
Trying to relax after winning the race.

Another baby was born that night too! A goat!


  1. Awww...Jen! Lucie is going to LOVE this birth story when she gets older! It is such a precious precious story! :o)

  2. This made me cry! In a good way. So amazing and inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I'm not usually this emotional, but I find myself sitting here with tears rolling down my cheeks. God has blessed you greatly!