I have waited too long to write this story down. There are many details that I have already forgotten five months later. There are even some details that are starting to come back to me that are bothering me. So here it is, what I remember of the day that Julia was born.
I had a lot of regrets with Matthew's birth story (story to follow at a later date) and this time wanted the birth done my way. I read some books, the best of these being "Birthing from Within". I decided a long time ago that I would not use an obstetrician this time but would be going with a midwife. A birth assisted by a midwife fitted my ideals much better than a doctor.
At one of my appointments, the midwife mentioned something about a home birth. I had thought of this before, but didn't think that my house was properly set up for a home birth. I also thought it would be too much work to get all the materials together and to ensure it was a good space. The midwife assured me that I didn't need anything special for a home birth. Most of the items that I would need were things that I could find around the house and the others that I couldn't were inexpensive. My midwife answered many questions for my husband. His biggest question was what would happen if something went wrong and I needed surgury. My midwife told us that we needed to live within twenty minutes from the hospital. In Thunder Bay, our doctors who perform c-sections are on call and would not arrive at the hospital until we did or even shortly afterwards. The midwife assured us that it would take the same amount of time to prep for surgury whether we were at home or at the hospital. So, I convinced Mike that a home birth was a good idea.
My husband is not the most sensitive person around, so it became important to me that I have someone at the birth who could be supportive. I found out about doula's and even found one that attended births on a volunteer basis. Now that I know how helpful doula's are, I would not hesitate to pay for one if I ever choose to have another baby.
On to the actual birth story:
After many days of false labour, my mother in law came over on the morning of the 18th. Together we made Gnnochi. For supper that night, I made chicken parmasan with egg plant because I had heard from someone else that it was a good labour starter. That night I went to bed with no contractions and no hope of having my beautiful daughter anytime soon. Then, at 2:00 am I woke up to my husband tossing and turning in bed. I was lying there, trying to come up with some ways of getting labour going because I was just so uncomfortable when I felt a wave of pain overcome me. This contraction was different than the ones I had during false labour. Immediately I got up and went into the livingroom where I could time the contractions. I believe that they immediatly started at five minutes apart and that I kept track for an hour before I called my doula. She suggested that I go for a bath and told me not to worry about calling the midwife at this point. She advised me that she was going to try and get some sleep and to call her when I needed her to come over.
The contractions were a little strong for my liking and since Matthew was born in only four hours, I decided that I was going to call the midwife right away. I got ahold of Diane who told me to go for a bath and to call her in two hours. Apparently, I didn't sound like I was in labour and I don't think she really believed me.
So, I went for a bath. This was the most painful thing I have ever done in my life. I could not get comfortable at all. I tried lying on my back and then tried to get on my side. There is nothing comfortable about lying on your side in the bathtub. My contractions got stronger and I did not feel like I could cope anymore. I got out of the tub and called my doula again. I told her that I needed her now. She told me she would be right there.
At this point, I had not bothered Mike because if it was false labour he needed to sleep. But, now knowing for sure that I was in labour, I went to wake him up. Poor guy! He didn't have a clue. He came out and made some coffee and then realized that it was 3:30 in the morning. He thought he was late for work!! I told him that I was in labour, but I don't think he believed me either.
Finally my doula arrived. I had already been sitting on my exercise ball since after I woke Mike up. My contractions were still coming strong and regular. I was talking through them just fine and having fun with Mike and Nadia. Mike made him and Nadia breakfast and did some cleaning. At some point, Nadia suggested that I call the midwife. She talked to her first saying that I was having trouble talking through my contractions now and then she put me on the phone. I really don't think my midwife believed that I was in labour because I was so calm on the phone. But she said she would be at my house shortly. Nadia asked me how many centimeters dialted I thought I was. I told her that I thought I was 6 cm's. She said I was too calm to be 6 and she thought I was 4.
The midwife arrived at around 5:00 am and evaluated me in the livingroom. She suggested we move to the bedroom for an internal exam. In the bedroom she checked me and I was 7 cm dialted!! She said she could break my water for me if I wanted, as soon as the other midwife arrived. She called the other midwife to come to assist the birth.
I think the other midwife arrived around 6:00 am, but I am not too sure. I had tried to sit on the exercise ball in the bedroom, but the contracitons were getting more painful and I moved onto the bed. The only comfortable position at this point was lying on my left side. Nadia took her station beside me on the bed and Mike woke up the kids and got coffee for everyone. The kids came in and out of the bedroom, but I think things were getting a little intense for them and I was starting to go into my own little world.
Just after 7:00 am the midwife broke my water. Nadia asked Mike what time he thought the baby would be born. He said 7:20. Everyone else thought that was too early. Then the urge to push came. The midwife said that if I wanted to push, to just do what my body wanted me to do. So I did. She then told me that I was fully dialted and the baby would be born soon. I push and the baby got stuck because I had to stop pushing. She got struck right as I was feeling the "ring of fire". I was determined that the baby would NOT be inside me after the next push. Sure enough, I was able to get her out on the next push. Julia Marie was born at 7:20 am, just like her daddy said she would be.
The midwife placed her on my abdomen but was not able to move her any higher because my placenta cord was too short. The midwife made a comment about letting Heather look down to find out the sex of the baby, and I remarked that it better be a girl.
This is were I have some regrets. Julia was wrapped in blankets and given to me. I did not have very much skin to skin contact with my daughter. When I went to feed her for the first time, I cannot rememeber if I undressed her or not. I wish I had savoured the moment longer and just held her against my body for an hour or more. I actually feel robbed of this experience, that was my time to be close to her and I forgot the most important thing after a baby is born.
BUT...it was awesome being at home and being able to show her to my other children right away. I loved being able to get up and sit on the couch shortly after she was born.