My Empowering Second Birth Experience: And Then There Was Two

imageMy Empowering Homebirth 

“I gave birth at home

Not brave…

Not crazy…

Just educated”

Hello Friends,

Here is the continuance to my soon to be life changing birth experience.

With the shocking news of my second pregnancy at hand and witnessing my sisters soulful home birth, I was forever changed and my perspective was on a whole new level. And yes, it was still childbirth. But the calmness the gentleness and, only the people you choose to be at your birth are present. There are no strangers dressed in blue, aimless wandering in and out of your ” birthing room” scanning your bracelet, carelessly asking your name and birthday. No tubes, no iv’s, no stiff hospital bed, no monitor strapped to you belly. We are not sick when we are giving birth, then why in the hospital are women treated as cancer patients? We are enduring one of life’s most amazing experiences! We don’t need to be strapped to a monitor laying flat on our back. If you have ever known a pregnant women or personally gone through the crazy, amazing life experience you will know she would never lay on her back.

 We as Women need to wake up to change when it comes to our bodies and our births. There are more choices out there. The pressures of our loved ones and society, I know how hard it is. A home birth is a 180 to hospital birth, and it may seem with it’s given name. Your imagination can only lead you there, but until you have been blessed to experience the entirety of a home birth, you will never know the magnitude, the empowerment and the peace that it brings a mother, her baby and her family it changed everything for me.

From my nephew Finny’s homebirth, I was determined I was going to have a home birth. I would never subject myself or my new baby to what I had previously endured. And with the experience of Finny’s birth, I was affirmed of my decision. Rex was not immediately onboard with my past C-section history. When it came down to it, I put it out there truthfully. “My body my choice.” I was certain, I was 100% this was my birth path. 

I was thirty-eight weeks and two-day pregnant, I had just had a fresh shower with my one and only sweet daughter, Violet June. She was two years and two months old. In my light pink, terry cloth, bathrobe, I snuggled with my one and only child for the last time, before she was soon to be my oldest. My sister Jenny called while we were snuggling,, I answered.

“Geez…I am so sick and tired of peeing myself.” I told her on the phone. I had done it once in the shower,  and once getting my bathrobe on and now while I was laying in bed with June. “Are you sure that’s not you water?” Jenny responded to me.

“Of course it’s not my water, I am only 38 weeks pregnant.” I answered back to her, I have never experienced my water breaking with June and to add she was two weeks overdue. So mentally I had prepared myself to be long overdue. I mentally thought I had an entire month of pregnancy ahead of me. Little did I know! I hung the phone, snuggled my one and only sweet baby girl, soon to be one of only two. (Ps We had just had a close friend who is a custom worker build, June’s very first big girl bedroom set, she was giving her crib to her new baby brother, what a good big sister she was going to make!)

I quietly heaved myself out of her bed, as quiet as a giant bellied, 38 week pregnant Mama could be. I stood up and in my pink terry cloth robe, a small gush, rushed down my legs. Thought’s of what my sister had said on the phone, lingered in my mind. “Oh my, was that really my water or did I just pee again?” I questioned myself, I quietly stomped my swollen feet into my room and closed the door. I dialed my sister Jenny as fast as I could. “Ummm… Jenny… I think it is my water, but I am not sure?” I told her

I could hear the excitement in her voice, “Call Carol!” She urged me. My heart pounding, I called my midwife and gave her a run down, she said it sounds like I have a slow leaking water. If you think of a woman’s water breaking you think of the gushing, river of water. A slow leak is exactly as it sounds. It is a tiny tear in the sac, the amniotic fluid or “the water,” (breaking or rupturing) is coming out at its own pace. So in my case you may feel like you are slightly peeing yourself every five minutes. Which is hard to differentiate, with a baby smashing your insides and laying on your bladder. Any woman who has carried a baby can relate to the constant accidents and incessant peeing.

And so, I would off and on have this unfamiliar slow leak. Small gushes and giant gushes of warm clear fluid streamed down my legs.

With my water now ruptured, and I was Group B Strep positive. Group B Strep also known as GBS is a type bacteria or an infection found in a womans vaginna or rectum.  The bacteria is normally found in 25% of all healthy adult women AKA 1 in 4 women carry this bacteria. In pregnancy, Women are tested for GBS, it can be known to pass to the baby during childbirth.  GBS is a leading cause of life-threatening infections in newborns, including pneumonia (lung infection), sepsis (blood infection), meningitis (infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), and other problems.

With my GBS and previous c-section the clock was ticking. Legally my midwife can only allow a birthing Mother 24 hours with this infection before complication such as the above listed may present worry.

At my home on my terms, my sister Jenny and her eight month old Finny arrived, her other two bigger boys were at home with their dad. My braxton hicks contractions that I had been enduring for the last few weeks were weakly and lazily, coming and going every thirty minutes ,if that. Braxton Hicks contractions, also known as prodromal labour or practice contractions, or incorrectly as false labour, are sporadic uterine contractions that sometimes start around six weeks into a pregnancy. However, they are not usually felt until the second trimester or third trimester of pregnancy.

My husband, Rex at work and could I reach him? Ummm… nope… Of all the panicked times he answered the phone, “Are you in labor? So, you need me to come home?” He asked me this question dozens upon dozens of times. When it was actually happening, his phone would ring and ring and ring. I could not get through, I finally called his supervisor and that’s how i got a hold of him. I was slightly panicked he would not make it in time.

Rex finally was home, and a few hours later my midwife and her assistant arrived. We were at home and the afternoon ticked by, the evening came, we were all patiently waiting for my labor to start. It had almost ceased to exist. I somehow frightened it away. I kept thinking to myself,  “maybe I really was peeing myself? ” It was dark, my one and only daughter, June was nursed and sound asleep in her big girl bed. My midwife and her assistant retreated to the futon in the lower family room, we joked about them snuggling and spooning each other. My sister went to bed on my couch. With a rapid heart beat, I could feel in my arms, I nervously, tried falling asleep flopping and heaving from side to side. I kept perfectly arranging and rearranging my eclectic, array of my eight fluffy pillows. As Rex would referred to as my wall of pillows. I barely, nervously, anxiously, dozed off.

My sister Jenny woke me through my gasping, incessant drooling and snoring. She sweetly urged me to get up, that the clock was ticking and maybe a walk would help to get things moving along. My husband, daughter and midwives, were fast asleep. We went out the front door for a midnight walk, the time was moving fast my contractions were off and on, weakishly every thirty minutes still.

Jenny and I on our late night, ever so dark morning hour stroll, she was cracking me up. She was encouraging me to do lunges, and squats I kept gushing, there were even hilarious fart moments. I have amazing memories of that night with the two of us, lots of laughs and lots of gush farts. Hey I couldn’t help it I had a giant belly, I gained 54 lbs after all, yikes!

We returned into the house, still the same, I walked up and down my three flights of stairs at least ten times. Still nothing but one giant tired, anxious, Mama. The early morning hours approached, Carol and Myrta submerged sleepy from the downstairs living room.

“Any changes, Shelly?” Carol sweetly asked. I responded, nothing new to report except more gushes of fluid. She had me lay on my couch and double checked with a lithium paper that it in fact was my water and not pee as I kept suspecting. We were all half and half, hoping it wasn’t a ruptured membrane and just an end of a third trimester, giant bellied Mama, peeing herself. Carol checked my babies heart beat and he was perfect in there, he was head down, positioning was ideal for birth. We were just lacking the labor pains that I was hoping would have come and gone by this point.

Carol spoke to me about my fears, about my body, she suggested we light a candle and sit in a circle and say a prayer, she spoke to me about releasing any worry from my mind and any doubts I was holding onto. With the sun slightly rising, a tall flickering candle, we circled on my living room floor. I was surrounded by My sister Jenny and two loving midwife’s, Rex and June were still asleep and I was ok with that.

Gazing into the flickering light, I released my fears of pushing out my baby. I had a worry that when it came time to pushing I was not going to know how to get my baby out of my body. I released tears of joy and tears of fears of having another c-section, my pains of my first birth, each woman said encouraging words to me. We release thoughts of positivity and healthy birth into to universe. My lips quivered of course I cried, my sister cried. I felt so much love and warmth.

Morning approached, my dear friend Shay entered my home with her eight month old baby girl Arden, and her amazing positive presence. “What a beautiful day to have a baby Shelly.” She genuinely smiled to me with her sweet southern accent. He face made me tear up.

My progress, still the same. I tried disgusting tasting tinctures, I choked down the dreadful castro oil and orange juice with vodka. Yes vodka, it relaxes a laboring mother. I was determined to try anything, I was not going to the hospital! I started get contractions or intestinal cramping, my breathing started to get heavy. It was not the contractions I wanted, I had sever stomach pains I was sweaty, queasy, I was going to puke, but I didn’t. Those waves left me and I was now left with no contractions.

My midwife asked to speak to my husband and I, she sat on the floor up against my bookshelf. I bounced on my birthing ball with my hair braided to my left side, in my emerald-green nightgown. Rex sat in a chair to my right. I embraced my giant belly as I bounced up and down on the ball. She gently told us, everything I knew she was about to say. I was GBS positive and with my history of c-section we were approaching 22 hours of a ruptured sack. The dreadful words came out of her mouth.

“Shelly, we are going to have to move you to the Hospital.” I lost it, I had no emotional filter or control. I tightly held my belly and sobbed and sobbed, myself into heuristics. I couldn’t stop.

“It’s not fair!” My lips quivered with tears streamed down my cheeks unto my green nightgown. “It’s not fair!” I repeated time and again. “I worked so hard for this.” I spoke trembled under my tears.

Rex held me, I lost it I couldn’t keep it together. Luckily June was at a close Friend’s house and she did not have to see her Mommy like this. Jenny and Shay held me and comforted me in a small circle. They both affirmed to me this is what I needed to do to meet my son and have a healthy son, it was going to be ok. And everyone was going to be there every step of the way.

PS I never knew while this was happening. I kept asking for my other sister Amybeth, I had no clue where she was, I kept getting angry at her for not being there. And little did I know she was plagued with a horrific case of, influenza B. I was so sad, but out of our hands, I couldn’t have influenza B much less my newborn baby with it. I missed every moment without her.

Rex was frantically gathering all of our things for the hospital. With my birth pool set up in my kitchen, and longing for my home birth. Rex sweetly told me to get in and relax before we headed to the hospital. I resisted him at first, how could I relax? Relaxation was a distant island to my soon to be drifting away future. I finally gave in, I got in the pool I  floated in the warm birthing water, I accepted what was to come. I gave into the thoughts of a C-section. I actually thought of how much easier it would be than having to endure the pains of birth.

Carol my midwife gently put her hand on my shoulder and said to me, “Shelly, it is time.” She held out a towel and helped me out of the pool. I dripped water on my way up the stairs to my bedroom, half way up I stopped and gazed down onto my living room floor at the hospital bag and the car seat I hadn’t intended on using for at least another month. I looked around at my home and how ready it was for me to have my son in.

I got to my room in my soaking wet sports bra, I made it to the foot of my bed and then, my breath was stolen from me. I had the most intense cramping, these unfamiliar feelings had not dawned on me at the moment that I might be in labor. I held my body up at the foot of my bed and held onto my hard as a rock belly, I swayed back and forth, taking deep breaths blowing out my breaths. The cramping paused and then I tried for a second time to pull off my wet bra, but I atlas I couldn’t. I was stopped in my tracks by another intense, breath-taking, hard as a rock feeling over my body. “Are these contractions?” I asked myself. It stopped again, I made myself move confusingly to my bathroom with my wet bra still in tacked, I made it to my bathroom sink. I strongly put my hand on the counter with my head down swaying back and forth. I was breathing deep again, my thoughts were how I couldn’t imagine riding in the car feeling like this.

My dear, sweet friend, Shay, slowly entered my bathroom. “Is everything ok, Shelly? Do you need some help?” She calmly asked me with her baby in her arms. It was happening again and again. Shay stayed with me for my next couple of contractions, she happily watched. She was as confused as I was to what was happening. I told her “I do not want to ride in the car, this is going to suck so bad.” My breath was stolen away by another rock hard contraction.

My sister, Jenny stood at the door way. Shay whispered to her, sharing her last moments spent with me. I heard her feet scurry off and up came my midwife, Carol. Yet another wave overtook me, I had to stop, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t talk, all I had was my breath, my labors sounds started to chime in. Carol flooded me with questions, I answered in my blurry, painful confusion. She told me we were going to just wait and see what happened. We still had two hours and if I were to go into active labor in that time, we might just be able to stay at home. She raised her hand above her head, praying for a miracle. Not sure of what she was saying. My longing labor pains that I so desperately wanted were here, and WOW! Did I ever forget their intensity. My friend, Shay packed her eight month old baby girl, Arden on her back. Arden was calmed by her Mommy and the ever so familiar sounds of birth. Shay rubbed me in my dark, calm and fluffy bed. I labored a while longer, it was at least forty-five minutes. Carol insisted in checking my cervix. Something she usually does not do, but this was a completely different circumstance. Carol did not speak the number to be directly but I was dilated to a five and a half. One being as big as one fingertip and ten being as big as ten fingertips and ready for baby to come out.

I asked if I could return to the pool, Carol told me not to get too comfortable in there. But she agreed to let me try, I waddled my way down the stairs as fast as my body would allow. A contraction once again stole my breath and I had to stop, I began swaying my hips back and forth and laboring moans filling the air. I almost ran into the pool at the pause of my contractions, at the rate I was going it was only a matter of minutes I had before another one over come my body.  I am pretty sure as I leaped into the water I made a giant splash, no one said a word. I got into my the comfortable position that I could at the time. I was on my knees, they were spread as wide open as possible. I had my arms crossed over the side of the pool, I would cradle my head with each contraction. I am not sure where Rex was at this point, I think he was sitting on the sidelines in fears of what was happening. I could hear one of the baby’s making sweet coos. I felt safe, I felt so much love, it felt right and it was happening for real this time.

Jenny got in the pool with me, she was prepared with a swim suit. There was a point I felt she was actually laboring with me. She rubbed my back. My soothing music played in the background, I looked up and saw a flickering candle. Shay stood on the outside with Rex while Shay was holding Arden checking the temperature of the pool. With my eyes closed I could hear Jenny and Shay both affirming to me,” Shelly your body is doing exactly what is it supposed to be doing, accept these contractions, you are strong. You are capable.” She reassured me. With a momentary break in my contractions, I gazed up at my sweetest, seven month old nephew Finny, calmly and happily playing on the floor mimicking my laboring sounds.

In this pause Carol leaned down and whispered the best words I have ever heard, “Shelly we are going to set up for a home birth, you are going to have your baby at home.” I will forever remember that moment, tears of joy filled my eyes I hugged her I could not believe her words. Shay and Jenny both cried, it was really happening. Rex was still confused, but ready to do whatever he needed to do to help out. I was having my son at home, in my kitchen. In my most amazing birthing pool surrounded by only loving, supportive people. My birth I had always imagined and dreamt of night after night. Only the people I wanted to share this amazing experience with, were with me and I was safe and in my own home.

I labored in the pool, my sister in the pool with me. At one point she was holding up my body as I rested back on her. And then in a moment’s time I began getting nauseous and dry heaving, I threw up. It was calm, my body was doing what it was made for.  My midwife was trusting of me and I was of her. And then my loud laboring roars, turned into the deepest grunting sounds. My whole pregnancy I was terrified I was not going to know what to do when it came time to push my son out. And lo and behold my body took over, I was involuntarily bearing down. Deep grunting sounds filled the air. I was comfortably resting back in the pool, Rex on the outside of the pool holding my hand. Jenny was still in the pool and squashed over to one side.

She later told me at one point she had to pee so bad, but didn’t want to leave me. Carol told her it was ok to go in the pool, Jenny was surrounded in my bodily fluids as I was of hers. When I was in this state, I only wanted darkness. My sister and Shay had made me cold wash cloth, upon cold wash cloth with a lovely lavender scent. I kept demanding of a colder wetter rag. I could feel my son in my birth canal, that little stinker kept coming down and going right back up. There was one point when I just wanted to push with ever being in myself to get him out. At that point Carol raised her voice to me,” If it is burning and stretching back off, let your body do the work.” I heard someone’s voice say, “Surrender to the pain Shelly.” With a the ring of fire slowly approaching, I remembered I let go of everything in my mind and body. I let my body float in the water, I let my body do what it was made for. It hurt like Hell, it was the most intense, real feelings I had ever experienced in my life at that point.

All I remember is grunting and thinking I ripped my critters open and then I reached down and submerged my baby boy out of the water. Jenny was directly behind me at this point. I pulled my son on my chest, I held his tiny bottom in my hand I kissed his head.  I cried, “I did it babe, where is he where is Rex?” I cried tears of joy, I looked around and he reached his hand down. “I did it Carol, I did it.” I cried more and more tears of joy. I held him on my chest and someone wrapped a towel around us in the water. I felt euphoric, I was holding my baby I was at home just as I had dreamt of doing.

Moments later, Carol asked if I could get out of the pool and make it to the couch to deliver my placenta. With helping hands in every direction I was hoisted out of the pool with warm towels and blankets wrapped around me and my newborn baby. I shivered on my way to the couch. I laid there trying to process what had just happened. I nursed my nameless son, I instantly was in love with him. I often wondered during my pregnancy how I would love another baby as much as I loved June. But It was automatic. Carol asked if I could push to help my placenta be born. I took a deep breath and blew it out of my mouth, I did this several times. Carol instructed me to breath in and hold my breath and push, when I was pushing my son I involuntarily pushed. I never had to think about it, I was focused. A few good pushes and I pretty sure I said “F*c* yes, that felt so good!” And then my ultra shivering, overcame me, I was losing mass amounts of blood. Carol quickly and confidently administered a shot of Pitocin into my upper thigh (these times are what Pitocin was created for), and I was quickly given a tincture. Carol said,” Shelly you need to tell your uterus to clamp down and shut off!” Demanding like, my ears and body were open. I loudly stated. “Uterus clamp down and shut of!” With every being I shouted those words, I was in charge of my body and it was going to obey. And moments later, my body listened and my shivering dissipated. I was laying on my couch with my nameless son, snuggling and nursing. We chose to burn his cord, it was another amazing experience on its own. It was lovely and in walked our oldest daughter, June. She was confused I held her and tandem nursed my two babies, they gazed in each other’s eyes and nursed together. It was amazing I did! And that night my family got to sleep soundly and comfortably in our own beds. It was a breath of fresh air compared to my five night stay at the hospital first birth experience.

I want to tell other Mama’s you can do it to. It is our bodies and our choices. I can never describe the empowerment that day gave me. I carry that experience along everywhere I go. I finally was able to forgive myself and know that I held the power the entire time. Know that you have a voice and mostly it is your body and your body, so make the best choice for you and not for anyone else.

Until next time friends!

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