Frances's birth

Our sweet home birth began on a Wednesday night.  My surges had very slowly begun the day before so I rested up, made some lasagna and treated myself to a mani/pedi.  By Wednesday evening, things had intensified – my surges were becoming consistent and with enough pressure to make me have to take a pause and find a comfortable position.  Ryan and I took a moment to savor this time together as the two of us, knowing that this may help bring things on and welcoming all that was to come.  Before crawling into bed and trying to get some sleep, Ryan called our doula and midwife, Ami, to let them know we were just fine but would very likely need them in the morning.  I was unable to sleep that night.  My surges were not painful but enough pressure that I felt more comfortable leaning over the bed as opposed to lying down.  By 10am on Thursday morning, our doula joined us and by 1pm Ami came.  Ami joined me, crouched down on my hallway floor and kissed my arm.  I was so happy to have her there.  She asked if I felt any pressure in my back.  I didn’t know.  I felt quite a bit of pressure but thought my back was tired from the hip figure eights I had been doing all night.  She and our doula encouraged me to get in the aqua doula, the incredible hot tub that had taken over our dining room.  I hadn’t climbed in earlier worrying that it might slow things down.  This wasn’t the case.  Things continued and even escalated; and the warm water felt absolutely amazing.  Ami checked my progress and let me know it was probably time to put in an IV for my antibiotics (I was GBS+ and decided to have antibiotics.).  Somewhere between getting out of the aqua doula and getting the IV, things slowed way down.  I could feel my body coming to what felt like a halt.  And, this is where I believe some internal head games began.  I had done quite a bit of research on antibiotics and did not want them but felt it was the lesser of the two evils.  As I felt my body slow down and the surges virtually stop, I blamed it on my decision to get antibiotics.  As I felt my body slow down, I became scared of what could come – the hospital.  And, as I felt my body slow down, I started counting the hours it could possibly take me to have my baby and felt exhausted.   I got back in the aqua doula, I got out, I threw up, I took a nap.  I whined and complained to Ryan.  Throughout it all, Ami continued to encourage me.  She listened to my baby’s heart rate; I would stop breathing and listen too.  I knew if my baby’s heart stayed strong, I could stay home and take the time my body seemed to need.  However, it was late Thursday night and it was time to try and pick things up.  Ami gave us several options to try to get things moving along – take a shower and put on some fun music, break my bag of waters, and/or get an IV of fluids.  Ryan and I decided to get the IV of fluids to help gain some energy.  By this point we understood that our baby was in an awkward position and needed some nudging to get on the right path and speed things along.  When the IV was finished, our doula and Ami supported me through a number of exercises and positions to get our little one to turn – inversions, crawling up and down the stairs and my very very least favorite, a c curve dance move with someone supporting me from behind while Ryan held me in the front.  This intense “yoga class” really started to pick things back up – I could feel my body responding and was encouraged.  I got back in the aqua doula crouching in a c curve position through my surges.  At this point, picturing my surges as a wave that I was riding and thinking of them as intense pressure versus pain started to become more and more difficult.  It felt good to moan and moan loud.  I felt a pop and water gush out of me.  Then I felt the pressure change and felt like I was going to poop.  I thought maybe if I pushed hard enough I could just have my baby right there and then.  I felt between my legs for a head, but there was no head.  Everyone else must have heard and seen what I was feeling.  Ami wanted to check me and see how things were going.  I remember anxiously waiting to hear what Ami was going to say.  I wanted so badly to have my baby at this point.  I felt like I was there but what if I wasn’t?  Ami told me I was ready, I could push and not to be afraid to bear down.  Yes!  This is what I had been waiting for.  It was about 2am Friday morning and suddenly I was no longer exhausted.  I was invigorated.  I was ready to push.  I squatted on my bed and held onto the headboard but it didn’t feel right.  I got on my side but that didn’t feel right.  Ami told me to try the toilet and she left Ryan and I in the bathroom.  Although I hadn’t liked the toilet while I was having surges, it made pushing a bit more comfortable.  Pushing was different for me than everything leading up to it; I felt like I could somewhat control it – that I could push really hard and make something happen.  I felt like I was going to have my baby right then and there in my toilet.  Ami poked her head in and I told her I thought the head was coming out.  She brought in a light and our doula came in as well as the assisting midwife who had arrived by this point.  Yes, our baby’s head was there but our tiny little bathroom was too small for all of us.  We moved into the bedroom and onto the birthing stool.  Ryan was able to sit behind me on the stool which felt amazing – I leaned against him and squeezed his poor fingers.  Within what felt like a very short time, Ami told us to reach down and grab our baby.  Ryan and I both reached down and pulled her to my chest.  Our baby had arrived – safe and secure in the calm of our home.  We moved to the bed together with Ryan right next to me and baby Frances on my chest as I pushed one more time to release my placenta.  Ami realized quickly that my placenta was a bit stuck and did her magic to make sure it all came out.  The next few hours went by in a blur – we nestled into bed, Frances nursed, Ami made a placenta print and gave us a tour of Frances’ prior living quarters and our doula and assisting midwife went home for some much needed rest.  Ami stayed with us for a bit longer.  After checking on Frances and I, it was time for her to leave as well.  Before Ami left she leaned over Frances and whispered a blessing in Spanish into her ear.  I didn’t know what she said, but I knew that everything was going to be just fine.  I felt so special, so safe and so blessed.  We were all healthy, all happy and all together.