I awoke at 12:30 AM Monday June 5th from cramping. It felt like menstrual cramping and as it wasn’t very intense I decided to try and keep sleeping. By 2:00 AM the contractions were becoming more intense so I woke Robert up and told him to start timing them. The contractions were all in my low back and moderately painful. Robert and I worked on getting the birth area set up. We set up the birth tub, started a crock pot meal, and pulled out our birth supplies. My contractions soon became regular with a duration of a 1-1.5 minutes and 4-6 minutes apart. We reviewed our “who to call” list that included the midwife, her assistant, our photographer, my mother, and Robert’s sister. We weren’t sure which midwife to call because our regular midwife LeAnn was out of town but she had stated if it was late enough Sunday evening she wanted to be notified. We decided to try LeAnn first. She told us she was still out of town and to call the back-up midwife. We called her only to be told she was already at a birth and she offered to call another midwife. That midwife was at a birth as well so our back-up midwife called ANOTHER midwife from farther away and sent immediate help in the form of her apprentice and Sarah, a birth assistant.
comment from LeAnn: In the middle of all of that, I decided to cut short my family gathering and head back from Illinois, trying not to drive TOO fast and knowing that if I didn't make it before the birth, my client would be very well taken care of thanks to the amazing cooperation that home birth midwives share!
Robert handled all the phone tag because I was occupied with contractions. He updated me about help being on the way and I felt a little stressed about strangers coming to help me. He assured me that I was doing great, that it would all work out, and we would meet our baby girl soon.
I didn’t have much time to dwell on who was coming because I was soon entirely focused on each contraction. They were coming on strong and all in my low back. Robert suggested I get in the tub to help relax and that is where I was help arrived around 5:30 AM. I was in “labor-land” and didn’t really focus on who was there or what their names were. I remember that the birth assistant Sarah knew exactly where to push on my hips to help ease the pain of contractions. Robert kept telling me I was doing a great job, and rubbing me in between contractions. She and Robert didn’t leave my side for most of the labor. I felt supported with their help. Half of the time on the toilet with Sarah. She held me like a child and comforted be through contractions. The other half was spent hanging half out of the tub in Robert’s lap and squeezing his hand as the contractions came. I vocalized a lot and needed frequent reminders to “go low” and breathe. Someone suggested to try changing positions. I tried a leg up on a chair in a lunge, and lying on my side in bed on the back porch. These changes caused more pain but I was told this was good as it was progressing labor along. I vomited a few times, especially when on my side. After a while it felt like nothing was happening and that I was just contracting over and over with no end in sight. Everyone encouraged me to eat or drink but I could only do a small bite or sip here and there. It was just too exhausting to even chew.
I was back in the tub and was feeling overwhelming urges to push with each contraction when LeAnn arrived. I remember feeling relieved when her face came into view. After a short period of time of me screaming though contractions, and really struggling not to push she suggested I get cervical exam. We moved me onto the bed and discovered I had cervical lip and wasn’t fully dilated. Her exam was super uncomfortable due to my contractions and the urge to push being so strong. I rolled up on hands and knees as soon as she was finished and my water broke. I went back into the tub, but after trying to coach me to not push during contractions she suggested that I move to the bed where she could try to push the lip out of the way. I hesitated at first but I was so ready to get things moving.
After some more contractions with LeAnn pushing the lip out of the way it was finally time to push. I struggled to fully relax after each push. I remember LeAnn telling me it should feel like my asshole was going to hit the wall. It helped to know that the incredible pressure I was feeling was normal. LeAnn coached me to push hard or pull back as needed to ease the head out slowly. I mostly pushed lying on my side with my leg up. Robert and I tried an assisted squat but the bed was too soft and I was too tired. I went back to side lying and after about an hour of pushing she started to crown. They kept asking if I wanted to touch her but I was so focused on what I was doing I couldn’t really process it. They got a mirror and I could see her crowning a bit. When I saw her head right there I felt a little surge of energy. It was so exciting to be so close. I don’t remember feeling the “ring of fire” pain everyone talks about. There was just a lot of pressure in my butt and perineum. LeAnn encouraged me to push and so push I did! Her head finally came out and it was such an overwhelming sense of relief. I relaxed a little and LeAnn told me to keep pushing to get the shoulders out. I was so tired and must not have pushed hard enough cause LeAnn got close-up to my face, got my attention and told me to PUSH!
When the rest of our little girl emerged at 3:48 PM the feeling was indescribable. Relief, overwhelming joy, a huge surge of adrenaline, disbelief that she was here and that I did it. I felt as though I had just crossed some huge threshold, or transcended myself in some way. I wanted to cry and laugh and felt like I could burst. I just held her and looked at her while everyone fussed over her. I remember looking at her and saying how perfect she was. She didn’t cry right away, they rubbed her with some baby blankets to stimulate her and then oh man how she wailed! It was all I could manage to tear my eyes away from her to look at Robert. I wanted to express to him everything I was feeling but couldn’t even begin to try.
We tried breast feeding right away and she latched for a few moments. She pooped and peed on me and we just cuddled and continued to try breast feeding while waiting for the placenta. After she latched for a while I started cramping and passed the placenta. Robert got to cut the cord and then Noel (the other midwife that came before LeAnn) did the placenta exam in front of me which was cool. She stated that it was a large placenta and super healthy. The placenta was saved and dehydrated into pills later to help with postpartum blues. Everyone wanted me to get up and try to pee. I just wanted to hold my little girl and never leave. I eventually acquiesced and Robert got to hold her. While I was up they changed our bed sheets and cleaned up the birth area for us. I eventually got up to pee again and rinsed off in the shower. I was so weak and shaky that doing that, even seated, made me out of breath. It felt good to get the blood, pee, and meconium off me though. Robert spoon fed me while I nursed and snuggled baby. After that we just lay in bed and soaked in being a brand new family while everyone cleaned and fussed. Eventually the baby’s exam was done. Ravanna Avani Veda was born 3:48 PM Monday June 5th, 2017 at a healthy 8lbs 10oz, 21? inches long, A+ blood type, and her head was 13?. She had hair on her head, mostly in the back, and a little skin tag on her left ear. She has her dad’s long finger toes, and appetite and her momma’s eyes and sense of volume control. We are so in love with her already. Thanks for choosing us our little Light Spirit.