Friday 16 April 2010
I woke up the day before my due date with a show. I was two weeks past my due date when I was born and my nephew was two weeks past his due date – as there is a pattern of babies in my family being overdue, I was convinced that this did not mean labour would start soon or that there would be a baby delivered that day. Nevertheless, I smsed my midwife & doula and then started baking. I made oat cookies, custard shortbread and cheesecake, thinking I will call the midwife when the contractions are consistent or when I start burning the biscuits. Every time I felt a contraction, I would tone the word “open”.
Four hours later, I had made baked 6 dozen biscuits, a cheesecake and washed the dishes, so went back to bed, hoping to get some sleep, not knowing how long I would be in labour for.
But the contractions were more intense when I was lying down.
Marcha Izatt, my midwife, phoned to say she would stop by and check on me as she was in the area. She and I were going to go for a walk (something we had talked a lot about during the ante natal visits) but she asked if I would mind if she could check my progress. I was worried that I would only be a cm or two but agreed. At 10h30, Marcha then declared that I was 5 cm and fully effaced. Obviously, my baby was ready to come into the world. I then phoned Jean (my husband) who had gone to do some grocery shopping to tell him to come home, luckily he was already pulling into the driveway.
Marcha and Jean then sprang into action getting everything ready & filling the birth pool. At this time I put on my belly dancing music and started dancing. I have been dancing for 6 years and had practiced some special dances for during labour. I am not sure how long I danced for but Jean said it was the most beautiful dancing he had even seen. I don’t remember the contractions while dancing, just that I would circle my hips during and do hip flicks and drops at the peak of a contraction. I then had two intense contractions while squatting using the birth ball & with Jean giving counter pressure. I then stood up and said that I felt nauseous, Marcha bought a bucket but I did not need it.
We then went into the bed room and Marcha told me how to feel for the baby’s head and Jean also had a chance to feel it. I then climbed into the birth pool; it was now 12h00. The first contraction in the pool broke my water. I remembered asking Marcha what it was and she said my water breaking and I said not that but what was all the white stuff and she then said it was vernix.
It seemed like time stood still for a while and gave me the opportunity to absorb the moment. Jean kissed me, wiped the hair from my face and said I was beautiful.I asked Marcha to check me as I wanted to push. She said I could go ahead and push. I had a few pushing contractions, kissing Jean between each one. Jean then got into the pool and I squatted facing him with my head on his chest and holding his arms. I put my head to Jean’s chest, tucked my chin to my chest and with the next contraction pushed. Liam slipped into the world and straight into his Daddy’s arms. Marcha said she had just enough time to stretch my perineum over his head and loop the umbilical cord over his head – she did not even see his shoulders come out. Later, March told us that we were in the pool for only 15 mins before Liam was born. Liam had a really long umbilical cord – almost 65 cm long, so it was nice and easy to pass him between Jean and I. The three of us just sat in the pool, staring in amazement at each other and telling each other how much we loved each other.
The Doula arrived at 12h30 and asked if we had started without her, we said that we had finished without her! She was so shocked that it was all over. I am really happy that she did not make it for the birth; it was such an intimate event. Marcha said afterwards that she was did not even notice not having another pair of hands, as Jean & I were so in tune with each other. Marisa (the Doula) did arrive at the right time to help get us out of the bath and to dry me off. I then lay on the bed with Jean and Liam. Liam was lying on my chest and I was talking to him, telling him what a great job he did in his birth and how much we loved him. Liam latched himself and suckled for a about 20 mins. Marcha pulled every now and again on the cord to see if the placenta would come out. After Liam had finished suckling, I handed him to Jean, only to discover that Liam had pooed all over my tummy! Yay, his first poo. Marcha & Marisa cleaned my tummy and put Liam back on to me, so that Jean could cut the cord. I told Marcha I wanted to stand up, but Marcha was worried I may feel faint. After some discussion, she agreed to let me stand up. As I lifted my bottom the whole placenta just plopped out onto the bed (thank goodness for linen savers)!
Liam weighed 3.4 kg and measured 52cm in length. After Liam was weighed he went back onto my chest again he latched himself and had a good suckle. (Breastfeeding since has been no problem).
A friend said these words to me before Liam’s birth and they were so true: Labor by definition is hard work but it is not painful.
When I was seven months pregnant we decided to participate in a research study being conducted by Dr Bergman. Dr Bergman is doing research into the paternal mind. Dr Bergman arrived shortly after Liam was born and showed us the kangaroo mother care method of skin to skin contact. We used this method of care for the first couple of weeks. Dr Bergman also took some blood samples from Jean to use in his research study.
Liam’s homebirth was the most amazing experience.