Just waiting on her to say it was time...
Greg decided to go ahead and get the pool set up and ready so if I did start my labor before he got home, I could easily start filling the pool up on my own. We all nestled into bed pretty early, and I was sleeping pretty sound until 1:43 AM.
I was awakened by an uncomfortable contraction and spent the next hour and a half pacing about trying to be sure if I was really in pain before I bothered waking up Greg. I got out a journal and start writing down times and lengths of contractions, and finally decided about 3:30 to wake him up and call in the midwife and my parents.
Everyone arrived about 5 that morning, and Danette and Caroline, her sweet apprentice, began monitoring Elsie's heartbeat and my blood pressure. My BP was slightly raised, so after a homeopathic dose of calcium and magnesium, I returned to my left side to relax through some more contractions. That all worked, as my blood pressure lowered, and the more relaxed I stayed, the more intense the contractions were.
My mom got to work fixing up some biscuits and gravy from scratch, and my husband quickly decided we needed to do this more often if it meant eating my mom's cooking for breakfast! I got to enjoy the fruits of her labor, and spent most of the morning just nestled into my room breathing through contractions.
Remember me talking about The Sphincter Law before? I honestly wasn't worried this would effect me in the privacy of my own home. I pretty much figured I have enough control over my mind and body that once labor started, I would get in the zone and be good to go. Well, that was not the case. By the afternoon, with contractions still 10 minutes apart, and losing intensity at times, we thought a walk around the neighborhood would help.
It did not help, not at all. In fact, I felt as though everything was being put on hold. I stayed out in the kitchen chatting with everyone and went almost 30 minutes without anything happening.
So with Danette's encouragement, I went back to the retreat of my room with my headphones in, music up, and only the company of my husband, and at times, Emma. As long as no one else was around, my body would allow contractions to come up to 8 minutes apart and last over a minute. However, oddly enough, even if my sweet mama would come into the room, everything would stop. I really got to experience how little control I had over my body's birthing plan!
So, with the afternoon turning into the evening, my body slowly worked on getting Elsie lined up for her big debut. For years, Greg and I had told Emma that when, or if, we ever had another baby, the new little one would be in between us instead of her, and she would have to be prepared for that. So, with the last few hours of her being the baby dwindling away, she nestled in between us to make the most of it. We chatted about what Elsie would look like as she drew pictures, and then Greg would hold her really still as I would hum through my contractions.
Everyone was pretty tuckered after an eventful, yet still uneventful, day. So the kids camped out in the living room with my parents, and Danette and Caroline made themselves at home in the kids' beds. And that is how it was, still and quiet, until around 12:30 Tuesday morning.
Finally, the contractions were coming on nice and strong! Hooray! I was up pacing back and forth, and then every 8 minutes or so, I would bend over the bed to hum through what was now what I would consider active labor. I woke Greg up, and Danette heard us stirring around, so it was time to start boiling water for the cooled off pool and a wardrobe change as I got ready to get in the water. Danette had told me we would hold off on getting in to the pool until I couldn't get comfortable any other way. And I was at that point. I crawled into the birth pool around 15 after 1 Tuesday morning and prepared myself to crawl out of it no longer pregnant...
As soon as I got in the water, a contraction came on super strong, then about 2 minutes later, another one, and that was the pace for the next 2 hours. My body was so relaxed in the water, that I was completely out of control and the human ejection process had begun!
The water definitely helped me to handle the intensity of the pain, and I just hummed away as my mind kept repeating things like, and this too shall pass, over and over. The last 30 minutes or so were totally overwhelming. I felt completely out of control during the contractions, and proclaimed I felt like I was suffocating and couldn't catch my breath. Danette reminded me to relax and not let my contractions get ahead of me, so back to the humming and focusing.
This entire 25 hours of labor, Danette did not "check me". We did not know how dilated I was at any point in time. My body was completely in control of the process, and although I felt helpless for those last few minutes, the empowerment I felt when it was all over was totally worth it! I threw up my yummy snacks from the long day of labor as I transitioned through those last few centimeters, and started shaking as my body prepared to deliver my beautiful little girl into her daddy's awaiting hands. Danette gave me some ginger candy to help with the nausea, and I was really thankful, even asking for another piece to get me through the end.
Danette had a pitcher and would pour water over my back through my contractions, my hubs was sitting on a stool in front of me holding my hands, and I was bent over the edge of the pool on my knees. My mom and Caroline were patiently awaiting the progression, and my dad and kids were still fast asleep.
I remember looking over my shoulder once and finding my mother shedding big tears as she tried to deal with her baby girl being in so much pain, but the midwife was quick to comfort her and assure her all was well.
With all the controversy surrounding our decision to birth at home, I want to make it clear that I never once had any worry about my health, or the well being of my baby through the entire process. My mind never once wandered into those dark thoughts, and I praise the good Lord for bathing the entire ordeal with His wonderful grace.
About 10 minutes before Elsie found her way to daddy's hands, Danette told me I could check to see if I felt her head. My water still hadn't ruptured, and it was obvious I was feeling her sac cushioning her head in it's decent. The next contraction, I exclaimed that I felt like I could push. So I did. Seven minutes later, Elsie was born. On the second push, I felt my water break and seconds later I announced her head was out. Greg was scurrying around from being in front of me to getting behind me, and with only a lamp lighting the entire room, Danette was getting the flashlight on so they could indeed see if she was on her way out! Her head had been delivered, and with ease, her little body followed just in time for Greg to reach down and lift her up out of the water.
They carefully helped me roll over onto my bottom where I stayed for the next hour. Greg laid my sweet Elsie right onto my chest as I expressed my sheer delight that my baby girl and I had worked so hard together, and now here she was! She immediately began to root and kick, lifting her head and bobbing around to begin suckling. My sweet girl latched right on and has been an expert nurser from the beginning.
The after pains were pretty harsh, but moments later, I gave a push to finish the process and birth the placenta. We waited 45 minutes for the cord to finish it's beautifully engineered job, and then Danette clamped it for Greg to cut it. Then miss Elsie got to go cuddle with her papa as they helped me get out of the pool and into my robe so I could get in the bed to rest.
Moments later, it happened...as Emma looked on from her daddy's chest, little Elsie took her place in between mommy and daddy. And like that, the process I had anticipated for so long was over, and my little babe who I'd dreamt about for years was finally lying here in her home...in my bed...in the blankets I had washed just weeks before. We were complete.
And now Emma seemed so much older...so much more mature.
And the Big "E" seemed much bigger as he nestled the new little "E".
Elsie will be 3 weeks old in just a few hours, and I've gotten to share our experience with some of our close friends and family I've gotten to see since she came into this world. Some have been curious about how I felt afterwards. I can honestly say it was a much easier recovery than with Ethan or Emma. I've been pleasantly surprised at just how good I have felt. I did have a small tear, but never had any discomfort from it whatsoever. Danette had made me a brew up of some
comfrey root,which worked wonderfully.
Some have asked now that it is all over, what about #4? Will we be trying to conceive again,
and if so,
will I birth at home again?
The answers are yes, and yes.
We plan on trying for #4 when Elsie is a little over a year old, and yes, I plan on inviting my new favorite midwife, Danette, back into my home to attend the birth of our next child. Looking back, I am so thankful everything went just as it was. Even with labor lasting just over a day, I feel so blessed Greg and I got to spend that time together as we waited for her arrival.
A big thanks to all of you who have supported us through this journey! Until next time...
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