The following is a birth story written entirely in the mother's own words, for inclusion in The Madonna and Child Project. I chose this story because I think it's unique and beautiful. I realize that unassisted birth is a controversial subject, and I'm not attempting to either endorse it or deny it as an option. I would be pleased to open a dialogue on the subject, so please feel free to leave your comments after reading this blog post. I hope you find her story as funny, sweet and fascinating as I do.
Being the 10th baby, you would think it would be textbook. Being the 5th unassisted birth, you would think we knew what we were doing. Being a new State and new adventure, you would think we would be ready. Being it was almost time for Neil to go back to work, you would think this baby would have been on time. Being that none of this is decided by me, you would think I would know better than to try to make it on my timetable. Being that once I gave my fears to God, he was ready....and we were too.
I very much felt like a watched pot, having once again gone over my estimated delivery date. This was the furthest though, and soon Neil would have to go back to work. He had taken two weeks off, and we were at the very tail end of it. We had just moved to this new town, new State and new everything, and I was very greatful to facebook for being able to keep in contact with friends and family that we dearly missed, as sometimes I felt very alone. The pregnancy itself was pretty routine, though I did discover things really do get harder when you're over 35! The aches, pains, sciatica, swelling, insomnia and heartburn seemed more intense. That could also have been that we were packing up a whole house to move, driving 19 hours at 35 weeks pregnant (in August!) and unpacking, setting up a house and all the fun that goes with moving 9 kids and a dog to an area that we knew no one.
After stressing about having everything ready for the baby, nesting, and trying to keep everything tidy (I need my tidy space!!) and waking up every morning after my due date still pregnant, I had moments that I would worry about the things they tell you will happen if your baby goes overdue; breakdown of the placenta, not enough nutrients to the baby, low amniotic fluid, death, etc. When I had those thoughts for awhile, I was not able to recenter myself. Then with the added pressure of Neil's vacation time coming to an end after two weeks of waiting for this little one to come earthside, I really had to focus on letting go of the stress and the fear and remember that the baby knew. He knew my stess, he knew my fears, he knew my apprehension, and he knew when he was supposed to be born. *I* was the one that needed reminding.
I was reminded when I woke up on October 12th with a sense of peace and a feeling that this was the day. The day I would finally meet my child face to face that I had known and grown for ten months. The child that took five pregnancy tests, including the digital one that would finally convince me that YES, that really was a line, and YES, we were really pregnant! Like the births before, I labored inconsistently all day while we got things ready for the baby. I figured once the kids went to bed, my body would kick into gear, just like the previous 4 unassisted births. I was right. Of course, some of the older kids were excited and wanted to stay up, and some were not very interested in the labor/delivery, and just wanted to be woken up to find out if it was a boy or girl. :) After getting the two little ones to sleep, we started the tub, set the candles around, and I got the laptop ready with music. I labored on and off in the tub with Neil and kids coming in and out for a few hours. I would get hot in the tub and then go sit in the rocking chair by the window watching the moon or Aubrey sleeping, knowing that her world would be changing soon. It always amazes me the feelings that go through your core wondering how you can love something so much and how your heart can hold it all... even knowing the love is so encompassing, that as soon as I see that little being emerge from my body that I would sacrifice anything, even my own life, for him.
Around 2:30am, October 13th, all the kids were sleeping, and I realized that we hadn't taken pictures, so had Neil snap one before getting back in the tub. I got in the tub again, and Aubrey woke up, so I sent Neil to lie down with her. After about 1/2 an hour, I heard him snoring...lol In a way, it was just what I needed to let myself submit to the contractions and talked to the baby that if he was ready, I was too. I had some big baby-coming-down contractions, at which time, I called for Neil to get up (he felt so bad for falling asleep!) and I wanted to get out of the tub and stand (I have stood for the past five kids) to let gravity help, knowing I was in for another pretty big baby. As soon as I stood, I knew it was only a matter of a few contractions before baby was here. Standing at the counter, with a pile of towels and my husband's hands underneath me, the real work began.
I knew he was posterior, or sunny side up, and the first bear down contraction he turned. The 2nd conntraction his head was out, though there was very little amnionic fluid, which was a little concerning, but not much time to worry as he was coming NOW. Next contraction, baby was out, and it was a BOY. I was so excited for Hunter being in the middle of six sisters! Just then, the big girls came in, (yep, my teen boys just wanted to sleep and were content with gender news in the morning!) and welcomed their new baby brother. Time of delivery was 3:50 am October 13th. The same day eleven years earlier I had given birth to a little baby girl (almost half the size of this guy!) Sitting on the step of the stair, he latched on and started nursing like a champ, and we finally got a chance to check him out...this little guy that kept us waiting day after day for his arrival! The kids all checked his fingers and toes while we waited for the placenta. He had very little vernix, but he was pinking up great. After the placenta was delivered, about 10 minutes later, Camryn cut the cord (being they shared a birthday!) and we weighed him with the sling and handy dandy fish scale, and he topped his sister by 4oz, weighing in at 10lb 4oz.
A blog on art, roller derby and life.
I'm an artist and mother of two in Courtenay, BC. I've completed a project called the "Madonna and Child Project," and I'm now working on a series of roller derby inspired drawings. In my spare time I play roller derby with the Brick House Betties.