Thursday, June 19, 2014

Born At Home - Margaret Alleene's Birth Story

On the evening of June 4th I posted this picture without any inkling whatsoever that I would be holding my sweet Margaret in my arms by the next evening.  I was fully expecting that I would still be pregnant by the next week but I was also contentedly and peacefully resting in the knowledge that she would come in God's perfect timing.

The next morning, June 5th, Ryan headed out for a busy day of work and I woke up feeling a little crampy with some bloody show.  I remember my heart skipping a little beat as it brought back a flood of memories from my labor with Lucy which began the same way. I quickly told myself that it might not mean anything is happening soon, but deep down I knew this was probably it.  Ryan was already gone at this point so I called to let him know what was going on and to make sure he wasn't going too far from home that day. I then notified my Midwife, Kathy and my Midwife's Assistant (doubling as a Doula), Sarah, and told them I'd keep them posted. I also gave a heads up to my parents, mother in-law and sister in-law so she could be prepared to come take photos and videos of the birth when it was time.

Lucy and I were supposed to have a play date with my friend Melanie and her little boy that morning. I was sad to cancel but I knew that labor would probably be a little shorter this time and I didn't relish the idea of having to drive myself home if things picked up quickly. I also wanted to get a few things done around the house in preparation while I was still able, so we stayed home.  Lucy and I played outside, went for a walk in our neighborhood and I gave her a bath, all while having contractions, or surges for the hypno birthers ;) Lu took a three hour nap that afternoon which is pretty much unheard of for her, but I was thankful! I busied myself with things around the house, sat on the birth ball, prayed, and listened to my birth playlist while she napped.

At 2:22 pm I sent a text to Ryan that said "I'm OK right now but I think the sooner you can come home, the better....maybe? :)"  At 2:23 pm I talked with Sarah (midwife's assistant/doula) on the phone about how things were going and I mentioned I was a little nervous that I wouldn't know when to tell her and Kathy to come because my contractions were not at all intense and this is how it was with Lucy. I also said that I didn't think my body would really feel safe to let things get going until Ryan was home from work. Ha! When I got off the phone with Sarah I saw that Ryan had responded to my text at 2:45 with "I'll be leaving here (Clinton) in about 20 minutes, so should be home about 4:00." I responded with "OK. No big hurry. Just would be good to have you home."  I wasn't sure when Lucy would be waking up from her nap, and I knew I needed my strong man here with me for support.  Somewhere in the midst of all of this I had talked to my dear mother in-law and made arrangements for her to come get Lucy for a little bit.

Around 3:40 pm I decided to get on my hands and knees and do some pelvic tilts, during which my water broke! I quickly got up and went to the bathroom and then called Sarah back to let her know.  She jokingly said "Charissa! You were supposed to give me until 5:00!" haha. This would allow time for her husband to get home from work to stay with her girls. Thankfully he was just down the street when Sarah called him with the news that she needed to head out!  I was still a little bit in denial that my water had broken and wondered if maybe I had peed my pants but again knew deep down that I had not. :)  Sarah told me she would gather her stuff together and and be over as soon as possible. She also notified Kathy, who then called me to see how I was doing and said she'd be on her way from Iowa City soon! I was glad to know I would not be alone for too much longer as I knew if this were to go anything like Lucy's birth, things would happen quite quickly from here on out!

When Lucy woke up from her nap I brought her downstairs and I was sitting on the birth ball with Lucy nearby when Sarah arrived around 4:15.  I of course had to corral our giant dog when Sarah came to the door, and I'm sure I was having a contraction during all of this.  I really don't remember when my MIL came down to get Lucy but it was shortly after Sarah got there. Ryan arrived home soon after and I remember the feeling of relief that washed over me as I saw his big ol' truck driving up our hill.  Sarah began setting up the birth space and inflating the birth tub while Ryan and I took a quick shower. 

Right after getting out of the shower I began feeling a whole lot of pressure and got very serious about having Ryan stay near me so I could lean on him during contractions.   While in our bedroom getting dressed I remember saying to Ryan, who was going to go downstairs to get something for Sarah "I need you to stand right here, right now.", as I felt another contraction coming and more pressure. I think Sarah appeared in our bedroom at this point and told me I should probably come back downstairs.  I walked in circles in the dining room while the tub was being filled and began to wonder if I would even make it into the tub and seriously considered just squatting on the dining room floor to birth my baby, BUT I was determined to wait until I was in the water because I knew it would feel good. haha!  Kathy was on speaker phone during this time and communicating with Sarah and I while she was driving.  She was so great at reassuring Sarah that she was doing awesome, and letting me know she'd be there soon but not to hold back if things were progressing. 

I think it was between 5:00 and 5:10 that I finally got into the tub. I looked up at one point and realized that Melissa had quietly come in and was taking photos.  My parents arrived around 5:15 and Adrienne showed up somewhere in there too. :)  My MIL, Shirlee arrived with Lucy, who took her place with Ryan by the birth tub and after soaking things in for a moment she sat down and began eating berriess out of a bowl that Shirlee had brought down for her. :)  I am so thankful that it worked out for Lucy to be a part of Margaret's birth.  

Many details of what happened around me in the next 20 minutes are unclear since I was focused on birthing my babe, but I do remember looking out the dining room window at one point and seeing a gold finch on the feeder.  I remember Ryan in front of me, holding my hand and offering me sips of water with a cute, nervous dad smile on his face. I remember the wondrous look on Lucy's face as she observed what was happening before her. I also remember hearing Sarah's constant words of encouragement behind me and her telling me to reach down and feel Margo's head. I remember Kathy arriving and feeling bad that I made her drive to our house during "rush hour", but that's better than bad weather I suppose! :)  I remember the incredible feeling of being able to touch my precious Margaret's head and guide her out as I breathed through contractions. Such a different experience from Lucy's quick and unexpected entrance into the world! ;)  I remember enjoying peace and quiet as no one was telling me when to push, or asking me questions.

After being in the tub for about 25-30 minutes, At 5:35 pm, I breathed Margaret's 8lb 12oz, 21 inch long body out and pulled her up out of the water and onto my chest. My sweet girl put her hand on my face and I couldn't stop kissing her. Words can't even describe the joy and emotion of that moment. I'm so thankful for the video that Melissa took and especially for the beautiful memories she captured in those moments after Margaret was born. I have watched it quite a few times since Margaret's birth and it never grows old.  I'm so thankful for each person that was there to celebrate with us!

I cannot believe it's been two weeks since I gave birth in my dining room. :)  So glad my husband supported my desires to home birth and for the wonderful team we had.   It couldn't have been better. 

Margo is an absolutely beautiful gift and Ryan and I are thrilled to be holding her in our arms and thankful that God has chosen us to be her mom and dad.