People Are Who They Are!

A Birth Story

My nephew Michael and his wife Crystal had their daughter last week. Crystal is a trained doula and wanted to have the baby at home. This was her second child. She did and her husband delivered it. I am sharing this story because I am just in awe that they did this by themselves. (In case you are wondering what a doula is, it is a person who assists a woman during labor, and provides support to her, the infant, and the family after birth.)
 
This is the story of the birth that Crystal posted two days afterwards:
 
Addison’s Birth Story
 
On March 10th I went into labor with Addison, being technically one week past her “due” date of March 3rd. The day was pretty normal, just me and Haden hanging out while Daddy was at work. We did a lot of dancing that day, which was lots of fun because Haden likes to try and mimic the break dancing that he has seem the lion on Madagascar do. In the afternoon we laid down to watch a movie and take a nap. When I woke up from my nap I was having a contraction. This was at 4:20 in the afternoon. I didn’t really pay it much mind because I’ve been having contractions here and there for the past few weeks.

I decided to get up and start working on making dinner, which was a big pot of homemade minestrone soup. I turned back on the radio. Throughout making my dinner the contractions kept coming, seemed like about every 5 minutes or so. I never did time any of them though so I’m just guessing. I just danced during them, trying not to pay to much attention because I wasn’t really sure I was even in labor. At some point Haden woke up and was hanging out with me while I cooked. Then Michael called to say he was on his way home. I told him then that I didn’t want him to get too excited but I thought that I might be in labor.

Michael got home at around 6 and we all sat down and ate. They were still coming what seemed like every few minutes and Michael was sure I was in labor but I still wasn’t convinced. He decided to go to the chiropractor as he had originally planned, so he left and I started cleaning up from dinner and straightening up the house. At some point after he left, they started to get stronger. I decided to call him to see how much longer he would be, I wanted him home with me. He told me I should call my mom to come and pick Haden up, which I decided to do even though at that point I still had my doubts about it being the real deal. After that I didn’t really feel like doing anything else around the house. They got to the point where I didn’t want to be upright during them anymore, so every time I had one, I would get down onto my hands and knees. Haden kept trying to comfort me during them by giving me hugs and telling me it was going to be okay. He’s such a sweet boy.

Michael got back, saw me and starting pulling out the birth pool and blowing it up. Not long after that my mom showed up to get Haden. They were already a little bit stronger then and I wanted to be more vocal during them. My mom and Haden left and after that, things seemed to speed up. I went into the bedroom and kept getting on the bed on hands and knees for them. Then I made a pallet with pillows to lean on. They kept getting more intense and I kept getting more vocal, moaning through them. Michael started taking breaks from trying to get everything set up so that he could be with me during the contractions. He turned on some music for me (Enya & Enigma) and started burning some essential oils, setting the mood. 😉 It was really nice and helped me start relaxing some.

Contractions were very intense and I remember Michael being behind me with his pelvis pressed into my butt while he leaned over me and wrapped his arms around me. So he could hold my belly, where all the tension was during contraction and he would help me sway my hips back and forth and talk me through it. It felt like a cross between dancing and making love and I remember thinking how sexual it felt. In between contractions I think I joked that if we had been in a hospital right then, that we probably would have given some of the staff a heart attack. lol Then again if we had been in a hospital we probably never would have been doing that in the first place.

After a bit I told Michael I had to have the water. I just knew I needed to be there because nothing else was going to make me feel better. So he worked on filling the tub up for me and as soon as it was full enough for me I hopped in. As soon as I hit the water, I felt relieved. Just… more right. I think I told Michael that women having babies were meant to be in the water. I remember thinking that I didn’t know how women could give birth unmedicated without water, even though I have seen many of them do it. Things picked up even more once I was in the water, to the point where I thought that the pain was way more than what I had expected and I thought I must be insane. Why didn’t I just go to the hospital for an epidural like everyone else? I could be laid back feeling nothing… which at that moment sounded like a good thing. lol

In between contractions Michael was rubbing my hair and giving me soft kisses on my face. It was so relaxing, in between the contractions I could almost completely forget that I was in labor at all, I was like mush but then I would get slammed again. The sensations were so extreme, it felt like a life force trying to split me apart. I kept thinking that if I weren’t closer to the end that I didn’t know if I would make it. During one contraction Michael leaned down and kissed and nibbled on my ear and my neck and the contraction was like an explosion going through my body. I remember fussing at him, accusing him of making them stronger. lol It was so strong it made me nauseous and when it was over I told Michael that I was going to throw up, to get me a bowl. And I did. Up came my homemade minestrone soup. Eww.

The taste in my mouth was so gross that I forced myself to get out of the pool to go brush my teeth because I knew the taste was going to be too distracting. I had a couple of really sucky contractions in the bathroom and hurried back to the pool as quick as I could. After that they only got more intense. I wanted to cry and give up. I kept telling Michael that I couldn’t do it anymore and he would tell me I could… and I knew that I could. There was so much pressure and I just wanted to fight against it. I said out loud that I needed to quit fighting it. So I tried to keep my body as loose as was possible and just kept going. The pressure was finally so much that I had to do something about it and so I pushed without ever actually consciously deciding too. And it felt good! Well, compared to what it felt like before. lol

When I told Michael he said that if it felt good I should keep pushing during them and just listen to my body. The “mind” of me was debating in my head about this, thinking that I hadn’t been in labor very long and that if I wasn’t dilated all the way pushing against my cervix would be bad. I decided to get out of my head and listen to my body… and Michael and pushed during the contractions. I think I pushed during 2 more and then I felt her. I put my finger inside me and I could feel her head! My bag hadn’t broke so I could feel that and water moving back and forth as I moved my fingers and when I pressed harder I could feel the firmness of her head. I was so excited. I told Michael it would be very cool is she was born in the caul but during the next contraction the bag broke as I was pushing. Michael has that contraction on video and when it happened I said “I broke”. lol

My excitement was short lived though because the contraction after that, I pushed and it brought her right down to crowning. There was no one step forward, 2 steps back. Her head was pushing on my tissues with such a force that it was almost unbearable. I wanted to not push because of the pain and at the same time I had no choice. I could see her head and everything stretching and I though for sure that I would just split open, that all my vaginal tissues were just going to rip and tear. I used my fingers to try and help stretch the tissues but I didn’t feel like it was doing any good. I tried changing positions, hoping that she might slide back up or something. I told Michael that it hurt so bad and that I just wanted to push her back up inside and I clenched my legs together trying to will her to slid up some. But it didn’t work. lol

I got back into knelling position and then during the next contraction I just put all my force into it to try and bring her out. I roared during the contraction. Literally. I had too. I needed its force to get through the contraction and to push with all my might and… it worked. Her head came out. OMG, what a relief. I felt like crying, maybe I did. I can’t be sure. I just kept touching her head, amazed that she was almost there and then with the next contraction I pushed and she slid the rest of the way out. I grabbed her and pulled her onto my chest. I was ecstatic. I kept saying she’s perfect. She’s perfect. She was pink and screaming and perfect. Then I thought to lift her up and actually verify she was a girl & of course she was. We knew she was a girl.

It’s funny that my birth went nothing like I had thought that it would. My favorite types of birth videos have always been like Birth As We Know It and videos such as that. I guess when I imagined my birth I always kind of saw it like those. lol. I am apparently not an earthy birthy, make it look serene type of birther. It was gritty and loud. I moaned, I thrashed, I cried and I whined. It was beautiful and intense and scary. And I was a warrior, like we all are.

Addison Lynn Bowden was born at 9:40pm after approx. 5 hours and 20 minutes of labor. She weighed 9 lbs. 1 oz. & measured 18 inches long.

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13 responses

  1. My hat is off to Crystal and her husband! I have had a home birth and it was very difficult and painful. Sounds like Crystal handled it well but I like her honesty that it was indeed painful. I had heard such "blissful" stories of homebirth that I was not prepared for the intense pain. She looks wonderful in the piture with beautiful Addison and Papa looks so proud as well. Sounds like he was an awesome labor partner! Congratulations!

    March 15, 2010 at 4:33 am

  2. OMG can you believe that! She didn't just deliver at home, she delivered a 9 pound baby at home! I read that last night with tears streaming down my face!

    March 15, 2010 at 5:29 am

  3. I admire people that can do that. We have no kids. If we did, I'm not even sure I'd want to be in the same building much less delivering the thing. (Maybe thing isn't the right word …)

    March 15, 2010 at 6:32 am

  4. It's ok Grouchy, lol. They look like a thing when they first come out! I really admire them!

    March 15, 2010 at 7:16 am

  5. Wow. That was one of the most terrifying things I have ever read. It made me cry, and laugh, and be really really grateful that giving birth is not one of the things on my to-do list anymore. Wow. You really forget what it's like, don't you? (How else do you explain that I did it six times? Six times. Unreal.)

    March 15, 2010 at 2:54 pm

  6. You are too funny Kimber! It made me laugh and cry too. A lot! I just can't imagine even having a nine pound baby, let alone at home with no medication or doctors or anything! Thanks for reading it.

    March 15, 2010 at 6:48 pm

  7. Awesome. Thank you for sharing Crystal's story. I'm training as a doula, and I love birth stories of all kinds. More people need to share them, and this is one great example of a natural home birth!

    Congrats to your family and the newest member!

    March 16, 2010 at 11:16 am

  8. Oh thank you so much Erin! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Crystal loves her work as a doula. I had never heard of one until she got into it. I knew what a midwife was but had never heard of a doula. We are all ninny's and thought they were nuts for doing this at home alone, but they are such a strong couple and it seemed to have gone great for them and was a truly amazing experience for them both. This is Crystal's Face Book page where she posted this and she has a lot of links and stuff on there about doula's and birthing and whatever if you'd care to check it out.
    http://www.facebook.com/notes/crystal-bowden/addisons-birth-story/361132619860

    March 16, 2010 at 1:16 pm

  9. Thanks for posting this! I watched a show on Freebirthing and honestly, it seems to make the most sense. Hospitals make birth seem like an unnatural event. I have no kids but if I did I'd love to have the bravery to do what you did here.

    March 22, 2010 at 1:06 pm

  10. It was my nephew and his wife. I certainly would not have been brave enough to try this! I'm glad you enjoyed it. It made me laugh and cry and laugh some more. Especially since I know them and know their personalities. They are a great couple and very supportive of each other. I was very proud of them!

    March 22, 2010 at 1:32 pm

  11. Oh geez, I apologize. I have the flu so I'm especially un-sharp this week. It is still an amazing story though. Kudos to your nephew and his wife!

    March 22, 2010 at 2:34 pm

  12. No problem Emmi. I'm so sorry you feel bad! I just didn't want you thinking I just had a baby or something! lol I'm like 50 something! lol

    March 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm

  13. I like the stage of life when families are all adults, my boyfriend's son is almost 20. We have a nice time together. We can all watch the same rated whatever movies now, LOL, like science fiction and stuff!
    I do know a woman who just had a baby at 47 but she's a pro (Aryuvedic practitioner) so I know that's highly unusual. I think 35 is close to the limit for having a baby.

    March 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm

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