I’m FINALLY writing about the birth of our newest addition! She was born several weeks ago but as usual, it’s the pictures that were holding me up. :) If you want to skip the “birth story” and go straight to the pictures, scroll down!
Our little girl arrived a month earlier than we expected her to, after a wonderful homebirth, with all the older kids watching! I’d been telling Jon and our midwives that I really thought I’d gotten my dates wrong because I felt like I was further along than we were calculating, and sure enough, I had! Since I usually give birth a few weeks “late” anyway, no one was really all that worried about me not knowing exactly when I was due (this isn’t exactly my first rodeo) but I have to say, it was really nice to give birth “early” for a change!!!
Our experience was pretty wonderful, overall. I started having contractions the day before she came and had them through the night which seemed a pretty sure sign to me that this was “real” (I typically experience a few weeks worth of prodromal labor that usually goes away during the night.) The next day, they continued and by that night I was ready to call my friend Michelle and our midwife (who was able to come with her partner, so I had TWO midwives with me when I gave birth!)
They came out and I told the midwives (not mentioning names for privacy reasons) that I wanted to do whatever was necessary to keep labor going (with latter pregnancies, I’ve had a tough time getting babies positioned correctly to start dilation, so we usually employ belly binding and different positional techniques.) In this case, we used a few of the techniques listed here and it wasn’t long before things started to progress.
I spent most of that time laying on the pull-out bed in the living room (thank you Manuela and Patrick!!!) and my friend Michelle helped me to get into various positions that… well, quite frankly, hurt the most (as these were also the positions most likely to move things along most quickly.) After a while, I got in the birthing pool… then got out of the birthing pool… then got back in the birthing pool… I’ll spare you the details. :)
After what seemed like a very long time of somewhat inconsistent contractions (I’d have to ask my midwife to verify this, but I don’t think they ever did the typical “two minutes apart” thing, it seemed like there were a lot of long and irregular pauses between each contraction,) things really started to progress and the oldest four kids all arranged themselves around the pool to see what was happening. This was the first time we’d ever let the kids watch, because although I’ve seen lots of calm, quiet, peaceful births on You-Tube and read about them in books, I’ve never actually experienced one, myself. :) I’ve always been worried about scaring the kids but at this point they’d seen several of our animals give birth and I felt they could handle it (plus, I humorously but seriously prepared them for what was to come by comparing myself to Mini Pearl, one of our goats who is very vocal when she’s kidding.) ;)
The kids watched in awe as the baby was delivered in the water and one of the midwives knelt close by, ready to catch her. Although the pushing stage is usually the quickest and least painful stage for me, that wasn’t the case this time (in fact, I later learned that I had to push SIX whole times before she came out! It was awful!) On the last push, her head and her body popped out at the same time. I don’t know how common that is for other women, but I’d never experienced that before and originally though that my midwife had pulled her out for me and was silently thanking her!
My midwife handed her to me, and I was able to look and announce – for the first time – the sex of my baby! That was pretty wonderful, and the fact that the older kids were there to watch was AMAZING.
I asked the kids later if they were scared at any point and they all told me they weren’t scared at all and I think the vast majority of the credit for that goes to my wonderful midwife who I saw smiling at them even when I was… um… NOT handling the pain well, and humorously reminding them that “Yep, Momma’s just like Mini Pearl!”
One funny thing that happened during this time that the kids and I talked about later was when Jon asked me if I wanted to switch positions. I opened my mouth to say “no” but just as I did, a contraction started and it came out:
Bunchkin told me later that she was a little taken aback by this and thought “Well… I guess Momma doesn’t want to do THAT.” They all thought I was yelling at daddy!!!
Well, that’s the story – minus most of the gory details. And here are a few pictures of our precious, amazing, wonderful newest addition!!!
(If you’ve noticed that I haven’t mentioned her name, it’s because we’ve decided not to release her name on the blog. For now, we’ll just call her “Pumpkin” and like all our kids, she’ll probably end up with 7 or 8 different nick names until one of the sticks!)