Once my husband came home I had him hanging curtains as I distractingly directed him through contractions. He had me leave because I was being way to fussy and demanding about the whole process. I went to the bedroom and tried to slow the contractions by laying down.
(Just as an additional comment: I want to make it clear I am not against epidurals or any other assistance provided by the hospital. It all can be wonderful when a woman and baby really need the help. However, if you desire a "natural" birth in whatever setting, especially a home birth (because there is no epidural available) a supportive doula and midwife can help immensely in achieving that goal.)
Shortly before the work of pushing arrived, my midwife came into the bathroom where I was laboring, almost as if she just knew the time was drawing near... and said, "Now you can give birth in the bathroom if you want, but when you start pushing you are not going to want to move." I replied, "Okay, after this contraction, let's move!"
Once in the bedroom rolling on the birthing ball, I said through gritted teeth, "I feel like I need to push. I don't know if I should or not, should I?" (In the hospital I was always told when to start pushing even though I didn't have an epidural either.) My midwife said, "Caitlin, just listen to your body. Your body knows what to do." She never once checked me to tell me a certain number of cervix dilation. (Which was so amazing and empowering, because it seemed my doctor was always checking me in the hospital to tell me what my body already knew.) I did not push for long...
At exactly 7:00pm, and in just 3 short hours of labor I gave birth to our third child in the comfort of our bedroom at the foot of our bed. I had been on my knees with my arms draped and gripping my husbands hands over a birthing ball (so much better than my past experiences of lying on my back being held down).
My midwife passed my baby up to me while commenting on the incredibly long and thick umbilical cord. He was absolutely beautiful! I kept saying, "Oh, my baby! Oh, my baby!" I sat back against my husband as my midwife started rubbing his feet to get him to cry and cough clearing mucus and other fluids. (It was incredible to have this done rather than immediately severing my baby from me and whisking him away under bright lights with unfamiliar hands suctioning and swabbing at him.) He remained attached by his healthy umbilical chord to his placenta for an hour after birth, receiving all the blood from the temporary life giving organ.
I held him for a long time in my own bed on my chest while my midwife checked everything. I unfortunately tore at my old prior episiotomy cuts (made without my awareness with the birth of my daughters in the hospital). My midwife had said I probably would not even had a tear if not for the weakness created by the episiotomy cut during my prior births.
Anyway, during this time lying peacefully together he lifted his head and found my breast. I was so excited! Everyone celebrated the moment, because I had such struggle trying to breastfeed my girls, which eventually ended with devastating defeat. I thought this was it! My midwife said, "That is what you get for having a drug free and calm birth." You can read about my nursing story here, if interested: What I wouldn't give My nursing story is short and sweet, and although it did not end as hoped I couldn't have asked for more.
My daughters meeting their brand new brother for the first time. They were so excited and reading children stories depicting home birth such as Welcome With Love, really deepened their anticipation for such an event.
Now back to the story, after quite awhile I left Paine with my midwife, husband and daughter and retreated to a warm, healing herbal bath. I remember sitting there in the warm water thinking for the first time in the midst of becoming a mother did I not feel disdain or extreme displeasure. I was in the moment, purely happy and strong. My baby was here and safe. I felt a great sense of accomplishment and connection. My thoughts were briefly interrupted... My midwife's assistant came in and asked how much I thought he weighed. I had completely forgotten about this little statistic. I thought a moment and said, "I don't know maybe 8 lbs 3 ounces?" She said excitedly, "Nope! 8 lbs 11 ounces!!!"
For the most part, birth should not be feared, hurried or manipulated. And, while still there will be hospitals and professionals to help in making high risk situations as safe as possible, there someday will be more midwives and doulas and more mothers willing to take back their birth.
I think this is the most favorite picture I have of myself and I am most definitely not even close to a size 4. :) This was taken by my wonderful doula minutes after I had Paine.
Our little man- 4 days old. I adore this picture!