Not too many days ago Georgia Grace was better known by a number of names… the baby, it, him/her, and Chuffy… a name lovingly bestowed by Mark. He claimed that Chuffy is good for a boy or a girl, infinitely adaptable… chufferton for more formal occasions, Chuffita for a girl, Chuff-a-roni, etc)! This was our first pregnancy and we didn’t want to know the baby’s sex so there was also a poll with family member’s votes. There were more girl hunches than boy. Dad-to-be, Mark, leaned heavily towards boy though, I had to keep it balanced and vote girl.
Our due date February 2nd came and went. Then a full moon on the 9th, Lincoln’s birthday the 12th, Friday the 13th and Valentine’s Day on the 14th. I thought each one of those days was a perfectly logical day to want to be born on. Baby chuffy had other plans.
Finally, patience was rewarded. By the 15th I had been starting to feel anxious about waiting any longer and had been meeting the midwives more frequently. I had already been doing acupuncture, chiropractic, walking, yoga and shiatsu to prepare for birth, but had been avoiding “induction” treatments because I didn’t want to force something if it wasn’t ready. But at 2 weeks past my due date we decided to ease into induction type home remedies. I would take castor oil and homeopathic remedies and slowly add more over the next two days as needed. As it turned out, there was no need. That night, I began to feel vaguely crampy around 8:30. I wasn’t sure if it was the castor oil making me have to go to the bathroom or not, I decided to lie down and listen to a meditation. By 9 pm I was pretty sure these were contractions! This baby decided to skip the early labor and go right into the real deal. I was in active labor from the very first contraction.
Starting at 9pm, the contractions were just a couple minutes apart and lasted around a minute. Mark took it all right in stride and was un-phased when all the carefully laid plans for distraction, support and relaxation in early labor instantly went out the window. There would be no early labor naps, card games between contractions or acupressure to get things rolling, it was all about supporting during contractions and riding out one contraction at a time. It was already time to call the wonderful midwives after just an hour of labor had passed.
Clare arrived and soon discovered that indeed this baby meant business. Mark was amazing taking all my “directions” in stride and watching over me as things continued to get more active. I had many a mantra during the labor including, “sensations bring baby”, “one at a time”, “open!”, “come on baby – we can do this”, “I trust you”, “sensation not pain”… there may have been an occasional slip into something slightly more colorful too!
Four or five hours into labor I REALLY wanted to get into the birth tub. The bathtub and all fours with the birthing ball was no longer cutting it. Clare checked me for progress and it was determined, that through some wonderful and amazing turn of events, I was actually fully dilated with a perfectly positioned baby. My body and baby really did know exactly what to do!
The environment was quiet, and supportive and all around lovely. Birth candles given and blessed by many of my women friends and mother friends burned around the curtained off room, lights were dimmed, birth art donned the walls. The heat was turned up making it oh so toasty, waves and music played in the background, and the tub was full of warm water. I got in the tub wearing the birth necklace I had made and blessed, Labor was coming and going in waves with no pressure for it to be anything other than what it was. My contractions were mixed with pushing, there was no differentiation, and there was no need to be told what to do. My body and this baby already knew. Sometimes I would just let my uterus do all the work, sometimes adding extra push power, never feeling rushed. Every so often the baby’s heart rate was checked… my baby and I were doing amazing.
The tub was surrounded by quiet supportive energy between Mark and Emme while Clare began to get things in order for the actual birth. This baby was coming soon- YAY!
Pushing against the buoyancy of the water pressure now began to feel not so right, so I moved to the bedroom where the bed seemed much more appealing. I really wanted to push now! Pushing was amazing! To actually feel the sensation that baby was nearly here, to feel the baby moving down and the pressure and to have the ability to do something about it! To reach down and feel the baby crowning, it was all amazing. Mark was up by me and eye-to-eye as pushing really started. It was so nice to hold onto him and know the midwives were standing by ready to catch this little baby. We were also going to find out if we had a little girl or boy. It was such an intense time. Then suddenly, SHE was here! She was in the world and our lives would never be the same, a slippery, pink, crying, wonderful baby. Dad got to see she was a girl and announced it with pride. My girl was set right on my chest and I beamed. The midwives were in action, but all still seemed so calm and loving and wonderful. There was so much love and support, I was on cloud nine. Our little girl was beautiful. It was amazing!
A baby girl! A family! A whole new chapter! Life is wonderful
Once the baby was born however, things did take a bit of a turn. While baby could not have been healthier, I began to hemorrhage after the delivery of the placenta. Within seconds the midwives sprung into action. I know some people may look at this situation and say it is a reason why home births are scary, but I can honestly say that despite everything, I could not have been in more capable and perfect hands. I know that my midwives had on hand the same medications that a hospital would use to stop a hemorrhage. I am so grateful for the great love, care and heart that these three amazing women had for me and Mark. For that, I am eternally thankful!
The midwives had three different types of medications (all also used in hospital) to routinely stop post-partum bleeds. They administered them one by one as is typical, waiting just a minute between each step and talking to us each step of the way. By step two an ambulance was on its way and by step three paramedics were on hand.
It was off to HCMC for us all. While I was still bleeding a bit, the medications and treatment done by the midwives had greatly slowed things down. Once at the hospital, another team took over. Mark did amazing with this new little girl in his arms and watched over me with such love and care. I am so blessed to be so loved!
I was admitted to the hospital overnight and given IV fluids and monitoring. Through it all, baby girl and dad were right by my side. We got to breastfeed a few hours later. This little girl was a natural! Speaking of patience!! The midwives stayed for a quite a while bringing us breakfast and supporting us, then they went back to our house and got things cleaned up so when we came home again it would be all set and welcoming. They came to the hospital to check on us too and brought us our car and things we’d need. We can’t say thank you enough.
So, we are home now. I am on strict bed rest as I build my blood back up. Which is okay because I had planned on “bedding in” based on Chinese medicine tradition anyways. Now I just have extra, extra reason to do so! Our spirits are good. Our love is stronger and more committed than ever, our little girl is healthy and beautiful and perfect and our world is so full of love and support it is almost more than a heart can take… almost.
And our little girl! On day three we woke up and both Mark and I said… I think I know which name I like best (we had narrowed it down to two). We were sure we would each have picked the opposite, so decided to count to three and just blurt it out……. 1-2-3-Georgia! And Grace as a middle name? Well, Grace means by the Grace of God and there was certainly some of that in this whole adventure. So Georgia Grace it is. Welcome to the world little one, welcome to the world!
Well, it’s nearly one month later. I am recovering nicely and Georgia continues to be amazing and healthy and the light of my life! Mark is the most amazing, loving and supportive husband and new dad ever. The midwives checked up on us every day for the first week and helped us so much in so many ways. What would we have done had I just checked out of the hospital and been on our own!? They are still emailing and calling regularly and we will have another visit in another couple weeks.
I kept waiting for the hormonal crash or the harrowing realization of having an emergency and being transported, or something like that, but the truth is… even though it has been hard in lots of ways. I still feel like I’m on cloud nine! I would have never guessed it about myself (I’m not terribly maternal and baby crazy), but I LOVE this… pregnancy, birth, postpartum, having a baby! I would turn around and do it all over again tomorrow… Yes, even the birth….in a way, especially the birth!
I feel so blessed to have had the support and resources and trust to have a pregnancy and birth and postpartum laying in that are in line with the natural values I live the rest of my life by as an acupuncturist. I can’t say enough how amazing this all has been and how absolutely fulfilling and validating and filled with love it has been. I have my hard days. I cry and get frustrated sometimes; Mark and I lie in bed with a little girl in our arms and talk about how hard this is but somehow, life has never been better. I honor and thank my body, my amazing supporters and lovers, my baby girl and the universe.