August 17, 2010

Elias Reuben

Please be forewarned, some of the photos and writing in this post may be slightly graphic for some.

Grab a cup of tea and settle in for a little story time.
This is the story of the home/water birth of my 3rd baby, Elias...

I should preface the story by saying that this is my first home birth, and my first water birth, as well as my first birth without any sort of medical intervention whatsoever. My first baby (Murielle) was born naturally in hospital, with induction after my water broke, and epidural. My second baby (Samuel) was born naturally in hospital, with epidural. Both labors were around 24 hours long.

This is my newest son. Elias Reuben (8lbs 5oz - 20in long) was born Sunday, August 8th (on his due date!) at 10:42am at our home. We are still in a state of amazement at how fast everything went and how miraculous the whole experience was. I thought it would be a good idea to take some time and tell the story for those interested...and while it's still fresh in my memory.

The week previous, on Sunday, my parents came to visit...planning to stay until the baby was born. The whole week came and went with no real signs of labor. Dad had a couple of weddings to officiate on the upcoming Saturday, so he and mom decided to head back home Friday. Mom's plan was to help dad with the weddings and then drive back to our place on Saturday night (they apparently have no aversions to road trips - they live 7 hours away). She really did not want to miss the birth of our 3rd little one. We tried to convince her that maybe it would be best to wait until my contractions started before she headed to our place. But we left the decision in her hands. On Saturday, I woke up feeling a little frustrated that I hadn't gone into labor yet - mind you, my due date wasn't until the next I wasn't at all overdue. I just felt like everyone was waiting for me. I don't like to make people wait. :) We decided to get out of the house, so I could attempt to get my mind off of everything. We went to a local park and walked around a bit (rather slowly, I might add - the baby had dropped into position some 4 weeks prior), and let the kids play in the wading pool. What a beautiful, relaxing day it was. We had a nice supper, quiet evening and went to bed early (good thing we did).
At 2:30am I got up to go to the bathroom (as usual) and laid back down and had a decent contraction. Around 3am I heard a quiet shuffle downstairs and realized my mom and Racheal had arrived. Then I went back to sleep. At 5am I got up to go to the bathroom again (still, as usual) and had another mild contraction. I didn't think anything of it...except "maybe". Sam woke at 5:30am (again, as usual - haha) and that's when the day started.
I went about the regular morning rituals and had a few contractions here and there...but honestly, they were just like strong Braxton I still wasn't sure if it was the real thing. I wasn't about to get my hopes up. I stayed relaxed. I worked around the house. I prepared my bed for labor...just in case, and made sure things were tidied up. I think deep down inside I knew this was the day. At one point, I put my hands on my belly and whispered, "This baby is coming today."
Once 7am came, I was really starting to suspect that the contractions were real. They were getting slightly stronger, but I wasn't having to breathe through them quite yet. Mark was asking if he should stay home from church...and I still wasn't sure, so we determined he would go and take the kids. At this point, we hadn't woke my mom yet because we knew she had had a long night of driving.
By 8am, plans had changed - I decisively told Mark not to go to church and thought it was time to wake mom. We got the kids' things together and Mark took them to his sister, Kim's, house while mom waited with me.  I was breathing through the contractions and using a yoga ball for support. Some contractions seemed as though they were back to back and between others I had a couple minutes to start/complete a task. I was getting around alot slower than I had been all morning and even small tasks were taking alot longer than usual. Funny thing is, I was totally relaxed during every contraction and they were actually not that bad. I was taking them one at a time and allowing myself to be "alone" with them.
Early on in the pregnancy I had a feeling I would want to be alone during this labor, and I was for alot of it. I mean, Mark was in the house and so were my mom and Racheal, but everytime I had a contraction, I was somewhere by myself. And it was easier that way, for some reason.

Ok...back to the birth approximately 8:30am (from what I remember), I told Mark to get the birthing tub ready. He filled it with air and warm water and I promptly got in. From that point on, I did not want to move from the tub. I felt I couldn't. With Mark's help, I made it to the bathroom at one point, and that was it. The contractions were starting to hit me and rendered me immobile. They were taking all of my strength and focus. Some were back to back, but others left me a minute or so to catch my breath, laugh, talk or wipe the sweat from my face. Sometimes I felt so overcome with emotion that I couldn't stop laughing. Laughing during a contraction doesn't really help, let me tell you. haha Especially when you can't stop. I felt I had the giggles. I just kept imagining myself with this new baby and kept saying "Come on, baby! I can't wait to meet you!".

I think it was around 9am when my mom took Racheal to church. We decided at that point that I was experiencing active labor and called the midwife to come. They had to send another midwife from about 40 minutes away because my midwife was actually attending another home birth (twins). This did not stress me out. I felt completely happy and relaxed and sure that everything would work out in my favor. Once the midwife arrived, she assessed me (getting me out of the tub and to the couch was probably the hardest part) and determined I was at 9 centimeters! This made me super excited! At once she began scurrying around making sure everything was set up. There was a clutter of medical supplies, towels, blankets and various other tools lying about our lower living room. It still felt like home.

Once she was prepared, she sat close by waiting and watching me carefully. Through each contraction, everyone was quiet and allowed me space and freedom to face it head on. I was handling them fine, but they were starting to tire me out. My arms and legs felt weak and trembled at times. The warmth and buoyancy of the water really helped me feel weightless and I didn't notice the trembling as much. I could not find a position that brought comfort. I knew I had to run into each contraction. I kept reminding myself aloud that my baby would be born soon and that I couldn't wait to meet him and see his little wrinkled face. Between contractions, Mark and I wondered where mom was - she was taking her time. We wondered if she would be there for the birth after driving half the night to be a part of it.

Finally mom arrived. The contractions were so powerful! People have been asking me if I felt pain...and honestly...I'm not sure I can classify what I felt as "pain". It's so much more than that. It's a whole other realm - a different playing field. And in my mind, pain is connected to fear and anxiety, and I felt absolutely none of that. Some women say they feel like they're on the edge of death - I felt the exact opposite. I felt such intense strength coming from my body that I had no control of. It was like my body took over and worked the way it was supposed to. And I'm glad, because I'm not sure I would have been able to manage had I been in control of it. I rapidly started feeling the urge to push with a few contractions and the midwife told me to breathe slowly. At some point in here, the midwife called for the second midwife to come (standard practice) and she arrived shortly.
The intensity was so great, I could hear myself crying out and I had almost no control over that either! Then my water broke and finally, I was given the ok to start pushing. Wow. I distinctly remember everything during the next few minutes - my senses were alive.  I was being hit with one contraction after another and none of us could really do anything.  The baby was coming!  Mom and Mark were standing at the end of my tub taking pictures (which I am SO thankful for!) and one midwife was prepping things, and the other was coaching me along and readying herself to catch the baby.  During the first good push the only thought going through my head was, "What if he doesn't come out during this push!? Then what do I do?!  I can't just let him sit there!". The contraction stopped for a very brief moment - I breathed - and pushed again. Then he was out! My little Elias was born in the water!  The midwife told me later that I had pushed for a total of 3 minutes. Thank God!

I was instantly relieved and started to feel my strength come back. The entire active labor lasted around 2 1/2 or 3 hours! And here's an interesting side note: From the beginning of my pregnancy, I wanted this labor to go much faster, and was convinced it would. I continually stated that I would be happy if the labor was somewhere between 3 and 7 hours total. You get what you ask for.

So, that's the story. Amazing? Miraculous? To me, it was. I will never forget this experience. It was the most extreme thing I've ever done. And, for the record, I'd love to do it again. :) Just not tomorrow.

♥ Estelle - Proud Mommy of Three


   PS -

There are so many more details I've left out as far as the home birth goes. I know it's not for everyone, but I would do it over again. I would never say that everyone should do it - especially if you are considered high-risk or if you are even a little bit scared to have a home birth. But it is definitely a very safe alternative to the traditional hospital birth. In alot of ways, it's actually safer. If you have any questions on this new, yet old, practice...please don't hesitate to ask me. I have done alot of research and would love to share.


Jody said...

ESTELLE!!! thank you sooo much for sharing your joyous event! i am so happy everything went so well and quickly for you! Your story is beautiful...thanks for sharing and beautiful pictures...and beautiful babies ;)

Jody Baillie

Amanda said...

Wow Estelle, that is an amazing birth story! I am so happy for you that you had such a great experience!! I don't think a home birth would be for me, but I love the idea that we as women now have this option instead of just the hospital!!! I'd think I'd go to a birthing house is no where big enough for a birthing pool! But your post is amazing and I love the looked great...even in your labor!!
All the best!

Anonymous said...

Estelle that's an awesome blog....alu

Beth said...

I took your advice and made myself a cup of tea before I read this :) What a beautiful story - and well written! I would LOVE a home birth, especially after reading your experience.... Thanks so much for sharing and congratulations on your amazing little son, you are blessed!

Anonymous said...

That's an amazing birth story! Good for you for doing a home birth! The pictures are beautiful... :)

Lindsay Radun

Marleah said...

Estelle, you don't know me, but our husbands work together. Tim somehow found the link to this story and said I could read it. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing. I can't ever do a home birth because I'm considered high risk, but I love hearing stories of people who do. I find it so inspiring and think it just sounds like such a wonderful way to bring life into this world. Thanks again!

Marisca said...

Thanks for posting this. It was a beautiful read! I'm so glad you experienced such a wonderful labour! I'd be too nervous myself for a homebirth, but I pray my labour will be short again.. just long enough to get to the hospital ;)

Debbie said...

Beautiful story, thanks for posting it. We are going to have our first baby in about 2 months. Your story gives courage and hope!

Brian and Melissa Kottelenberg said...

So glad to hear you were able to have a home birth! I've had 2 home births and they were the best experiences ever. The first home birth (3rd child) was an emergency/unplanned homebirth (you'd think I'd catch on when my second child should really have been born at was a VERY close call!) What I love the most about it is that I was in the comfort of my own home, whether I wanted to walk around or sit and squat, naked or dressed, it didn't matter. After the birth, the midwives left our room to fill out paperwork while Brian and I were able to spend some alone time, marveling the new baby. It was also very relaxing to call family and friends from our own home. With my first two, one of my first questions after the babies were born was, "When can I go home?"
With homebirths, I never had to wonder when I could go home and sleep in my own bed!
Congrats to you again, Mark and Estelle! May God bless you and your sweet family!

Estelle said...

Thanks, everyone!!
♥ Estelle

Estelle said...

Thanks, everyone!!
♥ Estelle

Chantal said...

This is so beautiful. I thought previously that water births were uncomfortable, and perhaps a little unatural at first. However, my opinion has changed especially after reading how you felt it was not only natural but empowering. Your little boy is such a blessing just like you :)

Joni nichols said...

Your friend, Leah, told me about your blog when we got to talking about birth stuff! I cried all through reading your story. I have had two births with epidurals and that is the final hurdle for me in coming home. Long story..... But when you get a chance will you write out some of your thoughts/experiences of moving past it? Believing for shorter labor may be the simple key since pain increases over time as body works to move baby through. Confidence in the lord as the Deliverer is key to release fears to trusting our safety in him..,. But I do want to hear about your journey...since as u know with our first 2 births we stayed home to pain was so great, experience of submitting to pain rather than embracing faith. What books, teachings, ministers, etc. I love Joseph prince (saw that) and now know Jesus as a healer of physical things since last births, and the lord has been talking to me about how we are no longer under adam's curse ( and eve's birth pain) because of Christ, the second adam. So email me or if it's too much for email, maybe a phonecall one night after the kids are down.