Maddie is my third baby, a homebirth, after giving birth to both my boys in a hospital setting. With my first, Austin, I was in labor, in a hospital bed, for 25 hours before giving birth to him. I had taken two epidurals, directed by my doctor, and actually was so numb that I wasnt able to push my baby out of my body. The nurse stood on a small step, placed her hands on my belly, and pushed down, actually pushing him out.
With my second, Jeremy, my water broke at 8:00 am. and by noon I was in the hospital, screaming/begging for an epidural. I had planned on going natural with him, as I had wanted with my first, but it seems when youre in terrible pain, those around you just want to help, and my support group, well, wasnt supportive enough to keep my birth plan. Jeremy’s labor only lasted 8 hours but the intensity of it actually haunted me for the next six years, that is, until I had Maddie.
With this last pregnancy I started out with my dr. that had delivered Jeremy. I enjoy the man. You can tell he cares, truly does, and he’s not big on drugs during pregnancy, which I respect and admire. However, when I began to think about my birth plan, I knew in my heart I wanted a different experience than the last two previous births. I was right around 4/5 months pregnant when I googled midwives in Chattanooga.
This is where I met Carolyn and my world opened up to something new. 🙂 Something less scary. Something larger than myself. Something I’d never dreamed could ever come true…an amazing birth.
When I decided to go the route of a midwife, I heard many opinions that what I was doing was not the safest way to bring my baby into the world. My family worried, my co-workers worried, and only a few of my friends actually supported the whole idea. However, NO ONE truly believed I could do a drug-free childbirth. Some people even questioned my sanity on why I would even want to.
Well, having had my two epidurals I knew how my body reacted to them. Badly. I am a high anxiety person, and when you inject a drug into my body that causes me to interpret the world differently than what is it, well, I have panic attacks. And, this is what my previous births were about: panic, anxiety, fear, and pain.
Honestly, it wasnt until I got closer to my due date that I actually realized I wasnt going to have any type of pain medication through childbirth. I think I’d actually just pushed that idea to the side and instead knew I wanted to have a natural birth, but I ignored the idea of pain.
Natural to me meant freedom: no iv, no confinement to a bed, food/water while laboring, the right to say no and be heard. It actually never meant pain free, in the beginning.
After meeting Carolyn and deciding this was the way I wanted to go, I then began taking her birthing class, Hynobabies. Hynobabies is the idea of self-hypnosis. It’s a class that teaches you how to relax and focus on the positive. I must admit, I never truly believed I’d hynotise myself enough to have a pain free birth. I’d you-tubed other hynobaby videos and was truly amazed by how calm these women were. I knew thats what I wanted, but I just didnt think I could get it. I mean, come on, I’d experienced childbirth and in no way was it calm, enjoyable, and relaxing. 🙂
However, I listened to my CD’s and I went to class. I repeated to myself over and over again, “I deserve a wonderful birth.” I began trusting my body. I began using signals such as “blue” to bring about a relaxed state, one in which I could still function, but that brought little moments of peace and calmness. I then began visually seeing the birth I wanted to experience.
I began rethinking my expectations of birth. I began retraining myself on how to speak about my body and what it was going to go through. Rather than labor or contractions, I was going to have pressure waves. And rather than being scared of these waves, I understood that they were like strong hugs that were going to help bring my baby to me, and that was what it all came down to…getting my baby. 🙂 In the end, I had one expectation and that was to remain calm. I repeated it often in the break room at work, if nothing else, I just wanted to be calm.
Some of you have read Madison’s birth story. The waves started around 5:00 pm and by 11:00 I was over at Carolyn’s house, climbing into that big, comfy, bed to take a nap. I slept til I was 8 cm and woke up with pressure waves that didnt scare me but excited me with the news that my baby was on her way. 🙂 It was an hour and half later when I finially got to hold my baby. Still to this day I’m amazed at the blessing that was given to me. If anyone was to try and tell me I could have the birth experience that I did, I’d never believe it, it was only by truly living it did it finally hit me that it is possible to enjoy birthing a baby.
Madison has changed my world. My experience of being pregnant and going through one of the most important moments as a woman, has truly opened my heart. I’m not the same me that I was before I had her, before I got pregnant with her. I dont know if God changed me for my family or if God used my family to change me, but either way its done and there’s no turning back to what was.
Also, and lastly, one of the coolest things that happened that night is that I got to cut my baby’s umbilical cord. I’d always wanted to do it but never really voiced it because I didnt believed anyone would let it happen. But they did. I carried my baby for 9 months and then I cut the cord and freed her from my body, giving her the right to be seperate, to be free, to be Maddie. 🙂