Monday, January 25, 2010

Ecstatic Birth

This story was shared with me and I just about shattered into pieces of joy while reading it.  I was so very touched by the tenderness, and inspired by the instinct.  Thank you to Jenelle for sharing her beautiful story.  In her words, "There is a very negative connotation about orgasmic birth and I'd love for more to learn that it's not a gross thing but amazing".  I thoroughly agree!  You can follow Jenelle's blog here:  http://earthybirthyenigma.blogspot.com/

On October 19th, my midwives came over to check on me at about 7 pm. I was having fairly strong contractions that were about 7 minutes apart and they stayed until about 11 pm watching me. We all realized that I was going nowhere fast and it would be best for us all to rest. After numerous days of prodomal labor I figured it was just more of that. So we went to bed (after I helped myself to some berry cobbler and a glass of milk). I woke up at about 3 am and had stronger contractions every 30 minutes but nothing more than that and was able to sleep in between. They petered off at about 6 am. MY midwives were back over at about 9:30 am and that’s when my contractions returned stronger than ever, I couldn’t walk or talk through them. These contractions were in my back and I was using my yoga ball at first to try to relieve the pressure in my back to no avail. So my midwives helped position me on the floor on my hands and knees and applied pressure on my back and hips (something I believe they call doula hulaing? or hula douling? can’t remember). I could tell when the baby flipped because my contractions would get timable to about 5 minutes apart and were no longer in my back. Pretty soon every time I had a contraction I felt the need to pee and as I would sit on the toilet I would get another contraction. This proceeded till about 11 am and then the pressure in my back returned and the contractions petered off to about every 15-20 minutes. I was starting to get frustrated at this point by the lack of rhythm in my labor, thinking it was another false alarm. My DH ordered some Mountain Mike's pizza; we ate it and then took a walk for about 45 minutes. The contractions were still random and still didn’t return to every 5 minutes. I asked my midwives to check me, as I was starting to wonder what was up. By this point I was at a 5 I believe but they confirmed my fear of the baby being posterior. We did some more positioning to try to get her to flip. Then my midwives suggested just me and DH go into my room and focus on labor. My mom was there along with my dd who is 2 and I seemed to be so focused on entertaining everyone and taking care of dd that it seemed to be slowing down my labor. While I was getting checked my midwife showed me how to properly breath all the way down to my uterus and to focus on the contraction. This seemed to be the key once we got the baby to flip. So DH and I closed the door, turned off the lights, lit some raspberry candles and turned on my favorite cd of Enigma's greatest hits. Now my contractions were finally back to every 5 minutes and while they were incredibly intense I was amazed at how breathing and making quiet sounds enabled me to get through them and enjoy the power of them. I was even cracking jokes with DH and getting a few kisses between contractions. We cuddled on the bed and he spooned me with every contraction whispering in my ear how much he loved me, how strong and amazing I was, and how I could do this. We joked that this was the most romantic thing we had done in 2 plus years. I remember asking him to make sure that a specific song was played when I got into the pushing stage and he said “anything my love”. These moments we shared I will treasure until the day I die as it was the first time I ever allowed him to be in control and I just let go (I’m a total control freak).
By this point it was about 6 or 7 pm, not sure as I lost track of time. DH’s tummy was starting to grumble and I remember telling him to go get himself some dinner before we ran out of time. Contractions were much longer, stronger, and closer together but we had quit timing them by this point. I was still in disbelief that I was in true labor as it really was not painful or unbearable! DH went out to get some food and my midwife came in and sat by my side while I continued to labor. I continued to crack jokes in between contractions and was in a great mood. I was so amazed that this was how wonderful labor could be. My midwife told me that the contractions wouldn’t get 4 times harder either, that I could do it, and that I was doing it! I continued to get up and pee every 10 minutes as I was consuming tons and tons of water and popsicles.At one point I was on the bed and they had checked me and I was at 8 cm (I requested the check) they asked me if I wanted them to break my water, which they hoped would quit cushioning the baby and allow her to flip into the proper position for good and therefore help my labor progress. I agreed though DH was nervous, as I was ready and really wanting to be holding her in my arms. The exhaustion and back labor was starting to really get to me. They broke my water and suddenly that’s when labor became the most painful. By about 8 pm I remember getting up to go to pee and feeling like I had to poop. My midwives told me to go ahead, it was really hard but I knew I needed to. So I did (such fun details lol) which was difficult since I think my contractions were about 3 minutes apart by this point. After I had to stand up and move to get through a contraction, but that wasn’t helping either. I started to feel like a caged animal and the contractions were in my back again. They started filling the tub with water and I got the chills. I started shaking and knew I was in transition. I had a lot of bloody show at this point and suddenly it clicked that I was truly in labor.
I had a little freak out moment because suddenly I flashed back to my last dd's birth in the hospital, being on pitocen and feeling completely helpless and out of control as the back labor wracked my body to its own will. I remember the forced epidural after four hours of the pitocen doing nothing, the breaking of my water without permission, the fear and complete disbelief in my body that every single nurse and Doctor instilled in me that day. I remember the months of horrific recovery, from an un-needed episiotomy; I remember the pain of walking until my DD was 9 months old. I remember why I never wanted to have another child again, and I got scared. My birth-rape came up and reared its ugly head, trying to scare me out of the homebirth I believed in and knew I deserved. I had never worked through any of it, and as transition came upon me my mind would no longer let me ignore the things that had been done to me with the last birth.
DH and the midwives reassured me that this was different and I could do this and hurried me into the tub. That helped calm me and provided immediate relief. I got on my hands and knees & that seemed to get her in the right position as suddenly the contractions were solely in my uterus and were much more bearable. DD came in & started playing in the water & splashing & like a switch I knew the baby had flipped posterior again. So my midwives being able to read my body language sent dd back out into the living room after a kiss from me, to hang out with grammie. The contractions continued to hit and suddenly my back felt like it had never felt before. I went through a few contractions in the water and started crying, thinking my serene water birth was going to be a dream. It wasn’t going to happen because I was incapable of birthing like other women and should have known better because of my first birth.
DH asked what I needed and I told him I needed him in with me to help me. Bless his heart, he climbed in right then and there fully clothed and got behind me reassuring me and whispering sweet nothings in my ear. The contractions became so intense I truly felt I was going to die, but only because of the pain in my back and the fear in my brain which told me to not let go of the control I was so desperately trying to hold on to. By this point I started embarrassing myself by saying that I couldn’t do it and was doubting myself and panicking. I kept saying “owww” and “I can’t do this” everyone reassured me that I could. And told me to say “ohhhhh and I can do this” then I stood up and had to get out of the water. I could not be in that water and had to be on my bed, but I don’t know why. It’s just a feeling I had.So I got on the bed, asked my midwives to check because something didn’t feel right. She checked, I was at 8, almost 9 cm and she kept getting stuck on the lip of my cervix because she was still posterior. They tried a few things; I don’t much remember too many details by this point because the back labor was so profound. I begged them to stop and to please help me, her trying to turn the baby was more painful than the back labor. (I am revealing what a wimp I truly am)I was frustrated because I still hadn’t felt the urge to push yet or any pressure in my rectal area. Just pain (though later I’d realize it was all mental anguish). They asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital and I said no, but I thought there had to be something to get her out.
My midwives left the room for a minute to get something (but I didn’t know it) and I turned around looked at my hubby and asked him to please make it stop and to make her come out. The look of pure love and pain in his eyes that he clearly felt at my suffering left a brand on my heart that I will remember forever. He asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital, get poked and prodded, have another bad epidural, and a bad recovery and have this child’s birthright and my right to birth stolen from us? I turned around and realized we were all alone. I don’t know if my brain clicked that “hey, you're on your own here and no one is going to do this for you” or that I realized I was fully capable of doing this, but suddenly I was on my hands and knees in a flash and I become completely quiet and the pain all went away suddenly.
I remember DH saying “I see the head” the door opening and the midwives rushing in and suddenly I had the urge to push. I felt as if I was out of my body watching a scene from the front of my head. I was not doing anything or telling my body to do a thing, it was just happening. My body and baby pushed and it was the best feeling I had ever felt in my entire life. It was comparable to an orgasm but 100 times better. I heard them say “Slow down Jenelle, slow down”, “Put your hands down there and feel her.” I reached down and felt the top of her wrinkly tiny head, but had to put my hand back down on the bed to support myself as I was on hands and knees and pushing. And I remember someone saying grab the video camera, but it was too late she was out with that one push and it was the best feeling ever. No pain, no burning, but complete and utter ecstasy. DH caught her turned her over (she came out posterior with a nuchal hand) and slid her under my belly into one of my arms. It’s like we were talking to each other without words and I somehow knew he'd catch her and be handing her to me. I took her and somehow rolled over and put her on my chest. She was born at 9:58 pm (October 20th, my EDD) I remember saying “It's ok Kayleigh momma's got you”. We had not agreed 100% on a name, but the moment I saw her I knew she was Kayleigh Grace. The same Kayleigh I had dreamt about, with a head full of hair and coloring like her momma! And I knew that her birth was the biggest gift of Grace I had ever been given in my life, I had been given the grace of a 2nd chance. I had been given the grace of the birth I was capable of and deserved. I had experienced an ecstatic birth. The rest is truly a blur. She was on my chest, & DH was crying great big sobs and saying a prayer of thanks over me and the baby. The placenta was born within the next 15 minutes, the cord cut after it stopped pulsating. I remember her crying and being amazed at how much hair she had as dd had been born bald. I remember saying how tiny she was and that she had to be smaller than her sister. We were shocked that she weighed the exact amount as her sister 8 lbs 2 ounces. But the reason she looked so small was she was 21 &3/4 inches long, a full inch and 3/4 longer then her sis! I couldn’t get over how she looked just like me (her sis looks just like DH). And I couldn’t believe that it was over. The end happened so quickly I was in shock. And I was a little embarrassed to be upset that I hadn’t had a water birth and that I had been such a wimp during transition and that I had allowed past fears to stop an enjoyable and pain free labor for about 2 hours.I am still in shock at how our bodies work. And how somehow I knew instinctively that Kayleigh would not be coming out unless on hands and knees. I am amazed that she was born with her hand next to her face & posterior and that she is intact and healthy! I am amazed at what a wonderful, fulfilling, and amazing experience homebirth is! I would not trade any of it for a medicated or hospital birth, as I feel more of a woman, closer to God, and better equipped as a wife and mother from the moments I shared with my DH during this labor. I realized for the first time in my life that it’s ok to be out of control, it’s ok to let others take the lead. It’s ok to let my DH speak for me and to be in control of situations, because when I do, things turn out amazingly wonderful! I am more in love with my DH and 2 daughters’ than I ever thought possible and am amazed at the depth of this feeling I feel every waking moment!

9 comments:

bluejeanwifey said...

yes, THIS is birth the way its meant to be. My birth was similar, totally in awe of how great it can be, mine was in a hospital setting though. I wish I would have had more courage to try other positions, maybe on baby #3...whenever that comes about! definately gonna do a home birth next time if i can!

Anonymous said...

wow - brave strong woman - I applaud your courage, your love and the amazing man who was by your side. I have had 3 similar births, although all labours less than 2 hours each (with all intensity piled together) There is no greater feeling of empowerment and no greater high, than giving birth. - you rock !!!

Mumma D xo said...

Beautiful <3

Thinkbirth said...

Wonderful! Thank you for your fabulous account of your thinking and processing of your moment by moment change through your birth journey. So thrilling and awesome to experience the birth of your sweet babe with you. Congratulations to you and your partner. Great to read how 'there' he was for you as you needed him to be. What a blessing he is. Anonymous is right 'you rock!' big time!!

Rebekah Costello said...

Oh that was a tear-jerker! Absolutely fabulous birth story.

Honey said...

I love birthing stories. I miss doula'ing so much. It's true...you can have an orgasm during birth. My second child was born at a birthing center & since the midwife was late getting there (only 5 hours long from hummm I'm in labor to in my arms) it was only me, hubby & Barb the nurse. I will never forget how amazing it felt when my water broke as I was pushing on my hands & knees it was amazing...then it stopped when the nurse hollered stop! & being not fully educated at the time...I tried...& oh my GOD did that hurt. But yes, orgasmic birth is possible...I also experienced it with my 3rd until I had to be transfered because of 24 hours with my water broken & being triggered by a nurse & then...nothing but pain & fear. Home + alone with who YOU want = orgasmic birth when mom has been able to work through any issues.

Christa said...

I'm crying like a little baby. I too was a "wimp" during transition, and because of weeks of prodromal labor didn't believe it was really happening until it was over.
I learned alot from my second delivery, I learned that my body can do it, and next time I'll know and I won't be scared, so I won't be a "wimp."

Ariel said...

How beautiful! I've had 4 hospital births, and 6 home births, each home birth helped heal the "birth-rape" of the doctor centered births I have been through. That word helps right there. Now my daughter is expecting her first baby, and is planning a home birth. She caught my last 3 babies. Thanks for sharing. Ariel

newincs said...

This story is beautiful and amazing! I too have had what you called I think Birth Rape. I have had it five of the six births. The one birth that wasn't like that I still was not given the option of a water birth or of trying different positions. I was told my doctor didn't play those games and if that was what I wanted I needed to find another doctor (as I am in the hospital in labor!) My son was early so there was no time to discuss the birth plan with the doctor in advance. Unfortunately before baby #5 I didn't realize I had a say! With #6 I was even more adamant that things go my way.. then my dr was stranded in a snow storm 50 miles away. The dr I got stuck with was not willing to follow my birth plan at all. Not even an attempt! I was told I could always go home and come back in a few days when my labor was ready to go without having my water broken to make it finally progress (after a week or being in labor) or I could go with the dr and his evil pitocin. I was so exhausted I took the pitocin and was again disappointed. If we go for # 7 I would love to try a home birth with my extremely supportive husband by my side! :) I hope I can do as great as the author of this post did!

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