Friday, December 24, 2010

Ian Daly's Birth Story (Photo heavy!)

Everyone is here in this photo at about 30 weeks.
Here I am at 40 weeks, 6 days, the day before Ian is born.

Around 1am on September 22nd, I noticed I was having consistent, light surges. But whenever I tried bouncing on the birth ball or walking, they faded away. It wasn’t until about 3am that I noticed I had to breathe through them and nothing was making them fade away. By 5am I was nagging at DH to hurry up with the birth pool.

Dear husband (DH) assembling the birth pool at 5AM.
I asked him to do a cervical check b/c one of my concerns with my first birth (also a homebirth) is that I got into the pool too soon and possibly stalled labor. (Side note: a debatable topic in the birth community.) Anyways, I was still 4cm dilated but 100% effaced. I didn't have to ask him to check me, but I wanted his opinion. Perhaps I felt reservations, remembering my previous birth and how I relied on the birth tub as a form of escaping from the contractions. Was I truly ready to open up to my body and welcome my baby?

The hot pool was wonderful. Around 6am, Zon and my little sister woke up and wandered around, snapping a few photos (thank you, little sis!) Zonnie, unfortunately, could not understand that the baby was NOT going to arrive in 3 minutes like they do on youtube haha. She wanted to see in the pool and see my vagina, b/c as she said, “BABY COME OUT NOW!!!”

My sister and my daughter snoring away while I was in early labor.
Zon thinks a baby is about to pop out any minute!
By 8am, my body was like clockwork running in a pattern of two surges. The first surge was intense and powerful. I was giving in and feeling my body literally opening. Amazing, but not at all like my first birth. These surges were painful, too. Not crippling or excruciating, though. They reminded me of that “last mile” in an exercise routine, where you can choose to fight the pain or give in to the pain. Where that stitch in your side either makes you give up or makes you push harder. For a thousand and one reasons, (the primary one being that I told Ian he was COMING OUT OR BUST haha) I developed that “good anger.” Not sure how to explain, except again if you are an athlete, you know that energy, that emotion? That driving moment where you take a deep breath and dive into it? I was doing it! I was telling those contractions to BRING IT ON! I wasn't running away from them or trying to minimize them.

I moved back and forth during contractions, vocalizing, "oooo" and "aaaa." I also utilized a lot of positive self-talk, saying things aloud such as, "I can do this" and "I am birthing my baby."
The second surge surprised me, though. It was a pushing one. At the end of the surge, my entire body would push and I'd make involuntary grunting noises. For those who have read Zon’s birth story, you know that I never felt the urge to push in labor with her. This was a different animal. I now know what other women are talking about when they compare pushing to vomiting, or claim their “body brought the baby down.” It was amazing. At the same time, I was worried because I have read that pushing too early can irritate the cervix, causing a “lip” that extends labor. I could still feel my cervix and seemed to be at 7cm. I wasn't sure what to do.....should I trust my body and push, or should I try to pant and breathe through them? I decided to compromise and hold off a little bit longer, but not enforce the "rule of 10" in stone. I told myself one contraction at a time.

In between contractions I was breathing, resting, sensing, loving. What you can't see here is my support group. My DH talking quietly and lovingly to me, my sister snapping photos and saying, "Wow! Wow!" at the power of it and my little girl jumping up and down and asking, "Where's the baby?"
So I began to pant through the contractions, then let my body do what it wanted at the end, but I did not add to the pushing. I did this for about an hour until *I* felt instinctively that it was time. I gave over to my body and it started pushing all by itself for every single contraction. I was making these primal grunting noises and holding DH’s forearms, squatting in the birth pool. The power of it was mind blowing. I had surrendered and was completely aware of every little sensation. I could feel him moving down down down. I found it comforting to feel his head, give it a rub and tell him we were almost done! I was also checking to see if I was developing a lip…which I wasn’t! Pretty interesting, huh? I later read more about this and learned that mamas with OP babies might start pushing before full dilation due to the way the baby's head enters the cervix and canal. It triggers pushing sooner. This might not be a bad thing, either, as it seems to aid with positioning and help bring the bigger portion of the baby's head down the canal.

My mom stopped by to drop off some Arnica as I was moving around in the tub. I felt primal, animal at the time and paid very little attention to the conversation, but I remember managing to ask where my other sister was because she was going to videotape and photograph. My mom freaked out as she had forgotten, and ran out the door to grab the camera stuff and my other sister. Zon ran after them and left with them. Surely not an issue I thought. My mom lives 2 miles away.

Well, in the time it took her to drive over there and back, little Ian made his entrance! I felt his whole head move onto my perineum and knew I needed to change position. He was fully Occiput Posterior, also called Sunnyside up (face up). This means the largest part of his head was pressing downwards. It gave me the mental image that my backside was going to split! I moved to all fours and showed DH how to support my perineum. I tried to breathe through the contractions as Ian came onto my perineum. I didn't want to tear. But as I was feeling him and feeling the strength behind those involuntary pushes, I realized it wasn’t happening. His entire head popped out in one contraction, then he rotated and basically shot into DH's hands.

Daddy caught his son! 
That moment of kneeling in the sun, pushing Ian out, hearing the excitement in my husband’s voice and being handed a wet, scrunchy beautiful baby is the best moment of my life. There are no words to describe the way the world stood still as DH and I sat together and took turns holding Ian. I touched him, and smelled him, and squeezed him and listened to his little cries.

The first time I hold Ian, about .2 seconds after he popped out of me lol.
Counting every toe and finger!
Although Zon unfortunately after all that excitement missed the actual birth, she, my mom and sisters literally walked in moments after Ian was born. So she got to see him and hold him immediately.  I moved from the pool to the couch, we cut the now-limp umbilical cord and then Ian had some milkies.

Ian's first latch! I latched him on this way out of habit, but we spent the rest of the day practicing the breast crawl. It was very helpful for my uterus, too. :)
Ian's first smile is reserved for his daddy! 
Trying to fit him into the sling to weigh him. He was 10lbs, 2oz!
The placenta was very sticky, meaning it did not want to detach and I was not clamping down quickly. It was an anterior placenta, too. It took a lot of massaging to coach it out, but we avoided cord traction and inserting anything to remove it of course. I bled during this, but not profusely and once the placenta was out, I was fine. DH later rinsed off the placenta and sectioned it for raw smoothies.

The reality was that I did tear, despite all my efforts. And I decided it was the type of tear that I wanted stitched up, although I encourage mamas to research other options and to realize that going in for stitches is not the only option. My family stayed at my house, held my baby and toddler, took photos, cleaned up the entire place, emptied the birth pool and made lunch while I was getting stitched up at the local hospital. Don't you just LOVE when people do amazing things for you?

The doctor who stitched me was respectful as well and did a very nice job stitching my tear. I also asked the nurses to take a blood sample and run it to check my 'crit (hematocrit) levels due to my slow bleeding. The numbers came back just fine. :) Nonetheless, the ER supervisor tried THREE times to solicit circumcision! Each time I said, "No, thank you" and she continued to pressure me to schedule it. I was tired and wanted to fly under the radar and get home to my baby. I found myself biting my tongue so as not to get into a debate with her. As a staunch advocate for human rights, it was hard!

Hanging out together while I was getting stitched up!
I birthed under the Harvest moon, as captured by
Ian was born at home and is a
Cloth diapered (and EC'd on the side)
Sling ridin'
Tandem nursin'
Sleep sharin'
Rear facin'
...intact little guy!

Much love and thanks to everyone who helped bring Ian into this world and provided a positive, supportive community, especially Michelle R. for donating her La Bassine birth pool.


  1. Amazing Guggie!!!! I wish I could have this experience!! The photo of you leaning on the pool is absolutely beautiful and touching!!

  2. Love your post Guggie! :) -Barb Smalley

  3. so beautiful and wonderful! your family is soo blessed to have you as their mother and you are so blessed to be surrounded by family that supports you!

  4. I love your story and your peaceful parenting!!! :) Family homebirths are definitely the best! :)

  5. Beautiful birth story! I cannot wait until my very first home waterbirth coming soon!

  6. What a gorgeous story Guggie - thank you so much for sharing! :) I've finally typed up Riley's too, and now I just need to post it... that'll happen soon... I hope!

  7. Someday when I have my rainbow baby, I want to birth at home just as you and countless other mamas have done. :D Being overweight, I'm automatically "high risk" even though I have no other health problems, and if I have no legitimate issues during pregnancy I'm going to birth the way that women have done centuries before hospitals were even a thought. Women are strong and we can birth the way nature intended!

  8. amazing story! I had an OP baby, but he wasnt fully face up, so the side of his noggin was presenting and ended up with a section. maybe next time my story will be like yours!

  9. This is awesome! Thank you so much for sharing - I especially enjoyed the "photo heaviness" ;) Love you guys.

  10. Wonderful story, thanks for sharing! :-)