Ciarán didn’t fit into the pat, controlled concept of birth in the hippie world. He was close to his big brother and outside of a deliberate plan to conceive. I was (and still am) nursing his two siblings. That’s just not responsible for a good hippie. The criticism was harsh, with some people even recommending abortion and telling me I was no longer part of the club.
It seemed strange to me, that people bent on telling the world about the strength and beauty of our bodies, could not fathom that a mama might be strong enough, dedicated enough, “attached” enough to care for more than 1 or *gasp* 2 children. I became somewhat disillusioned with the activist environment online. Soon enough, though, I found that many people were still loving and supportive. They remained positive throughout the pregnancy and became a beautiful community of support.
The pregnancy itself was mundane, which I suppose is what every woman wants. No complications, no major complaints. My chiropractor deftly rubbed my hip pain away and aligned my ligaments with Webster Technique. Time passed quickly with two kiddos to entertain. Because of DH's history of severe CHD (Congenital Heart Defects) I always opt for one quick ultrasound scan later in the second trimester. And then, since I was getting an ultrasound, I had to find out if he was a boy or girl.
All the estimated due dates arrived, and passed. I looked into myself and did not feel any anxiety. It was not time. Ironically, I did not feel large enough!
|Does this look like 11lbs of baby??|
Contractions woke me up around 9am. (Hey, I like to sleep in on Sundays!) They were sharp, but about 10 minutes apart. An hour later, they were 5 minutes apart.
Unlike my other births, these contractions were severe and painful. By 11am, they didn’t seem to stop. I had a peak with sharp pain, but my uterus remained uncomfortably tight the entire time. I felt my ligaments getting sore and wondered how long I could continue relax. I knew how effective it was to relax the body, to go with the contractions, but these were truly painful and shocking.
Meanwhile, of course, DH is running around the house because he can’t find the faucet connector for the hose. He eventually calls my sister and guides her over the phone on which one to buy! Things took so long that I barely had a waterbirth; the pool was about half full when he was born!
During this time, my labor was very random. I was in and out of the tub, on and off the toilet and running into various rooms or leaning against doorways. I wasn’t calm and didn’t want to stay in one place. Transition must have hit me at some point because I began to lose my positive affirmations. I remember asking DH if I was dying. He told me everything was normal and it made me so angry lol! :D
Although the total labor was about 5 hours long, somehow it just seems much more rushed than that, especially with the two kids being at home. DH didn’t call anyone to come over and I was too involved in labor to give any directions. Other than as I was experiencing a contraction, out of the depths of my mind I managed to tell DH to get the camera. He grabbed it and discovered the battery was missing. So I was trying to tell him where to find a battery while grunting. Ah, chaos!
As soon as the pool was filling, I climbed in, but quickly got out because the contractions were so intense that I felt caged. I ended up getting in and out frequently until about 7cm, when my body started pushing. It was a more rewarding sensation than the very painful contractions, but the pain was still there! I couldn’t believe I would be pushing with pain, and so soon! But I literally had no other option. My body was vomiting him out fiercely. I crawled into the birth pool and hollered out to the kids that the baby was coming out. They jumped in quickly and DH gave my 3 year old the videocamera.
I had a sudden moment of inspiration and yelled at DH to grab a rag and apply pressure along my rectum. He helped direct Ciarán’s head and this gave me the courage to go with the pushing. Without the pressure, I had a very scary image of my backside splitting. It was intense.
Push one, he was creating the horrible ring of fire. Push two, his head was out, bursting the membranes. He was almost born in the caul! After that second push, I felt a lull. I reached down and touched my baby, feeling his ear. Then I had this urge to keep tenderly feeling him. That's when I discovered a nuchal cord. I moved it over his head as it was fairly loose. This was all done on autopilot and didn't bother me. It's almost as if I was being guided completely on instinct. Interestingly, I later read a midwife's theory that sometimes babies with nuchal cords will remain "high" throughout pregnancy and labor until it is time for the pushing stage, at which point they will fly out of there. This is exactly what I experienced. Remember, I didn't feel him "drop" until the night before labor? It's fascinating how our bodies and babies work together in these cases.
Then, bam! Push three, he twirled from a transverse occiput/asynclitic position (sideways, tilted head) to normal anterior and his body slid out into my daughter’s hands with Daddy helping. My mind is still trying to process how quickly he went from being all the way up there, just barely able to touch the tip of his head, to flying out of me! I told DH I was going to scream right before push two, but I don’t know if I did or not.
The relief I felt as soon as he was out is not explainable. I suddenly felt completely normal, as if I could get up and go to work! Zon was over the moon that she was able to help the baby. I think this created trust in our relationship, because I told her she would be there for his birth and I was right. She seemed almost drunk, leaning on my shoulder and talking to the new baby. Ian said his usual, "OH WOW!" Then he happily ran around the pool, splashing. DH managed to get a family photo:
This rapid birth did not make for a calm entrance. Ciarán cried and swung his fists around, quite angry. He had a molded head, something my other children did not really experience. I could already see some swelling and petichia on his face. Poor guy! We found the videocamera in the water (bummer) and DH took a few photos, and then I moved into the bedroom because the water was getting cold. Ciarán latched right on and showed that he was a very strong nurser! He quickly calmed down and spent some time looking into my eyes. I love that alert newborn stage!
We waited an hour on the placenta, trying various tricks and herbs. After an hour, DH cut the cord so I could try traction, too, because by then I was consistently bleeding and did not like the amount I was seeing. As I moved to squat and took a looksy down there, I realized I had perineal tearing all the way into the rectum. At that point, with the blood loss and the desire to be stitched up, I decided to go into the hospital.
|DH cut the limp cord.|
Everyone in the room had a perplexed look. We looked at the placenta and it was intact and healthy. He had no answers for me.
|I brought the placenta home for encapsulation and smoothies.|
Meanwhile, the nurse IV’d me with some fluids to help with the blood loss and drew a vial to check my blood levels. The doctor injected lidocaine and began stitching me up; it took him about 20 minutes so it wasn’t a bad case, but also confirmed my instincts to go in for repairs as opposed to letting it heal on its own. He designated it as a 2nd degree tear.
He chatted with me while stitching and brought up the homebirth topic. I tensed, waiting for an argument, but he said, “It’s great that babies can be born the primal way…it’s just these kinds of cases that cause issues, but that’s what medicine is for!” I thought in my head, “I could hug you!” LOL And guess what, after I was stabilized, he did give me a hug and tell me congratulations on the birth and that he’s sorry I had to come in to the hospital.
The nurses were kind as well. The first nurse wanted to dote on me and talk about the baby, and her babies. She said things were really boring due to Superbowl Sunday. So I guess I gave them something to do. The second nurse was even more fun to hang out with; she had 4 babies naturally in the hospital and was considering homeschooling.
Breastfeeding bonding at the hospital while I'm waiting for my blood panel
After all that blood loss, my levels came back just under a 10. I know that won’t show the complete bottom line, but I was happy to see that high of a number at all and will be working on my supply w/ Floradix, Chlorophyll and BS molasses.
Zon and Ian are both in love with their new brother and have each taken turns tandem nursing with him. I definitely think the commitment to triandem nurse is a huge help. Besides the tear-jerking sibling bonding I’ve witnessed since he was born, it’s just plain convenient to be able to nurse toddlers to sleep, then roll over to spend time with my newborn.
So that is his birth story in a nutshell. He was born on 2-5-12 at 2:20pm, measuring 23 inches long, with a 15 1/8 inch head. He has strawberry blonde, possibly curly hair and little toes like my brother. You can hear his name pronounced here: http://inogolo.com/pronunciation/d1488/Ciar%E1n_Hinds
I once again have so much to be grateful for and so many people to thank. Michelle lent out her birth pool again. Jennifer threw me a Blessingway and both she and Michelle A gave me birthing beads. My mom and siblings were super helpful afterwards, cleaning and babysitting the kiddos. A supportive community is one of the biggest blessings a pregnant woman can have and I do not take it for granted after my initial experience when announcing his pregnancy. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your positive thoughts, prayers and actions.
|Proud Daddy holding his two intact sons (and the birth pool they both arrived in is in the background).|
|I was completely surprised that he weighed over 11lbs. I told my brother to reweigh him! LOL|
|First carseat ride!|
*Some additional notes, especially for birth junkies*
I want to point out that my tearing is not necessarily something you can attribute to size. I have a small and scarred perineum from a poor suture job; when I was a teen I was mountain biking and bashed my poor bottom along the bike seat. :O I have torn with all 3 of my births, and all 3 were different positions, head sizes and departures. I know many women who have birthed big babies without tearing. So don't give up hope or expect the worst. Fortunately for me, it's an issue that doesn't give me anxiety and I heal quickly.
I also wanted to mention that the decision on after care is up to you...you have as many options as you research, desire and prepare for in your individual birth experience. You could for example, research midwives in your area who can suture at home. You can even look into natural healing remedies such as honey, herbs and seaweed instead of suturing. You could opt for a midwife who carries pitocin and methergine so she can administer it if you begin to bleed. My decision to go to the hospital appealed to me alone based on what I did and did not want to do after the baby was born. I don't want anyone to feel that it's the only option available!