Here is the story of my second daughter’s birth. I like to say that Haven made me a mother, which was about as earth shattering as you could get, but Lyric’s birth made me a doula and aspiring midwife.
Following a miscarriage in September of 07, my previous OB told me it was my fault because I was still breast-feeding. I had already decided I wanted a water birth with the second and wanted to switch providers but this really sealed the deal. I went looking for an affordable and more sympathetic (and less myth-based) approach.
Meeting the midwives at the Mountain Midwifery Birth Center I realized everything the midwifery model of care could offer. They actually seemed like the LIKED their jobs and talking to moms about their pregnancy and whatever else was going on in their lives, unlike my OB.
My last pregnancy was good, but Lyric’s pregnancy was even better. I felt fantastic, even right up until I went into labor. Towards the end she was measuring a little small, so Cassie sent me for an ultrasound. I was freaked out and the midwives were so great and supportive and listened to my fears (everything showed up fine).
I went into the office Wednesday, June 18 for my last prenatal appointment. Tracy did my forty-week check and found me to be 2 cm and 70% effaced. I was feeling totally overwhelmed and emotional and when I broke down and started bawling in the waiting room, Heather said, “I think you’ll have your baby really soon.”
Sure enough, that Wed I went into early labor, waking all throughout the night with contractions. They got much more regular at 9 am, from 2-5 minutes apart for three hours. At 12:30 we decided to head down to the Birthing Center since we live a bit far. We dropped off our stuff and headed to a nearby park to walk around outside. I think this turned out to be not the best idea since I couldn’t really get inside myself and settle into the Birth Center.
We returned at 4:30 where they checked me and found I was 2 cm, 70% effaced…exactly the same as yesterday! I was so frustrated! I didn’t mind a longer, slower, labor as long as it seemed to be doing something! Cassie and Tracy were awesome at talking me through my frustration, Tracy saying her last birth took three days to get there! Tiffany also helped me regain control by saying my baby might just need a little extra time to get used to the idea of being on the outside. They almost sent me home to a bath and glass of wine, but I really didn’t want to spend an hour in the car (contractions in the car are awful!) and I wasn’t sure when to come back since contractions were pretty close together anyway. They decided to give me two hours to see how I would progress.
I calmed myself down, refused to look at the clock, and went inside myself. After two hours Cassie checked me and I was at 4 cm so they decided to let me stay! I spent some time on the toilet where my water broke, a high tear that didn’t continually leak fluid. Two of my good friends came, including my friend who was a doula and was amazing at helping me with my breathing and rubbing my back! Contractions started getting really strong, along with bloody show and more of the mucous plug was lost.
I spent my time going through transition in the tub, which was great and made the contractions much more round. I was always a little worried I wouldn’t have a break if I did it naturally since I had had an epidural with Haven and it really helped my long labor by giving me a rest. Magically my body seemed to know this and contractions slowed down to 7-8 minutes after I had gone through transition. I even started to fall asleep in the water between contractions! My body was naturally preparing me to push.
I was checked and found to be sort of stuck at 9.5 cm with a little “lip” of cervix left. After sixteen hours at the Birthing Center, I really wanted to be done, so Tracy said I could try and push past it if I wanted to. I tried but it was hard, like pushing into a hammock where the baby kept bouncing back. Cassie ended up helping break the bag of water around her head which felt AMAZING, like her head was suddenly half as big. Then she helped hold the lip of cervix back while I pushed.
At first I couldn’t tell what was a productive push and what wasn’t and I was losing all my energy out my voice. Tracy gave me a great pep talk to help me learn the right way, then I became much more productive. Twenty minutes of pushing and she was out! My daughter Haven watched as I brought her out of the water and then she and Kyle joined me in the birth tub. As soon as she came out of the water Haven said, “It’s a baby sister!” Even to this day she likes to tell the story. She says “Uterus squeeeeze the baby out and the baby came out Mommy’s yoni in the water and nurse and get all dry dry. That was hard work for Mommy, Mommy did a good job, good job Mommy!” Haven was totally thrilled with her new baby sister and held her even before Daddy! We got out of the bed and spent time cuddling as a family on the bed.
After a long time, Kyle and the nurses did all the weighing and checking while I took a luxurious, relaxing herbal bath. It felt wonderful! We stayed for a while, then packed up to go home…at 4 am! It was nice to be in our own bed after such a long night. The nurses and midwives needed a break too because with the full moon and Summer Solstice brought six new babies…IN 24 HOURS!
The recovery went really really well, much better than after Haven’s birth. I think I was able to be aware of what my body was doing so much more without the epidural and not rush my body into a place it wasn’t ready to go. As a result I had only one tiny tear that felt fine after a day or so.
Haven’s birth was good, but Lyric’s birth was phenomenal. I never thought I could be so nurtured and supported in the process. The midwives and nurses were all fabulous and Kyle and I both enjoyed the intimate atmosphere. We loved having Haven there to watch the birth. I can think of no greater responsibility than teaching our children (especially our daughters) that birth is a normal, natural part of life and nothing to be feared. It was all I could have hoped for and more.
Lyric Hana Brynn
Lyric: because she loves being sung to
Hana: meaning “flower” in Korean, her placenta is buried under a flowering linden tree
Brynn: meaning “little drop of water” for my little water birth baby
June 20, 2008
7 lb 3 oz