B day of our Lady A
A home birth story of a first time mom
Before Labor -
Sunday, July 14th , 2013 began like any other Sunday. We had great expectations of meeting you soon because we were 40 weeks and 3 days (according to our estimated due date). Some might say you were “overdue” but we say you enter the world in your own perfect timing! The rest of the world was on “Kate Wait” as all eyes were on London England’s, Duchess Kate (who was also past her due date). I don’t recall the details of the events of that day other than us eating Jimmy’s Egg for breakfast, Chicken Express for lunch and taking a trip to Academy. Your daddy and I watched several episodes of our newest show, Orange is the new Black, on Netflix and I remembered commenting that the weekend had been wonderful and relaxing. We went to church at Lifechurch.tv with your G and Bear (my parents). It was the “At the Movies” series and one of my favorites. A movie is played with biblical insight around the plot. During church I remember feeling distracted - which seemed odd for me. Though distracted I still felt very close to God. I went to the bathroom about halfway through service where I felt the first of many contractions that would shift you through the birth canal and bring you here to meet us. I remembered standing bent over the bathroom sink thinking “wow that one was strong!” I went back to my seat and continued to squirm until service was over. I was not uncomfortable, just ready to stand up and feeling the need to get the show on the road! We raced home, not because of labor, but because our show Big Brother was coming on. I did not tell my family I was in labor - because I think I was still unsure. I had previously joked about hoping to enjoy my favorite show during labor and little did I know this would actually happen. I ate very little of the pork chop, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes and gravy dinner that G prepared. I think this was because I had a very irrational fear of pooping during labor. But, by now I had wrapped my mind around the thought that I was about to give birth to you. Therefore, I did not want to consume a large amount of food.
Early Labor -
While watching the show I continued to have contractions and thought I was either peeing myself or I was leaking amniotic fluid. The second of the two was true. I went upstairs and ran a bath to calm my contractions. I remember your daddy bringing me a pen and paper to write down the time and length of my contractions. All I wrote on the sticky post-it note was 8 p.m. The bath felt wonderful, but I did not feel I could move. Daddy came upstairs and helped me out of the tub. I put a robe on and we headed home - with timed contractions in tow. I promised my very fearful Daddee (your bear) that I would phone the midwives immediately after getting home to alert them that I was in labor. Your daddy recorded an awful video documenting me contracting in the car on the ride home. I could tell he was really excited for your birth! This is where things become blurry and I will only be telling the rest of the events to the best of my recollection.
Home to Birth -
Walking in the front door of our home your daddy went into “beast mode” cleaning up the house, setting up birthing supplies, adding warm water to the birthing tub, timing and attending to me during contractions. We couldn’t really get great recording times on the contractions, so we decided just to call the midwives - as I felt I was in real labor! I spoke to my midwife through contractions but because we could not get good timing on the counts, she asked that we watch them even closer and call back in 30 minutes. She later texted me to say “I knew (by my voice) you were either in advanced stages of labor or very scared and now we know you were advanced stages of labor!” I was never scared throughout your entire birth! A tear never fell from my face due to “pain.” Daddy continued to time my contractions as he was setting everything up. I lost blood with a contraction and really knew that this was it - so daddy phoned my mom to call the photographer (my cousin, Erica Rice) so they could join us in bringing you into this world. We returned the phone call to the midwife to inform her my contractions were two minutes apart lasting anywhere from 45 seconds to two minutes. The two minutes I spent not contracting felt like milliseconds compared to the two minutes contracting! She said they would be right over. I paced up and down our long hallway to ease the discomfort of each contraction. Daddy helped me into the birthing tub - as I thought it was where I desired to birth you - but I was wrong! It was uncomfortable! I only felt my contractions in my upper thighs, never in my stomach or back. My midwives say this is unique because only about 4% of women feel contractions in those areas. I don’t know how long it was, but the next thing I remember was my mom being there to help. And, I was in the bathroom contracting away. I asked for a bath to be drawn and got in for a few contractions - only to get right back out! That too was uncomfortable! We brought my birthing ball into the bathroom and I went back and forth from the toilet to the ball to standing while searching for relief. Little did I know the relief I needed was only a few minutes away. I found it in pushing… relief! While standing, I could definitely feel your little soft head nearing the opening. This is when things changed for me dramatically. I found courage in the physical discomfort of contractions knowing you were close enough to touch, literally! I heard rustling from the living room as daddy greeted the rest of our birthing staff, the midwives and photographer! My mom let me know the team had arrived and I found relief again in knowing I had all of the backup I needed to get you here safely. The photographer, Erica, my sweet cousin, walked in asked how I was and kissed me! I remember not being able to find the words to describe my current state. Her kiss was a relief. I was so blessed to have Michelle (Belle) as our midwife. She was the midwife my heart desired to have assist in our labor. From the second I met her she made me feel I was capable of home birth and that I was in tune with my body. I felt she truly understood me and all my concerns. CMS and the other midwives were all so very wonderful too. I knew God would send the midwife I needed for my team, so I would have been happy for any of them to assist with the delivery. Michelle was the person I pictured beside me when I was envisioning the actual birth. The Community Midwifery Service was very busy that evening (as other moms were also in labor) so Michelle brought her roommate (who is also a midwife) with her to assistant. Yay, we got to have not one - but two midwives! I also became fond of Jes very quickly! As soon as a contraction ended, I moved from the ball (or toilet, I’m not sure which) to the bedroom and crawled on to the bed. I wanted to be checked by Michelle so badly and hear her opinion about the progression of my delivery. Little did I know this is where I would stay and push you out! After a quick check she let me know we were close to meeting you and again that relief rushed over me - with each sign you were closer… relief!
Ready to Push -
My body began to push involuntarily and we were on a roll baby girl! Michelle coached me through positioning my legs. My mom held one and Jess held the other. My mom was a constant reminder that I was doing okay… relief. She reminded me of our yoga breathing… relief. I remember Jes’ shirt had some writing on it and I kept telling myself to read it to distract myself mentally when I was feeling “this is getting too tough.” Today I have no idea what Jes’ shirt said! What did it say, Jes? My cousin hopped from one side of the room to the other documenting our labor. She said to me once between pushes “you are a great mom sweetheart” not “you are going to be” a great mom but “you are” a great mom, another relief came! The very most important part of our birthing team was your daddy. He was right behind me holding my neck, using a cool wash cloth to calm me and whispering in my ear how great I was doing, how wonderful I was at this, that I was beautiful and even that I smelt good. Which I later questioned as I could smell myself and I was nasty, sweaty and stinky! With each of his soft comforting whispers, another relief! He is that way; he will lift me up no matter what the occasion! He will do the same for you too, baby girl! He has been my rock from the night I met him and I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to choose home birth without him by my side! He is 100 percent wonderful in every way possible! I know that God made him specifically for me to marry and to parent you with! Notice how all punctuation turns to exclamation when it involves him? He is my love - my lifelong love. Sometime between getting on the bed and your arrival my daddee arrived on our front porch with your birthday cake… relief. My mom told me he was in tears. I think fearful of the pain I was experiencing as well as just emotional from being kept at a distance during such a crucial time, his grandbaby’s birth. Pushing felt like it took days but was probably only about two hours, maybe shorter. I need to ask the team above to answer that question for me. So team, how long did I push? I could not imagine what pushing would be like with an epidural. Michelle taught me to push down through my body rather than tensing my chest and shoulders - as I was doing previously before her guidance. When you were nearing I started to sit up higher with my pushing. When I could see your hair peeking out, I pushed even harder... relief! Instead of the usual episiotomy given routinely during vaginal hospital births Michelle used almost a bottle of olive oil on me and your head. She rubbed your tiny head with two fingers. When Michelle would take your heart rate I would relax to try to relax you. She was awesome at never making me feel uneasy. Usually each heart rate check led to another push… relief! I pushed and pushed and pushed until, relief, the top of your head cones out to stay! Each push brought a little more of you into this world until all of the sudden there you were laying on my belly, our baby in really life!
After Birth -
At 12:06 a.m. just 5.5 hours after our first contraction at church you made your way into this world. The joy I felt at this moment is not something I can even begin to describe. You were here, slippery, slimy, covered in vernix and touching me skin to skin. You were here… relief! Daddy checked your gender (previous to this moment we did not know). “It’ a GIRL!” he said. Relief! All along God has known my heart’s desire to love on a little girl of my very own and “He granted me my wishes.” 1 Samuel 1:27. I was overjoyed! You were here, our little Ainsley Monroe! We immediately breast fed. You were not taken off me to be clean or tampered with until I said it was okay. My mom called my dad into the room at my request. You stayed attached to your umbilical cord until Michelle told us it had stopped pulsing and she asked your daddy if he wanted to cut it! He did! Michelle told me I would soon be delivering our placenta and with that I pushed again, this time with you on my belly. That was the easiest push of all and with just little to no effort at all - there it was. Michelle explained the two sides of the placenta and my dad and your daddy joked about making placenta pancakes! Bear cannot take this whole placenta encapsulation thing serious, his comic efforts… relief! You weighed 7 pounds 8 ounces. You measured, 21 inches. Ten fingers, ten toes and a perky button nose! You were here and perfect… relief! We all sang “Happy Birthday” to you. I am a new person, and have a deeper connection to God and my husband through you, Ainsley Monroe. The midwives checked me. I only had two minor skin tears. I did not care. No stitches were needed. The olive oil worked. You were here! The midwives cleaned up and Erica packed up. I held you, fed you and adored you. We all had a bottle of “Smart” water - and most of us, including myself ate some cheese and cashews. My dad fed me and gave me water. I passed you off to your daddy so I could clean up. The shower felt nice but I was in a huge hurry to get out and get back to you. Michelle helped me get my panties and pad on. I crawled back into the same bed I had just delivered you in and so felt rested - knowing you were here… relief! Michelle and Jes completed their jobs, oh so well! We took pictures together and they headed out. My mom and Erica went to Jack in the Box and got us all some chicken nuggets. I preferred a bean burrito from Taco Bell but we didn’t know that they would still be open at 4ish in the morning. The chicken was nice but I was ready to get settled in with you. So to review, in 5.5 hours we labored you into our arms at home just as we wished with no complications whatsoever. What was meant to be was, is, and always will be! You are amazing in every way. The Urban Dictionary defines Ainsley as imaginative, creative, and able to find light in a situation, sees beyond the obvious, and is exquisitely beautiful. An Ainsley has their own strong opinions of life and of love, will not stay in one place for very long. “If they are unlike any other, that person must be an Ainsley.”