Wow! It's hard to believe that it's been 11 weeks and 4 days since this little man entered our world. What a joy he is, and it's hard to remember what life was like before he arrived. Time is flying, and he's growing so fast, so I thought I better share what I remember about his birth before I forget everything. So sit back and enjoy reading about my healing, positive birth experience.
It all began on Wednesday, September 24th. Mitch and I were winding down from another full day, sitting watching TV as usual. I remember feeling a "gas pain" and thinking, "Ooo, this is all too familiar." I told Mitch that I was pretty sure I had a contraction, and he just smiled an excited, happy smile. We finished our show and did our nightly routine of cleaning up and getting ready for bed. I had another couple of contractions but they were around 20 minutes apart so I knew I should try to get some sleep, despite the excitement. Thankfully I was able to get a decent night's sleep.
On Thursday morning, I wrote on facebook that Luke was a week late and born on a Thursday, and if the baby was born today he'd be a week late and born on a Thursday. Contractions were coming every 10 minutes while we were eating breakfast. Mitch asked me if he should stay home or go to work, and we decided that he'd go in and I'd call if I needed him. I messaged my birth attendants just to let them know what was going on and that I had a good feeling the baby was going to come that night.
The rest of the day was quite nice; In the morning Luke played quietly with his blocks and cars, and read some stories. He watched Cars 2 (You all know how much I hate him getting too much screen time, but since I could barely walk do to SPD we were desperate), and we ate lunch together. Throughout the morning contractions continued to be steadily coming every 10 minutes. I kept waiting fr them to get closer together but they didn't. I felt like God was giving me time to enjoy my last few hours as a mommy of one.
Shortly after lunch my sister-in-law and nieces came over to visit and play with Luke for me. It was a gorgeous afternoon so they played outside and I watched them from the back deck, contractions ebbing and flowing. It reminded me of the day before Luke was born... the girls came over to visit then too. The girls were excited to be playing with Luke and even more exited that they would be getting a new cousin soon.
Mitch got home about a half hour earlier than usual and it was like my body said, "Ok, your husband is home, it's OK to have labour speed up a bit'. Contractions were coming every 7 minutes at supper time and I again messaged my birth attendants to update them. Mitch did bathtime with Luke while I tried to keep calm and not overly excited. I sat on my bed, distracting myself on facebook, feeling the power of my body start to really take over.
By 9 o'clock that evening they were coming stronger and every 5 minutes. My brother-in-law came over and chatted while gently bounced/swayed on the exercise ball, and I laughed because he could barely tell I was in labour. After he left I called my birth attendants to say that it would probably be a late night for them, then I went to bed to try to get a little rest. Mitch had prepared the room nicely... he put two of Luke's playsilks over our dim lamps so the whole room had a rosy/red/orange glow to it. He also put the diffuser next to the side of my bed, with Gentle Baby in it. It was a very mellow, relaxing atmosphere.
Within 10 minutes of first laying down I started to get really shaky, and couldn't stop. I sighed thinking, "no rest for me tonight it seems". Luke woke up and so I woke Mitch to go into his room to put him back down. I just kept shaking and couldn't get comfortable so I got up and started pacing/swaying in my room. I didn't understand why I was shaking... I never had that happen during labour with Luke, so I did what any modern labouring woman would do: googled it. Everything that I saw said something along the lines of "signs of active labour and transition". Well, I knew things had picked up, but I didn't think I was as advanced in my labour as I actually was.
I continued to sway, and pace, but just couldn't get comfortable. Jack was driving me crazy, following me around, right by my side, and pretty much getting in my way. I decided to start filling the pool up because I had read countless stories of women finding relief in the water, and because Jack couldn't get at me in there. I went to the bathroom again, and then got the hose out and started to screw on the attachment to the tap. I got the hose hooked up and in the pool but I didn't have a good seal and water was spraying everywhere from the tap. I quietly went to Luke's room and opened the door. I needed to let Mitch know I needed his help without waking Luke up. Mitch had fallen asleep in there, but I was having some pretty hard contractions, and my SPD was still making it hard for me to maneuver so I talk-whispered "Mitch.... MITCH...." from the doorway. He got up and asked, "Is it time?" I told him I needed help with the hose/filling the pool. And he started to fix it. I was feeling pretty uncomfortable by now, and got in the pool when there was only a few inches of water in there.
When I told Mitch I wanted to have a homebirth, he agreed on one condition... that someone (a birth attendant) would be there. So, at this point of the labour he said, "Should I call?" I was pretty naive, and said, "No, no....." then thought that Mitch would be more at ease with them there, and decided to give him permission to call. He did, then came in to check on me. I was kneeling and swaying in the pool, leaning my arms over the side and my head resting on the soft, blow-up side. Mitch went and put Jack in the garage so he'd be out of the way when the ladies arrived, then he came up to be an awesome, attentive hubby. It was a warm night, and I get really hot when I labour, so Mitch opened the windows for me and put a cold facecloth on my forehead.
Finally the pool was filled and Mitch went to turn of the water. I just couldn't get comfortable and was irritated by that when all of a sudden I got sweet, long-awaited relief... my water broke. I felt it pop, looked at the water around me, saw it was clear and thought, "HALLELUJAH". I remember saying to Mitch, "That feels SO much better!" I was kind of sitting/floating. That relief didn't last long though... contractions started coming harder, and I was worried that Mitch's one condition wasn't going to be fulfilled... that the ladies weren't going to make it because this baby was coming. I told Mitch, "I feel pushy pressure."
Another contraction came, and without any thought or effort my body started pushing. It was the most incredible and strangest feeling... I had no control over what my body was doing. I said, "Oh Miiiiitttcchhh..." because I felt bad that the baby was coming and the birth attendants hadn't arrived yet. A couple of minutes later they quietly appeared in the doorway. I saw Natalie peek in, smiling, followed by Virginia. I said, "He's coming." Natalie lightened the mood and said, "Ya think?!" I smiled and with the next contraction I could feel him crowning. I breathed. And with the next contraction Natalie said, "Laura reach down and feel your baby." Just as I did out came his head. I remember thinking how soft his head/hair felt. I also thought, "Hmm I think I re-tore a little" (I did, but not badly at all... just enough to heal the damage of being "repaired" from Luke's birth). Another breath and another contraction and out he came, into my awaiting hands. I settled back against the wall of the pool and brought him out of the water, and up to my chest, careful not to bring too much of his body out of the warmth of the water.
He was finally here. Lochlan Kelly Martin, born September 25th, 2014 at 11:26 p.m. He didn't scream, cry or wail. He simply cooed/squawked one little sound to let me know he was ok. He was content, and happy to be earth-side. I just kept saying, "He's so little!" I was instantly in love.
We weren't in any rush to get out of the warm of the water. A nice fall breeze was coming through the window over my shoulder. I held him, and offered him my breast to see if he wanted to eat, but he wasn't in any rush and didn't latch. After a few minutes Natalie and Virgina asked me where I wanted to birth the placenta. We all agreed the water would be fine. I gave Lochlan to Mitch, and got into a low squat, and tried pushing. Nothing really happened so Virgina suggested I put a tiny bit of traction on the cord as I pushed. I did and out it came. Natalie held the bowl/placenta as Mitch and Lochlan made their way to the bed. Virginia helped me out of the pool and get dried off a little, then guided me to the bed as well. Mitch held Lochlan and I just stared in awe at what had just happened.
The ladies went downstairs and left our little family for some bonding time. They made me some tea as well as a yummy oj/kombucha punch. About an hour or so after Lochlan was born Natalie helped us in the cord burning. I held and nursed him, as Mitch held one candle and Natalie held another. It was really nice to have that time to just take it all in.... it was a peaceful way to detach Lochlan from the organ that sustained him for so long.
The ladies worked quietly, emptying out the pool, cleaning it and gathering up all the towels/laundry, all while Mitch and I and Lochlan were in a state of awe and bliss and bonding. Such a HUGE difference from what I experienced in my "natural" hospital birth. We called my Mom, and texted other family members, and then settled in to get some sleep.
Luke, who had slept through everything, woke up around 5:00 and Mitch went in to cuddle him back to sleep.... well Lochlan decided to test out his lungs a little bit then. I could hear Mitch say, "What's that?" And Luke kind of make his "Huh?" sound. Then Mitch said, "Lochlan is here!" Well, I could hear the little feet hop quickly out of bed, and run down the hall and into our room. He stopped at the side of the bed, with a gorgeous shy smile. Mitch picked him up and got into bed with him. Luke smiled, looked at Lochlan, and kissed him gently. I couldn't have asked for a better way for our family of 3 change to a family of 4.
Mom came to visit first thing in the morning and arrived to see us all in bed, Mitch and Luke playing me and Lochlan some songs on the guitar, and singing quietly. She snapped this picture of our new family. I love it because it shows me just how happy and normal and truly natural birth at home was for us. We weighed Lochlan that morning... he was 8lbs 1oz, but we didn't bother measuring his head or his length.
Luke has adjusted amazingly well. He did stick a little bit closer to Mom the first couple of days, and crashed for a few naps with us as all the excitement and visitors tuckered him out. But overall, he loves being a big brother, and loves his "Yaka" (that's how he says Lochlan) so much.
This birth experience was unbelievable. It was healing... healing wounds, both physical and emotional, that I didn't even know were there. It was all so calm, and peaceful, and dare I say it..... easy. It truly is how birth should be. I would never birth any other way again (if we ever had another). I love the way that Mitch describes it... he says that when I had Luke, he was proud and amazed at the warrior his wife was. But when Lochlan was born he was proud and amazed at the woman his wife was.
We love you Lochlan, and we can't wait to watch you grow into the little person that you are going to be. You make us smile, and bring us a joy that we can't even put into words. Thank you for choosing to join our family. I thank God everyday for you.