My two children were both born at home, in April of 1997 and 1999.  Both times, the yellow tulips were in bloom and I was outside to enjoy them in early labor.   Those flower bulbs will be with me for the rest of my life to remind me of their gentle births.

Well, I was  H U G E !   No, really, EVERYBODY told me so (groan), and my stretch marks were amazing - there were even numb spots.  But, my midwife-wanna-be FP Doc wasn't concerned, and all she asked was that we do an ultrasound to count babies - just one "normal sized" baby.  By the way, ultrasound estimates are a laugh.  Just skip to the end to find out how big she was.

I was in no hurry to labor.  Post-partum is not renowned for being a period of rest and comfort, and I was having trouble finding time to be with Sam. I really needed his attention to get those labor vibes going, but he was too stressed trying to learn how ot manage a tire store.  Thank goodness for my local alternamom friends who would listen to my troubles.  The other thing holding up my labor was the tulips - I had promised Petey the baby would be
born after they bloomed, and that would not be until after my due date, April 1st.

Easter Sunday was the 4th and it was my turn to get up first with Petey. MAN oh MAN, did my hips hurt!  I couldn't even bend over or squat down - this was a new level of pregnancy pain, but it was sure not to last much longer. This was the beginning of the end.  We had an Easter bunny hunt that morning, and then Petey was sent off so I could focus on labor.

Connie, my doula came over.  She had been there when Petey was born, and we were so comforted to have her gentle presence.  She washed dishes (bless her) while Sam and I dozed on the bed.  She said the moans coming in from the bedroom sounded like sex sighs, but no chance of that, I was only trying to keep it low-key.  Around mid-day, we timed some contractions.  They were four minutes and regular (Wow, my first labor had been every two minutes all night long)  I hopped into the birth tub, and spent many hours to come in the water.

Laurel (our FP) came over around sunset - I had decided it wouldn't progress much until night-fall, just as I decided labor would only be on weekends, and was correct on both accounts.  She quietly sat down to soak in what was happening, and check her oxygen tanks, etc...Yvonne, her CNM partner, came over not much later.  I was biting the edge of the birth tub as transition was in full swing, and it was just before or after that when MY MOM CRASHED MY BIRTH.

I had left a message that we might want her help a little later, and her wishful thinking led her to believe that we needed her THEN, and that it would be best to check in person, rather than on the phone.  I heard the backdoor open and hissed to Connie that she could not stay.  I kept my cool while she was there "saying hello", but made Connie circle the house after she left to make sure she wasn't lurking around.  She's such a Mom.

After transition was my darkest hour.  Everything seemed ready, but I just couldn't get into pushing, the baby wasn't budging, and I just wanted to give up.  I tried to sleep on the bathroom floor, willing my troubles to just go away, but to no avail.  I thought I needed a vacuum assist at the hospital, but Sam was not game to go anywhere.  My attendants weren't impressed by my conclusions, either.  They gave encouragement, and sat on their butts waiting for me to get MY butt in gear.

Finally (while cursing to myself inside) I decided FINE, OK, I'll do it, even if it does turn my butt inside out (actually the hemorrhoids weren't too bad after)  I gabbed my thighs in the water, grunted and pushed for all it was worth.  That was the first of many painful pushes that wedged my pelvis apart to let that big girl out.  But, I knew it was push or the knife, plus years of regret and possibly a damaged or drugged baby.  Everybody was behind me with the belief that I could birth this baby.

After pooping the tub, I hopped out - very smoothly and fast for a huge woman with a cantaloupe in her pelvis.  Connie said "Where are you going?  Are you going to go have this baby now?  You're going to go have a baby now, aren't you?"  And I realized, yes, DAMN STRAIGHT I was going to go have a baby now.  Enough screwing around, lets get on the toilet, but Laurel wouldn't keep her hand off my perineum, so I went to the bed.

Her head was on my perineum for seven long minutes, while I held myself up with my arms on the headboard.  I  e-a-s-e-d  her head out.  They weresaying "there's a nose, there's ears, there's a mouth"  Once her shoulders were out, I reached down, with my eyes closed and grabbed under one arm, then both and pulled her out - I had to give a little tug to lift her up.  That big round girl.   So big in the middle, so solid, and pretty.  I finally believed my husband when he had said to me all along that we were having a little girl.  Hello little Eliane!  Our cord pulsed for many more minutes as we talked and stroked her.  She haltingly filled her lungs and cried out.  We laughed and told her it sounded beautiful.  And I said, your'e a big girl, aren't you?

She latched on didn't want to stop, looking at me with her INTENT squinty little newborn eyes.

I was freaking a little about the placenta. I had a hemorrhage last time, and announced every little cramp until it came out - big, along with lots of clots.  We had had a partial abruption, but her heartrate had never slowed during labor.  Otherwise all was well.  No tearing at all.

The next day, my arms and throat hurt more than my bottom did, and I could hardly sleep for two days, with all the excitment and adrenaline of what had just happened.  The next day, my darling Father-in-law and my mom were over.  We had a lovely morning, admiring the new girl, and marveling over her size, and that I had managed to do it.  My mom was teaching her Journalism class later that morning, and wrote up our homebirth news on the blackboard to 200 amazed students.  They applauded!

When we weighed her in the dim light of our birth room, Laurel crouched on the bed and said "eleven?"  I was in awe.  Turned on the lights and read it again while Yvonne struggled to hold her in the hanging scale.  We settled on ten pounds, twelve ounces.

Our big girl nursed like a dream, slept many hours at a stretch, and  practially held her head up!   I am so thrilled to have chosen homebirth, and to have had lovely attendants available to me.  They trusted in me even when I had plans to give up.  They really helped us accomplish our best!

 ~ Shelley

mama to Petey (formerly known as Alex, but his nickname has taken over) who loves having a little sister because there are so many cute dresses to try on.

mama to Eliane, who always has her mouth open in a toothy grin, and is sure to be a firecracker when she starts to get up and moving

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