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The birth of Leo Finn

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

I had been dealing with Braxton Hicks for what seemed like months, so when I had a few crampy tightenings in the early hours of the morning on Monday, 31st, March, I kept sleeping through. It was around 3.45am that I felt some tightening and pressure, so I got up to go to the toilet and as I waddled my way to the bathroom I felt some fluid escape. I sat on the toilet and more came out. For a few minutes I thought I had some bladder issues but when I stood up I had another gush, it was then that it clicked that this could be my waters leaking. I put on a pad and saw that it had a nice pink tinge to it. All good.

I texted my midwife D to let her know that things had started although I had it in my mind that this would be a long labour like Ruby’s which was perhaps 24-36 hours.

I went back to bed and told John my waters had broken, we snuggled down to get some sleep, but then I had a nasty contraction. I breathed my way through it and kept lying down but then I had another…..and another. John asked “Do you think we should call D?” and I snorted “No, it’ll be ages!”

The contractions started to have rhythm to them and within half an hour they were six minutes apart and pretty intense. I couldn’t keep lying down so I got up to leave John and Ruby to sleep. I went to chat online with D for a while. We had perhaps two hours of labour by MSN. She was exceptional company in the early hours of the morning while I sat at the computer, rolling and rocking my way through the contractions. At about 6 am I gave my Mum a call to let her know and just get a bit of perspective. I said, “I’ll call you when we have a baby” and went to make a cup of tea.

Things were getting bitey but I just breathed and rocked my way, whilst filling up the kettle and using up the last of my raspberry leaf tea. I was in the middle of a sharp contraction, bracing myself against the kitchen bench when Ruby appeared. “Mummy, what your doing?” she asked. I explained that I pains in my tummy because the baby was coming. “I want some toast”, was all she had to say.

John and Ruby got up and I asked John to get supplies for the day as I was adamant that we would be going for hours. He cleaned and set up and rang our doula. I made myself some banana and yoghurt which took me the better part of an hour to eat while I bounced on the birth ball.

The birth ball then became too uncomfortable as I started to feel far too much pressure during the contractions, so I started to walk around and would stop when another wave washed over me. I tried to take a very smooth deep breath in and an even longer breath out and this is when things start to blur at the edges and become timeless.

I text D to come over even though I’m still saying it’ll be days. John’s still cleaning and giving Ruby breakfast. He’s burning lavender oil and we are making a shopping list (how I managed this, I don’t know). I have a shower, a few more contractions.

D arrives. The morning is bright, beautiful and clear. The sun is shining; the house is open and airy. I hear birds singing. Ruby is helping D bring in her stuff from the car. They are talking about Frank, our resident spider.

I’m in the bathroom. I’m nauseous. Ruby brings a bucket and parks it behind my bum, like I’m going to drop a baby out then and there. D has a giggle. It is pretty cute.

John and Ruby go to the shops. D is telling them not to take too long. I’m on all fours on the couch. I’m standing near the beloved book shelf (you can take the librarian out of the library but you can’t take the library out of the librarian).

“How long does it take to fill up the birth pool?” D asks. I tell her “15 minutes” but wonder why we’re doing that now; we are going to be labouring for a while yet. I’m not ready. I mutter something along the lines of “It’s too early. I guess if it slows down I can just get out. Yeah. I’ll just get out”. I am babbling my internal dialogue really.

A few more very fierce expansions. I’m thinking “This is intense. It’s going to get worse. IT’S GOING TO GET WORSE!! I don’t think I can do WORSE!!”.

D says the pools almost ready. I’m asking “Can I get in?” I don’t know if she hears me but I get in. I can’t focus/hear/think in my normal mindset any longer.

I try and get comfortable before the next wave hits me but it useless and I am lost. I paw my way around the pool like a sleepy cat looking for a gentle space to doze. I lose it. I contract. I lose it. I can’t do it. I look into the eyes of the incredible D. She is soft and strong all at once in those eyes. She suggests trying focusing on my breathing. Breathe into the sensation. I breathe right down. I breathe down to my core. I breathe down to my cervix. I breathe down to my baby. I connect with my baby. I fight the urge to push. There is so much pressure. Too much pressure. It’s way too soon.

I tell D it’s intense. It’s strong. I can’t do this all day and night. I can’t go on like this for the length of time that I think it’s going to be. The waves are way too strong. Too powerful. I sway. I sway. “I like the sway”, she says. It gets me through. She gets me through. It is just us. My midwife and I, moving within the edges of softness and the spikes of labour.

I feel such downward pressure. I’m worried about my cervix not being open enough for this pressure. I can’t be ready. My doula, K arrives, she is carrying white flowers. I don’t acknowledge her. She sits on the stairs, a beautiful presence. Silent. I am anchored in the brine by D. My two with-woman women are here. I hold the hands of D. I hold onto her strength. She is essential. I worry about Ruby returning. I’m unsure if I can cope with her manic 3 year old energy. She and John return.

The world is going on around me. Life is going on around me. Ruby and K are drawing, playing with magnets. I am kneeling in the pool, swaying. D and John are like lifelines, sitting near the pool. Just there. A protective circle around my circle.

I’m holding John’s hands now. I feel such a downward force. Such pressure. My analytical mind flashes in- what if I’m pushing onto a not fully dilated cervix?! I want to surrender to this pressure. D asks if it feels pinchy. Pinchy? No. I surrender to the urge. If feels good, like all this energy is directed somewhere now. It’s a big shift.

I feel the force of my baby moving down inside me. My baby is safe. We are SO connected. I feel my baby moving within me.

Breathe. Down. And. Out. Breathe down. Breathe down to my baby. Down and Out. I am pushing. Pushing with my breath.

I wonder why everyone is here. In the room. Oh no, I think. I’ve called everybody too early. What are you all doing here?

D says to have a feel. See what I can feel. I feel inside me and I feel hardness. I feel a head. A HEAD! It’s about 3 or so centremetres inside me. I am STILL adamant that this isn’t happening so fast. I get pins and needles in my legs. Cramping. I roll over onto my back. John and D help sort my legs out. D suggests lying on my back maybe? I am unsure but I try and it works well for me. The power to push is absolutely mind blowing. I just want to push. I breathe. Push. Breathe. Push. My baby is slipping back in. It feels horrible. I’m pushing. Stretching. My baby slips back in. Urgghh, the sensation of the slipping back in is far too much. I cannot handle this baby moving back. My baby and body dance this dance for what seems like forever. I can feel us working together. Stretching. Breathing. D says to reach down and feel the head. What am I feeling? This is my baby’s head. SO CLOSE.

I push with the surge. I’m riding this. Swaying. Breathing my baby out. I feel crazy but apparently it’s gentle. It’s burning. John says, “I CAN SEE AN EAR!!!” They offer a hand mirror. I can’t look. I don’t want to see how far I have to go. My head is still in denial but my body has surrendered completely. It is awesome. I stretch.

I S-T-R-E-T-C-H……

I’m looking out my window. Into the blue sky. Into the trees. The leaves. The room is light, airy. My daughter is laughing, shrieking “IT’S A BIG BOTTOM!!!” (It isn’t!).Laughing. Giggling. Lying on the couch. Peering over the edge of the pool. It is a head. A head being born. The head is out! The head is OUT!

My baby twists to face my dear partner, John. My baby swims free of my body.

“Reach down and pick up your baby” D says. I am shock. Beautiful John reaches down majestically and pulls our baby out of the water. Both of our hands are on our baby. We are the first people to touch our child. My baby lies on my chest. Covered with vernix. I have our baby draining and it lets out a lusty, dramatic cry. We are all crying, laughing. It’s amazing. The energy in the air is thick and palpable. I turn our baby over to see its face for the first time. “WE HAVE A BOY!” I exclaim. How brilliant! A boy! More laughter and pure sweet amazement! My people are saying, “YOU DID IT!” and I did.

We have had our home birthed, water birthed son. Leo Finn. 7 lbs 15 oz, born at 11.05 after 7 quick, intensely beautiful hours of labour. There is nothing on earth like this feeling.

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