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Sunday
Aug102008

Tara's Story- 9 lbs., 13 oz.- Home

9 lbs., 13 oz.

22" long

14.5" head circumference

Home

Mother's Height: 5' 7"


How was your pregnancy?

This was my third pregnancy. It passed in a blur as I cared for my two older children. I had the normal amount of nausea, aches and pains, heartburn, etc. I paid a lot of attention to my nutrition, taking various herbal supplements to keep my iron levels up to prevent a postpartum hemorrhage like I'd had after my second birth. I was due November 12, and because of my history of going overdue I expected to go into labor around Thanksgiving. As my pregnancy continued into December, my midwife gave me information and support about being post-dates, and I felt safe as I continued to wait for my body and baby to be ready. I ate a lot of protein in the last few weeks so my placenta could continue growing and nourishing my baby.

How did you feel about your upcoming birth?

I was very excited to work with my midwife again and plan my second homebirth. I had picked her last time because I knew she would respect and support my choices while ensuring we had the safest birth possible. I also knew she wouldn't pressure me if I went overdue again (12 days and 9 days late with my first two). My husband and I decided that we wanted to catch our own baby, with our midwife there to help if needed, and we were really looking forward to a peaceful, intimate birth experience.

Description of your birth experience:

On the morning of the day when I was exactly 4 weeks overdue, I finally woke up in labor. Within an hour my husband and I could tell that this labor was moving very quickly. The contractions were intense with very little space between them. We made phone calls and readied the bedroom, then I got into the shower and spent most of my labor there, moaning through contractions. At first I stood and swayed my hips back and forth. Later, after a short break while our hot water tank refilled, I sat or knelt on the shower floor on a towel. It wasn't fun, and it was hard work, but the hot water and my husband's presence were all I needed. When the hot water ran out for the second time, I got out of the shower and settled in a low, open "W" position on my bedroom floor. I leaned forward and rested my head against my birth ball. My water broke and I realized the baby was close to being born. I was able to calmly tell my husband and midwife what I was feeling. I breathed the baby's head out through an entire contraction. Together, my husband and I supported his head and then caught his body when I pushed it out with the next contraction. Two and a half hours after my first contraction, my son Ronan was born into our hands. It was the most amazing thing I've ever done in my life. I could see he was another big baby (my second child was 9 lbs. 1 oz.) and he was--9 lbs. and 13 oz.! He was 22" long and his head was 14.5" around. I birthed the placenta easily--no hemorrhage this time--and climbed into bed to nurse my baby. I felt amazing.

How did you feel after the birth (first month)?

It was the best, easiest, recovery yet. After my first birth it took over a year to feel physically back to normal due to extensive tearing; with my second birth it took a few weeks because I lost a lot of blood. This time I felt great right away. I didn't need any stitches and my postpartum bleeding slowed quickly.

How did you feel six months after the birth? One year? Now?

I was (and still am) in complete and total awe of this perfect birth. It was an experience unlike any other, even my previous homebirth. My husband and I will never forget what it felt like as we brought our baby into the world together. I think that miraculous moment will bring tears to my eyes for the rest of my life! As the saying goes, Ronan's birth was "well worth the wait." :)

What did you learn from this birth?

I reached a level of trust in my body that I'd never had before. To be pregnant for so long is a unique thing--it really begins to feel like you will be pregnant forever, but the impatience passes. You reach a calm state of being where pregnancy just "is." My previous homebirth and doula work had given me a great deal of faith in the normalcy and safety of pregnancy and birth. But this tested that. Specifically I asked a lot of questions about the safety of postdates pregnancy, and learned (surprise, surprise) that conventional medicine does not acknowledge the amazing reality of what women's bodies can do. Your placenta does not magically quit at a certain date, it just needs a lot of calories and protein to keep working and growing that baby!

Any words of wisdom to impart?

As a mother and doula, I have learned in the past seven years that women's bodies are amazing. Our bodies know how to grow and birth a baby. If we support and nourish our bodies, and hire caregivers who trust our body and our power, we reclaim our births and pass that strength onto our daughters. :)

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