Ester and Casey's Birth Story
This is the story of my fourth child's arrival in Belize.
My husband and I, with our 3 small children ages 1, 3 and 5 moved to Belize in October 2007. I wanted to have my last child soon and so by Christmas we were pregnant and planning the birth of my fourth. I was born in Indosnesia and so I was excited about the opportunity to have a child overseas like my Mom did with me, but I soon began to realize that this was going to be harder than I was hoping.
Being my fourth child I knew what I wanted in a birth and so finding that proved to be quite a challenge. First of all I was looking for a midwife, that would do a underwater birth on an island. This was not a common request and finding a midwife was very difficult. Finally I did find a midwife who said she would do an underwater birth for me at my house, if approved by a local Doctor and if the Doctor did all my monthly care. Seeing as this was my only option I agreed.
My pregnancy went by fine and I had all of my appointments with the Doctor, but I still had not met my midwife in person and by 7 and 1/2 months I was beginning to get a bit antsy. We had just moved up island, out of town and I was wanting to get settled and get a game plan for the birth. So I contacted the midwife and arranged for a time to meet, which finally happened a couple weeks later. At the meeting I was discourged from the start when right off the bat she told me that she would not do my birth at my house up island unless the Doctor was in attendence. The problem was that the Doctor would not be able to attend my birth unless it was at night. Well, who can guarrentee a night birth? So that was that. Here I was 8 months pregnant on an island with no midwife, things were not looking good and I began to resign myself to having to deliver at the clinic with the Doctor, which I really did not want to do, especially with my last child. I knew what I wanted and here at the last moments it looked like my dreams were going to be crushed.
There was only one small flicker of hope left and that was the name of another midwife who lived on the mainland that might come and do my birth with me. I was so discouraged that it took me a little while to call her, thinking that there was not much hope of it working out. But time was of the essence so I finally I did and was I in for a surprise!
I spoke with Gail and when I explained my situation to her she was more than willing to seriously consider me. I felt instantly connected with her as we both seemed to have the same philosiphies in childbirth and she was very willing to work with my situation. So shortly after I hopped on a plane and went to visit her in person and make arrangements. Our visit went very well and as I had felt before we were on the same page and she had no qualms about delievering my baby up north on the island. She had delievered many babies in the rural country before and was very well aware of I was asking. One of the risks of having a baby up north was that I was 3 miles from a small town where I could get an emergency c-section but it was not recommended, and so the other option was to boat or fly over to the mainland to get hospital emergency care. I was prepared to take this risk, seeing as all my other children were born naturally, with no medications for pain and no complications. As well as the pregnancy had gone well and the Doctor was not concerned in the least of any preconditions that would need hospital care.
So after discussing all the details, Gail was on board and would come over to the island to hang out and wait for baby a little ahead of my due date and then stay as long as I needed care. I was so overwhelmed with the situation and relieved that I was actually going to have an underwater birth at my own house! I was very excited and thankful that I had found Gail and that she was so willing to work with me and try to give me the birth that I was looking for, as much as she could control anyway.
About ten days before my due date we had a catagory 5, hurricane scare and had to evcuate to the mainland. Gail immediately made preparations to have us near her during this time, just in case baby came a bit early. Thankfully, baby waited and we were able to head back to the island before his arrival. During the days of waiting for labour to begin, Gail and her friend (a nurse), hung out in town and made several trips to visit me and monitor my progress. This was a great relief to me, knowing that she was near and avaliable anytime I went into labour.
September 12, at about 4pm, my water began to trickle, and I began to get an achy back and abdomen. But nothing serious, so Gail came up island on the next ferry and arrived about 5:30 pm. She checked my progress and I was only 2 cm, so she broke the bag of waters, at my request, about 6 pm. Then to encourage my labour I went for a long walk on the beach where we live. It was beautiful in the night, with the stars lighting up the sky and the gentle ocean breeze blowing. I even saw electric jellyfish of some kind glowing in the water off one of the docks, it was pretty cool!
Then I went inside and began to breathe through some of the contractions, while we all watched the movie, Planet Earth. My husband had put my three older children to bed earlier so the house was quiet and I was ready to have this baby. But at 10 pm, Gail checked me again and I was only 3cm, it was kind of discouraging for me, 4 hours and only 1 cm more. At that point Gail suggested that we all get some rest while we could, so I attempted to lay down and rest but I wasn't able to rest. So I got up and went with Gail into our hot tub to try to relax and work through my labour there. It was gorgeous being under the stars, I even saw three falling stars! Gail and I had a nice chat between contractions and I was able to really relax with them and allow my body to work. After about an hour and a half, I began to feel pressure and a lot more pain, so we got out and went upstairs to the shower where my husband assisted me through the contractions.
Gail set up and things were moving fast. She checked me and I was 8 cm. and really working hard! Then not long after I began to want to push and so because I wanted a water birth, we rushed down to the bath tub. Everything was ready for me and so into the tub I went, I was fully dialated now and ready to push. My 5 year old heard the commotion and met me on my way to the tub, so I told her that she could come and watch if she wanted to. She was curious and so she stayed and was able to see her brother born! I pushed for about 10 minutes and Gail coached me through it very well. My husband wanted to catch his son so he waited and was able to see and catch our second son as he came out, of course he was under Gail's watchful eye. The cord was loosely wrapped around the baby's neck, so when his body came out Gail assisted him through the cord and everything was good! They placed him on my chest and we waited for him to take his first breathe.
He was perfect! We got my other two children up and they all got to see him on my chest newly born! I put him to my breast and he nursed right away. Then after the cord had finished pulsating my husband cut it and they took baby away to hold and I delievered the placenta and got out. I was relieved and so happy that it was over and had gone so well. Gail was great through the delievery and I felt very supported and in very good hands! Gail had also brought an assistant, with her who is a nurse and she was an excellent support to Gail as well as me during the whole birth.
I had a wonderful birth just like I had desired to have and I am thankful that Gail was there for me in a very supportive way through the whole thing. She was able to accomodate my desires and was willing to work with me, that is very hard to find anywhere in the world! So, thank-you Gail, for your support and accompanying me through an amazing child birth experience!