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Gamze's Birth Story

Dear Gail,

I used to think that birth was hard work. Well, it is, but at the same time it’s a process full of joy.

I wanted to give birth at home and I was lucky enough to have it this way. Though I had a long pushing period, I loved every second of it.

I was well past my 40th week, and baby was not around. I knew that waiting for two more weeks were still okay, but if any longer, I would have ended up in a hospital, which I surely didn’t want. So, I was trying to keep myself open to each and every possible option, but from deep down, I found myself talking to my baby to come out soon.

That Monday it started ;) It was as in my meditation visualization; I was walking in the park with my lovely midwife, Gail, the cramps were getting a little different with each passing time. When we got back, although it wasn’t officially labor yet, I knew that I was on the right track, something was happening. There I was, at home, with a sheepish smile in my face, counting the contractions. In about 2 hours, they were pretty regular. At about 7 pm, I was at the first stage officially. I went to bed after dinner. At night, after waking up from a dream with a contraction, Gail checked me, I was doing well but still nothing too serious. I went to bed again, knowing that she’s awake listening to me. That night, my husband was also awake most of the time. When contractions started hurting more, he began applying pressure on my sacrum, which felt heavenly. After past midnight, Gail and my husband Bahadir were agreed to fill the birth pool, to save time. With the morning ezan (prayer), I went into the pool with 4.5 cm dilation. It felt wonderful. The pain from the contractions were so diminished, I was able to sleep, so is he. I suspect, Gail was still awake though.

The morning was beautiful, and I was very excited with the fact that our baby was coming sometime soon. With each contraction, I was holding the edge of the pool, coming into all four’s, sort of humming with the wave. We rang our friend, who was also pregnant and wanted to be around when labor began. She came right away, and helped feeding me. Through noon, I needed Bahadir’s help again with the sacrum, so he was massaging me with each contraction, and sometimes Gail. In between contractions, I was very peaceful and relaxed. Water helped, so did yogic tools of breathing and relaxation techniques. Gail was checking my baby and me regularly, assessing the situation and taking notes. Everything was progressing pretty good, slow, but good. By that time, I didn’t have any worries left in my mind about the hospital stuff. I instinctively knew, I was going to give birth at home.

From time to time, Gail was helping me to open more.

At 3.30pm, I reached 10cm dilation and was ready to push. I felt glorious. Thinking that with a couple of pushes, I was going to hold my baby very soon. But I was forgetting what baby has in mind for its own birth scenario.

I started pushing. By listening to the sounds I was making, Gail directed me on where and how to push. Strangely, I had to push through my anus, something that I didn’t know before. Thanks God, there was no poo coming out, or I didn’t notice any. I was pushing in squatting position mainly; soon my hubby was in the water too. The baby didn’t seem to want to come out. I didn’t have any strength left to push, but I couldn’t let go either, plus with each push, the pain on the side of my sacrum was becoming unbearable. The hands applying pressure there suddenly started feeling too cold. I was somehow getting restless during pushing. Finally, Gail asked me to come out on the bed. She said, it’s better to change position now, to see what’s going on. Because, I was fully dilated and head was okay enough to pass through, but somehow it wasn’t coming. She added, I could go back to the pool before crowning, if I wanted to. So I hopped on the bed, but with no energy left, soon we had to give a break. Gail left the room for privacy as my husband lied down with me. He was talking to me in a sweet voice to relax me, to let go of the pain with each contraction without any effort to push. I had to chance to sleep to re-gain my energy in between contractions. After 10 minutes or so, I was determined to push the baby out no matter what/how. I asked him to shush down and told him that I wanted it out. Gail came back to the room. I started pushing, which seemed like an eternity. I pushed and pushed and pushed. With Gail’s remarks, I knew that I was pushing right, but it wasn’t coming out. I started talking to my baby, asking it to come out, that mummy and daddy was waiting for it outside, that mummy wanted to cuddle it. Gail was guiding me with her low sweet voice, which felt like a meditation, Bahadir was holding me and massaging my sacrum after every contraction.

The crowning time was the hardest and more enlightening. For the very first time in my life, I understood the real meaning of surrendering. I knew that it was going to hurt more as the largest part of head was coming out. I was close to the ring of fire but I didn’t have the chance to stop the labor. I had to go through, had to let go. I knew that once it was out, it was going to be much more easier, but I knew it was going to hurt too. It was an excellent experience. I surrendered, and the head was out. It turned out that the baby wanted to have birth with its hand next to its head!! And it was the hand/arm, which kept it from birthing. When Gail discovered that, she swept around the head and baby hold her finger, and voila! My favorite part was the body coming out like a squishy toy, sliding out. It’s a feeling I cannot describe, I felt so content and full. It was bliss.

It was a girl! The words are not enough to describe her. She was a wonderful little creature. My baby, our baby, looking into my own eyes. It was love at first sight. Holding her, listening to her, kissing her, smelling her; it was heaven at my feet. (And it still is).

After a few minutes, as the cord stopped pulsating, I asked Gail to cut it. When she asked me how I wanted to deliver the placenta, I suddenly had to urge to push, I stood up and with only one push, the placenta was out. When she examined it, she said it was very healthy and it seemed as if the baby came out early, that it might have had a life of 2 more weeks.

I had a big smile when she told me that I had no tear at all. Thanks to Kegels and wise guidance of Gail, I thought.

That evening, I nursed my baby. The milk was out as soon as I hold my baby in my arms. After that night, we both were professionals on nursing.

Gamze

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