Thursday, December 8, 2011

Magnolia June's birth story

At 38 weeks pregnant, we made the decision to switch from my OB to a midwife, and to have a home birth. I had been planning on going natural with this labor. And knew that if I were to go natural at my hospital with the OB I had, I would have to be on the offense the whole time: declining drugs, IV's, extra monitoring, and just not having the positive birth experience that I wanted. Labor with Lily...well it was awful and I like to not really remember it, but with Eden everything went smooth, my epidural actually worked, but I felt a strong disconnection with the whole experience. I wanted something different this time.

So two weeks before my due date, we talked to our wonderful doula, Wendy, and we were lucky enough to get the midwife that delivered her sweet babies, Lucy, who we love.

I will say this before I go into labor details: having Maggie at home was honestly, one of the best decisions I have ever made. I loved every single thing about it.  My awesome friend Joy came and took pictures of labor, these pictures are very personal to me (no, no privates are shown) but just a heads up, it's real, labor shots.

On Thursday the 17th, I woke up with relatively strong contractions, 5 minutes apart. "This is it!" I thought. One of our awesome friends came and picked up our girls and then it was just Chad and I at home. I had been texting my doula Wendy, and midwife Lucy periodically and they came over at different times to check me, (I was at a 5) to get a feel of how things were going.
Contractions slowed down, and weakened. So discouraging.
Chad and I bundled up and went for a walk in the cold sunny day that it was. We got some hot chocolate at my favorite coffee shop, then later that evening we walked and got take out (very spicy) Thai at my favorite thai place.
By 6 pm I was in tears. I was having contractions, they were irregular, I missed my girls and I was ten days over due. I told Chad I wanted to go get the girls and bring them home, I really did miss them. We called our friends, they refused, said to take the night and not to worry about them, we went over there an just visited, put the girls down and ate ice cream.
We went home, watched some modern family and were asleep by 9:30.
At 2:30 AM I was woken up by strong contractions. I laid there and yup, two minutes apart and they were long, very strong contractions. It really was go time, my thousand prayers I said that day had been answered, I woke up Chad and he started calling and getting things ready. In a matter of minutes Wendy, Lucy her apprentice Kim, and one of my best friends Joy (you know, the photographer) were here and it was really happening.
Chad, Wendy and I worked through each contraction. 
Wendy would rub my back, Chad would hold me, and help my focus.
I moved from my couch, the birthing ball, to standing, to leaning on Chad. 
In between contractions I was drinking a lot of water, eating fresh fruit and almonds.
We were talking and joking around between contractions, like being in labor was no big deal.

I loved the fact that I was in full on labor, but our home felt so normal. The girls toys were still on the couch, their sweet art work on the walls, we were listening Feist, Louie Armstrong, Etta James, Regina Spektor and more. There was just a  wonderful, calm, and exciting spirit in the house. I loved it.

Pretty soon the contractions were getting more and more powerful. Soon I couldn't stand while contracting. I was transitioning, but I was oblivious, I was too busy not thinking. 
Lucy said the birthing tub was ready for me, and it was perfecting timing. That water felt so good.
 From here on out, the contractions were so powerful. They took all of me. Lucy checked me, I was at an eight.

 I had Chad quietly encouraging me, and Wendy helping my breathing, and rubbing my back.
 In between contractions, I would just float, not think. I just was letting things happen. I had no concept of time, I have no idea how long I was in the pool, or anything. Funny how that is.
 Pretty soon Chad got in the tub, I wanted him closer to me.

I wasn't thinking about anything, I looked up and see Lucy start gathering things, "is this real? Is this baby really coming now?" I was thinking ...umm... duh Rachel. Yes, she is coming and coming soon.

 All a sudden the pain was empowering. I threw up a few times. I tried so hard to accept it, to not fight it. I trusted my body, I knew I was meant for this. 
 I was pushing, with out telling my body to do so. I could feel Maggie moving lower. We were working together. For a split second I thought about the things that could go wrong but immediately pushed those thoughts out. I felt very strongly from the begging that my thoughts could dictate outcomes, I then starting focusing on seeing my sweet baby.
 Lucy asked if I wanted to feel my baby's head, I said no, I was trying too hard to push.

 The pressure built and built. Then I felt her head come out, soon the shoulders. and she was out. The pain that consumed every fiber of me, was gone. I pushed for a total of two minutes.

 The music was still quietly playing, the house was still calm, people that I loved were all around and quietly congratulating me: "You did it!"
 Lucy brought our sweet girl out of the water, and I held her. We did it, we worked so hard to make this happen and she and I were finally together.
 Chad was so sweet and right there all along. "You did it hon, we have our little girl, you are amazing, she is here!"
 My sweet baby was born at 5:47 AM
 She was so perfect.
 It all felt rather surreal, I was never scared, I never thought I couldn't do it, I never wanted to go the hospital. 
Chad and I got out of the tub, showered and I got into my own bed. 
I nursed my sweet brand new baby, next to my husband and just laid there so happy.
Lucy and Kim were packing up their things, and Chad and I discussed names.
Magnolia June we decided. Maggie, she was a Maggie.

Lucy came in and did the new born exam, weighed her. She and Chad cracked up when they saw the scale: "ten pounds fifteen ounces!". 
Then Lucy did one last exam on me before she headed out, I didn't tare, she was nursing perfectly and I felt amazing. 
So peaceful, and empowered. 
And then everyone left, and it was just Chad, Maggie, and I. The sun had just risen and everything was  quiet. 
We all slept in our bed, I woke up a few hours later while they were still asleep, Maggie on my chest. I looked out my window and watched the wind blow the red leaves off the tree and the bright blue sky, and thanked God for being a woman. For my beautiful daughter, for my amazing body that worked so hard that early morning, and for my wonderful husband that I created this perfect baby with, and who was with me every single contraction encouraging me the whole way. The whole experience was amazing, and I will never be the same,

And that, is how Magnolia June Meynders came into the world.


debsfreckles said...

I agree 500% with everything thing you said in this post. Your labor was pretty similar to my last, and our feelings are the same. Which reminds me that I wrote the story of the birth, but not how I felt about it. I should do that.
You story and pictures and baby are lovely.

Vashti said...

Holy Lovely!! I have been waiting and waiting for you to post this story! I delivered both of my girls in the hospital, drug free, and the idea of home births just always scared the bejeezees out of me. This is really giving me some food for thought and has really changed my view on home birthing. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Celeste said...

bawling bawling bawling. beautiful beyond words. I'm gonna go get pregnant right now so i can do a home birth. you think i'm kidding.

Southern Belle said...

awesome. Seriously, that was awesome.

{Marie Long} said...

Rachel, I loved your story. It has given me strength to do it again. I am 14 weeks along with my 4th baby, and this will be our 4th home birth as well. I have always know I wanted to deliver my babies at home, but each time I get pregnant I fear the pain of delivery. Your story has empowered me to remember how wonderful home birth is and exactly why I choose to birth at home.


Louplus2 said...

Wow, I mean really WOW!! It brought back all the feelings & thoughts of my last au natural labour & birth.
It is an amazing, awesome, empowering experience. So glad you got to do it.
Way to go mama. The pics are superb & Maggie is adorable.

Megan Marie said...

i loved this.

you are one of the most adventurous, life-loving, positive people i know.

can i please be more like you?

R* said...

this made me cry (and i'm at work, dang it!) you and chad are AWESOME, i am so touched by your experience with maggie and with lily and eden.

i think maggie's going to look a lot like you when she grows up :) she's already got the beautiful part and the dark hair part down pat. i love her Crazy Eyes!

Carly said...

so amazing rachel, you are a rockstar & i love you!
welcome maggie j! we have a special magnolia june in our lives too and we love to call her june bug. :) i'm sure she'll have many fun nicknames. :)

awesome birth story, so glad you went with your gut and did the home birth, what an amazing experience.

April said...

I have been waiting and waiting to read this!!! I am so so SO happy that everything went just as you wanted it to, the pictures are very sweet and touching especially the ones of Chad helping you along. I love it.

Joyful Productions said...

Thank you for posting your birth. I am a midwife who attends homebirths and am creating a book that has the experiences of other womens stories like yours and their pictures. Thanks for the encouregment I needed today. Thank you for sharing it with others. You Rock!!!

Kodi said...

This is an amazing story Rach! Thank you for sharing. I went through everything in my labor but actually getting to push her out. She was stuck face up and in distress, I was heart broken. I wanted the whole experience of labor. I had to have a c section after I went through all the contractions with no epidural, and then they had to put me under the knife. Any way after hearing your story it makes me so excited to try for a natural birth again with our second. Congrats on your beautiful girl! and congrats again!!

Kodi said...

I meant to say thanks again!!

Janell said...

Very neat Rach and Chad! Congratulations again and thanks for sharing the beautiful story... you are a rockstar. I mean, anyone that can push an 11lb baby out... much less naturally... is a hero in my book ;) Love you!

Cali said...

Very beautiful birth. Thanks for sharing.

Andrea said...

Absolutely Beautiful. All of it!

Haley said...

Oh Rachel...I loved every bit of your story and every photo that your sweet friend took. I'm SO glad to hear that it was such a BEAUTIFUL experience for you!! Sounds like you & Chad make a perfect team (but i already knew that:) And that little Maggie, what a little sweet pea...and definitely a healthy weight! :) Reading about how empowered and able you felt gets me even more excited to have my little babe in march! we'll be at the hospital, but I'll be going natural (or as natural you can get at a hospital I guess;) You're amazing Rach, and I'm so happy you're so happy with your little baby Magnolia :)

Alisha and Braeden said...

That was a beautiful birth story. You are amazing! Thanks for sharing.

Kate said...

Amazing, Rachel! Fun to hear how each step of the process unfolded. You are amazing! So happy for you that you had such a good birth experience!

Rachelle said...

so that's just plain A-mazing! i don't know if i could do that!!! seriously though, it makes sense. right after my babies are born i just want to be home in my own bed. you did the right thing girl! congrats!

Sarah said...

Bawling! Beautiful!

Me and My Boys said...

I Loved it!!! WOW! Seriously cried. I'm so glad everything went well for you. I really wanted to do one with Ellie, but when we moved here to Missouri we found out that Midwifes are illegal unless they are under a Dr. and you have to have it at the hospital. But I Loved hearing your story, so I'll try again next time, if were not still in Mo. And I LOVED the pictures!!!! Absolutely Beautiful!!! You ROCK!!! Both of You!

Laura said...

That was AMAZING. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story! Having her at home instead of the hospital seems so peaceful. Great job!!!

Nina said...

Whhhhha. That is so sweet.