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.