Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Sacred Birth Journey...

Disclaimer: there is partial nudity, blood, placenta & poop pictures.
It's my blog, you should be use to it by now!

At around 11:00 p.m. on April the 30th I noticed that Justus was burning up with a fever of about 104.0 degrees, another thing I noticed was that my practice contractions turned into the real deal at about the exact same time! I wasn't surprised by that, I knew labor was on it's way, I just felt it, it was very instinctual. I had already begun preparations a day or two before. What I wasn't counting on however, was laboring with a feverish, screaming, nursing toddler who would find comfort in NOTHING but mommy's arms, and breasts, the ENTIRE night through! It was the most difficult challenge I have ever faced while giving birth. It was impossible to ignore Justus's crying and screaming for me and just as impossible to hold him and comfort him while focusing on my "snuggles" that had turned into BIG HUGE BEAR HUGS right from the start. My only hope was that labor and birth would be quick so I could get back to mothering my sick little boy. All I kept thinking (in a comical sorta way) was how not a single book I read, and I read and re-read MANY this pregnancy, had prepared me for this!!! Honestly, what are the chances? And why me? Why *this* pregnancy*, Why NOW!!! Alrighty, enough whining, you've got work to do mama, get focused.

So labor on I did. Eric and Julie woke up and took turns with Ivan tending to Justus while I made sure everything else set up and ready to go. So, first things first, let's light those beautiful candles from my Mother Blessing! The green candle holder (actually it's an ash tray that was never used) was a gift to me from my friend Melissa who sent it to me by mail from California when I was pregnant with Lucius. She had used it as a candle holder while she birthed her children and passed it on to me so I could do the same. I have used it for all four of my homebirths, so it is really special to me. Melissa, before becoming one of my dearest friends, introduced me to the idea of homebirthing and homeschooling when I didn't know they were (legal) options. She was the one who convinced me to breastfeed after I had resigned to being a failure in that department. Her wisdom and encouragement were what set me on the path I'm on now. All of those memories are held in this little green ash tray that sat before me holding the candles which represented the prayers and blessings of my dearest friends. What else could I need, really?

I'm not quite in "active" labor yet, but I am already having to focus and breathe through the "snuggles" while nursing Justus for a couple of minutes here and there so he doesn't feel completely abandoned in his hour of need. His nursing really brought on strong contractions and helped them become more steady and consistent.

At around 5:30 a.m. I was lying in bed nursing Justus again when I felt a contraction begin. I asked Ivan to take him from me so I could get into a more favorable position (they were REALLY strong by this time) but we didn't move fast enough. I found myself stuck in a semi-reclined position on the bed holding my bumm up and knowing this one was gonna be a doozie! That's when my water broke. O.K. time for Eric and Julie to take over because mommy really needs to focus now! Of course, Justus wasn't having it and we continued the back and forth nursing thing for a little while longer until he finally fell asleep on Papa. That was such a wonderful relief to me because I *hated* him suffering and not understanding why I wasn't being the mommy he's so use to. But it also meant that I had to let Ivan sleep with him and labor alone. That's o.k., it's no biggie. I can do it alone until the end. And so I did. Here I am in the early morning hours transitioning. At this point I'm asking myself what on earth was I thinking! LOL

Christine calls and I just knew it was her. She didn't officially know I was in labor yet but she *knew*, you know? I had hoped the phone was closer to me so I could tell her I was in transition. I wanted to tell her how tired I was at this point so she could cheer me on, but it was too far away. I was so very exhausted. I remember falling in and out of consciousness several times hanging off the side of the pool only to be awakened by that familiar twinge at the onset of a contraction.

I was in the pool for so many hours that I shrivelled up like a prune. Not liking the feeling any more, I decided to come out and labor in the walkway of our his & hers closets. Much like a laboring cat I felt like I needed a warm, dark, quiet place to complete the birth. The kids were all awake by now and their morning ritual of running around playing outside my door was very distracting to say the least. After a while I could no longer handle the contractions without Ivan's help. I needed him to put some pressure on my tailbone and keep me company so he joined me in the closet and we worked together through the most intense contractions I've ever had in my LIFE. He immediately knew when the baby's head engaged in the birth canal because his hand was so firmly placed on my tailbone. We were both so happy and relieved that the end/beginning was near and we would be holding our baby in just a few minutes. It took only 3 contractions and me yelling on the top of my lungs before we would meet our 5th son :-) Ivan cradled his head and body on the way out and held him behind me for a moment while I caught my breath. "Is it a boy?", I asked. "Yup, it's a boy!", he said. Then I said, in my most tired and excited voice, "Oh good, give him to me". While I held him for the very first time, Ivan opened the door and let the kids in. They had heard his first cry and were screaming to come in and see :-)

Here he is at one minute old, having his very first kiss from mommy and taking his very first picture. That reflection of us is on the mirror of Ivan's closet door. I think that's Eric's leg behind my back.

His first latch. I had just birthed the placenta and placed it in the white bowl beside him. The cord was a bit on the short side so we had to keep him really close. After about 4 hours I decided it was time to cut the cord. Jason was the lucky one this time and he cut it about a foot away from the baby.

I am just swimming in the bliss of motherhood here... totally wiped out and yet somehow very present in the moment. There is no other love like this one.

Our first cuddles...

I just love his swollen little chubby face!

I've waited so long for you, little one. And now you are here.

Keeping with tradition, I called Christine first. I love the first call. There's so much mommy pride in announcing that the little miracle you grew has finally joined you on the outside! I wanted her to come over right away but I knew the whole family needed a couple hours of rest first. As soon as we were ready I had Ivan call her and tell her to come over. It is such a blessing to share those first precious hours with your best friend. Handing your newborn baby over to be held by someone who is not in your immediate family circle is a very special thing. It's a sign of tremendous love and trust to me. I'm such the mama bear with my newborns.

And she obviously shares that love and trust as she volunteers to fiddle with my placenta and make sure it's all intact. Even I had not touched it at this point. Look at the grin in the mirror. I think we have a midwife in the making here :-)

We took pictures of both sides of the placenta. Here's the baby's side...

And here's the maternal side, all cleared of blood clots so Ivan can prepare it later
(thanks Christine!)

and if you've ever wondered what radical unschoolers teach their kids, here it is...

showing him the 2 arteries and 1 vein inside the cord. He enjoyed this way too much!!! He was giggling like crazy.

She made this beautiful placenta print for me. So amazing how much they resemble a tree. I sat it to dry behind my Buddha statue so it kinda looks like Buddha is sitting under the tree of life. lol.

Justus getting to know his little brother. You can see the fever in his eyes here.

Mommy falling deeper and deeper in love with every minute that passes.

And here he is today, one day old. He's wearing that cute little outfit I bought in Newmarket, and a bamboo hat I crocheted for him.

It's a hard life on the outside...

Nursing like a pro already... must be thanks to the help of my lactation consultant here.

And that there is meconium poops #3 that I caught :-) Which I may possibly be the only one excited about it but that's o.k.

So, the details...

- or Nadi for short -

born at 11:02 a.m.
9 lbs
21 inches

As for me...

I'm feeling fantastic already. I took 10 drops of Motherwart as soon as he was born, just like I did with Justus, and so far they have been my only two births with minimal blood loss. My energy is up and except for a sore backside I feel great! I didn't tear at all, my uterus is working doubletime getting itself back down to size and my baby poops, pees, passes gas from both ends and breastfeeds just fine... so all is well in my world :-)

It has been "A Sacred Birth Journey", indeed!

I've decided to keep this blog up for a while to post updates on the little guy. Then I'll hop back over to my other blog at some point.


Christine said...

YAAAY! Finally! I have been refreshing this blog page ALL DAY! LOL

Managed to get my "beautiful birth" cry in before bed (where I can finally go now that Corwin is asleep!).

And he has a NAME!!! Awesome! Welcome, little Nadeus! And congratulations mama on another gorgeous baby!

Sorry I didn't manage to get the perfect placenta print I wanted for you, but I'm so glad you like what we got! Must brush up on my placenta printing for next time... it's just so hard to find practice placentas! ;) LOL

the platts said...

so happy for you and your family angel! enjoy your time together. i have such a warm and loving feeling after reading your birth story...i think i will go cuddle my own! Congrats!!!

Johanna Sanguinetty said...

Congratulations!!! To you, Ivan and the kiddies!
What a beautiful birth journey!

CunninghamRules!! said...

Congrats! I have so enjoyed "getting to know you" through reading this blog, you are an amazing woman and mother and I am so happy for you! Blessings to you and your entire family during this precious time. with love, your friend Kim:-)

CunninghamRules!! said...

Oh, and I love the name Nadeus, absolutely perfect

the_witty_knitter said...

What a gorgeous baby! He is so perfect!! Thank you so much for sharing your journey; I loved following you all the way! I love his name and can't wait to meet him :D I love all your photos; so natural and real :) Lots of love to all of you !

Rixa said...

How wonderful! Birth is so amazing and transformative. Can't believe that both our babies are earthside now! I feel so privileged to be able to have children--and a bit sad that I can only do it so many times.

Keep those pictures coming!

Michelle said...

Congratuations on the new addition of little "Noddy" - that is so cute!!!
I love the pics and the very detailed story. I hope to see you and the rest of the gang soon.
Also please post your old blog address so I know where to go.

Wudi said...

Linda and I played the "When a Child is Born" at the celebration tonight, and we prayed for the baby and you again and again.
Thank you to bing so many miracles into life.

::carol:: said...

Congrats!!! He is so beautiful, you too!!

Alex said...

Congratulations on a beautiful birth and gorgeous baby boy

Henny said...

that was a wonderful birth story! thanks for sharing!

(-Laura from cbirth)