It’s funny, how the hardships of life can lead to some of the best decisions, to events that will forever change us.
My first son had a life-threatening disease and (very thankfully is healed today) through his diagnosis and treatment we were plopped right into the path of natural remedies and treatments. When it came time for our fourth baby to be born, our first girl, I desired so deep down in my heart to my bones, for a peaceful birth at home. It made complete and absolute sense for our family. I knew exactly who I wanted for my lay midwife, the kind of midwife like Ina May Gaskin, with hippie ways and lots of experience as a “baby catcher.” My pregnancy was perfection. I felt amazing, and blessed with every expansion of my belly.
Flooding came upon our town in the days leading up to my due date. Waters filled the streets, closed the roads, and on Sunday September 14, my water broke while I sat at my computer tweeting and blogging. We called my Mom, we called our midwife, and prepared for a party. Earlier that day I had cut up fruit and veggies and baked bread and a cheesecake. I spread it all out on the kitchen counter and we celebrated. I wasn’t feeling any contractions just yet, so we watched Baby Mama (and out of the corner of my eye I’d catch my midwife watching me, my face, my comfort level.)
As soon as the movie was ending, around 10 pm, I was ready to go to my bedroom. I paced beside my bed and rocked from side to side as my three boys slept in the next room. I breathed, I prayed, (I crunched on celery between contractions), and I allowed my body to do what it was supposed to do.
Around 2 am I began to feel the pain over-whelming me. I remember so clearly asking God to please let me have her by 3. I just wasn’t sure I could make it past then. At 2:30 am I felt like it was time to push. I called downstairs to my midwife and shakily called, “I think I need to puuuuuusssh!”
She came upstairs, my room still dark. We lit candles and she held a flashlight. My Mom was there, and my husband. I went to the end of my bed and wanted to be on all fours. It seemed like time stood still but another urge to push came upon me and it was indeed time. My Mom held my shoulders as I beared down and out my daughter came, at 2:41 am. She was behind me as they cleaned her up and I remember whispering, “well… is it a girl?” and yes, they laughed. It was a girl.
My midwife passed her through my legs and I took her, felt her soft, meaty body (8 lbs 12 oz) and the rest was magical, dreamy, and just like I’d imagined it would be.
It was like Christmas morning, like a dream come true.
PS — Kate Lao Shaffner writes lovely letters to her baby here.
Note from Design Mom: throughout my pregnancy, I’ve been posting advice, memories and stories about pregnancy, childbirth, adoption and growing a family on Wednesdays. I just had my baby and am taking a blogging break for a week or so. I’ve received so many wonderful stories and thought it would be great to post as many as I can during this little “maternity leave.” You can find all the stories in this series by clicking here.