Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Unassisted Homebirth

Unassisted Homebirth
Amie Nguyen

This was written 3 hours after Lucy’s birth on October 2, 2002.

I was up all night with crampy contractions that I didn’t consider to be painful enough to be productive. I made a big breakfast, but didn’t eat. I hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before. I sent my honey off to work, packed a lunch for my daughter who had a big field trip, and waited for my sister to come pick her up. (I was supposed to go on the field trip, and planned on it right up to the last minute.) All the while, I was having minute or so long contractions every 10 to 15 minutes. At about 8:40 a.m. I started feeling in a hurry. I sent my sister and daughter off and assured them I'd be fine. My son was quickly placed in front of the TV and I got water, my midwife book, lit candles, and ran some HOT water. The contractions were getting closer together and longer. I rolled around in the tub and the jets were my only relief. I called my honey and my worst fear was realized. He didn’t answer. There were about fifteen minutes where I felt like my head was spinning and I had thoughts of, “I want to go the hospital. I want an Epidural. I just want to go to sleep and do this some other time,” but I reached down and felt the head. I pushed her head back in, called my honey a second time, and said, “Hurry, she’s coming!”

By now I had the urge to push, but I wasn’t ready for her to come out. Each time I pushed I did so reluctantly and each time with my hand on her head. My husband came rushing in and I said, “Look and see if that is her head.” My water had never “officially” broken (that I noticed), so I wasn’t sure if it was her butt, her head, or her bag. My first instinct was that it was her head. He looked and said, “It’s her head. I see her hair. She’s coming.” I said, “NO! I'm not ready...I’m pushing her back in!” He said. “No, don't push her back ...she is ready to come.” I said, “No, I'm not ready...I'm not ready.” As I pushed her head back in, I felt her body shift up just a tad and felt great relief as I anticipated the next urge to push. The urge came and I pushed. I had my hand on her head until it was almost out and then I had to get a grip. All the while the jets in the bath tub were going strong, the tub was full, and the candles were burning. I pushed and her head came out. My husband grabbed her head and said, “Her head is out. She’s coming. You're doing great. You're doing it honey!” One more push and her body slid right out. My husband caught her and picked her up and said, “Look at her honey. She's perfect.” I said, “NO. I can't. I can't open my eyes.” It was like I was frozen. I could not move. I finally convinced myself to open my eyes. When I did, I looked at her and her face was purplish blue and I said, “She’s not breathing. (She still hadn’t cried.) What’s wrong with her? Make her cry!” My husband said, “No, I'm not going to make her cry!” and handed her to me. He kept reassuring me that her nose was clean, her mouth and throat were clean, and she was breathing fine, but I was uneasy. As soon as he handed her to me, she started to cry. I looked at her and came to the realization that she was born and she was fine. So I started to nurse her.

I am still in awe. It feels like a big science project that worked! This is my third baby and I have to wonder what my first two would have been like had I had more control over my care. I really only felt out of sorts for an hour and it was all happening so fast that the hour seemed more like fifteen minutes. As far as we can tell, I did not tear. I have peed (and boy did that sting!). I birthed the placenta. I am bleeding slightly as I feed her. All is well. Actually it couldn’t be more perfect. In the words of my five year old son (who wanted to know if there was a big hole in my stomach now), “I sure am glad we didn’t have to do this at the hospital. Then there would be doctors and stuff. And I'd be asking if we could go yet.”

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