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The Birth of Avery Lee Holland

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on Monday, 12 June 2006
in Birth Stories

Born into water, at home

June 12, 2006 at 5:49 PM

8 lbs, 14 oz, 21 inches

avery01In retrospect I think I knew that today was the day. I woke up around 12:30 AM having stronger surges then I had had yet. I had been having pretty strong contrations for a week or so, but nothing like these. So I went back to sleep, just in case. Woke again around 2:30 to strong surges, again. I had a feeling. I was so excited, but forced myself back to sleep for a bit, knowing I would need the energy. I woke about every hour or so after that, and every time the surges were still there.

Finally my husband's (Mike) alarm went off at 5 AM. I was wide awake at that point and he asked me how I was doing, and I remember saying, "I am in early labor!" Yippee! He said, "Awesome, should I go to work?" I told him to go and if things started to get crazy, I would call him. He decided to go in until about 8 when he had his other counter person coming in.

So, I got up and started running down my "birthday" list that I had been making for the past few weeks. Then I went to the computer andsat on my birth/ yoga ball for a bit and went through my emails and stuff, just trying to take it easy. I made sure all of our birth stuff was in order and tried to have a normal morning. Gabe (ds1) got up around 7:30 and we hung out. My mom called, as she does EVERY morning, and I told her she needed to be "on call" for the day. She was pretty excited, to say the least! It was really happening! Mike got home a little after 8 and the surges had picked up a bit – but still totally OK at that point. I made a nice cup of Red Raspberry Leaf tea and really, really tried to make myself stay calm!

We called my midwife, Samantha, around 10 a.m. to give her the heads up – the surges were about 6-8 minutes apart at that point and she said to call her when they were more 4-5. We got the birth pool inflated, changed our sheets, played with Gabe and did some hypnobirthing stuff. Around 1 or so, the surges had picked up, and I had my mom come and pick up Gabe. I didn't know it at the time, but he would not be there for his brother's birth, which was probably for the best for everyone, as I had been very vocal when I birthed Avery (LOUD!) It probably would have been too much for him. We called Samantha at 1 p.m., and I decided to take a shower.

Ahhhhh, that was one great shower. I probably wouldn't have gotten out except I wanted to make sure we had enough hot water for the birth pool. Everything at this point was so surreal and wonderful. After the shower we did some more relaxation stuff; I was really having to work through the surges now and after a bit I made him fill up the birth pool. I was really focused on how great the water would feel and I needed to be in that pool ASAP! I was in the pool when Samantha arrived – My surges had been coming on strong, about every 2 minutes or so. My midwife's assistant, Tabitha also arrived soon thereafter. It was about 2:30 p.m.. It was getting really intense for me. I was really using my hypnobirthing breathing which helped tremendously. I got out of the pool and had to immediately assume the "polar bear" position on my bed – I did this for quite awhile. This was the only position that was even remotely comfortable at that point.

Around 4 p.m. or so, Samantha asked if I wanted her to check me for some reassurance. I agreed, she checked, and I was 6 cm open. That really threw me for a loop as I had been having intense surges for hours and at that point, I got really frustrated. A few minutes later, I started to lose confidence in myself and everything started to be more "painful." I remember crying to my husband, just whimpering. I got back into the pool and started to lose my focus.

I was probably in transition at that point, but didn't know it at the time. Samantha started reading funny stuff out of the Tao of Pooh that she found on our bookshelves, to lighten the mood, then she called my hypnobirthing instructor, Jaci. I got on the phone with her (not easy) and she assured me we would be OK and that the rest would go by quickly. She told me to put on my headphones and listen to my birth affirmations. I said OK, reluctantly. Sam fixed me a cup of nasty herbal stuff called "Serenity," I chugged it down and put on the headphones and listened to my birth affirmations. Mike held my hand and massaged my arms and a few minutes later the surges started coming one on top of another. Waves crashing. At some point I started moaning (loudly) through them, which really helped – it felt so good! It was such a primal sound, I heard myself and couldn't believe it was me. (The next day, Mike and I were talking about it all and I asked him about those sounds that I made, and he said it was the most awesome thing he had every heard. I love him so.)

After what seemed like an eternity, but was about 10 minutes, I felt the undeniable urge to get my baby boy out! I went from 6 cm to 10 in about an hour. Whew, intense! I started pushing in the pool sitting. That was not working and Sam suggested that I get on my knees. I did, they helped me flip over, and with the next surge I bore down with every once of energy and love that I had in my body. And I let it out, vocally. I just growled through them, bearing down and directing all of my energy to birthing my baby. After 3 or 4 surges, I felt the burning of the head and Tabitha told me to reach down and feel him. I reached between my legs and there he was! He was really there! Another surge and I felt his head being born. Another push and I felt his body come out. The relief – so sweet. So very, very sweet. Samantha exclaimed that he was still in the caul. Then I heard her say "Wow, this is my first waterbirth with the baby still in his sac!" They were all so excited. They had to remove his sac while he was still under the water. They did and then he was placed in my arms and I saw my baby for the first time in this world. Yet, I knew him so well already. Everything felt so beautifully right in the world. His cord continued pulsating for 40 minutes or so, we sat in the water and loved him. My son and parents came soon thereafter. After the cord was cut, I birthed the placenta on my bed. I did tear slightly.

An amazing journey that I cannot find words to do it justice. So incredibly awesome, yet so natural and simple at the same time. This is the way things should be. I am eternally grateful for learning from the birth of my first son what I did, and growing from there to get where we are now with the birth of my second, eternally grateful.

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