I need to start this out with a little background. Kim and I were married in 1995. Since before we got married, had decided we wanted many children. When we had been married 10 months, we conceived our first child. Unfortunately, we miscarried shortly before 3 months. It took us another 2 years to get pregnant again, and Sinéad was born in January of 1999. Regan was born in April of 2001. When Regan was about a year and a half, we started trying to become pregnant again, but with no success. My cycles had always been irregular and I knew that there was some reason for it, but nothing was ever “found”. During this time of trying to conceive, (we had been using Natural Family Planning, the sympto thermal method, since before becoming pregnant with Sinéad) I began to suspect that I had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Well, to make a long story short, I was diagnosed with this about a year later (after a lot of pushing for it) and began to take steps to improve my health and fertility. One of the biggest steps for me to balance my whacky hormones was to lose weight. In 2004 I totally revamped my eating (well, more so than I had before) and began exercising (I am a runner, woohoo!) and lost 126 lbs by the beginning of December 2004. In January, my hormones were balanced enough that I was able to FINALLY become pregnant again. Anyway, fast forward….
Ok, a bit. I had great pregnancies with both Sinéad and Regan. I do pregnancy and birth well, it’s the getting pregnant that is the issue! Both of their births were good, both were at home (unassisted) and both were very empowering and definitely incredible experiences. I learned much through both of these births.
I had a great pregnancy. I kept up my healthy eating and exercising (ran up until the day I went into labour, though that run was only about 3 minutes, har har) and kept busy (homeschooling will do that to you). With homeschooling and just life in general, I did not focus as much on mental preparation and I wish I had focussed more on preparing mentally for the birth. Part of the reason I did not was because of my birth experiences so far. However, I realise that each pregnancy needs its own “space” and time. I did spend time getting to know this new little being growing. She was very active from the moment I first felt her. All over the place! It was quite fun getting to know her in this regard (even though I did not know she was a girl). We were all quite excited, waiting so long (It took us almost 2.5 years to get pregnant and we were very ready for his new baby to come to our family). Since Regan was only a couple of months old, I had felt her little spirit “bugging” me. Letting me know she was ready to come. Of course, I did not know how long it would take. Often I would sense another child of ours, present, and so the time of waiting to get pregnant was somewhat emotionally difficult as I did “feel” her near and knew she wanted to come to our family.
Well, onto the birth. I was prepared for her to come anytime after the last half of September. Regan was quite early and I was sure it was because I took too much Red Raspberry Leaf Combination too soon, so I waited to take it until a couple of weeks later than I did with him or Sinéad (who was 9 days early). I wanted this baby to have as much time as needed before being born. Nevertheless, I went into labour 2 days early!
Anyhow, Thursday 29 of September, I got up early as usual, went to the gym and had a uneventful morning. We started schoolwork after our usual morning schedule once I got home and Kim had left for work, and close to 11 a.m., I felt my first sensation. I was not quite sure it was real labour though because it was so mild and much lower down than I anticipated. With both Sinéad and Regan, I felt my first signs of labour when I had a “high up” menstrual cramp that slowly moved down during the day. As they increased in intensity and duration, I realised this was probably the real thing, and chatting with Kim on Trillian, I told him that it seemed to be starting, but he didn’t need to come home yet. Even when I did get him to come home, I did not think it would be for a while. I had a feeling-after reading some information about how the likelihood increases of post partum haemorrhage with more pregnancies-that I should prepare in the event of it, and so put some Shepherd’s Purse tincture on hold at a local health food store. I told Kim he should start planning to be home by about 3 pm so he could pick it up. However, before he did get home I was feeling stronger and more frequent sensations, needing to concentrate and focus each time. I phoned a friend and asked her to pick it up for me, which she did! She is wonderful.
Kim arrived shortly after three and I was in intense labour. I had the bed ready and everything we needed for the birth, put some essential oil on (lavender) though I do not know if it calmed me or not, but oh well. The children, I kept occupied by letting them watch more TV than they ever do (usually two shows a day max, and they are not long shows!). Sinéad had finished all her schoolwork early enough, I had washed the floors (as planned) done my yoga and done other necessary housework, so I was ready anytime! I got out my big exercise ball and was using that to labour on and it really helped to rock back and forth with the sensations. Still no bloody show and that actually did not happen until very SHORTLY before Aisling was born. Through a few of the sensations, I held onto Kim, and I vocalised as well. I really needed to do this. This really helped. Kim is such a wonderful support to me when I am birthing; he is so calm and focussed and supportive and completely there for me. He’s marvellous.
After a while, I felt the need to get on the bed and did so, hands and knees again, leaning against all the pillows I piled up. Labour was becoming so intense, it was difficult for me to feel centred through them and I even realised then I should have worked on more relaxation, but did a lot of self-talk, which always helps. I was sweating an incredible amount too, and could feel when I hit transition. My body and our baby were sure working hard. Vocalising (very loudly, I am not sure what the downstairs neighbours thought but I did not bother to go and explain later. Sinéad for one, turned up the TV, she told me later). The sensations were coming right on top of one another, of course, with very little time in between. My waters released (somewhat) and she still had not descended fully (I checked) but I knew it would not be too long. A couple of more sensations and then my water gushed out and there was meconium, it was old and light green though, so there was not a need to worry; however, I did, as I expected it to be fully clear!
I wanted the baby out very soon and began to push (feeling that urge) and Kim thought I was pushing too hard, but I didn’t feel like I was (and didn’t tear at all anyway) and a short time later, Aisling was born. She came out quickly, almost all at once. As always, it was a wonderful feeling to birth my baby. Kim told me we had another girl, and I turned over to take her. Because of the meconium, I got Kim to suction her, but there was not any need; she was clear. She started to cry right away and we realised that the cord was rather short. I had to lean down to try to nurse her (she was not interested) and wait for the placenta to come out (which it did about 45 minutes later. We clamped and cut the cord about a total of 1.5 hours after she was born, which gave both Aisling and I more freedom of movement.
There was a fair amount of blood after the birth, and my suspicion is that the cord being so short, Aisling pulled it away a bit as she was descending. Nevertheless, it was still intact and everything was fine with it (the placenta). A little while later, I went to wash off in the bathroom and after doing this and getting out of the tub, I was feeling rather light headed and did pass out, still feeling rather off. Kim helped me to the living room and I lay down with my baby and took Shepherd’s Purse tincture and cayenne in water. They were definitely helping, but I was still weak and so it took awhile to recover from that. This surprised me somewhat because I did recover so quickly after both Sinéad’s and Regan’s births).
Aisling is a little doll. We are thrilled to have her with us. The birth was very intense, but very satisfying as well.