Ezra is 5 weeks old today. It has taken me this long to be able to write his birth story for a few reasons. One, life with 10 children is a little bit busy and two, it wasn't my dream birth. Not to mention my choice to be autonomous with both my pregnancies and births by doing my own self care and deliveries comes under much scrutiny. So many things about birth are uncontrollable and unpredictable. It leaves one feeling pretty vulnerable at times. Anyways, back to Ezra's birth.
A week before his birth I began having some uncomfortable contractions. This was different for me since I usually don't have discomfort with them unless I'm in labor. On top of that I also started losing a lot of mucus, too, and the only time that had happened while not in labor was with my last pregnancy and I went into labor two days later. But no. Not this time. My body decided to give me uncomfortable contractions and lots of mucus all week. Oh the anticipation and aggravation of not knowing. That and the middle of the night dance parties hosted by my “octopus”, as I affectionately called him, wore on my mental and physical state.
Two days before his birth I had contractions on and off regularly. All.Day.Long. Of course that repeated the day before he was born, too. *sigh* So, on the day he was born and said pattern started again I had visions of baby never being born and me being in a state of perpetual psych-out labor. Christina, my friend and doula, was checking up on me regularly. Of course I didn't know what to tell her besides, “I really don't know what's going on.” I didn't want to have her come over if it wasn't the real deal. I was hoping/expecting a quick labor and wanted her to be sure she made it in time. Did I also mention I was expecting a girl? Yeah. I wasn't right about that either. Lol
Christina had found a track from Hypnobirth called “Come Out Baby” and asked me if I wanted to try it. I had been curious about Hypnobirth anyways so I thought I'd give it a try. There I was that afternoon relaxing and talking to Rivka and telling her it was okay if she came out if she was ready. Yeah, despite this blaring mistake he decided to come out that day anyway. I didn't feel or sense anything different, but I was more relaxed. My body kept doing what it had been doing the previous week. More labor. More contractions. But no changes. Later that afternoon things kinda felt like they were getting into more of a pattern. I still wasn't calling Christina. I figured my body was still just faking me out.
I kept mostly to myself that afternoon as to not allow my irritation to bother anyone else and to help stay more grounded. I used my essential oils to help in this and drank some Labor Aid that I had made up for labor in case the contractions were just from being dehydrated. Things seemed to get slightly more exciting around 5:30, so I decided to call Christina, but I made sure to tell her that I still wasn't sure if this was really it or how long she'd actually have to stick around. Of course she didn't mind, but I hate putting people out.
By the time Christina arrived around 6:15ish I knew I was definitely in labor, but things were still spread out and progressing slowly compared to my last birth. Tom, Christina, and I talked, laughed, relaxed, and just rode the waves of this season. Labor went on uneventful. I mostly sat until I felt the wave come on and then I would get on my knees or stand and lean over something or someone through it. This went on slowly building throughout the evening. We called another friend who had requested to be there for my labor to come around 8:00. She arrived shortly after. Her job was to take pictures. She also did some massage on my back which felt great until things got pretty intense. Christina and Tom were there like my rock any time I needed them.
Around 11:15ish things were so intense that I just kept feeling like I would lose my mind from the pain. Everything before that was tolerable. I impatiently asked for someone to get me my Aconite homeopath because I could just tell I would need it to get through the rest of this journey. I went into the bathroom to use the bathroom again for the millionth time and felt desperate to be done with this crazy ride. Of course Tom just looked at me helplessly and acknowledged my feelings. By then I knew I wasn't going to be going anywhere else since the waves were coming right on top of one another. My plan, since it worked out so nicely last time, was to birth on the toilet. It helped me to relax my bottom and made for very little clean up. Yeah, I know. But I hate messes, even if I don't have to clean them up. I was really hoping and wishing my water would just break since I sensed this would be over soon if it did (not that I was right about anything else thus far).
Minutes later my water splashed out sounding like a giant water balloon hitting the floor. Not long after that I could feel that dreaded and welcomed feeling of pressure that only a giant Nitz melon could bring. I thought I might just sit over on the toilet and relax allowing that fetal ejection reflex to kick in like before allowing my baby to be gently and easily born into the world. Nope. Not going to happen. It felt like torture. Okay. How about squatting? Yeah. No. Not going to happen. Anything other than standing slightly leaned over felt like torture.
It was my plan to catch my own baby. The one that I grew. In my body. It only made sense to me that I would be the one whose hands would guide her (Ha!) into the world. I reached down and could feel a hairy head. Yay! This would be over soon. As my body told me to push and more head came forth I realized that I have T-Rex arms and would not be catching my own baby. During this pushing time I felt such a struggle going on inside me. It just really felt different. I wanted, needed to get this baby out. I looked at Tom who was sitting on the side of the tub in our tiny bathroom and told him he was going to have to catch the baby. He looked at me calmly and then looked at Christina who was standing behind me and told her that there is no way he can get over there and that she was going to have to catch the baby. Yeah, I don't care. Someone catch the baby please. Baby Rivka,er Ezra was born into Christina's hands at 11:53 a.m. She quickly handed me this slimy, floppy human who had a huge meconium bowel movement all over himself and me.
Time stood still while my heart went into a panic. My baby felt lifeless in my arms and as I looked down at him he was not moving at all, had no muscle tone, and was very pale except for his purple head. I squatted down looking at him. I rubbed him with a towel and prayed that my baby was okay. I had never experienced this before. I also noticed that I was bleeding a lot and passed 3 pretty big blood clots. Baby Ezra perked up, opened his eyes, and started crying. I knew then that he would be fine, but I was losing too much blood. In my mind I knew at some point during delivery my placenta had to have partially detached compromising his oxygen a bit and must be what was causing this bleeding. I did what I knew to do to increase oxytocin; held my baby skin to skin, smelled his beautiful head, and prayed.
I started feeling lightheaded and knew this placenta needed to come out now. There was blood everywhere. Tom just kept asking for towels to mop up the blood. I asked for cayenne pepper to help stop the bleeding. I handed Ezra over to Tom. I was feeling too weak to hold him. Next I asked for some Angelica to release the placenta and squatted. The placenta came pretty quickly after that. I was still bleeding but not as bad. My brain was pretty foggy at this point and I was just trying not to pass out. All I could think of was, “I'm covered in blood and birth goo. I don't want to have to call 911.” lol At this point Christina asked if I wanted the Shepherd’s Purse. I was glad she reminded me of it since I was having to concentrate so very hard to stay conscious. The bleeding finally stopped. I knew I was no longer in danger.
Now to make it into the tub to clean both of us up a bit. Somehow I managed to get in long enough to wash Ezra and I up. My brain was still quite fuzzy during this time and I felt very out of breath. Christina sat by my side keeping a watchful eye on us while Tom cleared the floor of the blood and towels. Things are pretty fuzzy from this point on, but I somehow made it into bed with my baby. We were both going to be okay.
Now, many people may read this and say that this is why they want to be in a hospital and that homebirth isn't safe. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I would have to say that I wouldn't change where I birthed. My baby was brought safely, gently, and in love into this world. No one panicked while I was in labor from a drop in fetal heart tones. No one scared me that my baby would die if I didn't birth him in their time. No one rushed me into a surgical birth that would permanently damage my body and make my recovery incredibly long and hard compared to the birth that I had. My baby was not robbed of the plethora of benefits from having a natural physiological birth. I take responsibility for my pregnancies and births with much thought, research, and prayer. I am grateful for the knowledge that I have gathered over the years. I am grateful I was home.
|Ezra McCormick weighed in at 10.3 lbs. and was 23 inches long.|
|Ezra at 5 days old|