I was the first to hold her and smell her.
No one made her cry or worry and the look on her face when she was born was just priceless and serene and so calm.
She opened those big blue eyes and connected with me so solidly.
I couldn't believe that I'd climbed my Everest and roared a baby earthside.
Interestingly as well, my blessingway tie ended up very felted and tights around my left wrist by the end of this process (in and out of the shower, and then in the hot pool). It was a relief to cut it off today, on day 2, as it was tight and had done its job. It was gorgeous and amazing while I had it though. It is in Sally's box file now.
In reflection, my training only kicked in once I'd birthed and was worrying about the blood loss and placenta - before that I was just a woman doing what a woman does. Julie wasn't keen on doing anything about my placenta but I was done, and sore, and tired and just wanted the process complete. I have since printed my placenta, and cut up the smaller lobe for a placenta remedy (frozen in pieces to take every day) and the larger bit frozen for Sally to have planted in a wine barrel. We will find a tree that is fruiting around her birthday and plant it over the placenta once rotted down. That way we can always take it with us when we move.
I never had any strict plans for this birth beyond “at home” and “no drugs” and “it's probably all normal and I have a care provider to keep watch”. I was happy to take it as it came and in the end, that's what I did. Perhaps I took it too easy and didn't realise that things were taking a long time relative to the timeline of rushed births I've experienced in hospitals.
I wouldn't say that I enjoyed the process but it was such a huge experience that it's taken me months to write this story. Julie ended up doing way more than I thought she would, and I think she went beyond what she normally does in a birth as well. There were several examinations, and the water injection, and the intervention to get Sally to tip her head down, and to protect my perinium etc, and the surprisingly managed third stage. But for me, the alternative of transferring wasn't even considered. And these were things that I welcomed as I couldn't work around them, or through them, and when a solution was offered I considered it and either chose it or rejected it and was never pressured to do anything.
Julie wasn't there to save me. She walked the journey beside me in a way I never really understood before. She was attentive without being invasive or dictatorial, and I love that of her. She helped my support people be there for me – I wouldn't trade that for the world – and encouraged TheHusband to be there with me rather than hanging back, but in the end just let me get on with it.
In the cold light of day and in debriefing, I am pretty sure of a few things. If I'd been in hospital, I would have (a) begged for pain relief (b) been offered pain relief instead of support (c) had a c-section (d) had a different outcome if my membranes had been ruptured artificially (due to the succenturiate placenta) and (e) been a mess at the end of it. Instead I can stand tall and say:
I GAVE BIRTH
Labour started: 2am 11/03/2010
Established slowly but hard work from: 4pm 11/03/2010
Pushing: 3am ish 12/03/2010
Birth: 6:43am 12/03/2010