Friday, February 19, 2010

My youngest daughter's birth

My youngest daughter, Rachel was born in 1985.  It all began in the morning when my husband was getting up to get ready for work.  I always got up before him to make breakfast. When I woke up I thought I was having mild contractions.  My mother had just flown in from New York the night before so she would be at home with the other children when we had to leave for the hospital.  My husband went on to work. I had an appointment with the midwife about 10am.  When I got to my appointment, I was about 3cm dilated.  I called my husband from the doctor's office (remember, this was 1985, there were no cell phones then) and asked him to meet me from home.  We would be going to the hospital soon.  We met at home, grabbed the bag, kissed the kids and Mom goodbye and headed to the hospital. 

When I arrived, contractions were strong; but because I had taken a Bradley childbirth class and this was my third child, second natural birth, I was quite quiet as the contractions came and went.  I spent the next several hours in the bed lying on my side.  My midwife suggested breaking my bag of waters to speed things up.  She also asked me if I wanted my baby to be born in the sac like a litter of puppies.  I was not happy with this comment!  I told her if the baby came that way, that was fine.  I was not going to let her break the bag.  I remember my Bradley teacher and the midwife sitting on one side of the room calling over to me once in a while to ask if I was OK.  Each time I said I was.  They were amazed at how quiet I was for a woman nearing transition. 

As a doula I would never suggest this to a client to lie down in bed for hours, but then, I just remember being so very tired.  Without any distractions or reason to HAVE to get up, I just rested.  At this rate, I was dilating about 1 cm per hour.  After about 3 hours, my hubby got me to head to the bathroom to potty; and he talked me into walking a while.  I was also wanting to hold this little one.  We did not know the sex of the baby.  With 3 pregnancies, I had not had one ultrasound.  Back then women only had ultrasounds if there was a suspected problem.  Couples did not know what the sex of the baby would be ahead of time. 

We walked around the nurses station several times.  Each time a contraction began I leaned upon my husband for total support.  I could not have done this without his help.  After several laps, I told him I needed to push.  We returned to the room, the midwife checked me and said, "let's have a baby here." 

Second stage did not take very long.  The bag broke during pushing as it had done with my last birth.  We had been so sure this baby was a boy that we did not have a girl's name picked out.  But lo and behold!  It was a girl.  We did not have a girl's name picked out so for a day or so, she had no name.   

We could have left the hospital 6 hours after birth.  Since that was at 10pm at night, we elected to stay the night in the hospital.  That was a mistake.  It was so noisy and there was little sleep that night.  Our pediatrician came to our room do examine the baby.  She was born at 4:05pm.  When the nurse's shift changed at 11pm the new nurse wanted to take my baby to weigh her.  I told her that she was only born 6 hours ago!  I had just gotten her to sleep.  She was in my arms at the time.  I told her to come back in the morning to weigh her!  Well she did come in the morning and she had not lost any weight.  We packed up our things and went home in the early afternoon.  It was a joyous reunion as the big girls met their baby sister.  Looking back, it was a sweet time.  I am thankful to say that today they are all very close friends as well as sisters.  Childhood was a time of molding them together.  I loved every bit of motherhood!

Kathy Voigtsberger
Certified Birth Doula(DONA)
Childbirth Educator

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