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Angela and Donaven Patrick

A little background on us and why we chose to have our son at home. We had been taking Bradley Classes and loved them. At our 3rd or 4th class a couple came in to talk about their homebirth experience, and when we left that day I knew I had to have what they had. It had sounded wonderful and intimate and I just knew that was what I wanted. I think we met with Dianne, our midwife 2 days later. Of course I had already been seeing an OB/GYN and had to transfer from her office to Dianne's and I was 7 months pregnant, but it all worked out wonderfully. Our Bradley teacher, Kim, was also a Doula and she agreed to be with us at the birth too.

The week before his birth I had been having contractions. Monday I left work and went to Dianne's office. She checked me and said it could be possible I was in labor and we should probably get the tub set up and get water in it just to be safe. So we ran and got the tub from our friends in our Bradley class that has just had their little girl a day or so before and ran home to get it all set up. Dianne came over that evening and checked me again, and of course nothing. Contractions would come and go, but nothing effective at progressing labor so we just waited. We were kind of stressed because we were buying a new house and supposed to close that Friday and move into our new house over the weekend; Donaven was trying to come a week or so early.

Wednesday I stayed home from work with more contractions and Kim came over and we walked on the beach for a couple of hours trying to move things along. Of course Patrick kept saying, no don't try, wait til we get moved. Hehehe, poor guy; we were all a little concerned about the move. And of course as it worked out the concerns were valid. We were supposed to close on Friday and that got moved to Monday, but they were going to let us move all of our stuff in on Saturday. So Friday after work I made a "please help me with my back pain" call to Dianne and she sent me to see Dr. D, the chiropractor. He was pretty funny and told me as soon as he adjusted me I would probably have the baby, and at that point I didn't care, I just wanted my back to stop hurting. I made an appointment to come back the next morning before lunch and get adjusted again.

On Saturday morning, all of our friends showed up to move everything; we left very little in the apartment that would be necessary in case Donaven decided to come over the weekend before we could live in our new house. And this was such a smart move. Hehehe. I left everyone at the new house unpacking and putting stuff in, etc. to run to the chiropractor again. As soon as I walked out of the office though, the good feeling escaped me and almost as soon as I got back to the house I decided to take a bath. I had totally forgotten what Kim said in class about mommies who get into the bathtub because of back pain most of the time being in labor. I just knew I hurt and thought the hot water would help. Patrick came up to get me around 3pm and said that we needed to leave now and we would go get some dinner with his sister and her husband. I reluctantly climbed out of the tub and got dressed.

During dinner I kept saying owie. My stomach would cramp up and hurt and finally Patrick asked me if they were contractions. Hahaha, I didn't even realize it but they were coming in waves and every 10-15 minutes or so. Freaked the waitress out cause he kept telling her that I was in labor. Pretty funny. We went back to the apartment and called Dianne and said hey we think this is it. About 8pm she came over and checked me and I was 5 cm dilated, woohoo we were on our way. Patrick got busy boiling water for the pool in the middle of our living room and Dianne left us to go home and get some sleep for a little while. She told us to call her and to call Kim when it got to the point where I could not do it alone anymore. I was fine with that and we went about calling people and chatting. As soon as the water in the pool started getting warmer I got in and would try to work through the contractions in there. It seemed to help and little by little I got more and more focused and soon I did not want to talk on the phone to anyone anymore. I remembered Kim telling us in class about mommies getting to that point too and I knew it was time to call them both back.

I was really starting to have more and more painful contractions and they were getting closer. It was about 11pm and Kim was on her way and Dianne too. They were both wonderful and got everything set up and ready. I would get in and out of the pool, change positions, walk, sit on the ball, go potty, whatever I could do to make my back stop hurting, but to no avail. That boy had his head turned the wrong way and he was making it quite difficult to get him out. Kim would massage my shoulders, give me snacks and make sure I drank plenty of fluids. Patrick hung out in the pool with me and tried to give me counter pressure on my back to help the back labor. About 5 in the morning, Dianne called the back up midwife, Sharon, and asked her to come over. Dianne had a cold and wanted to make sure that someone who wasn't sick was there to take care of munchkin when he decided to join us.

Sharon arrived about 6:00-6:15 or so. I was in the bathroom when she got there and my water exploded all over the wall. How neat was that? Icky. They laughed at me and Sharon had me get back in the tub on my hands and knees to try to turn the little guy. WOW... within seconds I could feel him turning inside me. The neatest thing ever. And after about 5 minutes I suddenly had the most intense and overpowering urge to push. Actually I should not say urge, I should say that the pushing just took over my body. There was nothing else I could have done to stop it I don't think. I leaned back into the tub with my knees out, kind of half sitting and squatting and continued to push. I only had to push very few times before his head was crowning. And I distinctly remember Sharon sitting right next to me telling me to wait just a minute, let my perineum stretch and it was the hardest thing I had to do. It burned and I so wanted to push. She looked into my eyes and helped me make it through. And a minute later this little head was sticking out of me. Wow, he was finally making his entrance. He turned to get his body in the right position for his shoulders to come out and a little push and there he was.

Patrick and Sharon reached down to gently lift him up to my chest. I cried and cried. It was the most surreal experience ever. This little thing that had been pushing on my ribs and playing in my belly at night was actually a baby and he was in my arms. I was overcome with the most intense emotions. I couldn't stop sobbing, it was amazing. They were all telling me how wonderful I did and how beautiful he was. He gave me a hard time coming out, but he was so worth it. He was born at 7am on Sunday, February 24th, 2002 and he has entertained us every day since then.

I am now pursuing Doula certification and can't wait to be there with other little ones as they make their entrance into this world. My homebirth experience was wonderful, I couldn't have asked for anything better. After he was checked and everything and everyone had gone, the three of us fell asleep for a couple hours before our friends and family came over to meet our new little man. I would do it again in a heartbeat and I hope to be able to do so soon, just not the same weekend that we are moving!

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