Where to begin? I was 34 years old and married for only five months when one day, the strangest things began to happen. It was 8:00 a.m., I was at work when I got so hot that I thought my fingernails were sweating. I became light-headed and felt very strange, but after a few moments the feeling passed and I didn't give it another thought. Later, I was wearing my vibrating pager on my waist like I did every day, and when it began to vibrate I couldn't get it off of me fast enough! It felt so bizarre to my stomach! Then 12:00 came and a co-worker who often ate oriental food with me suggested it for lunch. The mere thought of it instantly made me nauseous. It wasn't until after lunch (not oriental food!) that I started thinking about the three very strange events of the morning. Although I knew full well that I was not pregnant, I purchased a home pregnancy test at about 2:00 p.m. and took it in the rest room at work. I was numb! I knew the timing of my cycle and I was only 8 days pregnant and already knew it!
My husband was also numb when I set the stage by asking a waitress to pull up a high chair to our dinner table and told him to get used to it sitting there. It took him a few moments to get the message. I told him right then that I wanted to have our baby at home. He looked at me like I had three heads. After I gave him a crash course in why it was safer to give birth at home, he slowly and hesitantly joined me in my desire for the best possible birth. I think that he secretly thought that I would change my mind as the delivery came closer.
As the months passed and he learned more, he became very much an advocate of stay-home births. I actually read aloud to him to make certain that he got all the facts. We interviewed many midwives, and hired Gail to be ours. We went to the Bradley classes, read all the books, hired a lactation consultant, purchased all the (unnecessary) supplies and waited, and waited. We endured months of defending mine and my baby's rights to friends and family whom all had different views. Their thoughts varied from "oh she'll change her mind," to harsh criticism, to deep skepticism and then finally reluctant acceptance and fear. I believe that anyone who chooses a home birth is not only strong to deliver without drugs, but even stronger to endure the wrath of uneducated bystanders.
We declined all test and exams. We relied on prayer, faith, instinct, nutrition, exercise, knowledge and each other.
Eleven days before my predicted due date, my husband, who is a police officer, was working 3rd shift and I was home alone. I woke up about 3:00 a.m. with what felt like an explosion in my stomach. I wondered if "this was it". I got up, walked around for a while, drank some water and went back to bed and slept peacefully! At 6:00 a.m. I felt pretty sure that I was in labor. My husband came home at 7:00 a.m. I did not want him to know that I was in labor because I was afraid he would be too excited to go to bed. I wanted him to get some rest because I knew I would need him more later in the day, and I wanted him to be well rested. I told him I couldn't sleep and scurried up the steps so that he would not hear the next contraction. He went to bed without a clue.
Next I called my mom whom lived two hours away and my midwife to tell them to stay by the phone since I thought I was in labor. My midwife said that she had some errands to run, that she would have her pager with her and to call her later in the day. Since this was my first child she assumed I had many hours left to labor. While I was on the phone with my midwife I felt another contraction coming. She told me to lay the phone down and let her listen and then pick the phone up when I was done. When I picked the phone up she said, in a hurried voice "I'm on my way!" I had to go down, and back up, two flights of stairs to unlock the door. I was afraid if I didn't do it right away that I would not have another chance.
I called a girlfriend who was going to help me through labor, but she didn't didn't answer. I called another friend and left a message on her machine to "come if she could". It was now about 8:00 a.m. and I was no longer physically able to make any phone calls. I never got back with my Mom like I had promised her. My husband was asleep downstairs and my water was breaking upstairs. The cat went into hiding and I was alone, trusting in God and praying that the baby knew what it was supposed to do, because all of a sudden I didn't didn't have a clue!
At 8:45 the midwife and my girlfriend both arrived. I'm so glad that the door was unlocked! My midwife wanted to do just one pelvic so that she could "plan her day" around my progress. The pelvic took about two seconds, she said "you are 10 centimeters dilated and can push whenever you get the urge"!
I wanted to deliver downstairs in the living room. We waited through one more contraction and decided to tackle the stairs. They woke up my husband at about 9:15 a.m. Was he ever shocked to find all this activity in the living room!
I had a wonderful compact disc that I had meditated to many times and had planned to labor with it on. It was so awesome to hear it this time, we turned it up pretty loud and I just "got lost" in the music! I totally surrendered to my body. I did not use any mind over matter techniques. I wanted to "be there in the moment".
I was very primal, very animalistic. I prayed, growled, moaned and roared! I was on my hands and knees to rest between contractions. During a contraction my body rose up on my knees and my arms involuntarily acted like they were climbing a rope to the sky. I remember thinking how strange it was, I looked like a Praying Mantis. I just "let it happen". My girlfriend asked what I wanted her to do, I requested that she just pray, aloud! She did, it was very nice! My husband wiped my brow and offered great words of love. I remember telling my midwife to "get her elbows out of me". "I'm sitting on the couch behind you watching, but not touching you" she replied. I often yelled her name for reassurance, she'd say "you're doing great, you're so strong!"
My midwife told me the baby's head was out but I didn't want to feel it, I was afraid of getting too distracted. My husband looked, he still talks about it. A couple more contractions to go, and at 11:02 there she was! A precious angelic baby girl! 7.3 pounds of perfection. Her apgar score was a 10! She was so peaceful, she didn't even cry for about 45 minutes. She rooted and then latched on while I rested. I cried when I looked up and saw my ceiling fan and realize I had done it; and I was still at home! When the urge came I squatted over a bowl and delivered the placenta. When the placenta retired, my husband cut the lifeline. My mom didn't get there until it was all over.
Sydney Dane Nelson was born on her daddy's birthday! Today she is 9 months old, has 8 teeth, crawls, weighs 24 pounds and is still nursing strong. She sleeps with us, doesn't know what a pacifier is and will never be been artificially immunized.