My five children were all born, with the assistance of midwives and birth assistants, out of hospital. It was brought to my attention this week, while sharing tidbits of my birth stories, how unusual some of my experiences have been. Some of the following accounts might even be amusing, imagine that:-)
One thing I have enjoyed about all of my births is that I have been encouraged to stay up and active for as long as possible. At no point am I tied down to a table with monitors and IV drips with the exception of antibiotics.
Could you imagine that 1-2 hours before welcoming a new life into the world I have been known to be standing around joking with the midwife or whoever else is in my presence. Between contractions one of my favorite things to do is make the people around me laugh. I recall with my 4th child that I had read about the origins of belly dancing. From my understanding, belly dancing was originally developed to aid a woman in childbirth. Less than 2 hours before giving birth to my 4th child I was discussing my new findings, with the midwife, while standing in my living room. Just for fun I did my imitation of a belly dancer (with only my husband and midwife present). If you could picture how completely huge I was you might find this humorous.
I recall with my 3rd child that my labor came on rapidly. My first official contraction was at 12:50 am. This would be my first home birth. The contractions were coming closer together and could not be ignored. I called the midwife, the birth assistant and a friend who wanted to attend. I tried to call family members and neighbors to see if someone could watch our other two children but no one answered. My brother and sister-in-law recalled hearing a grunt on their answering machine when they awoke the next morning. I attempted to wake up my husband at 1:30 am. He was in the bed I was suppose to give birth in, after all:-)
ME: “It’s time Honey!
Cesar: Responds,”Huh?”, as he rolls over.
ME ( in the middle of a strong contraction): “GET OUT OF BED!”
My husband could sleep through a bomb siren but he was up and ready to assist in moments. My husband was a wonderful encouragement to me as we both wondered if he might be delivering the baby personally. The midwife and birth assistant were there 20 minutes before the baby arrived. My child was born at 2:23 am weighing 9#12 ounces.
One thing that people might not picture during labor is a woman surrounded by her family and friends shooting the breeze. While my children are never in the actually pushing stages of my labors, it is not unusual for us to be going about our daily lives at home while Mommy is pausing every 9 minutes or so to hug Daddy during a contraction.
On the birth of my 5th child I recall getting a phone call about some homeschooling curriculum I was trying to order. She was the mother of many children and was quite understanding when I told her that I was in labor and I would have to call her back at a more convenient time.
I am so thankful for every healthy child that has been given to us. Child birth is definitely hard work and often very painful but holding a new life in my arms has always made it all worth it.