Born July 2, 2009 @ 9:30pm (due date was July 4th)
18.5 inches long
I haven't put Maya's birth story up on here yet but will post it soon ~ the quick and dirty is that I was induced with Cervidil at 41 weeks (growth concerns...in hindsight I don't think it was necessary), the Cervidil put me into hard and fast labor, and she was born with no drugs (besides the Cervidil) in about 4 hours. The hospital experience wasn't bad, per se, but DH and I knew we wanted something different the second time around. I hadn't done much research and my main reason for wanting to go natural was because so many people told me I wouldn't be able to do it, and I'm kinda stubborn :) FTR, she was 7 pounds and 20 inches long, and due to pushing too hard and when I didn't feel like pushing, I had a relatively long recovery.
When Maya was about 9 months old, I watched “The Business of Being Born”. I. love. that. movie. Seriously. I was SO EXCITED about having a home birth after that movie that I couldn't sleep. For 3 days. Oh, and I wasn't even pregnant yet. Just the PROSPECT of having a home birth was literally keeping me up at night (that and a 9 month old who hadn't yet figured out that nighttime is for sleep :)). I watched the movie 2 more times, then bought a copy so I could watch it as much as I wanted. DH wasn't 100% on board with home birth, but I figured I'd work on him when it was actually a possibility.
When Maya turned one, we started trying to get pregnant. It had taken us 18 months, several infertility tests, surgery, hormones, and 2 rounds of clomid to get pregnant the first time. This time it took 5 days. When I was about 7 weeks pregnant DH and I met with Pam Kolanz. He went from being totally skeptical about home birth to being very comfortable with the whole thing (thanks, Pam!!!). After meeting with a couple other midwives we decided that Pam was definitely the best fit for us. We (I :)) did lots of reading and preparing for this birth, and took a NCB class from Karen Edwards that really boosted our confidence in the whole birth process. Fast forward through a relatively uneventful pregnancy...the only “complication” was the same as the first time. I started measuring small at 30-some weeks. After an ultrasound confirmed that the baby was growing fine, we determined that I just carry babies small.
Since I hadn't gone into labor with Maya on my own, I wasn't sure what to expect this time. I also had never had “early” labor with her (went straight from no contractions at all to contractions every 3 minutes). On Monday June 29th I nursed Maya around 5am, and had some stronger and slightly more uncomfortable BH contractions than I had been having. They were about 7 minutes apart and after an hour I was totally convinced I was in labor. I forced myself to go back to sleep, though, and when I woke up around 8 they were gone. I walked, I nursed Maya, I tried to be active all day to bring the contractions back, but nothing worked. The next morning, the same thing happened. And the morning after that. By Thursday I was getting used to the pattern, but the morning contractions were definitely stronger and more uncomfortable. I almost told DH to stay home from work, but got up and took a shower first, and the contractions went away. I didn't tell him what was going on because I knew things weren't happening right then, and I didn't want him to freak out (he was excited, but tends to worry, and I didn't need that! :)). I had my 40-week appointment with Pam at 9am, and was feeling crampy on the way there. We talked at the appointment about how it was very possible that I had 2 weeks left, that it was good I was having these contractions to prepare my body (frustrating as they were!), etc. I was out and about for most of the day, and still feeling very crampy. At 3:45pm we were at home and I nursed Maya ~ while I was nursing her I started having contractions about 3 minutes apart, but they spaced to 5 minutes when she was done. I still wasn't convinced it would last, but started timing them just in case. DH got home at 6:15pm and I was still having contractions 5 minutes apart. I was out walking with the stroller when he got home, and I had 2 more contractions before I told him what was up. We decided to call Pam, but told her she didn't need to come yet as I was still able to walk and talk through the contractions. She called us back at 7:45pm and I still wasn't convinced she needed to come. DH looked at the contraction chart and realized that they had started being 3 minutes apart and were lasting for over a minute, so Pam thought it was probably a good idea to head our way. About 8:00pm we called our friend Sierra who was coming to help with Maya during the labor.
Sierra and Pam both arrived around 8:30pm, and at that point my labor ramped up. I was moaning through contractions and trying to rest between. By 8:50pm I wanted to get into the birth pool ~ the water felt AMAZING. At 9:15pm I had a contraction and felt my body push a little bit. I was worried that it was too soon, and I asked Pam if I should feel like I needed to push. She told me that I was probably feeling the amniotic sac and to just go with what my body was telling me. On the next contraction I pushed a little and it felt much better than just trying to breathe through it! For some reason at that point I flipped over so that I was on my knees and leaning over the edge of the pool. I had a contraction almost right away and pushed ~ I felt what felt like a big clot and Pam said (in her very calm voice) something like “That was your amniotic sac. And we have a baby coming” (it's all kinda fuzzy at this point, so don't quote me/her on that!). She was right ~ on that same contraction Charlotte's head was born, all at once. DH reminds me that Pam suggested I slow down...but that clearly didn't happen. The cord was around her neck so Pam unlooped it and Charlotte's body was born with the next push, at 9:30pm. Charlotte wasn't breathing on her own at first, so I was rubbing her back and Pam gave her a few little helping breaths, and then she started crying and turned pink :) After that DH cut the cord (after it stopped pulsing), I got out of the tub and into bed, ate some soup, got checked over (all good!), Charlotte had her newborn exam, and we got to relax as a new family of four! She latched on easily and within an hour of her being born I was able to tandem nurse (Maya wasn't really sure what to do with this new little person, though!). Being at home was everything I thought it would be and so so so much more (as cliché as that sounds). I can't describe the feeling except to say that I would do it again 100 times over. I've already told DH that I want 10 more :) He's happy with the two we have, so I'll have to convince him one at a time :)
One last thing (since this is already really long!) ~ looking back, as much research as I did about birth since Maya was born, and as convinced as I was that birth works if we just let it, I didn't truly in my heart believe that my body would do what it needed to do all on its own. Until I had this experience, I didn't realize how much my first birth had taken away from me. It makes me sad for women who choose to put their birth into someone else's hands. After experiencing a truly natural, intervention-free birth, I can't imagine doing it any other way.
And now for picture overload!
Contractions are not enjoyable:
Michael was an amazing birth partner:
Maya didn't really know what was going on, but she wanted to help, too:
One of my last contractions before she was born:
My beautiful baby girl!
Daddy cutting the cord:
Family of Four:
I think what I was feeling was written all over my face!
Big beautiful eyes :)
Charlotte's first diaper:
Charlotte's first night (and the only time she would ever sleep in the cosleeper :P)
Charlotte (at 3 months) with our midwife:
Charlotte and Maya when Charlotte was 6 days old:
Charlotte and Maya today: