Friday, August 27, 2010
This is the birth story of Kinsley Grace Walker. It is not a typical American birth story but that is why I tell it. I tell it to encourage and empower women to take control of their bodies and be in charge of their birth process instead of letting someone tell you what should be done. In America we as women don't share our birth stories except to say how terrible they are. So I write this blog to give an example of how amazing, beautiful, and awe inspiring birth should be. I write it to show something our culture seems to have forgotten: that birth is natural and beautiful. As most of you know we planned to have a home birth with Kinsley. It was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life! I was 40 weeks on Friday Aug 13. I wasn't feeling anything in regards to labor and I didn't even feel like my body was getting ready. So, on Sunday Aug 15 I called my midwife, Mary Alexander, and asked her if there was anything I could do to possibly encourage labor to begin. I didn't want to start labor if my body wasn't ready but if I was ready then I wanted to encourage it to begin. My mom was in town but she had to leave on Aug 28 and I wanted to have her here for a while before she had to go home to help me adjust to having 2 children. Mary said I could use the breast pump and pump 15 minutes every hour all day. She said not to pump past 5pm so I wouldn't go into night labor if I didn't have to. She said it would only start labor if my body was ready. So Monday morning I pumped at 9 and 10 then I had to go to the chiropractor and run some errands. I didn't feel any contractions when I pumped so I wasn't feeling very optimistic. But I was still ok with that because I knew my body was created to know what to do. So I didn't get home until the afternoon and I pumped at 3 and 4pm. I started to feel contractions at the last pumping sessions but I wasn't sure if labor would really begin that night. I laid down for a nap for about 30 minutes but I had several contractions during that time and it was hard to fall asleep. When DJ got home I decided to get up. Around 5pm I could really tell the contractions were beginning and so I decided to time them. After I had a contraction about every 10 minutes for 1.5 hours(about 6:30) I decided to call Mary my midwife. During the hour and a half I was able to eat a good dinner and begin getting prepared for the birth. Mary said my labor sounded promising and I should call her whenever I needed her or wanted her to come over or my contractions were about 5 minutes apart. Then I called DJ's parents and asked them to come pick up Raider. I called my Aunt Bev to let her know I was in labor and told her I would call her when I called Mary to come over. DJ's parents arrived and we talked in between contractions. DJ's dad left and took Raider to their house for a few days. DJ was mowing a yard across the street and I went over there and told him to hurry. He came home and showered and started helping me labor. Over the next hour my contractions became very irregular. They were between 2-9 minutes apart. During a contraction I leaned over the counter in the kitchen and someone put a heating pad on my back and gave me lots of counter pressure on my lower back. In between my contractions I would sometimes feel like a contraction was going to begin and then it would just fade away. I wasn't sure but I thought these might be small contractions. So I called Mary around 7:30 and told her I thought she needed to come over. She got here around 8pm. She checked me and I was at 6cm but she could stretch me to 8cm. I was excited about the birth and getting to meet Kinsley for the first time. By this time I had moved to the living room so I could be on my knees and lean on the couch during contractions. While waiting for Mary we had cleared out the living room to get ready to set up the birthing pool. When Mary arrived we aired up the pool and started filling it up. My contractions were becoming a lot stronger and required a lot more concentration to get through. DJ's mom, my mom, my Aunt Bev and my cousin Natalie were all at my house. Mary (my midwife), Amy (her apprentice) and Kim (Mary's partner midwife) were also here. In between contractions we would all just relax and talk. It was a very relaxing and natural environment. Nobody was stressed, it was very laid back. Our hot water heater was much better than we thought and when the pool was full it was too hot. They wanted it to be less than 100 degrees for when the baby was born. So they had to get big pots and empty some of the hot water out and put in cold water. It took longer than we thought but labor was progressing well and we were excited. Amy, Mary's apprentice, checked me before I got in the pool and I was 8cm. My water bag was still intact. I was finally able to get in the pool around 10:45pm. A few minutes and about 2 contractions after I got in the pool I started to feel an overwhelming urge to push. I tried to tell Mary but I started pushing before I could even tell her. When the contraction was over I said "Mary I really need to push!" She checked me and said I wasn't fully dilated. She said I had a thick lip of cervix left but if I felt the strong urge to push I was welcome to. The next contraction was the strangest sensation. If someone said they would pay me 1 billion dollars not to push, I wouldn't have been able to do it. My body just started pushing. It was crazy feeling. During this push I felt Kinsley head start to crown. I was shocked! I couldn't believe she was coming out so fast. I told Mary she was coming. When Mary checked me after the contraction she said "well, she's not crowing yet." I said "well she was when I pushed but when I quit she went back up!" The next contraction I pushed and felt her crown again. It was burning like crazy and I knew I wasn't stretching well. I knew I had to have some control or I was going to tear. I was pretty sure I would tear anyway but I wanted it to be as little as possible. The next contraction I thought it was impossible to do but I controlled my push and when I felt her crown and felt the crazy burning, I backed off. I don't know how I did it, but I did. This time she didn't slip back up and I had to deal with the crazy burning until the next contraction. The next push I tried to control again and I was able to stretch a little more. The next contraction it was too much and I had to push and she came out. She didn't come out like most babies where their head comes out and the next push their body comes out. She just came out all at one time, head, body and all. It was good I was in the water cause she came out so fast nobody was aware she was all the way out until I said " she's out, she's out." Then I reached in the water and picked up my precious baby girl. Seeing her face for the first time is something I will never be able to describe. Her cord was really short so I couldn't put her on my chest. Amy helped me hold her in the warm water with her face out of the water. She cried for just a minute and then she calmed down and was very relaxed and calm in the water. Mary checked the cord several time waiting for it to quit pulsing so she could cut it. After a while I noticed her color suddenly changed. She became very pale and then gray. I told Mary and Mary listened to her with a stethescope and said that we needed to cut the cord and get her out. Kim, the other midwife, cut the cord and Mary took Kinsley to the couch. Within a few seconds she was crying and pink again. She had just gotten too cold because the fan in our living room was on and I couldn't put her on my chest because of her short cord. Mary was awesome and knew just what to do and Kinsley was totally fine and healthy in a few seconds. Mary swaddled her and DJ put a heating pad on his chest and held her. In the meantime they helped me get out of the pool cause I hadn't delivered the placenta yet. They put the birthing chair on the floor right outside the pool. As soon as I bent to sit down on it, the placenta came out. I felt such relief! I had still been feeling so much pressure and I was happy to fell it come out! They put a sheet on the couch and propped me up with pillows and handed me my beautiful baby girl! She was beautiful and absolutely precious! I couldn't believe she was really here! She was born at 11:05 pm. Aunt Bev brought me a change of clothes so I could get out of my wet ones. About that time Makenna woke up crying and her Daddy was so excited to go get her. He brought her out to meet her new sister. I asked her who was in my arms and immediately she said "baby Kinsley!" She loved her instantly and touched her face and gave her a kiss. Before this moment I didn't think life could get any better, but I was wrong. Sitting there on the couch holding my new daughter with my husband holding our oldest daughter sitting next to me, I was reminded of the grace and glory of God. How he has blessed me and my family. Kinsley's birth was amazing and wonderful. I wouldn't trade that experience for anything on this earth. It was an experience that could never be had in the hospital. Not only is home birth very safe, it is also wonderful. Kinsley's birth proved that midwifes can handle not only routine births but sudden changes as well. Mary new exactly what to do when Kinsley turned gray and within a few seconds she had her pink and crying. I hope this birth story inspires its readers to have an equally amazing and wonderful birth story. And I hope it makes all who read it consider alternate birth solutions. You do have safe birth options outside of the hospital. It isn't scary or unsafe. On the contrary it is amazing, beautiful, and incomparable to the birth you will be able to have in the hospital. Take control, know your options, and be in tune with your body. We are women hear us roar!!!