Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Brendan's Home Birth

Brendan was born at home on October 30, 2010 at 6:03pm.  He weighed 8lbs 4oz and measured 21 inches long.

Emma's Hospital Birth
Brendan's birth story really begins with the birth of his big sister Emma.  I was determined to have a natural birth experience with Emma.  I naiively assumed that my obstetrician would support my goal, considering how all of the research indicates natural birth is safest for mom and baby for most low-risk pregnancies.

The night I went into labor with Emma, I was shocked to hear Dr. Moauro, my OB, tell me we needed to augment my labor with Pitocin.  I knew that Pitocin would make my contractions unnaturally strong and painful, which would likely result in me deciding to have an epidural or other pain medicine.  So I asked him, "Do we have to use Pitocin?"  To which he replied, "Yes."

I began to cry.  I had progressed from 1cm to 2.5cm during the few hours I was at the hospital (another first-time mom mistake, arriving at the hospital too soon), and the baby was not in any sort of distress.  I did not understand why I was being told I needed Pitocin.

Finally Dr. Moauro said in an exasperated tone, "Wait a minute.  Why don't you want Pitocin?" I just cried some more, unable to express what I wanted to say, which was, "You're the medical professional.  Why do I have to explain to you about all the risks and potential complications associated with Pitocin use?!"

Jake stepped in and explained that we were hoping for a natural birth.  Dr. Moauro turned to me, and with a nasty, irritated, loud tone of voice he said, "I thought you'd want to get the show on the road.  If I had known otherwise I would have sent you home hours ago.  Go home.  It could be another 36 hours before you even have the baby."  Then he walked abruptly out of the room.

I went home, contracting every 5 minutes, crying hysterically over the encounter.  I was appalled by how un-supportive Dr. Moauro had been when he learned I was hoping to experience natural childbirth.  I was angry for being forced to defend what I considered a logical and rational decision.  I couldn't believe Dr. Moauro's justification for trying to force Pitocin on me was simply "to get the show on the road."

After laboring at home for several more hours with the support of Jake and my mom, I reluctantly returned to the hospital to give birth.  Jake had called the OB's office to see if any other doctors would be able to deliver our baby, but they said Dr. Moauro was the only person on call.

When Dr. Moauro came to check me and decided to break my water (I believe he asked me first and I said yes, I can't remember how far along I was...), I clenched Jake and Mom's hands and grimaced in fear.  Dr. Moauro snapped harshly at me, saying, "Jeez.  It's not going to hurt."  I don't remember the look on his face, but by his tone of voice I'd guess he was rolling his eyes at me.

After Emma was born (without Pitocin or an epidural...take that Dr. Moauro!), it was apparent I suffered a severe tear as the stitching took 45 minutes.  We found out later that it was 4th degree, the most severe tear one can experience during childbirth.  It took me a year to recover from the tear, and I feared giving birth again.

Pregnant Again
After Emma's birth and by the time I was pregnant with Brendan, I had met with three different obstetricians to discuss my 4th degree tear and how it may impact childbirth next time.  All of them agreed it was a good repair (perhaps God was blessing me with Dr. Moauro's repair skills?).  Two of them said I should have no problem giving birth vaginally again.  One was adamant I get a c-section with the next baby to prevent a subsequent tear.

For a large part of my pregnancy, I thought I would need a c-section and so I spent months preparing myself mentally and emotionally for the surgery.  Then, when my latest OB (my favorite thus far) encouraged me to have a vaginal delivery, saying the risks of another tear were likely less than the risks of a c-section, it finally sunk in that I might be able to give birth vaginally again.

The research regarding repeat tears and whether or not c-sections protect the pelvic floor is minimal and inconclusive.  This left me with no choice but to trust the recommendations of the various obstetricians I met with for consultations.  As these OB's gave conflicting advice, I had to decide who to trust.  Finally, after much reflection, I decided to give vaginal birth another chance.

The Home Birth Decision
Once I made the decision to attempt a vaginal birth, I found myself becoming increasingly anxious and defensive.  I started planning what I would do and say to the doctors and nurses at the hospital, how I would word my birth plan, how I would convince them to support my decision to experience natural childbirth with minimal interventions. 

I began preparing mentally for the fight ahead of me, telling myself I needed to be strong this time regardless of how the medical staff reacted to my desire for natural birth, and regardless of how many unnecessary interventions they tried to push on me.

Then one day I started telling Jake about my plans, specifically how I intended to labor at home until I could no longer handle the pain and how my goal was to arrive at the hospital just in time to push the baby out (I now realize how ridiculous this idea was, but it shows how scared I really was of having to go through another hospital birth).  His eyes got really big and he said, "You can't wait that long!  What if you have the baby at home?!"

That's when it hit me, and I said, "Maybe we should have the baby at home."  After hours of research on the safety and benefits of home birth, the decision was made.

I realized that by having a natural birth in a hospital, I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.  My obstetrician and the hospital staff would reluctantly abide by my wishes if I pushed them hard enough, whereas a home birth midwife and nurse would enthusiastically support and encourage me to meet my goal.

My Birth Team
The moment I knew I would be giving birth vaginally, even before I decided on a home birth, I knew I wanted to hire a doula.  I was fortunate to have met Colleen C. through my local La Leche League, a passionate and down-to-earth doula who would be perfect for me.  A few meetings and emails later, and Colleen C. was officially scheduled to attend the birth.

Colleen S., a home birth nurse that I also met through La Leche League, connected me with Christina, a certified nurse midwife who specializes in home births.  Colleen S. offered to be my nurse for the birth once I decided to go with Christina, and with my husband by my side my birth team was complete.

The Preparation
I spent months preparing for the home birth.  We hosted a garage sale to clear our house of clutter.  I organized and reorganized the cabinets, closets and drawers.  I washed all of the towels and curtains and linens, and cleaned the windows and walls and doors. 

I gathered everything on Christina's recommended list, organizing it into boxes and bags labeled mom & baby care kit, birth kit, postpartum pads, towels, blankets, Celina's clothes, hospital transfer bag (in case of transfer), and Emma's bags.

I made list after list, of what to add to Emma's bags once I went into labor, what Jake needed to accomplish once I went into labor, and what foods were available in the house as snacks and meals (for Jake to reference in the days and weeks after birth).  I stocked the cabinets, refrigerator and freezer with enough food for two full weeks of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks.

I wrote up notes from the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child on newborn sleep needs, and notes from Siblings without Rivalry on establishing a healthy bond between siblings.  I read the book Hypnobirthing and practiced the meditation and breathing techniques. 

I did Kegel exercises, pelvic tilts and squats to prepare my body to give birth.  I paid attention to my position and sat in ways that could help prevent a posterior delivery.  I took vitamins and herbs as prescribed by my midwife.

I spent quality time with Emma, taking her to the library for story time and for walks around the block.  I brought her with to every midwife and chiropractor appointment, and read her the book I'm a Big Sister which we borrowed from the library (but ended up having to purchase as Emma ripped it to shreds one day when she was supposed to be napping, LOL!).

The more I prepared for the home birth, the more excited I became about giving birth.  To my surprise, as the excitement built, my fear of experiencing another severe tear began to fade.  I grew to accept that it was a definite possibility, but somehow in planning the home birth I gained confidence in myself and trust in my body's ability to not only give birth, but to heal as it eventually did with my previous birth.

I was no longer defensive and anxious about my birth plans.  I was strong, confident and excited!

Brendan's Home Birth
Before I finally went into labor with Brendan, I experienced what I consider to be three false alarms.  On three separate occasions in the weeks leading up to Brendan's birth, I experienced contractions that were consistent enough to make me think it may be time, only to find everything stop a few hours later. 

I never called my birth team during the false alarms, because I was never confident it was really "it."  The only person's time I wasted was Jake's, who stayed home from work three times for what turned out to be no reason!

The third false alarm occurred on Thursday, October 28th.  At 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant, after a night of very mild contractions 2 to 5 minutes apart which stopped altogether by sunrise, I gave up the notion that I'd ever go into actual labor. 

I woke up at 3:30am on Friday, October 29th with severe heartburn and mild, sporadic contractions.  I blamed it on the salt and vinegar chips I ate that night before going to bed.  I tried to sleep in the family room but was pretty much up until morning. 

I told Jake to stay home from work because I felt sick and was up all night, and so he took care of Emma while I slept for a few hours.  When I finally emerged from the bedroom, Jake came over and asked how I was doing.  I just started crying and said, "I'm so tired of being pregnant.  I just want to have the baby." 

He laughed and said he understood, and I said I felt like it was never going to happen.  He asked if I was having any contractions and I said yes, and he laughed and said maybe it is happening.  I was unconvinced.

For the rest of the day I experienced contractions starting out at 20 minutes apart, then 10 minutes apart, and finally 6-8 minutes apart by 8:30pm.  They were very mild and only lasting 45 seconds, so I still thought it was yet another false alarm. 

Jake finally convinced me to call my midwife around that time, and so I gave her a heads-up that I might possibly be in labor soon in case I needed to call her in the middle of the night.  Jake texted my doula to let her know as well.

That night I continued to experience contractions, and they began to increase in intensity so I moved into the family room.  After a few intense contractions I went and got Jake to come to the family room with me.  He slept on one couch while I tried to sleep on the other one. 

By morning the contractions were increasingly difficult to manage, yet still mild enough for me to talk and walk through.  They were only about 3 minutes apart at that point, and so I called Christina per her instructions to phone once my contractions were less than 5 minutes apart. 

I explained to Christina that I still felt like we had a long ways to go and that the contractions were still manageable, but she suggested having Colleen S. come out to check on me since second births can sometimes be shorter and less painful.

Colleen S. arrived shortly thereafter, and to my amazement I learned I was already 6.5 cm dilated!  We sent Emma to my parents' house, and soon Christina and Colleen C. arrived to prepare for the birth.

At this point I was very emotional, on the verge of tears.  I told Jake I still didn't feel like I was in true labor or that I was making progress.  I was in a much different state when I was this dilated with Emma, and I just didn't believe my contractions were powerful enough to be making progress.

Colleen C. worked with me to overcome these feelings, telling me to talk to the baby, to trust in my body and to cry and let it all out.  This was very helpful, and I felt tremendous relief after crying alone with Jake in the nursery and telling him my fears of wasting everyone's time and not really being in labor.  I felt much less anxiety, which was a great relief because I had been starting to feel a sense of panic.

At this point my contractions were stronger than the night before, but not as frequent and not as intense as they had been that same morning.  I got in the birth pool to see if the water might speed things along, but after an hour my contractions were still the same and I decided to get out.  I laid down in bed for a little while, and took a walk with Christina and Jake.  Still, the contractions were less intense and spaced further apart, so I asked Christina to check my progress.

It turns out I had progressed less than half a centimeter over the course of 4 hours.  Christina explained that some babies just need a more gentle birth, and recommended leaving Jake and I alone for a while to rest.  She said that many mothers experience a stall in labor during the daytime, but that things usually pick up at night. 

Since Christina didn't think the baby would be here by dinner, Jake served everyone the homemade potato soup I had prepared for the birth as lunch.  We had served pear spiced muffins, plum tart, apples, graham crackers and orange juice for breakfast, just as I planned.  I wanted this day to be one of celebration.  Also, the good, hearty food was my way of honoring my birth team.

Everyone packed up and left the house by 1:30pm.  I had Jake pick up Emma, because I wanted her to sleep here if she had the chance and it sounded like we were several hours away from birth.

When Jake returned, Emma and I took a bath to help me relax.  I was disappointed in learning the birth was going to take a while and wanted to unwind.  While in the tub my contractions started picking up again, and I once again had to have Jake apply counterpressure by pushing on my lower back during each contraction (he had to do this for me that morning, but as the day wore on and my contractions tapered off I didn't need it anymore).

I got out of the tub and into some pajamas, and the contractions kept coming.  I laid on the carpet in the front room, and Jake continued to push on my back during each contraction.  Emma stepped over and started pushing too.  It was so adorable that Jake took a photo.

I was hesitant to call everyone back over, as it had been only 30 minutes since they left and I was afraid things would taper off again.  I decided to get in the birth pool since by this point the contractions were 2 to 3 minutes apart and I really needed Jake to push on my back during each one to help me cope with the intensity.

Jake started freaking out at this point, telling me over and over that he really thought we should call everyone back to the house.  I finally agreed, though I was still afraid that things weren't progressing despite the dramatic increase in contractions.

By the time everyone returned and Emma went back to my parents' house, I was very focused between and during the contractions.  Between contractions, I laid my head on a towel on the edge of the pool and pressed a cold washcloth to my face.  During contractions, I kneeled up and said "OK OK OK" and Jake would come over and push on my lower back with his hands.

Colleen S. checked me and I was fully 7cm dilated and I think she said I was 90% effaced.   Colleen C. arrived and started caressing my hair and rubbing my arms and encouraging me through each contraction.  I kept my eyes closed for most of the time, and broke down crying a couple of times (though I couldn't help but laugh when Jake stepped on one of Emma's toys that made these creepy giggling sounds).  Colleen C. helped me visualize breathing in a healing peach breath and breathing out toxic green.  At one point she gave me a sleep mask to put over my eyes to help me focus.

I used the hypnobirthing breathing techniques until the contractions became even more intense, at which point I started to vocalize by sort of humming out each breath.  Christina encouraged me to use low tones of voice to help open things up, so I worked to say "oooooooo" in a low tone during each contraction.

Between the water, Jake pushing on my back, Colleen C.'s techniques and Christina's vocalization advice, I managed through the intense contractions for two and a half hours.  At this point, at about 5:00pm, Jake asked me if we should have my parents put Emma to bed at their house.  I asked Colleen S. to check me so we could figure out how close I was to delivery, and to my dismay we discovered I was still only 7cm dilated.

Christina came over and we discussed whether or not I should have Colleen S. break my water, as the bag was bulging out with each contraction and quite possibly causing the delay in progress.  Christina said that the baby would likely be born within the hour if we broke my water.  I had already been in labor for 30+ hours at this point, so we talked about my exhaustion level and how much more I could handle. 

I decided it was probably best to break my water, but expressed my fear of the pain that would follow breaking my water, as I recalled a significant increase in intensity after my water was broken with Emma.  Colleen C. encouraged me and said that I could handle it and I've come so far already. 

I laid back in the pool so Colleen S. could break my water, but we had to wait for a contraction for the bag to bulge out for her to do it.  My water broke and Colleen S. assured me the fluid was clear and free of meconium, and then I waited for the next contraction.

The next 45 minutes are a complete blur to me.  That first contraction after my water broke was very intense to say the least!  I asked Colleen C. if there was anything else Jake could do besides push on my back to help with the pain.  She taught him how to do a hip squeeze, but during the next contraction I just said "No it sucks! Just push on my back!"

We had Jake get in the pool at this point so that we could try some different positions for pain relief, but things progressed so quickly we only had time to try one position.  Jake sat back in the pool and I sat and leaned against him, but then a very intense contraction hit and I rolled onto my side floating up in the water as I felt the baby move down.

I kneeled and leaned against the edge of the pool, and with the next contractions I felt the baby move down more and more.  Jake pushed against my back each time and I started to shout all sorts of things between contractions.  I don't remember most of it but Jake said I said, "he's coming he's coming," "No! No! No!" and "I'm never having another f-ing baby,"  "I can't do another f-ing two hours of this,"  "This baby better get the f- out,"  "I can't do this."

I remember Colleen C. saying to try "yes yes yes" instead, but I don't know that I ever said it.  I do remember saying "Don't panic don't panic" and "It burns it burns" and "get out! get out!" over and over. I have to say I'm embarrassed by everything I said but I was totally out of control at this point, completely primal as Colleen C. put it which is a natural part of the birth experience.

My contractions were unbelievably intense during all of this and at some point my body just started pushing the baby out without any direction from me or without anyone in the room telling me to push.  Jake was behind me pushing on my back, while Colleen C. sat in front of me and let me squeeze/hold onto her arms.

I was grunting and groaning like a wild animal during each contraction/push, and everyone was telling me what a great job I was doing and how the baby was coming and how I need to keep breathing and keep my voice low (sometimes I would let out a loud scream amidst all the animal grunting).  Nobody made me change positions or lay on my back with my legs up.  Nobody checked me to make sure I was at ten cm. before pushing.  Nobody counted to ten our shouted PUSH! in my face over and over.

All of this happened over the course of around ten minutes I think.  I felt the baby's head move down and out, and I swear I could feel every part of his face as he came out.  It was the most incredible sensation!  Painful and powerful, indescribable really.

Finally his body came out and someone pulled him up behind me.  I just leaned forward and started crying "Thank God!" over and over, until I turned around and saw that the baby was blue.  Christina and Colleen S. were suctioning his nose and mouth and rubbing his body, saying "Come on baby come on baby."  Jake was standing behind them with his hands on top of his head, more scared than I've ever seen him.

I started saying "Come on baby, come on Brendan" because I remembered reading somewhere that babies respond to their mother's voice.  Colleen S. shouted "Jake hold him!" and Jake held Brendan on the side of the pool while Christina and Colleen S. started to bag him.  Occassionally his arm would pop up or his face would grimace, and finally he started breathing and turned pink. 

This happened over several seconds, but it felt like several minutes.  For some reason I never felt completely panicked about it while it was happening.  I just couldn't believe we would lose him and I just really felt he'd be ok.

Christina later explained to us that the baby's heartrate was perfect the entire time I was in labor, but as he descended down the birth canal the cord that was wrapped around his neck became tighter and tighter until it stopped pulsating because it was so tight.  When his head came out, the cord was too tight for Christina to remove manually and so she had to wait until I finished pushing him out to remove it. 

His heart had stopped beating, and so Christina and Colleen S. revived him with CPR and the bag/mask.  His Apgar scores were 2 at one minute and 8 at five minutes, though Christina, Colleen S., and Brendan's pediatrician have all assured us that he should suffer no long term effects of the trauma.

Once he was ok, Jake cut the cord and they handed him to Jake.  I got up out of the pool and delivered the placenta in a bowl on the yoga mat next to the pool, then sat down leaning against Colleen C. so Christina could examine me.

I had been remarking before I turned around to see Brendan all blue that the umbilical cord felt disgusting and awful.  I could tell I had torn by the way the cord felt against my bottom while they were working on him.  Obviously I completely forgot the cord when I turned and saw the state he was in.

Christina examined me and found that I unfortunately had a third or fourth degree tear, which would need to be stitched by a doctor with experience repairing such extensive tears.  I had thought of this moment a thousand times throughout my pregnancy, and I always pictured myself reacting with sobs and tears over the news.

When Christina told me I tore again, however, I was surprised to find that while I was disappointed, I was not completely broken up about it.  I even mentioned to Colleen C. that maybe this is what I needed to resolve and let go of my past birth experience. 

Having done everything possible to prevent a tear this time around (having a water birth at home, letting my body do the pushing, using a better pushing position than on my back in the hospital, practicing squats and Kegels before giving birth, taking my prenatal supplements regularly, etc.), it was clear the tearing was simply out of my hands and not my fault.  I could stop blaming myself for what happened with Emma's birth, and finally accept that there was nothing I could do to prevent it.

After Christina inspected me, she called an OB she knows to see if he could come to the house to repair my tear, but he was out of the state at the time on vacation.  This left us with having to go to the hospital for the repair, which I was prepared for since I knew that third and fourth degree tears need to be repaired by an obstetrician.

Someone brought Brendan to me at this point so I could hold him and nurse him.  He looked so different from what I expected!  I kept remarking how different he looked compared to Emma, and how I thought they would look the same.  He nursed right away without a problem, and everyone was impressed by his excellent nursing instinct.  He was so clean from having been born in the water, though his face looked pretty swollen and I could tell he had gone through a tough time.

Jake made eggs with spinach and feta cheese while I got cleaned up and dressed to go to the hospital.  Colleen S. served me some orange juice to rejuvinate me after the birth, and took my blood pressure.  Christina, Jake and I ate the eggs while Colleen C. and S. cleaned and packed up, then we left for the hospital while Colleen C. and S. headed home.

The Hospital
Jake and I got to the hospital before Christina, so we went to the front desk of the emergency room to check in.  The women behind the counter could not believe I had given birth less than two hours ago!  They were cheerful and congratulatory, asking all sorts of questions about the home birth.

Once we got to our room and Christina joined us, a doctor came in to inspect the tear.  He said that I would need an IV and a blood draw, but I declined both of those after Christina and I discussed the fact that neither were necessary for my situation.  The doctor was less than pleased with my refusal of the IV and blood draw, and said something along the lines of "Suit yourself" and left the room.

I can't remember if it was that same doctor or a nurse who came in to tell me they would be taking me upstairs to the Labor & Delivery unit so that an obstetrician could repair my tear, but I couldn't believe my ears when I heard the person say, "Dr. Moauro is the on-call doctor tonight and he will be repairing your tear."

Before we had left the house, I mentioned that I would be fine as long as Dr. Moauro wasn't the person to repair my tear.  And here I was, being told that Dr. Moauro would indeed be repairing it!  I asked them, "Are there any other doctors available who could repair my tear?" to which they said no, that Dr. Moauro was the only obstetrician on call and he would have to repair it.

I just laughed at this point, unable to believe the circumstance I was in.  I had planned a home birth with a midwife to avoid the poor treatment I received during Emma's hospital birth, and mere hours after Brendan's birth I found myself lying on a table in a hospital with the same terrible doctor stitching me up!

I was proud of myself for holding it together considering the circumstance.  I told Christina, "Looks like I get to face all of my fears at once" since I was coping with yet another tear, a hospital visit, stitches and Dr. Moauro.

When we met with Dr. Moauro he didn't even remember me as a patient, so I played along and hoped he wouldn't catch on.  He was incredibly rude and degrading towards Christina, showing her absolutely no respect as a medical professional. 

After examining me he confirmed that it was a third degree tear and not another fourth degree, which was music to my ears considering the lower risk of long-term complications associated with a third degree vs. fourth degree tear. 

Getting the stitches was absolutely horrific, and something I wish I could wipe from my memory.  From the various injections of local antistetic, to the pudendal nerve block, to what felt like hundreds of tugs and pinches on the most delicate area of my body...let's just say it's something I hope to never experience again.  I asked Dr. Moauro at one point if he was almost done and he said, "Oh no, we still have another thirty minutes of this" to which I practically laughed out loud.

I found the entire experience very comical, I think it was my way of coping with the horrifying situation I found myself in.  Fortunately Jake stood right by my side and I gripped his hands while talked to me about the baby and tried to distract me.  Christina stood by as well holding the baby near me.

After Dr. Moauro was finished and the hour of observation was up, we packed and left for home.  We were gone for a total of three hours I think.  I was so thankful for Christina's presence during the hospital trip.  She stayed the entire time including the hour-long observation after everything was taken care of.  I'm certain I would have been much more worked up and out of control had Christina not been with us.

That night we slept, I nursed Brendan, and Jake took care of me by getting me water and Ibuprofen and helping me out of bed.  The recovery for the first couple of days was very difficult for me due to the afterpains and the stitches, but by day three I felt significantly better.

My Thoughts About the Birth
I have to say, having a home birth was the best decision I could have made for myself and my baby.  I knew it was the right decision when my fears about giving birth began to give way to excitement and anticipation as I prepared our home for the event.

This time, I was surrounded by people who knew me and who cared about me, rather than random nurses and an obstetrician I had seen only twice before going into labor (my primary OB was not on call the night I gave birth to Emma).  My birth team surrounded me with love and support, encouraging me every step of the way.  My doula knew just what to say and when to say it, and gave me the confidence I needed to stay strong and persevere.

This time, I labored in the comfort of my own home, a clean, warm, inviting atmosphere where eating and drinking during labor was permitted and even encouraged.  I moved freely about the house until I entered the birth pool, and was monitored intermittently rather than being stuck in bed strapped to monitors and IVs.

This time, Jake was able to fully participate in the entire experience.  I did not give birth alone.  Jake and I brought this baby into the world together.  He pushed on my back during every single contraction for hours and hours.  He served me chamomile tea when I was anxious, ginger tea when my stomach was upset, coconut water when I needed to hydrate, and food when I needed to eat. 

He cleaned up and served my birth team food and drinks.  He called our family to update them and my birth team when it was time for them to come over.  He filled the birth pool, packed Emma's bags, and followed everything on the To Do list I gave him.

He encouraged me and comforted me, and even got into the water with me despite his reservations because he knew it was what I needed at the time.  He held our baby while my midwife and nurse brought him to life, he cut the cord and comforted the baby while I was examined.  He helped me into the car and drove carefully to the hospital. He held my hands and helped me through the horrific experience of getting the stitches.

Since we've been home, Jake has taken care of his entire family.  He spends time with Emma, feeds her, changes her diapers and does her bedtime routine.  He changes Brendan's diapers, gives him to me to nurse, burps him, dresses him and swaddles him.  He helps me get up and down, helps me in the bathroom when needed, monitors my pain and gives me medicine as needed, brings me food and water and lets me rest any time of the day.

I really believe that Brendan came into the world just as he should.  I think it was good we broke my water as he was born less than 45 minutes later, which I'll never know for sure but it may have saved his life to be born that quickly.  I think that God put me with Dr. Moauro again for a reason, maybe because he's the best at repairing the type of tears I had, or because I needed to face him to overcome my fear.

I'm recovering very quickly from the birth, which I attribute to Jake's loving care and my own self-care.  I did everything I could to prevent a tear, and while I was unsuccessful, I figure I can at least do everything I can to help the tear heal.  I'm doing sitz baths every day, including an herbal sitz bath to promote healing.  I'm doing Kegels to strengthen the area and to increase circulation to the wound.  I'm inspecting and cleaning the area several times a day, and letting the stitches air dry throughout the day.  I'm resting and drinking a lot of fluids, taking my vitamins and supplements as prescribed by my midwife.  I feel confident that I will heal with time and look forward to the day when I'm healthy again.

Having Brendan has made me even more grateful for my family.  My incredible husband who has been there for me through the best and most difficult times of my life.  My beautiful daughter whose birth was life-changing and who brings sunshine and laughter into each part of my day.  My newborn son who went through so much to be with us, and whose birth helped heal my past.

I am so thankful for the many blessings in my life.

Jake blowing up the birth pool

Emma helping during a contraction

Christina weighing the baby

Brendan shortly after he was born


  1. Celina,
    First off, congratulations again on the addition of Brendan to your family! Thank you so much for posting your incredible story. This will really help me in the coming months as Jim and I develop our own birth plan. I'm very much in favor of a home birth and really pretty afraid of a conventional hospital delivery for all the reasons you stated above. It makes me feel better to have a good friend who has accomplished a successful home birth.
    That is so funny that it was once again Dr. Moauro who was on-call that night. I'm glad you were able to overcome your horrific experience with him from Emma's birth. I hope the rest of your recovery goes smoothly, and you enjoy lots of precious bonding time with your beautiful baby boy. (Oh and hats off to Jake too for being such a wonderful daddy and hubby!)


  2. wow...what a wonderful birth story! so glad that everything went so smoothly :)

    this is canadianmama from the july2010 tww boards btw :)