Welcome to my first blog.
To get familiar I will first write a personal story that drives me, gave me strength and inspiration to why and how I support new parents on a daily base. It became my life, my calling.
My second birth story
Yesterday my daughter Gina turned 16, a milestone. Turning into an amazing young woman with the strongest will to be heard, her wisdom is mind-blowing even at this tumultuous adolescence time of her life.
Gina came into this world with great ease, and I do think there is a reflection that comes with that. She was ready to come out and face the world. Born as a “teenager” as I always have said.
Since my first was a home birth in Amsterdam Holland 6.5 years prior, I could not bare on delivering in the hospital, at that time there were just a few midwives in NYC that supported home deliveries. I decided to go to the Elisabeth Seton Childbearing center on 14 Street (now closed) and made a great plan with the midwives including great guidance for Marlon.
Gina went past her due date of February 18th, and I remember being greatly disappointed because my first Marlon , came a week early. I was big, ready, it was cold outside, trying to keep warm with big coats and anything stylish that would fit, (no there were not many charming maternity clothes then) .
I worked with all the tricks, acupressure, herbs, overly nested etc. but not until three days later my water slowly broke. Just like I had some contractions during those last weeks, the labor did not set off right away, little here , little there, all well to bare. But at 1 Am I woke up from more intense contractions, so we started our journey to the Elisabeth Seton Childbearing center on 14 Street. Marlon came along, since we had prepared him to be part of this experience. He had a grown up friend that was going to stay with him in the family room, but he also was prepared to attend the birth and see his sister come into this world.
When arrived everything was slowed down, I was 3 centimeters dilated but nothing happened. So we all dozed off, hang out, with a contraction here and there, at 7am I started to move around more, walked through the hallways had a contraction in the labor room, came back out had a chat, and at 9 am I retreated into the labor room, permanently, what was a large hotel room with Jacuzzi, a birth chair, a ball, pillows etc. It was very comfortable, almost like being home.
The contractions started to hit hard, active labor had started. The nurse was supporting me in the room, and I remember Marlon coming in because he was curious, this part was not so easy on him, even though I had prepped him with stories, details, classes and videos, it was hard to see his mommy in pain. I proceeded and since my biggest wish was a water birth, we started to fill up the bathtub.
At the moment (two hours later)when I thought “ damn this hurts, what was I thinking, how can I do this again naturally”? I felt the enormous urge to push, having done it before naturally and feeling the gravity since I was standing I knew it was time, so I told the midwife. Yep I was 9 cm and the tub was not even half full. I remember that there was a second mommy in labor and as it happened we were both almost ready to push at the same time, so they had called in a second midwife just in case. Somehow I ‘won “ the race and I was starting to push, in the same position as that I felt comfortable laboring, standing up, leaning on the bed. One midwife massaging me, the other ready to catch Gina. It took about 30 minutes and she was out. Me shaking, still standing, she was handed over to me as I hobbled to the bed to lay my hard-working body down with Gina in my arms.
During this last part of pushing, Marlon was right there, with a little freak out at the moment she was ready to come out because one thing I did not prep him for was that you sometime can pass a bowel while pushing, oops!! The nurse went after him and told him that his sister was going to come out now and if he wanted to see it that he should come back in. As he did my brave and curious man. He was there to hold her first, daddy cut the cord, mommy got stitched up, after birth came, he studied the placenta, a Placenta Bilobata, made pictures with his camera, he could not stop. He was so into it. There she was, our Gina, a round , pink perfect baby of 7.75 lbs. A little bit of dark hair, super awake and curious, round cheeks, a dimple in her chin and eyebrows!!!!
She latched perfectly and after a few hours we went home. I had my lovely postpartum doula Diana , who became my inspiration and mentor, to help me out with all the basics. It is different the second time around, you have been there done that, so I was making breakfast and school lunch for Marlon the next morning. I rested as much as possible during the day, and had Diana pamper me with meals that I had either prepared prior and frozen or she made me frittatas and soups. I never forget that yet foggy time, of after labor pains ( very intense after #2 and drinking my own herbal brew helped) recovery, trying to breastfeed, gassy times, sleep. All a blur when you come out of it a few months later. The weather cleared, it was spring, and I took Gina everywhere I went all day long, we were ready together to conquer this world together!!
Photo Credits: Karilyn Sanders & Andree Lamoth.