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 ( 02-22-2015) 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”.
Since my first birth was a home birth in Amsterdam Holland 6.5 years prior, and at that time there were just a few midwives in NYC that supported home deliveries, plus I preferred avoiding delivering in the hospital, I decided to go to the Elisabeth Seton Childbearing center on 14 Street. The then only birthing center in NYC, (now closed) had a team of excellent midwives and several birthing rooms. I made a perfect birthing plan with the midwives, what also included great guidance for Marlon to have him presence at the birth of his sister.
Gina went past her due date of February 18th, and I remember being greatly disappointed because my first Marlon, was born a week early. I was big, heavy and fully 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 of the labor inducing tricks, acupressure, herbs etc. I overly nested and was fully prepared, but not until three days later my water slowly broke, a dripping faucet, really. the labor did not set off right away, like you see in the movies, little contraction here and there, no regularity in timing, basically how it had been over the last weeks. I went to sleep but at 1 Am I woke up from more regular intense contractions. We woke up Marlon and started our journey to the birthing center. It was cold, and was supposed to snow. As I settled into a birthing room, and we prepared Marlon to be part of this life time experience, we called our friend, who was going to stay with him in the family room. When ever he was comfortable, he was able to join me in the labor room and to attend the birth. Or to watch his favorite movies with his pal.
When arrived and settled in the birthing center, everything was slowed down, I was 3 centimeters dilated but nothing happened. So we all took a nap, 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, all very low key and bearable. At 9 am I retreated into the labor room, what was a large hotel like 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. There was a lovely nurse who was supporting me in the room. I remember Marlon coming in the room because he was curious, to check in on me but 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, but I never made it into it.
Two hours later and at the moment when I thought, damn this hurts, what was I thinking to do this naturally again, I felt the enormous urge to push. Given birth naturally before and using gravity, since I was standing, I knew it was time. When the midwife checked on me, I was 9 cm and the tub was not even half full. I remember that there was a second mommy in labor at the center and we were both almost ready to push at the same time, so they had called in a second midwife. 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. Lucky to have two midwives by my side, one massaging me, the other ready to catch Gina. It took about 30 minutes of pushing and at 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 because one thing I forgot to 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 be born. He was there to hold her first, daddy cut the cord, mommy got stitched up, the placenta (Bilobata) was born, he made pictures of it with his camera, he was curious and intrigued.
There she was, our Gina, born at 11.20 Am. 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 got the clear and we went home. I had my lovely postpartum doula Diana, who actually became my inspiration and mentor as a postpartum doula. She helped me out with all the basics with Gina but Diana pampered me with massages and meals, that I had either prepared prior and frozen or she made me frittatas and soups. It is different the second time around, you have been there done that but I rested as much as possible during the day when Marlon was in school. Though I never forget I was making breakfast and school lunch for Marlon the next morning, with Gina laying on the kitchen counter.
I slightly forget that foggy time, of after labor pains ( very intense after baby #2, drinking my own herbal brew helped) recovery, breastfeeding challenges, gassy times, sleep and the lack off. When you come out of all that a few month later it is all a blur. But the weather cleared, it was spring, new challenges were arising but Gina and me were inseparable during those first months and years, with big brother, who Marlon truly was the minute she was born, we were ready together to conquer this world together!!
Photo Credits: Karilyn Sanders & Andree Lamoth.