Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It's Been Fun!

I really hate to do this, but between the lack of time, and the lack of participation (which is largely due to my lack of time) .... I am closing.

What this means, I won't be guilty about not having the time, but I will always share any birth stories that come my way.

For now, I will focus more on my family and my business. 

Monday, April 4, 2011


If you're waiting to send in your story, don't!!! Any positive story about womanhood, it doesn't have to be a birth story!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Birth of Silas

Thank you so much for sharing your birth story with us!!

Silas's birth story, born at 42 wks 2 days April 12th 2010.
8lbs 2oz 21 inches long.

On Sat april 10(2 weeks past due) I started having contractions around 20 mins apart but they were not strong or painful. By that night they were 10 to 15 mins apart but still not feeling like labor. I went to bed and slept through the night waking up every 10 to 20 mins with contractions. I had had lots of prodromal labor the weekend before that felt much stronger so I really did not expect much to happen with these contractions. As the day went on the contractions never stopped but most felt really mild.

I had some friends over on Sunday(4/11) and we timed the contractions for awhile and they seemed to be getting closer and were around 8 mins apart at this point. I ended up cooking a big dinner and was eating when I felt a slight trickle. For a split second I though I was leaking urine but then I felt a funny pop near my belly button and this huge gush came out(this was at 7:15 pm). It was so shocking since I've never had my water break naturally. My Dh helped me up and I went into the bathroom and called my MW. I went about 15 mins with no contractions but my MW and I decided someone should come out and check me.

I had a MW team that consisted of two MWs and an apprentice(she's one month away from finishing) so the apprentice was sent out. I live far out but she still got to my house within an hour. By that time my contractions were anywhere from 8 to 5 mins apart and I was worried I was just wasting everyone's time. When she arrived she asked if she could check me and I was dilated to 6 cms all the way through my cervix (I had been 4-5 on the outside and 2 on the inside during my last visit) and she could feel babies head. At this point the contractions still felt pretty mild to me but I had to breathe through them and was focused on relaxing when they hit. I sat in a rocking chair in my room and watched the MW set up up all the birthing supplies. We talked and I was still smiling and laughing between the contractions.

I think an hour or so went by and the two other MWs arrived. One of them checked me again and I was 7cms so they started filling the birth tub. I was so excited to get in the tub after hearing how wonderful its supposed to be for labor. When the tub was full I got in and although it was very relaxing between contractions I had a hard time feeling grounded to focus during them. After trying some different positions I found something that worked and decided to stay in the tub.

At this point time is blurry but I think it was around 10:30 pm when I got into the tub and my water had broke at 7:15 pm. I remember the contractions were getting more intense but I felt in control and could focus to get through them. I know my best friend arrived around midnight and I was relived to see her since she lives 3hrs away. I remember worrying because it seemed my contractions were not regular and I still felt I was having long breaks

between them. Also some were very intense and other felt more mild. They never felt super painful but they were still intense and I started praying during the worst of them. I started to get really nervous because they were strong but I kept waiting for the transition feeling you read about. I told my MW that I did not think I could do it because I figured I had hours and hours left to go. I also got very restless and could not find a comfortable spot. I even started to get out of the tub but when I stood up the gravity on my body felt overwhelming after being in the water.

Shortly after that I felt a contraction coming on and suddenly my body arched on it's own and pushed. It was the most shocking sensation and I felt the baby coming down. There was no urge, it was just like my body took over and I had no control. It felt like the baby was coming out my bottom instead of where he was supposed to and it scared me like everything was going to rip open. I had another contraction where I felt like I had no control and then they changed or else I figured out how to work with them. The MW really wanted to check me to make sure my cervix was out of the way but when she tried I could not handle to feeling of her touching me so she stopped. She got a mirror and a flash light to see(since I was in the tub) and during the next contraction it was apparent he was coming and nothing was in the way.

My other two midwives had been sleeping in the living room thinking I had a ways to go so the one rushed out to tell them I was pushing. Everyone came in and I felt very secure and not scared by this point. I remember that during each contraction I felt like pushing but would feel a burning sensation that would make me let up. I kept saying I was worried he was going back up when I would stop but they assured me I was doing great. My body just knew to ease him out with small pushes instead of trying to bear down through the burning. After a few more pushes they told me I could feel his head and it was so strange feeling!

Finally I was told to keep pusing even with the burning feeling and his head came out. I kept waiting for him to slide out but I ended up having to push each part of his body out. He never slid out after the shoulders and I had to push his chest out too. It was weird to even feel his legs and feet come through, I thought I would just have a sliding sensation after the head.

After he was out my MW laid him on my chest and it was so amazing to see him and know that I just pushed him out myself! I felt so relived that it was so much easier that I had pictured and worried about. It really was not painful for him to come out like I had thought it would be. Once he was on my chest he did not want to breathe right away so they had to suction him and rub him. They did all that on my chest and he started to pink up after a bit. Then he just looked around and I looked at him and it was wonderful. I was so amazed by him and it was so surreal that I actually did it, I gave birth to him right then just the way nature meant it to be. By this time the cord had stopped pulsing and my husband was able to cut it. Then I handed the baby to my husband while the MW's helped me deliver
the placenta.

Once that happened they helped me out of the tub, dried me off and tucked me into bed. I got Silas back and we cuddled skin to skin and nursed for the first time. He latched right on and was a natural little nurser. My MWs cleaned up everything and fed me a snack and then examined Silas. He was weighed and measured and examined all right there with me. I was also checked for tears at this point and luckily I just had a small skid mark and abrasion but no real tears! After we were both checked they tucked us both into bed and we were left to bond in our own home. It was the best experience and I'm so glad we chose a home birth!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hannah's Stories

The Story of Eve's Birth, a wonderful labor at home, followed by a transport to the hospital and eventually a c-section. One that led this mother further down the road of passion for birth, her second child Willow made a powerful entrance, in a beautiful HBAC! Which was followed by another empowering homebirth!

Thank you Hannah for sharing your birth stories with us!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Fresh Story of Hyperion Justyce

I was 39 weeks and 1 day when I went into my OB's office and there I was only 1.5cm, thick, and long. I was devastated as I had tried everything. Castor Oil, evening primrose oil, red raspberry leaf tea, sex, walking, bouncing. Everything. So for the second time, he swept my membranes and my mother and I left. We walked around Walmart and I stopped at the grocery store and then home I went.

Having had gone through the sweeping before with no change, I just went about my business and once in bed, contractions started at 1am at 40 minutes apart. By 5am, my contractions were 15 minutes and strong. I couldn't sleep and as the day progressed, they went to 10 minutes and by the evening, I felt I couldn't do it anymore. Finally, my husband and I went in and while I was thinking I would be sent home, I was admitted at a 4-5 cm and stretchy.

I failed doing it naturally, but having not slept, I was too tired to try and got an epi. I almost forced a stadol, but thankfully my husband helped me remember that was the ONE thing I did not want. Finally, relaxed, my friend and husband and myself talked about many things. An hour and a half later, my water broke on its own and I was at 9cm fully effaced. I needed to push, but my doc wasn't there yet. But my body wouldn't wait, and after six pushes, my beautiful son was born.

Weighing 6lbs. 15.43oz and 20 inches long. He is beautiful , loves nursing, is intact and just a wonderful joy to our family.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Twin c-section followed by a VBAC story

I am from Ireland, and we had our first pregnancy there- boy/ girl twins conceived after 3 years of ttcing and 3 rounds of fertility treatment. The pregnancy went well and I planned a vaginal birth, but always knew with twins there was a chance of c-section (my hospital had a 40% c-section rate for twins, 13% overall c-section rate). I carried to 39 weeks- which is considered past term for twins-, when the twins showed some signs of distress on NSTs, and their growth arrested and placenta started breaking down. They needed to come out. I was unfavourable for induction (-2 station on Twin A, no dilation or effacement), but we tried anyway, in the hope of a vaginal birth.  It did nothing, not a single contraction. So after 2 days, it was decided a c-section was needed. I healed well and the overall experience was good, but that doesn't mean I want to repeat it! In Ireland, VBAC is the norm and so while we didn't think we could have more kids, I always thought I'd have a VBAC if I did get pregnant again- to be honest, the thought of an RCS didn't even cross my mind.

...then we moved to NW Arkansas, where my husband is from. I found myself pregnant with a very happy surprise baby, and upon doing some reading, realised VBACs were banned here! At first I was disappointed, but thought I might be ok with an RCS. I decided to stay with our family doctor for maternity care, as he also does OB stuff. I knew from friends that he did a lot of VBACs before the ban, so at my first appointment, when he explained that he tries to schedule RCS as close to the due date as possible, I mentioned I didn't really want one. He said that was ok, that I had plenty of time to decide. By my next (12 week) appointment, I had done my research and made up my mind that I really wanted a VBAC. I had considered how to achieve that- the nearest hospital and birthing center which allowed them was 2.5+ hours away on a good day, which I didn't want to risk considering I had no experience of how my labor would go. Home birth was an option I was toying with, but wasn't sure I was comfortable with, and my husband was completely against. So, my chosen option was one many warn against: VBAC in a VBAC ban hospital. I discussed this with my doctor, who went through the risks of both RCS and VBAC with me- giving equal time to both. He seemed supportive, but did say there could be issues if I was in hospital a long time, so best to come in dilated well already. So he kept “forgetting” to schedule the RCS.

Pregnancy went well until 30 weeks, when my blood pressure started to creep up (no other signs of pre-eclampsia). At first, the doctor just asked me to keep an eye on it at home, but after a while he got concerned. He requested an ultrasound at 36 weeks to check on baby and placenta, and frankly I was worried he'd use it to pull the big baby card, especially when the u/s tech estimated baby at 8.1 pounds already! But the doctor was fine with that- he said he was looking for info on the placenta and baby's health, not size, which can be off 1+ pounds at that gestation. I started having weekly NSTs which were ok, but got some swelling. Based on that, at my 40 week appointment (actually 39+4), and with baby still -2, 2cm dilated and somewhat soft ( asked about stripping membranes, he said he would if he could but I was too high still, he could not reach), the doctor said we should look at RCS if baby doesn't come out soon, and that if I was an RCS patient, he'd have taken baby the week before. We discussed dates and decided that unless things got worse, he'd do the RCS at 41+2. I felt a bit sad, but also realised that'd give me another two weeks, and tried to make my peace with that.

At 39+4, I went to bed and shortly after I went to sleep at 10pm, woke to a “popping” sound. A gush followed and I was pretty sure my waters had broken. Went to the bathroom and there was some more clear liquid. I started having contractions pretty much right away, but they started off light, so I let my husband and doula know what was happening and went back to bed. I had an appointment for another u/s the next morning anyway, so the idea was to just keep that, hoping I was in active labor by then. Believe it or not, I never discussed what to do when waters broke before labor with my doctor, I didn't think it would happen! Contractions picked up petty soon to a strong menstrual pain type, and moved closer together (6 minutes apart for several hours), but slowed down again once I got up. I rang the doctor when the office opened and he told me to go to the hospital.

So we went and met him there. Still -2, 3 cm dilated. He didn't want me to go back home due to the waters, but said we could wait a few hours before we did anything, to see if things started going again naturally. He gave orders not to check me vaginally so as to minimise risks of infection, and started an external CFM (his only request to me, discussed at prenatal visits, so I was ok with that). He also said the hospital's policy was c-section for anyone whose waters broke 18+ hours ago, but that we could “work with that”. I signed a load of forms, including a RCS refusal/ VBAC consent form, but refused to sign the RCS consent form they wanted me to sign “just in case of emergency, as you cannot sign if you have had pain medication”; as I pointed out to them, in case of true emergency, my husband could sign. There was no problem with that and indeed, throughout my stay not one nurse said anything derogatory about VBAC or tried to scare me- it was also noticeable that they had all read my birth preferences before coming into my room, which was nice.

Nothing started, so I consented to a very low pitocin drip. This started contractions, and my doula was a great help dealing with them. But several hours later, I had made only 1cm dilation progress and was still high and -2 station. Doctor asked to put an internal contraction monitor on for a bit, to see if the contractions were really as strong as I felt them (we left the external heart rate monitor on, as I didn't want to have a screw in my baby's head). They were. We had reached the 18 hour after waters breaking limit now, but as my waters were still clear and baby showed no signs of distress, doctor said he'll ignore hospital policy. Dr didn't want to put the pit up higher, so we waited. Soon after that, I went into transition labor. Hurray! Both doctor and doula said it would not be long now. I had very strong contractions one on top of the other for two hours, and it was hard to deal with, but I managed. After 2 hours, they checked me. 6cm... everyone was surprised, as we thought I should be getting ready to push. I couldn't take it anymore, so after discussing it with my husband and doula, I called the doctor back in to discuss pain medication (no-one had mentioned drugs to me before, as per my birth plan). I decided on an epidural to give me a break. The anesthetist recommended a low dose so I could still feel some minor pain/ pressure (as one of the signs of uterine rupture is pain between contractions), and so I could still move on the bed, get on all fours etc. It worked perfectly, and I got a bit of a break, even a little semi-nap (during which I swatted at the doctor, thinking he was my husband, when he tried to wake me).

Several hours later- some 28 hours after waters broke and contractions started-, I was almost fully dilated (only a lip around the cervix), but still high, a 0 station We let the epi wear off and I started pushing as I had the urge, but baby would not come down. Pushing was exhausting, and I felt I could not go on. Baby's heart rate decals started to last longer after contractions finished. Doctor started to get concerned and said we would need to look at a RCS soon, but he'd like to try one more thing: ventose delivery. It would probably not work as baby was still so high, and could involve an episiostomy, but it would really be a shame not to at least try, and end up with an RCS after all this. He would not try for too long- probably only 2 contractions worth- but it was worth a try. I cried a bit, I was so exhausted and felt my VBAC slipping away. My doula and husband kept me sane, and stopped me from crying as I needed all the energy I could get for pushing. After 2 contractions, there was some hope so we kept on going, and eventually- after a severe episiostomy, baby came out, head one push, body the next, more than 30 hours after my waters broke and contractions started. It was the most amazing feeling physically and mentally, feeling that head pop out. Doctor clamped the cord (husband didn't want to), and my wonderful VBAC daughter was put on my chest, where they did all their little tests while the doctor stitched me up. The doctor finally got to go home, some 15 hours into his supposed day off 

 I started breastfeeding and Rachel has been attached to me boob pretty much permanently since- she is 10 months now!  The day after my VBAC, I had quite a few nursing students visiting with their mentors- I guess I was a bit of an “event”, and ask questions about c-section vs VBAC experience. There is really no comparison. I was sore down there for a while, but it is nothing compared to the post c-section pain. With my VBAC, I got to hold and carry my toddler twins 3 hours after birth of their little sister.  I am not saying it was easy- the doctor said that would have been a difficult and long birth even for a FTM-  but it was so worth it, for baby and me and all my family.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Her Own Birth Story

And now, for your reading pleasure, allow me to present the story of Xiola. She wanted her own story, and she made sure her Mama had one to tell. I hope you enjoy the story of Cat's second daughters birth. 


Sunday, September 25 at around 5:30 am I woke up having mild contractions.  I had been having these off and on for weeks now, so didn't think much of them.  Still, I couldn't get in a comfortable position to sleep anymore as they were very crampy.  I got up and took a shower, thinking they'd slow down and I could go back to bed.  I was 2 days past my due date.  Well, they got closer together while I was in the shower and were lasting fairly long (45 seconds or longer), so I got out and decided to get a few things done before waking Jason.  I went into the kitchen and did the dishes and basically just puttered around trying to keep myself busy.  Jason came out to check on me and I told him what was going on.  He convinced me to try and lie down for awhile, but still I couldn't get comfortable.  So more puttering around…;)  Finally I needed some help through some of the more intense rushes and Jason got up with me.  I really wasn't in a lot of pain, but the pressure was becoming quite intense.  I called our midwife and told her what was going on, but also told her that I didn't need her just yet.  Our 2 year old, Lola,  had come so quickly once I crossed over into active labor that we wanted Toni to be prepared just in case the same thing happened.  At around 1 pm she called back to check in and I told her they were coming every 2 minutes, but hadn't really kicked over yet.  She decided to wait awhile, and then come over and check me.  She called her assistant, Nancy, who had a longer drive and they arrived around 3:00 p.m. – I was 5 cms, but still a bit thick.  I was getting tired by this time, but was determined to keep my labor going.  I got in the tub for awhile, which helped with the discomfort, but also started slowing down my contractions. We decided to walk around the property in hopes that they turned over into active labor soon.  They were getting stronger and the next time Toni checked me I was close to 7 cms.  We thought we were in the homestretch.  After awhile they started slowing down again, so I kept myself upright and walking.  By this time it was getting late.  I needed to lie down for a bit, but every time I stopped walking the contractions would slow down.  At midnight Toni convinced me that I needed some rest.  Jason and I laid down for awhile, but I was so scared that my contractions would stall out that I couldn't really sleep.  

At 3:30 am Toni checked me again and I was digressing.  I was back to a stretchy 5 cms.  I had hit a wall with exhaustion and we all decided that I needed sleep and rest.  My water was still intact, so there was no rush.  There wasn't going to be a baby that night.  It was very discouraging and I broke down sobbing, feeling like a failure.  Nancy came over to me as Jason helped Toni load her stuff back up in the van, and sat with me while I cried.  I had been working hard for close to 20 hours and was suffering from sheer exhaustion.  Nancy then made a statement that changed the course of my thoughts.  She told me to let go of how easy and quick Lola's birth was, that this wasn't going to be the same thing and that I just needed to allow it to happen the way it was going to.  It stopped me in my tracks.  I hadn't realized how much I was carrying around the thoughts that my homebirth with Lola was easy, quick and fairly painless.  I just assumed this baby would come the same way.

My mom had taken Lola while everything was going on, so I called her and asked her to come back.  I needed my family around me that day.  My sister had stayed throughout the night, so when my mom got there we made food and basically just hung out.  I went to the store with my mom as I really wanted to get out of the house.  We talked a lot about what was going on, why my labor had stalled, etc...  I was looking deep inside myself for an answer and Nancy's words kept coming back to me.  I realized I wasn't allowing my baby to have her own story.  I wanted the same kind of birth I'd had with Lola, so was unwilling to accept the fact that this was taking a lot longer.  I wasn't honoring Xiola or myself in the process.  I had also given up my power in the birth.  I allowed Lola to be taken out of the house, when I really wanted her home.  I wasn't letting my body do what it needed as I was afraid of stalling, which of course caused it to happen anyway.  And I wasn't making my own needs be heard.  I realized I just needed to let go of everything and allow what was coming to do so in its own time.  This was Xiola's and my birth experience and I needed to feel it that way both physically and spiritually. 

Once I came to these realizations, I began to feel less discouraged.  I nurtured my last few hours with my baby girl inside me.  I enjoyed the time I was spending with my family and realized that this could very well be the last day that Lola was still the baby.  So we showered her with attention.  By the time I went to bed that night I was feeling at peace with everything.

Early the next morning, I woke up at 3:30 am having to use the bathroom.  I felt some familiar twinges and decided once again, to get in the shower.  This time I felt more than mild contractions and my body began emptying itself in preparation.  I knew this had to be what I was waiting for.  I got out of the shower and decided that I wanted to take a bath instead.  These contractions were not slowing down, not even in the tub.  I got out and went into the kitchen to busy myself, but couldn't walk through the pains.  I woke up Jason and asked him to fill the birth tub for me as I really wanted to float.  After filling the tub he went back to bed to get some rest, but within 20 minutes I was moaning and needed his strength with me.  I had started timing my rushes and they were every 2 minutes like clockwork.  I asked Jason to call Toni and my mom.  When Toni got there she checked me and I was 6 cms and very thin.  This was it, finally!

I figured because I had gone so quickly with Lola, that at 6 cms I was almost in the homestretch with Xiola…was I ever wrong.  My contractions started becoming more intense and I was beginning to feel them in my back more.  Xiola had tried to stay posterior during the last few weeks, but Toni was picking up her heart tones low and in the front so we naturally assumed she was in the correct position.  I kept getting in and out of the tub as the water felt really good and helped me manage the contractions when I needed a break, but I couldn't stay in the water as I was very restless and wanted to walk around a lot as well.  I was beyond talking through the pains and would lean against Jason, feeling his strength run through my body.  We went outside to be alone for awhile and I found that with every contraction I wanted to squat.  I knew Xiola was still pretty high, so I wanted to bring her down and the squatting felt good.  Jason put my hair up for me and brought me water and cool washcloths.  It was hot outside, but I didn't mind.  He tried to keep me in the shade, but I needed to wander.  This went on for a couple hours, walking and squatting.  At one point Lola came out with my mom.  I didn't want her to see me in so much pain, but during one contraction I couldn't stop myself from moaning.  She ran over to me afterwards and hugged me and told me she loved me.  Then she took a towel from Jason and wanted to wipe off my face.  It was really sweet and she wasn't scared at all.  I felt good knowing that we had prepared her so well and that she as able to be there with us to experience her sister's arrival. 

I started leaking fluid and we thought maybe my water had broke.  I went over to the fence and hung on it during a particularly painful rush.  Fluid began pouring out of me and I kept saying I was peeing all over myself.  Jason kept telling me he didn't think it was urine.  After awhile Toni checked again and I was at 8 cms, but she still felt the bag intact.  She thought I might have a leak higher up as every time I would squat, more fluid would come out.   I was happy to be so close to seeing my baby girl.  Then Toni decided to check Xiola's heart along my side…she suspected she was too far to the side by this point as I had been laboring for a few hours and was feeling it all in my back.  My cervix was opening, but she didn't feel her head as far down as it should be if she was in the correct position.  Sure enough, there was a very loud, steady heartbeat.  She was trying to stay posterior and that was why I was feeling so much pain in my back.  That's when I realized the real work was about to begin.

I really wanted back in the tub, so Jason put more warm water in while I tried to find a comfortable position.  I did a lot of hands and knees in hopes that Xiola would rotate to the front.  It was during this that both Toni and Jason noticed with every contraction my lower back was wonder it hurt so bad!  Toni started doing counter pressure in hopes that Xiola would move.  I really wanted to stay in the water, but she convinced me to get out for awhile and use the birthing ball.  So off to the bedroom we went where I laid across the ball while Toni massaged my lower back during each contraction.  Jason held my hand during it all and made sure I had plenty of water.  There came a point where I needed to lie down and that's when transition hit.  I started shaking; the contractions were coming one on top of the other.  I wasn't getting a break.  At one point I looked up at Jason and told him they hurt and just wouldn't stop.  Toni rubbed my legs and told me I was in transition and was 9 cms.  Even throughout all the pain however, I never felt like I couldn't manage them.  I started chanting, "Open open" with each one and visualizing my cervix opening up and allowing my baby to come through.  I willed myself to surrender to each rush.  I talked to Xiola, telling her not to be afraid, that we were together on this and would help each other through it.  I asked her to rotate forward so it would be easier on us both.  I sent all the love I was feeling to her and went inside myself to gather strength.  All of a sudden I wanted back in the water.  I knew I would not be leaving it without my baby in my arms.

I climbed into the tub again for the last time and was so thankful for the relief the water provided.  I was going through the most intense contractions and did a lot of moaning and yelling.  The water felt good against my skin and it made a huge difference in the intensity of my rushes when I could float through them.  Lola came over and put soothing water on my head and face.  Her little hands felt so good against my skin.  The rushes were not stopping and I began having trouble finding a position that was working for me.  I knew that opening my mouth and allowing the sounds to flow out of me would help; I also made a conscious effort to keep my face relaxed.  I knew that by doing this the rest of my body would follow suit as much as possible.  I stayed low in the water as it felt good against my skin.  My body started feeling like I needed to push, so I gave a few tentative pushes in hopes that she'd move down more.  I told Toni that I was beginning to feel like something was happening.  She told me to start pushing whenever I wanted to.  I was still moaning and chanting through my contractions, and trying to push at the same time.  It felt like it was going so slowly.  That's when Jason and Toni told me to use my breath and not to moan through the contractions anymore.  Jason coached me through it and I remember during one particularly good push hearing him say, "Breath Cat."  Right after this, I took a deep breath and pushed with everything I had in me.  I could immediately feel the shift in energy within my body.  After that contraction I sat back and all of a sudden went somewhere else.  I put my head down on a cool washcloth, sank down into the water and felt like I was leaving my body.  I became completely relaxed.  I didn't fall asleep; I just went somewhere that was so peaceful and so happy.  The warm water against my skin felt good, and I felt as if I was in a trance.  I have never been that relaxed before.  It was the most intensely spiritual feeling I had ever experienced.  Everything was right in the world and I felt both powerful and humble at the same time.  I felt apart of everything and yet on my own.  I was aware of everyone in the room, but was beyond their energy.  I was gathering up my Mama Bear strength and heard Toni say I was getting a nice long break.  I didn't move, I just let these waves of euphoria rush over me and I realized that it was going to take all my energy on the next contraction, but I felt good about it.  It was an intense moment of clarity that words can't even begin to describe.

The next wave started building in me and I got into position on my knees and held onto the side of the tub.  I looked up at Jason and told him I loved him.  Then it all hit me and I took a deep breath and pushed.  I realized that while I was pushing I had begun to growl like the Mama Bear strength I was feeling.  It was really intense and felt so right.  I felt Xiola move straight through the birth canal and begin crowning.  She retreated a bit as the contraction subsided, but I was ready for it.  I reached down and felt my sac bulging, and right behind it was her head.  I don't know if I smiled on the outside, but inside I was beaming.  Jason said he heard Toni saying a quiet prayer for me and he felt very touched by her selflessness and love she was sending me.  I was in my own world and the next rush was coming.  I knew I was going to push her out.  I felt the burning; I heard the excitement in everyone's voices as her head came out, all of them encouraging me.  I heard my own voice, deep and primal.   I reached down and there was my baby's head.  Toni asked if I was going to catch her myself and I immediately said no.  I had found a position that worked and didn't want to move from it.  Then the oddest sensation I'd ever felt in birth came.  While I felt her head outside my body, I could feel her feet kicking me and her squirming on the inside of me trying to find her way out.  I almost felt a little sad as I realized that would be the last time I would feel her inside me.  Then all of a sudden she was out and a huge wave of emotion settled over me.  Toni announced that she was born in the caul!  I could not believe it.  Both my girls were blessed with this at birth.  I didn't realize it at the time, but during those last intense contractions, my little Lola was being held in my mother's arms and she was chanting over and over, "I love you mommy, I love you mommy…"  She was giving me and her sister her strength and all that innocent love.  As soon as Xiola emerged I heard Lola's little voice start yelling to everyone, "A baby!  A baby came out of mommy's body!"  She was feeling the energy in the room and was ecstatic.

I turned over and Toni handed me my Xiola.  I immediately felt for her cord as I wanted to wait until it quit pulsing before cutting it.  I didn't vocalize this desire to anyone, but just allowed it to happen.  Xiola's cord was the biggest cord I had ever seen.  It was super fat!  At the base of her belly button it was almost the diameter of a half dollar!   Even Toni was shocked and said she wasn't sure the clamp would fit!  After a couple minutes I was ready for it to be clamped and Toni managed to get the clamp on, but just barely. Lola went over by Jason and watched as he cut the cord.  Xiola was very calm and peaceful in the water.  We wrapped towels around her as Toni checked out her cord and made sure she had clear air passages.  Our sweet little girl just looked around while I held her in my arms.  She seemed at peace with everything going on.  It was so amazing.  I wanted to deliver the placenta out of the water, so I handed Xiola to her daddy so I could get out of the tub.  Toni and Nancy helped me to the bedroom where I took off my wet bathing suit top and climbed into bed.  Lola hopped in next to me and snuggled up close.  They handed Xiola to me and she immediately started nursing.  About 15 minutes later I delivered the biggest placenta I'd ever seen.  Went well with her cord!!  I had a tiny nick that didn't require any attention.  I felt great.  All was right with the world.  Lola was on one side of me and my darling son, Jonathon was on the other side kneeling on the floor.  Jason was standing there as was my sister, my nephew and my mom, while Toni and Nancy were busy with me.  I felt so much love in that room at that moment.  I had all my children snuggled up with me and my family surrounding me.  It really doesn't get any better than that.

Jason and I had such an intense connection throughout everything.  We rarely spoke to each other but he always anticipated my needs before I even thought them.  During several particularly intense contractions, I gathered strength just by looking into his eyes.  He was with me through every step.  He spiritually felt every rush and held me up both physically and spiritually during the entire process.  It was like a cleansing for us, a primitive ritual that God sent us through.  I have never felt more in-love with my husband than during all this.  He was my rock, my guide, and my partner.  I am so grateful to have him by my side.  

Toni was beyond amazing.  Her love and strength were such a blessing to us during everything this labor had to offer.  She was constantly supportive and respectful of our needs.  I am so grateful to have been lead to her and am so blessed to have her in our lives.  She will forever be a part of our family.  We can only hope she realizes how important her role is in our lives as well as those other families she's supported in her midwifery practice.  She is a unique individual who has definitely found her calling in life.

My labor was about 9.5 hours long, with 34 minutes of pushing.  Xiola weighed in at 8 lbs, 9 oz and 21" long.  Both my girls were born in the birthing tub and I wouldn't have it any other way.  Giving birth in the water is such a beautiful and peaceful way for a new little soul to enter the world. 

Xiola gave us a bit of a scare at first when she lost more than a pound within 2 days, but she seemed to have retained a lot of fluid and once that was expelled and my milk came in she's been gaining weight at a steady pace.  She is such a good little baby, hardly ever cries and is very curious about her surroundings.  Her brother and sister love her so much, as do her daddy and I.  When Lola wakes up in the mornings, one of the first things out of her mouth is, "Where's my Xiola?"  She is eager to help me with the baby and kisses her and hugs her a lot.  I feel so blessed to have my children all healthy and happy.  And while Xiola's birth was harder than Lola's, it was just perfect for Xiola.  I wouldn't have wanted it to be any other way.  It is our own unique experience and that is a blessing in itself.