asphodellium

Posts Tagged ‘natural birth

(For Ashelyn’s birth story, go here.)

Thursday morning, sometime after 9AM. Kevin is preparing to leave for an appointment when I tell him I’ve had a few contractions. I can’t say for sure that it’s labour, but given the circumstances of my first birth – an emergency unattended homebirth – we alert the midwife.

She suggests a warm bath, which slows the contractions but doesn’t stop them. I feel them the same way I did with my first: a low frontal burn, not particularly acute. We call my parents, who come to pick up Ashelyn for the day, and arrange to meet our midwife at the hospital.

photo-1

It’s a little past noon when we arrive. Kerry checks me: 4cm dilated and, she says, “quite thinned out.” Contractions are roughly 5 minutes apart and 30 seconds long, but don’t bother me too much, so Kevin and I are instructed to go for a walk.

We wander around the hospital for an hour or so and return reporting some progress, but nothing remarkable. I’m still at 4cm. We get a curtained-off unit in the assessment area. It was quiet earlier, but now more labouring mothers are arriving, many of them making much more of a racket than I am. The wait for a room is long.

At 3:30PM, I feel a sudden pop, like a water balloon or a giant baby hiccup. Then a gush. “Oh,” I tell Kevin (who was dozing off on the assessment bed), “my water broke.”

Up until now, contractions had been well within the realm of manageable. My midwife kept asking if I felt any pressure, and I hadn’t. Neither had I felt like making odd noises. But the first contraction after my water breaking doubles me over, and there it is all at once: pressure and the urge to push. Plus the involuntary growly noises I remember making at Ashelyn’s birth.

photo-2

They usher us to the nearest labour & delivery room, thankfully just around the corner. I don’t, however, make it onto the bed before the next contraction hits. I feel a burning “ring of fire” but higher up, in the area of the cervix. I feel baby’s head moving down … and out.

The body slides out with the third contraction, and then the nurses are heaping warm towels – heavenly! – over the two of us. “I feel better now,” I say unnecessarily.

“I’ll bet you do,” one nurse grins.

photo

Jariel Jayden, born February 12 at 3:43PM. 7lbs 4oz at 38w4d, he’s almost a full pound heavier than his sister was – although both burst forth in the same kind of hurry.

I don’t feel strongly about “defining my parenting style.” (Natural parenting, gentle parenting, free-range parenting? What does that even mean?) However, I always chafe at being pigeonholed, and for some reason I’m especially resistant to the “attachment parent” label, even though – or maybe because? – I practice many of the things attachment parents advocate.

I had a natural homebirth. The “home” part was an accident, but it will forever make an awesome story. I was indeed crossing my fingers for a natural birth, but it was supposed to occur at the hospital. (I felt safer having my first at a hospital, you know, in case of complications. Plus the facilities at BC Women’s are wonderful.) But I held off too long and Ashelyn came too quickly. Strictly speaking, I had a freebirth, or unassisted birth.

I breastfeed. I’m fortunate and thankful to have encountered no hurdles here, so the boob it is. It’s convenient. It’s free. Ashelyn’s a fan. Actually she’s never tried formula; she’s never even used a bottle, because I’m crazy lazy. We’ll probably continue until Ashelyn wants to stop, unless she turns two and still doesn’t, in which case HELP. (I’m no elitist, though. If a mother who is perfectly capable of breastfeeding chooses to use formula just because, we can totally still be friends.)

We chose baby-led weaning. Because who wants to bother with separate food prep for munchkin? Certainly not I. We try to avoid processed foods and excess salt and sugar, although now that Ashelyn’s older I’m less likely to freak out if someone gives her a piece of croissant. I don’t care about buying organic or avoiding GMO; I’m not convinced the benefits justify the price.

I babywear more often than I use a stroller. We started with slings, but haven’t really looked back since acquiring an Ergo. It’s just that I’ve found a carrier to be more versatile, and more likely to result in peaceful cooperation. I’ve also done my fair share of toting Ashelyn around in my arms (and I’ve got the biceps to show for it).

We co-sleep. A while ago we sidecar-ed the crib, but Ashelyn doesn’t spend a ton of time sleeping in her space, preferring instead to cuddle with me. Which is sweet and all, but bedsharing is the one thing I’m not proud to admit, because ideologically I believe in the marital bed, not the family bed. Unfortunately Ashelyn was a sleepfighter from day one, and this is where the path of least resistance has led us. I still haven’t committed to any form of sleep training, not because I’m opposed to CIO, but because I doubt it’ll work on my girl without crossing a threshold of unpleasantness to which I am opposed.

We do EC and cloth diaper and use disposables. Ashelyn has pooped in the potty since she was five months old, because she is awesome. So is poop-free cloth diapering! Still, there’s no denying the convenience and absorption power of disposables; we use them, sparingly, for (longer) outings and overnight.

We vaccinate. On schedule. In all other matters I stand behind the decisions of well-meaning parents, even controversial ones like spanking or crying it out. But unless your child is immuno-compromised, if you don’t vaccinate, I say you’re doing it wrong, and I shake my fist at you for weakening herd immunity.

I’m a proud product of the public education system, and biased in its favour. Although there’s plenty of time for shifts of opinion on this front, presently I’m not very interested in private institutions, and I don’t intend to homeschool.

_MG_4471

I’m no expert on babies. I am, however, an expert on one baby. And that’s all the authority I need.