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Gabriel’s Birth Story by Jackie
It was the day after Lisandro’s birthday, February 2, and I decided “what the heck, I guess I’ll take a pregnancy test”. I figured it would be negative since I was still nursing my thirteen month old, Alissandra, and my cycle was just still a bit abnormal. I didn’t even tell Lisandro, but the minute I emerged from the bathroom. He knew.
We were pregnant. We were filled with a mixture of excitement, fear and anticipation. Alissandra’s birth had been very traumatic, full of interventions, everything we did not want that eventually led to a Caesarean delivery. After her birth I felt incompetent, uncapable and like I failed my baby and myself. I knew this pregnancy and birth had to be different.
I had a very dear friend who had done two homebirths with Corina and I decided to give it a shot. Our first visit was very eventful and concluded with my then 16 month old vomiting all over the office. I think at that moment I knew Corina and I would be a great match. She was so peaceful and so calm. My prenatal care felt so personal. I love that each visit my health and the baby’s health was compared to what our norm was as opposed to what was considered “normal” for most people. I felt comfortable and I knew that I was making the right choice for my baby and myself.
However, as my due date approached my anxiety began to increase. “What if something went wrong? What if I couldn’t do it? What if my body really was defective like the hospital staff made me feel?”. I remember I told Corina the days preceding my due date… If I ask to go to the hospital, ignore me. I don’t want to go anywhere unless its medically necessary. The last fear I dealt with was “what if he never comes?” My belly was huge and the daily texts and calls from family “any news yet?” was making me think it might never happen.
I started to walk two miles with my giant belly several times a week. Finally my due date arrived, but no baby. I decided that night that I would trust God with this birth. I prayed and enjoyed being intimate with my husband. Two hours later at 2:30 am I was awoken by a contraction. I refused to get excited because I kept hearing how you lose your mucus plug first so I knew it could not be the “real thing”. But the contractions continued every twenty minutes… I wondered around the house unable to sleep. At seven my daughter and husband woke up and we continued our day as normal with me having contractions every twenty minutes.
We went to Target, ran errands and then my husband went to work. That night after Alissandra went to bed the contractions became a bit more intense. By the time my husband got home at ten I was in tears. It was not pain, but I was just so tired from having been awake since 2:30 that morning. I told my husband, “I don’t think I can do this, take me to the hospital, just forget it” He was so supportive and just reassured me. We watched a very slow movie and the contractions began coming more regularly. I was having a lot of back labor and the only way I was comfortable was on all fours with my husband putting counter pressure. They were coming every five minutes then, but only lasting thirty seconds. It was about midnight and Corina said to call her when the contractions were a minute long.
At two we called Corina and she said she would come. We also called my mom and told her to come at six to take care of Alissa, I had no idea how long it was going to take. When Corina got here she checked me and to my astonishment said I was 7 centimeters! I could not believe it! After being induced with Alissa I had no idea what pitocin free contractions felt like.
We decided to set up the tub which was a mission since we had not blown it up before and the adapters did not match. I climbed in our tub and my husband ran to Walgreens for duct tape. He said he must have looked insane running thru the store at 4 am for “duct tape for a plumbing problem while he was having a baby”. He returned home and we moved into the big tub.
The water felt amazing and Lisandro was sitting behind me just supporting me. We had the lights off and some relaxing music on. The contractions were one on top of the other at this point and I was far away mentally in labor land. At some point my mom had arrived and I was just moaning and humming thru the contractions. Corina said tell me when you feel the urge to push. Ok, at this point I didn’t feel the urge just a lot of pressure, but I said I want to push. She checked me and said I still had a little piece of cervix left but she could hold it back if I wanted to push.
My first push must have been a sight… I screamed and completely pushed in my face, so much so I thought I was going to pass out after. I asked Corina “was that right?” and in her gently reaffirming way she basically told me I had done nothing. Her assistant, Yukova, told me to grab the back of my thighs for the next push and I thought “is she crazy I don’t even think I can reach my thighs”. The next push I really pushed, like I was having a bowel movement, and it felt so good.
I had a couple of breaks between contractions at this point and my husband told me afterwards he thought at one point I had fallen asleep. I was so relaxed, it felt amazing. Less than twenty minutes later, Gabriel was born. He was a little blue but began fussing almost immediately. I kept saying “I did it” I didn’t think I could do it but I did it!
It was so amazing to be home. They moved me to my bed and cleaned up the tub. They never separated me from my son and just an hour after he was born Alissandra woke up to meet her baby brother. Now, when people ask or are astonished about me having had a natural birth, I can not imagine doing it another way. It was the most empowering and incredible experience I have ever been thru. Gabriel’s birth changed me as a wife, a mother and a woman. It makes me so sad to think that most women will never get this experience, but I feel so honored that I was able to experience it.