Born: February 19, 2009
Weight: 7 pounds and 8 ounces
Parents: Amanda and Ross
Ross was staying in Red Wing that Wednesday night (hour and fifteen minutes away) and Ameerah and I were at the apt. in Winona. Ameerah was having a bit of trouble staying asleep that night and finally I decided to have her come lay in bed with me. As soon as we lay down together I felt a bursting sensation in my groin area and thought it was my water breaking, it was 11:15 p.m.. When I went into the bathroom though, I wasn’t leaking like I was my first birth, so I wasn’t sure. I sent Ross a text that said “I think my water broke.” He called back a moment later and asked if he should head down and I said “Yes!” as I felt my first hard contraction. I then called Denise and she asked how often I was having contractions and told me she was on her way since they were about two minutes apart. Tavniah and Denise were little over an hour away and after the birth she told me she sped the whole way here! My twin sister Ashley and my mother headed over and arrived at about the same time. Mom was going to take Ameerah home with her and Ashley was my emotional support-gopher-photographer.
My contractions were so different this time…no slow sailing…they came fast and furious within the first half hour. I wasn’t even able to do my labor project!! I was planning on making muffins for the birth team throughout the “easy-slow” stage of labor. I had been trying to walk and breath through them (even danced with Ameerah for a few moments) but by the time Ashley and Mom were here and I finished directing what needed to be done they were pretty intense. I was hanging on Ash (who gives amazing lb rubs) and Mom and starting my noises because I felt the baby moving down quickly…I told my mom that I had a LOT of pressure in my bottom. Mom started to get really worried that Denise and Tavniah wouldn’t make it in time to assist me. I remember Ashley and me laughing and trying to reassure her that we (ash and I) were fine delivering this baby because they would be here soon after anyway…she was not reassured.
I moved into the bathroom at this point because it was nice and dark in there and also I could sit on the toilet and lean forward. At this point Ameerah came to the doorway and requested me to “Be quiet mommy! I’m watching Sleeping Beauty!” I guess my noises were not as musical as her movie was! Mom was worried that the neighbors would think something was really wrong too!! I felt so much pressure and knew that baby was on her way; so I checked myself and could feel the baby’s head two inches from my vaginal opening. Sitting on the edge of the toilet didn’t last too long and I moved onto my knees with my forearms resting on a low stool. It felt so much better!! I was so trying to be a good laborer and not think about the “pains.” I just kept thinking about how the birth process is a natural thing and my body was made for this. I remember silently praying for strength and that the Lord would help me with the “pain.” Also prayed like crazy for Ross to get home! He arrived at about 12:40 am.
What a relief to hear the door open and Ameerah shout “Daddy! I awake!” He immediately came into the bathroom and got right in front of my face…I was so relieved I could have cried!! Ross did an amazing job getting me to focus and validating me, that I was strong enough to do this and how proud he was of me and of course how much he loved me…I had him tell me quite a few times how much he loved me! Having Ross there made the pain so much more bearable…don’t quite know how that happened. I remember thinking to myself “Whoa! Ross is doing great at this…Did he read a doula book?” I told him this thought later and we both had a good laugh about it. He was really good at helping me to breathe and make low noises. I was so very glad he was there I felt complete now and ready to have this baby. And YES Denise and Tavniah did arrive before I had the baby! I don’t remember Mom and Ameerah leaving, but they did just as Denise and Tavniah arrived at 1 am. I remember making a “pushing” noise…more like a loud roar and then seeing Denise’s feet go by my head…next thing I saw when I looked over Ross’s shoulder was Tavniah smiling at me!! I could have laughed…she was so cute! I think I said something like “I’m so glad you made it!” …but that might have just been in my head! I know I asked Tavniah to get Ash and she went out in the living room to look for a cat!! She hadn’t met my sister and didn’t know Ashley was also “Ash” to me!
So there we were in our bathroom…Denise behind checking progress and Ross in front of me while Tavniah sat beside him and Ashley stood in the doorway with the camera at the ready! I remember looking over at Tavniah and saying “I LOVE HAVING BABIES!!! But I don’t want any more!” The baby was coming and I was letting her…trying to help her along by bearing down. I felt her as she moved down the birth canal and started to crown…and went back in!! How frustrating! So with my next contraction I pushed and she crowned for real this time. I think Ross said “I see her head!”,or something like that and the next thing I hear is Ross shouting in my ear as he is looking over me “*Gasp* OH she is beautiful!” That was the best part!
Denise caught the baby and passed her through my legs into Ross and my hands…she looked so tiny to me!! I felt like crying and was amazed I just birthed another baby in an incredible home birth and she was perfect! Denise asked what her name was and Ross and I looked at each other and said “Israeh Orrin”. There was no waiting 24 hours to name this baby! I cut the cord and the baby was wrapped up and daddy held her until I delivered the placenta and then I moved onto the bed. Aunt Ashley joined Ross, Israeh and I on the bed and we all ogled her. Denise and Tavniah finished up and rested on the couch a while until we were ready to have them check her over. It was such a wonderful experience to go through this natural process and not be driving to the hospital in the middle of labor. This was a 5-star experience for me!
Denise and Tavniah – Thank you for helping Ross and I to have the birth experience we never thought we would have; a lovely natural birth without unnecessary interventions. God bless you both.
A Father’s Perspective by Ross
Our first birthing experience was in a traditional hospital with a CNM. I went to the first appointment to meet the midwife and a few subsequent ones. The CNM would give me advice on how I should be supporting Amanda through her experience, but never any information on what I could do to be a part of the birth experience. I perceived the CNM wanting me to be present, but only to fill her concern for who would be a support in the time of need for the mother. What I wanted/expected to feel was as though I was a partner in the birth; not a spectator or supporter. During our first daughter’s birth I simply stood at the bedside, held a leg when she was pushing and did as told. I never connected with the experience.
Our home birth changed all of this. There was a level of connection we wanted with each other and with our midwife Denise and assistant Tavniah, and no pressure for anything the “doctor” ordered. The experience was about what we wanted, how comfortable we were, and how we could stay connected and bring our daughter into the world. Nothing was “fast-food.”
Profound experiences deserve deep connections. Being at home and being educated on the necessities of a birth, I was able to make a connection with this birth that was much deeper than our first. I felt essential to the process. For me it was only now that childbirth became something beautiful, empowering, and spiritual.