Madilyn Marli Dexter graced us with her presence at 2:30am on Tuesday, April 29th, 2008. She weighed a tiny 6 lbs and stretched her perfect little body to 19 inches in length. Scott (my
husband) & I consider ourselves to be unbelievably lucky to have fallen into Kathi’s incredible line of rapport by mere chance, or as some would have it, FATE.
I had always questioned hospital births for reasons, I just happened to believe as my opinion. After going through a 40 week period of reading and researching everything I possibly could on hospital births, births in the USA vs. other countries, vaccinations, Doctors & Midwives, breastfeeding, disposable diapers, phthalates & BPA’s & fire-retardant mattresses etc., I realized raising a child & being a parent is the most important job anyone can choose to do. Yes it is a choice. It requires a want and
instills an importance in my spirit unlike anything I have ever felt before.
I believe we are prepared to raise our daughter with her best interest in mind. Not the best interest of general public opinion, not that of any doctor, any friends or family, but that of her most important and necessary needs. After this experience I would recommend home birth to any woman that is completely confident in her body and the way that it will work if given the opportunity. After we had made the decision to go through with the homebirth, it was a thought that not only comforted but excited me. I would be doing what Mother Nature says is right; giving birth in MY nest. I did as much positive visualization as I possibly could whenever I had
the chance. The pool was set, the room was ready & I continued stretches and normal daily activities to the best of my ability.
We believe “pre-active” labor started on Sunday evening April 27th. I would describe the initial feeling as that similar to menstrual cramping. I wasn’t sure what to expect so I began my day by going to Curves for a nice final work out, if this was in fact labor. I then proceeded to take Zeus, Madilyn’s older brother (our Rottweiler) for our usual walk. It was on that walk that I realized my contractions (which I had ignored, up till this point, 1:00pm) were regular every 20 minutes for roughly 30 seconds and much more intense than menstrual cramping. When they
came, I had to stop walking and focus on what was happening. When Zeus & I got home I called both Kathi (our midwife) & my mother to inform them of possible labor (I still wasn’t convinced this was what all the women were talking about).
My mom was certain and on her way shortly after our conversation. While waiting for her, they intensified more and I found it necessary to focus on the relaxation we had been taught in our birthing class, The Bradely Method.
It was 3:30pm when my mother arrived at our home. She began constructively working Reiki (positive energy) through my body and centering on my uterus. My contractions were now every 12 minutes and about 40 seconds long. It was about 4 deep belly breaths to get through one and I now knew what labor was. I found myself lying on the floor in our living room in front of the fireplace, doing my best to read. I had no concept of time by this point and was doing my best to concentrate on relaxing my entire body during each contraction (which proved to be extremely difficult). My husband returned home from work at a little after 6:00pm to find me on the floor & my mother hovering over me. With a smile on his face, he was by my side in seconds, exited for the arrival of our daughter, his only known blood relative. Within 30 minutes something burst inside me, what seemed like a little balloon popping (my water bag). It seemed as if I had peed my pants and had no control over the continuous flow. I began crying immediately. My emotions heightened and I realized this was it! I would soon meet our daughter. The little being that had been growing inside me for the past 40 weeks.
Who was she? What would she look like? So many questions began filling my head.
Scott called Kathi immediately. I had calmed myself down and began playing “Go Fish” with my husband in between contractions at the dining room table. Kathi arrived at our home at roughly 8:00pm. By this point my contractions had been increasing in strength and time, at this point I understood why many women gave up on their bodies and requested “drugs”. Contractions were now every 4 minutes for 40 seconds now. I was extremely relieved to see Kathi and felt my emotions well up once again and over flow out of my eyes. She asked me a series of questions and shortly after I moved to a green leather, high back chair in our living room. This entire time I met each contraction with what I was taught was best, deep belly breathing and as close to a completely relaxed body as I could possibly have. With each one I found comfort in my husband on one side of my body and my mother on the other, each doing their part to assist in relaxing my tension.
The doula’s, Katie & Julie, walked in at around 9:00pm and began preparing the supplies and getting the birthing pool ready. They went right to work, like they had done it 1000 times. My father walked in at 10:00 with dinner for Scott and my Mom from Mickey D’s. He was antsy and seemed out of place, though I knew he was thrilled to be there. His experience with birth is vast in cattle, horses, dogs, cats and any animal other than human. In humans, it is merely me and my brothers, 3 births he has witnessed & none like this. Everyone knew their role but him. He was anxious and began completing small tasks to keep himself occupied, i.e. measuring peroxide rations to sterilize the water in the birthing pool, fixing the damper on the chimney, going on a coffee run, boiling water, etc.
I vomited a large amount of fluid at about 11:00pm. Kathi then approached me with the words I had been longing to hear, “The pool is full & I would be okay if you thought you might want to get in.” Then she said, “I would like
to check you first and see where you’re at?” I knew I was ready to get in the pool
and was sure I was close to pushing, close to 10. When she checked my cervix she found that I was 100% effaced and 5cm dilated. “You have got to be
kidding me!” I said. She remained calm and stated, “This may not be enough for you at this time, Heather, but some women progress fairly fast from this point on. Your hardest work is over.” I wasn’t so sure I believed her but I heard exactly what she said. At this point she, Katie, Julie and my parents went to lie down for a bit because they expected it would take another several hours before I was ready to push.
I tried to lie down as well (for I was beginning to tire) but the contractions intensified. After two contractions, I decided I needed to & was going to get into the
In the pool, I sat at first, this didn’t appease my body any more than lying down. I was glad I had the freedom to put my body in any position I saw fit. I became comfortable in the kneeling position and leaning over the edge. I was in the pool (what seemed like just minutes, I had no concept of time) for about an hour and a half and my body changed; the contractions became . . . different. Scott, my husband, hadn’t left my side since Kathi arrived, I didn’t realize it was already 1:00am, but I was exhausted & just starting to feel “pushy.” I asked Scott to go get Kathi because I felt a sudden urge to push. She was in the room minutes later and
minutes after that the whole gang was back on track and ready for the baby.
It was a totally different sensation, bearing down and breathing with
contractions and still focusing on relaxing during breaks. Who would have thought, relaxing would have been so very difficult. There was always a spot I forgot to relax, or couldn’t see myself. Scott or my mother seemed to find it, touch it and remind me that it too, needed to be relaxed. At 2:09am Kathi placed her hand on mine, and then reached it between my legs so I was able to feel her fuzzy head beginning to protrude. I knew she was close and became focused on meeting my daughter.
Madilyn’s head crowned (with her right arm) at 2:29 am. She was born at 2:30am to the Foo Fighters song “Home” playing on the birthing CD Scott had burned. With the umbilical cord wrapped 3x around her neck, Kathi speedily
spun her tiny body in the water until she was free & then passed her between my legs so I could be the first to hold my daughter & bring her out of the water. She was (& still is) the most beautiful, innocent, incredible thing I had ever seen. The feeling of falling in love consumed my body and I was awe struck! Meanwhile, Kathi was working around my sense of shock rubbing her body and milking her cord to get her to breath. I couldn’t understand the sense of urgency. I didn’t know about the cord. I had never seen Kathi in any temper other than calm, collective and certain. With Madilyn’s bright eyes wide open and looking around I wasn’t worried, I simply listened to Kathi & hugged my daughter. I knew she was still
receiving oxygen & blood through the cord from the placenta and was confident in her breathing in her own time. Kathi was calling out orders to the doulas, Katie & Julie, while rubbing Madilyn’s body, talking to her and prepping to give her oxygen.
After 90 seconds she began breathing with a gurgle & immediately turned pink. Kathi suctioned her mouth and nose and then she was clear & breathing well.
After 10 minutes her apgar test was a 9. Once Madilyn was alert, the focus then switched to pushing the placenta out. It was 3:09am when the placenta was birthed. Scott then cut the cord connecting the only organ ever made to be disposable & the life force to our daughter, Madilyn Marli for the past 9 months. We were all quite amazed and exhausted with the whole process of birth and even more amazed at the perfection in natural birth. It was a great feeling to only have positive comments throughout the process. Not once was I asked to take drugs. Not once was I told my body wasn’t working correctly or quickly enough. Not once was I told my baby or myself were in danger. I was surrounded in comfort, love and support entirely and therefore only ever felt sure of my body & my baby.
Now looking back, I am 99% sure that had I chose to have a hospital birth, being dilated to only 5cm after 12 hours of HARD labor (25 hours of labor) I would have been advised & pushed to take Pitocin for the safety of my child. I maybe would have been lumped into the 33% of women in the USA that are told their bodies don’t know how to give birth. I am thankful, we chose to research, take a birthing class and gather as much information as we possibly could about births.
I encourage you To Research All.