Alex, husband of Ana
Here’s the husband’s version of what happened at the birth of our first son. 🙂
The first birth for a couple is very significant for many reasons. It was the same for me and my wife. Frankly, I don’t remember very many details for births 2-5. (lol, sorry wifey!) By that time, just birth seemed so normal. That is what I’d like to see culturally, is the NORMALITY of birth. But it’s hard to view it that way for the first child since right now our culture at large most definately does not see it as a normal event.
So for our first, we did plan a home birth, but with the assistance of a well known midwife Rosy who attended our small church. She was great. She brought an assistant to some of the prenatals named Christy. Christy was a very nice, attractive, 30 something young woman with straight blond hair.
At the time, we were renovating a very run down house in Milwaukee in a rough neighborhood (also known as the GHETTO). My wife was not comfortable there, so when she went into labor, she requested to give birth at a Filipina friend’s apartment. I asked her husband Mike if that was OKAY, and he said, “Sure!” LOL (THANKS MIKE!!!)
My wife labored for a long time, and I was awake all night with her trying different things. We did have a birth tub, but whenever she got in, she would just fall asleep, and the labor wouldn’t really ‘progress’. There were lots of people there – my sister Kathleen (a doula), Rosy, Christy, Mike, his son (age 2), Ana’s Friend, and me. It was a small 2 bedroom apartment. I remember trying SO HARD to stay awake in between (and even during) contractions. I must have woken up suddenly about 50 times without having tried to fall asleep. I was slapping my face, eating, drinking, you name it. It was very draining for me. 😛 I can only imagine what my wife must have felt!
Most of the time she was in a semi-reclined position (not a TERRIBLE position to birth in, but also not good either), but she was so tired to get up and walk around, squat, etc. The midwife and her assistant tried many different things. Ana eventually began begging for a c-section. After about an hour of her failing to progress and begging to go to the hospital, Rosy and Christy said they’d have to transfer eventually because she wasn’t progressing. So everyone left the apartment bedroom to go pack their stuff and get ready. I had never planned mentally for that potentiality. Even though it was right there, staring me in the face, my mind could not see me leaving the apartment, getting into the car, going to the hospital, none of it. I just didn’t see it happening. We had planned to do a hospital tour (as a back up, just in case), but push it back too late and now she was in labor. After everyone was gone, Ana began apologizing. I told her it was fine, but I do remember saying that I don’t think I can go with her. I felt like I was going a little crazy (as in, semi bi-polar – it runs in our family) so I yelled for Kathleen to bring me some EMPower (a natural brain supplament). She had battled full on bi-polar symptoms in the past, so she had some EMPower with her.
I think this is what scared Ana even more than the though of giving birth – giving birth without me. So when she saw that I was going insane AND that EVERYONE ELSE was OUT OF THE ROOM (a very important detail), she asked for some Emergen-C (a vitamin C drink) for energy, then got very serious about pushing. She went through a few contractions in different squatting positions, and she seemed very close to giving birth. I asked her explicitly and directly if I could bring anyone back into the room and she said NO! But I persisted, and she sayd “JUST ROSY.” So I went back out to the living room, and said, “ONLY Rosy come in.” She was pushing and began to crown. Rosy asked ME if Christy could come into the room. I asked Ana (probably in the middle of a contraction) if Christy could come in. I got no answer, so I asked again, louder. Her response was simply, “NO!” So then Rosy said she at least needed her birth bag/kit. I went out and got the kit and brought it back. Moments later, the baby’s head came out, and Rosy had to remind me put my hands in there to catch the baby (big thank you to Rosy for getting me in there!). I remember, I was by Ana’s side, so I put one hand in front of her, and one hand behind her, so I could make sure I got a good hold, and I didn’t drop the baby. Makes sense to me, but then you have a big problem after you are holding the baby – your wife’s legs are no preventing you from moving the baby in any direction! LOL So Rosy helped get the baby up to Momma’s boob.
That was it. It was over. She was bleeding more than the Rosy liked (they did provide some ‘traction’ on the cord to pull the placenta out) so they gave her a shot of pitocin in the leg after the birth. We regret it big time, but hey: Close enough to natural for our first time. 😛
There is really no way around it, the first birth is usually going to be an emotional roller coster. It’s SUPPOSED to be that way I think. But that’s just another kind of normal. 🙂 The labor (not just physical, but also mental, emotion, etc) is preparation for bonding. The whole entire family gets to glue themselves together with the trial. It’s just so awesome. Really, it’s a spiritual journey.
So my emotional mental state after the birth was an overwhelming sense of supernatural RELIEF. No hospital. No insanity. PRAISE GOD!
I really do belive that if we had done as we were supposed to, and taken a hospital tour, that we would have had a C-section and our lives would be forever altered.
The one solid peice of advice I can pass on to expectant fathers in a home birth is this – don’t catch the baby from the side. Hahaha! Seriously though, be in the front (or behind, if she’s on hands and knees). It’s is absolutely, 100% OKAY if you drop the baby. In a natural childbirth, the vaginal outlet is only 6″ – 12″ from the ground. Some cultures have the women give birth with NO ONE catching the baby. It just drops on the ground with no negative side effects. Newborns aren’t made of glass. They’re more than capable of being set on the ground for a second. But you know, if someone would have told me that before the birth, it wouldn’t really matter. You’re to excited at that moment, and you’ll probably “screw up” anyway like I did. That’s OKAY too. 🙂
But the story doesn’t quite end there. A few months later, my wife and I were talking about the birth, and she finally opened up to me about Christy, the midwife’s assistant. Ana was terrified of Christy, because she reminded her of a character from a horror movie she saw as a child. She thought that Christy wanted to “eat her baby” which is why Ana absolutely would not ever give birth around Christy. Keep in mind, this TINY LITTLE DETAIL did NOT come out during the prenatal visits, or during the labor. I found out MONTHS AFTER THE BIRTH. … Yeah. LOL!!!
No fault at all to Christy or Rosy. They were great.