My Second Birth: The Healing I Needed
By Kendra Martin, Enid, OK
After the birth of my first son the thought of more children never entered my mind. It was a traumatic hospital birth that involved many unnecessary interventions and loss of control. The doctor whom I trusted to help me birth my baby gently did as he pleased and never gave my emotions a second thought. It was a growing experience though and I am stronger because of it. Fast forward 4 years. After lots of prayer and support from family we decided to try for another baby.
We became pregnant very quickly to my surprise. The feeling was excitement and pure terror. I was no doubt traumatized by my first experience with child birth. The nightmares and panic attacks were a constant reminder of what I might have to go through again. We made an appointment with a different OB and he was no comfort to my feelings. After speaking with a friend about her childbirth experiences, I knew that a midwife was going to be the route we took this time. I called her midwives and made an appointment to meet them. They were a 2-hour drive but that didn’t matter in the least. Once I spoke with Anne and Margarett I knew this time would be different. They were so compassionate and loving. I bawled my eyes out our first meeting, but it felt good. No one had known what I had been burying deep down. The flood of tears was proof that this was going to be something I had to confront before the birth of my next baby.
My husband and I soon decided on a home waterbirth. I spent the next 9 months educating myself, meditating, praying and healing myself from the inside out. My husband and I took a wonderful childbirth class with one of our Midwives and Lamaze educator, Anne. The knowledge we gained was invaluable. By the time our due date neared I was ready. I had LOTS of support and confidence in my body.
I woke up Friday July 29th feeling different. The only way I can describe it was complete contentment. We went for my 38 week check and everything looked great. On the drive home I had some pretty good contractions, but I had LOTS of Braxton Hicks through this pregnancy so I didn’t give them much thought. Two days later and many more intense contractions I was starting to lose faith. I knew he would come in his own good time, but when would that be. On Sunday we tried to get our mind off of impending labor by going out for dinner. When we got home around 7:00 p.m. I got my son ready for bed and decided to lie down and read. At around 9:00 I had a VERY different contraction. I really had to work through it. This could really be it I thought. I asked my husband to draw a warm bath for me. I jumped in and one after the next the rushes came. I felt like I was in a dream, completely at peace with everything and everyone. Smells were more fragrant and things seemed to be in more detail. Knowing this was IT I kept the secret to myself for as long as I could. It was just me and my baby, one for just a short time longer and I wanted to savor it.
With every rush I became a little more relaxed and a little more disconnected with what was going on outside my body. After about an hour I went ahead and shared my news with my husband. He called his mother to pick up our son. I had him call Anne and Margarett knowing they were at least 2 hours away and my rushes were coming every 2 to 3 minutes. It was around 11:30 at this point, and my husband was in the process of filling the birth tub. As soon as it was full enough I got in. Man did that water feel amazing. For the next 2 hours I labored in the water. So relaxed that my husband thought I had fallen asleep. I was in and out of awareness with what was going on outside of my body. Breathing and moaning through each contraction, the way that so many women before me had labored.
I had the need to get in a different position. When I got up on my hands and knees I felt my water break. Whoa! After that the intensity blew my mind. I had to get up out of the water. I went and sat on the toilet, the gravity really helped to bring baby down. I checked to see how far I had progressed and I felt hair. The thought of my midwives not making it seemed very possible. I yelled to my husband “Where in the hell are they”. About that time I saw Margarett and Anne’s beautiful face come around the corner. Thank God you’re here I said. Well not sure I said it, but I definitely thought it. After some CRAZY contractions and a whole lot of hollering they got me onto the birth stool. I asked Anne to check me. Not sure why. I guess just to reinforce what I already knew. 7 cm, transition was a bitch. I’m not gonna lie. They got me back into the pool and sweet relief for a moment. Then very shortly after I got back into the pool I HAD to push. There was no stopping it. It was like a freight train. My husband was going to catch his son so he was kneeling at the foot of the pool with Anne. Margarett was holding my hands and kissing my head. This part always makes me tear up. The intensity was insane. They kept me grounded and knew just what to say to get me through it.
Pushing was by far my favorite part. I could actively DO something. I must have been really good at it too, because about 15 minutes later out came Mr. Korbin. Earth side at 1:42 a.m. eyes wide open. Time seemed to stand still. I did it!! It was surreal the feeling of such accomplishment and joy. I just sat there with this new spirit taking it all in. After a few minutes I wanted to deliver the placenta. By this time the cord had stopped pulsing and I cut it. I handed the baby to my husband so I could get out of the water. My midwives got me comfortable in bed and had me nurse my new son. He latched right away and they went and made me a snack. When Anne came back up to check on me she had seen that I was bleeding, maybe a little more than they liked. I still had not delivered the placenta and was really afraid of this part (it was the third stage of my first baby that had been traumatic). Anne called for Margarett and told me it was time to get it delivered. First she had my husband say a prayer of healing, and then she said a second one. Almost immediately the bleeding stopped. We tried pushing and nipple stimulation, but nothing seemed to work. Margarett had Anne make a dose of Angelica. It worked!! Moments later out it came. They tidied up and weighed Korbin at a perfect 9 lbs. We exchanged hugs and kisses and they left. This was the healing I needed.