I am a first time mom. Losing my own mom 3 years ago, I was very alone and longing for that lost love. I missed the mother-daughter connection, oh so much. Being pregnant without your mom’s support and guidance is tough. I decided to have a home birth because I was working some measly job, not making anything, and could not afford a hospital birth. The morning I met with Darlene I was incredibly nervous but yet very intrigued to find out about having a baby at home. My family has never done so, and I soon found out they were very against the idea. Boy, am I glad I didn’t listen to them…
Fast forward to the morning I went into labor. I woke up Tuesday Feb. 26th 2013 at 5:30 a.m., in pain, I was having contractions, but didn’t know what was going on. Everyone always says “Oh, you’ll know when you’re in labor.” Well, I didn’t and I was scared. My husband asked me if I wanted him to stay home and I said no, what if it’s nothing? We didn’t need him missing work. He went to work with directions to keep his phone on him all day. I laid back in bed, trying to relax and go back to sleep but that was not working. I went and laid on the couch and still couldn’t relax. So then I ran a hot bath and laid there crying in pain for half an hour. I then called my best friend in North Dakota, who has 2 kids, and described to her what I was feeling, she said it sounded like I was in labor. I could have called Darlene but I didn’t want to be one of those panicky moms who think they’re in labor at every little sharp pain. So I waited until 9:11 a.m. I was in between contractions when I told her that I’d been having contractions for 4 hours. She said to time them and call back in an hour. I did as she instructed and after sending her a text message of the number of seemingly brutal contractions I had in an hour, she asked that I come in so she could examine me in person. I was floored! How is she expecting me to drive? I think not. So I called my friend who is a massage therapist, she took me to her office. Darlene checked and I was 100% effaced and at 3 cm. She said “we’re having a baby today!” I was so excited, yet extremely nervous! She later informed me that since I was so calm when I called she didn’t think I was in labor, or she would have never told me to drive. My friend and I went into the back massage room where she massaged me for an hour or more. It was the first time I had relaxed all day. It was the best feeling. Darlene fixed me up some raspberry leaf tea and had heated rice bags to help ease the pain of the contractions. After the massage, my friend took me home and aired up the birthing tub in my dining room. I called my mother-in-law and my aunt. It was about one in the afternoon, an hour later, I called Darlene because my contractions were now a minute long and getting stronger. She was on the way.
My husband reached home about the same time she got to my house. He was instructed to get a hose from Home Depot on his way home to fill the birthing tub, he was in such a hurry that he accidentally grabbed a soaker hose. Hahaha. Luckily Darlene had an extra hose in her trunk. Meanwhile, I was pretty sure I was going to die! I was constantly switching back and forth from laying in bed and sitting on the toilet. Darlene showed my husband how to press into my low back with his fist to help take the pressure off my low back and ultimately ease more pain. He would push on my tailbone while she caressed my face encouraging me to relax. A couple of hours later while sitting on the toilet my water broke! It was almost time to start pushing!!
Meanwhile, the water heater had now ran its course and was pumping cold water into the birthing tub, my friend stayed in the kitchen boiling pots and pots of water, dumping them into the birthing tub trying to get the temperature perfect before Miss Marti decided it was time to make her arrival. Darlene kept checking the baby’s heartbeat and my blood pressure every 20 minutes it seemed.
Even though I was in pain I knew that I was in great hands, and for that I am very thankful. When it was finally time to get in the birthing tub, I was so happy! I loved that I was able to do whatever I felt was comfortable for me, in the tub I wanted to stretch out, so I did. I didn’t have any doctors coming in and out with all of the beeping noises and commotion. I could do anything! If I wanted to get up and walk around, I could. If I wanted to eat an apple or drink water, I could. Once in the tub if I changed my mind, that was okay, I loved the freedom! This is my labor and my baby!! I loved having the choice to do what I felt was right! It’s my body and I am in control, not like at some hospital. We had enigma music playing in the background. It was great! Most people pray to God, but the whole time I was in the tub I talked to my mom. She wasn’t there physically but to me she was right there holding my hand, helping me get through it. When the contractions started getting stronger and stronger Darlene advised me to do different things. First, she said to try pushing, then to relax in between. Next, she wanted me to squat and picture baby Marti coming down, she knew this was what I needed to hear. Within 30 minutes she started to crown. I was asked if I wanted to touch her head, I firmly and quickly said no. I think it’s funny because I just wanted that kid out of there! I didn’t want to stop and feel her. I wanted to concentrate on getting ‘this thing outta me!’ My husband was in the tub with me and he got to feel his daughter’s head! I remember telling Darlene and Cole Deelah, my doula that I didn’t think she was coming and they reassured me she was. I whined and said “I don’t think she is!” and everyone laughed. Finally after pushing like crazy, I could feel her finally coming out! I was relieved, and just kept on pushing!
Miss Marti Monroe made her entrance at exactly 5:30 p.m. My husband caught her when she came out. I heard him say “This is the most amazing thing ever!” It definitely was the best day of my life! We got to sit there admiring this amazing little child that was a part of me that had a mind firing with thoughts and wonders faster than any super computer that would someday be able to tell right from wrong and love from anger. What bliss this was. A moment that no word in any language could describe. This time of bonding was recognized and lasted as it needed to. No one rushed us, no one took her from us to clean her, no this moment was about us. A critical time, a time for bonding. I got to hold her all covered in vernix. She was the most beautiful thing. It was in that very moment that it became apparent for the reason of my existence. I finally found out why I was put on this earth, it was to be a mother, her mother. I had just had a baby at home! I am an amazing woman! I didn’t need any drugs. Of course it was painful, but I got to feel every little twinge. These are all of the things I felt and still feel! I remember telling everyone in the room right after that I didn’t ever want to do that again. Darlene said, “Now Randi, we don’t make those decisions 5 minutes after birth..” hahaha. Now I totally know what she meant!!
I’m so glad I didn’t listen to my family and friends that were scaring me, telling me I shouldn’t do this. My in-laws were the only ones on my side, not my own family. Guess it’s a good thing I never listen any how.
About 30 minutes after I had her I tried to nurse, she latched immediately! It was an awesome feeling. We sat there like we were the only ones in the room and bonded. A bit afterward, we went into my bedroom, where I ended up having stitches, not because I had an episiotomy, but because I naturally tore just a little. My husband always says, “had a baby in the dining room and gettin’ stitched in the bedroom.”
Then came time to weigh my ‘big headed baby,’ I about hit the floor when Darlene said she weighs “8 pounds 6 ounces.” Dang!! It’s a darn good thing she decided to come a week early! I couldn’t imagine pushing out a 9 pounder!
Besides giving birth at a hospital without an epidural, my family is not known for doing anything the ‘natural’ way. I don’t vaccinate, I use cloth diapers/wipes, make my own detergent, co-sleep, had my placenta encapsulated and I breastfeed. Everything I decided to do just came to me, it’s what I want to do. I wasn’t raised this way. It just comes to me so easily! I don’t mind if people frown upon it because this is my family. I love that I can finally say that! And I can’t wait to be able to do it all over again!!! My life is just now beginning!
–Randi Haessner Bell–