Thursday, January 5, 2012

The birth of Penelope

Leading up to the birth of Penelope was a long process.
One filled with healing.
With learning.
With growing.
With fear.
And with letting go of said fear.

Leena's birth changed me in ways I could have never imagined.
Her birth was the way it was for a reason.
As much guilt as I felt over it, I also see it for what it is.
A huge lesson in growing up.
I'd never be the person I am today or in the mind space I am in.
I would still be floating along, with no rhyme or reason as to why I am here.

Our journey towards the birth of Penelope started about 2 1/2 years ago.
For a bit after Leena was born I didn't even want another child.
Partially because of feeling guilty of "taking" that time away from Leena.
But mainly because of fear.
The fear I felt with going through another birth like Leena's was a HUGE fear that my subconscious buried within me.

After a bit of time when I started exploring the doors closed within me, I found this overwhelming desire to figure out what went wrong and what could be done differently when we chose we wanted another child.
It all started with The Business of Being Born.

The women's stories about their hospital births hit me hard.
They resonated within me.
I couldn't get enough information about all the aspects of birth.

With Penelope, we started looking early at our prospect of home birth.
There were no midwives in our area.
We were going to be stuck with a midwife that was three hours away or an unassisted birth.
There was also the option of a birth center which is about 1 1/2 hours away.
I, for one, did not want to be stuck in the car for that long while in labor.
Going to the hospital was NOT an option for me.

As a sign that home birth was the way we needed to go for this birth, a home birth midwife moved back to town about 6 or so months before we were planning on trying for a second.
We met in December and she gave us a preconception cleanse to do.
Both Joey and I instantly knew that this was the woman who needed to be a part of our birthing experience.
And thus, our road to birthing Penelope began.

After 41 weeks and 1 day of being pregnant, Miss Penelope decided to make her presence into this world.
For a few days beforehand, I was slowly losing my mucous plug.
A friend traded me a bottle of love your labor oil for a bottle of Joey's raspberry mead.
Joey massaged my acupressure points and back with this oil for a couple nights.
After this, the rest of my plug came out.
On Monday, December 12, 2011, I woke up pregnant, still.
I was having a hard time with this since for a few weeks I'd have contractions pretty much every day.
There were a few days/nights when it wasn't obvious to me whether or not this was the real deal or what.
We went to our weekly appointment to check on me and the baby.
At this appointment we talked a bit on natural induction methods, none of which really resonated within me.
The baby was also still posterior.
I knew she would stay this way until labor.
I knew this was the way for me to labor with her because with Leena the back labor from her being posterior, coupled with the pitocin was what brought me to the decision to get the epidural.
I knew if I had back labor and made it through on my own accord, that this would be the ultimate way for me to heal from Leena's birth.

Penelope was a lesson in faith.
With Leena I had rushed things.
Fear of being alone in labor/birth won over and an induction followed.
This time around I didn't want to do anything extraordinary to get things going.
Baby was going to get to choose her birthday this time around.
At the end of the appointment we went over locations of and did some acupressure points and that was that.
Home we went and I had the mindset that I was going to be seeing my midwife again on Thursday when our next appointment was scheduled.

After putting Leena to bed, we just had a relaxed night.
Joey made sugar cookies.
Then we acted on the impulse to be intimate.
At 41 weeks, this urge does not come often so when it does, I listened to my body.
Afterwards I felt a bit of contractions that were slightly more intense than the ones I'd been feeling for weeks.
I still did not think this was labor and we got ready for bed.
I figured it would either pick up and be the real deal, or most likely, would stop as soon as I settled into bed.
At 11:30, about 20 minutes or less after the contractions started we got into bed.
After having three contractions laying down, I realized that getting settled was not going to be an option.
I told Joey this might ACTUALLY be it this time and had him call Donna to give her a heads up.
She was in charge of photographing.
I was telling Joey that the contractions just felt like I needed to poop or fart really bad and that they'd go away. ;)
Well the former happened and were loose.
Then I knew this was the real deal.
My body was cleaning itself out.
And, the contractions did not stop.
I hopped in the shower to see if the warm water on my back would help but standing through the contractions for just a few minutes was not a position that helped me get comfortable.
I finally decided it was time to time the contractions.
They were coming every 4 1/2- 5 minutes apart and lasting for 1 minute and 30 seconds each.
It was time to call our midwife.
I told Joey that even if this wasn't well established labor that I needed her here to help me with comfort measures.
She said she'd get there in about 20 minutes.
I told Joey I didn't care if I wasn't far in labor at this point.
I needed the birthing tub filled.
(Getting in the birthing tub too early can cause your labor to slow way down or even stop.)
By the time she got here I was in transition.
I went through all the normal irrationalities that most women go through during transition.
Joey says I told him at one point that I couldn't do it.
Labor is a funny thing.
I don't remember telling him this at all.
I never actually felt this way mentally.
He was amazing and kept holding my hands and rubbing my head whispering sweet things into my ear.
"You can do it."
"You are amazing."
Our midwife got there and the alarm went off.
This was one of the only times I really freaked out.
The loud noise piercing my birth space was not welcomed.
Joey quickly took care of the alarm and resumed taking care of me.

Becca could tell as soon as she got there that I was in transition and told me that I wouldn't be "doing this long."
She gave me counter pressure and could feel the baby descending and pushing out my sacrum.
By this point I was down on my knees leaning on the floor leaning over a chair in the dining room.
Becca asked to check baby's heart rate but there was no way I could lean back to let her listen.
I was in the zone.
Within minutes my water broke and involuntary pushing started.
I felt Becca touching my bottom (which I had a little poop that she was wiping away, it's normal and I want women to not feel embarrassed if they do this in labor, hence why I am throwing this tidbit of info in here ;)) and I told her to stop touching me.
Also in my head this came out as more of yelling at her to stop touching me but apparently it came out nicer. :D
I pushed a few times in this position and then they helped me get into the birthing tub.
That was heaven compared to the position I was in on "dry land".
Donna arrived a few minutes after I got in the tub.
I was completely in another world at this point.
All I heard was bits and pieces of what was going on in the world around me.
Mainly, I was within myself.
Focusing on my baby.
Joey held my hands the entire time I pushed and bless his soul, I was turning his finger tips purple from squeezing.
Becca asked him if he was going to get in the tub to catch the baby but he answered with,"I don't know."
The original plan I had was yes, I wanted him in the tub to catch but when it came down to it, I needed him exactly where he was, to give me something strong to hold on to as a way of grounding me.
I couldn't have asked for a better way/person to keep me grounded.
Becca mentioned that I'd feel her touching me a bit more just to check if the cord was around the baby's neck once her head came out.
After a bit more pushing she asked that if after the next push her head didn't come out, that she wanted to check for the cord, if okay by me, to see if that was holding her back.
I knew that wasn't going to be pleasant and that she was perfectly okay, so I pushed past my fears and used all my might to push her out with the next contraction.
The contraction started to fade and I felt her start to slip back up so I pushed even harder and out came her head.
Becca said she was going to check for the cord but by the time she said that Penelope's shoulders rotated and out she came.
I was told to lean back and grab my baby.
A pitiful "I can't!" came out because I was in shock that I actually just had her, on my terms, listening to my body and my baby's body.
Once that second passed I leaned back and pulled Penelope up to me and we wrapped a warmed towel on her.
Leena had woken up at this time and came to see what all the happening were in the living room.
She was sad for a second when she realized she had missed the birth but once she saw the baby in my arms she was happy again.
She really wanted to be in the birth tub with me but there was just no time to wake her.
They tried to warm the water a bit more but once I started coming back into the reality of the room I realized the water was actually too cold to be comfortable in so they helped Penelope and I out of the tub and into my nice warm bed.

Shortly after we settled into bed, I checked to see if we had a little boy or a little girl.
We had another beautiful little girl.
I delivered my placenta about 1/2 an hour later and we cut the cord since it was done pulsing at this time as well.
I turned to Joey and said, "So does she look like a Penelope or a Pepper?"
Leena yelled, "Penelope!"
We couldn't argue with that.
Penelope Marilyn Demidow
Marilyn after my grandmother.

We were then left alone for a bit of time to just take it all in.
Our family of 4.
Hanging out in bed.
Loving each other.

We were then served eggs, toast and bananas.
Then all the after birth stuff was taken care of and everyone left.

It was the peaceful birth I was hoping for but I did not expect it to happen the way it did.
It was 3 hours from start of labor to birthing Penelope.
It was intense and strong.
Penelope and I were intense and strong.

I did it.

Peace and Love.


Jessica Price/Bella Valentina Photography said...

This is so beautiful Katelyn! Thanks for sharing!

bonfire of my vanity said...

amazing! tears in my eyes. i had such a similar first birth, although it ended in c/s, and experience of fear after it and i also had an amazing and healing second birth, a VBAC. i had both mine in the hospital, though and the hospital i had mine in was amazing, but i live in hippie woo woo land, so even our hospitals are pretty natural. it was such a wonderful thing and i'm so glad you got to have the same sort of healing. birth is amazing! your family is gorgeous.

Kamika said...

Beautiful, healing, and emotional birth story. I am so happy for you, JOYOUS for you! This was the birth I aimed for, but sadly didnt get. Claire chose to come into the world with drama lol. My little Diva. Much love to you and your family.

Violet Bella said...

such a beautiful birth story! love the photos donna took. im so glad it was only 3 hours long for you, what a blessing. little penelope is the best. i love that leena was the one who officially picked the name, so sweet. love you momma!

Christalinaphotos said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing this. I always thought that home birth was something weird, but reading this changed my mind. What a beautiful experience! Again, thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful birth story. Thank you for sharing!

Hit My Dreamy Eyes said...

What an amazing birth story. You are a strong woman. I cried looking at the photo's. Thank you for sharing.

Lil Muse Lily said...

congratulations!! i haven't visited in a while and what a nice surprise. beautiful pictures. birthing is hard but what you get is miraculous!

we have been thinking about number 2 also and i too am scared of taking away from Lily and betraying her. your post has helped me think otherwise. thank you

happy new year and many blessings to you all.