|Picking up her daughter for the first time|
I woke up on Thursday 11/11/2010 at 5:30 a.m. with cramps and some blood. I called the contractions cramps at the time but now I realize they were what my contractions felt like… a very mild cramp every 5 minutes lasting for 1 minute. I called my Doula and my midwife at 6:00 a.m. because I was concerned about the blood and the contractions were so close together. I should have waited until 9:00 a.m. but I panicked because I felt the baby was ready to be born. After not having any bleeding this whole pregnancy I thought maybe this could be the pushing stage starting soon and my contractions were regular. I felt so bad for waking them up so early. From 5:30-9:30 a.m the contractions kept coming at a regular pace every 5 minutes and lasting 1 minute. At 9:30 a.m. all contractions stopped after I ate some eggs and rice cakes.
For the rest of the day I cooked … eggplant with quark, onions, and scallions, oatmeal, squash pie, turkey meatloaf, millet bread, and steamed vegetables. I think my body knew a baby was coming and I wouldn’t be able to cook for a few days after. I cleaned the house, watched some news, fixed the computer and went to bed early @ 9:00 p.m. I woke up throughout the night @ 1:30 a.m., 3:30 a.m., and 5:30 a.m. Each time I had a mild contraction and fell right back to sleep easily. When I finally woke up at 8:30 a.m.on Friday November 12th, I felt pressure and the feeling like I needed to go to the bathroom. I called my mom and she came over. I sat on the toilet thinking relief would come soon but nothing relieved the pressure and I wanted to push…. It just wasn’t coming. My mom screamed, “Sharon! You don’t have to go to the bathroom… you’re having a baby!” My husband was about to go to work until he heard my mom scream… ”Sharon’s having her baby!”
I was still convinced it was just a bowel movement and there was no baby coming. I think I was in denial or I just couldn’t believe I was at the pushing stage. What happened to my 1st stage labor and transition? I called my doula Kassie Anderson @ 10:00 a.m. She called my midwife, Valeriana, and my midwife called a backup midwife who lives near me in NYC.
Cara Muhlhahn arrived and I was lying on the bed on my stomach just working through the contractions. My midwife, Valeriana Pasqua-Masback, came soon after Cara arrived. I stood on the floor in a squatting position. I was wearing my late grandfather’s hospital gown to feel close to him. Cara joked, saying, “we’re having a Homebirth…why are you wearing a hospital gown?” My husband joked that we wanted to “bring a little touch of hospital to the home”. I laughed and felt the presence of my beloved grandfather in the room. I started pushing in the squatting position @ 12:10 p.m. My first two pushes were ineffective because I was talking and chatting through them. Valeriana told me that I needed to focus and push my baby out. I listened to her and found the strength deep inside to push the baby out! It was the most incredible feeling to push. At one point they said that I could feel the baby’s head if I wanted to. I asked if I should wash my hands first. That was a silly question but I touched the baby and it had hair! I pushed about 8 more times and the baby came out at 1:06 p.m.
I looked down at her and paused. Everyone was silent. It took me a few seconds to realize that she was a girl. When I looked down and said, “It’s a girl!” it was the most surreal moment of my life. Valeriana let me have a moment to inspect my baby… she let me discover my baby . When I was ready, I picked her up and said, “Lily, I’m your mommy! I love you Lily. You’re in the world now.”
When she was on the floor, Lily had looked around the room. When I picked her up, she looked into my eyes and I knew we were meant to be mother and daughter. The experience of birthing our daughter, Lily, is one that I will never forget. It was the most wonderful experience of my life and “the pause” was the most sacred moment for me.
I didn’t know or even realize what had happened until I was able to regain my consciousness and find my baby in my own way and in my own time. In that one moment, I cared for all babies and felt connected to my grandparents and ancestors in a profound way. It was an amazing moment and I can’t thank Valeriana enough for giving us that precious time to discover each other. That pause has stayed with me like a beautiful waking dream.
Lily was on my chest for one hour after birth and she did the breast crawl. She found my breast at 2:10 p.m. and we enjoyed our first feeding together. I’m in awe of mothers everywhere!