Monday, March 26, 2018

Ralphie's Homebirth Story

I've been procrastinating writing Ralph's birth story a bit- I'm not sure if anyone is really interested, and it was so quick there isn't much of a story.  But as I sit here with him sleeping and cooing on my chest, I think I'd like to have a place where it is written down, so here goes!

I've received a few questions about homebirth -this article is a great place to start reading more about the safety and reasons behind birthing at home.  After a women in medicine course I took in college I became completely obsessed with how (badly) we birth in America- I actually did my senior thesis paper on the subject, so basically you could say I paid a lot of college tuition to decide how I wanted to have babies.  I had Ophelia at a birth center, a happy medium/compromise with my husband,  but he was very much on board with doing it at home the second time around.  If you are interested in learning more about homebirth, the documentary The Business of Being Born is a great gateway drug to the topic.

SO.  Back to Ralphie.  I woke up Friday, March 2nd around six am, which is suppppper early for me, with contractions and knew something was going on.  I was two days "overdue" and so ready for him to be here and just over being pregnant.  I left Ophelia asleep in bed, went downstairs to tell Ian.  He was full of jokes, as usual, and as I was having an already painful contraction took a Snapchat of himself with me moaning in the background announcing that I was going to be a great single mother.  He is a charmer.  We texted our midwife that something was brewing and since she knew I had fast labors she said she would check in soon.  Ian also kept calling my mom, they were deciding if she should go to work and leave when things picked up, or just skip work and come now.  I kept telling her to go to work, he desperately wanted her here.  Ophelia woke up, so my mom came over to hang with her.  My dad also came over at some point, and the three of them hung out in the kitchen eating and painting, while intermittently coming out and watching me.  When I would make an exceptionally loud/unpleasant noise, my mom and Ophelia would shout "GO MAMA, GO MAMA, GO MAMA!" my yelling and being in pain didn't seem to upset Ophelia at all.  (As a side note, we did a lot of prepping Ophelia about birth,  the videos by this birth videographer on YouTube were a huge help, we watched them seriously all the time,  she went to every midwife appointment with me, and we play "birth" basically everyday.  This child will have no questions on how babies are born).

Our amazing midwives came over around 9:30, and said they didn't want to make me feel like a "watched pot" so they'd just hang out upstairs and get the pool ready.  I start to lose track of time around here, but after awhile of walking around with contractions, including a quick walk down the block,  I decided to try getting in the tub.  Unfortunately, just like with Ophelia's birth, I hated it, and got out.  My contractions are just so fast and intense I need counter pressure, so having Ian squeeze my hips was essential.  It started getting way too intense for me, actually, at this point.  We were in the bathroom, and I felt like puking, I was shaking, and I probably would have had him at this point if I pushed through.  Instead, I ran and laid down on Ophelia's floor and things slowed down a bit.  I moved to laying down in our bed, and started grunting during contractions, had some bloody show, and then my water burst all over Ian and both midwives.  With Ophelia, my water broke just before her head came out, but I think I had one contraction in between with Ralph.  Then his head was coming through, and of course it felt like my butt was going to split in half.  Why do we never remember this?! It feels like it is in your butt! Ian was crying and saying "My boy!  My boy!  There's my boy!" and there he was.  He was born at 12:25 in the afternoon.

I also want to note something for all the other moms out there who worry there is no way they could love a second child like their first.  My entire pregnancy, while I loved seeing him on ultrasounds, and feeling him move,  I KNEW there was no way I would ever love him like I love Ophelia.  I had all these secret thoughts that I would always love her more, but I would have to work hard my entire life not to show that or play favorites.  I felt guilty thinking that, but felt like it would definitely be the truth and I would just never tell.  And then of course, like everyone says, the second he came out and was laying on my chest I was just head over heels in love with him.  It wasn't like I loved Ophelia any less, or my heart divided the love, it just doubled and I loved them both so entirely and immensely.  So if you are afraid to have a second child out of loyalty to your first, know that the love will just grow.

The rest of the day was awesome.  I was on a total natural childbirth high, and everyone I loved was around me.  We were at home, so we were able to just hang out with our new family member and lay around all afternoon.  We ordered take out for dinner, and cozied up in our bed.

We are so happy you are here,  Ralphie Boy.

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