Tatiana’s Birth, by Cori

Sep 16, 2012 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Birth Stories

As I sit here in the calm of naptime, almost one month after Tatiana’s birth, I realize that her arrival into this world was preceded by months of inner healing. So much thought went into her birth, though I never thought I would have enough time to prepare like I wanted to with my two year old running around! I did manage to find the special time needed to chase away the bad energy and thoughts left over after my son Yohan’s birth. I had been told at the end of a very healthy first pregnancy that my pelvis was not sufficient to birth my large, breech baby. The decision was made for me, and Yohan’s entry into this world was July 4 – No warning, just cut from my womb. I did as I was told, I trusted the doctor. When I finally held his tiny 6lbs body nearly 5 hours later, all I could think of was how violated I felt for both of us! No immediate bonding, I could barely move to hold him, who knows what they did with him during those precious moments. Anyway, I can’t change what’s been done, but I decided that I was going to do things right this time!

A series of events led me to the door of Cascade Midwives where I would meet Janine Walker, LM. Wanting a natural home birth, but lacking some confidence because of my previous c-section, Janine helped me believe in myself and my body, just what I needed. She listened as I rid myself of thoughts I had only shared with my husband Emmanuel. She suggested books, which filled my mind with realistic, frightening evidence of our society’s trend towards c-sections. I knew my risks for homebirth but also knew the risks surrounding hospital births. Janine also suggested getting a doula, which is how I was connected to Kim. Kim also helped me in my preparation. I talked, she listened and understood, she too believed in my ability to birth my baby. I was going to have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean)!! I felt confident doing what women naturally know how to do, in the comfort of my own home and surrounded by people who care for me! My pregnancy went well and as my due date came and went I tried to remain patient and actually enjoy the anticipation. I would have the surprise of going into labor on the day that Tatiana chose! My mother-in-law, Christine, had come from France to help out. She arrived on my due date. As my due date came and went I started feeling some pressure to perform, Christine couldn’t stay forever. She was also a little nervous about the whole idea of a homebirth. As we came upon two weeks I began to fear that all of our birthing plans would be abandoned if my pregnancy lasted too long. Would all of this planning, inner reflection, yoga classes, books etc. find me in a hospital? I had to tell myself that whatever happened, I would have someone on my side this time if need be. I knew that Janine and Kim would be there for me!

Finally, at 5:00 am on December 10 I was awoken by the first of many contractions. These were the contractions I was waiting for, the ones that Janine said would feel different! I welcomed them and became more and more sure that this was it as I grabbed my watch and realized they were happening every seven minutes. I savored these contractions alone for two hours and by 7:00 am I had to tell Emmanuel what was happening. I announced that he wouldn’t be going to work that day. He was as thrilled as I was! I made my calls to Janine and Kim- I knew it would be some time before I saw them, but I was so excited! A few hours later April came to set up the labor tub we had rented. I knew that its warm soothing waters would later envelop me and ease my pain. The day went by slowly, the contractions remained the same throughout most of the morning and afternoon. We spent the day together as a family, Emmanuel, Yohan, Christine and I. We picked up some sushi at noon and then in the early afternoon watched a video. We tried to keep busy and be patient. I was in touch with Janine and Kim throughout the day and as we talked on the phone they assessed how things were going. Kim would talk me through a contraction and then we would continue our conversation. I knew that she would come when I needed her, but I still felt in control and able to handle my contractions. At one point Janine told me that another client was also in labor but didn’t seem too concerned, as this was her third birth. She knew I would need more time, which was the case! By 5:00pm I really wanted to get on with it! Janine suggested a walk and then dinner. The whole family put on coats and we went out for a stroll to look at Christmas lights. Not even a half a block down the road I had to stop and hold onto Emmanuel. I thought about the breathing I had learned in yoga class and worked my way through the contractions, which were becoming more and more intense! The contractions were getting closer together; I was wondering if I would make it back to the house! I remember experiencing severe pain in my lower back. Our walk had been efficient! I was glad to be back in the warmth of our home. I tried to eat a few pieces of pasta, but I was stopped by the intensity of the contraction. I remember Yohan asking “What’s Mommy doin’?” as my face obviously revealed the pain I was feeling. It was time to have Kim come. It seemed as though she arrived minutes after I called. It was about 9:00pm by now. It felt good to have her there! Her warm lavender rice pack helped ease my lower back pain as I kneeled on the floor and buried my head in a pile of pillows on the couch. Kim’s calm, reassuring voice helped me to stay focused. The contractions came and went, one after the other without much time in between. Yohan was getting tired so we started getting him ready for bed. Our plan was to have him present during the birth; this didn’t seem to be the way it would happen. By 10:00pm Janine and her student midwife were at the house. She listened to the baby’s heart rate with the Doppler then suggested that I get into the labor tub. I was grateful for the hot water that eased my pain. Candles were lit, Tibetan music played in the background. My hands tightly grasped the side of the tub as Kim and Emmanuel held my hands. At this point I was so into the contractions, so into myself, my own private world. I remember voices, reassuring voices.

When Janine finally checked me, I was surprised to learn that I was almost completely dilated! Kim reminded me of my fear of transition and with a smile told me I had made it! Janine said it was time to think about pushing. Unfortunately I had a stool that I couldn’t get rid of; just my luck to become constipated at such a moment!! All of my pushing efforts in the tub where unsuccessful so at 12:00am Janine and Kim encouraged me to leave the warmth of the tub and try sitting on the toilet. No change in progress so Kim ran to the store for an enema (thank heaven for good old American 24 hour grocery stores!!). In the meantime I was trying my hardest on my bed. Janine also broke my water at this time and once the enema arrived and the stool problem taken care of I felt the incredible animal like urge to push! When I finally figured out how to push I let the urge take me over! I became an animal, I groaned so loudly that’s all I could hear! Yohan never woke up; this is still very amazing to me!

I never felt tired, I felt very alive and determined to hold our baby! As my pushing wasn’t moving things along too quickly, Janine and Kim had me changing positions often. If they hadn’t encouraged this I wouldn’t have moved from where I was! I remember being on my side, on my hands and knees, on my back, doing the Erickson position (Emmanuel sat on a chair, I straddled his lap, facing him and dropped my bottom). Then I tried the toilet once again. Kim told me I looked like a queen sitting on her throne!! Janine encouraged me to reach down and see if I could feel Tatiana’s head, which was showing about quarter size at that point. I remember the warm, soft sensation; I knew she would soon be here!

My final position was in our bed with Emmanuel and lots of pillows behind my back. Christine was down by my feet holding up a mirror so I could watch as Tatiana slowly worked her way out. I remember pushing so hard and the encouraging words from Janine and Kim. When I felt like I couldn’t push anymore Janine would say “Come on, you can give one more push!” It really was like I was running a marathon and in my last crucial yards before the finish line! It was nearing 5:00am, 24 hours after the onset of labor!! I had no idea it had been so long, time stood still in my mind. I felt Tatiana’s body, as she seemed to be twisting around inside me. My arms held my legs up as I tried to open up as wide as possible. Looking in the mirror I could see more of Tatiana’s head. Again, Janine encouraged me to reach down and feel her head! Amazing! The intensity and burning of the final pushes were so powerful, I felt in control, very alive and so happy to be a woman! Feeling Tatiana’s head outside of me, her body still inside, then feeling the relief as her body slid out and was placed on my chest! Tatiana was born at 5:15am at the time she chose with her mother and father in their bed! Bonding was immediate for both Emmanuel and I. We had done it the way we wanted to in the warmth and comfort of our home with only those that we wished to be present. Tatiana was 9 pounds 8 ounces! Who says my pelvis is “insufficient”?! If you are attempting a VBAC, I encouraged you to trust in yourself, your body and your baby! Believe you can do it and surround yourself with a supportive team! The reward is amazing! Standing naked in front of a mirror my eyes are no longer drawn towards the scar that reminds me of Yohan’s birth. Now I see a strong, accomplished birthing mother of two beautiful children!!

Written by Cori.

Tatiana’s Birth Photo Gallery

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