The Birth Story of Donnegal Amber
Born May 16, 1999
Unassisted into the loving arms of her mother
by Diane Marie
My pregnancy with Donnegal began with a lot of fear, here I was thinking, “Great, I have to see more doctors, deal with more probing, tests and every other thing they come up with.” It was something I was not looking forward to. Then I stumbled onto UC (unassisted childbirth) and my whole outlook changed.
I suddenly saw more freedom and choice, the realization that I “could” do this on my own, and that birth was truly a natural process and not some medical affliction. Pregnancy was no longer a condition, but had once again become the miracle of a new life. It filled every fiber of my being with joy and enthusiasm.
As things progressed I learned more of what my body was telling me, paid more attention to my cravings. My diet became better and I even became a better mother to my other children. I stopped blaming myself for the births I had given them, and started showering them with love and affection. The world was truly new and blessed. This is a feeling that I can not truly put into words as no words can really explain the depths of it. But for the first time in a long time, if ever, I truly felt like a woman, and found peace in the knowledge that my body was not defunct and could work on its own.
In all of my other pregnancies I had been told that this was wrong or that was wrong, when in truth it was normal and nothing to be concerned over. For example in my first pregnancy I was one cm dilated at three months along. This, by the way, is normal for pregnant women even in a first pregnancy. The midwife at the time told me that this was a sure sign my baby would be premature, and may possibly die. She said I should prepare myself. Looking back I now wonder what her problem was, and realize that these were scare tactics to keep me worshipping the “almighty doctors.”
I bought it too. Not this time though, this time I had seen too many of the prenatal scares (prenatal care) to realize that I was carefully being manipulated into thinking that birth, this natural process was a condition in need of medical assistance.
Once I broke free of these thoughts I found that my pregnancy was more enjoyable. I found the smallest of things amazing, like every kick that she gave. I loved it when she would get hiccups, as this was the first time I was truly able to tell that is what they were.
Now my journey was just beginning. I absorbed every birth story I could find. I looked into every book I could get my hands on, and found a wonderful connection with other women that were going through this same journey along with me. It gave me back a sisterhood that I believe has long been lost in the technologies of today.
This time I relied more on my husband and less on the security of a doctor. So even that closeness between us was renewed. We were doing this together as one, just as we had conceived her together. What more natural way is there to end such a beautiful walk than in the same manner in which it began, as a couple without outside interference?
As my pregnancy progressed we got birth supplies together, most of which we did not need. Even this simple task was enjoyed to the fullest. It was all done in the excitement that soon we would be welcoming a new, perfect little person into our world, and we wanted the perfect atmosphere to bring her earthbound. I was not sure if I would want to birth her in water or on ground, so we went out and bought a child’s pool that I could lounge in comfortably as the bath tub just wasn’t cutting it. We also made sure to have our favorite incense on hand, some gentle music to listen to, and one of those indoor fountains.
By now I could imagine what it would be like, this experience, this dream. It was slowly becoming reality. The closer it came to her arrival, the more I found myself having a mixture of emotions. I was both happy to be able to see her soon, and saddened that part of our journey would soon be ending.
I began having dreams of birth when I was about seven months pregnant. Often we were in some outdoor setting – near a lake or in a forest, such peaceful, serene surroundings. I could see animals hiding just on the outskirts of where I labored. I felt all at once as though I had somehow re-entered the circle of life – this past where all was connected, birthing mothers, whether animal or human, giving birth in the most simply way, the way it was meant to be.
One night I began having baby hugs (braxton hicks) that became so strong I truly thought I was in labor. We set up the birthing pool and got out all our supplies. Then hubby and I relaxed in the warm water, which he spent a couple of hours boiling for me, and shared in some quiet intimate time together. The water eased the contractions some and eventually they died down, though this did give me the insight that I would probably not want to birth in the pool after all. It just did not feel as comfortable as walking around did.
Well, we waited, though now it became a rather impatient wait, we wanted so badly to see this precious little child of ours. Days went by and nothing occurred, until May 14th.
My water broke! We were online with friends when this gush of fluid suddenly warmed my inner thighs. I quickly exclaimed my water had broken and then waited for contractions to start. Late that night we signed off, said good night to our buddies and went to bed, no expansions would be arriving on this night.
By Saturday night I began to lose faith, and with that I lost the connection that had been there between me and my child through this whole pregnancy. I could no longer feel her move and fear paralyzed me into going into the dreaded hell, read hospital, to check and be sure everything was all right. I kept thinking on the way that maybe they were right, maybe my body was malfunctioning and would not work properly.
We got there and they did an ultrasound. Yep, water broke, like I couldn’t have told them that. She was fine, steady heart beat, looked a bit small, but my faith was renewed and there was no way I was staying there to give birth to her. All the bright lights and busy attendants reminded me quite quickly of the reasons I had been avoiding the place to begin with. Not to mention the foreign germs my baby and I would be subjected to.
In retrospect, boy did I get impatient there. Needless to say, once back at home and after a good night’s sleep I was beginning to relax more. I believe this surrendering to birth gave my body that added push it needed.
By 6 pm that night contractions started, and this time they weren’t going away. I stayed online for a while chatting, however sitting began to be painful. I did not like this position and said my goodbyes, then off to the bath I went. I was literally craving that feeling of weightlessness I had had with the pool several nights back.
Once in the bath, the sensations relieved a bit, became less intense. They now felt like these wonderful waves of tightening and relaxing and I could actually feel my body working the way it was supposed to, could feel myself opening, like a flower spreading its petals to welcome the bee that will pollenate it. I was becoming ready to welcome my darling angel earthside.
Scott, my loving and supportive husband would alternate running into the living room to check on our other four girls and running back to my side as I began to vocalize through these expansions. I think expansion sounds so much better than contraction, after all your cervix expands, it does not contract and become smaller.
By this time the neighbors were certain we were laboring and throwing a party outside, just waiting for the announcement of the new baby to come. We lived in a trailer park which consisted of five mobile homes and included the owner’s place. They all knew of our plans and were very supportive throughout my pregnancy.
I digress, back to the tale. My expansions were now becoming so intense that I could not focus through them unless Scott was there to hold my hand. I would scream for him to come in each time one washed over me. He, my steady rock, came each time to my beck and call, willing to do whatever he could to make me more comfortable.
Transition arrived and I looked at him and said, “OK, I can’t do this, baby needs to stay there forever, and I want drugs now.” To which he calmly replied, “No way, you told me not to take you in unless it was an emergency and so you are just going to have to tough up and bite the bullet on this one.” *smile* He was so wonderful through this. I had him help me out of the bath tub. It really hurt too much and I thought maybe lying down would help. Oh no, this was about the biggest mistake I could have made. I made it halfway through an expansion and got to my feet as quickly as I could.
Standing was the only position that I could handle. The expansions were bearable again, I could focus and breathe through them, though I still called on him to rub my back through them. The girls were wonderful, I think they must have torn out every book in the bookshelf by then. They were giving daddy a run for his money that’s for sure.
All of a sudden I had the incredible urge to go to the bathroom, or so I thought that was what my body wanted. So I rushed to the restroom. Then I felt it, I could swear she was crowning, there was this firmness there all of a sudden. My excitement shot through the roof, I was doing this, bringing my baby into the world and I did not need some meddling professional.
But wait, this was not a head, this was her little bottom! I rose to my feet, instincts fully took over now. The world seemed to melt away and I forgot it existed in these precious moments. My body began pushing all on its own, no help from me at first and out came her buttocks, followed by these tiny, precious little feet, then came her perfect little head. All at once I was holding my beautiful baby, earthside in my arms. It was so amazing to look down on this little life, so fragile in my hands. To have those gorgeous blue eyes look up at me with such calmness and serenity. Truly different than any expression I had ever seen on my children’s faces before. She was content, then her eyes wandered to her surroundings, she took in the bathroom light, and cooed for a moment.
At this point reality returned and I recalled that my husband was there, so I quickly called him in to introduce what I thought at the time was his new son, oops! I had only briefly looked down at her and her labia at the time was not fully developed due to her small size and it appeared at a glance to be a penis. Scott just looked down at her in awe and before I knew it he had us in the bath with a towel wrapped about her.
She did seem rather small and she wasn’t crying, though she was nicely pinked up, but we were concerned so we called the paramedics, and they arrived about five minutes later. They cut the cord and awed over this precious little life they were getting to see. They kept expressing what a wonderful job I had done. Once they got us both on the stretcher they loaded us into the ambulance and took us to the hospital.
To make a long story short, she did have to stay in the hospital for six weeks, not because I had done anything wrong, but because she had gotten an infection which caused my waters to rupture prematurely (I was 34 weeks along when she was born). In the future I will be more educated on the care of premature babies and even more capable of dealing with any circumstance that may come up.
For those of you that like stats:
Donegal is a city in Ireland which has a very rich history and tells of a people that overcame many obstacles just to survive. We did not know this at the time that we named her.
Amber – Her hair was red with blonde frosts at the tips when she was born, so the middle name suited her as well.
Weight: 3 lbs. 2 oz. Length: 15 1/2 inches Eyes: Blue-grey, they are now blue-green.
I hope you enjoyed the telling of my precious daughter’s birth.