Charlie's Story of Love Bella's Waterbirth

November 24, 2001

Love is such a blessing! She just turned 2 months old recently. I am happy to say that everything involving her home waterbirth went just swimmingly.

I was fortunate enough to have my 2 dear sisters, close friends and a very skilled midwife in attendance at my birth. I began planning everything after my arrival back into town, 6 weeks prior to my due date of November 23rd. It was no easy task finding my midwife. I finally found Dana through a very large circle of doulas that I became acquainted with during my search. It was a good thing I found her too!

I was ready to just settle for the fact that my birth was just going to be unattended if I could not find someone because I had decided long ago that this was the very best way to bring my child into the world . . . in the warmth of home and through the warmth of water. I was ready to do it all alone in my bathtub if it came right down to that.

My friend Flaka had come in from Houston to be with me. My sister Carol, who lives 2 hours away had also made her way in. She was afraid things would happen so fast that she would miss something. Little did we know that when labor finally started we all had a long road ahead of us before anything big took place!

My contractions began on my due date at about 3PM, even though small contractions had began several days before. My sisters and Flaka and I had spend most of the big day just waiting around. We tried to rest but then I noticed that my back was hurting so bad that I could just not stand the pain. I wondered if labor could be starting. I knew Flaka was exhausted so I went out to my "birthing room" which we had converted from the living room. There were comfy blankets everywhere and a rented birthing pool with warm water right in the middle. My ever-so-caring dog, Livie, stuck by my side as I tossed and turned on pillows trying to make myself comfortable. About 2 hours went by and my back pains became unbearable. I woke Flaka, and called my sisters and my midwife to let everyone know that things were starting.

I will never forget how they arrived, as if they were setting up camp for a war or something! My sisters came in with chairs, blankets, bags and all sorts of food. Shortly after that Dana showed up around sevenish with several hockey-equipment-size bags containing all her medical equipment and some sort of metal birthing stool. It was pretty exciting to watch their arrivals, which was a good thing because the back contractions that I had been tolerating up to that point were anything but exciting!

I had been waiting for Dana to show up to examine me and give me a green light for jumping into my pool, because 5 cm was the magic number before I could get in. Dana let me get in the water and boy did it feel good! It was like going from pain that felt as if my lower body was being ripped in half to about as much pain as one would experience when they fart . . . thatıs the best way I can put it. In the water I could feel a sensation coming on but absolutely no pain during and after the action, compared to the UNBELIEVABLE pain that I felt out of the pool when those contractions hit me. I became sure there was no way in the world I could have taken that pain out of the water without drugs. I was actually laughing at those painful contractions after I got into the water. I was pretty much wasting away in Margaritaville, the way I was sipping my juice off my little floating drink holder and nibbling bananas to keep my energy up.

Things continued in a very mellow tone until the wee hours of the morning as my faithful troopers went in on my bed and napped in shifts. I just sat back and relaxed to the tunes of Kenny G and Shakira. The heart lamp that my niece Melissa had given me filled the room with a warm red glow along with candles, creating the perfect light. It began raining outside and we opened the windows. The calming rain drops added to my relaxation. Flaka and I decided that we would middle-name the baby "Uvia", being the Americanized form of lluvia, which means rain in Spanish, if she were born during this calm rain storm. Flaka had hung a huge beautiful colorful quilt on my birthing room wall for me to concentrate on if and when hard contractions kicked in. I followed the shapes and patterns and thought, hummmm, this birthing thing is gravy and continued to be thankful that I was not cooped up in some stinky hospital room!

Many hours later Dana announced that things were not moving as fast as they should and that she wanted to examine me again. We learned that my water had STILL not broken and that Dana wanted to manually break it and follow the procedure with some pushes and other stimulating exercises out of the water. She said that would be best for both me and the baby. She explained that breaking my water would be like hooking the sack with a crochet needle and giving it a little tug. Although I had envisioned everything being totally natural, what she was asking for did not seem bad and I was indeed getting tired and was ready for things to pick up a bit.

Livie immediately came running to my side as I lay down. It was the cutest thing, she totally ignored my sisters calls and attempts to coral her away from me and ran straight to me. Dana said that was the first time she ever broke a water sack under a dogıs watchful gaze! After that we got up and I did some lunges and elephant steps with Dana. I remember not actually feeling unable to stand on my own, but leaning on everyone's shoulders each time I got out of the pool. For the next few hours I was in and out of the water, often getting out only when I really had to go to the bathroom. I would feel the urge to push more on each trip out of the pool. Dana continued to monitor the baby's heartbeat with her under water doppler.

Right at about 6 o'clock . . . I had been laboring for 15 hours at that point and was impressed that the pain was still very tolerable in the water . . . there was a knock at the door. My friend Lori had come to check in on me. I was glad because I had been too much into my own world to be bothered with calling her or my other friend Tracey, who had also planned on being with me during this big event.

Everyone was glad for the renewed level of energy that Lori brought with her because we were all getting very tired. Dana checked me again and said we were getting close, but my cervix was still not dilated enough where I could just push with those contractions. Shortly after that is when things got weird for me. My body started doing involuntary pushing. All I could do was sit there and grunt along with the pushes. With every contraction everyone yelled "Don't push!" but I was not pushing at all, my body was doing it all for me. I felt like a snake that had just eaten a horse and it was still alive and passing through my body involuntarily.

It was about 8:30 when Dana finally said my cervix had opened enough that I could begin to push, but she wanted me to first try some pushes out of the water. I got out of the water and gave a couple pushes and decided right away that there was just no way! I felt like I was being asked to push that horse through a pin hole and I just did not see it happening!! Just trying to do so really hurt! So I just told everyone to forget it and jumped back in the pool. I felt so much more in control of my body in the water and pushing did not hurt at all . . . in fact the pushing felt good in the water.

My Shakira CD played away for the rest of Love's journey into the world, as I pushed away. Everyone had their job. Carol was sitting behind me holding me up suspending me in mid water. Lori and Flaka were each supporting a leg and Marianne and Dana were ready to catch. This is the point where I really missed and regretted not calling Tracy because we could have used an extra pair of hands to videotape the baby coming out, which was one detail about the birth that I really wanted filmed. We did have a camera strategically placed hoping it would pick up a lot of the birth and time of birth on clock across room but it fell short on both jobs.

Finally I was told Love was crowning and they could see her very hairy head! I rested between contractions and pushed my hardest when I felt the need. Her head slowly worked its way into the opening more and more with each push. The only time of the entire birth that I can honestly say it HURT was when her head finally made it into that opening. At that point I was scared because I thought surely her body was going to get stuck or hurt even worse, if her head hurt me that bad. At that moment I wanted to say "GIVE ME DRUGS!!" . . . no, just kidding!

Her head felt like a basketball and that is when I felt I had to push between contractions. Between every push Dana loaded the opening with some sort of jelly. It sure was a relief and I think it prevented me from tearing too! Finally I gave one last hard, huge push accompanied by the loudest scream I have ever uttered in my life and I looked down to see this absolutely beautiful open-eyed face coming out of the water!

I will never forget that surreal moment of holding my breath waiting for her to surface. She was lifted to my chest and I recall clearly how both cheeks of her sweet little butt fit right into the palm of my hand as I braced her. She was purple as a grape and covered with a thick white lotion-type substance. She made sweet little animal-like noises as she inhaled air into her little lungs and balled herself tightly in the center of my breasts. I was more in shock than anything as I stared at my beautiful creation before me. Normally I am the biggest crybaby in the world, but I surprised myself by not crying at all. I just studied every detail of her. Her fingers were perfect, with perfect little nails that were so long they looked almost manicured. Her face was all scrunched (she had my nose!) and had an expression on it like she could not believe the trip that she just had taken. Very slowly she lifted her head to look up into my face. I continued to stare at her for what seemed like hours. I gave my little blessing the middle name of Bella (pronounced BEYA) which means beautiful in Spanish and she is just that, absolutely beautiful!

Although there were quite a few things that I would have changed right after Love came out, I can say that all and all my birth was almost perfect, and my baby far surpasses perfection. A special thanks to Dana for her job well done! Two months later we are both doing great together.

--- Charlie