15 April 2009

A Birth Story

And could this little one be any more of a lesson in accepting things the way they are, and not being in control is just fine? What a lesson in trust (and patience) she has been already, barely a few hours old... She started teaching me before she was even born.

After peaceful slow labour all day, as soon as the children went to bed the contractions started coming one on top of the other. It was the most intensely I've ever laboured, and I wanted the pool up fast! This felt *fast* and I spent most of my time crouching leaning down on my elbows to slow the contractions a bit and give myself space to breathe. We called the midwives about then, with the pool half-full and my mum on her way already, about 8pm I guess. It felt like the contractions were still a few minutes apart but having gone from slooow to full-on in a matter of minutes my body was obviously as impatient as my mind.

The midwife came then, and I nearly sent her away again when she spoke to her collegue and said "don't rush, she'll be a while". Argh! That was the last thing I needed to hear, and everything felt so fast (um, I said that already, right?) I ended up clinging to Martin in the pool saying, "I can't do much longer, it won't really be much longer will it?!"

With every contraction he was applying pressure to my lower back and it felt so GOOD, every time he went to get more hot water (yes, we played that game again!) I ended up shouting for him to come back! I tried to drink but was just sick, so laid off that idea. Hey, this birth story has alll the nice bits left in. ;)

After this point I have no idea of time at all. It felt at the time like it was about an hour of sets of back-to-back contractions and very little pause between, but actually I'm told it was three (three!) hours like that. I felt pushy for most of that time too, but was convinced I had ages to go yet. It was very very hard work by then, Martin was IN the pool (not allowed to stop massaging my back) and the water was nice and hot. I was swinging between "labouring beautifully" ie breathing hard, rocking my hips, feeling spaced out but on top of the world, and just whining (I can't, I don't want to, why is it so SLOW?!).

For a while we had one of those strange conversations with the midwives where they totally flipped out at the idea of lotus birthing, I discussed it between contractions for a good half hour, and finally ended up snapping and said, "look, it's my decision and I will make it at the time, I've heard your advice and now I DON'T WANT TO DISCUSS IT!!" Actually this was about the hardest I'd ever laboured with any of my children, and I was really furious that I was being asked to justify myself during contractions. Martin stopped them asking any more questions after that and the mood in the birthing room settled back to comfortably semi-festive (with my complaints and heavy breathing as constant background).

Then, unmistakably, I knew I was pushing whether or not I wanted to. Really? Now? I was convinced I had an hour left at least (I think I'd talked myself into thinking it couldn't possibly actually be nearly over, I'd been basically in transition for hours already and was tired out)... After a couple of contractions on top of each other like that, pushing but not really doing the work conciously, I could feel the head and mum ran to get Jenna. Before then I'd felt too fragile to be comfortable with her being there, but now I knew I was very close.

Having her there was magical. As I pushed the head out I heard her gasp and exclaim, "our baby!" and a moment later as the body was born she said, "the baby swam out BEAUTIFULLY!"

I held a tiny little fat wrinkly newborn body for a moment, long enough to see that we had a third daughter (WOW!!) but the little body was very limp and the little eyes didn't open. She started to turn blue and we realised that the cord was vey very short and not pulsing, the placenta had come away too soon and hadn't fed her for those last couple of pushes. So we cut the cord quickly and she was revived a moment later. Through that brief scare we were all totally calm, though I think the midwives both panicked a bit, and Martin and I just looked at each other and said, "she's OK, she'll breathe in a minute". And she did.

I held her back in the water and snuggled her close. Her hands and feet are wrinkly and dry, but her little head was very vernix-y and she is SO ROUND, a little ball of plumpness! She's a good bit bigger than either of the others was, well cooked little mite that she is. Jenna had a little cry now that we'd had a girl, just what she wanted, and she got a little cuddle too. She hasn't stopped telling her how much she loves her, and how glad she is to meet her!

Morgan met her new sister this morning, in our bed, and they nursed together for the first time too. Rowan has a good strong suck but is quite sleepy and won't feed for more than a few sucks at a time. We're keeping at it though, with Morgan cheering her on - she keeps coming and saying, "good girl baby Row-na, more mummy moolk" (also keeps calling her "Re-an" lol, I think this name might take time to stick for my teeny toddler!). In fact, the first thing Morgan said when she saw her was, "baby - from there!" pointing at my stomach. Followed by, "baby sad, have mummy moolk".

And here she is. Perfect, complete, and strangely alien! I actually have a baby, she's really here!


  1. Wow, congratulations! You must be so thrilled! Sorry you didn't get the lotus birth, but sure that Baby Rowan makes up for it. It's a beautiful name - ine of my favourites.


    Broken Man's Wife

  2. Oh Sarah! Congratulations! Is it weird that I'm crying? I'm so happy for you!

    Welcome to the world Rowan. We wish you all the luck in the world


    ps. I've been bugging Naomi for news every few minutes since yesterday morning :)

  3. Congratulations, so happy for you all! She is beautiful, lovely name too, enjoy your babymoon xx

  4. You did so well! I found my second birth a LOT harder than the first, I think it might have been that I planed higher expectations on myself. My second labour also kicked off just at my eldest's bedtime, the midwife I saw said that most second births and beyond tend to be at night, which I find really interesting. Like nature's way of taking the distraction of other children away before you need all your concentration.

    It's a shame you had to justify yourself during labour, I can imagine that was really not what you needed. I have learnt something though, I just googled lotus birth as I never heard of it before! Your husband sounds like a superstar. And so adorable what Jenna said, what a lovely introduction :)

    Mel xxx

  5. You've got me in tears! Congratulations Sarah on a long anticipated birth, and welcome Rowan, you have no idea how many people have been waiting to see you!

  6. Congratulations to you all. She's beautiful and has two fantastic sisters.

    Welcome earthside Rowan.


  7. Oh wow, I'm crying here I'm so happy for you! Beautiful name.. oh babe, woohooo!!!!

  8. Huge congratulations to you and the family on the birth of beautiful Rowan! Thank you so much for sharing your birth and pictures so soon : ) Lots of Love,

    Megan and Imogen (who now also enjoys your blog and wanted to know all about the birth lol)

  9. I can't believe you have posted your birth story and pictures already! Beautiful pictures of your girls, I am SO thrilled for you all, and Izzi, you're not weird, I have a few tears here too.

    Enjoy your babymoon, and welcome to a new baby Clark (makes me want to make one too!!)


  10. Fantastic, congratulations to all and welcome Rowan


  11. Congratulations. I have been following your blog for a while now and have been back so many times each day to check if your baby was here, so pleased for you.

  12. Tears here too! Congratulations, so happy for you all xxxxx

  13. CONGRATULATIONS! What a wonderful birth story, and a lovely name.

  14. Wow I loved reading that, it brought tears to my eyes too! Congratulations (again) from all of us here to all of you there :)

    You did amazingly hun.


  15. Oh dear, I had to wipe my eyes before posting my comment lol! Amazing that babies can bring out all these emotions you never knew you had! That's one of a very tiny munberof birth stories I've read that doesn't go on about what time it was and all sorts of medical interventions, and just sounds so natural and joyful. It's a shame that your lotus birth didn't work out, but as you said, it's great that you can just go with the flow and be patient and it will all work out somehow.. Jenna certainly has a wonderful way with words, that she has no doubt caught from her mum!

  16. Rowan's birth story was just full of wonder and awe! Tears here too - congratulations and welcome little girl xxx

  17. Congratulations again! Wonderful news and a beautiful birth story. I was starting to get teary just looking at the photos of your girls and their adoring gazes on their new sister and that was before i had read anything!
    Have a relaxing babymoon with gorgeous Rowan!

    Laura/Mamoo xx

  18. Congratulations, Sarah.
    What a beautiful, calm birth story, so glad everything went well.
    Lots of love to you all.
    Welcome Baby Rowan, such a beautiful name xx

  19. Congratulations Sarah! Fantastic news and a gorgeous little baby girl. Welcome Rowan!

    Take care of yourself and enjoy your girls :)

    Jo & Noah x

  20. Awesome Sarah! I've been watching, waiting and praying. I'm delighted that everything is ok and I wept when I read your birthstory. Take things easy and rest as much as possible. Sending you lots and lots of love *and virtual arnica* !! Croeso i'r byd Rowan fach, mae'n lle bendigedig (Welcome to the world little Rowan, it's a beautiful place).
    Sara (Hex) xxx


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