Phoenix's Homebirth Story
Here is my account of the home birth. Time goes sideways when in labor, so some things might not have actually happened in the exact order I laid them out and since I didn't have a concept of time, I really don't know how long things took, but here it is!
It all started with a huge gush that woke me up from a much needed nap after returning from the Farmers Market on Sunday, June 5th. Finally, the baby was coming! Every hour after the due date felt like 5 days. I was so excited and concerned. I had hardly slept the night before and I was really really tired. I started having flash backs of my first birth that would influence this birth till the end. I LOVED my first birthing experience. But it was very long. I didn't sleep much for days and when I finally went into active labor it was another 36 hours till our daughter was born. This was all running through the mind as I started to feel the nudge of contractions starting. I was happy to have some really mild ones in the beginning. All I remembered after my water breaking the first time was no rest and the contractions were very painful for about a day and a half. I wanted to take advantage and laid down.
I was just too excited! I rested but then decided maybe I should eat. And set up the video. I really wanted a video this time and preferably one that my sister didn't need to hold. (she ended up getting the best video of all anyways) But our apartment was way too small (550 sq ft) to have another person added to the mix. I even had a couple of extremely talented friends offer to do photography. I had to decline but there is always a plan B or C. I also needed to call my sister and mom and let my midwives know what happened. We made the calls and told everyone not to rush over. We would be in touch, but they should try to take a nap or at least rest. I REALLY wanted to Thai food so Nichol ordered and went with the 4 year old to pick it up so I could rest. It was so delicious and the left overs ended up being a very welcome meal after babe was born. The first meals after all that work are always so memorable!
We set up the beeswax candles that Hattie and I had made a few weeks previous and sat around and waited and set up the birth tub and made sure that everyone that had a candle from the Blessingway and our family knew what was going on. I also continued to gush the green tinted goo. I was so glad I had invested in a big package of adult diapers. I hadn't needed them in the previous one so thought it was excessive. But if you need them, you need them! Hattie went down to sleep easily around 8:30 with promises that we would wake her when it was time to get in the tub. Then we called everyone and said that the contractions were now consistently 3-4 minutes apart and growing closer, they could come whenever. First mom and Jackie arrived and my sister started helping me set up the video and make it so anyone that wanted to watch the moaning and groaning for the indeterminate amount of time before the grand finale, could. Then our midwifes came, Alex and Blyss. They set up and waited. I asked for the music from the Blessingway that Marques had put together be played. At some point it was turned off but I really loved the sweet music when it was on. The contractions were picking up in intensity but I still wasn't active. I think around 10pm (you lose track of this thing called 'time' when laboring) everyone but Nichol and Blyss (and sleeping Hattie) went for a walk around the block. I worked on varying positions to kick it up a notch and leaned on my wife for her support. It worked! I moved to active shortly after.
It was decided that Nichol would rest so she could be ready for the long haul and taking care of everything once the baby had arrived. My mom moved to the part of doula with Blyss and my sister made sure things were moving smoothly from across the room. At some point Alex went to rest too. I moved from the futon to the shower and back. I was surprised that the memory of my previous laboring experience creeped up and I got worried that the pain of active labor might last another 35 hours. I begged for help, I wondered if anyone ever passed out from exhaustion (remember, I went into this very tired) I kept plugging along. I focused in on the work of birthing this baby. I looked up at the birth affirmations draped across the window. I went deep inside where I found strength and determination and hint of fear and a lot of love. It rolled through like the contractions. I felt supported and I felt the space to do it alone.
I was so tired already. I was concerned. I asked to be reminded how to rest through the pain. I knew, but at that point I wanted some hand holding. I got positioned on my side and slept for the 30-60 second breaks I got between contractions. It hurt like a son of a gun but I didn't want to move. Eventually, it was suggested that I change positions. I remember thinking, fat chance! But I moved, I stood up and things changed. My back hurt, I felt like my body might sink right into the floor. I was given a cervical check. Shortly after I looked up and saw my daughters bright and cheery face in front of me. She had a huge smile. I asked her if I had woken her up and that I was sorry. She said, 'no'. Then I saw Nichol. I was a bit confused. Even though the head had obviously descended and they said that the baby was coming down, I still thought it would be many hours. And then, I was told I could get in the tub. You didn't have to say that twice. I had been craving the sweet pain relief of the water for hours but didn't want to stall or slow down the labor. I jumped in and my daughter quickly followed along with my wife, with her clothes on. Huh? I still didn't get it. I was still deep into this other dimension you seem to slip into. I leaned against the tub. My midwife took a position in front of me to encourage and my other midwife held the flashlight. Flashlight!? and then I felt the familiar ring of fire and a pop with the next contraction and the head was out. I couldn't believe it. I waited patiently this time, letting my body adjust and with the next contraction the baby came out into my wife's hands with our daughter watching in awe just inches away.
I flipped around and scooped up our baby. It was real! I had my baby! The baby was out. That was it? I thought it would be a lot longer but this babe decided that 2:07am on 6/6/2016 was a fine time to come earth side. I got caught up in the rush of birthing and didn't think to check on the sex until I went to use a pronoun. I asked Hattie to come closer as I lifted the towel off of the baby so she could tell everyone what she saw. 'A brother!' and a look of dismay spread across her face, for she had really wanted a sister. It lasted for a second, then she looked at him with intense love and came up for a cuddle and to tell him she loved him. He looked around and it seemed that his first sound, after the cry to clear the lungs, was, 'hi'. Well, hello to you, love!
The rest of the story is filled with lots of love and cuddles and first latch and doing those checks that you do when a baby is born. Things were cleaned up and people left and we were left alone. A new family of 4. And it was immensely wonderful and joyful and peaceful.
It did take awhile to name our new son. The name that came to me in a dream didn't seem to fit anymore. That happened with Hattie too. Ezekiel was off the list. But what? I started to go into labor when our nearby neighborhood was on fire. As he was born, things were more contained and the fire turned to ash. Also, the month before he was conceived, I had conceived a different babe but lost it. I knew that the early loss could increase fertility, even though I was emotionally wrecked, I tried to conceive on the 'ashes' of the previous. And it worked. So, when Nichol mentioned Phoenix, it made sense. Our Phoenix, our fire bird. His middle name was a name that I had on my list because I liked it. Sol. Our rising sun. Our rising Phoenix. So there it was. Phoenix Sol Theis DePoint.