Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the day that Faerin Elizabeth was born into my and my husband's hands on our living room floor. She's brought joy and light into all of our lives since.
The Birth of Faerin Elizabeth
Faerin's birth was such an incredible experience that it is difficult to know where to begin when writing this story. She taught me so much during pregnancy and I am sure will continue to teach me, just as my other two girls do.
We waited for her. We waited 13 months while we were TTC to even conceive her. Then we waited 41 weeks and 2 days to meet her. Both of my other girls were born at 38 weeks, so I expected her to be born around the same. No... she wanted to make me wait
I was impatient, anxious and miserable. Physically, I was fine, mentally I was miserable, because I made myself that way. I didn't want to wait and I hadn't expected to wait. The night before she was born, I had a realization. I'd had a particularly stressful pregnancy, unlike my other two. Maybe she needed the extra time to "cook." Babies are pretty smart at deciding when they need to be born and I knew that my body wouldn't fail me. I was not going to be pregnant forever, much as I felt that way
I was finally at peace with "still" being pregnant. I was finally able to let go of all my anxiety and impatience and just trust that birth works..
The morning of the 24th, I woke, like any other morning. Only, for once, I wasn't tired and I had a bit of energy. I felt great about the realization that I'd had the previous night, but I really didn't think the baby was going to come that day.. little did I know
I cleaned, I cooked, I even made cinnamon rolls. I had sporadic contractions all day long. They weren't braxton hicks, they were real contractions, but they weren't strong enough to require my attention. I'd been having them for weeks, so I didn't pay much attention. These were ranging anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes apart. I just went about my day and pretty much ignored them.
Around 4PM or so, I talked to John on the phone and told him about the contractions. Told him that we *might* be having a baby that night, but not to count on it. He came home from work that night and we had dinner. The contractions had started to get a bit stronger by this point and I had decided that this was "it" and we would be having a baby either that evening, or the next morning. I didn't say anything to John or the girls though, because I wanted him to take his time reading them a story and putting them to bed and I didn't want them excited and not sleeping. I did stress to him that I needed him to put them in bed on time.
As soon as John took the girls in to read them a story the contractions started to pick up a bit. By the time he came out of the bedroom and they were asleep it was 8:30 and things kicked into high gear. I was beginning to have to breathe through the contractions. I sat on the end of the chaise lounge and watched TV, taking slow deep breaths and John worked on his computer. Around 9:30 or so, he was done and I was beginning to need his attention. He sat behind me on the couch and put pressure on my lower back during the contractions. This really helped me deal with them and made them feel a lot less intense.
I spent a while on the couch and went back and forth from the couch to the toilet. My body was cleaning itself out in preparation for birth. Around 10:30 I decided to fill up the tub and see if the water helped any. My legs hurt during every contraction and I wanted to take the pressure off of them. The water was lovely! At one point, I looked up at John and calmly told him, "I know this isn't transition, because it hasn't been long enough yet.. but I really don't want to do this anymore..." Little did I know!
I stayed in as long as I could but got tired of having to get out every 3 minutes to use the toilet. So I wrapped up in a towel and went back to the living room.
John helped me squat through a few more contractions and then we heard Ariana wake up. He went in the bedroom to put her back to sleep and I went to sit on the toilet, as it was the easiest place to deal with the contractions alone. While sitting there I noticed that I was beginning to get pushing contractions. I wasn't pushing actively, but my body was beginning to. I laughed to myself, because I had a dream a few weeks earlier that I delivered the baby on the toilet in the middle of the night, alone. Here I was, my body beginning to push, and my husband was putting our 2 yr old back to sleep.
John came out of the bedroom at about that time and I decided to move into the living room. Things went very fast from this point on. I tried squatting thru contractions but my legs just didn't want to cooperate. So I lay down on my side and John held one of my legs up for me so that I could relax the muscles. I had said all thru my pregnancy that I wasn't going to birth lying down, that I wanted to squat and "catch" the baby myself, but now that it was time, I was just doing what felt right.
My body continued to push. I never actively pushed, I was just along for the ride. It was awesome, just doing what felt right, not fighting the urge to push because I needed someone to tell me I was "complete." Not having to blow and pant thru these incredible sensations because I was deemed not fully dilated yet. I never checked my cervix, I don't know if I was complete or not.. I just allowed my body to do what it was doing.
I felt the baby move down, I began to feel full. I asked John if he saw a head and he told me, "not yet." He asked me if I wanted him to go and get Lyrica, as I had told her that I would wake her for the birth. "Not yet," I replied, thinking that I had more time.
The next contraction he told me that he saw a head. I reached down and with the next push I felt my baby's head come into my hand. I tried to slow her down a bit by breathing but she wasn't having any of that. Another push by my uterus and her head was out, in my hands. I was the first person to touch her. Incredible relief surged thru me that her head was out. I let a deep breath out and then my uterus bore down again. Her shoulders birthed into my husbands hands and her body quickly followed. Together we lifted her onto my abdomen and I looked down.
A girl! She was a girl!! "Oh my god, it's a girl!" I exclaimed. I was really expecting a boy and was quite surprised. John got a towel, which we used to cover both of us. I talked to her and rubbed her and she let out a little gasp, but wasn't really breathing yet. "Don't move her," I told John, "the cord feels short." It was then that we realized the cord was around her neck, rather tightly, at that. I held her up and John unwrapped it and she breathed. She breathed and I spoke to her, "Hello, Faerin! Welcome to the world, little one."
John went to get Lyrica and I lay there on the floor, in our living room in total bliss, staring into the eyes of the babe that my husband and I brought into the world together. Lyrica came out and was in awe of her baby sister. I told John that I felt like I needed to squat, as the placenta was ready, and he helped me up. Out popped the placenta onto the blanket beneath me. There was very little blood and I was quite amazed. After a bit, we decided to cut the cord, as I was finding holding her with it attached a bit difficult. Lyrica helped her daddy cut it.
I'd bled a lot at my previous births so I was concerned about that possibility. As a precaution, I decided to swallow a small piece of placenta, as the hormones in it cause uterine contractions and help prevent hemorrhage. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be. Bleeding was never a problem, but I'm not sure if it was the placenta that did the trick, or if it was just the fact that I didn't have anyone tugging on the cord before the placenta was ready to come ("gentle cord traction" ha!).
Ariana woke up at this point, so I had John go and get her as well. We sat for about 2 hours as a family, in total birth bliss, everyone staring at the new female addition to our family.
I'm still in awe of our birth experience. It was absolutely amazing. I can't find the words to express how incredible I feel. John says that it was the most wonderful feeling for it to have been just the two of us. No strangers, no extra hands reaching and touching and pushing, nobody counting and telling me what to do and when to do it. Just two people who thru love made a baby and in love brought her into this world.
She is a joy and just looking at her makes me smile. she's a calm child who fusses only when she feels it is truly necessary. I can't imagine having done it any other way.
Faerin Elizabeth was born at 11:45 PM on Feb 24th, 2003. She was 7lbs 6oz and 21 inches long with a 14 inch head. She is a champion nurser and brought in my milk in less than 36 hours. At 5 days old, she had already gained 5 ounces, putting her at 7lbs and 11oz. Her sisters love her and are adjusting wonderfully to being big sisters. She is the newest light in our lives and we are blessed to have her as a part of our family.
Thirteen months, I waited to conceive you
When I finally did
I was overjoyed
You took a spot in my heart that I didn't know was empty
Never again would I be the same
40 weeks, I figured, and calculated the date
Give or take 2, but I expected you early
Your sisters were, and I wasn't a patient person anyhow
Week 38 came and went
39 and then 40
I was the most pregnant I had ever been
The dreaded "overdue"
I waited longer
Each day making me more impatient
More eager to meet you
And more miserable that you weren't yet here
41 weeks and 1 day
Maybe there was a reason
I looked within myself and came to peace
With the fact that you would come
When you were ready
I learned to trust
That you would know
When the best time was
For your emergence into this world.
41 weeks and 2 days
I am at peace
And you come
The wait is over
My heart is full....