Here is the story for those that missed it. Sorry for the self promotion!
I was born on Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 at 2:44am (after 24 hours and 1 minute of labor).But my story begins much, much earlier than that…Having been together for over 8 years, it was probably no surprise to their closest friends and family that my parents got pregnant with me only a few months after their wedding. They found out about me on Christmas day, and they tell me that they couldn’t have asked for a better present. It wasn’t all smooth sailing… Just a month or so into the pregnancy, I gave my parents a bit of a scare. But as the weeks went by, and they could continue to see my tiny little heartbeat in the ultrasounds, they were able to relax just a little bit more. They tell me that they really didn’t care if I was a boy or a girl, they just wanted me to be healthy and happy. My parents didn’t know at the beginning that they wanted to have a home birth… In fact, I’ve even heard that my dad used to think it was a bit crazy that my mom was born at home! So my parents began exploring all of their options. Mommy didn’t like the idea of the hospital, because she believes that being pregnant isn’t an illness that needs to be treated in a hospital. Daddy was a bit more conservative; he never really thought about birth, and always just assumed that “normal people” had their babies in a hospital. But when he thought about it, he realized that he’s always felt just a little uncomfortable in a hospital. So my parents told their doctor that they were leaning towards delivering me at a birth center… It seemed like a logical alternative that both my parents could agree on. But they were both caught off guard when the doctor pointed out that the only difference between a birthing center and a home birth was the location. He said that all of the tools and medicine available at a birth center were just brought to the home for a home birth. This new information gave my parents a lot to think about! I know that mommy was convinced pretty quickly, while daddy still wondered if home births were for hippies and crazy people. But after visiting a couple birthing centers, meeting diiferent midwives, and a whole lot of introspection… …my dad realized that pregnancy and birth was a natural part of life that could be handled safely and responsibly at home, with the proper assistance. When my parents met Dawn Dana at the Ventura Birth Center, they were comforted by the fact that she was not only a qualified midwife but also just a pleasant person to be around. My parents felt comfortable with Dawn, and I’m glad they did. Dad says that a lot of people thought they were crazy for choosing a home birth, which he understood because he used to think the same way. He only hopes that those people can be open-minded and understand that a lot of thought and care went into making that decision; my parents aren’t just hippies. Not a lot happened over the next few weeks… Mommy’s belly got bigger as I kept growing. They knew that I was a boy at this point, so dad suggested that they call me “Luigi” until I was born (he’s a nerd, but I love him). For the next few months, my parents took an excellent Brio Birth course and mommy read LOTS of books! My dad says that he learned so much in his birth classes that he wasn’t really nervous about the labor any more; the mystery and fear that normally surrounds childbirth was gone. My estimated “due date” was September 5th… My parents liked to joke that mom would be in labor on Labor Day. But my mom’s original calculations put my due date on the 7th (and dad hoped that I’d be born on the 1oth, so that my birthday would be 9/10/11). I decided to let them enjoy the holiday weekend, so it wasn’t until 2:43am on September 6th that my mom felt her first real contraction. While she had a feeling that this was real labor, she waited until 3:06am to wake up dad and let him know. Mom told my dad to get some sleep because she was going to need his help getting through labor without an epidural… At about 4:30am, dad called our midwife, Dawn, to let her know that mom was in labor. Dad got a few hours of sleep in that night, but mom couldn’t sleep very much due to her contractions. My dad tried every method that he could remember from his birthing classes, some with great success and some with none. But my parents weren’t scared or nervous… just excited! The times are a bit fuzzy, but my dad thinks that Dawn got to our house around 1:30pm. Labor progressed pretty smoothly over the next few hours, though mom did have to vomit several times (the only times during the pregnancy, actually). My parents tell me that it was very calm and peaceful going through labor at home. Of course the contractions were painful, but they were much easier to deal with since my parents had the “home court advantage.” By about 8pm, my parents were starting to get exhausted… Labor was still progressing fine, and my heart rate measured perfectly every time (my parents tell me that hearing my little heart beating so perfectly really helped them get through the hours that would follow). At around 10pm or so, my amniotic sac broke on its own. Mom was just about fully dilated, and dad says that it seemed to have caught her off guard. There was a bit of meconium in the amniotic fluid, but Dawn explained that there wasn’t any cause for concern. Just before 10:30pm, it was time for my mom to push. Our second midwife, Davie, was on her way to assist. Dawn gave mommy lots of tips for pushing, and dad offered all the support he could give. Pushing was not easy! Now almost 20 hours into labor, my mom was working on no sleep and a completely empty stomach (from the vomiting and lack of appetite). She pushed for over 2 hours, getting only a few minutes of rest between contractions. Daddy was so proud of all her hard work, and wanted nothing more than for mommy to be able to rest comfortably. Midnight had come and gone, and I was still nowhere in sight (but my heart rate continued to beat perfectly, never showing any signs of distress). Unfortunately, however, there were more signs of meconium, and mom’s contractions began to spread further apart. Dawn calmly told my parents that, while I was totally fine, it would probably be best if we transferred to the hospital at this point… Each of these issues individually could likely have been handled safely at home but, with her experience, she believed that our specific situation would be best dealt with at the hospital. So Dawn called the hospital to let them know that we were coming, and Davie helped my parents gather some things that they would want to take with them. Since this was not an emergency situation, my dad drove my mom to the hospital while Dawn followed them there. At the hospital, everything was different… Not bad, my dad says, just different. What had been an intimate, and mostly peaceful labor had become a revolving door of nurses and staff that would come and go, and even have unrelated conversations in the same room while my mom was pushing in the delivery room. Luckily, Dawn stayed with us at the hospital and really gave us the comfort and support that we needed. Our doctor used Pitocin to help get my mom’s contractions closer together again, and my parents knew that it was necessary. After almost 2 more hours of pushing at the hospital, and a total of 24 hours and 1 minute of labor, I was born! I was quickly put on my mother’s chest, and my parents could not believe that I was finally here. As soon as my umbilical cord stopped pulsating, my dad had the honor of cutting me free. Unfortunately, I had to be taken a few feet away so that any meconium I had ingested could be suctioned out, but my daddy stayed with me and let me know that he was with me the whole time. After getting my vitamin K shot, and weighing in at 9lbs 15oz, daddy carried me back to mommy. It turns out that my placenta was retained and wouldn’t come out on its own… Mommy was losing lots of blood, so the doctor had to manually retrieve the placenta. My mom says that this was the most painful part, but my parents are thankful that their doctor was able to resolve the issue without surgery. You might be quick to think that my story proves the necessity for hospital birth, but my parents still look at it differently… My parents are so thankful that they had an experienced, caring midwife who knew exactly when the situation called for a hospital and truly supported them throughout their labor. They are also extremely thankful for the doctor and nurses that helped to deliver me safely and keep my mom in good health after she had lost so much blood. My parents know, however, that my story would likely have gone differently if they were in a hospital the whole time, and they really appreciate the portion of my labor that was spent at home.