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Lenora's Home Birth

I received two journals from a best friend many years ago.  In one, I recorded details from my travels overseas and in the other my pregnancy, birthing and first three years as a new mother and parent.  So when I was invited to write my birth story I returned to my journal and spent an evening reading my entries from seven years ago. And what a time that was because in the middle of applying for NZ residency we found out that we were pregnant with our first child!  

In the first month, I wrote in my journal, "Reminder to self: this is an enjoyable time!!!"  And later in the second month wrote, "I see a need to learn more about my body, to trust the signs and feelings, and understand negative thoughts in order to quickly replace them with life-enhancing ones."  And in the fifth month my entry is, "I worry about not feeling kicks or flurries or what some call "the quickening" yet -- but I try to remind myself that nothing good is gained from worrying."  And then on August 24, 2005 we received notice from NZ that we have been granted residency and I wrote, "Oh life is good! I'm happy and excited and the best part is yet to come.  You my darling baby!  What adventures await us!" 

The positive affirmations continue and in October, just ten days after we arrive in NZ as permanent residents, I wrote "Well we selected a midwife.  Her name is Joan and we had an enjoyable hour plus consultation getting to know each other.  We're going to use the birthing pool and I am feeling confident that my body can manage bringing you into our world."  And about two weeks before Lenora's birth I wrote, "Nagging fears about your health surface more regularly but I am determined not to focus on them.  I know my body would tell me if something were wrong."  Then just a day after our first Christmas in New Zealand, in the early morning hours of Boxing Day, I started a small leak that grew larger throughout the day.  I was convinced it was my amniotic fluid so I called Joan and she told me to get some rest and if if I needed to, to call her back.  She visited us the next day and we listened to the baby's heartbeat and started a homeopathic to initiate labor.  The next morning Joan met my friend, Margaux, who would assist us with the birthing.  We also read about research regarding premature rupture of membranes at term and I decided the best course of action was expectant care, a wait and see approach.  Also, later this day I discovered colostrum while stimulating my nipples and a bloody show - the mucus plug released.  I wrote in my journal, "All these "firsts" are so cool.  The process is surely underway!! We're so excited to meet you."

For more than 14 hours my husband, midwife, and friend,  labored to ensure we were warm, massaged, coached, comforted, nourished and loved.  There were moments when I thought I couldn't continue on, the pain was all too real.  But looking deep into the eyes of my team and believing their affirmations kept us moving toward our goal.  Focusing on my breathing helped and at times I blew through my lips like a horse, having read about that in Ina May's book, Spiritual Midwifery.  I believe her book and having a close friend of mine delivering her first child naturally and at home helped me to choose a home/water birth.  Also the words of a friends' mother telling me to "go primitive" also surfaced in my thinking from time to time.  And keeping a journal was incredibly helpful because writing the words, "this is an enjoyable time" was more powerful than just saying them aloud. Staying positive gave me and my daughter the best start possible.