Our birth story is rather short, as birth stories go. My memory of times and specifics is hazy, but I am going to do my best.
October 24 started out on a dreary note. I woke up and I was not in the throes of labour, which was something I had every reason to believe would happen. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. It was also raining again.
That morning my midwife arrived with a slip of paper and some lemon verbena. On the slip was a recipe for a midwife cocktail - guaranteed to start labour. I wasn't desperate, but was beginning to get there. We'd been trying various labour "inducers" for just over a week with no luck. The fact that I would be pushing a giant baby out, coupled with Andrew's rapidly passing time off, the nearing prospect of a hospital birth (for going over dates) and a upcoming visit from my mother, made the cocktail's guarantee appealing. We gathered the ingredients that morning and by 11:45a I was filling my wineglass with a not-altogether-unpleasant verbena smoothie.
Mid-way through drinking the cocktail my friend, Aly, stopped by to check in on us - hoping to meet the new Forsyth. After a quick chat we returned to our respective families and I finished my drink. I then took a walk in the sun that had snuck up on me, hoping to spring things into action. Lunch passed with nothing to show but some lemon-flavoured burps (yuck) and a few light contractions (I'd been contracting on and off for weeks, so tried to think nothing of it). Around 2:00p I talked to my midwife and told her that this might be the real thing this time - I then went back to doing laundry and getting all our birth stuff organised.
About 4:00p we decided this was, in fact, the real thing. My contractions felt stronger and seemed to be coming fairly quickly, as soon as I started timing them they were 4-8 minutes apart, but lasted less than a minute. I figured we had heaps of time. Andrew made dinner while I hung out with Sebastian, reading books and waiting for our friends. As I sat on the couch my contractions intensified - in half an hour they went from being a nuisance to being unbearable and suddenly felt like they were coming one right on top of the other. Andrew asked one of our friends to bring by her exercise ball and I took a shower.
When I got out of the shower our friends had arrived and I was *so* happy to have a ball to rock on (thanks, Corey!!!!!!). Things quickly intensified and we moved into the bedroom... here's where things get really hazy... I remember moments clearly - breathing Andrew in deeply and that giving me the power to bear my contractions. Throwing up (a lot), joking around, having my back rubbed and my hips squeezed, the pain in my back, long and wonderful massage... I also remember being scared and a little sad that things were rolling so quickly... and then things got really intense.
I had been holding on to worry and as soon as I gave myself permission to let that worry go my body kicked everything into high gear. In the span of a few moments I went from not fully dilated, through transition and to the need to push... first I felt the need to move - I got up on the bed and onto all fours and vomited (into a bowl - YAY) - then somehow I was on my back... Tracy left for a moment and in that time I suddenly and powerfully NEEDED to PUSH. She rushed back, told me to reach down and, holy shit, there was the head. I remember talking about pushing position, but the reality was my contractions were so close and the urge to push so big that I never did get off my back. Andrew was behind me the whole time, supporting me and giving me strength. Very quickly I pushed my baby out - I remember VERY clearly being told t slow down and stop pushing - never in my life have I felt so conflicted (knowing full-well that I really did need to slow down, lest I split open). It took what still feels like no time at all to push that baby's head out. The shoulders took another couple and then *woosh* there she was. They placed her on my belly and we looked down and saw girly bits!! It was an amazing moment - knowing our little nuclear family was complete.
What followed is, and will likely always be, a bit of a blur. I remember delivering the placenta, I remember feeling like a river was gushing out of me, I remember getting shots, being told to nurse, to look at my baby, not to worry... I remember the split second when I realised that if I fell asleep, I would end up in hospital. I remember the very tiny moment where I thought I would die. Then I remember gathering all my strength for my daughter, my son and my husband and resolving to get through this. I fought to stay lucid. I willed my body to stop bleeding. I concentrated on every single thing I could - her hair, his touch, the voices, the love... It stopped.
The storm passed and all was well. While everyone else had pizza, I had IV fluids, a pear and toast. I cuddled my daughter and my son (I think). I got up to go pee, but couldn't make it to standing. Andrew and Shannon changed the sheets right under me. I was allowed to go to sleep on the condition that I a) not be left alone and b) peed by morning.
I would spend the next three days in bed and week inside the house... but at least I got my home birth (minus some of the bliss I'd imagined, but complete with all the perks of being at home) and had my beautiful babe to keep me company.
Lilian Rigby Forsyth was born at 9:00pm on October 24, 2007, in the comfort of her own home. She weighed 9lbs 10oz. Lilian is for Andrew's grandmother and Rigby is an homage to the Beatles - and also to my family, who all love the Beatles. Go here to read a beautiful bit written by my wonderful husband on the origin of Rigby's name.