"Giving birth is an ecstatic jubilant adventure not available to males.

It is a woman's crowning creative experience of a lifetime." ~ Dr. John Stevenson

"The Road Less Traveled..." of Parenthood

Following your instincts instead of the crowd

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood...I took the one less traveled by and that has made all the difference."

Robert Frost

Friday, February 27, 2009

Talita's Birth Story (long version)

A Testament to the Wisdom of the Natural Birth Process
Talita Pearl was born September 11, 2008, at 3:29 p.m. 6 days after her "guess date." The labor and birth were not like anything I had visualized or expected, but were exactly what she needed to come into the world safely and healthily.I had visualized and even had several dreams where my labor was 2 hours or less and had a very easy, painless birth. In fact, I was nearly convinced the baby would come so fast that my midwife wouldn’t make it. (This was my 7th birth and previous labors without Hypnobabies practice were 4-6 hours long.) I was okay with that. I researched unassisted and emergency birth just in case. I have to admit, after having too many people around for Charles’ birth and the negative effect it had on my birthing time, unassisted birth had quite an appeal to me. I’ve always been extra sensitive about other people and their attitudes. I knew from experience it could have a significant effect on me, especially at such a vulnerable time. I found and read many stories of unassisted birth and was absolutely amazed at the sheer number of them. I had no idea so many women had the courage, faith, and knowledge to trust the birth process to go smoothly and safely. Their stories were so inspiring and appealing to me. I realized that many women throughout the world and most women throughout history had birthed this way. If childbirth really was so dangerous then the human species would have died out long ago. With that being said, I also knew that Heavenly Father would steer me away from an unassisted birth if it wasn’t going to be safe for me at this time or if it wouldn’t be safe for this particular baby. I was determined to let the Spirit guide me on the decision, all the while confidently hoping Scott and I could bring our sweet baby into the world in privacy, safety, and joy.One week before my "due" date whenever I would have regular Braxton-Hicks contractions, I started feeling fear–something I hadn’t felt throughout the entire pregnancy (thanks to daily listening to Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations). I couldn’t understand why I was now feeling fear. My main fear was that there would be cord problems and we wouldn’t be able to get the baby breathing when it was born. I did the Hypnobabies Fear Release script several times and even watched the slide show of my first homebirth (which was an ideal home water birth) to help me let go of these fears. They helped, but only temporarily. Still, I never felt fear about giving birth at home. I knew that the midwives could safely handle those problems if they came up.Anyway, on September 10, 5 days after my guess date, I awoke at 1:15 a.m. to warm fluid leaking out of me. As I hurried to the bathroom I kept saying to myself, "Please don’t be blood!" I was relieved to see clear fluid and just a tinge of pink that I figured was part of the mucous plug. My waters had broken! I "knew" I would give birth before my little boys woke up. I woke up Scott and together we filled up the birth pool which was set up in our bedroom. We put plastic down on the bed and covered it with a clean sheet. I wasn’t having any pressure waves to speak of, but I wanted to have some soft lighting on for when things did start happening, so we lit some candles and then went back to bed. Scott promptly went back to sleep, but of course, I couldn’t sleep. Parts of the mucous plug kept coming and amniotic fluid kept leaking in gushes. With each gush I would soak a whole pad. Finally I wrapped a thick towel between my legs and lay down in bed. I listened to BirthDay Affirmations with my iPod so as to let Scott sleep. Still no pressure waves.At first I was calm and happy. But then my old fear surfaced of "what if I can’t get the baby breathing on my own? Do I really want to give birth before Pam arrives?" After that I felt very unsure and fearful. I also kept wondering if I should try to get some rest since nothing was happening or if I should get up, walk around, and try to get labor going before the boys woke up. Finally I fell asleep and told myself to wake up at 5 and try to get labor started. I put on the Deepening script again and when it ended at 5 a.m. I knew I would automatically wake up (this often happened during the pregnancy). That would give me 2 hours–that should be enough time to give birth before my boys woke up. (So funny in hindsight.)As soon as the script ended at 5 I awoke with a start. I felt like I needed to have a huge bm. That, combined with the adrenaline of my "plan" made me jump out of bed and practically run to the bathroom. As I sat down, waves of nausea came over me at the same time a really strong pressure wave started. I started moaning and grabbed the trash can and put it between my legs just in case I threw up. I was terribly hot and sweaty so I ripped off my shirt and threw it on the floor. Our bathroom door is within reach of the toilet so I grabbed onto the door knob and held onto it for dear life. I was thinking, "Maybe I slept through early labor and this is transition!" I knew from experience and tons of birth stories that the pressure of the baby’s head on the rectum as the baby begins its descent into the birth canal can feel like you need to have a sudden bm. Suddenly I jerked upward and realized I had almost fallen off the toilet! I thought "what just happened?" I finished business and quickly lay back down in bed asking Scott to go get the throw-up bucket. I was breathing very hard and felt very hot. When Scott came back with the bucket he put his hand on my shoulder and did the Relax cue by simply saying, "Relax." My breathing immediately calmed down (Yay Hypnobabies!) and I told him what had just happened. It wasn’t until then I realized that I had almost passed out on the john!I went back to sleep for a couple of hours and at 7 a.m. felt like I should call Pam, my midwife. She got here about 8 and checked me. My blood pressure was good–only slightly elevated. She did a vaginal exam but couldn’t feel the cervix because the baby was still pretty high. (?) (+ 3 station) I thought it odd since I had carried the baby low all pregnancy and the baby had been engaged for nearly two weeks. She said not to worry, the sac can reseal itself and it could actually be days before I gave birth. She reminded me of the standard things to be careful of when the water breaks and then she went back home. I had to admit, it felt so good to be lovingly cared for by Pam (she has a great "bedside manner"). Even though unassisted birth still held a certain appeal for me, I decided at this point not to try for it. If it happened that way for some reason, I trusted that Heavenly Father would be guiding it to all work out. But when the spirit told me to call Pam, I would. I really felt at peace with this decision.Scott stayed home from work because we both thought it could happen at anytime. All day long I only had mild crampy sensations. I lay down often to rest and catch up on sleep. I put on Hypnobabies scripts whenever I would lay down and they helped me relax and get some sleep. I was surprised that it was all happening so slowly. But I was so grateful I wasn’t in the hospital strapped to a fetal monitor being starved "just in case" I needed anesthesia. (Tanner’s birth)Scott took all three boys to a movie in the afternoon, but I made him promise to leave his cell phone on (in silent mode) so I could call him if anything happened. I checked my email and noticed that my sister-in-law, Shirlene, had sent me a message wondering how I was doing and if the baby had come yet. It was fun to let her know my water had broken and that it could happen at anytime. (I love email.) I promised to let her know when it did. I got my email birth list all prepared so it would be really easy for Scott to let everyone know with just one email.I also tried to work through my fears about the labor, birth, and baby care. It was so surprising to me that for this whole pregnancy I’ve been so confident and fearless until August 29th. That’s when I had told myself it was okay to give birth and I started having serious Braxton-Hicks. In hindsight I think a lot of the fear stemmed from instinctively knowing I and the baby weren’t quite ready. I didn’t remember feeling this afraid with all of my other births. I really wondered why. I watched the slide show of Joshua’s birth, and I remembered that I had no fear that he wouldn’t start breathing. It never entered my mind. It was wonderful to be reminded of how good it feels to hold a brand new baby in your arms and watch him take his first breath and turn from gray/purple to a beautiful pink!Around 8:30 p.m. Scott gave me the most wonderful, beautiful blessing. Our good friend and neighbor, Jeff, came over to help. Before the blessing Jeff told us about his recent vacation to Hawaii. While we were talking I had two pressure waves. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply through them. Jeff noticed and Scott told him what was going on. Jeff said, "Yeah, but it can’t be that much fun." When the wave was over I said, "No, it’s not really that fun."We almost had Jeff do the actual blessing because Scott had given me two in the last week, but the Spirit told me Scott needed to be the mouthpiece. Scott blessed me to be healed of any viruses or bacteria I may have. Then he blessed the baby to be born soon, that it would be a quick birth, that I would not experience or feel any pain, that I would give birth to a healthy baby =), that I would make the transition to caring for a baby with energy and zeal. He also said Heavenly Father is pleased with my conduct during this pregnancy, that I have been patient and will be blessed for it. He said I have learned what I needed to through this experience. He also said I would know the positions to use that would be effective.I called Pam around 10 p.m. because I wanted to update her. I had to leave a message. I told her Scott had given me a beautiful blessing and that he said the birth would be quick. We went to bed since I didn’t feel any more strong waves. I was so happy and grateful for the blessing. It really calmed down my fears and I was happy to know the Lord was pleased with how I had handled the pregnancy and exercised patience. (On Aug. 29th when I had first started to be afraid and wondering when the baby was coming I had asked Scott for a blessing. In that blessing he said that the baby would come at the right time and in the right manner and to exercise patience and trust in the Lord’s timing.)We both just knew that things would start happening as soon as we all went to bed. Before we climbed into bed, however, Scott and I refilled the birth pool. We didn’t get it quite hot enough so towards the end we were adding straight hot water. It was taking forever, it seemed, and we were so tired. We both lay down in bed to wait for it to finish. My last thoughts before drifting off to sleep were, "Dear Heavenly Father, please wake up one of us before the water level gets too high." What faith! (Or foolishness!?!?) I’m not sure what time it was, but I awoke suddenly with sweat dripping off my chest and said, "THE WATER!" Scott woke up and jumped out of bed and turned the water off. It was within 4 inches of the top. The air was hot and humid. We covered the pool with a shower curtain to keep it warm and went back to sleep. WHEW!At exactly 12 midnight I awoke to a pretty strong pressure wave. I started watching the clock and realized they were coming about every 5 minutes. Hooray! That lasted about 45 minutes and then the waves started to come less often and not as strong. What??!? However, they kept coming irregularly. I can’t remember which script I listened to but I think it was either Birthing Day Affirmations or Easy First Stage. I breathed deeply through the waves and used my peace cue during the strong ones. They were very manageable. Scott woke up around 1 a.m. and I told him it had started. He dozed off and on while I listened to Hypnobabies.At 2 a.m. I decided to try the pool. The water was down to 98 degrees but still felt good and warm. I tried various positions but nothing really felt that comfortable. The waves weren’t difficult or anything. It just didn’t feel "right" for some reason. In fact the waves seemed weaker and further apart. They still kept coming though, so that was a welcome change from the past few days. I had Scott take pictures of me in the pool for a slide show, but . . . um. . . I doubt I’ll use them! I listened to Hypnobabies scripts on the speakers I had set up by the pool and also some of Enya’s music. Finally I began to wonder when to call Pam. At 3 a.m. I had the thought, "Call Pam." I was thinking that I’d probably be giving birth in the next hour or two. I hated to wake her up but felt I should call anyway. I had to try her home, her cell, and husband’s cell before her husband answered. They were both awake already. Pam said she had been laying in bed wondering how I was doing. Pam said she’d come right out. I got out of the pool when the water got down to 95 degrees. It was around 3:30 a.m. I doubted I would get in the water again. It was just impossible to keep it warm enough for long enough. Besides, it just didn’t feel like a water birth or even a water labor was right this time. I did listen to Caribbean Blue while I was in. I had always wanted to do that!Pam arrived around 4 a.m. and checked me. I was dilated to a 3–argh! Why was this happening so slow? The baby was at zero station. Well, at least it was some progress, but I was really surprised things weren’t progressing faster. I kept resting off and on trying to get some sleep in between waves. Pam checked me again a little after 7 a.m. and I was dilated to 6 cm. The boys gradually woke up and Scott got them ready for school. I was in the bathroom when Joshy came in to say good-bye. I told him the baby would probably come out while he was at school. He looked a little disappointed so I gave him a big hug and a kiss. I felt very motherly and emotional. I continued to rest in my bedroom and Pam rested on the couch. Charles watched TV and played downstairs after Scott fed and dressed him.Around 9 a.m. while I was laying on my bed Pam massaged the pressure points in my feet and hands to get waves coming stronger and more frequent. It didn’t do that, but it did feel like a fantastic massage. Pam does have magic hands. I remember thinking "I love being cared for like this. I would never be treated this well in the hospital!" In fact, I knew that had I been in the hospital I would have been started on Pitocin since it had been so long since my waters had broken and since my waves were so mild and erratic.At one point both Pam and Scott were watching me and it bugged me, so I said, "I feel like a watched pot." Pam said, "We’re waiting for you to boil." Yeah, I thought, so stop watching! I didn’t say it though and I think they eventually stopped watching me after a while. For the rest of the morning pressure waves came sporadically–sometimes strong, sometimes weak, but rarely, if ever, did I have 2 strong waves in a row. I kept restarting Hypnobabies scripts as they seemed to end all too often. It was actually a very slow, boring labor. Pam was great–patient and loving. She would rub my back or legs gently during waves. I remember one came while I was in the dining area and I leaned my forehead on the back of the chair while standing up. She rubbed my back the whole time. It felt so good that I didn’t want to straighten up when it was over! A little after 10 a.m. Pam did another check and I was to 8 cm but with an anterior cervical lip.Melody (the assistant midwife) arrived around 10:30 a.m. and as she and Pam talked softly in my room (I was on the bed) it irritated me and I remember thinking, "Just shut up." I was really in primitive mode! I put my headphones on to drown out the distractions. After a couple of scripts I got tired of wearing the headphones. Another check around 11 a.m. revealed that nothing had changed. Scott drained and deflated the pool and we set up a birthing area on the floor at the foot of the bed. I was kind of in my own world while he was doing that and when I came into the family room and saw the deflated pool on the couch I felt kind of sad and a little unsure. What if I wanted or needed the water later on? But then I remembered all my instincts throughout the pregnancy and especially during the labor that told me not to give birth in the pool. Then I could let go of the uncertainty and feel okay about it.Joshy came home from school around noon and I said, "The baby’s still in me." Scott made him chicken noodle soup. He ate the noodles and chicken and I drank the broth. I didn’t feel like eating anything else. For the next couple of hours the boys played downstairs, pressure waves came irregularly, some strong, but some seemed to just peter out. I tried all sorts of positions: sitting on the birth ball, spiraling or bouncing gently, standing and walking around a bit. I always felt a slight sense of panic if one came while standing. I just breathed deeply through them and told my cervix to open, that it was melting like butter or opening like a soft pink flower. However, the position that seemed to bring on more waves and stronger waves was lying on my left side. Weird, huh? Totally opposite of what I expected. I kept replaying the scripts, either on the iPod or on my computer by my bed.I think we were all a little frustrated that labor hadn’t gotten intense yet, but nobody showed frustration. Scott, Melody, and Pam were all very patient and loving. Sometime in the early afternoon I decided I wanted to labor alone in my room. Maybe that was what I needed to really get things going. I shut the door so no one could bother or irritate me. One thing I really enjoyed was listening to Enya’s Caribbean Blue while standing up and spiraling my hips through pressure waves. I was tired of Hypnobabies and that song was just right for my mood. After a while Scott came in. He held me through a wave and that felt so good to hold onto him. I felt like laying down and Scott lay down too. He did some NS and that brought on a couple of waves, but that was all. Then I didn’t like that anymore and so he rubbed my back and that felt sooo good. I also tried sitting on the birth stool to see if that would bring on some waves. When a wave would come while I was on the stool, I’d get all panicky that I was going to empty my bladder and my bowels during the pressure wave so I’d jump up to use the toilet. I have to admit I really was afraid of losing control of everything when the baby would descend and I’d feel all that pressure. I also couldn’t sit on the birth stool for very long because the longer I sat there the more it felt like everything was falling out. After a while Scott left to check on the boys and Pam and Melody came in to see how I was doing. They thought I had been sleeping all this time. When I said that I’d had a few good strong waves, Melody said, "Only 3 in 2 hours?" I had no idea that much time had elapsed. It felt more like 30 minutes.Finally, at 2 :30 p.m. things suddenly changed. I was lying down on my left side (of course) in the middle of the bed with a blanket mostly covering me and the waves began coming stronger and closer together. Some were very long. I was moaning and breathing through them. I think Pam heard me because she came in and rubbed my back and timed the waves. One was 2 minutes long! She did another vaginal check. I really didn’t want her to because the waves were so close together that I knew a wave would come during the check. This time, however, she said the cervical lip was gone. Hooray! For some reason I never thought to use my Hypnobabies finger drop technique and try to go loose and limp. (I really should have practiced that technique more consistently during the pregnancy.) I actually was laying there very still except for my low moans during the peak of each wave. I knew I must be finishing dilation. I had been a stretchy 8 for over 4 hours. It began to get really difficult to deal with the waves coming so close and strong. I started shaking uncontrollably as well. I kept saying, "I don’t want to do this anymore!" I knew it meant I was in transition but I just couldn’t stop complaining about it anyway. A part of me also wanted everyone to know I was in transition so they could get ready. I’m not sure how long that lasted, but suddenly I just couldn’t stand laying there anymore and I said rather emotionally, "I don’t want to lay here anymore!" Pam helped me get up and get situated on the birth stool.I think it was about this time that Pam checked me and said I was fully dilated. Since I had stopped leaking amniotic fluid about 24 hours ago so we thought that the sac had resealed. Pam and Melody thought that breaking it would be just the thing to speed things up. It took me a while to consent to that but I finally did and they both tried with no success. (After the birth they realized it had not resealed because there was no water left! Thank goodness they used a rubber thing that went over the finger to try to break the sac with. It wasn’t sharp, just a little rough designed to scratch the amniotic sac to weaken it so that it would break with the next contraction. I’m not sure what they were scratching other than the baby’s head except that her head had no scratches on it.)At this point, my two little boys who had pretty much left me alone most of the day suddenly got interested in playing in our bedroom. Charles had been staying away because when he would see me without clothes he clearly felt uncomfortable. The first time he saw me like this, he said, "Mom, you need clothes." But suddenly he didn’t care anymore! They hadn’t bothered me being around during the labor, but suddenly I needed them gone. (so did Pam and Melody) so I told Scott to take them to our next door neighbor who had agreed to watch them if I had the baby during the middle of the day. I honestly didn’t think that would happen! Everything about this labor had been slow so I didn’t think I would give birth before Scott returned. I was right.The midwives had set up our glider chair directly behind the birthing stool so Scott could sit behind me and could support me and rub my back. They suggested I lean back against Scott during waves. I’m not sure exactly why–I think to help the baby’s head move past the pelvis. The waves were still pretty intense at this point. All I had the presence of mind to do was vocalize through them. I tried to keep the tones low. They had to remind me a few times. And then the pushing began. It was agonizingly slow. Everything about it was difficult. I was perplexed by that. Taking a deep enough breath to push was difficult. I had to be coached each step of the way. Slowly, ever so slowly she inched down. I was working so hard! I have never pushed so hard and so long except for my first baby. In actuality I pushed for 11 minutes but it felt like an eternity. I was pretty vocal as I pushed, groaning real low in my throat. So low, in fact, that my throat got dry and scratchy. I couldn’t believe it was so hard to get this baby out. Being my 7th baby, I thought the baby would just kind of shoot out, like my 5th baby had done. Not so!I don’t remember Scott using the relax cue but the video footage shows that he put his hand on my shoulder several times. Maybe he just didn’t say "relax" when he did it so I didn’t even notice that he was doing it. I didn’t think about using hypnosis or my scripts or the peace cue. Somehow it was all too intense for that and I knew I just had to get the baby down and out. It did feel good when Melody would push back on my knees during each push I made. They had to keep reminding me to lean back. Leaning back against Scott was kind of uncomfortable but it did feel reassuring to have his presence and support right there–it really felt more like a team effort that way. I felt her every inch of the way and it was so intense, so completely filling–like how could my body stretch another millimeter?I told Pam I wanted to feel the baby’s head while she was still inside me, so in between pressure waves she told me to reach in and feel it. For some reason I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’ve never been very comfortable with that sort of thing. I didn’t have long to wrestle with the decision before another wave came. Pam said "she’s almost there," so this time I reached down and touched her head–she was right inside the opening. I couldn’t believe it was her head because I could feel the sensation of touch both from my fingers and from her head. It made me think I was touching my own body, but they assured me it was her head. Weird, but cool! Then it was time to push again–I was really groaning in agony–it was so intense and so slow. I kept thinking, "Isn’t her head out yet?" because each centimeter she moved stretched me beyond belief. I said, "I don’t remember it being this hard to push!" Pam said, "We usually do forget that." But I knew for me it usually wasn’t that hard to push! (Except for my first baby.) I had my eyes closed when I would push and I remember thinking over and over, "I’m so glad I don’t have to do this again! So glad it’s the last time!" Finally her head eased out slowly (and I mean slowly!) I felt the ring of fire for what seemed like an eternity. Finally her head was out and I heard Melody say, "check for the cord." Then I heard, "no cord." Then, "check again." (The baby wasn’t coming down anymore.) This time Pam found the cord around her neck and it was tight. Melody said, "You can either push enough for us to clamp it or you can get a baby. Let’s get this baby out." Fortunately the cord was just barely loose enough for her to ease it over her head as I pushed. Again it was agonizingly slow–I felt first the top shoulder come out, then the bottom shoulder and finally her whole body slowly slid out. What incredible relief! Melody immediately put her on my legs with her face down so any fluid could drain. Her little body was so hot and wonderful! She was very purple but so hot and alive I could feel her energy and her life. I had no fear that she wasn’t okay. We rubbed her back to stimulate breathing, still not knowing if the baby was a girl or boy. I was patient–I wanted the baby to be okay. She pooped a little as she came out which I noticed on my hand (I had it on her little bum.) Then I felt her pee. It was all very reassuring! Finally after about 30 seconds (it seemed more like minutes) they turned her over on her back and Scott and I both said joyfully, "IT’S A GIRL!!!!" My next thought was "Why did I ever doubt????"Melody used the neonatal mask to help get her breathing. Then Pam used the suction tube on her nose, then throat. The tube in her throat caused her to take a little breath and then she let out a little wail–so beautiful! Her body, then her head pinked up quickly. Her feet and hands took longer. She was so beautiful and perfect. We finally got our little girl!The cord was so short we couldn’t lift her any higher than my lap. That was okay–I was able to touch her and watch her on my lap. Scott got out of the chair and held the camera and came around in front to film. (It had been on a tripod behind us.) They asked if we had a name for her and so we told them it was Talita and how we came to know that was her name.Tanner came home from school about 15 minutes after she was born. That worked out perfect. He had wanted to be there for the birth but I wanted the privacy to birth without clothes getting in the way--either of the actual birthing or of putting my baby immediately on my chest–skin to lovely skin. (Tanner is very modest!) I’m also glad he didn’t have to hear my groaning! I asked Scott for a blanket to cover me up some just in time for Tanner to come in. He was excited to be there so close to the birth and maybe a little disappointed he had missed it.The cord had stopped pulsing by this time. I reached down and felt it between my legs. I was surprised at how cold it felt. Pam and Melody clamped it with a new plastic ring type clamp and had a little difficulty getting it on just right. (But the extra effort was worth it–I loved having a tiny little soft plastic clamp instead of the big bulky hard plastic things my other babies had.) We asked Tanner if he wanted to cut it but he declined. I had asked him a few days before the birth if he wanted to do that but he said he didn’t want to "cut flesh." So Scott cut the cord and he and Tanner took Talita out to the family room so I could birth the placenta. I had to get off the birth stool because it felt like everything wanted to fall out. I sat on the edge of the bed for about 10 minutes and talked with Pam and Melody. Suddenly I thought "What am I doing?" I said, "I want my baby back!" They said, "You’re not done. You need to get that placenta out." (In hindsight I wondered why didn’t I nurse my baby to help contract the uterus and dispel the placenta. This is the only thing I regret–that I didn’t spend my baby’s entire first hour holding and bonding with her. But her dad and brother were bonding with her so I guess it was okay.) So anyway, I got back on the birth stool (this time it was next to the bed so I could lean my back against the bed.) It took about 15 minutes to get it out. I couldn’t really feel contractions or if the placenta had detached or not. But I started pushing gently. Oh that pushing sensation! How I never wanted to feel that again and I said so. The midwives said something about the placenta being easy to push because it was soft but it was the sensation of pushing itself I didn’t like. I felt very ineffective with my pushes and couldn’t help wondering if I was forcing my body to expel it before it was ready. But it came out just fine and looked whole and complete. It was about 1 hour after the birth. It was fascinating to watch as Pam and Melody examined it. It was big and healthy and Pam said I had done a great job nourishing my baby. =) Pam wrapped it up in the chux pad it had landed on and put it in a plastic bag and in the freezer until we were ready to plant it with a tree or something.Then Pam examined my perineum and said I had a tear about a half inch long. Bummer! I had never torn before–just skid marks. So Melody got the lidocaine ready and then said, "This isn’t a tear, just a blood blister." Hooray! No tears, not even skid marks! She had come out so slowly I had time to stretch sufficiently. (But, oh how that stretching burned!) Then I got my baby back and lay down to nurse. Yay! She nursed for about 15 minutes. Then it was time for the newborn exam. Scott weighed her in Pam’s soft cloth scale–the same one we used for Joshua. She weighed 7 lbs 1 oz. I told everyone how I had told the baby during the pregnancy that she could be born as soon as she was at least 7 lbs. Melody said, "Wow, she’s obedient too!" She was 19.25 inches long and her head was 12.75 inches. Except for Tyler who came early, she is my smallest baby–but not by much.I felt such incredible joy and satisfaction. Heavenly Father was so good to me. He answered my fondest dream–to finish my childbearing privilege with a joyful, healthy pregnancy and a beautiful baby girl!Reflections about the pregnancy, labor and birth:Every second I spent listening to and practicing Hypnobabies was so worth it. Although the pregnancy had minor challenges (fatigue because of my age -43, nausea, etc.) it was so joyful. As long as I took my daily walk listening to the Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations, and listened to the scripts daily, I stayed so positive and happy. I was also able to get the rest I needed since I always fell asleep during the scripts, haha. They still worked for me even though I slept through most of them. The Eliminate Nausea cd also helped control the nausea so it wasn’t so bad. I also loved how I felt emotionally and spiritually during the pregnancy. My baby’s strong wonderful spirit was responsible for that. How I loved the inseparable connection we had!Talita’s labor and birth was so different than what I had visualized, expected, or experienced before. And yet, I feel in my heart that the Lord was totally guiding me, warning me through my concerns, and yes, fears, and that he guided the whole birth process to allow Talita to be born safely, miraculously, joyfully at home. The labor needed to be slow and gentle because of the short cord and because it was around her neck. If it had been quick like some of my other births, it would have put her in distress. Her descent through the birth canal needed to be slow to allow her cord to adjust after each push. My body did not take over and push her out quickly like it did with Joshua because her cord wouldn’t allow it. Oh, how amazing the human body is! Especially the female body and the whole birth process! How wonderfully made we are! It fills me with gratitude and awe for Heavenly Father and His wisdom.Even though Talita’s birth was not meant to be unassisted, those stories taught me to trust in the birth process. Even when things are not ideal, the body knows how to compensate in order for a healthy baby to be born safely. I have no doubt that had I been under an OB's care or a CNM and been in a hospital, Talita would have been cut out of my womb. The doctors would not have let me go more than 12 to 24 hours after my water had broken without wanting to use pitocin. They also would not have been comfortable or patient with contractions that were sometimes spaced 30 minutes to an hour apart. The stronger contractions caused by the Pitocin would have put her in distress because of her cord (just like Tyler's birth). The separation, trauma, and the expense of a c-section, along with the days in the hospital away from the boys and the extra recovery time would have been awful and all so unnecessary. Thank heavens I have learned what I have and was able to avoid all that! Thanks be to Heavenly Father for guiding me in learning how to bring these three incredible spirits healthily and joyfully into the world. I feel sad (and mad) that the medical profession has totally convinced most women to not trust themselves, their bodies, or the birth process. Because of that many women have suffered unnecessarily both physically and emotionally, not to even mention the financial burden all the unnecessary intervention brings.Anyway, because of the slow, difficult pushing stage I needed someone to coach me. I needed someone calm and collected and experienced to guide the cord over her head so her body could be born. The effort of pushing her out took all my focus and energy. I can't imagine catching her myself (like I dreamed of) or having Scott have the calmness and experience to have done what the midwives did. I'm sure in an emergency situation the spirit would have guided him, but I'm so glad he didn't have to endure that stress. Pam and Melody worked so well together. Their strengths were very different and they complemented each other perfectly. Pam was very loving and calm and relaxed and Melody took charge when needed. Her leadership comforted me and helped me feel secure that all would work out. I totally trusted her. Pam was so inspired in choosing her to be the assistant. Melody told Pam later that she was so glad she was able to participate in our little miracle. She felt very honored. Pam also told me that the Lord's spirit was definitely here. He was definitely making sure his little Talita would make it safely into the world. =) How blessed I am to be entrusted with her!I think it's amazing how the Lord let me know early on that it would not be a water birth. In fact when I inflated the pool a few weeks before the due date I had the distinct thought that I was pretty much wasting my time. I had loved my previous two water births. I couldn’t understand it but I accepted it deep down. Now in hindsight, I understand why she was not to be born in the pool. Because the sides of the pool were so tall and dark, it would have been difficult to check the cord and maneuver it. Access would have been restricted, but more importantly I would not have been able to lift Talita high enough to get her out of the water because of the short cord. I would have had to stand up and get out of the pool while holding her. After the exhausting pushing stage I was so weak and it would have taken too long to get out of the pool and then resuscitate the baby. It is so awesome that Heavenly Father knows the future and knows how to guide us so that things work out for the best. I'm so grateful for His guidance and inspiration.The only thing I can't figure out is the blessing Scott gave me that said the birth would be quick and painless. I'm praying for understanding on that one. I don't feel bad about it, just a little perplexed. The blessing did help me be more calm about everything. Also, what about my dreams of giving birth easily and quickly without help? Were they just manifestations of my innermost desires for how to give birth? Or did I do something during the pregnancy that changed what could have been to what actually happened? I'm not sure I want to know the answer. Nevertheless, I am filled with gratitude that Heavenly Father sent me a beautiful little girl. That was my deepest desire of all, and Heavenly Father answered it so generously!A few days after the birth Pam said she read the literature on short tight cords and my labor and birth fit it completely! She said the best position to use is lying on the left side. It's effective but keeps it slow so as not to stress the baby too much. Exactly what I had done instinctively! I am totally amazed at nature’s wisdom and how if we just trust our bodies, they know what to do for our babies to be born safely and naturally. I am so grateful for everything I’ve read about natural childbirth and for the Hypnobabies scripts that told me every day of my pregnancy that my body knew how to birth my baby!

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