A Baby at 41 + 2 Weeks!
My son was born yesterday morning just after 11 am following an intense home water birth attended by private midwives. My husband was my absolute rock throughout my entire labour and I never wanted him to leave my side. He massaged my lower back, brought me food and water to keep my energy levels up and made sure our beautiful labour was captured with both pictures and our video camera. Our little boy was born into my hands with eyes wide open, welcoming his soul into the world on a beautiful sunny day in Limerick. I was very relieved when labour was over because the pain decreased of course, but I also got to meet and cherish the little person my husband and I created together. Within half an hour of my son being born, my husband called his parents so they could return our three oldest children to our house so they could meet their newest sibling. We didn't announce the baby's sex before the children arrived, as we wanted them to discover it themselves. They were shocked to learn they had another little brother when everyone, even I, thought we were having a girl!
We began the umbilical cord burning (which I hope to write about in the future!), during which point I started to sweat, feel tired, nauseated and weak. Sadly my husband had to end the cord burning a little early than expected as the midwives noticed I had some additional blood loss. While the private midwives carry syntocinon (man-made oxytocin) with them to stop maternal bleeding in such an instance, I requested to try putting a small raw piece of my placenta into my mouth between my gumline and cheek. It is believed this can help slow or stop bleeding and this method is used in multiple cultures around the world where immediate medical assistance may not be available. Within minutes of using the placenta, accompanied with food and water, I felt ten times better and the bleeding lessened dramatically- placenta power! Of course the next step would have been giving me a syntocinon injection and I wouldn't have declined if the bleeding did not stop.
I laid flat for awhile to also help with the bleeding and received some more of that uncomfortable fundal massage (aka postnatal uterine massage). Although I felt so much better, after showering quickly, I still felt very tired and a little light headed. My husband made me a fruit smoothie which also contained a small piece of my placenta. I was happy when the midwives helped tuck my baby boy and I into bed for an afternoon nap before they left.
The rest of my day consisted of lots of skin to skin, feeding and allowing my older children to continue to meet and bond with their youngest sibling. I also shamelessly admit to taking loads of pictures. I'm cherishing every moment I can. This baby and I are learning our "breastfeeding dance." Every baby is different so every breastfeeding journey is as well. It will take time to get to know one another. For now I'm enjoying this baby, whose name is still undecided, snuggling close to me. I'm reminding myself of how fast these early days go. I know I will enjoy myself a lot more and my recovery will be easier if I accept help when it's offered and get the extra rest I need. The temporary back pains, the uterine cramping and the low energy levels are all worth expanding our family.
We limited visitors to our home for the first 24 hours and I'm very happy we did. My small bout of postpartum bleeding has lead me to feel more tired than my previous births. I'm consuming some placenta fruit smoothies which are helping and my other remedies will be ready soon enough as well! I'm also going to do some postpartum belly binding to help my core and lower back. Taking advantage of these postnatal recovery methods is wonderful!