A couple of months ago, I met a lady in a hair salon who just happened to be a midwife seven years ago in an African hospital. She said she was willing to help me deliver my baby at home. I was excited to have someone willing to help me in the incident that I couldn't find a way to get my friend who delivered my other 3 children to come all the way from the US to Kenya for this birth. I spent several visits discussing with her certain things I wanted in my birth, and I loaned her books on homebirthing. I told her how I feel about having a natural, gentle birth. She is used to the 'conventional' methods of child birth which I abhor. So I felt as if I had to train her on how to deliver a baby without being intrusive.
Sunday morning I got up early to get ready for church after a sleepless night of minor contractions. I was already 4 days past my due date and was thinking I may not make it to church when my water broke! I was leaking water every where so we had to arrange for someone else to open up, sing, and speak to the congregation. All day I walked, played with the kids, watched TV and just waited for some 'serious' action, but it wasn't until after I put the kids to sleep and tried to go to bed myself that contractions really started coming.
The baby was posterior then entire last few months and all the way through labor so I had a great deal of back pain. The contractions were very difficult to endure compared to my other labors because the baby would stretch against each contraction pressing her feet up towards my belly button and really pressing her head down into my back. I really longed for a nice hot bath to sit in, but living here, we don't have a working hot water heater.
Since it was late, Johnny went to bed and slept through most of my labor. When I felt that I was getting pretty far along and starting to get the 'shakes and hiccups,' I decided to call the midwife and tell her to come check my progress. It was 3am and she was asleep so I'm sure she was quite tired because she suggested we wait a little longer before she walk over here. As soon as she hung up, I felt an urge to PUSH! I looked over at Johnny snoring and remembered thinking, "I'm gonna have to deliver this baby myself!"
I’m not going to go into all the birth details at the moment about how I had to insist the midwife listen to me and do things my way, but Emma Caite was born at 5:12 am Monday morning (OUR time) the 15th of January. She was posterior the entire time and took a great deal of work, but all in all, she had the smoothest delivery we could ask for. She was born in our bedroom (concrete floor!). The midwife wasn't quite ready for me to start pushing, but fortunately, she caught her as she came out. She took 6 hours of labor and 7 or so pushes. There were absolutely NO complications.
We just held her and let her cry for a minute. We didn't cut the cord until it was finished pulsating. We didn't suction her mouth, weigh her, measure her, put gook on her eyes or bathe her. She just got wiped of a bit and loved on! What a gentle way to come into the world! Makena woke up as soon as Emma was born and then Andrew soon followed. Butterfly woke up at her usual time and saw her sister for the first time, too.
During labor I remember really focusing on how the baby must be feeling and on how God was with me. I remember even singing with joy in my heart during a really difficult contraction, "God is good. He has done me well. Oh my soul, arise and praise the Lord!" Thank you for all your prayers out there. It kept me focused and encouraged through the entire labor and delivery process!
~Kate and Emma Caite