It was 2 days before my baby was due. My last two births had been inductions and I was very much anticipating that “it’s time” moment. Unlike my first birth, this labor arrived gently, a whisper of a suggestion that something might be happening. It was 2:45am when I felt my first “tug”. I say tug because that’s precisely what it felt like-like something pulling UP on my pelvic floor. I had already been awake for over an hour-could this really be labor? Starting with no previous signs while the house was quiet and everyone else asleep? I wasn’t so sure. Five minutes later it came again-and brought with it an urge to urinate. I hurried to the bathroom and peed about a tablespoon’s worth of urine. Hmmm. I tried to go back to bed, a comedian was on tv-Sean Cullen. I laughed quietly, careful not to wake my husband or 3yo daughter who was asleep at the foot of the bed. Again that tug came, this time I knew I needed to go to the bathroom-in a different sense. During the next half an hour my body cleaned itself out. And the tugs were coming every 3-4 minutes. It was not painful, at all-just lots of upward pressure, very low down-if that makes sense.
I went downstairs and turned on the computer. I wanted to post a message to my fellow pregnant cyber-friends. I sat on my big blue ball for about 15 minutes and the tugs became stronger and longer. I looked around and noticed the house wasn’t all that tidy. So I carried the ball upstairs and woke my husband. “Honey, honey wake up. I’m in labor” I said. Boy is that phrase galvanizing. He sprung from the bed. I asked him to take out the garbage, straighten up the living room and start a pot of coffee. In the meantime I sat on my ball, next to my bed and called my midwife Pam. It was about 4:00am. She was on her way home from a birth but said she’d be right over. I then called my friend/doula-Rosemarie and my mother.
I timed my “tugs” by the light of the preview channel. They were coming every 2 minutes and lasting 60 seconds. My mother and Rosemarie arrived. My husband moved our daughter to her own bed and I focused solely on letting go and going completely limp during each contraction. “Open, open, open” I thought as I imagined great big spirals with each exhalation. I opened my eyes to a candlelit room-the familiar scent of lavender subtle in the background. I was hot and so I changed into a nightgown and Rosemarie wiped my brow with a cool washcloth.
A little after 5:00am, Pam arrived. She knelt in front of me and asked how I was doing. Fine. She asked if she could take a quick listen to the baby. Of course. I asked her if she wanted to check me. There was no need. And so I continued to sit, surrounded by people I trusted, people I knew cared about me and respected my wishes. There were no IV’s, no restrictive monitor belts, no blue gown, no one telling me what to do…
I sipped cranberry juice, and listened while my mom and Pam recited the Days Born poem. It felt like a slumber party awaiting some guest of honor. As each tug started, stronger now but still not painful, I retreated within myself, always aware that a room full of peace and love awaited me when I’d resurface. It was a little after 6:00am when I began to feel some pressure at the peak of each contraction, my belly curling over and pushing downward. For the first time I wondered at my progress. It had only been a couple of hours and still there was no pain. I didn’t think I was possibly more than 5 or 6cm dilated. At 6:18, I reclined in bed while Pam did her one and only exam. A great big smile spread across her face and she said, “You’re a good stretchy 9. You can push whenever you want to.” What? This was IT? I was almost done?! I wasn’t sure if I was relieved or disappointed that this magical experience was almost over. One thing was for sure, I was not eager to push. To allow a baby to pass through you takes a level of surrender that is unimaginable to the uninitiated. I shared my fear with Pam, she replied, “Yeah I never liked pushing either. But I don’t think you’ll have to do much of it.”
I had been planning on giving birth while on my side but I had this strong, unexplainable, primal urge to be on my feet. My husband helped me off the bed and stood holding me through a few contractions, gently swaying as I gathered the courage to move forward to this next phase. I imagine my thoughts were similar to those who are about to walk across hot coals; a lot of internal coaxing-You can do this! It will not harm you! Go, go, go! And so I took a deep breath and announced that I wanted to kneel. Again I had not planned to do it this way-it’s what felt right at the moment. Pam, Rosemarie and my mom laid out a shower curtain liner on the floor and some folded towels for me to kneel on, then my mom left the room to call the neighbor to wake my older children.
I lowered myself to the floor, my arms propped on the bed, hands folded-the pose of a child saying their bedtime prayers. My husband sat on the bed and held my arm. “You can do this” he said. Rosemarie and Pam moved behind me. “You’ve got a tomato-sized tense bag of fluid that’s probably going to explode when you push” Pam warned me, I’m glad she did. For with that first effort, the slightest exertion there was a great release and a very loud SMACK as amniotic fluid slapped against the liner. “Well that was dramatic, “ said Pam as the dogs barked-scared by the sound. It was so powerful that at first I thought it was the baby. But no, seconds later I felt my baby surging downward. My body began to push on its own and he was coming so fast-I was no longer in control. It was like a train moving through me, so much pressure, it felt as if my bottom was going to turn inside out. “Oh Jess, his head….” Rosemarie said in awe as she donned gloves and Pam guided her hands to receive him. An honor I was more than happy to grant her. As his head began to emerge they instructed me to slow down, but I wasn’t doing anything. It was all him. I looked up to see the sky lightening-dawn had arrived. I heard Pam tell Rosemarie to lift the cord over(it was around his neck as all my babies' cords were) and then felt a second release as one shoulder was born, followed by a great big WHOOSH as he slid free. He gave one very brief cry and settled down. I reached between my legs to receive him. He was absolutely drenched as I held him against me, I couldn’t care less about getting wet as that warm, wet, slick bundle was the best thing I’d ever felt. I stood up, turned and sat down on the bed, a thick cord looped between us-how odd to still be connected, still be one and yet able to meet face to face.
Everyone helped me settle back into the bed, propped by pillows as little Tyler and I got to know each other. He stared at me and held my finger-such a quiet intense gaze. Moments later my placenta oozed out. Pam placed it reverently in a container, later giving us a demonstration of this amazing organ-this tree of life that had nourished my baby. I had no tears and my bleeding was minimal.
Tyler eagerly accepted my breast and nursed while my mom helped to clean up. Shortly after, my husband woke our daughter to tell her the big news. Puffy-eyed and wild-haired she entered the room and did the one task she’d been waiting months to do-she helped to dress the baby. Pam guided her hands as she slid socks on his tiny flailing feet. Soon her brother and sister arrived home. They all crawled into bed with us. We took pictures and ate my grandmother’s oatmeal cookies. Birth as a family affair
Thats a beautiful story!! :inlove:
I absolutely love your birth story. I really do. I love that your whole family layed in bed after and ate cookies, I think thats one of the biggest things I'm looking forward to after my homebirth... laying in bed with DH and all my children for some real family time.
That was an awesome story!!!!!
You have an amazing way of describing things.
I love how you said that it was amazing how you were still connected but were looking at eachother face ot face. That is so beautiful.
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