Birth Story of The Week: Our Homebirth Story

Today’s birth story comes from Kia at Bodhi Bear self Care to Community Health.
************

It was a dark and stormy night. There are few times in your life when you can actually write that, and this is one of them. Baby B was born on a dark and stormy night after a lengthy process.

I woke up 10 June around 3:30 in the morning to go to the bathroom. I was a few steps from the toilet when I felt a small gush of liquid warm and moisten my panties. There was not much liquid so I figured I was developing incontinence in the last days of my pregnancy. I was lucky enough to not piddle myself during my pregnancy when I sneezed, got startled, etc. I went to the bathroom, hand-washed my undies, put them in the laundry and put on a clean pair. I was having light contractions and did not think much of it, I was going back to sleep. They were uncomfy by 5 and I was on my knees not feeling great but after a while went back to sleep. Around 6 I piddled myself again while in bed. I went to the bathroom but did not have to urinate. I examined myself when I wiped, nothing seemed off.

I had a midwife exam that day so called her prior to the appointment because through the day I would piddle myself and I figured that I was not urinating, it was something else. It smelled a little like a fixative you would use when preserving a creature in a specimen jar, just diluted. I began using a LunaPad in the morning. By 4 in the afternoon my midwife confirmed I was leaking amniotic fluid and that me and baby had good vital signs. She was excited and figured I would have the baby within 24 hours. I was to call her that night before I went to bed to update her on my progress.

I called that night, no change, just piddling. I also made a chicken curry. I gotta say, leaking downstairs was kind of uncomfortable. In the morning my midwife called and came over for an exam, I wasn’t even dilating. The only change was that I was not leaking amniotic fluid anymore, vitals were still good. She instructed me to go about my day, go for a walk to get things going, she also left a breast pump hoping that stimulation would start everything. I was to pump every hour for 5-10 minutes. She also left more herbs that I was to take upon her instructions starting in the afternoon if things were not progressing. Up until now I was taking an herbal tonic she made for a week, evening primrose oil for a week, and my red raspberry leaf tea since my 2nd trimester.

My husband took Friday off from work to be with me and chill out. We knew baby would be here soon. My girlfriend/doula came over after 12 PM and we went for a 90 minute walk and did an impromptu photo shoot. I was teaching her how to use my camera since she would be around for the birth to get pics of the baby. At that time I kicked my husband out of the house to play with his laptop at a coffee shop.

My midwife called that afternoon, I was able to relay our vitals to her and she instructed me on what to do. This conversation was the second time she mentioned the possibility of a hospital transport because I was not progressing. You see you usually have 24 hours from time waters rupture to labor because of risk of infection. She was frank about what could happen to me and baby if we developed an infection.

That walk with my doula was the last time I would leave the house for a few days. That Friday night the weather turned from our mid-90s to suddenly mid-50s for the weekend. Colorado summers, they are funny like that. That Friday I made an eggplant parmigiana and peach cobbler.

My contractions by Friday night were a regular 6 minutes apart. They were easy. Easy is not a good sign.

My midwife came over for an exam early in the morning. I was dilated 1.5 cm. At this point my waters had been compromised for over 48 hours, we talked about hospital transport again. She wanted me to make a decision, I asked to keep laboring. She let me only because my vitals were good and baby had good vitals. I tried to stay calm and breathe, in retrospect I don’t know if I should have been getting more anxious. I don’t know if that would have helped.

She left for a few hours and returned for another exam. She actually returned to move in with us at that point, she was not leaving as she had to FREQUENTLY monitor the baby and me. She felt my cervix and realized I had two ridges on it. She asked to see if she could break them up. She was able to break one with her fingernail and it hurt pretty bad. My husband was holding me on the bed while this happened and his instinct was to make her stop hurting me, but he refrained and I took as much as I could bear. She was frank in letting me know that things had to progress or we would have to go to the hospital.

I began using a more rapid, blood-pressure raising breath (Ujaiya breath) from my yoga practice and really focusing on visualization of dilating my cervix. I ran to the bathroom twice before nightfall to puke the last set of herbs I was instructed to take. The midwife even went to get a birthing tub which I labored in for about 90 minutes. We were not prepped for a water birth and my husband had to call a friend last minute to get us a hose safe for drinking water.

In the middle of the afternoon chaos we had another frank discussion about the hospital. I remember my head was laying on my husband’s leg on the carpet and I started to cry. I felt like an absolute loser for not being able to progress. I felt so much shame for doing what I thought was taking care of my body for my pregnancy but yet my body was not laboring. I thought I had to have done something wrong. I asked to stay in labor since vitals were good. My midwife was concerned for my stamina, I had been drinking water and Recharge but not eating much. She scrambled an egg for me.

As the sun was setting she did another exam, I was at 7. She did not know how but I did. I used a lot of visualization and would breathe with my hands gesturing an opening. By 9PM we called my girlfriend/doula to come over… she brought pizza for the midwife and my husband. Just before she arrived I was at 9+ with just a tiny bit of cervix on one side. My doula and husband took turns letting me lay my head on them. It was when I was with my doula I did not have to concentrate on my breathing and I started smiling, even laughing a little. I was fully-dilated, I knew it. My midwife did not even check me she called the 2nd midwife to come over to assist her.

Hubby holding me before we began active labor

The 2nd midwife arrived sometime around midnight/early Sunday morning. She came in the door, took off her jacket, sat on the ground and was knitting.

The midwife suggested I take that time to go sit on the toilet to get that part of my body ready for the real work, active labor. After I sat on the toilet for a while I was to have another exam and I went to the bedroom for that. I was fully dilated and we had to hold off on the exam for a quick contraction. All looked good except we had another red flag, a little meconium. Yes, we did mention transport again if I could not deliver quickly.

We went back to the living room, I laid on my side again. I was made to get up and walk, my husband made me dance a bit, we pulled out a birthing stool, we tried a few things. I was keeping it chill and did not want to push. Finally I was told I needed to have the baby. The midwife suggested I get back in the birthing pool and squat in there to push. I did not want to do that. You see I am SHORT and getting in and out of that tub was kind of hard for my stubby little legs. Hubby sat on the birthing stool and I squated in front of him jabbing my knees into his shins (he is a foot taller than me). This was the position, this was it. Only one problem… how do you PUSH?

Seriously, how do you PUSH if you have never done it before? It really is like pooping, but if you are seriously constipated. This was hard for me. My plumbing works like clock-work. This was when the labor gets a little embarrassing… I had to be instructed on how to have a constipated poo. My midwife placed two fingers on my perineum towards my rectum and “taught” me how to push against that pressure. I took a couple of efforts to get the hang of it but finally had to do that ultimate surrender. And yes, I even made some “turtle head” jokes that my doula friend had to explain to the midwife. Beyond those jokes my midwife had to wipe my behind a little but I was expecting that from the Ina May Gaskin talk I had attended last month.

The real pushing… 8-10 pushes. In the second to last push I felt the “ring of fire” you hear about. I had heard it feels like everything in your girly region is going to split. It scared me once I started to feel it, for me it was a warm sensation within my body, not like my vajayjay splitting. I stopped pushing as soon as I felt it from fear. Then I realized it really didn’t hurt. I didn’t even wait for the next contraction I held on to my husbands legs and held a long push, “ring of whatever” I held it. I squeezed Baby B out so fast the midwife had to lunge to catch him with one hand. She was not expecting him yet but she is a professional baby catcher and she got him. The most surprising part of labor during those 8-10 pushes that I had not read about… the cracking of my pelvis. Could have been bone adjusting, soft connective tissue moving, etc. but I could feel and hear cracking… so could my husband. My pelvis is fine though in the aftermath.

Hubby giving Bodhi oxygen after he was in the clear. One of the midwives monitoring.

I delivered the baby, he was passed up to me and I sat leaning with my back against the couch holding him. He was not crying, he was sort of whimpering. Oh great, something was wrong. The 2nd midwife took him from me and swept his mouth and began breathing for him. The midwives were quick to get the oxygen tank, manual sucky lung things, machine sucky lung thingies, acupuncture needles, etc. They worked on him for 20 minutes+ until his lungs were good. It was hard because he had a short cord and we were still attached but I couldn’t reach him with how we were positioned. I could only watch him. My midwife had my husband cut the cord once it stopped pulsing so they could work on him easier. My husband and I talked to him and touched him without getting in the way. My placenta delivered and I hardly noticed I was too busy looking at our baby and his distress.

Within 30 minutes he was handed to me and I held him and an oxygen mask. Soon after he was fine. My midwives went from hippy-dippy ladies to precise EMTs and back to hippy-dippy kind women.

Our homebirth scene… Bodhi was born near the black trashbag (containing blood, fluids, cloth, and plastic in this pic), me on shower curtain liners we lined the ground with, Bodhi is latching for the first time on my breast, in the lower left of the pic is the corner of the birthing tub.

From that point on they began cleaning the birthing area, my midwife encouraged us to latch, they helped me clean up in the bathroom while my husband held him, we took a placenta tour, and eventually the doula left, the midwives sang us a lullaby, and our little family went to bed while the midwives finished cleaning up our home.

Bodhi on the cloth he was lifted in for his official birth weight… 7 pounds 8 ounces.

We woke up that Sunday morning as a cute little family in bed and to a clean house where you could not tell a birth had happened hours prior.

Bodhi resting on daddy’s chest exactly 6 1/2 hours after he was born. Chilling in our bed, at home. Happy & healthy.

A Home Waterbirth After Three Cesareans

Women need to know that their bodies are not broken. Thank you Bethany for sharing your beautiful birth story and video with us.
**********

Back story:

My first child was born on 10-19-00 after an unnecessary induction turned into an “emergency” c-section. I was told by my doctors that vbacs were very unsafe and that the practice I was going to did not even do them anymore. With my second child I was given no other option but a repeat c-section. I didn’t know where to turn for information, so the only info I got was from my doctors who were lying to me : ( My first daughter was born on 9-19-05 via c-section after I went into labor on my own. When I got pregnant the third time I really wanted a vbac but they told me no one would do a vba2c, and after talking to the only doctor in town that I knew did vbacs, I was told the same thing and I, stupidly believed them. It NEVER crossed my mind that a midwife would do a vbac, much less a vba2c, since it was supposedly so “dangerous”, so I never even talked to any midwives. My second daughter was born on 8-27-07, another unnecessary c-section : ( When she was a couple of months old, I was looking online for an answer to a breastfeeding question. I came across Cafemom and somehow discovered that women do, in fact have vaginal births after more than one c-section! That started my research. I found great info and birth stories and videos of women giving birth after having 2, 3, even 4 c-sections! I came across a video on Youtube of a woman who had a VBA3C, the first one I watched. That was all she wrote! I thought, if she can do it, I can do it! From that point on, I knew my next birth would be a natural, vaginal birth, I just knew it!

*************

I’ll try to make a very long story as short as possible:

I started going to a Birth Center around 16 weeks, or so, for prenatal care. Unfortunately, the midwives there are unable to do vbacs unless the mother has had a prior vaginal birth, so I was out. They were very supportive and willing to help me in any way they could to find a midwife to take me on. When I was about 30 weeks along I found a midwife about 45 minutes away that was super excited about taking me on as a client. She had been doing her own research and after talking with me and learning my history, she felt comfortable with the idea of attending my birth. I really liked her and was so thrilled that things were falling into place so wonderfully. I stayed at the birth center as well, since insurance was paying for that. The plan was to see the new midwife, Brenda, a couple of times before the birth, although it turned into more than a couple of visits. After a breech baby scare (he was breech from 32-36 weeks and literally flipped the day before they sent me for a position check ultrasound), everything else was smooth sailing.

At 41 weeks, my body and baby decided it was time : ) I had been having contractions for 4 days at that point, so when the real thing started, I had a little trouble believing it. Contractions started at midnight on July 19th. The first hour they were ever 15 minutes. The next 2 or three hours they were coming every 2-4 minutes! I took a shower, packed up a few more things and finally woke up my hubby. We loaded up the car with what seemed like everything but the kitchen sink, packed up the kids and called the babysitter, midwife and my family to let them all know it was time. We dropped off the kids and picked up my mom and sister so one of them could drive and Kelvin could be in the back seat with me. My dad, followed behind us. My mom called my doula to meet us there.

We got to my midwife’s house at 5:30am and by then the contractions had slowed to about every 4-7 minutes. Brenda already had the bith pool set up and her assistant was there. She checked me and I was about 2.5 to 3 cm. The more I walked the closer and stronger they came, so…we walked. We walked around the yard for a couple of hours. My husband walked with me and I held on to him during contractions. At one point, arounf 11, I think everything pretty much came to a hault. I was only contracting about every 15 minutes or so and they weren’t very strong. We took that time to rest a little and have some lunch. My friend brought my girls up to visit so they could see me before anything got going to heavy.

After we ate and the girls left, Brenda had us do some nipple stimulation to get things going again. Boy did that work! Holy cow! Who needs pitocin when all you have to do is play with your boobies!! Everything really picked up after that. At first the baby was posterior which was probably what was causing the labor to move so slowly and stop and start like it was. I did a lot of hands and knees positions and walking, of course. I don’t know how women labor on their backs, that’s the last place I wanted to be! Not long after the nipple stimulation got things going again, I got in the pool. I really lost track of time at that point so I’ll just tell the story like I remember it. I wanted to be on my knees leaning over the pool for the most part. My husband had to put constant counter pressure on my back. My mom and doula kept me sane by staying in my face and talking calmly to me about relaxing and flowing with the contractions.

The next time Brenda checked me was in the pool. She said it felt like I was about 7cm. Sounded good to me, although, I don’t think it was accurate.  From here on I was really having to fight not to scream through each contraction. They were really getting intense. After laboring a while longer I got out of the water for a check and was found to still be at a 7. I really didn’t care about how far I was dilated throughout the whole labor. Kelvin was afraid I would be disappointed to hear that, but I honestly was just taking it minute by minute at that point so it didn’t really matter to me what she said. We did some more nipple stimulation even though I really didn’t want to, I just wanted things to hurry along so it would all be over!

Some time later, I was finally fully dialted but had an anterior lip. So Brenda had me lay on my side in the pool. That sucked! The contractions were so much harder to handle in that position. My wonderful husband had me look into his eyes and breath with him to keep me from screaming in pain. At one point I looked up at him and he was crying. He never cries, so that made me cry. I really saw how much he loved me at that point. While I was laying like this, my water broke. It was a pretty cool feeling. It just gushed out in the middle of a contraction. I don’t remember when I started feeling like I needed to push but Brenda wanted to check me again to make sure the lip was gone…it wasn’t. She had me lay down and she tried to push the lip out of the way so the baby’s head could move past it. What a sucky situation that was. It did feel good to push though. I just didn’t want to end up having the baby on the floor. My body wasn’t going to let that happen. I was out of the pool for a little while trying to get rid of the lip, standing, squatting, lunging. People kept asking me what I wanted to do and what position I wanted to be in. I just kept saying, ” I don’t want to do ANYTHING! I just want to be done!”

I don’t remember what position I was in but I remember I jumped up said I need to get in the pool and I really started pushing then. I guess the midwife knew that my body knew what it was doing cause she didn’t even ask to check and make sure the lip was gone. Any big, huge pregnant lady that jumps up and over the side of a pool that fast, knows she needs to push! LOL! Everyone there even commented that they hadn’t seen me move that fast in months!

I was afraid of the ring of fire but I was prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for was the burning I felt as he descended down the birth canal. It burned soooo bad. Unfortunately, that caused me to push a lot harder than I probably should have been pushing. It wasn’t long before me and my husband felt his little head, right there. I still thought I had a while longer because it just seemed like there was no way his head was gonna fit through there! I felt like my butt was going to literally explode! After only about 20 minutes of pushing his head popped out, right into mine and my husbands hands. Kelvin was like, “Um, his heads out?!!?” Everyone was sure surprised to hear that. We were all expecting pushing to take longer than it did. The room turned into a cheer leading event at that point. I waited for the next contraction and felt his little body moving down and coming out. It was so cool to feel his legs kick their way out. It was 6:44 pm. Brenda and Kelvin passed him to me between my legs and I looked down and saw his little body swimming up to me. It was the coolest thing ever : ) I pulled him up out of the water and everyone just squealed and cried and we were all so happy. I always knew we could do it, but it was so awesome to have done it! I told my husband, ” I told you we could do it, Babe” and we sat there and cried and held our new baby, it was so perfect. Brenda, told me to look up at here and I did. She says, ” Hey, Bethany, you just pushed a baby out of your vagina!” And we gave each other a high five! Priceless!

Kelvin cut the cord after it stopped pulsating and a couple of minutes later the placenta came out with no problem. I did end up tearing in 2 places, which sucked, but hey, better than a c-section, right. We got out and took a nice herbal bath and climbed into bed. Brenda checked Kage over and said he looked pretty perfect : ) 7lbs 12oz., 21 1/2 in long. We spent the night there and she even made us breakfast the next morning. What a wonderful woman!

My husband truly came through during this birth. I knew he would be great, but he really blew us all away with just how well he took care of me throughout the whole thing : )

Birth Video Raw and Uncut.

A Powerful 29 Hour Hospital Birth

Today I bring you a birth story from Mama Violet. She blogs about her life pre and post baby at New Mom In The Windy City.

********************

Nine months ago I became a mother.

It all started on August 27, 2010 at 9:02 am. I was a week past my due date and was settling in with the idea that I would be pregnant forever. I turned on the tv to watch a DVR’d Project Runway episode. I sat on the couch with my legs tucked under me and heard a pop and felt wetness. I ran to the bedroom to grab my cell and text Him (priorities). I continued to leak heavily and decided I should probably sit on the toilet first and stop making a mess. I got myself together and sent the text. I then called the midwife and doula and gave them a heads up. Lastly, I called my mom because she wanted to be the first to know. I told her it was beginning and not to call me (like she did everyday towards the end of my pregnancy). I would call her as soon as Little Miss was born.

I showered but continued to leak heavily but did not have any contractions. I’m not exactly sure when the contractions started but I do remember Him taking me to Jimmy Johns to pick up lunch, I remember trying to rest up but not being able to. I was too excited and ready for things to get going. Evening came and I had been trying to rest for a few hours. Not being able to sleep, we went for a walk around the neighborhood and I had to stop every 2 – 3 minutes to contract. The were strong but not unbearable and didn’t last very long so I knew I was still in the early stages.

After the walk I tried resting again. I laid in the bed and told Him to just check on me periodically to see if I was ok. I decided to time the contractions and was at 4 to 6 mins lasting 30 secs to a minute. Again strong but not unbearable. Around 9 o’clock I was ready to go the hospital not because I was at a breaking point but because I was worried about my water being broken for so long. The midwife said it was ok if I wanted to stay at home a while longer but I just wanted to get the show on the road.
We arrived at the hospital at 10 pm. I was escorted to a room and the midwife wanted to check to make sure my water had broken. Her test was inconclusive so she had to do a more invasive procedure (owwee). As she was about to “go in”, she said “There’s the head lots of curly black hair. You’re definitely in labor.” Well, duh. I was about 5 – 6 cm dilated and still the pain was not unbearable so I knew it wasn’t time. My doula arrived and started to write. I was confused about why she wasn’t helping me but I was focused on having a baby so I just went breathing, sitting in shower, and rolling  on a birthing ball and this is where I stopped looking at the clock. No sense of time at this point.

After some time I was tired of all the movement and just wanted to lay down. Doula came over and lightly stroked my arm which was very annoying while in labor. I needed firm strong kneading hands. I told her to stop. The midwife came to check on me and said I was 8 cm and why don’t I do a little pushing to see if that will get me to 9. It did but I didn’t have an urge to push. However, she continued to command me to push and I tried even though I really didn’t understand what I was doing. Call me weirdo but pushing like you’re having a bowel movement is just hard to do if you’re not sitting on a toilet. I just kept trying with Him, the doula, the midwife, and a nurse all around me. I had been pushing for a long time and I was tired. I was also wondering why my doula hadn’t stopped the midwife and nurse from doing the you can do it, push, push, push cheer. I clearly remember telling her that I did not want that.

I was scared, crying, naked, tired, and “pushing”. By this time I had started a mantra of “I can’t do it” to the midwife’s “YOU HAVE TO DO IT!”. I became very frustrated and out of control. It wasn’t the pain. It was intense but still not unbearable. It was the commands and the people around me. My introverted self was having a reaction to all of the goings on around me and within me. I needed a break. I needed to go inward and just be alone but I couldn’t say all that so I snapped. I shouted, kicked, slapped and broke free from the bed and went to the bathroom and sat on the toilet.

The nurse came in to soothe me. She closed the door and talked softly too me and got me to a place where I could go back to the bed. My ruckus brought in 2 other nurses to assist. Great. Exactly what I needed more people. My midwife left. I kicked her good and hard I’m sure she needed the break.
The pushing continued through the morning and afternoon. I pushed on my back, on all fours, and standing. My contractions slowed and I dozed periodically. They were coming every 7 – 8 minutes. I could no longer tell I was having a contraction. I would look at the monitor and ask the group surrounding me if I was having one. More time passed like this. Still no baby and the contractions were not unbearable. I called on God even though I’m not religious. I wanted this baby out but I had no idea how to make it happen and no one seemed to be helping me. I needed divine intervention.
When the midwife returned she suggested Pitocin to get the contractions up again. Not what I wanted. I just saw my natural birth experience tanking. I did not protest because I just wanted the baby out by any means necessary. Too tired. Too hungry.
More time passed and the Pitocin kicked in gradually. I was still too out of it to figure out if I was having a contraction and relied on the monitors and people to tell me where the “peak” was to push. Amazingly enough my body finally started to really push. It was like vomiting when you can’t stop your body from lurching. I believe that happened for about an hour when I felt her crowning. I pushed through it not caring about the pain because I just wanted her out and finally..she came out. The midwife told me to stop pushing and to look down. I saw her little head. She was looking at the light above. I had a sunny side up baby. Her cord was wrapped around her neck 2 times. The midwife freed her and placed her on my chest.
She was squirmy and wet. I was afraid of dropping her. The cord was cut. We tried her first breastfeeding and she took to it like a champ. She sucked away as my 2nd degree tear was being stitched.
All in all, this was approximately a 29 hour process from start to finish. I pushed for 10 hours! I knew it was long but I didn’t know it was that long. The midwife said posterior babies normally do take longer. The midwife who I thought would be at my birth but wasn’t on call that day said she had a posterior baby and normally there is no urge to push. That explains a lot. I knew it would take some time since it was my first but I felt the 10 hrs of pushing was way to long. I’m glad the midwife was able to stop me from having a c-section but really all of the pushing was unnecessary. It wasn’t until the final hour that I had the “urge”. If I was to do it again, I would stay at home longer and hire a post partum doula instead of a L&D doula.

The beginning…..

The Birth of George

I missed birth story of the week last week. We’ve been running all over town lately. Then when I’m home I’m cooking, cleaning, playing with the kids, doing laundry, you know how it is.

I am happy to share with you this beautiful birth story. It comes from Stefanie at Very, Very Fine.
Thank you for sharing your birth story with us, Stefanie! If you would like to share your birth story see this post for submission details.
******************

I’ve told George’s birth story more times than I care to count. At times I’ve been shy to share it because I truly feel that it was the ideal experience, and this is not in line with what most people consider to be “normal” for women, for childbirth. I can’t commiserate with those who had 70-hour labors or eventual c-sections, who say that childbirth is totally miserable but worth it. I came out of the experience wanting to do it again. Not eventually, right away. I say this not to be a braggart, but because I am coming to realize that it bears saying, and repeating. Women do not need to fear childbirth the way we’re taught to. Of course, some people will say I make these statements from a pretty sweet position, and I do. I was lucky, but I also let my body do its job, and was rewarded.
Three days before I gave birth, I looked like this:
We spent the day before I went into labor (and, coincidentally, the day George was born) in Anacortes for Jess Lynch’s craft fair at the Adrift. It was a long, tiring but fun endeavor and as the fair wound down, it began to snow. Hard. Beautiful, big white flakes. The first (and, it turned out, last) snow of the Winter. I was momentarily excited, then remembered we had to drive home. We quickly said our goodbyes, Jess ushered us out the door and we made it home as the snow started to slow. We walked in, lit the Hanukkah candles and crashed.
At 2:45 I woke up with what I thought was mild cramping, no big whoop. I woke Nathan to say I was getting in the shower for some relief. All the ladies I had asked about labor told me I would know when real contractions hit. Without a doubt. YOU WILL KNOOOWWWW, they said. Ominously. I did not KNOOOOWWWW, so I figured this was not “it.” Like a fool, I parked the iPod outside the shower and, using the labor app I’d downloaded, tried to time what I had decided were not-really-contractions. I am still shocked that the iPod survived my waterlogged hands reaching out every two (that’s right, TWO) minutes to restart the timer. I shampooed my hair between waves and was less than thrilled to recall, after ten months, what it felt like to have cramps.
When I got out of the shower it was about 3:30am. I told Nathan to call Winni, our midwife, who asked me some questions, reassured me, then sleepily told me to try to get some rest and call her in the morning. We both assumed I was mis-timing the not-really-contractions, and I still felt that it probably didn’t much matter, as I wasn’t in labor.
I was experiencing what I’d consider fair-to-middlin’ menstrual cramps, so I took to walking laps around the livingroom, into the bedroom, and back. My cats trailed me from room to room, better aware than I was that something important was happening. Though I had taken the HypnoBabies home course, using what I’d learned didn’t occur to me; I was content to pace and breathe, my parade of pets behind me. Unfortunately, neither did it occur to me to get dressed, and in about 45 minutes, when those “fair-to-middlins” turned into “okay, ouches” followed immediately by I am having a baby right here in the living room, I was wearing nothing but underwear and a t-shirt. One pressure wave forced me to the floor, and while I rocked on hands and knees, Nathan called a questioning, shocked Winni back and she told us in no uncertain terms to GO NOW; she would meet us at the birth center.
In addition to being half naked, somehow, in all my preparation, I had not completely packed a bag. My duffel inexplicably contained graham crackers, a note to “remember the popsicles,” a pair of hilariously impractical underwear, a nursing tank top and two outfits for the baby. Nathan cobbled together an outfit for me, helped me into some pants and my coat and I went outside while Nathan loaded up the car. Until I felt the night air, I hadn’t noticed how sweaty and inwardly focused I’d gotten; it was so refreshing to stand, silent, while the town slept around me and Nathan ran back and forth from the house to the car. I realized that I was having a snow baby, just as I had predicted. Poor Nathan’s mantra during the thankfully brief ride to the birth center was “Don’t push; please don’t push.” I must’ve looked like the stereotypically ridiculous lady in labor, huffing and puffing futilely to make the urge to push lessen.

We walked into the birth center and Eloisa, the midwife who miraculously temporarily lived in the basement, appeared to welcome us into our candle-lit, warm and cozy room. There wasn’t much time for pleasantries. We said hi, she told me to strip and she checked me — 100% effaced, 100% dilated, bulging bag, ready to go. She started the tub water and I got the go-ahead to push. NOTHING in my life has ever felt better. I eased myself into the water and any pain I had been feeling was gone. The pressure of the baby was there, but the relief of the freedom to push and the soothing, warm water made everything better. Eloisa was invisible to me as I pushed; she was just an encouraging voice from somewhere behind us, telling me I was doing well. A few pushes later, I felt her put pressure on my perineum and she told me the baby was crowning. One more push and he was out, after 20 minutes of pushing, total. As Eloisa capped him, sucked out his nose and mouth and put him on my chest, he cried for a second, but opened his eyes and looked around, quickly calmed, I’d like to think, by the gentle way he was introduced to the non-womb world. Winni burst in, having been slowed down by the snowy roads, missing the birth by only a few minutes. It was 6:08am, less than 4 hours after the first signs of labor.


I never felt the urge to expel the placenta, so Winni and Eloisa helped me out of the tub and encouraged me to bear down. What followed the delivery of the placenta was the only hitch of the entire birth, and included a significant amount of blood, some deceptively-named massage that was more uncomfortable than anything preceding it and a shot or two in the leg that, combined with expert handling by my midwives, stopped the bleeding in short order. I needed two stitches — understandable, as a baby had practically flown from my nether regions — the discomfort of which were so minimal and lessened even more by a conversation with Winni about local music, food and friends-in-common that I couldn’t imagine having in a hospital, with a busy OB-GYN. While she worked on me, it was revealed that a certain someone had scored perfect apgars (genius), weighed eight pounds, one ounce and was 21 inches tall.


We hung out for awhile in the big, fluffy bed. We got pooped on repeatedly before wising up and busting out the diapers. We nursed somewhat awkwardly. We called around and sent photos from our phones. Winni brought me some delicious tea and we chatted about What the Heck Fest while Eloisa’s daughters woke up for the day and padded around the birth center in their jammies, giggling and peeking in the door to see our new baby. We got the then-unnamed but future-George dressed, and headed out about noon, into the gorgeous, clean, snowy day. My mom met us at home with veggie burgers, milkshakes and waffle fries and as we cuddled up in our own bed on our son’s first day in the world, I was so grateful for the way we were able to welcome him home.