Henry Isaac – November 7, 2010
9lbs 8oz – 23 inches long
Henry’s birth was my favorite thus far and I don’t think birth could get much better.
I’d shout his story from the mountaintops if I could. I passionately want more women to realize they can give birth like this!
I knew the moment labor began. But it was dramatically different from my other labors. This labor was slow-moving and “ploddy.” I was more “post-dates” than I had been before. So I felt very ready for Henry to release that labor-triggering-hormone. I’d been praying that he would on a daily basis for quite some time.
I woke up early Saturday morning with the distinct knowledge that I was in labor.
There was no doubt in my mind. This was it. I was so excited! I had practiced Hypnobabies quite a lot through late pregnancy so I felt very prepared to enjoy a blissful natural birth!
We treated the day just as a normal Saturday. We played with our kids just as normal. We did chores around the house and watched a movie with the kids. And since I had been awake for a significant amount of time by now and had become tired, I was even able to take an hour-long nap in which my baby seemed to know I needed a tiny break and gave it to me. What a blessing!
Then I was back up and at it as if nothing had happened!
Steven and I went on a couple of long walks through our hilly neighborhood during the kids’ afternoon nap times. I went up and down the stairs, walked around the house, and stayed quite active. I was surprised that baby was not here yet as my previous labors had never taken more than about 6 hours. So this was unprecedented. I was in uncharted territory and slightly confused, but just went with it since the baby was very active and giving me every reassurance that he was just fine!
By Saturday evening I had it in my head that I was in for the very-extremely-long-haul and still tried to handle life as normally as possible.
I was picturing days of laboring like this! Time was starting to become very distorted.
I used the Hypnobabies scripts in my head during birth waves, but in-between I felt perfectly normal and blissfully happy and still very excited! I had my dear family surrounding me, I was beautifully supported, my baby had triggered labor all on his own, and I was remaining very active and mostly up-right through labor which was no-doubt helping tremendously! I was still very excited to be in labor and anxious to meet my precious little one!
We went out to eat and I indulged in a sinfully delicious milkshake for dessert. I had been off sugar for so long, but felt that I deserved a labor treat! I’m not sure I’ve ever had a milkshake that tasted so good!
Our dinner outing was at about 17 hours into labor. By the time we finished dinner I had the strong feeling that I needed to be back home. I needed to be on my turf again and alone to work through the rest of my labor. And I had a very intense desire to be left completely alone. I wanted some peaceful space in which to concentrate undisturbed.
At home Steven got the kids into bed and the house got quiet yet again.
Labor really started kicking in as our home was peaceful, calm, and dimly-lit. Steven and I settled in to watch a movie, but by this point I wasn’t able to concentrate on much else than what my body was doing. I leaned on the birthing ball and swayed. I walked up the stairs, and down the stairs and up the stairs again. I got into the bath and then out of the bath and then down the stairs and up again! I moved into any position that seemed to ease the labor surges and seemed to help my baby to move as needed. I was squatting, on hands-and-knees, lying on my side, swaying, dancing- you name it!
It was past midnight and I had become completely exhausted.
The movie was over and an understandably-exhausted Steven was already in bed asleep. I had been at it for 24+ hours now. I didn’t feel that birth was imminent, nor did I feel I could labor much longer with no sleep. I laid down on the couch thinking that surely baby would give me another break to sleep because I really needed some rest!
I was wrong. Lying down was the absolute worst position EVER.
That was the most excruciating pain I had experienced the whole time thus far. Though I desperately just wanted to lie down and sleep, my body (and my baby!) gave a resounding, “NO!” to that idea. I knew I had to keep working with baby and let nature take its (unpredictable) course. Apparently being up-right was my only remaining choice!
The exhaustion was really getting to me and I was wondering why I had ever wished for labor to begin. Staying pregnant forever and sleeping was all I wanted at this point, but without that option I labored on into the night.
I refilled the tub with hot water and sunk into it and it felt amazing and relieved a lot of the pressure. I went completely into my own little world doing my own thing, oblivious to all else. I fell into an amazingly deep and peaceful sleep over and over for the few minutes I had between waves. I could feel him kicking and squirming and helping labor along the best he could! I changed positions constantly and started “singing” with my waves of pressure bringing my baby closer and closer.
Steven eventually woke to my birth sounds and he seemed to know even better than I did how close we were. He recognized those sounds and my movements. He suggested calling our midwife. I didn’t seem to think she was needed yet and I just desperately wanted to be left alone. He wanted to call though so I told him to go ahead.
He told me he thought the baby would be here very soon. I did not believe him.
I continued to be up and down, squatting, hands and knees, arching my back, and vocalizing through the increasingly intense waves of pressure. I started begging for it to stop. I started saying I couldn’t do it anymore. I should have known what that meant! I felt almost as if I was climbing the walls. Everything was dream-like and time was non-existent. I didn’t know whether a minute was an hour or an hour was a minute.
Steven told me I was doing great and that everything was going perfectly.
He told me he knew I could do it and that everything I was doing was exactly right. He was the calming presence who continued to trust the natural birth process just when my faith was starting to waver. That’s just what I needed. If he believed I could do this, I knew I could!
Within minutes after Steven made that call for the midwife I felt Henry move down and my body started pushing him out before I could barely take a breath.
I assumed the most intuitive position for birth without even thinking and delivered him into the water in a kneeling/squatting position. (It was a little of both!)
As soon as I realized he was finally born and right there in front of me, I scooped up this perfect little baby out of the water and held him tight and close as he took his first breath and started making the sweetest little newborn baby sounds and trying to open his eyes.
I took a peek to see his gender and told his daddy (who could see just as plainly as I could, but I announced anyway),
“It’s a boy!”
Time stood completely still for those next moments. The release of birth was incredibly strong and empowering. We had done it. I had done it. Natural unhindered birth is such a miraculous and indescribable experience and I love it!
I basked in the afterglow of birth and fully took in my baby as we bonded instantly.
He was resting on my chest and I was smelling him, feeling his skin against mine, kissing him, telling him how much we loved him. It was as if I was inhaling him and soaking him in all at once.
Finally I felt it was time to get out of the bath and deliver the placenta. I stood up and delivered it myself and put it in our placenta bowl. (Yes, we have a placenta bowl- are you really surprised!?) I sat next to the bowl on a pile of cushy birth towels (yes we have birth towels too!) and settled in to nurse Henry and wait on the midwife’s arrival.
She arrived very soon after we got out of the bath and took a look around the bathroom. Baby born? Check. Bath emptied? Check. Placenta delivered? Check. Baby nursing? Check. She said, “My aren’t you efficient!?” And we all laughed!
The rest of that night and the next day, I was high on the overwhelming hormones that follow unhindered birth. I felt fantastic from the moment he was born. I was utterly in love with my baby. I was so proud that we had the perfectly imperfect labor and delivery that we needed. And a VBAC too! There were a few curve-balls and surprises, but it was all just as it should be in the end!
I gave birth…
- Peacefully, naturally, and gently, in the healthiest way for the both of us.
- When my baby was ready- on his own little schedule. He didn’t have a calendar in there with him!
- Without any technology, wires, machines, monitors, IVs, medications, doctors or nurses.
- Without anything or anyone invading my space that I didn’t need or want.
- Without any doctors visits (or even any office visits) throughout my entire pregnancy. Even all my prenatal visits were in our home!
- Without any tests that I didn’t need or want.
- Without any weight checks.
- Actively and on my own terms.
- Without a single vaginal exam throughout my entire pregnancy and labor. I was the very first person to even touch my baby. That was very important to me!
- Without any coaching or direction whatsoever.
- Without even a drop of Pitocin before or after delivery. (I didn’t need it at all!)
- Without anyone telling me when or how to push!!
- With an abundance of uninhibited natural hormones and intuition working together just as they were designed, facilitating the safest birth and the best bonding.
- And best of all? Without any tearing! All 9lbs 8oz and 23 inches of him. Oh the beauty of a natural water birth in an upright position!