july 22-23, 2010
41 weeks + 1 day pregnant and ready to walk this baby out! wonderful husband stays home to watch davis while i put on my fave (and only) converse shoes, workout pants and tank top (the one that covers as much belly as possible. even then, probably a good 3 inches hang out at the bottom. oh well). favorite mix is on ipod. necessary breakfast stop at chick-fil-a to enjoy spicy sausage burrito has been made, and i’m ready to move.
before starting to walk, i stop into starbucks to get a free cup of iced water (side note: their water is triple filtered! super clean and cold. perfect). starbucks barista girl asks me “when is baby due?” i respond “oh, about a week ago.” “wow! well good luck!” she responds. as i am leaving, i overhear her tell the other customers “if that was me, i would have gone to the hospital weeks ago and told them they needed to do something about this!” ugh. whatev.
step out of starbucks and set my cup down to get earbuds in ears. ready to begin walk. an older man frantically runs (aka hobbles) over to me. “ma’am! are you ok?” this catches me off guard. “yeah i’m fine” i respond with what i later realize is zero kindness in my voice. the fact that i’m pregnant leads him to believe i am in active labor. again…whatev.
i commence my walk.
i receive stares and points from many passersby. thank goodness i have my music turned way up and choose to make zero eye contact with people, as to avoid hearing said comments and being stopped and talked to. as i walk past the jewelry store, the employee comes out and waves her arms in front of her belly as to make a big pregnant belly motion. i stop walking and take my earbuds out. “yes?” i ask. again, zero kindness in my voice. probably could have worked on that. “baby is sure about ready to come out huh?” she asks excitedly. “yes, he is!” i respond.
continue walking. more stares. i promise i’m not making this up. i begin to suspect that something is wrong with my appearance. i glance in a mirror as i walk by. nothing unusual. just looking extra extra pregnant today. a middle aged man watches me walk by and gives me a super cheesy open mouthed cereal box smile and thumbs up. ok that’s enough walking in public for the day. i decide to head home (after stopping by starbucks again for another free triple filtered iced water). head home. TOTALLY exhausted. turn something educational on the tv for davis after nathan heads to work and crash on the couch.
somehow manage to get up, eat some lunch, and all i want to do is sleep. all davis wants to do is play outside. in the booty hot weather. go outside with davis and survive by turning on the sprinkler, which thankfully davis loves. finally it is his nap time. go down again for my 2nd nap of the day, wishing today was the day.
davis and i both wake up to a glorious thunderstorm.
we go for a walk in the rain. so beautiful and refreshing. head up the street to my parent’s house and again, i crash on their couch. my stomach hurts. i want to poop but can’t. i am extra grumpy and feeling extra sorry for myself.
my mom and nathan keep giving each other “the look” whenever i get up and go the bathroom. they know i am in labor. i have convinced myself that i am not, as to not get my hopes up and be disappointed yet again by inconsistent and non-progressing contractions. i know that physically, it is not possible to stay pregnant forever…however my dramatic emotions had convinced me otherwise. i was going to stay pregnant forever.
after dinner we head home and nathan tells me to take a bath to relax while he is putting davis to bed. it is around 10:15 pm at this point. i make an extra bubbly candelit bubble bath and have three of these “contractions?” in the bathtub. i am now finally starting to get suspicious and a bit excited.
around 10:45 i tell nathan i am going to bed, just to get a little bit of sleep incase this is the real thing. i lay down for about 5 minutes and am hit with another contraction. i tell nathan i am pretty sure this is it as i put on my favorite bandeau bikini top and purple pants (which i have planned to wear for labor).
before i continue, i must note that for the past several months, i have been preparing for labor with a program called “hypnobabies.” i promise it’s not kooky. i did lots of research before buying into it. basically it is a program that teaches you to “hypnotize” yourself into a state of total relaxation. instead of being afraid of contractions and experiencing pain, you train your body to release a natural anesthesia so that the contractions are not perceived as pain, but instead as a way of hugging and massaging your baby into the world. call it silly if you will, but it sure worked for me!
i could not believe how calm and peaceful i felt throughout the entire 4 hours.
my birthing team (midwife, doula and nurse assistant) after everything said that normally they can immediately tell upon seeing the laboring woman how far along she is, but that they honestly had no clue for a while how far along i was when they arrived, because i was so calm and quiet.
we found out quickly that i was in very active labor and quickly going into transition! my birthing team (and my husband and mom) were absolutely incredible. i was able to relax on the birthing ball while they massaged my lower back and feet and shoulders…i was able to lay on my bed while getting massaged…and i remember thinking (“this is AWESOME! i can’t believe how much more i love this than being at the hospital!)
i was totally relaxed. whenever a contraction came on, i didn’t have to say anything. they immediately knew and would massage my back deeper. i remember at one point sitting on the toilet and having a contraction while nathan held my arms…and the toilet seat just felt extra hard. i told nathan “i swear we need to buy a cushioned toilet seat.” what?! haha!
i would count up to 20 in my head, and i knew that if i could make it to 20, i had made it over the rapid and as i was going over it, the contraction would subside. it was kind of fun actually. does that sound weird? it was incredible how relaxing it was (i know i am using the word relax alot, but that’s honestly what i felt!)
after checking my vitals and listening to the baby, they told my mom “she’s going to be pushing soon…it’s time to fill up the tub!” my mom could hardly believe it (i think because i was so quiet and calm throughout everything).
i remember towards the end my body started shaking all over.
my birthing team helped so much in rubbing my feet, back and shoulders still. i asked why i was shaking and the nurse assistant told me calmly “you’re going through transition and getting ready to push. you can get in the tub if you’d like.” i thought “no way. i just went through transition. that’s IT?!”
and oh…getting into that glorious tub of water. it just felt like a giant hug all around me. i loved it so much. i was able to float effortlessly into whatever position my body wanted to. it was absolutely amazing. my sweet nathan was so wonderful and rubbed my shoulders while encouraging me and telling me how great i was doing. i remember i kept saying outloud “i can do this. i can do this. come on baby…move down baby.”
i was in the tub somewhere between 45 minutes and an hour. there was one point where i felt such tremendous pressure and i almost said “i can’t do this!” but just as i was about to say it i yelled out “i can do this!!!” the power of words cannot be taken lightly. the words i was telling myself…whether in my head or outloud were the words my body believed. it felt so good to push when contractions came on.
i could literally feel him moving down…something i had never felt during davis’ birth (due to the epidural). i felt so powerful and primal and deeply connected with the millions of women in all the earth’s history who have ever done this. i started making these deep pushing grunting sounds that i didn’t even know i could do! to an outsider it may have sounded like i was in pain…but it just felt good to be able to make those sounds…i felt like they were moving him down!
and then the glorious moment arrived when my midwife said…”oh his head is moving down i can feel it!”
she told me to reach down and feel the top of his head about to come out.
unbelievable. i was really doing this! before i knew it she said “reach down and feel your baby’s head, it’s out!” in total unbelief i reached down and could feel his face, his fuzzy head, his ears!
then with one enormous push…all the strength i never knew i had…and he was totally out and placed on my chest! so surreal and yet so real. such euphoria. total bliss. no words could ever capture the absolute perfection of that moment. and wow did i fall hard in love all over again. beautiful and perfect and miraculous. fearfully and wonderfully made. and so alert…just looking around with his big eyes and taking in everything around him. so peaceful…and such a good nurser!
he immediately began nursing like he had been doing it for months! i was on such a high from everything. everything was really happening, but i felt like i was in a beautiful dream. i had just birthed our baby boy…totally natural…in our bedroom! and now i was sitting on our bed nursing him. then the moment of truth arrived…time to measure and weigh him. a 14 inch circumference head. wow! and weighing 8lbs 6oz! what a little chunk!
no one whisked him away to bathe him…no shots were given…no tight monitors around his ankles. i was just able to snuggle and hold him. the midwife team (words cannot describe how incredible they were), cleaned up the room while caedmon and i were getting to know each other, and before i knew it, they were packing up and leaving! my mom had taken davis up to the house so that he could go back to sleep, and nathan and caedmon and i were able to lay down on our bed and fall asleep together.
again…total bliss. i loved it so much. the only part i did not enjoy about the whole thing was those blasted post-delivery contractions you get while nursing…because your uterus has to contract back to the normal size. i laughed because i asked my brother to run out and get me some aleve for the discomfort. i had just birthed a nearly 8 and a half pound baby naturally, and i wanted aleve for the after-birth contractions! haha!
i write all this to not only have a recorded memory of everything that happened, but also to encourage anyone reading this that birth can be a beautiful experience.
our society bombards us with scary birth stories…tv shows…movies etc. during my pregnancy, i did not allow these stories to enter my mind. i instead chose to surround myself with women who enjoyed birth, and read empowering birth stories…real life stories of women who chose to embrace the beauty of natural birth…the way God designed our bodies to work.
oh sweet wonderful caedmon robert…the day you were born the whole earth smiled. i will remember that perfect moment as long as i live. you are a priceless treasure. we love you more than you will ever know. ~mommy, daddy & davis james
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