Birth Story (Part 2)

…continued

While I labored alone in the bedroom, J followed hubby around as he filled up the pool, made the bed, and whatever else he did to get things ready. I laid on the bed in the dark softly humming to myself. This lasted for a while until I decided I wanted to take a shower. The water running over my body was soothing and I stayed there for quite some time, almost motionless except for my deep breaths. However I eventually started to feel overly restricted in the shower and needed to move. I returned to the bed; laying in a fetal position in between contractions and on all four during contractions. By this time the midwives had arrived (5:30ish). They eased in quietly, carefully, and respectfully. They knew this was my birthing space and they protected it, even from their own presence.


I was ready to get into the water and the water was ready for me in parallel timing. As I had suspected would be the case, J wanted to get into the water with me and I was fine with it. Actually I loved and cherished that special time we had together. It is my last memory of him as my only baby. Jack Johnson was playing softly in the background while I swayed in the water. J thought I was dancing and was saying “dancing momma, dancing”. He asked me to dance with him. We danced together for a while, until I needed him out of the tub. Hubby got J out of the pool, dried, dressed, and comfy with a snack and movie in the bedroom while I continued to labor in the water.

After a while I decided my body needed some upright movement. I got out of the tub, but still craving the soothing power of water I went into the shower again. I swayed in the shower signing lullabies to my baby. I sang loudly without any apprehensions. Eventually hubby came into the bathroom and warned me we would run out of hot water soon. I definitely did not want that to happen so I got out of the shower and back into the pool. As I walked back into the front room I noticed the midwives sitting on the couch. I thought to myself “Gee they are probably bored. There really isn’t anything for them to do except sit there. Maybe I should tell them to go home and come back when I am further along?”. That thought lasted only a second or two because the very next thought was “I don’t really care what they do or need. I’m busy”. That was when I realized birth was imminent; when I was able to let go of the propensity I have to take care of everyone else around me. I allowed my own needs to be the priority. I asked my midwife what time she thought the baby would be born. I think she understood what I needed to hear because her brilliant response was “Your baby will come at the perfect time”.

Things intensified and I become more vocal. My noises; low, deep grunts, drew J out of the bedroom full of curiosity. As he watched me he played with his Thomas train along the couch singing ‘Thomas, Thomas, Thomas”. Contrary to what one might assume, his presence was very calming to me. I believe he provided an important strength and love that was very beneficial to the birthing process. His ability to joyfully play with his beloved train while I gave birth offered an acute awareness that what was happening was perfectly natural. It was cyclical relationship. The energy in the room indicated what I was doing was fine so he accepted it as fine, thus acted normally, which in turn sent a positive message to me that everything was fine.

I asked hubby to talk to me. I just needed to hear his voice. He quietly told me a story about a perfectly beautiful snowy day in the mountains. As he spoke he lovingly stroked my back and arms. His voice, his words, and his touch were especially comforting.
I expressed feeling scared. The midwife said to me “It’s okay to feel afraid”. I repeated that to myself aloud a few times. As I entered transition I used a great deal of self-talk as I repeated the various labor/birth affirmations I had reflected upon throughout my pregnancy. I told myself aloud and internally…I CAN do this. I AM doing this. This is what I want. Everything that I am feeling is important and purposeful.

Rather suddenly, I felt the urge to push. It almost took me by surprise how powerful it was. When I felt that raging sensation, I worked with it. I pushed and grunted. No one told me what to do. No one needed to because my body knew. I stayed on my hands and knees in the water to push. Hubby was behind me ready to catch our baby. One midwife sat near him while the other sat near my head. J stayed near daddy to watch the baby ease out of my body.


In between contractions I felt ecstatic, almost euphoric. As baby crowned I looked up at the midwife with a wide smile. I felt as though laughter echoed throughout my whole body. “The baby is coming!” I exclaimed, “The baby is going to be born at home!” She smiled right back at me. Her smiling face was kind and encouraging. As I pushed my baby out, my bag of water broke open. Hubby caught our baby in his very own hands, with a little help from big brother, J.

Bonding
Immediately after baby emerged, the midwives helped me turn over and hubby passed the baby to me. Some people refer to the moments after birth as “meeting your baby”. But to me it felt like reuniting.


As I sat there in the water, holding my baby for the first time, it was as if time stood still; as though we were the only two people in the room. I was aware of the presence of my husband, my firstborn, and the midwives, but it felt like they were observing us through a glass window…peering in, with great admiration for the infinite love they witnessed unfolding before them.

There was no rush. We could stay in this moment for as long as we wanted to. No one was going to take my baby from my arms or hurry me along. I would decide when I was ready to move on. And so we stayed there for a while: the two of us, in our own private world, bonding as only a mother and newborn are capable of. I inhaled every feature of my baby’s face, scent, skin, and body. I checked and announced we had a baby boy. The midwives asked permission to check our newborn son. Ever so gently, as he laid across my chest, they took his vitals.

I started to feel cold and wanted to move into the bedroom to snuggle up in our bed. They carefully helped us out of the pool, as baby was still attached to the placenta which I had not birthed yet. In the bedroom I had a few more contractions and pushed out the placenta. The midwives wrapped it up and set it next to me and baby. I put baby to my breast to nurse him for the first time. I found his cord to be somewhat interfering with my ability to comfortably hold him to my breast and asked to cut it. Together the midwife and hubby cut the umbilical cord. It was a sensitive moment for me, as we will never again be attached in that way. Although I knew we would discover and develop a different kind of attachment throughout the journey ahead of us.

 

Reflecting
The shedding, the unleashing that occurs during an unmedicated, unmanaged, uninhibited birth is transformative. First I experienced an emotional release, then a mental, and then a physical. In doing so, I was able to be fully present, on all levels (mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually) for the birth of my son. The sense of empowerment that I experienced during the course of his pregnancy and birth I have carried (and will continue to) with me into motherhood. He has taught me to trust my instincts, to follow my heart, to cultivate beliefs, and to embrace life.

 Did you have the birth you desired? What did you learn from your birth experience(s)?

Want to know what I did with the placenta? Read tomorrow’s post to find out!

-Sarah

Tags: baby, birth, breast, fetal position

2 Responses to “Birth Story (Part 2)”

  1. Amanda Evans says:

    I have that same birth pool! My last birth was *hard*. Labor was fine–gentle and calm–but pushing him out was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But I did it! And going through that has made me a braver person.

    • Sarah says:

      Gotta love the inexpensive fishy birthing pool from Target! Haha! 🙂 My first and third births had a very difficult pushing phase and I agree it is HARD work! Congrats on your birth experience and the sense of empowerment you gained from it!
      -Sarah