Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Birth Story

My sweet son, you are now a month old and I can hardly believe how fast time has passed!
For now you are content to to be held and nursed and to sleep in my arms, and I am content to have you stay just like this for as long as you can. Too soon you will grow. And I look forward to your hugs and your words and the life you will lead. But oh I will long for the time you fit nestled in my arms. I savor these baby days with you.

This is the story of the day you were born,

I woke up to a crash of thunder. It was windy and rainy and stormy outside. Pow! Lightening.

And then "oh"...pain in my belly. It took me a few sleepy minutes to realize that it was actually a dull achy tightening in my abdomen that had woken me up and not the thunder after all. I sat for a few minutes, warm in my bed and wondered if I would meet you this stormy night.

After a solid month of fairly regular contractions every day, I didn't dare believe this could be it.

And then "OH"...pain again.

I nudged your dad. "Trav...I think I might be in labor." He'd heard this from me more than a few times in the recent weeks. "I think we should probably get up and get our stuff together."

"It's 2:30 am". Was his reply. He was tired. We were both tired. The months before your birth were not as we would wish-- calm and relaxing, but rather harried and busy. We'd spent that day scrubbing the carpets and unpacking boxes. Trying to ready our home for your arrival, and feeling way behind schedule.

"Are you sure?"

"I'm pretty sure."

I told dad I was going to get in the bath and see what happened. I wanted to make sure this was really it before I started waking people up. I soaked in a warm tub and grinned with each contraction...I would meet you soon! By the time I got out of the tub, I was sure about that.

I came back to our room to find that dad had gone back to sleep.

"Uh Trav? Um...I think we need to get going."

"Oh...I thought you weren't sure."

"I'm sure."

Dad popped out of bed, and started hurrying around grabbing stuff and asking me questions. I felt really calm and excited. I think he was a little nervous. I felt like time was slowing down a little bit...I thought about you and breathed through each contraction and then carried on the way.

We gathered up your sister and snuggled her in the car. Off we went into the night. It was raining hard and I was in labor!

I had really wanted to know what it was like to go into labor. With Avery, I had to be induced and though I couldn't really imagine being any more satisfied by the birth of my child, there was part of me that wanted the experience of going into labor...of having that moment...or moments really.

As we drove down the now snowy highway I was impressed with how normal it all felt. It wasn't some big crazy movie moment. I felt totally normal and calm. And ready.

I called my midwife and laughed when she said, "So you think your in labor". I was pretty certain.

We firmed up my birth plans and I told her that I'd like to use the birthing tub. She told me they'd start filling it up and then called back a few minuted later to find out how tall I was, because apparently another woman wanted a birth tub also and they only had 2, and one was a bit smaller. Luckily I beat her by an inch and got the bigger tub.

We arrived at the hospital at 4 am and there was a furry of activity in my room. In fact, when I first walked in nobody even noticed I was there. They were all trying to figure out how to get the tub inflated. Using a birthing tub in the hospital was a new thing, and they had never actually had to set one up for real use yet. I felt a tad special, and then felt the need to keep thanking them for the effort.

Aunt Emily came and got Avery, who was sleepy but excited and fairly sure that I was at the hospital to play in the pool and have a nice swim and slightly confused about how it was she would be getting a brother out of the whole situation. I was so grateful that she happily went with Em and that I knew I wouldn't have to worry about her. We hugged and kissed goodbye. It was blizzarding outside now.

I changed into my gown, met my nurse, chatted with my midwife and answered lots of questions about my pregnancy...questions I felt like I had answered a thousand times already, but it still oddly sort of made me feel special. Special that I was in labor, that I was having a baby, that this was the night... our night.

I was dilated to 6 cm when we arrived. My midwife had felt my belly and said that she thought you would be on the small side because I had lots of fluid.

"I think he is going to be big."

She told me that mom's usually had the closest guess to how big their babies were, and that she thought we'd see soon. And we did.

After a half hour or so watching your heart beat on the monitor (your heartbeat was a tad on the slow side and not showing accelerations that they like to see), and after drinking 2 Odwalla smoothies and zapping my tummy with the buzzer, everyone was finally convinced you were OK and I got to be unhooked and get into the tub.

Sliding into the warm water felt like heaven. The weightlessness and warmth made my contractions so much easier to bear. I chatted with my midwife and nurse and dad, pausing with each contraction, and as the minutes ticked on, and the contractions got stronger, I chatted less and paused and concentrated more. And though it was painful and uncomfortable...I enjoyed that I was having this experience and that my body was doing it. And I was so grateful to be in that exact place at that exact time. I felt really happy soaking in the warm tub, in the quiet of the night, lights down low, snow falling in blankets outside.

I thought about you.

After an hour and a half in the tub the warmth of the water was getting to me and I started feeling dizzy and sick and decided to get out. I had a sneaking suspicion that I was completely dilated anyway. I was wrong. I had dilated to 7 cm.

It was a little after 6 am. My midwife asked if I would like her to break my water. I knew that it would speed things up and I agreed. I soon sort of wished that I hadn't.

Once my water was broken I felt the discomfort of labor more intensely. The weight of my belly made it hard to find a position that felt...I'm not going to say comfortable here--that would be unrealistic...but manageable. I absolutely could not lay on my back or side. I finally settled on kneeling against the head of my bed, which was inclined up all the way. My contractions were coming so fast that I almost had no break in between them and I tried to concentrate and stay calm and relaxed but it was hard. I knew this was all normal. I knew I was in transition. And it hurt really bad.

I went from 7-10 cms. in a few contractions. Dad was at the head of my bed, holding my hand. I knew that there were other people around me and that they were saying things and doing things but I started feeling so much pain I just couldn't focus on anything except how much it hurt. For the first time during labor I felt a little scared. My midwife said I could push a little if I felt like I needed to. I didn't. Nothing felt right. Everything hurt and felt wrong. Pushing hurt--not pushing hurt. I held dad's hand and thought about you and how happy I was going to be when I got to meet you. I just thought of you and told myself I could do it, that I was meant to do it, and I did it. I pushed through some pretty wicked pain. And then somehow the pain subsided, and the overwhelming urge to push took over. Its all a little blurry--this part of your birth--Dad was asking me if I was OK? and telling me I was doing it! and Good Job! My eyes were closed and I was putting every ounce of energy I had into getting you down and out. It was all very fast. After just a few pushes I heard exclamations that your head was there...and how much hair you had. You were really coming! This was really it. I thought I'd take a little brake for a few seconds and try to take in this moment--let you be born peacefully. And then I heard the midwife say that your umbilical cord was around your neck and that it was too tight and she couldn't get it off and that I needed to push you out now. And suddenly I didn't notice the pain anymore and I just pushed as big as I could to get you out so you'd be OK.

And you were. My beautiful boy. Absolutely perfect.

8 lbs, 15 oz.
22.5 inches!

As soon as I saw you I knew you were ours.

You were placed on my tummy and looked up with your sweet little eyes, quiet and calm. I held you in warm blankets against my skin and dad cut your umbilical cord.

Soon, you would meet your sister, who loved you already and was so excited for your arrival.
Soon, we'd take you home and get back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Soon, we'd give you a name and introduce you to the world.

But right then, we snuggled and loved you while you nursed and were so happy to have that time--

just with you, our sweet little son.


  1. Beautiful story. Congratulations on your sweet blessing.

  2. Oh, Danielle, this brought tears to my eyes. Such joy!

  3. You did it! So happy for you -- love that you tried and accomplished natural childbirth. Do you think you'll do it again? (maybe it's too soon to ask that, but my first time, I knew I would always want to do it that way) Also love, love his name. Congratulations.

  4. beautiful--thanks for sharing. such an honest yet positive natural birthing story is just what i needed to read. i'm hoping for a similar experience in a few months with my second baby.

    congratulations! enjoy every minute of that baby cuddling!

  5. Oh, Danielle, this is written so beautifully! There's nothing like that experience, is there? Can't wait to talk to you.

  6. Thanks for posting; I know how busy you are right now. XO

  7. Beautiful. I am really glad that you took the time to write that down. You and Oliver will treasure that in years to come.
    OX, Mom

  8. What a beautiful story. I know what you mean about wanting to go into labor on your own. I was induced with our first and the other 2 were c-sections, so it probably won't happen, but I'm glad you got the experience you were hoping for. Enjoy your sweet baby!

  9. Perfect story. Perfect baby boy. I'm so happy for you and your family, Danielle. This is such a sacred time. Enjoy it :)

  10. this was so beautiful i couldn't help but tear up. congratulations again on your lovely baby boy

  11. I am so glad it went well! I have been wanting to call you for weeks but I am horrible about the phone. And then Asher keeps getting sick which messes up my plans to come see you. He is getting over a cold so I want to come SOON! I'm gonna call you this week, maybe tomorrow. I'm dying to see this babe!

  12. Congrats again Danielle!! Wow about pushing out such a big boy. You rock. I have been reading Baby Catcher and this reminds me of some of the peaceful. Love it.

  13. I just found your blog through no big dill.

    Your birth story was so touching. Thanks for sharing it.

  14. I just found your blog, I don't know through which link, and I just had to tell you that your birth story really touched me... I had tears in my eyes...

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful moment with us!


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