Will's Birth

Kate | August 22, 2010

About lunchtime on Saturday, the 21st, I noticed mild contractions. They got more and more regular and were more noticeable by early evening. Frank and I were both so excited. At 41+ weeks, we were ready to meet the baby.

Isabelle went to bed, I knew I should try to rest. The contractions were stronger, but still varying in frequency from 8-12 minutes apart. I laid down for a while, and Frank got the "nest" ready. Being in the bed, even on my side in a pile of pillows, made the contractions much more uncomfortable. After a while, I couldn't stand lying down any more and got up. Gravity really is your friend in labor.

Around 11 pm, we tried again to sleep. There was a big thunderstorm, and my contractions got much stronger. I really had to concentrate and breathe through them. Frank slept, and I got up to walk around, stopping to lean over or get on hands and knees with each contraction. By 2 am, I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep and woke up my daddy-doula for some support.

We went outside and walked up and down the street in the post-storm coolness. They were still very manageable and coming every 6 minutes. Around 3 am, I finally had some show, and Frank encouraged me to set a time for the midwives to come. I didn't think things were moving quickly, but he was more tuned in. For a while all I wanted was to be in our small downstairs bathroom by myself, lights out and door shut. He recognized that seeking that dark, safe place was a big emotional cue. We decided they would come around 5 and planned for my mom to come about the same time. That taken care of, I got in the tub and relaxed.

Everybody arrived as planned, and Frank got in the tub with me. I got in and out a few times, and the contractions got stronger. The relief of getting back into the water helped me relax and get into a rhythm. I leaned over the side of the tub rocking, swaying, and moaning through contractions. It started to feel like my body was pushing at the peaks, and that sensation got more intense. All that felt good was having Frank pushing on either side of my hips.

I started to think that I couldn't handle many more like that. Soon, I felt my water break. That relieved a lot of pressure, and I felt myself really bearing down with the next contraction. I made 3 pushes with each contraction, and his head went back up a little after each one. Finally, his head stayed put. I guided it out little by little until I felt him pick his chin up and out popped his head. Everything else followed quickly, and Frank was waiting to catch him. Frank was the first to see that he was a boy and announce it to everyone.

From first contraction to birth, it wasn't short, but the "hard" labor was only 3 hours. There is so little that I would call painful—intense, sometimes uncomfortable, "ring of fire" burning, but very little pain. It is easy to forget the minutes between contractions when you just feel like yourself. I am still amazed that he came so quickly. When the midwives arrived, I really thought we might have a baby by lunchtime. Little did I know that all 9 pounds, 4 ounces of him would be born just after 7 am. Isabelle met him about 5 minutes after he was born. How easy that we didn't have to go anywhere overnight and be away from her. It was amazing to have him at home surrounded by people who were so calm and confident in me. I am so glad to have given him such a peaceful start to life. I had no vaginal exams in pregnancy or labor, and Frank and I were the first two people to touch him. The experience absolutely confirmed my feeling that birth is usually more simple than we think—at the right time, in the right place, and with the right people.

 

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