Part Four: A Beautiful Blessing

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Consider reading part one, two, and three of my birth story first.

 

After a tranquil labor it was finally time to meet our baby! I was most comfortable laboring in the bathroom on the toilet, so everyone piled in to our very small, under construction bathroom. I didn’t know how close I was to delivering my baby and didn’t even realize that I was well into the second stage of labor. My body had been pushing my baby down, though I didn’t feel the urge to push. After the delivery, the midwives said it was so cool to watch my uterus contract and stomach tighten down, clearly helping my baby descend while I remained a “passive” yet active participant – moving and letting my body do the work without adding force.

I clearly remember sitting on the toilet, feet braced against the tub when Joyce in the softest voice ever said, “sweetheart, when you’re ready you need to move off of the toilet and onto the stool because there isn’t enough room to birth your baby.” Now if you knew Joyce, you would know she is the most soft spoken, gentle person I’ve met. She is caring and kind and every one loves her. But right then, I had horrible thoughts about Joyce. I was so comfortable and I didn’t want to move. Luckily in the throes of labor, I couldn’t communicate those thoughts to her!

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While my mind was screaming no, I listened to Joyce and with the help of the team, moved to the birthing stool.  This was one of the reasons why we had decided on a home birth to begin with. I loved being able to trust everyone. I loved that in return they trusted my body and my lead. Because of this mutual trust and respect, I didn’t second guess them. I knew if they said I had to do something, I really needed to do it. {When I told my story later at a birth circle with Joyce present, she was shocked to learn the thoughts that went through my mind. She interjected that she could see hair at that point…See when they speak, it’s important!}

I didn’t like the stool as much. It was slippery and I kept sliding off. Mike stood behind me so I could hang on him. I was still able to brace my feet against the tub and welcomed the familiar position. I felt a real urge to push and finally realized I was actively pushing. But I knew that pushing can take a long time and didn’t know I was so close to holding my baby. Then someone said they could see hair. I smiled. If they could see hair I knew it wouldn’t be long.

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Everyone was waiting. Courtney was in the tub taking pictures. Carol was on the edge of the tub ready to catch. Joyce was in the tub lending a helping hand. Mike was behind me providing support. Dina was in the doorway charting stats and getting things as needed. It felt good to hold warm compresses against me and it was encouraging to feel soft, wet hair, as I waited in between just a few pushes. Then, with everyone as witness, I birthed my baby.

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It was an amazing moment. One words can’t describe. In one final push, at 7:49 pm on September 7, 2013, I felt my baby fall from me and I reached to pull him up to my chest. But the cord was wrapped around his neck. Carol was quick to somersault him through it and unravel it before handing him up to me. {So quick that I didn’t even know the cord was wrapped until she told us the next day!}

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I held our baby in my arms, shushing him as he cried a vigorous newborn cry. Mike’s tears dripped down on me as I looked up at him. We were finally a family. Here was our baby. Finally in our arms. His soft, wet body laying against me, covered with a thin blanket. So new. So wrinkly. So perfect. Finally Courtney brought me out of the moment and asked if it was a boy or a girl. Honestly, had she not asked, I think I could have gone a week without knowing! After so many months of wondering what we would have, I thought I would immediately want to know; but I was so wrapped up in the moment that the gender truly didn’t matter. I lifted the blanket to look. “It’s a boy!”

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Holding him in my arms we moved to the bedroom. It was so nice to lay on our bed together. While we waited for the third stage of labor to pass, we snuggled as a family.

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His alert wonder was captivating. He was just simply beautiful. We were totally in love. I held him in my arms. I was aware of the placenta, stitches, and the midwives mulling around. But I was too in love to really pay attention to anything but him.

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After about an hour and a half, I got up to use the bathroom. With Carol’s help I handed him to Mike. For the first time Mike held his son. What a wonderful moment.

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When I returned, I kept saying I wanted to call my mom. I couldn’t wait to finally tell my parents they had a grandson. Mike suggested that I wait so that I didn’t miss anything. We were finally cutting the cord and taking measurements. Moments in time that would only happen once. I watched as they took pictures of him with the winding cord attached to the placenta.

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I marveled at how he thrived for nine months, connected to me with that very cord and placenta. And I watched as Mike cut the cord – something he swore he wouldn’t do! I watched as J was finally, completely an independent being in the world.

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Then, because I couldn’t wait any longer, I called my Mom. I told her they could come over and meet their grandson. They were thrilled.

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Mike called his parents, too. It was a joyous moment for everyone.

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Then everyone asked the question. How much does he weigh? Ummm. Well. I’m not sure. We hadn’t gotten that far yet! We finished telling our parents and returned to weighing and measurements. 7 lbs. 2 oz. 20 in long.

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With all the measurements complete, they laid him in my arms again. I held him, breathing in his newness. With Carol and Courtney’s help, he finally latched and nursed. Two hours old and finally suckling. It was amazing. His level of alertness. His wide gazing eyes drifting off to sleep with such contentment. Such a wonderful miracle, a beautiful blessing.

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The rest of the night is a blur. The midwives made me toast. Mike fed me pieces. They filled my cup and gave me juice. My parents came to adore their grandson. They brought Mike food. The midwives cleaned the house, took vitals, did laundry, and left instructions for the night. They said they would return the next day to check in. I don’t remember them leaving. Mike’s parents came and doted on their grandson. It was a whirlwind of information, gathering, and joy. I don’t remember everyone leaving but all of a sudden I realized everyone was gone. It was us. Just us. A family. We laid in our bed together, all tucked in. J beside me and Mike curled up behind me. And we drifted off to sleep.

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