Submitted by Janelle
Zane (although we were still calling him Oscar) was due on March 9th. On Sunday March 15th, 2009 I was sure that nothing was happening and I was going to be going to work on Monday. We did all our normal Sunday chores and I was baking some cookies. I started to get what I thought was sciatica and what I thought were still Braxton-Hicks contractions started to come much more often. I had been getting Braxton-Hicks contractions since around 24 weeks. They were never painful my belly would just get tight.
Around 6:30ish I decided to count how many contractions I had in the next hour.
From 6:30 to 7:30 I had 12 contractions so I started to think there was a chance that this might be the real thing. At 8:00 I told Greg that I was having lots of contractions and maybe we should start some of the prep work.
Our midwife, Laura, had asked us to make sure we did not have any laundry in the machines because she does a couple loads of laundry after the birth and to make the bed with a set of clean sheets then a shower curtain then another set of clean sheets so after the birth she can strip off the first set of sheets the shower curtain and you have a fresh set of sheets under.
We called Laura to give her a heads up that we were potentially starting labor so she could let her sons know that she might be gone when they got up in the morning. Laura recommended that I try to sleep. I had been practicing a self hypnosis technique for the last three months and started using it right away. I think that is why the labor felt so short to me. Although it was around 12 hours it felt like less than an hour to me.
So from 9ish to 2AMish I moved around the house, sometimes hanging out in the rocking chair, sometimes watching a bit of a Jack Johnson concert video, I tried laying down in bed but I felt really antsy any time I tried laying down.
Around 2AM I finally had the “bloody show” and the contractions started to get more intense. They were never really painful (I really think the hypnosis had a lot to do with the lack of pain) just really intense feeling and I had to really concentrate to keep my muscles relaxed.
My contractions were atypical in the fact that they would build and build to a peak and then just completely go away instead of fading away. They were short, about 45 seconds, but really often, less than three minutes from the start of one to the start of the next. I spend some time in the tub, some on the toilet and some in my closet (Laura was saying that it is funny how often a woman has a beautiful place prepared for her birth and she ends up in the closet or crouched in a corner. It’s interesting what our minds and bodies tell us is a safe place for birth).
Around 5ish it seemed like the intensity went up another notch. We called Laura, but I was not able to talk to her because it took all my concentration to stay relaxed. She started to head our way. About 5 minutes later I started to feel something going on “down there” I felt and there was “something” coming out. I shouted to Greg because he had gone downstairs to unlock the door so Laura could come in whenever she got here.
He looked and ever so calmly said “Oh, it’s your bag of waters, that’s OK”. He called Laura again and told her and she was already in her car on the way. About 5 minutes after that the water EXPLODED all over the bathroom, but it was only the little bit of water that was in front of his head. Another 5 minutes went by and I told Greg “I feel like I need to start pushing” once again he was completely calm and said “Good, that’s good, go with your body”, but he later admitted that he was thinking “Laura you had better be speeding!!!”.
Laura got here around 6:15 and I had moved to the tub again. She listened to Zane’s heartbeat and as soon as she felt for him his head was already just barely inside. She told me to reach down and touch my baby. I could not believe it was him, that he was so close.
I was resisting pushing and not working with my body because it hurt. Laura was telling me that whenever I was ready I could decide to have this baby.
It was the only time during my labor that I would describe as painful and I continued to resist for a little while. Laura continued to tell me to release the fear of this pain to embrace it and to work with it and I could hold my baby as soon as I choose to work with it.
She said he was doing just fine, he was in no danger, and we could stay on this side of the pain threshold as long as I wanted or I could literally push through it and my baby would be in my arms. So eventually around 7:40 I said I was ready.
She told me that during my next break between contractions to move so I was sitting across the width of the tub, to brace my feet against the side and to curl forward as I pushed.
With about three pushes little Zane was born at 7:54 with his hand up next to his head. I instantly lifted him up out of the water and put him on my chest. I could not believe he was here, he was mine and that I could love him so much.
The care after he was born was wonderful. He was never suctioned or bathed. We did not cut his umbilical cord for over an hour until it had stopped pulsing to allow all the good stuff from the placenta to continue into his body. We spent over two hours just snuggling, bonding and breastfeeding before we even thought about how much he weighed and all the other stats. I had a luxurious bath filled with lots of healing herbs and Laura used our video camera and did a little interview with us about the birth. I have not watched it yet but I am sure I will treasure the pureness of the moment.
Laura stayed for about 4 hours after the birth and then tucked us all in for a much needed nap and encouraged us to call for anything at all. She returned the next day to check up on us and we have seen her every few days since. I LOVED giving birth and would do it a hundred more times!! It was the most intense, inspiring and empowering time of my life.