My dad was in town Wednesday, August 6th & was staying the night. Its like he was inadvertently hoping that the baby would arrive during his visit, having him around was not part of our birth plan however. I had noticed a change in the very recent days--I was feeling more ready to have the baby...I was having more early birthing waves--not painful & not too frequent. We were trying to have a normal low key night with some food outside and a trip to the RedBox for a movie. That night we watched the movie Divergent (the book is way, way, way better) & then went to bed at our usual early time, because everyone was tired. But...I didn’t sleep much at all.
Alex was timing the waves & they were coming about every 5 minutes--that is when you are supposed to maybe go in. We called the baby line & the nurse suggested we go in! As we walked downstairs Heather had sunglasses on and was clearly tired from not sleeping all night and a little uncomfortable. I told her Dad that we were going in, and he said "I’ll grab my keys and follow you!” In our birth plan and through meeting with our Doula we established that the birth and even weeks after that would be quiet, private, and without many visitors so we get a chance to bond and establish the very important breast feeding. Heather’s Dad stayed at our house and was assured that we would let him know what was happening as soon as we knew how far along things were. I packed the car with all our hospital stay bags, copies of our birth plan, and supplies. Really, I did not feel like my baby was coming anytime soon...we went in to the Mother Baby Center on Thursday morning--maybe around 8:00 am. Dad was still there & he was excited. At about 7:30 before we went into the birthing center I called our Doula to let her know, she wanted to hear what the timings were and how we were feeling.
The ride to the MB Center was terrible. 26th street is one of the bumpiest roads around, not fun when having birthing waves! We got there & went up to the 3rd floor. The drive & going into the center made me feel like my waves & the process had somewhat weakened. A nurse checked me & told us that I was not ready to stay...we could walk around & come back in a few hours or leave & come back later. Heather’s progress slowed, nurse told us baby was +1 and only at 2 cm. We were all tired and decided to go home and try and rest. I called Catherine our Doula and let her know that she can stay home for now. Even though I shouldn’t have I felt a little silly for sort of jumping the gun and being overly excited about coming to the birth center. We got so many people riled up and now it was time to go home. The cookies I brought with us as directed by our Hypnobabies instructor I gave to the morning nurses and they were thrilled. If anything we got a great dress rehearsal out of going to there, so it would be smoother the next time. She said to wait until my birthing waves were much stronger & closer together. She also said that she did think this was my birthing time--just really early on.
I didn’t find out how much i was dilated (although i could guess based on what the nurse said). Our hynobabies instructor said many of her doula clients found this to be helpful & i agree--it helped me to just stay in the process and not worry about how much I was or wasn’t progressing. We left & drove back home. When we got home, I was exhausted--hadn’t really slept all night so I was able to take a nap for an hour or two. Dad was still at our house, but I knew he needed to go for me to have the birthing time that I had envisioned at our home. Alex made Dad breakfast while I slept & then he left. It was a perfectly beautiful day and riding on highs of sleep deprivation things seemed pretty good. Me and Tim talked about work stuff and he took some client calls, before long it was time for him to head out, he had some meetings scheduled for that day and then he would be driving back to Indiana. He understood that it was important to us to have this be private time and the only thing he could really do to help is give us that.
When I woke up I took a shower & Alex called our doula Catherine. She came over around 11 or 12:00 on Thursday, August 7th. She was incredibly calm and gentle assuring us that everything is going great. It was reassuring to just have her at our house to guide us through what was happening & what we should do next. My birthing waves had really subsided from how they felt during the night & I was ready to get them going again & have my baby! We started to get the birthing time active again. Catherine came with ideas on positions and movements for us to try. We stayed busy. Birthing waves were still going and my main job was timing them. Everything fell into a 5 minute rhythm and times in between were the only rest we would be getting for a while. We used the rebozo to “sift” my belly a lot, and I did side lunges. I walked up & down the stairs. I knelt on the couch with my head upside down ( I hated the way this position felt! But Catherine thought it was an important one to maneuver the baby down & it probably was).
Catherine & Alex encouraged me to eat & drink although I had very little appetite. I tried to eat a smoothie, PB on toast, baby carrots. At some point i took a little nap on the daybed & Catherine took a nap too. Alex took a nap at some point also. When I woke up, I took a shower again--it felt so good. My birthing waves were stronger--not unbearable, but quite uncomfortable. I was using my Hypnobabies a bit--sending peace to where I felt uncomfortable. At some point as day turned into evening & my time was progressing we turned on our Hypnobabies tracks on the iPad. Catherine was there to offer suggestions for new movements & encouragement throughout.
When I woke up from my Catherine directed nap, and came downstairs she and Heather were sitting on the day bed and Heather just seemed in the zone, making different sounds than before and swaying around. Catherine told me that we should think about going in soon. This sudden jolt made me more awake and I started to get us ready. We changed Heather to another outfit to be more comfortable.
Alex was there to help support me in positions & bring me water, food, and to time my birthing waves. As it continued to get later, I was less eager to move around. My birthing waves were pretty strong & I felt a bit more “out of it”. Catherine & Alex decided it was time to go to the MB center again. We packed up, got ready. I ate a popsicle. We left. Alex & I in one car. Catherine in hers. It was about 10 PM, we took a different less bumpy road it was dark and Heather could relax more and stay in the zone. We were incredibly lucky at this point, everywhere was quiet and peaceful, traffic lights were changing in our favor, it was an easy smooth and confident ride there. Even at the birthing center there was no commotion at all, we walked in like pros at this point and headed straight up, a quite unlikely thing as we found out because the next day the baby center filled up and people were being turned away.
Repeat at the center. I walked in with sunglasses (so bright in there) & listening to my Hypnobabies tracks on an iPad with earbuds. The nurse said I could stay or go at this point again→ so I knew I was not very dilated. This was a little disappointing to hear. I was hoping to be far along in the process. I figured I was at 4 or less based on what she said! They told us that we qualify for admission if we wanted to stay. I wanted to stay. I really wanted to get into a birthing tub! The midwife-also named Catherine, had come in & so had a nurse who would be with me for most of my birthing time. Catherine (doula) & Alex were there talking with the nurse & midwife working to advocate for me & my preferences. Alex gave them a copy of our plan when we got there. I was trying to stay relaxed, but then I found out they wanted to take some of my blood!
One of my least favorite things in the world & something I did not want to do & it was something I hadn’t expected. They gave me time to consider--it was to know my blood type & check something to see if I’d be likely to bleed excessively during the birth. Catherine was helpful in making me feel like I could decide & what I decided was going to be OK. I asked about why & if it would put me in danger, but ultimately I decided to go ahead & do it once we were in the birthing room of the hospital. the woman who took my blood got it the first time & without any trouble (thank goodness!). I took a shower in the room--it felt good & I wanted to wash off some of the blood that was coming out at this point. I wanted to get in that birthing tub! they were going to bring one into my room, but then they said the birthing room with a built in birthing tub was available!
Alex went to check it out & said let’s take it. At first it seemed like more work having to switch rooms and move our things 3 bags and some pillows, and snack cooler, but after I saw the new digs it was a no brainer. The front of the room was same layout however in the back was a giant nicest bathtub I have ever seen. I knew Heather would like it. The nurse started to get it ready for us. Plus the nurse told me it would be at least an hour to setup a tub in our other room and at this point we wanted to keep Heather comfortable and on the roll with her birthing waves.
It was great--the room was bigger & the birthing tub was huge! Catherine helped to set up the room physically, low lights, LED candles, etc. Throughout out stay at the birthing center we went the extra mile to keep the lights down low and insisting on quiet voices, whispers almost, it was just more comfortable that way, it felt cozy and relaxing not “Hey Look at me, piercing lights. The TV stayed off the whole time, however I imagine some people would want to watch TV as they were birthing. We also worked extremely hard to keep everything positive, and Hypnobabies tracks playing in the iPad were essential to that. The whole experience was a lot like a trip. Once it starts there is no stopping it, just have to roll with it. You can have a good trip or a bad trip and it’s the tiniest of things that could influence your mind and break your concentration. Only focusing on the Hypnobabies really got us through this, a lot like a book on tape during a long drive.
As soon as I could I took off all my clothes & got into that tub. Heather stayed naked the rest of the time, at this point there were no concerns for covering up and feeling private about her body. It felt so good. I think I stayed in there floating & napping or super relaxing between waves for hours. Catherine or Alex was at the tub’s side encouraging me & playing our Hypnobabies tracks the whole time. They traded off being with me & taking a nap. As the waves became stronger, just visualizing peace to the places where it hurt wasn’t enough, i started to vocalize a “shh, shhh, shhh”. As I did this i was sending it down & out with the pressure. Eventually the nurse & midwife suggested I get out of the tub & try something else. At this point Catherine suggested more positions & movements for me to do. We did more with the rebozo, I used the birthing ball & a stool seat a bit, I leaned on Alex...I started to feel pressure in my butt--like the baby was going to come out there! It was very uncomfortable! I was starting to feel pushy.
The midwife checked me & said that seemed logical...but that she didn’t think the baby was coming very soon.I got back into the tub at some point. The hours kept going by, not fast not slow, but surely. There was a sort of routine that we fell into between the Hypnobabies tracks and the nurse checking with a fetal monitor how the baby was doing and where he was. Eventually I could tell that she would hear the heart beat lower and lower on Heathers belly and pretty much on her crotch area. It was middle of the night and Heather was rolling around in the bath tub and going on the birthing ball. It was all like a surreal dream we were awake but sleeping. I remember clearly watching Heather in the tub with her big belly outline of a child and seeing him make big turns and movements. He kept moving around and that was really good.
The nurse heard me being pushy in there & said I had to get out. I did fairly soon after she asked me to...I hadn’t gotten preapproval for water birthing. There had been a moratorium on it & I didn’t even know that it was a possibility for me! At this point I had a lot of pressure in my butt area & then I had a lot of pressure on my bladder b/c during every pressure wave it felt like I had to pee so bad, but I didn’t really have to. This led to me getting through the peak of my pressure waves & then quickly moving into the bathroom where I could sit on the toilet like I was peeing. I sat in there during many waves, the midwife said she did not recommend I push on the toilet though because I’d be more likely to tear. I repeated this back & forth from the room to the bathroom so many times! It was a routine at this point, we moved from the bed to the toilet with the birthing ball and I would sit across from Heather with the ball on my knees so she could rest her shoulders and head on it, our midwife and doula would pass the iPad that was playing our tracks back and forth from bedside to the bathroom counter. They were so helpful. At one point I thought I saw something come down as Heather was sitting and called the midwife, but she looked and assured me it was just normal and we were not ready yet.
Even as things were difficult or painful, I never doubted that I was going to have my baby without interventions. My whole birthing time was slow & steady & I think that slow & steady made it easier for me. I was also able to keep up my energy somehow. even as time went on and on, I felt like I could keep going. i guess it probably helped that I didn’t look at the clock (advice from our Hypnobabies instructor) at all or have any sense of what time it was or how much time was passing.
At some point, it was suggested that I get on the bed to push. Catherine & the Hypnobabies track Push Baby Out were so helpful. They reminded me to breathe baby out. To focus on an Ahhh to push baby so I didn’t push too hard & tear. Baby was coming soon. I tried laying on my side to push--nope. At some point during this period the original midwife & nurse left & new ones took over.
As we kept going Heather was drinking lots and lots of water during every break in the pressure waves we were offering her water through a straw.The midwife who was with us most of the night introduced us to the new one Janice. The midwife suggested I squat at the end of the bed, but this put pressure on my butt & I did not need more of that! Heather was getting a little bit tired and frustrated she asked if there is anything we could do to speed this up and Midwife said, no and asked how much energy Heather had left in her, the reply was 50%. We kept going.
I ended up preferring to face backwards the bed in a side lunge position(similar to a position we’d done earlier at home). Catherine on one side & Alex on the other near my head. Constantly reminding me slow & steady. This was the time, my pushing time, that I really needed these constant reminders. It was difficult to use restraint when my pushing waves came through but I did.
We studiously kept playing the Pushing the baby out track and dealing with a skip in the middle of it at around 9 minute mark, just fast forward and it was ok again. Heather at this point was focused more on breathing and telling the baby to come out. Down, Out! I was stroking her back and doing everything to make her comfortable. At this point there were more sounds and more light coming through the window, the birth center was waking up, we had 3 nurses charting away and getting everything ready. The midwife was focused and ready like a sprinter. Heathers Aahs and Oohs were louder and louder.
I remember opening my mouth & jaw to help open for my baby. I remember asking my baby to come on. As the baby came down & the head dropped down, it was a crazy feeling. When the head is there stretching you wide open it is like nothing else. I wanted that part to move on quickly. It was uncomfortable, but at the same time welcome since I knew baby was coming very soon! I was hot! Catherine & Alex were putting wet wash cloths on me & offering me water. The nurses were checking baby’s heart beat very frequently. The midwife & nurses were looking with flashlights. Everyone was encouraging me. My instincts had taken over. In my side lunge I was moving back & forth, rocking the baby down.
We knew this was it, everyone was ready. I have to admit that through out the process I only was looking at Heather's face and avoiding to stare at where the baby was coming out, I had no clue how far along we were. Just remember saying to her, “You are doing so good! You are doing so good!” In an instant hands reached under Heather and caught the baby. Finally, the head came out & the rest of his body just seemed to fall out after. It was huge gush of built up liquid, blood, emotions, and most importantly Baby! Everyone was saying “Heather Heather Reach Down take the baby, take your baby!” I was crying because it was so beautiful and felt like pure joy. Nurses lurking in the dark sprang forward and quickly cleaned everything up, midwife waited for the cord to stop pulsating, clamped it and offered me the scissors. I politely declined and without hesitation she cut that thing.
I sat down on the bed. Everyone helped to get me turned around to face out & hold my baby. I was holding my baby skin to skin. He was crying. I was in a surreal state & was just dazed, but awake. He was good. I was good. The nurse sucked some stuff out of his nose & mouth. Catherine now took the ipad and snapped our very first photos. Our baby was a little funny bundle of skin wrinkles and long finger nails covered in fluids and looking all around. Heather was incredibly awake and lucid now, she seemed fully awake and energized. Must be a maternal mechanism.
Within minutes (it seemed), my placenta was coming out. The midwife made sure it was out & gave me two stitches. I was happy with only needing two stitches. My vagina area felt sore, but not crazy. I asked what time he had been born...9:05 AM on August 8th, 2014 (four days before his "due date". Eventually the nurses were pushing on my uterus to get blood out, they helped me to the bathroom for the first time. The nurses were very encouraging and positive.
As Heather was going to the bathroom for the first time it was my turn to meet the baby! My shirt was off so I could have skin to skin with him right away. The only thing he could do besides play around with his little hands and fingers is lay flat on my chest and breathe as I spoke to him in Russian so that he gets to know his Papa’s voice and native language. We had no particular name picked out yet, everyone referred to him as Baby Boy, we had a postpartum plan as well and were sticking to it. Our time in the birthing room was nearing the end and we were ready to spend more time meeting our baby and seeing him through his next baby steps in life.
We all felt good. We called our parents with the news. Our baby was here! Catherine went to the Global Market & got us tortas & fruit from Manny’s. I finally had an appetite. We packed up our stuff. Then as we were moving to the recovery room, Catherine left to go. Our birthing preferences all had come true! Most importantly, our baby boy was born vaginally without any interventions and he and I were healthy. I am content with how everything worked out: a big thank you to Alex, Hypnobabies, Catherine, our baby and the Mother Baby Center staff for making my birth what I hoped and planned it would be.