To read part one of Micah’s birth story, click here
After being coaxed out of the birthing pool I got on the bed and worked through some contractions in an inverted “V” position. Cindy’s goal in suggesting this acrobatic feat (besides getting a good laugh) was to encourage baby’s head to disengage and then re-engage at the proper angle. Daniel really, really wanted to tweet this photo but held back out of kindness. He HATES this bathrobe!
Cindy gave me one final adjustment to help baby’s head reposition and . . .
Finally, something worked. Like magic.
I had barely been able to walk for the past 24+ hours. After that final adjustment I started stomping around the house like a parade elephant.
BOOM BOOM THOMP!!! Whoosh?
Within just a few minutes of my one-woman-parade the pressure increased so much I thought I needed to use the restroom. I headed for the toilet and sat down.
12:38 pm: My water broke. Since that hadn’t happened with Katie (it was still intact when I was pushing her out so my midwives had to break it) I just sat there, trying to figure out if I’d ruptured an organ.
When I finally realized what had happened I was terrified. When a woman’s water breaks in the hospital she is put “on the clock,” meaning she has to deliver within a certain time frame or the doctor will insist on a c-section. I thought it was the same for homebirths and since my labor was progressing so slowly I thought I’d just bought myself a big fat lemon of a birth. After Cindy reassured me we had DAYS left on our clock I relaxed and tried to assess my situation.
The relief from pressure in my belly was ah-MAZ-ing. I stood up, put on some fancy new Depends, and began walking through contractions. With each one more amniotic fluid came out, reducing the pressure. I don’t imagine there will ever be a time when wetting my pants will be as delightful as it was right then. My mind, which had been overwhelmed by indecision about what to do next (rest or not, walk or lay down, etc.) cleared.
Rather than try to figure things out, I put myself in Cindy’s hands. From then on it was “Yes Ma’am” to whatever Cindy suggested. Labor on the bed? Okay. Two more like this? You’re the boss.
Longer, Stronger and Closer Together
That’s what contractions are supposed to be like when you’re near the end, right? I thought so. My contractions were ten minutes apart at this point. I could have told you my whole life story while waiting between them, so when Cindy told me we should probably get in the tub and get ready to push I was completely dumbfounded.
Push? Now? Cindy informed me that Lynsey, our birth photographer, was on her way. I could tell by the way she said it that Lynsey was racing to get here, and that was when it finally hit that I was almost there.
Despite all my second-guessing I was going to make it and not have to be transported to a hospital. I climbed in the tub and wept for joy.
The front door opened and in ran Katie, eyes glowing with excitement. My mother-in-law Marian and sister-in-law Kristine trailed behind, followed shortly thereafter by Lynsey Stone, the rock star of birth photography.
It was standing room only when everyone finally gathered. There was my all-star birth team: Cindy Haggerton (midwife #1), Christy Martin (midwife #2), and Alexa Gumm (doula). Surrounding them were my Mom (Gigipotamus), Marian (mother-in-law), Kristine (sister-in-law), Katie and Lynsey.
Daniel climbed in the tub with me and held my hips together as I prepared to push.
The contractions were still ten minutes apart, so Christy gave me a homeopathic remedy to help make them stronger and closer. The first contraction I had after taking it resulted in baby’s entire head being born.That’s good stuff, I’d say!
We had to wait ten more minutes for another good contraction, but when it hit baby’s body was out. I wish I could insert some suspense about baby’s gender here, but ya’ll already know we had a boy. For us, though, this was the first moment we knew our “sense” about this pregnancy had been correct. We’d never come up with a name for a girl and toward the end of the labor I didn’t even pretend I was trying to be objective. It was “he” and “him” and “Micah” all the way.
Micah came out extremely blue, but I saw that at a good friends birth before so I wasn’t alarmed . . . at first. But as the seconds ticked by and he remained limp in my arms I started asking “is he okay?” He was not breathing. My amazing, competent midwives worked quickly to revive him, rubbing and stimulating him until he gave a good, loud cry. It took two long minutes, but it didn’t freak me out because Cindy said he was okay and I trust her that much. Cindy later told me that his umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around both his neck and body when he was born, basically choking him until they intervened. I love my midwives. LOVE LOVE LOVE those women.
After our little scare Katie climbed in the tub with and welcomed her baby brother while I stared at Daniel in amazement.
Throughout this whole pregnancy we worked to overcome the barriers that had prevented me from reaching out to him when I was in labor with Katie.
Bringing Micah into the world is one of the (if not THE) most intimate experience of our marriage. Daniel was with me every moment . . . comforting me, rubbing my back as I puked all over him, literally holding me up through contractions until I could feel the strain in his muscles. His love was present, physical and real. He showed up for me when I needed him most and I have never been more in love with him than I am today.
Since I got the Sept. 12 birthday I wanted for Micah I don’t regret my decision to rest and try to delay. However, I will always wonder if making a different decision would have changed the course of the birth. Many of my friends have “butter births” that go so quickly the midwives barely make it in time to catch baby. So far I have only succeeded when the process involved 30 hours of pre-labor drama which exhaust me so much that I start talking jibberish. I like lizards . . . seriously?
My confidence in my ability to birth a baby has been somewhat shaken, but my confidence that I am doing something right in the kitchen has never been stronger. My placenta was HUGE and extremely healthy. Because of the length between contractions my midwives were concerned I may have excessive bleeding (not sure why), but instead my bleeding was lighter than what’s considered normal. Cindy thinks both of these were a direct result of all the good food I ate while carrying Micah. Go me!
Oh, here’s the surprise ending: Micah finally has a middle name!
Welcome, Micah! We love you!