I can’t believe tomorrow will be my baby’s 2nd birthday! These last two years have gone by so quickly, and our lives have changed immensely, but I am so grateful for my joyful boy!
In honor of his birthday, I thought I’d share his birth story. It is a letter I wrote to him when he was 2 weeks old, and I’ve only ever shared with a few other people. I wrote it to send to Alex on the boat, as he was on deployment at the time of the birth, and didn’t return until the following March.
I’m thankful for such a beautiful and healing birth that allowed me to form a deep bond with my baby immediately, and the support system of amazing women who supported me through such a trying time. My husband and I are forever grateful.
To my sweet baby boy,
I can’t believe it has been over two weeks since you have entered our lives. I am still on a complete high from you coming into this world. When we planned to have you at home, we didn’t know daddy wouldn’t be able to be there. When I found out he was going to be deployed, I was devastated and didn’t know how I was possibly going to be able to handle this by myself. But with the help of several angel women, we made it. And while we truly missed your daddy with all our hearts, it was an amazing bonding experience as women. On the awe inspiring night that you were born, women gathered around me in support as I’m sure women have been doing for centuries. It felt so right and so comforting. Thank you, Ian Robert, for restoring my faith in my body and trust in birth. Thank you for allowing me to have the most empowering experience I have ever had. The night you were born, I witnessed life in its most perfect and pure form.
I had been having contractions for a few days on and off, but felt it was probably just false labor, as I had had this with your sister for many weeks before she was born. I thought I was probably pushing it a little to hard, and would rest, and usually the contractions would stop. On your birthday, I thought the same thing. At 11am I headed out to meet Deb and Jessica to do some scrapbooking and noticed I was having contractions that were a bit painful. Throughout the afternoon, I kept noticing them and began timing them. They were anywhere from 15-30 minutes apart. I still thought they were “false labor” and just wanted to go home and put my feet up. I was sure that once I hydrated myself and rested a bit they would die down. That’s just what I did, I drank some water and went to bed. But I couldn’t relax and began to find that the contractions were now coming pretty regularly at around 7 minutes apart.
At 3pm I decided to call Terri, my midwife, and tell her what was going on. I begged her to tell me how I could hold off labor (I was just barely 37 week). She told me to take a bath and drink a glass of wine. I immediately began filling the tub and called Val to bring me some wine. I got in the tub and I prayed and prayed that God would do what he needed to do in my life that you and I would be safe.
About an hour later Val arrives with about 6 bottles of wine and beer and trecks them up to the tub saying she didn’t know what I preferred. I had one glass of wine but my midwife would later tell me that when she arrived she thought I was so peaceful in labor because I was drunk! The alcohol spread about looked like we were sure having one heck of a party!
Although I felt like the wine and water did help me relax a bit, the contractions continued to get closer together. At 6pm Terri called me back for an update, and I told her that the contractions are 4-5 minutes apart and getting more intense. I ask her to come and check me and see if this is the real deal. Terri arrived around 7:30. At this point I’m out of the tub and walking around chatting with your Nana, Deb, and Val. While the contractions are noticeable, they’re still not very painful at all. We’re chatting away, and I figure I am maybe 3 cm dilated. Terri checks me and I am 6-7cm dilated! I am shocked. Although you were just 37 weeks, I had no worry whatsoever. After your birth the thought hit me that I should have worried more, but I just didn’t. I just had an immense feeling of peace during the entire labor.
9pm Things then began to move quickly at this point, and I was starting feel lots of pressure during the contractions. I was now having to stop and breathe through them. While still not really painful, they took my breath away with how much pressure and tightness I felt though my abdomen. I was squatting through a few contraction gripping the kitchen counter when Terri suggested that I may be progressing quickly and maybe we should head upstairs into privacy. Your Nana and I stop and quietly pray together for you and I to have a safe and wonderful delivery. I know God was with us the whole time, it was too perfect for him not to be. When Terri checked me this time I was 10cm and only had a slight right anterior lip to my cervix, your head was at +2 station, right there!
Jenn, the apprentice midwife arrives and starts readying all the supplies for your birth while I still breathe through the contractions that are now about 2-3 minutes apart. I now am needing to vocalize through them and this helps immensely with the pressure that I am feeling. I honestly feel a little silly doing this as I pictured birthing serenely, but it was like my body took over and I had to moan with the pressure waves.
Labor now stalls for a bit, and while your head is so close to being born, the small lip on the right side is preventing you from coming out. It feels ok though, as the contractions are not unbearable. The room was very silent though this time, and I was truly within my body working through each contraction as it came. They are still not very painful, but they take over my whole body. I no longer have control and I need to sway and moan as each wave comes. At 10:15 I start feeling involuntary pushes, something I never able to feel with your sisters birth. I was pushed so quickly through and told when to push. How perfectly we are designed that our bodies know just when the right time to push is.
10:30pm I am now kneeling at the end of the bed leaning over the mattress swaying with each contraction. This position helps with the pressure I feel, but my feet keep falling asleep so I decide to try laying on the bed.
10:47 My bag of waters breaks in a huge gush and splashes all over us! We all squeal with excitement and laugh out loud. How truly awesome that at 3 minutes from pushing you out I’m having a belly laugh with the girls.
You were just as shocked as we were and for a moment your heart rate dropped, so Terri had me flip to my hands and knees. In a flash I was on the floor (don’t know why I got on the floor vs. just turning over on the bed, but it just felt right at the time). Although your heart rate did recover, I just wanted to get you out and meet you. I knew you were right there waiting to be born. I begin to push, for the first time purposefully. I really began to grunt and moan while pushing with all my might, I could feel your head born, and then your body followed. At 10:50pm, in one contraction, you welcomed the world with a loud cry as Terri caught you. Pure Bliss.
I layed back and Terri put you on my chest and I felt such joy as I looked at you. You snuggled right in. You were so alert and calm, checking out the wide world. We stayed right there on the floor at the end of the bed for 15 minutes while we just looked at each other in awe over what we had just done together; the first of many adventures.
I delivered the placenta at 11:05 and shortly after you began nursing vigorously. You had a perfect latch from the start and you were born knowing just what to do! Nana cut your cord and we moved to the bed where you again nursed peacefully for a long while and I was able to relax and stare at you.
Terri measured you and checked you out. You were perfect. Weighing 6lbs and 19 ½ inches long, you were a good size for being early! We were able to get ahold of Daddy and he was very surprised that you decided to come! How special that you were born on Vetrens day while daddy was away serving our country.
I am forever grateful to my midwives Terri, Jenny, and Jenn for our beautiful experience. Words can not express the gratitude and love I feel towards these women who helped me bring you into the world. I am so blessed to have this transforming experience. How beautiful that you were born peacefully at home into the loving hands of a midwife, while your big sister slept peacefully down the hall.