Jude’s birth is a lovely example of a mama trusting her body and her own intuition during her birthing time. If you haven’t read Marcella’s Birth Story yet you should read that first. It will give you a whole new appreciation for this mama’s strength and courage.
He laid quietly, softly breathing, warm and safe.
He lay close enough to her to feel the warmth of her breath.
With his eyes closed he thought of her, and tried to understand her. She was like the whole world.
When he came from the darkness she was the only one he knew.
He recognized her smell, and her voice, and even the way she moved, he was safe with her. She was always nearby, all he ever had to do was call, and she would come, she would hold him close, and kiss him she would make the world feel right.
She rarely went away, for very long, and always came back,
so glad to see him.
He lay there quietly and she was so close just the way he liked it. She began to roll away, he called for her, and she smiled.
She rolled back and kissed his forehead softly,
“I’ll be right back,” she promised.
He laid and watched for her return, after a moment he got frightened and almost called for her. Then she returned, and leaned over him, She again kissed his forehead, and smiling she whispered,
“It’s ok baby boy, Mommy is here, and she loves you”
He wanted to answer, to tell her his feeling, but he couldn’t make himself understood. He softly curled the corners of his lips and smiled as he struggled for the words. He wanted to make them as sweet and soft as her words, but all that came out was a tiny noise that meant nothing. He wanted to cry out; no matter how he tried
he couldn’t tell her his feelings.
How would she ever know how he loved her, he tried once more in vain to make the words come out. It was only then that he noticed her smile, at each soft noise he failed to make into a word and each tiny smile he gave her she smiled.
His heart grew warm, and he slowly drifted off to sleep knowing that she knew what he meant.
HE and SHE
By Mandy Howard
Jude’s due date was July 6 and I was really hoping he would be late. As it turns out, I got my wish.
Tuesday, July 10 I had a leisurely day with my mom and Marcella. We made my favorite cookies (boiled peanut butter oatmeal cookies). All of my before-the-baby checklist was crossed off and so all that was left to do was wait.
That changed that evening when I read on Facebook that my doula may possibly need to make an emergency trip to Cambodia. I really didn’t want my impending birth to stop her from doing what she needed to do so I told Jude he needed to come that night. (Marcella also told us that he was going to be born that Wednesday.)
We’d been having some record high temps but the weather had finally cooled off some that day. That evening it was perfect weather for a walk so we walked down to the pond in our subdivision so Marcella could feed the ducks, turtles and fish. Before the walk and during the walk I was having some cramping, but I’d had cramping every day for weeks so it wasn’t unusual. The cramping was more intense than it had been, but I still didn’t think it meant anything. We got home, and I remember lamenting to my husband it was annoying to have cramping that wasn’t doing anything. Little did I know…
Josh had been putting Marcella to bed the last several nights in preparation for baby coming, but when Marcella protested and wanted me, I decided to go ahead and put her to bed. I just had this feeling that it might be the last time I would be able to. I laid next to her and gave her some extra cuddles and she quickly fell asleep.
I went to my own bed and texted my doula and my mom (who was going to be with us for the birth) around 10:30 to tell them I was having some more intense cramping, and I was letting them know just in case it ended up meaning something. Around 11 the pressure waves [1. Hypnobabies term for contractions] started. I still didn’t know if this was it so I just tried to sleep.
About 12am, I decided maybe I should text my midwife, doula and mom just to tell them I was indeed having pressure waves but I was going to try to get some sleep. I wasn’t going to wake Josh but then remembered he said he wanted to know, so I reached over and touched his arm and simply said, “Froggy’s coming today.” (Froggy had been Marcella’s nickname for baby the whole time and we were still in the habit of calling him that, having only recently settled on a name.) He asked, “What does that mean?” (as in what should we do now) and I said, “We go back to sleep.” After only a couple minutes, he said, “We aren’t going back to sleep.” and he was right.
I had started timing the contractions with an app on my phone so I knew they were around 5-6 minutes apart and 1-2 minutes long. I knew they could fizzle out and 5-6 minutes apart didn’t necessarily mean I would be in my birthing time [2. Hypnobabies term for labor] soon.
Josh decided to go ahead and bake up some caramel brownies for the birth team so he was downstairs doing that for a little while. At some point, I decided I wanted to take a bath while Josh was baking. It immediately relaxed me. I shaved my legs in betwen contractions. 🙂 Josh came back up at some point during my bath and thought it was funny I was shaving. I wasn’t in the bath too long before I decided to get out because I was getting hot. I also put on my Hypnobabies Easy First Stage CD at some point during this time but don’t know exactly when. I was managing the pressure waves well at this point and was able to relax through them.
Around 2:30 or so the pressure waves starting getting closer together, every 3-4 minutes apart. Around 3am, Josh asked at what point we should call someone. I was assuming he meant the doula so I said he could go ahead and call. I still thought there was plenty of time before we needed to head to the birth center. Josh actually was referring to calling the midwife which he did at that point. While he was talking to her, he asked if I wanted to head over or stay home a little longer and I said I wanted to stay home.
When he got off the phone with the midwife, he called the doula to tell her to come. I finally was sure this was it but thought I’d be home for awhile still. After he spoke to the doula, he called my mom. After all of the phone calls were made, he set about to getting bags together and was planning on taking a shower. But the pressure waves were coming closer together now and were more intense and he quickly realized he needed to stay with me through them until my mom was there.
Within 10 minutes or so of the phone calls, I knew that we were going to need to leave for the birth center when the doula got there (she lives 45 minutes away). When my mom arrived, I had hit the transformation [3. Hypnobabies term for transition] stage which I knew because I had starting shaking and couldn’t stop it. Also, the pressure waves were more intense and harder to relax through because of the shaking. I never went through this with Marcella so this was new for me.
At some point, Josh asked if I wanted Marcella (who was still asleep in her bed), and I nodded yes. He brought her in and she cuddled right up next to me, still asleep, and I hugged her during contractions.
I so badly wanted the shaking to stop so, without even telling my mom what I was doing, I just started heading for the bath tub. I thought the water would help the shaking stop, which it did thankfully. When the doula arrived, I was in the tub and I told her I got in the tub to stop the shaking. She said, “This looks like a woman in transformation,” and suggested we head to the birth center which I agreed with. I hadn’t actually said it out loud, but that is exactly what I wanted to do next. I remember her telling me to think staying-in thoughts.
Josh said he was completely calm until the doula told him she was recommending we head to the birth center. He said he was frantically checking and rechecking the list to make sure he had everything and then realized since Marcella was not on the list, he almost forgot her! 🙂 (He never did get to take his shower.)
We left for the birth center around 4:45am. I rode over with Josh in my mom’s car with the seat reclined while my mom took our car with Marcella. The doula gave me a rice sock scented with lavender (I think). I was managing the pressure waves well at this point. I would relax and concentrate on something else, just completely random things and this worked well. Josh said I was completely quiet the whole car ride over.
When I got to the birth center (around 5:15am or so), I was happy to see the tub was filled up and waiting for me. The midwife said she’d really like to check me if I was okay with that and I nodded that she could. She said she wouldn’t tell me but wanted to know for her. After being checked, I got in the tub.
This was when it got hard for me. I was shaking so much it was very difficult to relax through the waves and I was feeling like I just didn’t want to do this anymore. I felt like a failure because I wasn’t handling the pressure waves well like I had been able to during Marcella’s birth.
I think the midwife could see I was struggling and asked if I wanted to know how far along I was, and that it was good news. I struggled internally with whether I wanted to know. Unlike my last birth, when I did want to know and was not at all discouraged by it, this time I knew I was going to be very upset if the number was low. But, since she said it was good news, I nodded my head, still afraid to hear what she would say. But she told me I was a 7-8 and if my water broke, I would be pushing out this baby soon.
Someone asked if I wanted the Hypnobabies CD (Pushing Baby Out) and I said yes. I really tried to focus on it but when I did it seemed to make it worse for me. Something about hearing what I was about to do was not helpful at the time. I wish I had spent more time on the Special Place CD because I think this is what would have really helped. Because I didn’t use it during Marcella’s birth (Hypnobirthing also has a similar script), I assumed it wouldn’t be useful to me during this birth and didn’t focus on it much.
I was still not handling things well and was saying that it hurt and would he be here soon. Everyone around me was encouraging me, saying I was doing great (inwardly I was thinking that I wasn’t at all) and telling me I could do this and that I was doing it. Later as I reflected back on this, I was thinking what a blessing it was that I was surrounded by supportive people that all believed in birth and believed in me. It kept me going.
Josh and my mom switched between Marcella and me. We had several activities wrapped up for her to occupy her during our time at the birth center and some DVD’s from the library. The doula had cool cloths for me scented with peppermint oil she would periodically cool me off with which was awesome. She always had the perfect thing to say just when I needed it. My mom and Josh spoke encouraging words to me and placed the cool cloths on me and rubbed my arms. Even Marcella came over at times and someone would tell her something encouraging to say and she would. This always made me smile, and I was so happy she was there.
I felt a pop and remember saying, “My water broke.” That was kind of neat to experience since last time, it partially broke before my birthing time. I tried a couple different positions in the water to see if it would ease the intensity but it didn’t. I tried getting in a squatting position, but that definitely didn’t feel right.
The midwife asked if she could check me again and I said yes. It was not very comfortable, but once she was done she told me that I could have this baby whenever I wanted now and that if my body told me to push, I could push.
It’s weird because with Marcella’s birth the urge to push was overwhelming. With this birth, it was a different sensation. I don’t really know how to describe it. It was almost like the pressure waves stopped and became something different. I had gotten into a hands in knees position to push and I don’t know if this was why or not.
I also had been feeling my perineum throughout the time in the tub and using this as a guide sort of to what my body was doing. I had asked my doula during one of our prenatal sessions when I should use counter pressure and how I would know. She wisely told me I may need to or I may not. Either way, I would just know. And she was right. (She had also told me I would just know when it was time to leave for the birth center and had been right on that account also. Wise lady she is.)
I was being encouraged the whole time to just do what my body told me to do. I felt very much in control of how and when I pushed. Sometimes it would feel like a long time between pushes, sometimes shorter. Sometimes I pushed harder, sometimes not as hard. It was extremely helpful (and amazing really) to feel. I knew this time that it was a good/normal thing for his head to go back in after a push and that meant it was stretching me gently. I wasn’t afraid I couldn’t do it but sort of in awe of the process. It was intense, much more so than Marcella’s birth, but I felt more empowered and in control this time around.
After 14 minutes of pushing, he was out! Details are fuzzy for me, but I know at some point someone told me to bring him out of the water. I picked him up, and there he was. Once again, I was amazed that a baby was in my arms, like he materialized out of the air, like he wasn’t real until that moment. I was surprised that he had very little vernix since Marcella had had a lot. He had the same dark head of hair as Marcella but otherwise looked very different. He was born at 7am, on July 11 about 2 hours after I had arrived. My birthing time was about 7-8 hours total.
The midwives had me move to the bed and quickly checked me. The placenta took a little longer to get out this time around. I just wasn’t feeling any urge to push it out. The midwife told me it was right at the opening and one little push would get it out. They were wanting it to come out quickly because of the hemmorhage at my last birth. I tried pushing even without an urge a couple times, but it wasn’t working. Honestly though, it really didn’t take that long and it was out.
The midwife told me I was not bleeding a lot like last time and was doing really well. I kept asking if I tore. She told me she would check that later. She did finally just tell me though. I think she could see I was panicked and would be until I knew. I was very relieved when she said I only had one small tear that would not require stitches. The plan had been originally to give me a shot of pitocin after the birth and then methergine. However, she asked after the birth if I wanted to do Cytotec rectally instead. I was relieved not to have any shots.
Since he had been stubbornly posterior for all of the third trimester, I asked how he ended up coming out. He did come out anterior so he must have turned at some point, but his elbow was up around his head when he came out. I’m guessing this is where the small tear came from.
I felt like I could finally relax and concentrate on my new baby. I had been holding him skin-to-skin this whole time. He nursed sometime in that first hour for awhile. The doula made me some hot raspberry tea and I also had some vanilla chai protein drink I had brought along with me.The doula went to pick up breakfast for everyone from a local bagel place.
Once again, I’m not sure of what happened when but at some point my mom brought Marcella in to meet Jude officially. (She was in the room when I pushed him out.) She was fascinated by the umbilical cord which we had talked about and read about. She said she needed to get some scissors to cut it so we explained it was already cut and would fall off eventually.
Shortly after we ate breakfast, the midwife wanted me to try to get up and go to the bathroom. Although I felt fine physically, mentally I was scared to. I was remembering last time when I passed out and had a seizure and started shaking. The midwife gave me some rescue remedy and said I could take as long as I needed. I waited a little bit but finally did get up and was fine.
We were pretty tired since Josh had gotten very little sleep that night and I had had none so the midwives said we could nap so the three of us napped together.
After our nap, Josh went out to get us all some lunch. (Marcella and my mom were still at the birth center as well in another room.) After lunch, Josh parents arrived after driving in from Ohio. The midwife gave us final instructions and we headed out around 4pm.
It was so very nice to get home the same day I had Jude and lay in my own bed. What a wonderful experience compared to Marcella’s birth and having to stay in the hospital! I was so glad we got the experience we missed out on last time.