Community Birth Story: Henry Anderson

Community Birth Story: Henry Anderson

As told by Molly:

My estimated due date was Thursday, May 8th and with Mother’s Day right around the corner, we figured we should celebrate early.  Craig and my 4 year old, Josephine, took me out on Friday night for Mexican food.  When I woke up on Saturday morning I was actually a little relieved that labor hadn’t started because that meant we could go to our friends’ wedding!  Craig and Josephine went out after a late breakfast to get my Mother’s Day gift while I stayed home and scrambled to find a babysitter for Josephine.  I remember being worried while they were gone because I wasn’t feeling much movement in my belly.  This little guy had always been so active flipping from breech to head down and back again several times during the last few weeks.  So why wasn’t I feeling him move?  I did a quick Google search and learned that this was a sign that labor was coming soon!  Sure enough, I felt my first contraction shortly after reading this around noon or so.  It was so mild and honestly I wasn’t even sure that that was what it was.  I always thought that I would know immediately because I had done this before but I still wasn’t convinced.  I went about my daily ritual of sitting on my ball, pumping and rubbing clary sage on my belly.  With the suggestion from my midwives, I had started this ritual around 39 weeks.  I felt another contraction about 20 minutes later.  Maybe these were Braxton Hicks?  I had never had BH and they felt so different than the contractions I had with Josephine. When Craig and Josephine came home I told him that “something” was happening but I couldn’t be certain what the “something” was.  We took Josephine out for a scooter ride, knowing that walking may get things going.  I felt another.  My husband asked if we should still go to the wedding.  I said “Hell yeah! We have a sitter lined up and I want my champagne!”  We went inside to start getting ready for the wedding.  I was ironing Craig’s shirt when I felt another.  “Tee hee” I said to myself.  This might be real.  I went upstairs to get showered and ready for the wedding but didn’t feel anymore.  Hmm, the last couple had been 20 minutes apart but now 20 minutes later I didn’t feel anything.  Maybe these were Braxton Hicks.  I rested on the couch as Craig got ready and felt another.  Okay, maybe this is just that annoying prodromal labor that I hear so many moms talk about.  I called my parents to let them know but nobody answered.  How is it that they will call me several times a day to see if labor is starting but on the day it actually does start, they are nowhere to be found?  I called my sister…no answer! “Hey sis, it’s me.  Just wanted to let you know that I’m having contractions.  I can’t get in touch with mom and dad.  Please let them know.  You’re gonna be an aunt again! Anywho, I’m going to a wedding so I might not be able to answer if you call back.  Love you, Bye!”  Our friends came over and we chatted for some time.  I remember telling them how excited I was for the judgment free champagne that was in my near future.  We talked to Josephine and prepped her for the babysitter.  This would be the first time we had left her with a sitter other than a family member!

As we drove to the wedding, which was just a few miles down the road, I commented to Craig that this would be our last date night for a long time.  I was feeling more contractions and was becoming more convinced that this baby really was coming.  “I’m going to have this baby on Mother’s Day!” The Morningside Inn was beautiful and it was an absolutely gorgeous evening.  We chatted with friends before the ceremony started and I secretly was becoming more and more excited as contractions were picking up.  I was tracking them as the ceremony went on.  I chuckled to myself.  Seven minutes apart.  This is going to be a fun night!  The ceremony was beautiful as the sun was setting behind the couple.  What a perfect day to get married.  What a perfect day to have a baby!  We went inside for cocktail hour and had a great time catching up with friends.  I revealed to them that I was having contractions.  They were in shock.  “But you look so relaxed!”  Craig and I were the first to have kids so none of them knew what labor and birth looked like aside from TV and movies.  I enlightened them.  Dinner was delicious and that glorious champagne was there at my seat.  I couldn’t wait for the toast!  Six minutes apart.  Where the hell are my parents? Why hasn’t my sister called me back?  As I was talking to my friend, one of the waitresses came up behind me and switched out my champagne for sparkling cider!  What. A. Bitch!  She didn’t even ask me!  I think I may have actually cried.  Contractions were getting a little stronger and requiring some of my attention so I told Craig that we should probably think about going soon.  In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best idea to attend a wedding while in labor.  What if my water had broken?  Craig finally got in touch with my parents and we started saying our good byes but not before grabbing a piece of pie on the way out!

When we got in the car I immediately turned on my hypnobabies birth affirmations.  I had been listening to them throughout most of my pregnancy.  As we turned onto our street I told Craig that I was certain now that we were having a baby tonight.  Contractions were definitely getting stronger and I had to consciously relax my bottom through them.  Five minutes apart.  Craig took the babysitter home and I lay in bed listening to my L&D mix.  I was completely relaxed but I could hear Craig come home and start clambering around trying to get everything together.  He is such a planner and organizer.  I would be a mess without him!  He came up to tell me that the car was ready with our bags and my ball.  He lay in bed with me for a short while until I told him that we better call the midwife.  We went into Josephine’s room to wake her up.  Every morning for the past week or so she had been asking me if God gave me the sign yet so when we went in to wake her I told her that God had given me the sign.  It was time!
We piled into the car around 11:30pm and Josephine sleepily said “I’m so cited!”  If it hadn’t been for my birth affirmations track, I don’t think I could have done the hour drive.  The car was completely dark and silent except for the familiar sound of my affirmations.  I was able to go inside myself and relax.  I could feel him moving down with each pressure wave.  Relax.  We arrived around 12:30am all decked out in our wedding attire.  This is the part I hate.  Labor had stopped for Josephine when we checked in and sure enough, labor stopped when we checked into the birth center for baby “Punky.”  I felt like I had to convince them that I was in labor.  I knew I was in labor.  The bright lights, the questions and the BP checks.  I knew it was just Ina May’s sphincter law kicking in but did they know?  Here we go, vaginal exam, 6cm.  Yeah, I knew I was in labor!  Triage took about an hour so labor stopped for about an hour.  We went to our suite and I changed.  I lay in the nice giant bed for a while listening to my affirmations.  Here we go, back inside myself.  Contractions pick back up and I ask to get in the tub.  As the water was filling, I was starting to moan through contractions.  I felt a little nauseated and thought to myself “is this transition?”  I slipped into the tub mid-contraction and felt immediate relief.  Wow!  This is what I had wanted with Josephine but was never “allowed” because my water had broken around 8cm.  I got in the tub around 2:45 and could really start to feel pressure in my bottom.

Two Rivers Childbirth Community Birth Stories Project: Henry's Story 2

The warm water allowed me to really relax and allow my body to move baby down.  The annoying thing was that I could also feel an overwhelming urge to poo.  I had been so constipated the last few days of pregnancy and now baby was really pushing on my bowels.  I knew that it wasn’t the urge to push baby.  I really had to poo.  For real.  My water must have ruptured in the toilet because when I got back in the tub the urge to poop was replaced with the urge to push.  The room was so quiet and just as I was telling Craig that it was going to be very soon, the midwife and nurses came in.  They had been good about leaving me alone but they came in when they started to hear me push.  You know that noise you make when your body is starting to push for you?  Almost like a retching noise.  We moved to the bed and the midwife asked to check me.  10cm.  I moved to all fours but quickly realized that this was not the position I wanted.  I remember saying “I don’t think I like this.”  I told Craig to run and get Josephine who was sleeping in the waiting room with my mom.  I moved to the stool and leaned back on Craig, holding his hands tightly.  I smiled at Josephine.  I was still making that noise and realized that the noise was me resisting pushing and the discomfort was coming from me not allowing my body to relax.  My midwife reminded me to trust what my body was telling me to do.  At the next contraction I relaxed and silently pushed Henry’s head out with one strong push.  I stopped and waited for another contraction.  Waited for another urge to push.  My midwife must have gotten impatient because she said “you can’t stop now, Honey.”  I gave another strong push and there he was.  He was 7lbs, 13oz and born at 3:30am.  My perfect, squishy, meconium covered baby.  He was my Mother’s Day gift.  Josephine came over to meet him and we all just stared at him.  His cord quickly stopped pulsating and we asked Josephine if she wanted to cut the cord.  She had been all prepared and excited for her special job but when it came down to it, she was too chicken.  That was fine with us.  There we were, a family of four.

Two Rivers Childbirth Community Birth Stories Project: Henry's Story 1
Craig said that now I that I had done it twice and made it look so easy, we could do it at home next time.  Henry is perfect, his birth was beautiful and far better than Josephine’s birth but I still yearn for a homebirth.  As strange as it may sound, I love giving birth.  It is the one thing that I do with complete confidence.  I struggle as a wife and mother sometimes but I am a birth warrior.  I was made for this.  We were all made for this.

Two Rivers Childbirth Community Birth Stories Project: Henry's Story 3


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