On Tuesday, July 22nd 2008 at 3:45am my body decided that today would be a good day to have a baby. I was fast asleep when I awoke to find that my side of the bed was wet. I got up and was dripping all the way to the bathroom. I knew that labor would start soon, but I was still sleepy, so I went back to bed. When I climbed in, I rubbed Will’s back and whispered “Hey Honey, I think my water just broke.” He immediately was wide awake and got up to prepare. I tried to convince him to go back to bed, but he couldn’t and began packing the car. I on the other hand tried to get some more sleep. The contractions began half an hour later, but were infrequent and felt more like upset stomach than anything. I stayed in bed until 5:30 or so when the contractions were coming steadily at every 5 minutes and were getting more uncomfortable. Will popped his head into the bedroom and said, “what ‘cha want for breakfast?” We decided on eggs, bacon, and toast. It was delicious.
After breakfast, Will called both of our families to let them know that I was in labor. It was about 6:30am. They were all very excited and told us to call when we wanted their company at the birth center.
While Will cleaned up breakfast I took a walk out in the yard. It was a beautiful misty morning and was so pure in God’s glory. As I walked and labored I thanked God for such a perfect morning and all of his majestic creations including the baby that was about to arrive. It was so peaceful and beautiful – I hated to leave, but knew it was time to call the midwives.
We called the Birth Center at 7:30am and let them know we would be on the way.
During the car ride Will and I chatted about God and life. He kept my mind occupied while I breathed through the contractions.
We arrived at the Birth Center around 8:30. Jewel, our midwife, checked me and let me know that I was 3-4cm and fully effaced. She said that I was doing a great job and just to keep doing whatever my body wanted. Will got out the birthing ball and some groovin’ music. I sat and rocked on the birthing ball for a while until my body let me know that I needed to move. My contractions were about every 3 minutes and increasing in strength. I climbed on the bed and got on all fours – this was my favorite laboring position. Will was my constant companion, rubbing my back and legs and letting me know what a good job I was doing. He was incredible and never left my side. I would have never been able to do this without him.
Around 11am I felt my contractions change and asked Jewel if she would check me again. She let me know that I was around 5cm. Her exact words were, “Alright, now this part goes quickly. That baby will be here before dinner.” Jewel then asked if I would like to get in the tub. I said yes and soon I was swimming in no time. The warm water felt wonderful. I was able to labor with my belly down but stretch my legs out behind me…kind of like laying on your stomach (something I hadn’t been able to do in a long time).
As I relaxed in the tub my contractions increased dramatically. My hips began to feel as if they might come unhinged, but I knew I needed to relax. As Ina May said ‘your cervix is a sphincter, and if you don’t relax it won’t open.’ So I followed her advice and kept my mouth as relaxed and open as possible “a loose mouth leads to a loose bottom.” With every contraction I reminded myself that these were just waves of energy that took all of my concentration to get the baby out. I remember staring at a small dot on a tile next to the tub saying in my mind “Just ride the Fiona wave, its going to be alright.” Jewel recognized my increasing discomfort as transition and suggested that Will push on my hips for counter-pressure; it was amazingly refreshing! Thank goodness for a strong husband.
Jennifer having a contraction in the tub.
At 1pm I got out of the tub and began laboring on the bed on my hands and knees again. Jewel checked me and let me know that whenever I felt like pushing I could start. At first I was a little scared and only gave a few small pushes. However, the urge to push soon overtook my body and I was pushing heavily with every contraction. Will helped to hold me during my pushes and kept telling me what a great job I was doing. The encouragement from him and the midwives was exactly what I needed to keep going. With every push I could feel her descending, but was anxious and asked “Is she coming down yet?” They all smiled and said yes and offered me a mirror to view. I could see her dark hair and was re-energized with a new will to push harder. At this point I was working very hard and was tiring, so between pushes I took mini-naps. (Will thought I was passing out and was a little concerned.) In reality it was an inward soulful meditation that helped me to focus on what was about to happen next. Those in-between times were beautiful on a spiritual level that I can’t explain.
At 2:27pm Fiona emerged, with help from her Daddy, and sang her first song – a long loud beautiful howl. I was overwhelmed with joy. While the midwives delivered my placenta, Will, Fiona and I all cuddled and loved on each other. Fiona was very slippery, pink, warm, and loud. The midwives nicknamed her “Feisty Fiona.” A few minutes later Fiona got all dried off and began to breastfeed. She’s a natural – we like to eat in this family.
Will, Jennifer and Fiona
Overall we stayed at the Birth Center until 11pm that night. Will walked and cuddled with Fiona for a few hours so that I could sleep. We were home by midnight and in bed by 1:30 (with the help of my mom who held Fiona all night long so we could rest).
This experience was the most powerful thing that has ever happened to us. I cannot explain how the birth of a child changes you – but it does. I just pray that we will be good Godly parents to her and that she will stay safe always. I pray that her life will be as natural as her birth, but hopefully a lot less painful. :o)