NOAH JAYCE, December 20, 2010 @ 11:59 pm Best Start Birth Center in San Diego, CA
It was the afternoon of December 19th and I was sitting on my couch thinking two things – first off, I’m as big as a house, and secondly, I can’t believe I just took work off for 13 whole days and this baby still hasn’t arrived yet! The laundry was washed, the house was clean, and the bags were in the car. The only thing missing was my tiny man and it was starting to make me a bit depressed. Little did I know back then that first babes typically arrive closer to 41 weeks, not 40. As the evening came closer, I settled in and prepared for another night of what may very well be false labor, which had happened now a few other times. Around 10:00 pm I started not feeling well, almost as if I had eaten something bad or was coming down with a bug. The stomach cramps made it far too uncomfortable to sleep and it wasn’t long before I found myself in the restroom. Around 11:00 pm, after another bathroom run, I wiped and to my surprise found something that looked like a large melted gummy bear on the toilet paper. I had heard about this plug thing before, but I had also heard that it can come out moments, days, or even weeks before actual labor would start. In my case, it was the first. Within 5-10 minutes early labor started and mild contractions set in. I found myself laboring all night long, mostly on the birthing ball. The pain wasn’t unbearable, but the surges every 10-15 minutes were enough to keep me from sleeping much. When the sun started to appear the next morning, I thought to myself, “I just need some rest.”, but I knew that the marathon was just beginning. We phoned my family, who were 4 hours away, early in the morning to let them know of the latest. Around 10:00 am I received a text from my sister in law that said, “Happy Due Day!”, to which I replied, “You won’t believe this, but I’m actually in labor!”. Around 12:00 pm I told Shawn that I thought it was time to head over to the birth center, so we started to gather our things. I was absolutely sure that transition was taking place! We arrived at the birth center around 1:00 pm and I was pleasantly surprised to see my favorite midwife waiting in the parking lot for us. They worked shifts there and I had secretly hoped that I would go into labor when midwife A was on duty. Imagine my shock and horror when I soon found out that what I believed to be transition was 3 centimeters. It was determined some time later that cervical scar tissue was the culprit behind these mixed bodily signals. Nevertheless, I carried on with the hope that my body knew what to do and when to do it. Much of active labor consisted of soaking in the birthing tub and smelling cotton balls that were saturated with peppermint essential oil. Although it is all rather fuzzy, I will never forget the back labor from baby attempting to get into the ideal position and the tingling fingertips from my inconsistent breathing. As transition occurred, I teetered for hours between feeling like superwoman and wanting to yell out, “Take me to the hospital! I can’t do it anymore!”. Hours went by and I started to wonder if I was having faith in a body that was broken. Finally, around 8:30 pm, it was time! I will never forget the sounds I could hear outside of the window I laid beneath, mainly because in San Diego you don’t hear those sounds very often. I could hear the howl of the wind, the pouring rain pounding onto the window, the whoosh of the palm trees swaying right out front. There was a raging storm taking place inside and outside of me and I wanted them both to end. The next 3 ½ hours were filled with one word – intensity. A nuchal cord made the actual delivery more complicated than I imagined it would be, but he did eventually come! And at 11:59 pm on my due date, after 25 hours of natural labor, I became a mom for the very first time! I felt so weak and overcome with emotion, but as Midwife B leaned over and whispered, “You are a true warrior.”, I knew I had done something to be proud of. I knew I could do it all again one day.
CLOVER ELIN, September 10, 2013 @ 8:37 pm Our Home in San Jose, CA
It was around 11:00 am when Noah and I started packing up our things to head out. A friend of mine who had given birth about 2 weeks prior had requested some meals. I gladly jumped at the chance to offer my services. After all, I love cooking and I wasn’t due for another 15 days, so I didn’t see the harm in helping a friend in need. As we started our approximately 30-35-minute trek to Fremont I realized that the end of pregnancy was starting to take its toll on me. I was feeling run-down and getting winded much more easily these days. I figured I would drop off the meal, allow Noah to have a short playdate with his buddy, chat a minute, and then head home for a nice relaxing afternoon. All went well in the land of meal drop-off and mini playdate and we headed home around 1:00 pm. Around 2:00 pm I received a call from Midwife R asking if she could swing by with the birthing tub. Another client who had the tub for their birth had finally returned it, so she figured why not drop it off while she had it. It made sense to me! Shortly after Midwife R arrived with the tub. As she walked in, she looked at me with a funny expression, as to which I asked, “What is it?” She replied calmly, “Are you feeling okay?” I felt as fine as a 37-week and 6-day pregnant lady could feel I suppose. I was just tired. I was growing a human while chasing after another one for crying out loud! As I leaned up against my entry way wall, I quickly explained to her that I was perfectly fine, and simply exhausted from cooking and our long car ride to and from Fremont. Her response? “I’ve seen that look before. Call me if you need me.” While I loved and appreciated her care and concern, I still brushed off her comment. I wasn’t due for 15 days. I had not had any signs of labor. Even if there were signs of labor, if this birth was anything like the last, I wouldn’t be needing her for anther 24 hours! And so, our calm afternoon continued, until around 4:45 pm that is. That’s when I went from perfectly fine to sudden active labor. That’s when I went from strutting around the house to leaning over the bathroom sink with surges every 2 minutes apart. That’s when I realized that I was home alone with a 2-year-old asking for snacks and trains and my husband and midwives were nowhere near. That’s when I drew a bath while I frantically called Shawn. All I could say on the other end of the phone was, “They came out of nowhere and they’re coming fast. This isn’t good. Get home now!” I put on a movie (something that I thought might entertain a 2-year-old longer than 5 minutes) and slipped into a hot bath. I didn’t understand. This was so different than the last time. Either Shawn flew home, or time was standing still for the birthing mama, because it felt like I had just called him when I heard the front door open. The first thing he did was call the midwives. Why I didn’t do that who will ever know! After reaching the midwives and arranging for a friend to come and grab Noah I felt like I could finally relax into my labor. I could hear Shawn filling up the tub and I knew that they were on their way and I suddenly felt better about it all. Some time after that the midwives arrived. I have absolutely no recollection of the time. I was having a complete out of body experience at that point. They helped me from the tub into the birthing tub. I started to feel helpless and out of control, which I really hate. I pathetically cried to Midwife R, “Why am I not getting a break at all? Why won’t they stop coming?” She replied, “This one isn’t going to be like the last. This is going to be a freight train hun.” And that’s when I got to that point. You know, the one where you say, “I can’t do this anymore. Somebody help me!” It was then Midwife R suggested a change of scenery. So, as much as I didn’t necessarily want to move out of my nice warm tub, I crawled my way to the next room and slowly made my way to the bed. But just before I made it there the waters released and suddenly the surges were different. I managed to make it up onto the bed and felt a wave of sadness when around 8:30 pm she checked and said, “It’s a 6.” But again, birth takes on a life all of its own. It doesn’t follow any set of rules. And about as quickly as the “sadness about the 6” started to fade the sudden feeling of needing to use the restroom came upon me. So, without hesitation I hopped up like an animal on all fours and shouted, “I’m going to poop!”. Of course, Midwife R’s response was perfection when she smiled and said, “Oh that’s great news!” I felt my primal instincts kick in and started roaring. I still feel bad about grabbing Midwife H’s neck the way I did in that moment. After 2 quick pushes, baby girl was brought Earth side at 8:37 pm and I was overcome with joy, relief, and shock at how different births can be from one another.
WAVERLY RAE, April 19, 2018 @ 4:04 pm Our Home in San Jose, CA
When I went to bed around 10:00 pm on the 18th I knew I felt “off”. I knew I wasn’t going to sleep well that night. However, I didn’t want to get my hopes up just to be let down. I made the mistake yet again of comparing this baby to the last. Clover was 15 days early. Here I was 4 days before my due date and still no signs of labor. With Braxton hicks starting at 20 weeks I thought for sure this baby would come early too! You start to not want to leave the house for fear that 5 more people will ask, “So, no baby yet, huh?” I managed to get some decent shut eye that night with the occasional waking up from a contraction every hour or so. At 5:00 am I had one of my frequent urges to pee. At this stage in the game that was happening approximately 3-4 times a night. But as I finished up, I noticed that I had lost my plug, and that’s when the party began, because just like Noah, about as quickly as I realized the plug was gone, the contractions started. I texted Midwife H just to keep her in the loop but let her know I’d update her if anything else started happening. Around 5:30 am I sent Shawn to the grocery store. This was supposed to be my main shopping day! This was supposed to be the day I filled the fridge and pantry with all the goodies that would last a week! He had barely been gone when I found myself calling and begging him to come back. It took what seemed like 30 minutes to pack Noah’s lunch because every five minutes I had to lean over the kitchen counter. Just before 8:00 am a friend came to pick up Noah for school. It was a Thursday, so Clover did not have school. Major bummer. After my friend dropped Noah at school she came back to help with Clover until the babysitter could arrive. It was the most beautiful spring day! The skies were blue, the sun was shining, and the cool crisp air was exactly what I needed. We spent the next couple of hours just walking around our street. It was perfect. Around 11:00 am the babysitter arrived to help with Clover. They went to the park, played games, and had lunch together. Every now and then I would see them in passing and stop to say, “Hi.” I felt lucky to be at home. I felt so lucky in those precious moments. Shawn started blowing up the tub in our room and then filling it up. I sat in it while he fed me little bites of apples and turkey. I had the bedroom windows open so that the sun was on my face and the breeze was flowing through the room. The soft music was playing, and the mood was calm; almost too calm. That’s why when the midwives showed up around 1:00 pm I felt like I had made a huge mistake by calling them out. I suddenly felt guilty. I had called too soon. I had wasted their time. I felt too relaxed. Things were going too slow for this to be active labor. That’s when I requested a check. I didn’t want to waste anymore of their time than I already had. And that’s when she said, “Six to seven. I won’t be leaving.”. I was confused. Once again, this birth had taken on a life of its very own. This was nothing like the last two! We decided it was time for a change. I got out of the tub and put on fresh clothes. We headed into the backyard so I could be on my feet. It was relaxing. Although it was my own backyard, although I had been in it a million times before, I found myself noticing things I had never noticed previously. Cracks in the concrete and flowers that had never caught my attention before were suddenly all my eyes were drawn to. They say that a birthing mama sees, hears, and feels it all, and I knew right then what they meant. After walking around in the yard a bit, I came back inside. And that’s when the back labor hit me like a ton of bricks. Then I heard those lovely words from Midwife C. “Do you want to try my TENS unit?” I had never used one during labor before, but boy or boy did it make a difference in a good way! I continued my progress with the TENS while sitting on the end of my bed swaying for the next hour or so. Around 3:00 pm I hit a wall. When Midwife H checked and said the word, “Eight.” I felt defeated. Maybe I didn’t want to know anymore. Around 3:30 pm I hopped in the tub once more and that’s when I started thrashing around like an alligator doing a death roll. I honestly don’t think anyone could have held me down at that point. I couldn’t sit still if someone paid me a million dollars! It was all I could do. And then, it happened, just like the last time. I jumped into my primal position and let out probably the loudest scream of my entire life. Again, poor Midwife H. Not only did I grab her around the neck once again as I did before, but this time I had also made her deaf in her left ear. I felt my body’s urges, but it felt tougher than the last time. And as baby made its debut, I found out that not only did we have a second daughter, but that this precious little one had decided to meet us all with her hand up on the side of her face, making delivery a tad more difficult. At 4:04 pm on a bright and cheery day, baby girl decided she was ready to meet us all!
"Birth is a transformation, and it doesn't matter whether you've had eight babies before. It's still a transformation each time you have another baby, because you are no longer the same woman you were before you had that baby."