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Rowan’s Birth Story – Baby Dylan
Rowan gave birth to her second baby boy at the Maison de Naissance. Rowan discovered that she laboured best alone with her husband Danny, illustrating how privacy can sometimes make the difference in how labour unfolds.

The Birth of Dylan
January 22, 2006 12:46pm
9 lbs 9 oz, 22.4 inches

Yogaspace - Pregnancy Yoga - Birth Stories     I guess the story begins when I started having some pre-labour contractions about 5 days before the birth, mostly at night. On Thursday the midwife checked me and said my cervix was very soft and I was almost 2cm dilated.

     On Saturday afternoon I lost my mucous plug and started to get a bit more hopeful. That night, at 1:30am I woke up to a warm trickle and gasped, immediately thinking, “oh my god, my water!” Sure enough I sat up and it just gushed out. Danny easily fell back to sleep and suggested I do the same but of course I was too excited. We called the doula to see what she thought and she agreed with Danny. While he slept I was busy worrying about why I hadn’t felt any contractions yet.

     An hour later they came, pretty mild and not necessarily consistent, but definitely different than the pre-labour contractions I’d been having before. At 3:00am we called the midwife and arranged to meet her at the birthing center an hour later, then called my parents to let them know they needed to come over and watch Noah who was fast asleep.

     We arrived at 4am and the midwife greeted us at the door, telling us we were the only three people there, so we chose the large room with the nice big whirlpool bathtub in it. She lit a couple of candles in the room and asked me if I wanted to be checked, which of course I did. I was almost completely effaced and about 2 cms dilated. Then she left us alone and told us she’d be down the hall sleeping and to wake her up if we needed anything.

     It was so warm and cozy there, much nicer (and warmer!) than our own home even. We talked about how nice it would be to do this without the bright lights and constant beeping of hospital machines. We curled up in bed and tried to get some sleep but the contractions were painful enough at this point to be keeping me awake and I made a couple of attempts at waking Danny up to keep me company but he kept falling back to sleep. The amniotic fluid was still leaking; I couldn’t believe how much there was! I kept looking around the room trying to think of different positions I could try to ease the contractions but nothing seemed very appealing.

     By 6:00am two other women had arrived in labour as well. We ate some muffins and the midwife gave Danny some coffee. The contractions were becoming quite painful now and I asked him to grab the smaller of the birthing balls I had seen in the hallway. I never thought I’d enjoy using a ball but it made a perfect little seat‚ that I could easily move around on.

     I sat on the ball in front of the bath and held onto the edge of the tub with each contraction, sort of leaning into them. Danny sat on a stool in front of me and we were in such a good zone, chatting in between contractions and then me oooohing and ahhhhing through them when they came.

     Many now were quite intense and required all my concentration. With each one my mind went right to my pelvic floor, visualizing, and I could actually feel a tingling sensation in my cervix. We noticed that when the midwife would come in to check the baby’s heartbeat (about every 30 mins now that things were picking up a bit) the contractions would die down and become much milder, then would pick up again once she left the room.

     We debated calling the doula because of this and we were afraid that introducing anyone in the room at this point might ruin the atmosphere since we were doing so well just the two of us. On the other hand, I could feel the contractions were getting more intense and I thought she might be good to have when things got crazy. Danny kept telling me how much more in control and confident I seemed with this labour and I really felt it too, but I had no idea what to expect in the next few hours and figured the doula might come in handy.

     She arrived about 20 minutes after we called her and sure enough my contractions came to a complete stop. After a while she went out into the hall and they picked up again and when she returned they stopped. She gave me a foot rub while Danny took a quick nap but after about an hour and a half from her arrival (and barely a single contraction!), we decided that it was probably best if she go home, and we’d call her back later when things picked up. Luckily she didn’t take it personally and my contractions picked right up again as soon as she left.

     Danny and I were happy to be back in our zone‚ with me on the ball and him sitting in front and the contractions were very intense now. I swore I could actually FEEL my cervix opening and tingling with each one; I was concentrating so hard on relaxing my pelvic floor, relaxing my jaw, and just riding with it, visualizing everything opening. But man did it hurt! I asked Danny to go fetch the midwife to examine me, convinced that I had made a lot of progress. I was 5 cms!! This was encouraging since I knew I‚d sort of “lost” at least an hour earlier when my contractions had stopped, and I knew I was entering really active labour about now. I couldn’t believe how intense the pain was and they were coming about every 2 to 3 minutes now and lasting a long time.

     After a while I debated whether I should take a bath because I figured the heat would ease the pain but at the same time I felt so hot and shivery that I couldn’t imagine sitting in a hot tub. I told the midwife I felt like I would either pass out or vomit. She said if I passed out I would be the first but that she’d go get me a bucket (I ended up not needing it). I stripped off my shirt and Danny put a cool cloth on my forehead and on the back of my neck in between contractions which felt soooo good.

     The next time the midwife came in to check the heartbeat she suggested we run a cool bath and see how that feels (she was still only coming in periodically so as not to stall my labour). They ran the bath but I didn’t actually get in for another half hour or so because I was afraid to leave my “safe” place on the ball. The contractions hurt so much at this point I was pretty much screaming through them, trying to keep my voice low instead of high like we learned in yoga but it didn’t feel right. I just kept screaming and swearing a lot. Finally I got in the tub and the temperature was surprisingly nice but I couldn’t find a good position to get into during contractions and was beginning to find it really hard to relax the pelvic floor through them now.

     I can’t remember how long I had been in the tub — maybe 30 minutes max, and all of a sudden part-way through a contraction I looked up at Danny and said “Oh my god, I’m feeling pushy!! I can’t help it, I’m pushing!” I knew this was bad because I could hear that the woman in the other room was also likely pushing, all the midwives were in there. I could tell poor Danny knew this too and he was sort of hesitating about what to do for a second, and I could hear him calling the midwife and saying “um, she’s pushing!..uhhh...” and sort of pacing back and forth between me and the door to the room.

     Meanwhile I was trying to decide if I wanted to stay in the water or not and decided to climb out, heading straight for the bed hoping to make it there in time for the next contraction. I made it and was dripping wet there when the midwife came in and quickly dried me off.

     I was on my hands and knees when the next contraction came and I started pushing — it was the most amazing feeling ever, this powerful primal force I couldn’t control. I pushed like this for a few contractions but found it really difficult to relax in between and wasn’t sure what I’d do when the baby came out as I was afraid I might sit on it. I asked what other position I could push in that would allow me to rest in between and she suggested lying on my left side while Danny held my right leg in the air. I pushed through maybe 2 contractions like that but felt like the lack of gravity was counter-productive and then the midwife came in with a birthing stool which was exactly what I needed, it felt sooo good to be able to sit and work with gravity and relax my pelvic floor between contractions. I pushed for what felt like forever and when the baby crowned it hurt beyond my wildest imagination. One of the midwives would offer me some water from a straw, which was a blessing. Danny was sitting behind me, so that I was leaning into him, which was really helpful for relaxing between contractions.

     About an hour after I first started to push, at 12:46pm I finally felt the baby slip out and the midwives whisper “here, take your baby,” I opened my eyes picked him up and held him against my chest. They helped me scoot back into the bed and lie down as I held him and the midwife rubbed him for a few seconds till he turned a nice pink. They didn’t have to suction him or anything. It occurred to me we still didn't know the sex and I peeked down to see that it was a boy! It was really cool to be the first to find out (being the mom and all!).

     Danny got to cut the cord and then we were able to hold the baby a little easier. He was full of vernix, quite swollen and had the usual newborn misshapened head. He stayed there on me like that for the next hour or so while they changed the sheets, checked the placenta, etc and left us alone for awhile then came back up to see if I needed stitches (I didn’t), cleaned me up and brought us a plate of fresh fruit and some juice. After that the baby latched on like a pro and chomped away for a good 20 minutes. Later she came back to examine him (right on the bed where we were) and weigh him (9 lbs 9 oz!!). Once we were really settled someone came in and showed us a menu and asked us what we’d like to eat. It was heaven! It was so nice to be able to peacefully enjoy this new baby without so many interruptions and nobody took him away from us the whole time.

     It was really painful, but it was also peaceful and empowering. I daydream about this birth almost every day and would do it all over again in a second!

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