Monday, January 19, 2009

Birth Story

Many of you have asked to hear my birth story and I had planned on sharing it with those especially who are pregnant now. So I'm going to do it all at once, and feel free to ask questions after. (Sounds like I'm giving a speech.)

So one week ago today (wow!) at around 5:15am I woke up with a cramp; full moon shining through the window. I'd been having these so it was alarming. But usually once I got up and walked around a big they would go away. This time though, it remained. I told Darryl and he immediately called in to work and got going on the pool (it was already set up, he just needed to get the warm water in it). I wasn't as convinced, but I called the midwife and my mom anyway. The midwives were on their way and I was instructed to time rushes. My mom said to call her back in an hour. Now, my mom is 1.5hrs away and the midwives were 2hrs away (half of that was travel time). My rushes were 5 minutes apart and 30 seconds long; they were steadily increasing in duration and getting closer together. Darryl insisted I call my mom right back and tell her to be on her way. Good thing we did because by the time she arrived I was feeling the urge to push and plastered to the couch for fear that my water would break and the already intense rushes would become more intense. She says now she thought for sure I had a ways to go. However, a little while later the midwives showed up and got the room ready with their supplies and then asked if I wanted to get in the pool. YES! By the way, during this first stage everyone was very attentive to my needs and quiet. I was excited to be in labor but was past that emotional signpost (probably slept through it), so I was serious at this point.

As I got up to get in the pool, my water broke - and it was clear, no sign of meconium in the amniotic fluid. Getting in the water seemed to revive me. I felt alive again in between the rushes whereas just laying on the couch I felt like the space in between them I had to be completely limp and quiet to conserve my energy. Breathing through the rushes was difficult because I wanted to hold my breath. But holding your breath just makes them worse, breathing helps tremendously. So it was good to have two coaches and two midwives helping me remember to breathe! Back to the water. It took the pressure/weight off and was so warm and comforting. As per the midwives instructions I would change position every few contractions to allow the cervix to dilate evenly. At one point they noticed my contractions went from being 2 minutes apart to 5 minutes apart. I was now in the pushing stage.

Again I pushed in a few different positions and the baby was quickly moving down. Sitting up on my knees he moved very fast and sitting back his heart rate slowed a bit. So I tried pushing in side reclining and his head crowned. Amazing! Darryl was holding my arms up keeping me from sinking into the water, and my mom was holding one leg up so I could relax and concentrate my energy. On the next push his whole head and body emerged quickly and he was immediately put on my chest. We were all so amazed and filled with joy and tears! I did it! We covered him in a towel (still in the water) and started to breastfeed. Then the placenta came out (large and healthy! and the amniotic sac was the strongest they'd seen!) and Darryl cut the cord.

We bonded for a good 15-20 minutes or more, I really don't know having lost all concept of time since counting those first rushes just 6 hours before. Then Darryl held our baby while I got a shower and then into bed. The baby was checked, weighed, and measured and then Gramma held him while I was checked and stitched. I was hoping and praying I wouldn't tear but a 9lb6oz baby shooting out in one push is not good odds. It wasn't bad though and the stitches were painless (so was the tear). After all of that, me and baby were settling in together breastfeeding and Darryl snuggled in too. It was all so awesome. I can't think of the words to describe it.

THOUGHTS ON NATURAL CHILDBIRTH: I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. It was not as bad as it is made to look in this culture because our bodies are made to do this. I had amazing coaches (Darryl and mom) and amazing midwives attending the birth of our son and it made all the difference. The rushes were intense, but like combination of menstrual and gas cramps. It is really different though, but not unbearable or uncopable. The only "painful" part was the ring of fire when his head was crowing and it wasn't for long nor was it excruciating. In fact, I said at the time, "this hurts!" Also I made some interesting sounds during birthing, but it helped. There are more thoughts on the whole thing I could share but I'm having a hard time finding the words to truly express it. Grateful, exhilarating, exciting, unforgettable, rich, blessed.

Now we have our baby Ezekiel "Zeke" Judah Russell. He is thriving. His cord stump came off on its own the 6th day and breastfeeding is going great. He is already trying to hold his head up! I can't believe it has been a week already. I'm so in love.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing, Meg! This is a beautiful story, and I am so glad that your experience was good. I can't wait to have my own special story in March. I hope mine is only 6 hours long like yours :)

    Blessings and peace,

  2. Well, I finally got to read your story. It was an incredible day!!! One I will NEVER forget! I am so proud of you, Meg! You were fantastic! And Darryl, you were so attentive to Meg and coached her so gently. It was beautiful!