Birth Story: A Letter to My Son

I always knew you would come early. You told me your birthdate a couple months before you got here. I’m grateful too, because I was ready by the date you had set. Or rather, I was as mentally ready as a first time mom could be. My body? Well, she’d get there.

My water broke on the night of a full moon. It was after dinner. I had just gotten off the phone with your Gigi (my mom). I told her I’d be okay with you coming before your guess date, and she warned me that you might take me up on that. She was right. Within twenty minutes my water had broken. I was walking into our last Hypnobabies class, when I suddenly felt wetness. Julie, our doula, tried to convince me it was nothing. But, two full pads and a pool of water under my chair later, I accepted that you would be coming out soon. Daddy and I left class early to go home and await your arrival. If we were smarter people, we would have taken naps. But, we weren’t that smart. Instead, we were excited (and a little nervous) and we stayed wide awake with anticipation.

My pressure waves started around 11:30p. They started off mildly, but quickly became long & strong. The “peace” cue from Hypnobabies was my primary solace. Every time a pressure wave would come, I would whisper “peeeaaacce”. Grandma (Daddy’s mom) arrived at about 12:30a. Julie came in around 1:00a. They came to support me as I welcomed you into the world. Shortly thereafter, things kicked up a notch and I went into transformation #1. It looked and sounded like you were ready to come out so we got in the car and Daddy frantically drove us to the birth center. When we got there I promptly threw up. We went inside and we found out that my body wasn’t quite as ready as we thought. So they sent us home and told us to come back in the morning.

Back at our house, Julie told me about her plan to help you along. I was to lie in different positions during my pressure waves to help move you into the best birthing position. The first two exercises were a little uncomfortable. But the last, Walcher’s Maneuver, was truly a test of will. I knew if I could just focus on pulling my cervix forward, it would make the trade off worth it. Afterward, I was pooped, so Daddy & I got in bed. We were told to sleep in between the pressure waves. I did. Daddy, bless his heart, could not.

[Doula Note: mama had a posterior cervix that the midwife could barely reach and a baby high in the pelvis. Membranes were ruptured and mama was GBS+. She’d had one dose of antibiotics. I was a little “boot camp” through the night because we were working against the clock. She also cycled in and out of the transition stage several times with vomiting, shaking, doubled-up pressure waves.]

A few hours later, the sun came up & we went back to the birth center for antibiotics. The midwife checked to see if we were finally ready. The exercises worked! My cervix was in the right place & was 100% effaced. However, I was still only 3cm dilated (your head wouldn’t fit through that!). So I was presented with 2 options: go home & come back at noon; or go to the hospital for pain relief. I promptly refused the hospital (I wanted as few interventions as possible), & I told anyone who would listen that I wasn’t getting back in the car to go home again. So, I set up camp in the midwifery office and labored there for a

After about 2 hours had passed, Julie asked the midwife to check me again. I was 10 cm photo-aug-18-9-55-17-am-2dilated so that meant you were ready!

[Doula note: I was in awe of this mama’s strength and dauntlessness.  She did every difficult technique I asked her to do as we tried to engage and rotate this baby. In those two hours, she did some figure eight hip dips and I did rebozo sifting while she sat on a birth ball. It was seriously incredible to witness her determination.]

Downstairs they filled the birth tub with warm water. Julie put on the “Pushing baby out” track and I used all my energy to push you down and out into the world. The clock says that about an hour passed, but to me time stopped. I just kept picturing holding you in my arms. After a few good pushes and a “Come on baby” I felt you coming out! The moment they put you on my chest, I began to cry. We had done it! You & I, together. Daddy announced that you were a boy and said your name: Carter Patrick Hughes. This is how you came into the world. And our lives have been changed for the better ever since.