My Birth #1: Norah (Bradley Childbirth, birth center, first baby)

An account of the most powerful and exciting adventure of my life.  The day my husband began calling me warrior.  The day I learned to trust my body.  The day I felt the presence of God surround me and fill me in a new way.  The day I realized that I could do anything.

On December 8th, at 4am, my contractions woke me.  They were 10 minutes apart.  At 8am, we called the birth center.  Our midwife, Amy told us to hang tight and get some sleep (she was catching another baby but we didn’t know that until later).  We went back to bed.  At 10:20am, while I was sleeping, my water broke in a gush.  That was exciting!  I got up and took a shower.  Scott called Amy.  She again said to hang tight and get some sleep.  Sleep?  Who can sleep through this excitement?  I continued to have contractions while we went for long walks and piddled around the house.  At 5:30 pm, we went to the birth center.  When we got there, Amy suggested that we get some dinner and rent a DVD.  We went to Fuddrucker’s with my parents and Scott’s mom.  I was having strong contractions in the restaurant and couldn’t eat.  I tried to converse but it was getting harder to talk during contractions.  We said good-night to the family, still expecting to have a baby soon.  Back at the birth center, Amy said my contractions weren’t very strong yet.  Yikes!  They were going to get stronger?  She told Scott to ignore me during the contractions and for both of us to lie down and sleep.  We put in “A Christmas Story” and tried to ignore what was happening.  I took the contractions one at a time and tried to relax through them.  Some of the things we took with us:  index cards with “birth verses” of scripture, a rice sock, honey sticks, soup, juice, jello, massage oil, massage tool, book of poems, laptop, music, and a few other odds and ends.  My birth music was a compilation of Enter the Worship Circle songs.

At 6am, Dec. 9, I moved to the birth ball and began having contractions there.  Our ritual:  I would say, “Contraction!” and Scott would come running with something cold to press (hard) on my lower back.  At 8am, we called my mom to bring some breakfast.  At 8:30am, Amy told me we were approaching a critical point and I might have to take some herbs to help things along.  I was not happy about that.  In the meantime, we began walking the halls.  By 9:15, Molly, our childbirth educator and a doula came by to see how things were going.  She really changed things for me.  She said that I needed to forget my Bradley training at this point and make the contractions stronger.  I was relaxing too well; I needed to let the contractions be long and strong.  No longer could I sit on the birth ball.  I needed to stay standing and make the contractions last long and hard.  Yippee.  But it worked.  By 10am, I could not even think of breakfast and Scott couldn’t leave me long enough to eat anything.  I had to hang my weight on his body when I had contractions.  He was pretty sore for a few days.  Around 11 or 11:30 am, I finally got in the tub.  Just in time.  I was so tired, I actually fell asleep between contractions and dropped my face in the water (sucked water right up my nose!).  Scott changed into his swim shorts and got in the water around noon since he planned to catch his daughter.  I only pushed for 22 minutes.  I asked my sister, Noelle to read one of my birth verses.  She read, “‘Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?’ says the Lord.  ‘Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?’ says your God.  ‘Rejoice…and be glad.'”  Then I had a contraction.  When the contraction was OVER, Norah came torpedoing out.  The first word spoken was the midwife saying, “Whoa!” as she tried to help Scott catch the baby in the water.  No one was expecting that-especially me!

Norah’s eyes were wide open and she turned her head to look straight at me.  It was such an amazing moment.  The sun was streaming in and she was so alert.  So beautiful!  I nursed her a few minutes later.  Scott cut the cord.  30 minutes later, I delivered the placenta.  Then Scott held Norah while I got out (feeling much lighter) and got cleaned up.  Amy finished taking care of me and then left us to sleep.  I woke up around 8pm and went home at 9pm.  It felt strange to just leave with a baby.  I felt like I should sign some papers or something!  (And in case you are wondering:  I labored 26 hours after my membranes ruptured; 32 hours from the start of contractions).