My rainbow baby… a baby that would be born in a manner and place of my choosing.
After a double loss, a traumatic birth, and a medical induction, we were ready for a peaceful birth.
This pregnancy was the smoothest I’ve ever experienced, and I give a lot of the thanks for that to my Midwifery team. The 40 weeks went by so fast and before we knew it August 31st came and went with no birthday. I was determined not to give her an eviction notice, so this time we didn’t induce. I had been having prodromal labor for almost 2 weeks already and at times patience was not a virtue I was in much supply of. But we persisted. No induction! Instead we walked. And walked. On the night I collapsed into bed exhausted, exclaiming “I give! No more walking!” the final pains began.
I woke at 2am on Saturday night, startled at the cramp that hit me out of nowhere. I waited, praying for another to follow. Minutes later it came again, same intensity as before. Finally! I made a promise to God, one born from desperation to meet my baby. “Please dear Lord, I promise to be a good girl, to stay in the bed and sleep like I should… just please let labor progress now, let it be productive this time.”
I dozed in and out, knowing rest is what I needed in order to have the best chance at the birth we hoped for. At 4:30am I rolled over, unable to sleep through the pains anymore, and woke Chris. We are finally going to meet our baby! I then advised him to go back to sleep while I showered. Silly me, he was just as excited and never did fall back to sleep. I showered and let the warmth ease the ache in my back, the butterflies in my stomach and the last lingering doubts in my mind. I took the time to pray again, and to remind myself that I can do this.
At 6am, feeling the urge to walk more, I called my walking buddy/doula Christy to come join me as I paced back and forth on my little street. By 7:20am I could no longer talk through the pains, but knew they were still quite manageable. My girls were awake by now, excited by the commotion and ready to meet their newest little sister. At 8am my best friend and doula Stephanie arrived and the call was placed for our birth photographer to head our way.
I spent the next two hours laughing with my family and friends, rocking on my birth ball, snacking, and preparing my children one last time for the sights and sounds of birth that they would soon witness.
The choice to have my kids, ages ranging from 11-4, at the birth was not one made lightly. I am so thankful that we did though, and I can see how the bond between them all was enhanced by the experience. By 9:30am we knew we would need to leave soon for the birth center to ensure I received an IV of antibiotics for GBS in time for it to have any effect. We also realized that our birth photographer would not be able to stay with us this time; she had another commitment she had to honor. Through a friend, we met Terah. Just in the nick of time!
At 10am, my pains were 3 to 4 minutes apart, and increasing in intensity. I called my midwife and let her know we were on our way! September 9th was a good day to have a baby!
After arriving with a caravan of people and kids in tow, we settled in and took over the birth center. Thank goodness it was a weekend! My kids played, visited and explored. My midwife Dinah and her birth assistant Kristine (best birth team ever!) gave me the once over and let me know that I was only 2cm dilated but fully effaced. There was still quite some time to go in my labor, so Dinah went home to rest and Kristine stayed with me. After getting over the disappointment of not being further along and having some quiet time with Chris in our birth room, my labor resumed its pace and once again I was out the door and walking.
Hours passed it seemed. An endless moving picture of houses, the park, playground, and miles of sidewalk. It was at this time that the lovely and talented Terah arrived and introduced herself to me as a photographer. She offered to stay the duration of my labor and birth and catch the moments for me.
I didn’t realize at that time what a blessing she would be, or the friendship that would develop from it. I am thankful for the kindness she showed me each time I see the beautiful pictures of my birth.
After a while, Dinah returned and gave the encouraging news that I was 4 to 5cm now and we agreed this was a good time to take the antibiotics. I resumed my favorite place on the birth ball, and spent my time there and on my knees on the bed. The minutes clicked by, my friends and family helping to distract and comfort all the while. Sometime later I felt the familiar nausea, and the feeling of heaviness. Knowing that for me that meant transition, I asked for Dinah to once again check me. When she said 7 to 8cm, I was ready for the big glorious spa sized tub! Fill her up Kristine! Let me tell you, midwives know how to draw the birth tub, searing hot and heaven sent! I sank chin deep and let the soothing heat melt the last few hours of tension from my tired limbs and ease the pain from my back. Being able to relax, I opened for my baby to descend that last little bit.
It wasn’t long before the urge to be up on my knees hit me, and I was soon responding to my body’s natural urge to push. Dinah encouraged me to lay back, relax, and go with the flow. I remember Kristine kneeling by my head, whispering to me that I was doing well, beautifully, and reminding me that I can indeed do this. It’s one of my favorite memories, and I will always think of her as my “baby whisperer”.
I swear she whispered Sawyer right out of me!
My husband climbed onto the side of the tub, my labor doulas took their places, Terah found the best angle, and my kids found a place they could squeeze in. After an unexpected amount of pushing, I cried out that she wasn’t coming down any further, that something was stopping her. Dinah gently, gently checked me and found a complete cervical lip. Sawyers head trying to pass through when there just wasn’t room yet. I gave Dinah my permission to help me by easing the cervix over Sawyers head while I pushed and oh the relief as she passed through! Woosh my water broke and further she came down.
Then surprise! Dinah announced that Sawyer was emerging with one fist raised up by her face. Did I want her to gently help her fist to be born first to ease the rest of her body? Well, yes!
One more long guttural cry from me, Sawyer crowned the rest of the way. Deep breath, deep breath.
After a little more urging, Sawyer slipped her way earth side and into our hands.
We have been waiting for you for so long.
Sawyer Finley Ort
September 9th, 2012