Written February 17 2017
Shyre was born on a Monday; he was gently welcomed into this world after an incredible ten hour labor. It was 70 degrees of marvelously sunny weather. A soft wind swirled through the air picking up autumn leaves in its small gusts. The past three nights I had not slept through the night. I had been having cramps the past few mornings, starting around 2am lasting until 4-5am and contractions all day long about 30 minutes apart. All week, before Shyre was born, I had been experiencing cramps and intense contractions starting around the same time each morning at 2am, lasting for five to six hours. I breathed through each contraction and tried to get as much rest through the nights as possible; hoping that maybe each time it would be the real thing. My biggest fear throughout my whole pregnancy was that I was going to end up giving birth in a hospital, so the last thing I needed one week before his due date was to be completely exhausted. For nights I had been too uncomfortable to lay in bed during the contractions, I had to get up and walk around our home. I hoped that labor would happen sooner rather than later because I was tired of wondering just when my baby would arrive but I wanted to be patient for him to come when he was ready; I wanted him to chose the day he was to come earth side.
I must have been in labor two to three days but I was in total denial because the discomfort I was feeling was nothing mentionable—overall I felt like I was sore from an intense workout. The morning of November 21st, the cramps started up again at 3am. One constant pinch in my right side and back, I reassured myself that I could make it one more week until my due date if I got enough rest through the nights and tried to sleep as much during the daytime when the cramps went away. But this time was different, the cramps hurt worse than ever before and I did not sleep a wink that night.
There came a point when I could no longer lay down at around 5am, I had to walk around the apartment and stand completely still every now and then. My body felt as if it were locking up, yet no real pain took place, only a certain pressure. Finally at 6 am my husband, Troy woke up to me kneeling and leaning over onto the side of the bed; I had been praying and laboring silently so that Troy could sleep. He had been so tired from work. A tightening unlike anything I had ever experienced began to take over my womb first and then the rest of my body every four to five minutes. They lasted about 60-75 seconds each time and started off as a swelling sensation building deep inside of me. As they ended the tightness went away. All my focus was on my breath during the rushes. I texted the on call number at 8 o’clock just to explain what was going on and to see what the midwives thought. We had an appointment at the birth center later that day at 1pm. Midwife Gina responded and said to come to the appointment at 1pm and that they would check everything out.
During active labor, Troy and I finally decided that this was probably early labor so he called out from work and helped me through each contraction by doing hip squeezes and practiced deep breathing along with me. I also leaned over a yoga ball and labored for over an hour. I was completely fine in between, but had to be silent during the contractions. I needed rest since I had not slept in days so I took a nap on the recliner in our living room. Waking for every contraction, I inhaled as deeply as I could and let out an exaggerated “Om” like moan with each exhale, some women say it sounds like “mooing” but my ears heard a perfect deep vibration echoing the waves rushing into my body as it opened up. This helped alleviate most of the discomfort that I was feeling. My sweet mother in law had picked up a heating pad from the grocery store and when she arrived at our apartment immediately went to the kitchen and started doing dishes. I was so tired I slept right through all the noise and I could not remember waking up during each contraction. Around 12:15pm when Troy woke me up to leave I asked if he thought that my labor had possibly slowed down while I was napping. He said that I was moaning very loudly every 4-5 minutes so it was unlikely. We soon left for the birth center and I cannot remember much about the car ride, besides thinking that I anticipated it being so much worse than it really turned out to be.
When we arrived at Origins, we waited in the front room as we usually did before an appointment, I continued standing because I did not feel like it would be comfortable to sit, and this is when I realized that I was starting to sweat a little. When Gina was ready for us we went back to her office, Midwife Justine asked if I would like to be checked and I said yes—I knew I had been laboring long enough. I got up on the table and she checked me. She had such a confused look on her face and refrained from saying anything. I got a little nervous and Gina had to offer to check me when Justine seemed unsure. Gina immediately exclaimed “WOW MAMA! You are 8cm with a bulging amniotic sack! He’s coming SOON!”
No one could believe it because of how calm and normal I was on the outside, there was little sign that I was in labor! I certainly did not feel like I was in active labor, though at that point, technically I was in transition. Gina and Justine both rushed to get the birthing suite ready while I put my underwear and pajamas back on. They told us to walk to the room as soon as we could. I remember hoping that my water wouldn’t break on the way to the room. Beth, a wonderful doula, walked with me, peacefully through the lobby and gave me a few soft spoken words of encouragement. Troy got me coconut water and I took some selfies with Justine and then with Troy when he was done setting up the labor playlist we had made on the Bluetooth speaker. I walked around for about 20-30 minutes before I got into the warm bath Justine had prepared for me.
The water was intensely calming. Everyone left the room but troy and we kissed and expressed how excited we were to finally meet our child. We both cried happy tears as we held hands and prayed over Shyre. I sat in the water, bestowing to me the gift of weightlessness, and peacefully I sang to sweet acoustic songs.
Midwife Kaitlyn spoke to me about breaking my waters but I wanted to wait for my body to break my waters naturally. I got out of the water and sat on the toilet to see if my water would break. I faced the wall and the midwives propped me up with pillows.
Troy massaged my neck and back and drapped cold washcloths over my skin. Sitting there with my eyes closed I relaxed into each rush, picturing that soon my baby would be in my arms, I became dizzy. After 30 minutes I got up for the midwives to break my waters.
I lay down on the bed and held my legs close to my chest, nothing they did hurt me when breaking my waters, I felt like I was outside of my body. I remember Justine telling me not to be afraid, though I was not afraid, I was concentrating on doing exactly as they told me and the rest of me was somewhere close to God. Troy and Melanie were behind me and the midwives were surrounding me, Justine was inside me, using a sharp tool to break the amniotic sac and a tidal wave of water burst out of me. I had to push while on my back for several minutes, once his head was completely free of the lip, the midwives showed me the top of his head with a mirror and guided my hand so that I could touch him. I walked over without any problems to the bathtub and began pushing immediately with each contraction. Troy was behind me in the water, kissing me and telling me he loved me and how beautiful I was. “This is the moment.”
I was completely focused; every feeling in my body was experienced in a far off place. The midwives said “that’s the way!”
and my mother in law was exclaiming “you are amazing!” their voices came to me like beams of light through a space of dark forest.
I held myself as I pushed him out and once his head was out his shoulders were the hardest part to push through. It did not burn like I learned it would, it felt like pins and needles. Each push felt like I was using all the might within me to blossom like the petals of a flower. Then all of the sudden Troy and I were bringing him up out of the water and I met the source of my body’s power. That power was love and that love is Shyre. I was in complete shock.
I could not believe this was my child. I could not believe that I had just given birth. Without pain, without fear, my body brought a human to life. This was by far the best day I ever lived. The day I recognized my strength and the day I saw the importance of being gentle. Everyone was crying, except me and Shyre, I had just met the love of my life, I was over the moon and enjoying every single second it took for my soul to float back down to earth from kissing the heavens with joyous gratitude. The only people I remember seeing were my baby, my husband and my midwife, Justine.
We were all so happy I could have stayed in that moment forever. After staring at Shyre for a while the midwives got me into the bed and I started feeding Shyre for the first time, he latched on well almost as if he already knew how; this was such a special moment.
I soon delivered my placenta and they massaged my uterus. I could feel warm blood coming out and there was a slight pain when they pressed down but still all I was focused on was my child. After we rested for a while, the midwives prepared an herbal bath. Shyre smiled when we got back into the water and shut his eyes, as if to say “I made it.” He was born at 4:30pm, he was 19 3/4 inches, he weighed 7 pounds and we were home in bed with our babe by 7pm.
That night I could not sleep but this time it was because of how much love and peace I felt to finally be Shyre’s mother and to hold him in my arms, at once, like I had been dreaming of. He slept on my chest and though he cried and I was not use to it, my life had been redeemed and I knew I had all that I needed conquer the unknown.