Dear Bluebonnet Babies readers,
Bluebonnet Babies is accepting guest birth story submissions. Sharing your birth story with others is incredibly valuable to both you and the audience. It’s a cathartic and powerful personal process to write, and it’s beneficial for pregnant families and parents to read. Submit your birth story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org subject: birth story. Please keep submissions to 1000 words or less and include a photo, if you have one, thank you. I hope that our readers are fortified and educated by reading these incredible stories. Stay tuned — I’ll also be posting an article soon with tips on writing your birth story.
Molly England, Founder
I’d like to say that I am writing this while soaking in a hot bath with a glass of wine. But, in fact, I am 14 weeks pregnant with baby number three. Nonetheless, I’m finally getting around to writing Behan’s birth story, and it’s an incredible one at that.
In preparation for Behan’s arrival I asked my mom to come stay with us for five weeks. She arrived Monday, March 5, 2012, a week before my due date of March 13. The first night she helped me put Hennie to bed. The second night I was confident that she could brave bedtime on her own. Steve and I went on a much needed date night. Having waited until my mom arrived to have the baby (as if it were up to us), we decided tonight was the night. After nachos, beer, and a Shirley Temple for me, we watched The Woman in Black, hoping to scare the baby out. Sure enough during the movie I started having contractions, about six throughout the movie. I whispered excitedly to Steve, “I’m having contractions, I think I’m in labor!” The film was spooky and definitely served its purpose.
When we got home my mom had successfully done bath and bedtime. We told my mom that we were pretty sure the baby was coming soon. If we woke her in the middle of the night and handed her Hennie’s monitor it meant we were going to the hospital. Attempting to get some rest, Steve fell asleep around 11 p.m. and I lay there in anxious anticipation. At 1 a.m. my contractions were to the point where I was ready for Steve’s support and help.
For the next few hours we labored in the bedroom. Steve timed my contractions and helped me try to get comfortable. I crawled back and forth from the foot of the bed to the bathroom. I felt nauseous. The cold shivering sensation I had with Hennie during transition was present during the entire early labor with Behan. I threw up a few times. I spent most of the time on the carpet crouched in the fetal position, resting on pillows and covered with a blanket. I used the birthing ball periodically to rest my upper body while sitting on the ground. I also rested my upper body on the bed while sitting at the foot of the bed. Steve brought me water. I remember him running up and down the stairs to get things ready, researching in the Bradley® book and timing every contraction. His massaging hands, encouraging words and support, bolstered by the fact that we were able to labor in the comfort of our bedroom, were invaluable. He said the contractions were sporadic, some were 10 minutes apart and some were just a few minutes apart, some lasted 3 minutes and some barely lasted one minute. I had occasional double peaking contractions, but most were single peaks. We kept in touch with our doula via text.
At 4 a.m. we asked our doula to come because we were ready to go to the hospital. When she arrived at 4:30 a.m. I said, “We need to go now.” She calmed me and massaged my lower back while Steve did the “monitor hand off” to my half-asleep mom. We left for the hospital. The less than 10 minute drive felt like a rush hour commute on the 405. Each contraction was hard to control because of the restrictive position in the car. Every road bump felt catastrophic.
As fate would have it, when we arrived at the hospital at 5 a.m. our OB arrived at that exact moment. She excitedly exclaimed, “Molly is that you?” In the midst of a serious contraction whilst exiting the car, I responded, “Is that Dr. L?” Our doula said hi and Steve parked the car. We had to enter through the ER because it was after hours. They put me in a wheelchair (an extremely labor-unfriendly restriction), and wheeled me to registration. Despite pre-registering four months prior and paying in advance, bureaucracy reared its ugly head. I had to re-register during the transition phase of labor.
They wheeled me from the front desk to the registration desk. The woman was on the phone and asked us to wait while she shuffled papers and carried on her conversation. If I wasn’t so busy about to have a baby I would have voiced a complaint. Finally, I was registered — again — and then we had to wait for an escort. At this stage my contractions were about three to four minutes apart. The escort was not coming – and the baby was! Our doula went to go find out what the delay was and luckily the night porter offered to take us to the labor ward. As we navigated the back hallways of the hospital our tour guide made small talk about his kids. During these pleasantries I wanted to scream, “Just get me to the delivery room. I’m about to have a baby.”
We arrived at triage and they took my vitals with no sense of urgency. The nurses thought I was exaggerating about being in labor. During contractions I’d stand and wrap my arms around Steve’s neck to lean into him and sway. The nurses seemed agitated with me, not believing that I was as far along as I claimed. They had never seen anyone so calm and in control — claiming to be ready to push. Finally, at 5:18 a.m., the nurse checked my cervix and I was 8 cm dilated, confirmation that I was, in fact, about to have the baby. The nurse’s face dropped in disbelief. She immediately pushed the intercom button and asked for assistance.
I was transferred to the delivery room at 5:30 a.m. and our doctor was just finishing the birth she had been called in for that morning. When she walked in, she was cool as a cucumber and did not intrude. She allowed us to continue the labor we were so confidently carrying out. The nurses were in foreign territory, not knowing what to do without the usual heavy handed approach from the doctor.
My water was still intact and at 5:45 a.m. we discussed breaking my water. At that moment a contraction started. I stood to lean and sway on Steve and a waterfall from between legs took force, splattering everywhere. The delivery room floor was a sea of amniotic fluid. I lay back down and the room fell silent. Our doctor, short and inconspicuous, stood back from the bed. I asked her, “What are we waiting for?” She calmly said, “For you to push.” There was no counting, no coaching, no directing, just the natural process my body was designed to do. With two contractions and two pushes Behan Charles England was born. 5:56 a.m. marked the entrance of a healthy 7 pound 14 ounce baby boy. As soon as Behan began crying I exclaimed, “He’s so well behaved.” Our doctor said that it was a “textbook birth.” Elated and exhausted, Steve and I beamed with pride as we admired our beautiful son.