I prepared for Corwin's birth on so many levels, but one thing I felt powerfully compelled to do before and throughout my pregnancy with him was pray. So first, to the Lord goes the glory for his conception, my healthy pregnancy, his beautiful birth, and overall exquisite creation.
“For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him: Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.” 1 Samuel 1:27-28
I prayed fervently before Corwin was conceived that the Lord would bless us with another baby, and it was with great joy that I held the positive pregnancy test. I had a wonderful pregnancy and was blessed with 5 pregnancies worth of wisdom to carry me through this one. But I still found myself anxious and emotional in the week leading up to his birth.
I re-read a favorite birth story over and over, trying to focus on its message of being grateful, and of not sweating the little things 🙂 I spent one day in tears of overwhelm a couple of days before his birth… but maybe it was a good release.
As with Honor I had a couple of weeks worth of evenings where my Braxton-hicks got fairly regular, then puttered away through the night. I wasn't sure how things were going to get started. With Honor I thought things were finally getting started and about 5 hours later I had a baby. So I was nervous this time around!
The weather had been pretty bad with lots of ice and snow. I decided not to go into town for my prenatal appointment on Tuesday, but felt confident the baby was in a great position and it was just a matter of waiting.
Wednesday night things got regular as usual, but felt like they were puttering out when we went to bed. We'd been going to bed early and tonight was the same. I'm very glad we did 🙂
I woke up around 2:30am after having a really weird dream. I stumbled to the bathroom and while sitting there I had the thought that the Braxton-hicks that I was having was pretty strong, and lasting a pretty long time.
I'd prepared for Corwin's birth with my own childbirth course as well as Hypnobabies and Pink Kit information. When I got back into bed I immediately turned my “Light Switch” to “off” as I'd learned in Hypnobabies. I relaxed deeply and just lay there, feeling the tightening of my belly and wondering if I'd drift back off to sleep.
Things seemed to be pretty strong, and I started to debate with myself if I should get Scott up or not… if I should have Scott stay home from work that day. Finally I had to get up to go to the bathroom. I had two bowel movements in a close time frame – that was a pretty sure sign that this was “it.” I did time the waves for a little bit; 3-5 minutes apart and lasting around 50 seconds each.
At that point I prayed the Lord would be with me and the baby during the birth, and that he would cover our home and the midwives with protection… I didn't know until after the birth that the Lord brought our midwives safely to our house in white-out driving conditions (snow so heavy you can't see the road).
Baby is Coming
After coming back from my second bathroom trip I shook Scott awake, saying simply “pretty sure the baby is coming.” He asked me if he should get up and fill the tub. I still felt a bit doubtful but told him “yes.” At this point I couldn't lie down through rushes anymore, and found standing and leaning over the bed or a counter to be the best position. I did lie down in between waves and at some point Scott came in an asked if I was going to call our midwife. I was still not sure I believed things were happening, but a few minutes later Scott went ahead and called her anyways!
Shortly after that I went to the bathroom to pee and had a huge bloody show… I finally totally accepted that yes, baby was coming.
Scott was having problems getting the hose to the tub with hot water, so he finally gave up and started using a bucket. I really wanted to get into the tub, but hesitated about slowing things down. After a couple of minutes of internal debate I decided to get in anyways. Our three oldest children, Cassidy, Asher, and Brennan, were up and sitting on the couch. Scott put them to work helping with water boiling on the stove and watching the bucket fill with hot water in our bathtub.
I liked the tub we had this time because it has a little inflatable stool. I'd sit on the between rushes. I was able to spread my legs, and it still supported me in sitting very upright – I felt like it kept me open and baby in a good position. The tub did not have a built-in heater, though, and that was a big downside. It meant we couldn't fill it a couple of days before my due date. Scott and the kids kept getting as much hot water into it as they could.
I would make the slightest movement with my hand and Scott would run over between his water carting trips. When I felt a rush starting I moved off the stool to a kneeling position. At first I put my arms around Scott's neck and he put his arms around behind my back (under my arms). That worked well, but as things progressed I found I wanted to have a wider, deeper stance on my knees (spreading them more), which meant I needed my head down on the side of the tub. At one point Scott tried to put his arms under mine and I simply said “no.” He put his hands around my back over my arms and I said “yes.”
Each rush was work, even with using my “Light Switch” and I felt incredibly thirsty during the rush itself. I'd ask for water after most of them. During the rush I'd moan and give Scott kisses on his shoulder (this giving of energy helped during Honor's birth too).
I focused on a Pink Kit technique between rushes, softening my entire pelvis “around the pelvic clock.” I felt myself get deeply into that place of birthing, where time seems to suspend and you're definitely somewhere else, on some other plane of existence between rushes. My eyes were closed and I wasn't paying attention to much outside of myself.
My midwives (Kathi and Katy) arrived within about 10 minutes of each other and I remember them greeting me (this was around 6:10am). Kathi asked me a few questions about how things started, when I'd last eaten, etc. and I answered those. She also listened to baby's heartbeat and told me it sounded good. After that I didn't pay any attention to what anybody else was doing – just me and Scott and the baby.
I do remember looking at the clock around 6:30am and thinking I might ask Scott to take it off the wall. I also debated asking him to bring me my phone so I could text my due date buddy and let her know things were happening… but I knew it was 4:30 her time and decided to wait until later. I thought that things were still very “early” at this point.
Working with Birth
I felt like the space between rushes was really long… eternally long. It wasn't bad. I kept my eyes closed and half-dozed in that timeless birthing world. But I remember thinking that the midwives must expect it to be a long time before the baby comes due to the long breaks between rushes. Scott tells me that in reality the space was very short, a minute or so at most. But it felt timeless to me.
The waves themselves were very powerful, but I'd spent much of pregnancy imagining myself spiraling my hips through them and I found that hip movement really did help. I could feel opening at the end of the rushes at this point, and I wanted to go there, to get deeper into that opening.
I felt a powerful rush that seemed to last awhile, and then at the very end had a different feel to it. A pushy feel with the opening sensation. I started to wonder right then, and decided that after the next rush I would feel to see if I could touch the baby's head. I think at this point I looked at Scott, afraid he'd get up to do something, and told him “stay.”
The next rush started and I felt that undeniable urge to push down. My water broke near the start of that one. I didn't say anything, as I really wanted to feel the baby come down and be born with just Scott and I right at the tub. Scott says he does wish I'd whispered it to him, so I wish we'd talked about it beforehand now and I had done so. But I felt the waters break, and then I felt the baby's head coming.
This was the part of birthing I had done the most preparation for, physically and mentally. I wanted that moment for me and my baby. I had many thoughts in my head at this point, but strongly were “Peace” and “Soften.” I thought those words and let my body soften as I felt the baby's head move down and I felt myself stretch open… more and more open… I thought the baby's head might stop just at crowning. Then I felt the head come through. My hand had moved down and I caressed his head as it was born. Quietly.
I wasn't sure if things would stop then. I don't know if the rush kept going or if I kept going but I realized that the baby wasn't going to stop. I felt one little shoulder come through. Then another. This felt like it took an eternity. Again, it wasn't bad. It was just timeless. Then out rushed his body. At this point I said “Scott, help” then realized he probably didn't know what I needed help with… so I said “baby” and then everyone was fluttering and scurrying around 🙂 It was 6:54am.
Scott helped me bring the baby up out of the water and I was in awe. A full head of dark brown hair, after five bald babies! This was another timeless moment as the baby just looked up at us, and us down at him. He was pink, but not breathing. After a moment I looked at my midwife (who was now beside the tub) and she told me to rub his feet. When I did so he took a breath, but he didn't start crying. He just peacefully started to breath 🙂
I moved a bit at this point, first up onto the stool, then down again so the baby's body would be more immersed in the water (the tub never did get filled to the “minimum fill” line!!). Then I moved a bit so I was leaning against the side of the tub and felt more comfortable.
I never looked between his legs to see his sex, just heard everybody saying “he, him, his.” A minute after settling back against the tub I noticed his cord over one foot and moved it between his legs, at which point he started peeing! Then I knew he was definitely a he 🙂
So much happened in this next little bit. I was still feeling rushes here and there and they were very crampy, but the placenta wasn't wanting to come. So I leaned back and waited, and everyone watched the baby. I know from reading the labor log that the placenta took around 30 minutes to birth but it didn't seem like that long to me. I reached down at one point and could feel membranes, and finally with the next rush I was able to push out the placenta.
Scott took Corwin and held him by the fire while the midwives helped me get settled into bed. I felt really good – very strong and was able to stand upright right away. I was very happy to be snuggled into the warm bed with my baby. We put blankets and a little heating pad around him in my arms to warm him as it was very, very cold outside and our bedroom was cool. He started nursing right after getting into bed and nursed from both sides before finally falling asleep.
His entire birth was a wonderful experience for me, as close to perfect as I'd imagined. I feel so blessed and am so grateful to the Lord for the wisdom he gave me to prepare, and for the safety he provided throughout Corwin's birth. It was a wonderful way to welcome a new little soul.
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