When my due date, August 13th, came and went I was pretty sure Curran would be born on my husband, Landis’ Birthday, 8/20. It was still a little strange walking around that final week, knowing I could start labor any minute. I am glad I had the extra time, because by the time he was ready to come out- I was ready. The week before my due date I was nervous and scared and felt unprepared. By a few days after the date, I just surrendered to it and was ready whenever it started. I had really enjoyed being pregnant, and I knew I was going to miss it! Plus- someone mentioned- and I took it to heart- that while he was still inside me- it was the most convenient he would be for quite a while! I took advantage of that extra week. I got 2 or 3 massages, we went out to eat a lot, and I walked and got everything ready.

On August 20th- My parents had come down for the weekend, and I told my mom to take Monday off of work because the baby would be born Monday. Landis’ dad, Brett, was here, he had been here for almost a week by then- waiting for the baby! Everyone was anxious. Now I was feeling like I needed to have him on this day or everyone might be disappointed- especially Landis! Landis must have sensed this, because he kept reassuring me that the baby could come whenever he wanted- he didn’t have to come that day. I felt better, but I still thought it would be great to have him on Landis’ Birthday. Plus Best start had set an appointment for me for Tuesday to get my placenta observed at another hospital to make sure it was still strong. I did NOT want to do that, it didn’t sound like a very invasive procedure- I just didn’t want to deal with it. Plus- if we went over 42 weeks I would not be able to have my baby at Best Start. So I was clear- Baby was going to be born on 8/20!

I figured my labor would start around 10 am. Well, 10 am came and went. Everyone kept checking in on me- “Feeling anything yet?” “Was that a contraction?” “How are you feeling?” Ha-ha no pressure!
Well- I decided to call Best Start and see if Roberta could check my cervix to see if I was further dilated- I had been about 1.5 the week before. They said just to come on in- so my mom and I headed to the birth center and left Landis working and the grandpas doing helpful chores around the house. We packed everything we might need into the Volvo, just in case we stayed at the Birth Center.
We got to the Birth Center- My mom was so excited! When we went in with Roberta she said I was dilated to about 3cm, and she could feel baby’s head and my bag of waters. She offered to break my water right then. We discussed it, and I decided to wait and see if I started labor on my own, partly because once my water was broken I had 24 hours to start labor, and if I did not- then I would not be able to have my baby at the Birth Center. So Roberta recommended taking Castor oil. 2 tbsp, then 2 more tbsp 2 hours later, and she thought labor would start within 4 hrs of the first dose! Mom was so excited- “Let’s go get you some Castor oil!” We went straight to Rite Aid and bought the nasty stuff. I drank it in the parking lot with a water chaser! Ewww- the taste isn’t horrible- but the consistency made me gag. I called my mother in law, Peggy to tell her what was happening. She decided to come down, so she and Loni headed to our house. Next we headed to Whole Foods to grab some last minute supplies. Mom told the checkout guys that I was in labor- she was so excited. They looked surprised, like “If you are in labor- should you really be grocery shopping?” ha-ha Then we headed to Trader Joes for a few more groceries. By the time we checked out (and mom told this checkout guy that I was in labor) I was ready to go home. I wasn’t sure what was going on in side me- but I knew I wanted to be home right away. I navigated as mom drove- and I am sure I made her nervous telling her how to drive- I was just getting anxious. We got home and Dad had made us all lunch, I kissed Landis hello- then headed straight to the bathroom. Wow! That Castor Oil had done its job! What a huge release. I am glad I got that out of me before the baby came!

I went down and had a big lunch. As we sat on the patio having lunch Peggy and Landis’ sister, Loni showed up. Now the party was getting started. I hit the bathroom again, (who knew Castor oil was such powerful stuff?) and everyone just kind of stood around anxiously, eyeing my belly. Well Landis grabbed me and took me into the bedroom for some us time. I had imagined that during early labor it would just be he and I- so it was nice to be alone with him. I was having mild contractions by now, and Landis wanted to time them. I thought we should all go for a walk. Landis insisted and we timed contraction coming about 4.5 minutes apart. I thought- “that can’t be right!” I figured if they were that close together they would be stronger. But these were just mild- my uterus would get hard, and then relax. Pretty soon everyone was in the bedroom- I am sure they couldn’t help it- they all wanted to know what was going on! Peggy and Loni offered to rub my feet. How sweet! They each took one foot and started rubbing. Aaahhh Landis told mom how close my contractions were and they all agreed that we should go to the Birth Center. I wasn’t convinced, but I agreed to call Roberta and check in. I hadn’t taken the 2nd dose of Castor oil, partly because after that big lunch- I didn’t want it all to come rushing through when I was having the baby!
I called and explained everything to Roberta. She said- “Come on in!” So we all headed to the Birth Center. Landis drove me in the Volvo, mom and dad brought Brett and Peggy and Loni followed them. I guess my dad lost them, because they got turned around and had to call for directions.
When we got to the Birth Center it was after 6pm, so we got a free meter right out front. We went in and Roberta was in the back just kind of hanging out. We waited in the waiting room. I noticed that someone was already in the big front room. Dang! I was trying to stay open, but I had thought I would get that room. The tub was perfect for a water birth. Oh well, we headed into the Blue room in back and set down our stuff. We went back out and found Roberta as mom got there. I think I was headed into labor land my then, because it all seems a little dreamy. We went into the exam room, and Roberta checked my Cervix. I was at 4cm. I asked Roberta to break my water. Let’s have this baby tonight! Landis held my hand. I was still having contractions- they were getting more noticeable now. Peggy came in as Roberta got out the little hook to break the water. She explained that it just puts a little hole in the bag of waters, which is like a balloon. That is enough to do the trick. Then we all had to wait for another contraction. It was taking a while; Roberta suggested I stimulate my nipples to encourage another contraction. It felt a little weird rubbing my nipples in this little room with my mom and Peggy and Landis, but What the heck! Pretty soon I had another contraction and Roberta was able to break my water. I felt a warm liquid trickle down. Roberta said my amniotic fluid was crystal clear! That is a good thing! I got a “chucks” pad to absorb the fluid and held it between my legs as we all headed back to the little Blue room. Well what do we do now? Hmm… The contractions were getting stronger. I thought I might like to sit on the birth ball. It wasn’t very comfy though. We moved into the bathroom and I sat on the ball while leaning against Landis. That was better. The contractions were really picking up now. Landis offered to read me a hypnosis script. I thought it would be good to listen to the CD, since we had listened to it so much. We put it on, but then went into the bathroom and couldn’t hear it. I asked Landis to read me the Hypno Birthing affirmations- that was what I really needed to be reminded of as my contractions got stronger. I don’t know how long it had been, but I was DEFINITELY feeling them now. Landis read my affirmations and I repeated after him. It was good to be reminded about turning my birth over to my body and my baby, and all the other good affirmations. That’s what I need to do. Okay- I can do that. We decided to run a tub, even though it was so hot in there- I was anxious to experience for myself, what so many mothers had told me- The Contractions immediately feel better when you get into the tub! Mom ran the tub, and as soon as I got in- it was all better! It really felt so much better to be in the water. I have no idea why- but instantly the contractions were so much easier to handle. They had gotten pretty strong by now and were coming every minute or so. We spent a while in the tub just taking each contraction as it came. They kept getting stronger and stronger. It was interesting because I knew that the contractions were helping me open up so my baby could be born, but because they hurt I wanted to resist them. I think I said something like “I know these contractions are helping me, and I should cooperate with them, but my reaction is to avoid them and want them to stop.” So I wanted to keep surrendering, being open and cooperating with each contraction. Pretty soon they were coming so strong and right on top of each other. I figured I must be in or near transition. It was so good to have Landis right there with me. He was encouraging me, and breathing with me during the contractions. I really felt safe and taken care of. My mom helped by pouring water over my belly during the contractions, and Peggy was always there with a cool cloth, or anything else we needed. I totally felt safe and taken care of. Roberta had been coming in and out to check on me, and this time when she checked my cervix she said it wouldn’t be long now. She said I could push whenever I felt the urge. Well, I wasn’t feeling the urge t push, and I was a little concerned about pushing out something in the bathwater that was released by that Castor oil! Roberta said it would be fine, but when she could tell I didn’t want to push in the tub she suggested I get out and sit on the toilet. The position I was in the tub wasn’t very good for pushing anyway, and my back was stressed from being in that position unsupported for so long. I sat on the toilet, and Roberta encouraged me to push. She said “I promise your baby won’t be born in the toilet!”

I just didn’t feel like pushing yet. The contractions were very strong now, and they hurt a lot more now that I was out of the water. I think I almost cried and grabbed onto Landis. I wasn’t sure what to do, but Roberta suggested we move to the bed. I didn’t like the idea, but I was open to her guidance. I got into the bed, and Roberta and the nurse coached me to push my baby out. I was ready by now to have him come out. I said, “Baby, I want you to come out now. Please come out now.” I was ready for those contractions to be over, and if that meant pushing a baby out- then so be it! I would do whatever it took to be done with the contractions! I started to push, but it felt a little weird. Roberta and the nurse held my legs as I laid on my side. I pushed against them and bore down. Landis was right by me holding me and encouraging me. I asked my mom to get the mirror so I could see. Once I could see the top of his head coming down- that was where my entire focus was. The contractions faded from my awareness, and I looked in shock at the baby head that was starting to emerge from me. It was surreal! Now I was completely motivated. I was going to push my baby out! Whatever it took. A few more pushes, more baby head. The mirror moved. I couldn’t see. I was immediately mad and lost. I needed to be able to focus on my baby! “Move the mirror back NOW! Move it back Now! I can’t see!” My mom who had been distracted watching the whole thing herself- quickly adjusted the mirror and once I could see again, I was ready to keep pushing. Before the birth I had been very concerned about the possibility of tearing or needing an episiotomy. I knew I wouldn’t need an episiotomy, but I definitely didn’t want to tear. Luckily- I did not tear at all- everything opened up and allowed the baby to come through- just like I envisioned. Roberta had to help get his head under my pelvic bone. It didn’t feel great, but I was glad to have her help. We kept working. Everyone was very involved and focused at this point. A few more big pushes and out came a baby head! Totally unbelievable. I mean- I knew he was in there, and I knew he was going to need to come out- but this was so surreal! We paused. Then another push. Out came his shoulder, then the other one. Roberta told me to reach down and take my baby. I reached down and took a hold of him under the arms, and pulled him up onto my tummy. I looked up at Landis. He was totally in tears! I was moved by how emotional he was. I didn’t cry though- I was too surprised! Now I had my baby on my chest! Wow. He was warm and soft and squirmy. He was covered in fluid and blood, but I didn’t care. They put a towel over him, and I told Landis to put his hand on him to help keep him warm. Hi baby. We love you. The baby started to cry! What and adventure! Totally wild! Landis was talking to the baby. Welcoming him, telling him we love him, all the while, he was crying. I loved it! I was so happy in that moment! Me and Landis and our baby, were all snuggled on the bed. My Mom and Landis’ mom were there to help, and Roberta and the nurse were taking good care of us! Curran was born at 8:58 pm. He weighed 8lbs 8 oz. and was 20 inches long.

Before long our new little man was ready to nurse, he moved over to my left breast and began nursing Wow! What a feeling. We spent an hour or more snuggling and looking at our baby! He was so beautiful and peaceful. I was so happy to have him here! The whole family came in and all the grandparents were so excited. He was happy too; he made a little laughing sound! I had dreamed a few days earlier about leaning down close to my baby and smelling him and hearing him laugh! It was so cool that he actually laughed! We tried taking pictures- but the flash was too bright- it startled him pretty bad. The room was nice and dim, and cozy. The Best Start staff came to check on us, but did not disturb us. We told them we wanted some time to just be with our baby before they weighed him or anything.

I was still dazed and amazed. It seemed very surreal! I can’t believe a baby just came out of me! What an awe inspiring event! I am amazed at what my body is capable of. Our little boy is so beautiful and healthy. We decided to name him Curran- which means Hero in Irish. He is definitely my little hero! I am so happy with him and happy with my experience at Best Start. They took great care of us from start to finish!

We went home with our new family member at around midnight. I was still sort of in shock! It was such a surreal experience! Very intense and exciting!

Thank you to Roberta, Kel, Dulce, and all the great “Best Start” Staff!