Born: 2/4/08 at 1:23am
7lbs 10oz – 19.5 inches
Written by Rosie: Mother
It was Saturday 2/2/08, two days before the birth of our little girl, Coral Sierra (FYI: we kept the gender a surprise). My due date was 2/7/08 and I felt the strong need to spend some quiet introspective time with the baby in my belly so I attended prenatal yoga with my favorite teacher at Ginseng Yoga. With the chaos of chasing after Coral’s 22 month old brother Toby, I had only attended a few prenatal yoga classes, which were a weekly ritual during Toby’s pregnancy. In the class, there were 3 of us who were term (39-40 weeks) and our teacher stated, “there is a storm coming to town this weekend, I predict babies will be coming!” Sure enough, early labor contractions started that evening…after attending Le Chandeleur (a French crepe party) and Cirque du Soleil – Corteo (which ended up being our last date before the new baby). We arrived home at around 11pm and at about 2am I started to have mellow yet consistent (every 5-20 minutes) contractions. I started logging the intervals and woke up my husband just to let him know what was happening. This being my second birth, I knew there was plenty of time. The contractions were almost welcomed as they were not that intense and I was sleepy and having nice visions/ hallucinations of mandalas and swirls. I lit one of the birthing candles which I had given out at my baby shower for guests to light when my labor started. The candle soothed me through the night and created beautiful reflections on the dark bedroom walls. I relaxed in a nice hot shower around 4am which felt great and then continued contracting back in my bed. The position that felt best was either “Child’s Pose” or on my hands and knees rocking side to side. I knew I needed sleep and rest but excitement kept me up most of the night, especially after I lost my mucous plug in the wee hours of the morning. I was enjoying this early labor time alone, while Ben slept in Toby’s room. I was dreaming about the baby and really meditating on what my body was going through. I felt like a cow leaving the herd to labor in a far corner of the field. The next morning was Super Bowl Sunday and we went about our day as my parents and two sisters came over for the NY Giants vs. NE Patriots game. During all of this, like my yoga teacher said, the storm had come.
My solid birthing team consisted of my husband, Ben, who is an anesthesiologist and who had attended countless hospital births. Yes, his coworkers think I am crazy for not wanting an epidural. Fortunately, my husband agrees with and lovingly supports my natural birth decision. My mom and dad, Virginia and Robert, had 6 children, all born at home with midwives on “The Farm”. My older sister, Audrey, is a nursing student and coincidentally was on her L&D rotation. She was also a doula and attended numerous births while working at a birth center in Santa Rosa for 6 years. Finally, my younger sister, Olivia, drove down in the rain that day from Santa Barbara to experience my birth and help out however possible. This experienced and loving support team was my birthing foundation.
Some people lose their mucous plug and still don’t deliver until days or even weeks later. I continued to have a mellow labor throughout most of the day, but come the last quarter of the Super Bowl, the contractions started to get more intense. Around 7pm, we called the phone tree of friends and family members and told everyone to light the birthing candle and to send warmth and love our way… the baby was coming. We had it under control so my parents went home to rest but they had their phone nearby. Toby, our 22 month old, was asleep with my husband while my sisters and I labored together throughout the night with the red labor candles as our only light. Olivia was the timer and recorder, and traded off with Audrey who was pressing on my lower back/sacrum when contractions intensified. I was in bed rocking on hands and knees making low “ooooooooo” sounds which became “ooooooopen” throughout the night, sending energy to my cervix to open with each contraction. I slept or rested in between contractions and this went on for a few hours. Then, contractions started to get really heavy and Ben, being a physician, checked to see how my cervix was progressing. I was about 2-3 cm. Wow, it sure felt like I had worked more than that! I needed to stay focused and strong…this could go on for a while. The rain continued to pound on the windows. Audrey recommended I get out of bed and start walking around. She knew her stuff, so we set off doing laps, a slow shuffling of my feet, around my small house. Around 10pm, I started contracting really intensely (notice I psychologically, never use the word “pain” during this process rather “a very intense sensation.”). They were coming ever 2 minutes, lasting for 1 minute. The three of us were “oooooopen” chanting together as I hung on Olivia’s neck (a birthing rope would have been nice, but a strong sister was great too) and Audrey pressed down hard on my lower back. After almost an hour of this, I was fatiguing, I couldn’t go on like that for much longer. Ben checked me around 11:30pm I was 6cm. Yes, time to get to the Birth Center. We called my parents and they drove out in the rain to pick up Olivia and I. We were off. Ben and Audrey loaded up the other car with all the birthing bags and our sleeping little boy, Toby. I continued laboring in the car, on hands and knees, with Olivia on “back pressing” duty – we slowly raced to the Birth Center in the storm and arrived at 12:30am. Even as I entered the Birth Center I was still focusing on the contractions which were still coming every 2 minutes. We went into the warmed up front room, the familiar room that Toby was born in just 2 years earlier. Kel, our midwife was GREAT! She could see we had been doing well and the birthing team was on it. She took my vitals, checked the baby’s heart rate and offered to let us go about what we were doing, since it was going so well. I continued walking around, hanging on whoever was closest, mostly Ben by this time, during contractions, which were becoming almost unbearable (I found myself pounding Ben’s back when it got super intense). I was getting exhausted. I remember saying, “I can’t do this anymore.” Ben saw it in my eyes and recommended that I lay down and try to rest. The next contraction came with a tremendous wave of intensity. I must of sounded like a cow, I called out, “GET KEL!” The baby was crowning. Kel, took control. She and I focused into each other…she said to work with her to avoid tearing (I had a 3rd degree tear with Toby and didn’t want a repeat with this one). She said to pant, by breathing in shallow, quick breaths, everyone in the room did just that. The head came out, “we have the umbilical chord around the baby’s neck. Don’t push.” I waited, the chord was loose, and with a gentle push, the baby danced under the chord and into this world. It was 1:23am… 53 intense minutes after arriving at the Birth Center. Kel told me, “pick up your baby.” I grabbed the slippery little one and put her on my chest. She made a great sweet little cry, healthy, pink and alert. Ben says, “who are you?” as he looked between her modestly closed legs…it’s a GIRL!” We decided to name her Coral Sierra, a bit of ocean and a bit of mountains. She is an Aquarius after all and born during a great storm. She latched on, started to nurse, the placenta was delivered and there were no tears (well, a super small one that didn’t require stitches). We bonded, celebrated, and admired our little girl. I bathed and we rested. Grandma held Coral in the same rocking chair by the same fire that she had held Toby after his birth. But this time I slept in the bed nearby instead of spending 5 hours in the hospital getting stitched up. Ben took a shift and let grandma sleep in the back room while he fell asleep in the rocking chair, with his new little girl on his chest. Around 6am, Toby, who had been sleeping throughout the entire birth, woke up and felt at home in the Birth Center. He pitter pattered around playing with familiar toys from all of my prenatal visits. By 7am we were all ready to go home! The sunrise was gorgeous with the storm clouds passing and reflecting orange and pink…welcoming the new life.
Written by Ben: Father
Coral Sierra entered the world at 1:23am on 2/4/08. Mama started contracting at about 4pm. The crew of Grandma Gin, Grandpa Rob, Auntie Olivia, Auntie Auda, and Papa helped out as she rapidly moved Coral along. At 12:30am, we arrived at the birth center 6 cm dilated, and 53 minutes later Coral was born. We all rested until the sun rose and were back home by 7am for celebration and rest. Much love to you all!Love, Ben, Rosie, Toby, and Coral
Written by Robert and Virginia Gleser: Grandpa and Grandma
It was a dark and stormy night that the princess chose to make her grand entrance. During the Super Bowl the family watched enthralled while the teams battled it out, making history playing one of the more exciting well played games everrrrrr. Meanwhile her highness watched from behind her chair which she used to lean on and support her while she integrated her contractions. Everyone was involved in the game while occasionally noticing the early labor. Grandma Ginn or Nana [Toby’s new and probably permanent name for G ma] played with Toby taking in short snatches of the game when Toby liked seeing the ball passed down the field. When the game dramatically ended we all noticed that Rose was 2 cm. dilated and rushing from 8 to 10 minutes apart. R and G decided to head to Audrey’s for a nap while Audrey and Olivia stayed on watch with Rose and Ben. At 11:50, we received the call that Rose was 5 cm. and coming on. We hopped in the car and onto the empty freeways, arriving at their house in 15 minutes picking up the rain when we neared their home. Rose and Olivia rode in our roomy van and Ben with Toby and Audrey rode in the Prius to the birthing center. The midwife, Kell [short for Kelly], was on hand to greet us, warming up the comfortable, homey room and making it cozy, the same room where Toby was delivered almost 2 years earlier. The rain beat down and the wind blew as the low continued to move over Ca. When Kell checked her, Rose was at 6 cm and coming on nicely. Before long she was crowning and a few minutes later Coral Sierra made her appearance. The cord was loosely around her neck and with Rose breathing in short pants, Kell eased the cord over her body and she danced smoothly and gracefully into Mamma Rose’s arms. She let out a sweet cry and turned a rosy pink. She knew how to suck from the start. What a gentle and serene presence she has. She even had a few smiles to pass out to her adoring family. Big brother, Toby, slept peacefully throughout the night in a familiar place. When he awoke, he wanted to explore the hallways, see his baby pictures on the wall and play with the toys that he knows well from Rose’s pre natal visits. Unlike Toeies birth B and R were able to relax and enjoy their newly born angel. After four hours of rest , the midwife’s assistant checked out mom and baby, pronounced everyone fit and able, so we loaded up the cars and brought everyone home to play with the baby, rest and eat scrumptious meals. It was early morning as the sun was making its appearance on a sparkling, clear, blue-sky day, the storm clouds far off to the East billowing on the horizon. Ben buried the placenta under the Coral tree in the front yard and Jasmine, Toby’s godmother, brought bean soup for Momma Rose and crew. Toby and Coral exchanged gifts. Toby loved playing with his tinker toy set and ABC puzzle and he gave Coral a bracelet of red and pink hearts with mirrors. When you ask Toby who gave him the gifts, he points to Coral. How sweet is that? Last night everyone slept well, catching up from an exciting night on the town with Coral Sierra. Much love and warm hugs and kisses, Ginn and Robert