I have always wanted to birth naturally. My first birth was in a hospital, and I ended up taking the epidural and regretting it immediately. When I found out I was pregnant again, I wanted to make sure I would be cared for by people that would do everything they could to give me the birth I wanted to have. I transferred to Best Start around 30ish weeks and immediately felt at home.
I had fairly intense contractions that would last for several hours over the last 3-4 weeks of my pregnancy, so when I woke up on my due date with contractions I was skeptical. I took a bath, ate some soup, watched a whole season of SNL, and finally my husband insisted it was time to call. I protested between contractions, but Dylan called and Ashley asked us to come in a few hours just to check me and promised she’d set me free if it wasn’t time yet.
When we arrived with my mother in law and our 4 year old daughter, Marleigh, Ashley sent us on a walk to get bagels. I would walk until a contraction hit, then lean into my husband and moan right on the sidewalk. So many people on the street smiled at us, congratulated us- I felt like a traveling birth goddess. After bagels we walked back to the birth center to get checked and at 5 cm I decided to stay. I used the birth ball for a bit and that was heaven. It wasn’t long before I was naked and oblivious, moaning in the tub. My water broke during one of my bathroom trips (on the toilet- how neat of me!) and I felt triumphant. I was doing it!
My husband was the best support to me- calm and strong and always right by my side. Ashley was amazing- I could not have asked for more from my midwife. She gave us the space we needed for Dylan to be my primary support, while also making me feel safe and watched over. I knew she was there with me, but she never took over anything Dylan could do for me. I felt pushy in the tub but felt it was too early, and it was. Ashley checked me and I wasn’t complete. I had to blow instead of push. This was the the most intense part, where I told everyone I was going home and this was just too hard. Ashley, Dylan, and my birth assistant Jessica were all around the tub just talking me through it. When I transitioned I got weepy, shakey and silent and Jessica held my hand. She had the most wonderful look of compassion in her eyes that still makes me tear up.
My daughter would wander in and pet me while I was in the water, and when I got loud she went to my mother in law in the family room. I loved having my daughter there. I had a vision of my family becoming complete together- we knew this would be our last child and I wanted my first child to be as included as possible.
The baby’s heart rate was going down during contractions (though I was in laborland and had no idea at the time) so I had to get out of the tub- which was fine with me because it turned out that I didn’t want to push in the water like I had planned. I needed to be on dry land to get my bearings. At some point Susan came in to check on me, and she asked me how I was doing- which I thought was funny and it gave me some perspective in this moment where I felt like I was losing control- I am so glad she was there. Jessica had to leave and my second birth assistant came- Karly was fabulous. She’s fun! She’s funny! When you need to be stitched up or need help to pee, it helps to have people around you that you like so much you’d have a margarita with them.
We tried so many positions for pushing, and I was starting to get overwhelmed with how intense the pressure was in my bottom. Ashley had me get on the birth stool (which I had thought was my absolute last choice during our childbirth classes but LOVED using) and pushed my son out. I looked around me and my daughter was crying tears of joy, proclaiming “my brother is born!” over and over, and my mother in law crying, and my husband holding me- it was exactly the vision I had in my mind. My family was all together to welcome Emerson.
May 25, my due date and Emerson’s birth date, happens to be his namesake Ralph Waldo Emerson’s birth date as well. I think that’s magical.
– with so much love-
Jessica, Dylan, Marleigh and Emerson