Hannah, the night you were born, the sky was lit up bright pink. This is a picture I took from our front porch when the Doula, Kathy, showed up, 1.5 hours before your were born:
I was in a huge hurry since your mom was in a lot of pain in labor so I quickly snapped this picture when I opened the door to let Kathy in.
We had your baby shower on 12/5 at Liz and Adam’s house. Liz had decorated with some balloons and she gave them to us when the shower was over. The balloons stayed inflated much longer than we expected. As your birthday neared, we noticed that some of the balloons were falling. We thought it would be magical if they were able to predict your birthday. We waited and watched the balloons…just two days before you were born, the last balloon was just a few inches above the ground:
It actually turns out that the green balloon did fall on 1/24. What a miracle that it lasted exactly from our baby shower until you were born!
You were originally due to be born on 1/14. After that date came and went, we were starting to get nervous that you would come too late for us to do a home birth. Secretly we were also happy because if you were born after 1/20 you would be an Aquarian and if you were born after 1/23 you would be a Dragon, both things we thought would be cool but of course we were going to love you no mater what sign you were!
To help speed things along, mom started taking some homeopathic medicines, called blue and black cohosh, and had an induction acupuncture treatment on 1/23. I guess it worked because by that night she was having regular, menstrual like contractions about 5-7 minutes apart. It was the beginning of labor and a very good sign that you were coming soon!
The morning of your birthday mom’s contractions were coming very frequently at just 3 minutes apart. We called the midwife, Sue Baelen, to come over and examine mom. Sue checked mom and approximated that she was 3 cm dilated but she still felt that the labor could move slowly so she didn’t want us to get impatient. When she left, mom and I went for a walk around the block to help keep labor moving along. Then we felt tired since we didn’t get much sleep the night before and we laid down to take a nap. At 4:15 I woke up to mom shouting that her water broke. It had gushed out of her during a powerful contraction. The bed was soaking as were her pants. She ran to the shower as I texted the midwife and doula that mom’s water had broke.
They both came rushing over shortly after I texted. Mom was in the shower, sitting on a birthing ball, moaning loudly during her painful contractions. I tried my best to help her but she was managing the pain very well and had a good attitude about it. I felt that the best thing I could do was just stay near by in case she needed anything. When Sue and Lauren arrived, they asked mom to feel for your head and she could feel it already in the birth canal. It was a very exciting moment since that meant that she was fully dilated and that the labor was progressing rapidly. You were already well on your way to coming out. Now mom could get into the birthing tub we had set up in the small room on the second floor.
Mom got into the birth tub around 5:40pm, just after Kathy arrived. Shortly after that, Nile, the third midwife arrived. Hannah, at this point your head was visible but not fully out. Mom did a great job laboring in the tub and each contraction pushed your little head a little bit further down and birth canal and closer to coming out.
At 7pm I decided to get in the tub with mom. I thought that I might be able to help support her in ways she couldn’t on her own. Maybe in a new position her body would make more progress and push you out! I got in the tub and held mom up while she had some very strong and painful contractions. At 7:30 I heard the midwives say that your head was almost out. Then mom gave a little push during a strong contraction and she was able to pass your head. That was a major milestone of the birth and we all knew that your little body would soon be entirely out. At 7:31 you came out and they pulled you out of the water and handed you to mom. We were both so happy and relieved that the birth had gone so well! It’s never easy to birth a child but your mom made it look easy by how well she handled all the pain and stress that accompanies birth. All the midwives were very proud of mom and thought she did a great job.
After we left the tub, we took you in our arms, up to our bed. You were still attached to the umbilical cord but the placenta was now outside of mom. When we got into the bed, Lauren and Sue did a quick check up on you to make sure you were healthy.
You were very strong and healthy and we thought you were just perfect. Your skin had a nice reddish pink color and you were very alert. After the quick check up, I cut the umbilical cord. Now you were 100% on your own for the first time in your life!
You had great instincts and quickly showed interest in breast feeding. We were glad that you took to that so naturally since some babies have a hard time getting it going.
Once everyone was convinced you were healthy and were bonding well with mom, the whole birthing team cleaned up the house and then left us to be alone with you. Even though we were exhausted from the labor we were very excited to be with you and also a little nervous about our new roles as parents.