Oh Felix, I did not know what to expect going into labor with you. Your sister’s births were so different from one another. I daydreamed constantly of your birth and how it would unfold. Some dreams were easy and light and other dreams, I would let the fear creep in. I knew our process would fall somewhere on the spectrum between birth one and two, I just wasn’t quite sure how pain and beauty would choose to share their space this time.
You were born at 11:53 PM, 16 days before your due date. To be honest, I was more than ready to meet you. I knew you were going to be big. I felt your every move in a different way than I felt both of your sisters. You were measuring large and so was I... Mama was ready to push you out.
You were just shy of 38 weeks. We were in the midst of selling and buying a house. We were packing up and moving in. Everything was simultaneously chaotic and hopeful. It was exciting and scary.
At what would be my last appointment, my blood pressure was high. I figured it was stress from all the moving. I went to the hospital the next day to recheck, fully expecting to be sent back home. The pressure was still high, so we needed to induce.
I went home to gather my thoughts and to get things in order. You are baby number three, so we didn’t even have diapers or a crib for you yet. Your car seat was collecting dust and buried in the basement. The House was stacked high with boxes. I tried to push these nagging thoughts out of my mind and get ready for what was about to happen.
We headed to the hospital around 3pm. It felt strange to be walking into triage in zero pain and in the middle of the day. We checked into our room and were introduced to our nurses.
Emily was the midwife on call that weekend, and it couldn’t have been more perfect. I actually met her for the first time at a music festival over the summer. I knew she was fun, liked good music and was really good at what she did. All of which are essential qualities to have when helping to deliver a baby.
I’d never experienced a chemically induced labor before, and the thought of not being in control of the process was terrifying. I’m a believer in the idea that fear intensifies pain. It’s easy to let fear control the process of labor. I also know that synthetic contractions produced by medicine are more painful and I just didn’t know if I’d have what it took to go drug free this time.
I decided to write down some of my favorite labor and birth quotes to stick around the room as reminders of what I was capable of. The induction started at 4pm.
I was given the choice of cytotec or cervadil. I knew I’d be the most comfortable with the option to move around freely, so I went with cytotec. We sat for an hour to let the medication dissolve and we ate some dinner. Now this is where my memories start to get hazy.
I am a planner. I like to have everything in order before I move along in a process, so the spontaneity of the situation, mixed with the uncertainty and inability to control what was happening was very challenging for me. I was told that inductions could take hours or even days.
I remember chatting with my nurse about her life growing up on a farm, when the contractions started to intensify. They weren’t painful enough to stop having conversations, but the sound of the football game on the tv was moderately irritating. I asked if I could lay down and try to rest for a little bit. I went to recline the bed and I heard a popping sound, followed by the sensation of hot liquid leaking out of my body.
This was the turning point for me. I was no longer afraid of the process. I was determined to get through it, hopefully without pitocin. There was no doubt that labor was underway. We walked the hallway and around the room reading the inspirational quotes I’d posted, while the nurses set the room up with lights, and music, ran the bath, and diffused essential oils.
In between contractions, I posted pictures to Facebook and Instagram. I texted friends and family that you would be coming soon. Shortly after 9pm, the contractions were getting intense. Your father had been diligently applying pressure to my hips but the contractions were finally pushing back, so I headed to the tub.
There has been nothing so comforting for me as a hot tub of water during contractions. I had fully intended to push you out in the water, but high blood pressure prevented me from another water birth this time. Again, I pushed those lingering thoughts away. Things seemed to be progressing quickly. There had been no mention of pitocin. Things were good.
My mama, your grandma had asked to be present for your birth. I had a flood of mixed emotions around this, because I knew how intense things can get. Physically, emotionally and mentally. I had also hired a photographer to capture the entire experience. Being that this was an induction, I had no idea when to gauge the timeline. I didn’t know when to send out the call for them to come. It was 10pm.
I decided to err on the safe side. Once they arrived, my birth party felt complete. Your grandma engaged me in small-talk in between contractions, which I really needed at the time. It helped me to keep the fear at bay and to focus on other things than the start of the next contraction. Nicole, the photographer, spoke about the recent birth of her child, and I was able to draw strength from her experience. Your father, Emily and the nurses encouraged me through each contraction, allowing me to rest, rehydrate and get ready for the next wave of tightness.
There comes a point during labor when things become so intense, you aren’t really able to form sentences, answer questions or know what it is you need or want. My mind was reaching in all different directions. This is the point when having a dedicated team of people to help you through labor becomes essential.
I was reminded to keep my body open, and to relax my face. I was told to keep my noises low and to groan through the pain with intention. I had no idea how far I had progressed or how much time I had left to go. All I knew was that I was tired and I was running out of energy to birth you.
I asked to get out of the tub, thinking that would provide me with some sort of control to gauge the process and see how far I was from being able to push. Being outside of the water was the worst. Every sensation was intensified, and all of the pressure felt heavy and burdensome in addition to painful. I didn’t know what to do or what I wanted to do. How many more contractions did I have left? How was I going to do this unmedicated?
At one point, your father looked me in the eyes and told me to “dig deep”. I know he meant well, but at the time, I wanted to claw his face off. I was too tired to do it though.
I got back in the tub, and the contractions stopped. For a full 5 minutes I had no pain. I was able to gather my thoughts, rest, drink water and get ready for transition. When the next wave of contractions started, they felt different. The pressure felt more purposeful. All of a sudden I had the overwhelming urge to throw up. Except I wasn’t throwing up from my stomach. My body started to involuntarily push during contractions. I had absolutely no control over the sensation. It just happened when it was time to happen.
I still didn’t quite know where I was in my labor. In my mind I still had hours to go. I could sense that Emily understood the familiar low, deep groans that come along with pushing and crowning. She knew it was time to get me out of the tub.
The rest is a whirlwind really. I remember standing, hunched over the bathroom sink. I remember putting my right foot up on a stool. I remember feeling my body push you out slow and controlled. The intensity of everything in the moment met it’s peak, and then suddenly it all stopped. The pressure was gone, and there was silence, and stillness. I looked down, and I saw you, my sweet baby boy. Everything miserable about pregnancy had disappeared. It all made sense and it all felt worth it.
Felix, I have no idea what I did to deserve you. You have brought a whole new meaning to my life. To our lives. To our family. The moment you came out, I couldn’t stop myself from shouting, “I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!”. I was still hunched over the sink, still shaking from the pain, but so overcome with joy and elation.
In that moment, everyone erupted in happy smiles, laughs, tears and relief. It was truly one of the most beautiful moments of my life. I am so glad that we got to experience the start of your life on this Earth together. I’m so glad that I am able to share a birth story with you. Our story.
As always, this is not a full gallery. Just some favorites we decided to share with all of you! <3