The Birth of Benjamin John Wannamaker
The Birth of Benjamin
(Edited to suite a more broad audience. Hope everyone enjoys! )
It was Saturday evening Jan 1st 2011 around 5pm. Tucker & I were hanging out in the living room. I began to have a normal, painless Brampton Hicks contraction. At the “peak” of this contraction I felt & heard a strange “Pop” down low in my belly. I sat there for a second wondering what appendage on our baby had just bumped hard enough against me that I felt it like that! I casually mentioned this to Tucker & he asked if my water bad broken. I thought, “No way, I would’ve felt that (in terms of wetness)!” A few minutes later I got off the couch & realized that indeed my water HAD broken (or so I thought, lol.). Tucker & I got into gear & started prepping for the fact that tonight was the night!
Around 5:30 or so I had a mildly painful contraction followed by a couple more over the next hour. These contractions were mildly painful- but I could tell that these were not strong enough to be going anywhere. Sure enough around 6pm my contractions pretty much stopped all together. I started trying various positions, getting alone into a room by myself, listening to soft music- everything. Things just stopped. I began to feel discouraged because I knew this meant I was not really in effective, active labor.
Around 10:45pm after having less than 10 mild contractions since 5:30, we decided to head to bed. Tucker was a great encourager to me against my obvious disappointment that things hadn’t progressed into full blown labor. We texted our midwife, Laura, and told her what was going on & that we’d keep her posted throughout the night.
I crawled into bed & as I was adjusting myself to lay down an all too familiar feeling began to creep up- a REAL contraction. One that had a start, a peak, pain involved & a slow decline to a finish. I looked at Tucker in surprise & announced, “That was the real deal!” We decided not to look into it too much and still try to get some sleep. As I went to get off the bed another contraction hit, followed by another & another- all within 12 minutes!
It became clear, very quick that this wasn’t going to stop & in fact, was only going to keep picking up QUICKLY. Tucker texted the midwife a few times throughout that 15 minute period. His text conversation went something like this: 10:45pm: “we are going to bed”. 10:50pm: “we think something might be starting”. 10:55pm: “ummm things seem to be going quite quick now”. 11:00pm: “I would really feel more comfortable if you came now!!”. :)
While we waited for Laura to arrive Tucker got the birth pool squared away & I got in, broken foot and all. It felt GREAT to get in the hot water. I LOVE hot water when I am in labor! I began to breath slowly & rhythmically through each contraction, but felt a little overwhelming and surprising that they were coming so close together & I was feeling nauseous after each one, already.
Laura arrived & got right to business. She began by checking my vitals & the babys heart tones & then got busy setting up all her gear. Tucker was great, he would help Laura some & be with me a lot, helping me any way he could through contraction after quickly-coming contraction!
For about an hour I labored in the birth pool breathing (okay so maybe more like moaning & sometimes whining) through each contraction & trying to remember to stay relaxed everywhere else in my body while the contraction took over. We told Laura that we thought we would deliver on the bed this time (we did a “land birth” with Addie and waterbirth with Thomas). She got the bed all ready to go & then came into the room & said, “Okay Julie, lets get moved to the bed.” I remember thinking it was too soon to move to the bed, because I had only been in the birth pool for about an hour & I was *sure* I would be in labor for many more hours. I breathlessly said, “Not yet, only the for the birth.” A silent moment passed & Laura said, “If you want to have this baby on the bed, you need to start thinking about moving.” Oh! I get it now, this really IS going THIS fast! So after a couple more contractions, I hobbled using both Laura & Tucker as crutches, to the bed.
The bed felt nice. I didn’t think I would like laboring there in this late stage of labor when the pool was only 10 feet away, but I actually did enjoy the change to scenery & feeling of the contractions, at first. However, once I was on the bed things really picked up. My contractions began to get closer together & more powerful. I was feeling like I couldn’t “keep it together” in these contractions & at the peak of them I would fight internally the desire to panic.
Tucker was fantastic, he would press against my forehead during the contraction, which really brought me back to my “center”. He would press against my back to help relieve some of the pressure there as well, meanwhile talking to me, breathing with me, and being a constant reminder on how to get through each contraction. I didn’t want to talk to anyone in-between the contractions & a few times the feeling of nausea turned into vomiting between contractions. I knew this meant I was getting close. I couldn’t believe I was this far into labor though. It hadn’t been but just over an hour since I was feeling discouraged that labor wasn’t happening & heading to bed.
As I was laying on the bed, each contraction began to change from just painful to this mix of pain & pressure, overwhelming pressure. This was a pressure unlike I had felt in any of my other labors & it seemed to encompass my entire pelvis. Laura checked me to find that my water had actually NOT broken, as we had thought it had earlier (one layer of the sack had, causing a small trickle of water, but the bag in & of itself was still very much intact). It was bulging, pressing hard in my uterus during each contraction. I began to fear the contraction that was to come, not sure if I could handle another one with that kind of pressure.
Both Tucker & Laura were continuously talking to me. As I tried to fight against the feeling taking over me, they tried to encourage me to welcome it, let it encompass me. I tried to take their advice, but I had never experienced labor in this speed, with this intensity before & It was kicking my butt!
I wanted the pressure to stop so I asked Laura to break my bag of waters. I NEVER want intervention- but this time, I did. We tried for a couple contractions to break the bag, to no success- then finally- POP! It broke, yes. The relief I felt was unbelievable and for just a moment I thought I could escape the pain I was in with this labor. That was until the next contraction began & a whole new pressure began- the pressure of the baby heavy into my pelvis, ready to be born! I instinctively hopped up in a sitting upright position & began to speak LOUDLY of the discomfort I was in. I couldn’t figure out if I wanted to bottle up or just push through the pain & get this baby out. My body didn’t really let me choose as it was pushing for me.
Benjamin’s head was out in a flash & as my body kept bearing down for me, Laura was instructing me to wait because he was coming out in a complicated presentation (hand next to his face) & his cord was around his neck. She had to try & get his cord from around his next, while working with a hand that was blocking her ability. She was able to free the cord & Benjamin came flying out- all 9.5 pounds of him!
Nothing can describe what that moment feels like. The relief, the empowerment, the accomplishment, the pure joy & gratitude. It’s such a mix, a cocktail of the most amazing & relieving feelings all put together at once. Part of you is in awe at yourself that you just did that, most of you is feeling like you never want to do it again, yet you feel strong and powerful. I held onto my SON & cried tears of joy and of love & I began to marvel at all his features. I gave & took kisses from my husband & helped my kids take in their new baby brother.
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