The birth of my second son was very rapid and hence the story of his birth is much shorter than my first birth story!
The Birth Story of Zander Thomas
By his mama, Molly M. Remer
Zander Thomas was born swiftly and smoothly at home on Monday, May 29, 2006 at 2:45 a.m. Birth weight: 9lbs 2oz! Length: 21 ¼ inches. Head circumference: 14 ¾ inches. The labor and birth lasted a very intense & surprising total of two hours…
After a few hours of regularly spaced practice contractions during the afternoon of May 28th, I woke at 12:45 a.m. on May 29th finally having some “real” feeling contractions—I had tons of practice contractions throughout my pregnancy with Zander (including four different episodes earlier in May of several hours each with contractions every 5 minutes or so, but not with that real feeling edge to them). When I greeted these contractions in the very early morning, I felt a distantly familiar sharper edge to them and a sort of “sick” feeling as they built and peaked, instead of the gripping tension of practice contractions. I decided I needed to use the bathroom and spent 15 minutes in there considering whether something was really happening or not (loose BM’s made me think I could possibly just be feeling “cramps”!). I was disappointed that I had no “show” or any promising discharge at all ;-) I told the baby that it was okay to come out and we were ready for him. I finally left the bathroom and paced around the kitchen watching the clock on the microwave and wondering if it was too early to wake up Mark. At 1:30 a.m., I woke him up to tell him, “Something is definitely going on!” I got out my birth ball and we worked through about 3 contractions together, chattering excitedly in between about when to call our support people. I told Mark about not seeing any “show” yet and so it might not be the real thing after all—I rubbed my belly and said, “come out blood!,” got up to go to the bathroom and was pleased to see some nice bloody show! I felt pretty hyper and cheerful and was trying to figure out when I could take a shower and so forth. The contractions picked up even more to what seemed like 1 or less minutes apart—we stopped watching the clock after the first three on the birth ball, which had gone from 5 minutes, to 4 minutes, and then 3 minutes. It was like watching a labor in fast forward! I decided there was no time for a shower, but brushed my hair and put it in a ponytail and after two more contractions, asked Mark to run and get my birth shirt and my birth bracelet (from my Blessingway ceremony in April). It was about 2:00 a.m. at this point and we decided to call Mom and my midwife.
I kept wanting to lean on something, but having trouble finding the right height. I was compelled to lean on something though (the recliner was too rocky, the birth ball was too low…). Mark suggested himself :) I hung on him during several back-to-back contractions and realized that I was starting to feel some pushy pressure. I felt like squeezing my legs together, but instead reminding myself to let my legs be open and to be a clear, open channel for birth. I also said, “It’s okay baby, you can come out!” Mom arrived at about this time (approximately 2:15) and shortly after, I dropped to my hands and knees with my head and arms leaning over the birth ball. I quickly decided I felt like I was “standing on my head” and so pushed away the ball and went to straight hands and knees with my head leaning on Mark and his arms around me. I kept saying, “This is MAJOR!” I was pushing a little at peaks of contractions and vocalizing loudly as well as continuing to talk myself down out of feeling out of control with an ongoing chant of, “It’s okay, I’m okay, it’s okay.” I also made a joke about maybe only being 2 centimeters dilated ;)
I felt something drip and asked if it was fluid. Mom said “no” and I pushed again and my water broke with a soft warm gush (Mom said, “now it is!”) I asked if it was clear and it was. It was about 2:30 and I felt pushy in earnest. I soon started to feel some burning and knew the baby was coming soon. Lann woke at this point and joined us in the living room, held by Mom. I heard the midwife’s car pull up at about 2:40 and Zander’s head was fully crowning as she came in (no time for gloves!). I was conscious of letting myself gradually push him out, waiting for each urge instead of pushing through it (I also began to feel a tearing sensation in front). The midwife let me know as I eased out his eyebrows, then eyes, then nose, and entire head and then he blooped out at 2:45 a.m.! I sat down and she passed him around to me. I saw right away that he was a boy, just as seven different dreams had told me prenatally! My sweet new baby was all warm and slippery and covered with blood (me too! Even my feet! The blood was from two labial tears, one sort of inner “split” and the other right next to my previous unrepaired tear. Perineum, normal and intact—I tear the “wrong” way instead. Lucky me :(). Zander cried one small cry as we was being passed to me and then was quiet and snuggly. As he was born, Lann called out, “I like him! I like him!” Zander rooted around and nursed on both sides shortly after birth and the placenta followed spontaneously about 40 minutes after his birth.
This labor and birth literally drove me to my knees with its intensity. I felt a bit like it was a train and I had to hop on and keep up! I really feel I surrendered to the power of the birthing energy and let it flow and carry me along with it. I did not struggle or resist and if I felt the urge to resist, I consciously “doula’ed” myself to let go and be open.
Birth is an incredible experience that makes me feel so good about myself! I have never felt so awesome and powerful as I do as a birth giver—it is such a meaningful experience. I am pleased with my ability to surrender to the energy and power of birth and to finally, “get out of my head” (I am usually much more intellectual than I am instinctual, but that part blessedly shuts down and lets my instincts work during birth!). I feel I truly and authentically trust birth and that that inner knowing was manifested physically in my birth experience.