This story actually started about 40 hours prior to Wyatt’s actual birth.
I woke up on Saturday (Nov. 5) morning at around 7:30AM - like any other Saturday really - ready to pee for the 5th time in an 8 hour period! The night before I wasn't really feeling quite right - I had some cramping most of the night and had a stomach ache waking me up off an on in my sleep. As I walked to the bathroom, I felt a little dribble but didn’t think anything of it. I went to the bathroom and most likely thought about what we’d do that day – I knew Ty wanted to do a few things around the house, and I was probably going to do the same – clean up a few of the baby things that were still lingering around our living room, family room, laundry room, etc. I also knew our day wouldn’t have a proper start if we didn’t make our weekend trip to Starbucks – and I was hungry. As I finished up in there, I noticed a little pink on the TP and thought, hmmm, maybe something is going on in there. The words from my Doula, Kristin rang in my ears – “if you think you are maybe seeing signs of labor, try your best to ignore it until it’s no longer subtle otherwise you may scare those ‘signs’ away.” I told myself to try to relax as I went back into the bedroom to tell Ty – well, wake him and then tell him – that I think something was going on. He groggily acknowledged what I was saying and I crawled back into bed. As I laid there, I felt a few contractions that were different than the Braxton’s I had felt the last week. I realized that I think I was having them throughout the night here and there, but thought it was just a stomach ache. I decided I’d get up and take a shower – and as I made my way there, there was small gush of water… and then another. I knew it. It was happening. This was definitely my water breaking. As I got into the shower, there was more “evidence” of labor on the horizon. My midwifery team had told me that even if I’m not sure, but think my water has broken, to call them and let them know. I left a message on the pager line and within minutes I had a call from Chris, the midwife on call, who told me that labor would probably start within the next 24 hours and that it was really important for me to drink a lot of water, and rest – because there was a very good chance I wouldn’t be sleeping that night. I had also talked to Kristin, who told me to go about my day – and have fun. Make memories.
So we did.
I showered, he showered. We hopped in the car, went to Starbucks and did the usual – he read the paper, while I read my “news” (this is what Ty calls it) on my phone (this involves me scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Hautelook). As we walked in, we saw our dear friend Ashley – who was supposed to be coming over to our house the next day with dinner. I knew that wasn’t going to be happening, but didn’t want to tell her about the “action” just yet – definitely not until labor was full speed ahead. She even said, “we really want to do dinner tomorrow – so don’t go into labor just yet!” My water continued to gush while we were there – and we finally decided we should head out. Before we did, we took a picture of me right outside on our way to the car. I remember a weird guy making a comment and trying to push his stomach out – saying, “I can do that too!” Random.
We went to the store – and I remember telling Ty I felt like I was 14. The pad I had to wear (TMI?) was ridiculous. I mean, huge. I remember telling him, “I can hear my mom right now. ‘You’re the only one that knows it’s there.’ Please. Me and everyone else. You swear you can’t see that I have a matress between my legs?” He promised me that he couldn’t. Good boy.
We walked the dogs. I took a nap. Ty cleaned the garage. We went to Burger Master. We walked the Alderwood Mall. Contractions were there – but they were super mild and very manageable. And I was OK with that.
After taking another nap, I woke up and decided I should probably tell my mom and Annie that things were moving – just out of courtesy. I’d hate to wake them up at 3 AM after they went to bed at midnight having no clue what was going on. They may want to go to bed early. That was a pointless justification. What ended up happening was just the opposite. I put them on high alert – that’s what I did. Neither of them slept. When I told my mom, she freaked out, just as I expected. She was worried because she was having one of her girlfriends up for the night – “I would have canceled if I would have known!” This is exactly why I didn’t call her earlier. There was nothing to really report, nothing for her to do. By the end of the conversation she was better – even telling me she had a “Wyatt moment” the night before, having a feeling something was going to happen. This was hard for her to admit, I’m sure – since she’s sworn from day one this baby was coming on 11/11/11. When I called Annie, she was so cute. She was so excited and in true Annie-fashion, had a ton of questions. I loved it. She said she appreciated me calling and was going to take a shower and get things ready on her end for what we both thought would be a middle of the night wake up call and drive to my house and eventually the birth center.
By about 10pm contractions were coming stronger. Ty and I attempted to watch a movie but that was pointless. I winced through contractions while Ty belly laughed to a movie I can barely recollect. It was Bad Bosses. And the parts I did see seemed stupid. I said it.
At about 11:30 we attempted to go to bed. By we, I mean me – Ty was in bed and asleep, no issues there. I on the other hand, laid there through contractions until about 1AM. I couldn’t take it. They were about 4-6 min apart, lasting about 45 seconds at this point. I got out of bed, went downstairs, and set up camp. I had the fire going, my music playing, my iPad charging, and candles blazing. I labored down there alone, in the candle light until about 5AM. I thought about what my body was doing. Our Doula had given us this binder with some images of what early first stage labor looked like and that was me all the way. I paced in the kitchen and living room with each contraction – or wave. I tried to think about them like waves. They’d start, they’d peak, they’d end. They continued to come on and at one point they were about 5 minutes apart and lasting over a minute. Then they started to spread out a bit – and by about 7AM, they were practically gone – coming on every 20 – 30 minutes.
I continued to try to get things moving. I walked, I bounced on my yoga ball, I took a shower, I did my hair… notta. I talked to Kristin and she told me to take a nap and take advantage of the break and she was going to call Chris. I slept from about 7:45-10:30AM. I had a handful of contractions as I napped, but again they were about 20 minutes apart. When I woke up, Kristin told me that she had talked to Chris and that they wanted to try to get things moving. We talked to Chris and made our way to the birth center. When we arrived, Chris quickly said, “Yah. You aren’t in labor. You look way too good. You look like you are about to hit up Bell Square.” After talking through the events of the last 24 hours, she explained that if we don’t end up getting labor going in the next 3 hours, we’ll need to go to the hospital and get help – aka, interventions. Not what I wanted. So I told her – do what we can and let’s see what happens.
At 12:30PM she swept my cervix a few times and told me that his head was “right there” – she even asked, “does it feel like you have a bowling ball between your legs?!” I thought that was funny, because I had no idea he was that low. She told us that my cervix was 75% effaced, and that I was about 1.5cm dilated. She said this was good – that I had worked hard the night before. She sent us over to Super Supplements to pick up this black/blue stuff – I can’t remember what exactly – but it was herbal I believe. Oh, and she also prescribed “nipple stim” – good times.
By the time we were in the car heading home, within minutes contractions started. I did one “round” of “nipple stim” as a joke in the car. Ty and I both were cracking up – “what if someone sees me??!!” After the one round, sure enough, a strong contraction came. They kept coming. All the way home. 4 minutes apart or so and getting up there to the 1 minute mark. On our way and in between contractions, my mom had texted that she was on her way to the house, and Annie said she was making a few meals for us (soooooooooooooo nice!) but would be over soon.
When we got home at 1:15PM we thought it would be good to take the dogs on a quick walk. About 100 steps into the walk, we quickly learned my tagging along would not make this quick at all. The contractions were stronger, and I was having to stop with each one. I told Ty I was going to turn around and head home and maybe make something to eat since I hadn’t had anything since the bowl of cereal earlier that morning. In between contractions I made myself an egg and toast. I remember eating it in 2 minutes before another contraction started. My mom got there right in the middle of one and came over to me and gave me a hug. I remember crying – not because of the pain, but because my mama was there. You know how it goes. You just need your mom. And she was there. I didn’t realize how much I needed her until I saw her. The same thing happened when Annie came. I couldn’t help but cry when I saw her. My two girls were there – I can do this now. I talked to Kristin on the phone and she listened through a few of my contractions before I just said “come now – I need you to come now – I am having another one – come now” – click. She was there in minutes. And I was grateful. The contractions were close and strong now. So strong in fact, I threw up – twice. Big throw up’s. I couldn’t help it.
At around 3:30PM, Kristin had me talk to Chris on the phone. She listened through about 2 contractions before she said, “Let’s have you come on in to the birth center now.” I remember saying “Thank you so much for saying that”. Then I realized –the car ride. Oh no. How the hell was I going to do that. With each contraction I was moving around – I was upright. I was getting my hips rubbed, my hair stroked. I wasn’t sitting still, strapped into a car.
We got packed up, and our caravan was ready. My mom was in the back of our car riding with Ty and I, Annie was in hers, and Kristin was in hers. As I got in Kristin said “One rule – you have to have your seat belt on at all times.” Ugh. Moments before our cars took off, another contraction reared it’s ugly head. I shot out of the car and leaned against Ty’s car in the drive way. As it finished, Kristin was there and said, “OK – that can’t happen again. You can’t do that on the side of the road.” Damn!
The car ride was miserable. For me, yes. And for Ty and my mom. I moaned loudly through each contraction. Low, loud moans. It was all I could do to get through each “wave”. My mom would put a wash cloth on my head through each one and I’d moan. I only opened my eyes once during that car ride. Through tears, I looked over at Ty and told him “we are meeting our baby today” – it hit me. This was happening. Ty has since told me that the car ride was so annoying because it was like every Sunday driver was out and about – nowhere to be, just driving slowly on the highway – there to drive him crazy.
When we got to the birth center at 4:30PM, I saw Jessica, our birth photographer waiting for us. Chris quickly came out to walk me into the birth suite where she had me lay down so she could check me. She wanted to check me during a few contractions and when she did, she realized the bad news. I had made progress effacing, but nothing had changed relative to my dilation. I was still at a 1.5. (She did say 1.5 to 2, but I learned later, she couldn’t see herself telling me the exact same thing she said hours earlier.) Typically, they’d send me home at this point. 1.5 cm is nothing and we had a long way to go. Chris just couldn’t see herself doing that. Both Kristin and Chris were shocked that I was only at 1.5. They both were sure, based on the intensity of my contractions, that I was at least at 8cm dilated. I didn’t have time to be discouraged. I honestly didn’t even put it together. All I could think was “I don’t have time to care about this – I am about to have another contraction.” She said she wanted me to get into the tub and hoped that from there things would continue at the pace that they were and hopefully my cervix would catch up with my contractions.
|Photographs courtesy of www.onetreephotography.com|
The tub was amazing. I instantly felt relaxed. Throughout this whole time I barely opened my eyes. I would only open them to move positions, or if Kristin had something important to tell me where she’d say, “Jordan, look at me”. I would then track the room with my eyes to find hers. I stayed in the tub for a while. I tried a few different positions outside of the tub too – the toilet (which was by far the hardest position, but I knew it was the one that worked the best in getting Wyatt to come down fast), the birth ball (which I absolutely hated – which again, indicates “it’s workin!”), standing, laying down (totally painful and completely inefficient), back to the bathroom, and then back again in the tub. Everyone expected to be there while. Why wouldn’t they? I was at the beginning of a very long dilation road when I arrived.
When I went into the bathroom the first time, my mom came in there with me. I had a contraction in there and started to come out. Kristin got up out of her chair outside of the bathroom door and said, “Nope – back in there. You are going to have a few contractions in there.” She replaced my mom and in she came. She had me turn on the toilet backwards and face the wall. When the first contraction came she massaged my back and got me through it. I could feel him move down. We did another. I hated it. But I knew it worked. When I came out of the bathroom, I saw the most amazing scene. The room was lit with tea lights and was exactly what I had pictured in my mind. It looked so pretty. The candles were lit, my music was playing. It was beautiful.
I tried a few different positions on the bed, I knew they weren’t working nearly as well as the bathroom. I can remember a contraction ending on the bed and shooting up and b-lining to the bathroom. I can remember saying as I sat on the toilet that I needed Kristin in there NOW. She was there and we did it. I got through a few more intense contractions there as they heated up the tub. I believe that it was this position that really got things moving.
When I got back into the tub it was probably around 6PM. Ty offered to step out and get Kristin a sandwich from Jimmy John’s – getting the green light from the team that he had plenty of time and wouldn’t miss much. (I had no idea he had gone anywhere.) I can remember being in the tub and getting to that place – “I can’t do this anymore, I can’t do this anymore, I can’t do this anymore.” I remember saying it out loud at one point and Annie saying “But you are doing it – with each contraction you say it is harder and harder, but you keep doing it.” Kristin would tell me that what I was feeling was just my baby. I can remember that during a contraction at this point, I started to panic. It was so intense, I could feel my breathing quicken. I could feel my face crumble. Kristin would remind me to not let the contraction happen to me – that I needed to take advantage of it and use it to bring my baby farther down. Before I knew it, I heard my sounds change. My low moan during a contraction quickly turned into a grunt. I couldn’t physically help it. I knew something had changed. I could hear the sounds in the room change too. I was hearing whispers. Another contraction came, and the sounds continued to go from moans to grunts. Chris soon came over to me and said, “Sweetie – what are you feeling?” I told her that I felt pressure. The words are few at this point – I had zero energy to elaborate. She checked me and told me that she could feel my anterior lip (I think) and that it was in the way and needing to be moved – which she did. I felt nothing. She then continued to check me and said, “OK, miss Jordan – you are complete and can push if you’d like. We’re going to have this baby!” The sounds in the room were amazing. I could hear my mom and Annie – I could actually HEAR their smiles - and their tears of excitement. Ty was behind me – and I couldn’t see him. I did a couple of pushes on my back but it just didn’t feel like it was the most efficient position and I hated being that far away from Ty. We decided I would get up into the squat position. I can remember turning towards my team and seeing smiles and excitement. I couldn’t help but feel the energy coming from them. And let me point out that my mom had a flashlight aimed “down there” the whole time I pushed. This cracks me up. Ty came right in front of me and we locked wrists. With each push, I could feel an enormous amount of pressure, but it didn’t hurt. It was so not what I expected. I pushed for a total of 28 minutes. I was a 1.5 at 4:30 and in just over 2 hours, I was at a 10. It was amazing. I have to say this – when his head came out, it was like nothing happened. I felt no pain, other than a little stretching. I honestly thought I had given birth to Beatlejuice. Remember that part? When his head shrunk? It felt like a pushed out a lolly pop. Kristin told me right then – “That was the hardest part.” And I thought – “wow, that was so not hard”. It was nothing compared to the contractions. Within moments he literally slid out of me so fast, he broke his own umbilical cord. He was swimming around behind me and we had to fish him out. Chris grabbed him and brought him up out of the water and handed him to me. And my life changed forever. My life changed forever at 7:21PM on November 6th, 2011.
I remember saying “I am your Mama. Hi sweet boy, I am your Mama. Happy birthday. I love you so much.” I noticed his big, bright, alert eyes first. They were amazing. He was amazing. He was ours. We made him. I found Ty and I remember saying “I did it – can you believe it? I did it.” I looked around the room to find my mom and Annie. I remember looking at them and saying “I just had a fucking baby!” I just couldn’t believe it was over. I have never been so happy. It was the best moment of my life. Our baby was here and I did it. I did what I had hoped I could do. I did what I prepared for. I did what so many people told me was a long shot. I will tell all women who are interested in natural child birth – you can do it too.
I will never forget the connection I felt to Ty as I held our baby. I may have pushed that baby out, but I couldn’t have done it without him. During the labor, I knew that Ty felt a little lost. I was surrounded by women that knew what to do. Ty would have done anything to take the pain away from me – I know that. But he couldn’t. His role in this was so much bigger than he knows. I know he was nervous. I know he felt helpless (which is exactly why he stepped out to get Kristin a sandwich – he knew he could contribute by getting our Doula a sandwich – it was the least he could do). But when it came time to really get this baby out, he was exactly where I needed him. We needed to do that together.
And we did.
And there’s my mom. Flashlight holder. She was amazing. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it was for her to watch me in pain. I can’t imagine what it was like to watch her baby, have a baby. She was so proud of me – I have never seen her smile that big, or cry that hard. My mom’s blog post on her take on this birth experience says it all. I love that she wrote that to me. I love that she was there. She saw her first grandbaby take his first breaths. No one can ever take that away from her.
I will never forget seeing Annie’s face. I knew exactly what she was feeling. The emotions I felt the day she gave birth to her daughter were by far more intense than those I felt on this day. To see someone go through labor and for that to be your best friend, is unexplainable. She didn’t have to say a word. Her face told me everything I needed to know. She gets it now – she now knows the pride I felt for her when she had Ali. She knows how amazing that experience was for me and how honored I felt to be a part of it. She knows how much I love her and how on that day, I had no words because I was so overwhelmed with what has just happened..
|Photographs courtesy of www.onetreephotography.com|
Wyatt Brady was born at 7:21PM. We spent the next few hours bonding with our new son, and before we knew it we were packed up and in the car heading home to our own bed at 10:30PM. I was literally in my bed, with Wyatt next to me in his co-sleeper just after 11PM – just over three hours after I gave birth.
Wyatt’s birth was so many things. It was hard. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was the biggest thing I’ve ever done. It was the most empowering thing I’ve ever accomplished. It was the first time I really trusted and believed in myself and my body. I would do it again tomorrow. I couldn’t have done it without the team of people that were there. Everyone played such an integral part in getting me to this place. Our midwifery team was fantastic. I will forever sing the praises of the Eastside Birth Center. Our Doula, Kristin Dibeh, was absolutely critical. She may have been hired to do a job that day, but she has since made a place in our family. I will always feel indebted to her.
Mostly, I will forever be grateful to Ty, for being everything I could ever hope for in a partner throughout our pregnancy, and knowing that during what I believe to be our defining moments, we came together as a family – of three.