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Ziah Storm 1 mo old

1 mo old Ziah Storm in 2008 

 A contraction woke me up at 5:30am on Friday, January 4th, 2008 (I was exactly 39 weeks along). This one felt pretty powerful already and I needed to breathe and moan through it. Casey woke up and was listening to me and we were both wondering what was in store for us today. Contractions continued for the next hour every 5-8 minutes and were powerful ones. Since I was already moaning through them, and having to move my body to get comfortable each time, we were wondering if “this was it”.

With both my other labors my water broke at the start of labor before contractions began. So this was new to me, to labor a bit with waters intact. At around 6:30am Casey suggested I take a shower. I wasn’t quite ready to do that, but wanted him to, just in case he would go in to work and the day would move forward like a regular day. As he was showering my contractions continued and I think it was then that I knew that he wouldn’t be going into work. I decided to hop in the shower too…and see what happened to my labor with that change. The shower felt wonderful, I loved putting my whole face in the water and blowing raspberries under the water…it felt really good. My contractions came closer together and grew in intensity while in the shower. I was feeling everything very far down and low, it seemed as if there was this huge weight in my pubis. I had wondered if my waters would break this time, since they did with both other labors, and thought I had better get out of the shower so if my water did break, I would be able to tell out of the shower easier than I would in the shower. I got of the shower in between contractions and grabbed a towel and sat on the toilet seat when another contraction came on. And with that one, my water broke. It was now 6:30am. We called Fran, our midwife, to let her know our water had broken. Since with my last labor, my water broke and a short 3 hours later Luna was born, we had decided together that she needed to be called right when that happened to make her way from Lawrence…a good 1 hour drive from her house to ours.

After that I called all my birth team (family, doula and friends) and alerted them so they could be here at our house when we needed them. Tevan and Luna, our older boys, were still sleeping…bizarre, as they are usually awake and are moving by 6:30 or 7am. It wasn’t long until they were awake too, a little after 7. We both went downstairs lumbering our birth kit down too and we labored some in the sunroom. The boys awoke and Casey got breakfast going for them. Luna, our 3 year old, wandered over and looked at me with mystery as I had a contraction and moaned my way through it sounding like more of an animal than his mom. Casey came over and looked at Luna and Tevan, as he hugged me, and said, isn’t this exciting, mommy is having labor and that means our baby is coming soon! Luna’s eyes immediately changed to eyes of wonder and he said, “Yeah!” while he looked at me and giggled. Tevan, our 5 1/2 year old, was there for the birth of Luna, and remembers what noises labor entails and so he knew and was already excited. We had prepared both boys for being a part of this labor and birth for a long time, by reading books about childbirth, watching all the birth videos together that we show in class and sharing the most amazing hardcover book about a homebirth, Welcome With Love.

My contractions were continuing to be about 4-5 minutes apart and they were demanding my attention and my moaning really helped me through it. I asked Casey to bring up the birth ball from downstairs, and using that was really nice. I sat on the couch and then as a contraction came on I leaned over onto the ball and just melted into the ball and rocked away. The boys were up at the table eating their breakfast of fruit, yogurt and granola while Casey would massage me as a contraction came on.

We were hoping Fran, our midwife, would be here soon. And then we saw her cute green car appear. Ahhhh, a sigh of relief waved over me with seeing her pull into our driveway. She came in, and I couldn’t say hello since a contraction was waving over me – and more moans. Fran set her things down and came over and immediately encouraged me with loving words and caress. I remember Fran saying to me, “WOW! We are very far along here, I can tell just by listening to you and looking at you.” (Fran never gave me a vaginal exam the entire time, which is how I wanted it, and isn’t it amazing that babies come out and labor still progresses without a vaginal exam! *laugh*) “Where is everyone else?” Fran said. (meaning our birth team) I told her we were waiting for her to get here before we made any calls. She said, “Well get going…it’s time, we got to get that birthing pool set up and need help doing it.” So Casey began the phone-tree to my mom & dad, sister, my good friend, Kari and Kristy. And soon everyone starting coming in.

Dad walked in with his bundle of firewood to make a fire in our old fashioned wood-burning stove, like we’d talked about. Then he got directed to start pumping up the pool. A few minutes into it they realized the pool wasn’t blowing up, since it should only take a couple of minutes to inflate. Fran came over to inspect and then it was decided that we forgo the birthing pool, since it would take more than an hour to fill the pool with warm water, and Fran knew (by her wondrous wisdom) that we didn’t have that long until this baby would come. She came over to me and said, “Okay, second choice for you to give birth in?” And I said, “No I want the birthing pool!” And she then explained to me the situation. I remember feeling oddly doubtful and excited that she thought I was *that* close to giving birth. And then I said, “my own tub!” So my bathtub was filled up and I couldn’t wait to get in! Each contraction was feeling lower and heavier and I sooo needed that water! It couldn’t have been filled up sooner, and I threw off my shirt and lumbered over there (in between contractions) and got in. Ahhhhh…. warm water…. my dream. Yes, this was nice…this was what I needed.

Another contraction…so low…so very heavy. It felt like there was a bowling ball visibly in-between my legs already, yet there wasn’t. Contractions were now coming every couple minutes it felt like, though we weren’t literally writing them down since things were happening so fast. And each time I had one, it felt so heavy in-between my legs. It was overwhelming, so all-consuming, and this I knew meant we were very close. At this point everyone was here, all squeezed into our little house’s bathroom, and it gave me great strength to see all of them and hear all of them. I remember now was when my needs felt urgent. At one point I wanted a cold washcloth all over my face, and Casey had been putting it just over my forehead during contractions. Well during the next contraction, I needed it on my face. And I said, “my whole face, my whole face!” And Casey started wiping it around my whole face, which was NOT what I wanted. So I said again, urgently, “my whole face!” And finally he spread out the washcloth and just set it on my face. Which was exactly what I wanted. It’s funny how during late labor our needs become very urgent and also how dumb we laboring women become. And by dumb, I mean, how we can’t seem to intellectually explain what we mean, we almost become one-worded, or cave-man-like. Bless Casey’s heart, he is such a wonderful coach, and just giggled his way through that one. So now with each contraction Casey would be stroking my upper back down to my hips and I would sit asymmetrically in the tub, lean over the edge and rock my head and moan. I remember at this point getting my typical transitional worry. I sort of get shaky and worried and scared. This time I needed to hold someone’s hand, and I wanted it to be Fran’s. I said, “Fran, I need you. I need you to hold me. Hold my hand Fran.” And of course she did. She held me and said, it’s going to be okay, your baby will come, breathe the baby down, Summer, breathe the baby down.” Here is my transitional head talking now, I said, “Is it? Is it going to be okay? I don’t think the baby is going to come.” She repeated her encouraging words again to me. I starting breathing the baby down, while chanting our name for the baby, “Ziah, I want to meet you”, in a very shaky voice. And then everyone in the room started saying, “Ziah” all in a chant-like form and I to was chanting. It was really neat.

Then not long after that with a contraction my body said, “UGH” as everything pushed downward and low, the heaviest ever. That was when I knew this baby was coming and now was the pushing time, my favorite part! Right after I said “UGH” I remember hearing Fran say, “Good girl, that’s it” and everyone else in the room saying, all right, you are doing great, and all that was so very encouraging. It was at this point when Casey said, “Summer now blow some raspberries” What a good idea, that’s my man the rock star coach! We had both talked (prior to labor) how we wanted to try letting my uterus do all the pushing itself and to help that by only breathing and blowing raspberries during the pushing stage. So that’s what I did. I breathed and blew some raspberries and then I felt some serious stinging, a clear indication that Ziah was crowning. So I blew some more raspberries. At this point, Fran wanted to make sure that I remained “intact” and without a tear, so she was applying perineal pressure and that’s when she found that Ziah’s head was presenting along with his fist smack up against his cheekbone! She started trying to push his fist back inside so only his head would come out, and I knew that only by feeling it. Because when she started to do that, something felt wrong and I quickly and instinctively pushed her hand away and said, “What are you doing, STOP that!” She apologized and explained what she was doing, and I told her that it felt worse when she did that, so to leave it be and he’ll come out how he wants. She understood and we kept going.

With the next contraction Ziah’s head and fist came out under the water! Then Casey hopped into the tub (fully clothed) and lifted me up out of the water to a full standing position and with the next contraction out slipped the rest of Ziah’s body! It was 9:27am and our third baby boy was here! All 8 pounds 9 ounces of him! I sat back down in the tub and snuggled him and cried and we were all filled with wonder and amazement at the accomplishment of our first homebirth! Ziah Storm was covered in vernix and we rubbed that “good stuff” right back into his body. Casey and I were thrilled! Luna came over and saw the umbilical cord and wanted to touch it. So his little hand reached down into the water and touched it and I’ll always remember how his face lit up with amazement. Tevan was so thrilled by the experience he was already rambling off about when they all grow up how they will share a room with a triple bunk bed and what level each of them would sleep. It was the most amazing experience to have a homebirth. It was so perfectly what we wanted and needed. It was so wonderful to have the intimacy and comfort in our own home and how great to be able to give birth and then just walk over to my couch and rest with my newest baby boy! Now it seems to me that there is just no other way to give birth other than at home! Or, as Tevan says to me now, why have a baby in a hospital, that is for sick people and there are so many germs there…babies are supposed to be born at home! That’s my boy, 5 1/2 and already an activist!