Dear sweet Joseph,
Your birth story began 9 days after your due date. Even though you were late, I was not feeling anxious or rushed about your arrival. A couple times I thought “today is the day” only to be mistaken. I started my leave on your due date, July 17th, and was sooo much happier. I slept a lot, but more importantly spent a lot of time hanging out with your daddy. He was nervous about me going too far so I pretty much just laid around the house. It was nice being off work together for those nine days (he took time off waiting for you also). Every night we would go for a walk. Or as much of a walk as I was up for, and only as far as your dad would let me go, so not more than a mile.
The day before you were born I had my weekly chiropractor appointment which included a massage and pressure points to trigger labor. I had done it before but this time she encouraged me to think about you and picture you. When you were a baby, child, teenager, etc. Surprisingly it was very calming and I got more excited about you coming soon.
That night your dad and I took our late night walk, I came home and took a warm bath and we went to bed. I shifted in bed and leaked. I thought I had peed myself and went to the bathroom but nothing more happened so I went back to bed. Within minutes I shifted positions again and there was a definite gush of my water breaking. You were on your way!! I called your midwife and she made sure you were fine by asking me questions. Then she told me to get some rest while I can. I then called my doula and she asked and told me the same things. Your Dad stayed up late to work on school and I tried to sleep but was excited. I think I slept from 3am to 6:45am, when I woke up to some light contractions. They weren’t bad, just annoying to where I couldn’t go back to sleep. I called your Gram and told her about my water breaking and she told me it was raining outside. I got excited because I love the rain and wanted you to be born on a rainy day but never thought it’d happen in July. Then your midwife asked me to meet her at the birth center so she could check on us. We met at 8:30am and she confirmed you were on your way (my water had broken)! She gave me instructions which included me going to the chiropractor. I was at the chiropractor from 9:15am-10:45am. They kept adjusting me to open things up and would have me walk up and down the hall. I did this more times than I could count. Finally, I was having sharper contractions and I was tired and hungry. My contractions were hurting and Aunt Susie offered for Uncle Stew to drive me home but I said I was okay and took off for home. I called your Gram while driving home (hands-free of course) and she insisted I call your midwife. I called the midwife and she said to call everyone and meet at the center at 11:30am. I got home and woke your dad saying “it’s time”. He quickly jumped up and got ready to go and we headed in. When we got there and our midwife team was waiting for me but my contractions had slowed down. She checked me and said I was still only a 2cm, which I’d been for weeks. She sent me home to eat and sleep.
As your Dad and I drove past our church on the way back home I felt my first active contraction. It was around 12:15pm in the afternoon. I went straight to bed, but I couldn’t sleep through the contractions so I got in the bath to relax. I got in the bath around 1:15pm, and my contractions about 5 minutes apart.
While in the bath I tried to rest but the contractions were hurting. I knew I needed to eat so your dad brought me popcorn. He then said he was going to run errands & also get me food – so I ordered my tofu vegetable soup & steamed rice, and your dad left. I labored in the tub and my contractions were getting worse & worse and I was in so much pain. They were longer & stronger, but not close together.
Finally, I had enough & texted your dad “Hurry”. I was ready to get out of the tub, but wasn’t going to do it by myself & home alone. Luckily, your dad was around the corner when I texted him, so he walked in minutes after. I went to the bathroom & just sat there & labored for a while. Then I moved to the bedroom & labored on the bed. Your dad was kneeling at his side of the bed finishing up a paper for his MBA. I was laying there thinking, “I can’t do this for much longer.” I eventually moved to the chair in our room. Your dad finished his paper and I told him to time my contractions. They were 3.5mins apart. I then had him call your doula (around 2:30). I remember him telling me our doula wouldn’t make it in time & was that okay. I said something like, yes, because this baby is coming! She then told your dad to head to the birth center.
She later told me that she called the midwife immediately & told her it was time. She said, okay, I’ll leave when my appointment is over in 30 minutes. My doula said, go now, she’s already an 8 (good doulas can tell by sound). So she took off.
Quickly we headed to birth center. & I texted family “birth center”. I was going to post on your Facebook, group (Baby Joseph) but your dad said he’d do it (he didn’t!). On the way there was I working hard through contractions in the car, but I was happy because it started raining again. When we got there no one was there. I told your dad to go to the office to get someone to let us in, as I stayed in the car. It took for-e-v-e-r! He came back (alone). I was thinking I’d walk over there so they could see what’s up!? But he said they called the midwife & she was around the corner. She pulled up pretty quick. She unlocked the birth center & your dad took stuff in as the midwife came back for me. As I was getting out another strong contraction hit. Our midwife helped me breathe through it as I was half out of the car and she was standing in the rain. As soon as that wave finished she helped me inside & said to get in the water-birth pool. I decided to go to the bathroom first, but then quickly got in the water-birth pool.
Pretty early on your birth photographer was there. I was not paying attention to details, I was too busy paying attention to you!
I wasn’t in there long before the midwife told me to feel for your head. I told her that you were centimeters away from being out. She didn’t believe me, and checked me. I’ll never forget how quickly she reacted – she had to make calls to move people around to get the closest birth assistant to me ASAP, since you were coming so fast. Not much longer she mentioned pushing & I started (I think I was supposed to do it sooner…?). I was just in my zone not paying attention to anyone or anything except you. I was leaning forward holding onto the side of the waterbirth pool. Your dad was rubbing my arm & the midwife was on the other side rubbing the other. During one contraction she was doing charting, so I told the doula “I need your touch!” She didn’t react & I didn’t know why until later that night – she was there in spirit. Your dad was great at giving me water or crushed ice on demand. He was awesome! At some point I decided to countdown pushes starting at 20. I didn’t get close. Your birth assistant came at some point – again, I wasn’t paying attention.
The midwife asked your dad if he had his swimsuit. He said yes. Then she asked, “how long will it take you to change so you can catch the head?” Dad started to say “not long“, but stopped & said “wait, what, nnnooo”. She looked at him and pointed towards bathroom and in her mother-tone said “go now“. And your dad went. As he was changing clothes another rolling contraction came. I started yelling “M-A-T-T” and he was there instantly, jumping in & rubbing my back. Again, your dad is awesome!
As you were coming through your heart rate dropped. The midwife had me change positions to get you out, so I straightened my back when pushing. I worked and worked, and finally I felt the best feeling – relief! I just enjoyed it for a second & then realized what it meant. You. Are. Here!!! I leaned forward & reached down. Then the midwife said to pick you up, so I did. I lifted you out of the water and looked at your beautiful face. Incredible.
A few seconds later I realized to check if you were a boy or girl. I said “BOY“. And I looked over my shoulder and asked your dad if he was okay & he said very. I was just crazy staring at you. I think I said – “so you were the one inside my belly, it’s nice to finally meet you”. You never cried when you were born or during your exam or anything. It was so peaceful. The whole experience was peaceful. I never thought someone could describe labor that way, but that’s exactly what it was.