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Micah’s Birth Story Part 2

on September 25 | in Motherhood | by | with 58 Comments

To read part one of Micah’s birth story, click here

Turnaround

The Inverted V

The Inverted V

After being coaxed out of the birthing pool I got on the bed and worked through some contractions in an inverted “V” position. Cindy’s goal in suggesting this acrobatic feat (besides getting a good laugh) was to encourage baby’s head to disengage and then re-engage at the proper angle.  Daniel really, really wanted to tweet this photo but held back out of kindness. He HATES this bathrobe!

Cindy gave me one final adjustment to help baby’s head reposition and . . .

Finally, something worked. Like magic.

I had barely been able to walk for the past 24+ hours. After that final adjustment I started stomping around the house like a parade elephant.

BOOM BOOM THOMP!!! Whoosh?

Within just a few minutes of my one-woman-parade the pressure increased so much I thought I needed to use the restroom. I headed for the toilet and sat down.

WHOOOOSH!!!

12:38 pm: My water broke. Since that hadn’t happened with Katie (it was still intact when I was pushing her out so my midwives had to break it) I just sat there, trying to figure out if I’d ruptured an organ.

When I finally realized what had happened I was terrified. When a woman’s water breaks in the hospital she is put “on the clock,” meaning she has to deliver within a certain time frame or the doctor will insist on a c-section. I thought it was the same for homebirths and since my labor was progressing so slowly I thought I’d just bought myself a big fat lemon of a birth. After Cindy reassured me we had DAYS left on our clock I relaxed and tried to assess my situation.

The relief from pressure in my belly was ah-MAZ-ing. I stood up, put on some fancy new Depends, and began walking through contractions. With each one more amniotic fluid came out, reducing the pressure. I don’t imagine there will ever be a time when wetting my pants will be as delightful as it was right then. My mind, which had been overwhelmed by indecision about what to do next (rest or not, walk or lay down, etc.) cleared.

Rather than try to figure things out, I put myself in Cindy’s hands. From then on it was “Yes Ma’am” to whatever Cindy suggested. Labor on the bed? Okay. Two more like this? You’re the boss.

Longer, Stronger and Closer Together

That’s what contractions are supposed to be like when you’re near the end, right? I thought so. My contractions were ten minutes apart at this point. I could have told you my whole life story while waiting between them, so when Cindy told me we should probably get in the tub and get ready to push I was completely dumbfounded.

Push? Now? Cindy informed me that Lynsey, our birth photographer, was on her way. I could tell by the way she said it that Lynsey was racing to get here, and that was when it finally hit that I was almost there.

Despite all my second-guessing I was going to make it and not have to be transported to a hospital. I climbed in the tub and wept for joy.

Breathing through a contraction

The front door opened and in ran Katie, eyes glowing with excitement. My mother-in-law Marian and sister-in-law Kristine trailed behind, followed shortly thereafter by Lynsey Stone, the rock star of birth photography.

It was standing room only when everyone finally gathered. There was my all-star birth team: Cindy Haggerton (midwife #1), Christy Martin (midwife #2), and Alexa Gumm (doula).  Surrounding them were my Mom (Gigipotamus), Marian (mother-in-law), Kristine (sister-in-law), Katie and Lynsey.

Left to right: Kristine, Katie, Gigi, Christy Martin, Dr. Cindy Haggerton

Daniel climbed in the tub with me and held my hips together as I prepared to push.

Resting between contractions

The contractions were still ten minutes apart, so Christy gave me a homeopathic remedy to help make them stronger and closer. The first contraction I had after taking it resulted in baby’s entire head being born.That’s good stuff, I’d say!

We had to wait ten more minutes for another good contraction, but when it hit baby’s body was out. I wish I could insert some suspense about baby’s gender here, but ya’ll already know we had a boy. For us, though, this was the first moment we knew our “sense” about this pregnancy had been correct. We’d never come up with a name for a girl and toward the end of the labor I didn’t even pretend I was trying to be objective. It was “he” and “him” and “Micah” all the way.

Micah came out extremely blue, but I saw that at a good friends birth before so I wasn’t alarmed . . . at first. But as the seconds ticked by and he remained limp in my arms I started asking “is he okay?” He was not breathing. My amazing, competent midwives worked quickly to revive him, rubbing and stimulating him until he gave a good, loud cry. It took two long minutes, but it didn’t freak me out because Cindy said he was okay and I trust her that much. Cindy later told me that his umbilical cord was wrapped tightly around both his neck and body when he was born, basically choking him until they intervened. I love my midwives. LOVE LOVE LOVE those women.

After our little scare Katie climbed in the tub with and welcomed her baby brother while I stared at Daniel in amazement.

Throughout this whole pregnancy we worked to overcome the barriers that had prevented me from reaching out to him when I was in labor with Katie.

We succeeded.

Bringing Micah into the world is one of the (if not THE) most intimate experience of our marriage. Daniel was with me every moment . . . comforting me, rubbing my back as I puked all over him, literally holding me up through contractions until I could feel the strain in his muscles. His love was present, physical and real. He showed up for me when I needed him most and I have never been more in love with him than I am today.

Random Reflections

IMG_1070a-4

Since I got the Sept. 12 birthday I wanted for Micah I don’t regret my decision to rest and try to delay. However, I will always wonder if making a different decision would have changed the course of the birth. Many of my friends have “butter births” that go so quickly the midwives barely make it in time to catch baby. So far I have only succeeded when the process involved 30 hours of pre-labor drama which exhaust me so much that I start talking jibberish. I like lizards . . . seriously?

My confidence in my ability to birth a baby has been somewhat shaken, but my confidence that I am doing something right in the kitchen has never been stronger. My placenta was HUGE and extremely healthy. Because of the length between contractions my midwives were concerned I may have excessive bleeding (not sure why), but instead my bleeding was lighter than what’s considered normal. Cindy thinks both of these were a direct result of all the good food I ate while carrying Micah. Go me!

Oh, here’s the surprise ending: Micah finally has a middle name!

Welcome, Micah Cole! We love you!

That, dear friends, is the secret of how I lost 30 pounds in 3 hours. Somehow I’m guessing my method will not be making the bestseller list anytime soon!

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58 Responses to Micah’s Birth Story Part 2

  1. biscuit23 says:

    Oh my stars. The look you gave Daniel brought me to tears. I don’t even know you, and I’m sitting here sobbing like a crazy person! Congratulations to all of you on your beautiful family. What a blessing!

    • Heather says:

      Hi Christin – I have loved reading your comments on Mommypotamus, but somehow missed that you had a blog until now! Wow, we have so much in common. I, too, have been deeply disturbed by FGM and other similar human rights issues (what’s going on in the Congo, for instance). And I loved “We’re Watching You.” So funny . . . and sad . . . and scary.

  2. Karrie I says:

    What a wonderful & blessed birth story! I so enjoyed reading about your experience & the birth of your pretty little man, & I know Micah will someday love being able to read about the day he entered into this world!

    • Heather says:

      Thanks, Karrie! I’m not very good at keeping up with baby books so I this is my “virtual” one. Maybe someday I will have it transferred into a Shutterfly book so I will officially be one of those “scrapbooking” moms!

  3. Mae says:

    Gorgeous…simply, gorgeous. We’re all so proud of you. You have me longing for that feeling of ecstasy that you get when you look in your husbands eyes and scream “we did it!” from the very bottom of your soul without saying a word

  4. Tina Warren says:

    Thank you for your story–it is a marvelous story beautifully written. My son was born at home in the water. No cord issues and he still had to be revived after turning blue.

    Congratulations FamilyPotamus!

  5. Jill says:

    Congratulations and job well done on such a successful birth!

  6. Genevieve says:

    Wow! Beautiful story. Dr. Cindy seems amazing. Wish I knew about that homeopathic remedy – and the Benedril too ;)

    Our baby boy was due on your baby’s birthday (the 12th), but we had him on Sept 11. Similar to you, I had reservations about this birthday, but now I think it’s beautiful. We’re taking the day back and creating something new.

    Congrats on your little Micah. Hope you, Daniel, and Katie are enjoying the newborn love fest like my husband and I are!

    • Heather says:

      Thank you, Genevieve! Congrats on your new little one! I watched part 1 of your birth video and can’t wait for part 2! Are you going to wait to announce the gender then? I’m so curious!

  7. Lesley says:

    AAhhhh–I loved reading this! And I swear the way you described how you felt about Daniel after the birth gave me chills…thats exactly how I felt after my first birth ( which was extremely long and hard and made me want to die!) I was in awe of my husbands ability to rise up to a very HIGH occasion—and it does bring a closeness that you cant get any other way!
    I love his name—he is beautiful!

  8. Lucy C says:

    Great job!!!
    What is the homeopathic medicine you took? Wish i had that for my labor with my daughter… :-)

  9. Julie says:

    What a great story! So glad everything went well for you. Congratulations!!! :)

  10. Kristine says:

    Yeah! I’m so happy he has a middle name. I looked it up, and Cole means “victory of the people.” I like it! Thanks so much for allowing me to be part of the birth! It was a beautiful moment, and I also love all the funny things Katie said. :)

  11. Whittney says:

    I love James 1:2-4 and your birth is a shining example of that verse in real life. Of course I don’t hope that a woman has a difficult labor, but isn’t it neat that God uses difficult labors to test your faith and make you more mature and complete?!?! What an important job for your unborn baby. I am in awe of your ability to persevere and be victorious!

    “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

    • Heather says:

      Whittney – When I was in labor Cindy said something to me that stuck. She reminded me that there is a reason babies come the way they do even if we don’t know what it is. Looking back, I realize that if I’d had a butter birth like yours Micah might not be here today. He did not breathe on his own for TWO MINUTES after being born. If he had come before our midwives arrived Daniel and I would have had no idea what to do. It’s a sobering thought, but it really does make me incredibly grateful for both the timing of his birth and the team that was present.

  12. valerie says:

    Congrats! You had the same 3 wonderful women I had at my birth. Christy, Cindy, and Lynsey. =) Awesome women!

    • Heather says:

      Valerie – Yes they are! I’m thinking of doing a blog carnival where moms can share their birth stories soon. Since I know you have gorgeous pics I hope you’ll consider participating!

  13. Meredith says:

    Oh man, that beginning was intense! Way to stick it out girl. I am so proud of you. Oh, and not ALLLLL your friends have quick births :-). Us 30+ hour-ers gotta stick together!

  14. Congratulations!!! You got your boy! yay! lovely birth story. I need to share mine.

    • Heather says:

      Thank you Elisabeth. I love that series you did with your little man recently . . . totally inspired me to try something similar when Micah starts smiling more. P.S. I’m thinking about hosting a blog carnival soon where everyone links to their birth stories. I hope you’ll join in!

  15. wow… the way you looked at daniel for the first time in the video is just priceless. what a special moment! thanks for sharing your story.

  16. Melodie says:

    What an emotional video! It was totally the cherry on top of my already emotional weekend. But in such a good way (you video and my weekend). I love hearing Katie say “He doesn’t have any clothes on!” Great comic relief.
    Regarding your water breaking, I only felt mine break with #2 since #1 was a c-section. Doesn’t it feel great? When I’m old and grey and wetting pants I will look back on that moment rather fondly I think. Congrats again and thanks for your amazing story!

  17. Ann Marie says:

    I don’t think there’s a way NOT to cry when watching that beautiful, pristine, new face of statue-like stillness and silence as it breaks into expression and BREATHES. THAT WAS INTENSE. Whew! LIFE!!!!!
    I don’t believe that babies “need” to cry at birth for any reason, except that we adults find it sosososooo reassuring, and then we have something to act upon instead of just staring…but I know that I, too, watched that video and felt the surrender to the Mystery, the Fear, and then the positive EXHILARATION of the greatest gift.
    MUCH Congratulations, and thank you for sharing.

  18. I didn’t have time to watch the video before. Just watched it. Brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me of my birth with Greg. I knew the look on your face…so scary when they’re not responding and have their eyes closed…it took at least that long for Gregory to respond. Both my boys were blue and less responsive then Gwyneth was. Thank you for sharing such an intimate moment for your family! Excited for you guys. One of each! Will this be it? We’re believing for another girl in a few years.

  19. This video make me cry! What an incredible thing to have! I love the look in your eyes This makes me so excited to see Ava’s reaction to our baby. I did laugh hearing Katie at the end say “I’m swimming, I’m swimming in my clothes”!

  20. shannon says:

    i’m proud of you. the video is beautiful. thank you for your authenticity and honesty. what a magical, (challenging), wonderful experience you went through. i just blogged about some of the fears i’m having around birthing again…and i truly feel calm, at peace and ready. my first labor was extremely intense and long and i have let that go. this is a new time, a new place…no expectations. i TRUST, trust, trust.
    Enjoy this special time together! xoxo

  21. This is really beautiful! This made me cry :) That’s amazing about your water breaking and the birth happening so fast after such a long labor. Do you recommend any great books about birthing at home and water births? This is the route I want to take!

  22. Jolee Burger says:

    I have to chime in – I just watched it, and tears for me, too. I love that you posted this… Everyone is so calm, and I can hear Cindy’s calm voice – she is so perfect in those scenarios!! What an absolutely awesome thing to have. As Ann Marie said, intense, waiting for the breath. Congratulations to each of you!!

  23. [...] – He was unconscious when he was born and wasn’t fully alert during our first nursing session. Therefore, we missed the [...]

  24. Jen says:

    MY birthday is September 12th (great day!) and my husband’s name is Micah. Great story! :)

  25. Maria Castro says:

    This is so beautiful, how amazing that your body worked like that…both of your babies are adorable. You are one patient woman 30hrs is quite a bit to go. You rocked that birth, your daughter saying “I like him” is probably the best part next to the way you and your husband looked at each other so inlove. And BTW you look fabulous ;)

  26. Sarah says:

    First, amazingly beautiful story! Your talent for the written word is pleasing to these eyes and this soul. Second….how much do you think your placenta weighed? Seriously, I’m very curious. I examined mine with freakish curiosity, but never once gave a thought to how much it weighed. :)

  27. Robin says:

    Love, love, love this. You have such a way with words. I laughed, I cried. I know this is a couple years old, but “Way to go!”

  28. I was so relieved for you by the end of your story! I love the look of amazement on your face in the video, and I love Katie’s comments: “It’s okay, baby!” “I like him.”

    Very glad I’m not wearing mascara today….

  29. Sarah Gregory-Ferguson says:

    What a great story. Congratulations~ What remedy did your midwife give you at the end? We have an arsenal of remedies at home and are planning a home waterbirth. It really encourages me to read other women’s experiences.

  30. Laurel says:

    Wow, what a wonderful story. I wish my birth had had an ending like yours. I was anticipating a waterbirth and was completely unprepared to go under the knife. At 23 hours I was given the heartbreaking news that I was only 1 cm, my contractions were irregular and not productive :( at 30 hours no progress. One section of my cervix just wouldn’t open. I sadly gave up on natural childbirth and changed my expectations, well hope, for a vaginal birth and at 45 hours my daughter was delivered by c-section. I hope I can prepare differently next time. I suspect she had her fist up at her face the whole time ( she was always that way in her ultrasounds) and I did not prep using primrose oil or anything. My confidence is pretty blown but I really hope I can figure out I can be more successful in the future.

    Thank you for your story.

  31. Lauren says:

    Thank you for sharing your story! If I am able to have children I would love to be able to give birth at home with midwives and a doula. Did your medical insurance cover them? I think my husband would be more open to having a home birth w/midwives if it was something we could afford. Thank you again for sharing your story! All of your stories are always so great to read!

    • Heather says:

      I wasn’t working at the time so my only option was to insure through my husband’s job. It was going to cost $1K per month so we just paid for the birth ourselves :)

  32. [...] is related to General Patton, Fergie is the only one to wet her pants on stage (though I confess I have in private), and only the mysterious Penelope Cruz has been a lovely assistant for Mr. [...]

  33. [...] folks, I have only admitted to wetting my pants one time publicly, and I say without shame that it was a glorious experience. However, I’m [...]

  34. Margaret says:

    The video at the end had me bawling! What a beautiful baby and story. Thank you for sharing. I have 4 kids of my own, all done all natural. I loved reading your story.

  35. Colleen says:

    Beautiful & so inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing! <3

  36. Erin says:

    Aah, you can’t leave us hanging without sharing what this homeopathic remedy is!

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