Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Birth Is No Walk In The Park

We're the lucky parents of a brand new precious little humanoid. We adore him and he has our hearts wrapped around his tiny little finger.

The initial shock of becoming a mother has worn off and I'm practically a veteran now when it comes to birth and motherhood...

Nope, I'm joking.

I can safely say won't ever get used to it and I feel I won't ever quite fill those large shoes adequately.

As labor was creeping up on me for the second time I anxiously awaited the first signs with both dread and excitement. As with our first, we didn't find out before hand what the gender was.

I'll admit was a little afraid this time.
I anticipated the hard work that is labor and the potentially difficult transition from one to two little monkeys under my care.
I was afraid I was going to go past my due date and have a big baby.
I stressed about my little girl who was being unusually defiant and tantrum prone.
I was sick of being pregnant and wanted my body back.
I stressed a lot. About anything and everything.
Naturally the stress kept my baby even more firmly in my insides...
The more I wanted him to come out the longer the days of waiting became.

Finally, after 11 days past due date and a couple of false starts, I decided to try a natural induction.
My doula  and friend Vanessa brought me a concoction my midwife calls the Labor Bomb.
Ginger ale, apricot nectar, almond butter and some castor oil.

Let's just say, it had the desired effect. Within a couple of hours I was having steady contractions.

I was excited to say the least!

Kimball got his camera gear together and found a way to mount the GoPro underwater.
My dear mother had come from Sweden to be with me after the baby was born but was doomed to await his arrival alongside of me. I sent her and L away to stay with my in-laws. It was 10 PM, July 17.

Some women like having their mother with them when they labor and give birth but seeing my mother would have taken all the strength out of me and rendered me a little girl again. She would have suffered seeing me in pain and felt miserable for me.

Cathy, Sara and Vanessa showed up around midnight and labor was underway.
We set up the pool and I got in. As anticipated I was experiencing back pain, like with my first.

After a few hours of sitting in the pool I started to feel weak and extremely sleepy. I kept falling asleep/blacking out between contractions and waking up feeling disoriented and weak. I couldn't concentrate and I was losing control. I told the ladies I needed things to progress faster because I was already so so tired. I would put my forehead against the side of the pool and just fall fast asleep.

They broke my water.

Things became very intense from then on. Although I experienced complete relief between contractions in a way I hadn't with my first, without the water to cushion me, the back labor was 100 times worse.
I didn't cry or scream. I yelled.
I said I couldn't do it. I said I was dying. I said the baby wasn't coming out.
I begged for it to end. I said it was too hard.
I talked to him telling him to hurry up and come out.
Everyone worked hard at reassuring me and helping me keep calm.

It was difficult.
I moved from the pool to the toilet, to a birthing stool and finally to my bed trying to find relief from the back pain.

As soon as I got on the bed everything became clear.
I was ready, the baby was ready and I knew the time had come.
I regained focus, was completely aware of every contraction and where the baby was.

Kimball had been working hard providing counter pressure for my back and was now providing counter pressure on the baby's head. 5 AM, July 18. Slowly, the baby was coming out.

With two contractions his head came out, his little face was purple with all the blood gone to his head from being squeezed so hard. The poor little thing had been working just as hard to be born. At one point Cathy pushed back and unwrapped the umbilical cord. What seemed like three, maybe four contractions later Kimball caught him and seconds later a tiny boy with skinny arms bear paws was in my arms.

Just like that.

My dear friend Vanessa, Kimball, Cathy hiding
behind me and brand spankin' new baby J.
photo cred: Sara Vranes

I got back in the water to await the after-birth and warm the new man in my life.
It's interesting how little you remember about the labor you just went through as soon as you're on the other side so to speak. Every care just melts away at the touch of that little life you're now holding in your arms.

As soon as I was clean and settled back in bed, nursing properly and finally getting to rest, Kimball fell asleep. It looked awkward and uncomfortable the way he was laying but that's how tired he was. I've never felt more tender toward him than I did in that moment having felt him by my side the whole time, working as hard as he could to make me comfortable and to give me support.
He's truly wonderful and I adore him.

I was exhausted but high on endorphins and adrenaline so I stayed awake till noon.

I can't adequately express my gratitude at being so richly blessed that I can enjoy birth in my own home on my own terms. That I'm healthy and have healthy happy babies is such a priceless gift that humbles me as I know this isn't the case for all mothers out there.

As hard as birthing was this time around, the reward outweighs every moment of pain ever felt in the process of the miracle we call life.

We named him after a Swedish great grandfather and after the biblical story of Jacob that wrestled with an angel and upon victory was given a new name.

He is small now but he is mighty and he did conquer.

Welcome home Johannes Israel.


  1. Beautiful. I think you are an incredible woman doing it this way, I always find myself defeated by the pain. You are very courageous!

    1. Thank you. I DID find myself defeated by the pain at one point but when you're neck deep in it there's nothing you can do but push through to the other side. Fortunately for me, I was surrounded by amazing, strong and skilled women (and my amazing man) who carried me and gave me what I could not give myself - will power.
      I owe them everything. Their love, care and tenderness carried me through.
      Could not have done it without them.

  2. I'm so used to one-word comments and emoticons on Instagram these days! I just want to put hearts on here and write "LOVE!" Thanks so much for sharing your story! It's so sincere, real and joyful. You're a tough woman, I didn't realize how hard his birth was for you! (You're pretty much Wonder Woman to me, so it's good to see you're human...) I'm glad to know I'm not the only one that has uttered the words "I can't do this!" But it's incredible to see we can do SO much more than we think we can! Congratulations, Beautiful Mama! Your kids are lucky to have you! I love how they always come first in your life. And I love how dang adorable they are ;) LOVE!

  3. My long comment just got deleted and I don't think I could ever recreate it's poetry... ;) So... Thanks for sharing this beautiful, real, sincere, joyful story! I didn't realize how hard this birth was for you--You're WonderWoman in my mind, so it's good to know you're human ;) and that I'm not the only one who has uttered the words, "I can't do this!!" LOVE ya and you're cute kids!

    1. It didn't disappear. So now I have you on record calling me Wonder Woman TWICE. :P
      I consider you to be Wonder Woman! We must be related..