As I have looked at the pictures of Rylan's birth over and over today, my heart swells more and more. It swells up my throat and I want to cry. I am so incredibly grateful today. I am so in love with my awesome husband. (and I don't use that word lightly, Twyla) He was just what I needed in this birth. This was an awesome birth. A healing birth. A powerful birth. A calm birth. An intimate birth. A spiritual birth. A perfect birth.
I'm not sure where in time I should start with this birth story. This was an emotional pregnancy for me. I had fears to work through. I cried many nights. I prayed many nights. I wanted to do everything right. I wanted the very best. My husband seemed to know right away. It took me more time, but with his encouraging words and support we came to the same place.
When I woke up early Tuesday morning, August 12, about 5:30 a.m., my hips and lower back were killing me! I was so stiff and it was work to get out of bed. After using the bathroom and feeling the lower back contractions consistently - I knew today was the day. At 8:00 a.m. I called my doula and midwife. I gave them the heads up that I was in early labor. With the contractions in my lower back, I knew the baby was posterior. I tried the knee-chest position to see if it would help the baby rotate. I felt him move. The contractions were now low in front, right where they should be. But then they slowed down, way down. For most of the day they had sizzeled. I got discouraged. I wondered if things would pick up again. I decided to try to rest and take advantage of the break. I would go for a long walk later when it cooled off.
At around 4:30 p.m. my husband left to pick up some barbecue chicken pizza. Yum. By the time he came back, the contractions had picked up the pace and intensity again. I had called the midwife and doula. They were on their way. I ate some pizza and we fed the kids. My husband walked the kids to the neighbors house to play.
The contractions continued steadily. They slowly increased in intensity. I had nice breaks between them. I was coping and breathing through them well. I felt very aware through this labor. I wasn't overwhelmed. I was calm. Those around me were calm. The mood was right.
As time went on the contractions were stronger. I got in the tub. Brian sat on the edge and pushed down on my lower back through the contractions. That felt good to me. At times he would rest his head on my shoulders as he rubbed. I liked having him close and involved. He would quietly encourage me, tell me I was doing great, and kiss my head.
The time was getting close for the baby to come. I could feel him coming down. I felt very aware of where he was as he moved down. I never felt an uncontrollable urge to push. I felt like I could if I wanted or I could breathe him down and out. I did a bit of both. I noticed that I would have a longer, stronger contraction and then a shorter, less intense one. That seemed to be the pattern. I had long breaks between. It was easier to cope and remain focused and aware.
Right before the baby emerged the bag of waters ruptured. Side note: my husband thought that looked pretty cool in the water, like a jet. Then the baby came. 7:25 p.m. The midwife caught him and Brian reached down with one hand and helped him up a bit. He was supporting my back and that was as close as he could get to catching. He said later, "I'm not a good catch." when asked if he caught the baby. I beg to differ! There was such joy and peace and calm in the room as the baby was placed on my chest. No commotion. No noise. No strangers. No fear. Just happiness, love, and excitement.
Brian called the neighbor and she began walking the kids home. Brad said he ran and jumped on his bike. He got home a good 10 minutes before the others. He was standing outside of the bathroom trying to peek a view in the reflection of the mirror. We let him in. He was all smiles. He snipped through the umbilical cord with the scissors, but only cut half of it. He didn't want to cut the rest, so Brian did. They took the baby out to meet the other two siblings while I birthed the placenta and rinsed off. I came out and got in bed and nursed the baby. He latched right on! What a relief it was to me when he nursed so vigorously. A sign of good health! After he nursed they took him and did all the newborn "stuff". They weighed him, measured him, listened to him, and looked him over thoroughly. All was well! He looked great!
The midwife checked me and I tore a tiny bit. While she stitched me, Brian and the kids were in the other room with the new baby. When I was done they brought him back to me for more nursing. We offered a family prayer. Brad said it. Brian asked him to remember to thank Heavenly Father for the safe arrival of Rylan. Brad never mentioned the baby. He thanked Heavely Father for the fun day and prayed he'd have fun tomorrow. Then Brian and my doula, Twyla, put the kids to bed. Brian helped Twyla and Chris, the midwife, pack their things to their cars. After some tender hugs and thank yous, they left.
It was just Brian and I with our new baby. It was a special and spiritual time together before going to sleep for the night in our own bed, in our own home with our children all asleep down the hall from us. Everyone was safe, happy, and together. It was a perfect day.