Those that know me personally know I'm not shy.
This birth story is detailed and somewhat graphic in nature- obviously.
Some of the photos are, as well.
Now for the good part!
The night of September 2nd, Tim and I got Jackson in bed (Keelin was at the beach with her dad's family), then decided to settle down in the living room and watch a movie. He got bored with the romantic comedy and went to bed. I'd been having inconsistent, relatively painless contractions on and off throughout the day.
It seems like right after the movie was over, I started feeling the need to time the contractions, because they had gone from being random to being pretty close together and uncomfortable... uncomfortable to the point where I couldn't lay down or sit down.
My contractions had gone from being 12 minutes apart, 9 minutes apart, 25 minutes apart to TWO minutes apart and consistently so. I was a bit shocked and just not sure that this was Go Time. It's like I went from 0 to 60 instantly... couldn't possibly be the real deal, right?
I labored on my yoga ball for a few minutes, timing contractions on my laptop, and decided pretty quickly that I was going to want some help coping. They were coming quickly, they were strong, and I had a great birth team. It was time to make phone calls... no need to hang out on my own.
First, I called my doula, Tequita. Then, I called my friend and birth photographer, Kate. They got here about the same time. I woke Tim between the two phone calls.
At this point, I hadn't been in labor for very long - I labored with Jackson, my first unmedicated delivery, for 13 hours, so I just knew Finn would take a while. I called Kate because I wanted photos no matter what- this was going to be my last birth and I have no pictures of my first two births. I called Tequita because I wanted her ninja doula skills- I was having "back labor"... which we predicted, because no matter how many times I saw my chiropractor, no matter how many exercises I did- Finn was "OP"/occiput posterior and I expected the back labor... this was probably the cause of my 3 weeks of prodromal labor.
(I called Kate and Tequita around 2am.)
Tequita and Kate were here!
Kate wanted to take one last picture of my belly, but in the mere seconds between my contractions, I wanted to show Tequita the cute, cotton bralette I'd picked out to wear in the birth tub- the birth tub that at this point, Tim was busy trying to fill.
Tequita recognized how hard and fast my contractions were coming. She helped me cope through a few, applying counterpressure -the only thing that relieved the ache in my lower back during the contractions.
When she asked if I'd called D, my midwife, I realized that no, I hadn't- and we needed to. Things were moving much faster than I'd anticipated and she lived 40 minutes away.
We called D at 2:40am.
I started timing my contractions at 1:25am.
At this point, I'd been in labor for just under two hours.
My contractions were on top of each other. There was no more than 20-30 seconds between them.
I decided to take a shower, since water is so soothing when you're in labor!
I checked my cervix in the shower and I was almost complete.
There was a bit of an anterior lip left to my cervix and his head was RIGHT there.
I got out and went to Tequita- my back was really aching and there was no break between the contractions at this point. She got on the phone with D, gave her an update, while D was on her way to our house.
I was wrapped in Keelin's goldfish beach towel- the first one I could get my hands on. :)
You know you like my cool towel...
I told Tim that there wasn't time to finish filling the birth tub.
The Aquadoula, our rented birth tub, was HUGE- and I'm sure glorious when in use!
But I wasn't going to be able to use it.
My labor went so quickly that, by the time I knew the baby was coming SOON, there was only about 3 inches of water in the tub.
Bear in mind, Tim had not even been up an hour at this point!
But still- I wanted to give birth in the water. I asked Tim to start heating water on the stove, since there was very little hot water left in our smallish hot water heater from my shower and the birth pool filling.
I got into the bathtub as soon as it was about halfway filled. I felt like I couldn't wait for the relief the water would bring... and as soon as I got in, I felt much better.
Tequita, still on the phone with my midwife (who was on her way), listened to me muse that there was not much of a chance, I imagined, that D was going to make it in time for the baby to be born. She smiled at me, because it was a no brainer to her. I, on the other hand, had one foot in the real world and one foot in Labor Land- there were moments about which I remember everything and moments when I remember nothing...moments where I felt like I made perfect sense and moments where I'm sure I sounded crazy. I was genuinely surprised that D wasn't going to make it. I was so far inside of myself that I hadn't given much more than a spare thought to the idea that I might have an unassisted delivery... when the midwife doesn't make it in time.
I realized that I was going to give birth without my midwife.
No fear, no panic- just "okay."
I wasn't scared. My body was doing exactly what needed to be done- and boy, was it efficient!
I had a contraction, felt a strange sensation, and said, "Either my water just broke or I peed."
I thought about peeing in the bathtub after telling the kids they aren't allowed to do it...
It was 3:05 when I started to feel a lot of pressure.
Tim was still warming up my bath water with water from the stovetop (bless him!) when I called him and told him that I needed him in the bathroom- that we were having a baby SOON.
Before I started feeling pushy, I had been lying in the tub using a small bowl to pour warm water over my belly. I had a good 5 minutes of no contractions. It was blissful and really gave me time to regain some control over my thoughts, to prepare to give birth. I really needed that time, because my labor had been so intense. It was a gift. It was a literal and figurative catching of my breath, so to speak. Up until this point, I had not really had the chance to compose myself, to get a good pattern going. There just wasn't the time.
I really felt the urge to push, but I wanted to breathe my baby out, letting my body do the work. I tore terribly with Keelin with coached pushing and the epidural, so the recovery was a doozy. I did not tear with Jackson, thanks to being able to control my pushes. I was hoping that this birth would be gentle, as well.
Not a pretty face, but unless you've FELT it, you can't imagine how overwhelming the urge to push is. It doesn't hurt, but it's a consuming feeling- you don't have control over your body. That baby is coming out with or without your help.
I felt like I needed to go ahead and get off of my back.
The most comfortable position when I labored with Jackson was on my left side, so I tried to roll over a bit. I'm sure it was like watching a hippo do a waltz. :)
I was trying to get comfortable, which at this point was impossible.
I could feel Finn moving down.
More like barreling down, really.
I wasn't pushing.
Doulas don't catch babies.
Kate, even though she is a nurse, was not to get involved unless there was an emergency, and everything was progressing normally.
So, Tim prepared to catch.
BUT he kept his hands off of me in the meantime.
I know that I am not touchy-feely in my day to day life... and that is magnified 100 times when I'm in labor. Don't touch me unless I ask you to- and I will ask if I need someone to touch me.
I was SURE I was feeling him crown, so I reached down to feel something pop out out. I realized that earlier when I thought my water might have broken, I really had peed in the bath tub. (haha)
What emerged was amniotic sac- intact and strong. Pretty cool, since my waters had remained intact when I labored with Jackson until he was crowning. At the time, I didn't think much of it because I was kinda busy, but now I look back and think it's awesome!
I remember my disappointment at him not having crowned yet. My labor had been moving so fast and I just wanted relief from the pressure, but in my mind, things had slowed down to almost a standstill. When our baby actually did crown (or in our case, forehead... haha), it was less than a minute before he was born, according to the watch shots that Kate took.
I reached down and felt his head emerging, supporting my perineum- all the while not pushing, just letting my body do it's thing. As some people know, I have a mouth when I find myself in stressful situations. When that child's head just kept coming and coming and coming... like the never-ending GIGANTIC head that I imagined it to be... I spat out some explicatives, Tim being their target, since this part was pretty uncomfortable with his forehead presenting, not his crown. I made an off-color comment about his "big head," but I believe that was the only time during my labor and delivery that I got snappy. ;)
And Finn's head was out. I reached down and happened to touch his face (because he was facing UP! He never did turn) and in doing so, tore my amniotic sac. The first and only time I pushed during Finn's birth was here. I was ready to meet him, so I gave a push and told Tim he needed to get him- from the way I was lying in the tub, I couldn't really reach for him myself. I remember that push and feeling his arm with my hand as he was born.
And he was out.
My midwife, still on the phone with Tequita, told me that she heard us welcome our new baby at 3:13am.
Tim says that he put on his "sticky gloves" to catch!
Finn Cohen Power
Born on September 3rd, 2011 at 3:13am
And yes, I decided that this was one photo I wanted to share, but that sharing it unedited would be a bit of overshare. You're welcome :)
Tim helped me sit up and handed Finn to me.
I could not believe how big he felt in my arms!
I commented on the size of his head when I was laboring, but couldn't really fathom his length or weight in these moments after his birth.
I had just given birth.
And it was AMAZING.
I had some skin to skin time with my little one.
We left his cord alone.
We wanted to delay cutting it until after I had delivered the placenta.
Yes, I was darn proud!!
I know the water looks quite dark in the black and white photos, but in reality, I lost very little blood. The water had a dark pinkish tint, because a little bit of blood goes a long way in the water.
I didn't tear at all, either.
(And I'm a month postpartum, no longer experiencing any postpartum bleeding!)
My post-birth spread.
Apple juice, a fruit smoothie, and a bottle of Smart Water!
I was certainly not at risk for dehydration
Shortly after Finn's birth, D arrived!
She congratulated us and checked out the baby, who was doing just fine.
About 50 minutes after he was born, I pushed once and delivered the placenta.
No tugging, no premature cutting of the cord.
No one took my baby out of my arms, like could have happened in a hospital.
Tim cut the cord and they took the placenta away to examine it after I got a good look at it! So very cool!
(By the way, I will be doing a placenta post later...)
With Keelin and Jackson's births, I never had the opportunity to watch the cords being cut, to check out my placentas... and both of them were taken from me immediately for newborn exams and such.
This was such a peaceful, quiet, and respectable time.
My body, my space, and my new baby were top priority...
as it should always be.
After the cord was cut, Tim took Finn to our bedroom to hang out while I got out of the tub and cleaned up. Tequita went with him.
I loved seeing these pictures, since I wasn't in the room at the time.
I got out of the tub and went into our master bathroom. I took a nice, hot shower (it felt awesome!) and relaxed for a few minutes, then I got dressed and got into bed with my new baby.
He latched on well and nursed like a champion!
It was so nice to be home in my own bed, instead of in a hard hospital bed. I went from watching a movie to laboring, giving birth in a warm bathtub, taking a nice shower, and then crawling into my bed to nurse my baby without machines, drugs, or routines.
I got to lie in bed nursing my baby for a while, as I discussed my incredible birth with D, R, Tequita, Kate, and Tim! After we'd had a chance to catch up, I told D that I was dying to weigh Finn! I was trying to be all cool about it, but I couldn't wait any longer.
The first scale said 9lbs. 1oz.
The second scale said 8lbs. 15oz.
Either way, that precious boy was by far the biggest baby I've had.
We were all a bit stunned!
We all thought maybe 8lbs, but not 9lbs!
He was 20.5" long!
A whole 2 pounds and 2 inches bigger than Jackson.
You could have knocked me over with a feather!
Keelin was roly poly when she was born, but Finn made her look like she needed to eat a sandwich!
Kate getting in some Baby Finn time... out from behind the camera!
Us trying on Finn's special, first cloth diaper!
Jackson woke up when Finn was about 3 hours old.
At first, he didn't seem impressed, but warmed up enough to get close to his baby brother and check out this new little person.
I was so thankful he didn't seem to act displaced by the baby.
We knew Keelin would be thrilled with Finn,
but we were a bit concerned about Jackson.
We all knew Keelin would be the best big sister!
She has lots of practice being the big sister to a little brother.
Keelin: "He's the cutest baby I've ever seen, other than me, because I've seen pictures."
We're so glad you're here.