Meeting Katherine Rose
by April M. Fleischhacker
The day Kathryn came to us was like any other day that winter. Wake up, take a warm bath, eat breakfast, take a warm bath, read to my son, and take a warm bath with my son. You understand right? Warm baths are what kept me sane during those final weeks of waiting.
Impatient and very ready to birth this child I settle into bed. I move to find a better position to fall asleep and find a cold spot on the bed. What’s this? Oh no, I peed. No wait. In the bathroom I sit on the toilet and POP, gush. I’ve never had labor start this way. I become very excited because I will meet my baby soon.
What to do? I call the midwife and tell her my water broke but I won’t be coming to the birth center any time soon. No contractions, no worries except what do I catch this flow of amniotic fluid with? I place a towel on my side of the bed but never lie down there. The contractions start in minutes and never stop. Oh, they are strong; I don’t know how I’ll handle this for very long. Hoping for a quick delivery but fearing disappointment, during one contraction I ask Jeff to take me to the hospital for my epidural now. He reminds me that I don’t want a doctor or an epidural. Oh yeah. Well, it’s too late because this baby is going to be born soon anyway. “What, here?” he asks me. Yes. “No, of course we’ll go to the birth center” he tells me.
Ooh. I want to push. I’ve been pushing gently with each contraction since they started thirty minutes ago. Visualizing my womb opening. Opening like a flower. When Jeff looks he sees no baby but I feel the baby move down and through my cervix. Though he’d prefer that I don’t, I push gently. Not so gently like before but with a bit more force. When I actually feel the downward motion I push even harder. Though the cord’s around her neck I won’t stop pushing until she is fully out.
Kathryn Rose is born into her father’s hands at 11:36 p.m. on March 20, 1998. It’s wonderful to discover I’ve another daughter. It’s wonderful to realize I need not be separated from my firstborn daughter to birth her sister. After my children fall asleep the baby nurses to sleep. Jeff goes to sleep. I cannot sleep. Not with this new little person lying beside me. I stay awake watching my husband and my newborn daughter until the sun comes up. This is the first day of Spring.