Noble’s Birth Story
by Lisa Woods
I started having contractions the afternoon of February 28, but didn’t take them too seriously because I had had two episodes where I had strong regular contractions for hours and they always tapered off right about bedtime. But these didn’t stop. They also didn’t seem to be getting any closer together and they were only about 20 minutes apart. I couldn’t decide whether to call my husband, Tom, who was out of town on a business trip, so I decided to check my cervix and see if I was dilating. I had been about 2 cm. dilated for the past 3 weeks and though my cervix was really soft, I wasn’t effaced much, if at all. This time when I checked I thought I was at about 3 cm., and I could feel the baby’s head firmly engaged. I decided to go ahead and call Tom at around 10:00 since he was 2 hours away and I was getting antsy. Then I went on to bed to see if I could get some rest.
Tom got home around 12:30 and saw me lying there calmly in bed and announced, “You’re not going to have a baby! You just missed me!” And at that point, I kind of thought that he might be right. The contractions still hadn’t gotten any closer together and the intensity was about the same, too. I was really beginning to think that I had jumped the gun a little bit! We went to sleep and I slept through some of the contractions, but most of them woke me up. When they did, I would roll over and grab Tom’s shoulder and hum as low and as loud as I could because that seemed to take the edge off of them. By about 3:00 a.m., though, I was beginning to get frazzled because I was so tired and just wanted to sleep for more than 20 or 40 minutes! So I went and took and hot bath and while that relaxed me, it didn’t slow the contractions like I had hoped.
We got up at around 7:00 a.m. and got our 9 year old daughter, Bailey, off to school and got our 16 month old son, Mason, up. Then we decided (well, I decided) to go to breakfast. Tom wanted to cook me breakfast at the house, but I said that we never knew when we would get the chance to go to breakfast again. And besides I didn’t want to get stuck with the dishes! So we went to breakfast and the contractions kept coming. I would just stop everything, put my fork down and close my eyes and let everything go really slack in the middle of the restaurant. After breakfast, I asked Tom to take me to the pharmacy so I could weigh myself and then we just walked around looking at all the stuff. Occasionally, I would stop walking and lean on Tom when I was having a particularly strong contraction, but they weren’t too bad. Nonetheless, I decided that I had to go check myself, so I went to bathroom and I was at 4 cm. and had some bloody show. I told Tom that we had better go home and try and get some rest. He just kept insisting that I wasn’t going to have the baby that day.
When we got home it was about half past noon and Tom thought a nap would be a good idea since I had kept him up almost all night as well. So after we laid Mason down for his nap, we went to bed also. As soon as I laid down, I had a really strong contraction. I couldn’t handle it lying down. I had to get up on my knees and rest my head on the headboard until it was over. I laid back down and almost immediately another one came. Then another and another….they were about 2 or 3 minutes apart suddenly and were lasting so long that I didn’t have but 30 to 60 seconds to rest in between them. I guess then Tom realized that I was serious about having this baby today and he began to get our birth supplies together and made up the bed with a plastic mattress bag and old sheets on top of clean, fresh sheets. I labored on the bed for another two hours or so, trying to rest and gather strength, while Tom applied counter pressure to my lower back with a tennis ball. I began to vocalize through each contraction…a kind of combination of a very low pitched moan/hum that seemed to help me visualize my cervix opening up to let the baby through.
All of the sudden I got out of bed and told Tom that I had to go to the bathroom! He laughed at me and reminded me that I spent almost my entire labor with Mason sitting on the toilet demanding that I had to go and never did. It was the baby sitting on my rectum. Well, that was where I spent the next hour or so, too. Every so often I would get up and wander around the upstairs and lean on walls or Tom when a contraction would start. I was feeling really restless at this point and, of course, that is when Mason decided to wake up. We just moved to a new town and didn’t have anybody to watch him for us and Bailey, who is so good and keeping him entertained, wasn’t due to be home from school for another hour and a half. We toyed with idea of Tom going to her school and picking her up, but I didn’t want to be alone at the point because the contractions were very intense. Mason was pretty good actually. He just followed me around from one room to another saying, “Do what?” (his favorite phrase of the moment) over and over again. When I would stop, he would wrap his little arm around my leg and rest his head on my thigh. It was so cute and a memory that I cherish now. That would have never happened in a hospital!
I was back to sitting on the toilet again, but suddenly I got down on my knees and put my head on the bathtub and declared I couldn’t do this anymore…I wouldn’t do this anymore…I was going to throw up and I needed a nap before I would continue!! Luckily, I had prepared Tom for this, LOL! As he handed me a cold, wet washcloth, he told me that it sounded like I was in transition and that I could do this. It was almost over! Him reminding me of that fact gave me a second wind, so to speak, and I perched back on the toilet again. Sure enough, with the next contraction I started to feel pushy! Tom asked me if I was going to have the baby on the toilet . I decided I’d better not, and he helped me back into the bedroom where I leaned up against the wall by the window and saw that the school bus was dropping Bailey off. I was so glad that she made it because she desperately wanted to be the “cord cutter” this time. Tom called her upstairs and told her the baby was coming. She was very excited but decided that she would take Mason downstairs to watch a video so that we could concentrate on the birth.
I wanted to rest a little before the actual birth so I laid down on the bed again to catch my breath, but with the next contraction my uterus stared really bearing down. I half sat up on my elbows and when I looked down my bag of waters was bulging out. We could even see the flakes of vernix floating around in there. But it still didn’t break. I asked Tom try to tear it open because I didn’t think that I could get the baby and the intact bag of waters out without tearing. He eventually had to use scissors to pop it and as soon as all the water gushed out, I felt the baby’s head rush down and he was crowning. I couldn’t see very well, but Tom said the baby had a lot of really long black hair! Turned out that it just looked black because it was wet and he really had brown hair.
At this point, I was stuck kind of reclining on my elbows on my back because moving was really difficult. We had discussed birthing positions and I had told him that I did NOT want to deliver on my back, and Tom could see that the baby’s head was putting too much pressure on my perineum in that position. He helped me to get on my knees and as I was turning to rest my upper body on the headboard, another contraction hit…HARD. I had only made it a quarter of the way around, so I was completely supporting myself on my hands and knees. My arms were shaking so bad that I was afraid they wouldn’t hold me. So Tom got on his knees on the bed in front of me and let me lean on him. It took about 3 more contractions to finally get his head out and I felt like I had to be ripping, but Tom was massaging my perineum and told me that I was fine. Once the head popped out though, it felt so much better. I was waiting for another contraction to start to deliver the shoulders when Tom told me that the baby had the umbilical cord around his neck and to hold on while he unwrapped it. Then he said, “Oh! He’s waking up!” and before he could unwrap the cord, I felt the baby give a little wiggle and out he slid, right into his daddy’s hands!
While I was maneuvering into a sitting up position, Tom confirmed that we did indeed have another son. When he put him up on my stomach, my first thought was, “We did it!” My second was “Where did he get those huge cheeks!?” LOL! He was very still and very calm. At first Tom was a little alarmed because he didn’t cry and thought we should flick him or something to try to make him cry. I just held our baby close and said, “He’s not crying because he’s not upset!” He was breathing and pinking up just fine. We sat and looked into each other’s eyes for a long time. It was the first time that I really felt that one of my babies really “saw” me. I’m sure that it was because he didn’t have any antibiotics put into his eyes as soon as he was born.
I put him to the breast, but he didn’t seem to be interested in eating right away, so we called the children up to meet their little brother. When the cord was finally empty, Bailey cut it just as she had planned. (She had quite the story to tell at school the next day and her teacher said she was quite the center of attention for several weeks!) I felt a full sensation and when I reached down I could feel the placenta just inside of my vagina, so I handed the baby to his father and got up and delivered it easily onto a chux pad. We looked it over pretty good and decided it was all there, and we got down to recording all the vital statistics. Noble was 9 lbs. 3 oz., 22 inches long and his head was 15 inches around!
We still don’t know to this day exactly when he was born (it was sometime around 4:30 on March 1, 2001), because neither of us had the presence of mind to look at the clock right when he was born! We were too much in awe of what we had accomplished and how easy, peaceful and natural it was! He is completely healthy and the most peaceful of all my children to this day.