In Kylie’s words:
Since Juniper was born on 8/14, many people have asked how his birth went...and I always just reply “good”. The thoughts and emotions surrounding that day are simply too overwhelming to possibly describe in a 'small talk' response. His birth was the most challenging thing we’ve ever done, and yet, the most wonderful, powerful and enchanting day of our lives. It wasn’t perfect and not exactly how we had planned, but I (we) wouldn’t change a thing...
I had been having start/ stop labor for a few days. On August 13, during the evening, we decided to take Puppet and Finn on a new hike- the butterfly pond trail at Highcliff State Park. Our goal was to walk the baby out! I was 41 weeks pregnant and so, SO ready to be un-pregnant. The night progressed like the previous nights had, with contractions getting slightly closer together. We went up to bed around 9:00pm and by 10:00pm I had to get up because sleep wasn’t happening. The contractions were getting stronger and I started focusing on breathing/relaxing through them. I stacked up a mountain of pillows on the couch and kneeled over them. Baby had been posterior at my last few check-ups and I was encouraged by the midwives to spend time in early labor on my hands and knees, to try and coax baby into a better position. After a few hours, the contractions became 4-5 minutes apart and started getting more intense (especially in my back). I moved up to our tub and the warm water seemed to help. The contractions got so strong that I could no longer press the start/stop button on my iphone to accurately time them. I called Luke (asleep in our bedroom down the hall) and said “you need to get up and start doing your job!”. It was 2:00am.
Luke met me in the bathroom and took over timing. We decided to call the midwives and say that this is ‘for real’ this time. I spoke with Andi on the phone (had to hand it over to Luke during contractions) and she advised us to try and relax and call back when the contractions got 2-3 minutes apart. She said I probably wouldn’t be holding our baby until the next evening. My heart sunk. Holy #%$^&#, I didn’t think I could take another DAY of these contractions. I’m pretty sure I had a little crying break-down at that point, but Luke stayed calm and assuring. We spent some time in the bedroom. I stood and sort of sprawled bent over the bed during contractions. Luke would apply pressure to my back and rub it in between to help me relax.
When that became unbearable, we moved back to the tub. Contractions were the most intense during this time. I was completely focused, finding a rhythm in my head to get through each one. I am not a quiet laborer- which kind of surprised me. I’m glad it was cool and most of our windows were closed. It got loud and freaky, I'm sure. I was completely in the zone and don’t remember too much about this time. Luke said I was coherent for a few minutes in between contractions and he could ask me questions. In those brief moments, I would say things like... “don’t forget to pack my cell phone charger...and make-up bag” LOL. Yes, I thought I might want my make-up bag. We called Andi and let her know the contractions were 2-3 minutes apart. She told us to come to the birth center. I decided I needed to brush my teeth before we left ( I guess oral hygiene was that important to me.
In Luke’s words:
In between the contractions, my time was spent running out to the garage and packing the cooler, remembering KP’s make-up bag, getting the dog stuff ready/calling Bonnie, and helping her brush her teeth. I just told her to spit in a cup and took away her toothbrush to get through a contraction. At that point, my thoughts moved to how the heck were we going to get her out of the “F”-ing tub! I couldn’t even get her to brush her teeth.
We only had one cranky comment towards each other the entire birth. We had a fan blowing in the bathroom and I wanted to turn it off as we were getting out of the tub. Kylie had to pee and wanted privacy... and I was like NO ( I could picture her tripping over the cord and falling in the tub and electrocuting herself and Juni!) How would I explain that...I snapped back at her with “OK THEN” and closed the door. I knew after that, I needed to stay cool.
Kylie started saying things like... “I don’t know if I can do this anymore”, “I don’t think I can make it”... and that is when I really started to panic...Do I call Andi have her come here? Should I get the mid-wife emergency delivery cheat sheet? My stomach was in knots and my throat got dry. I decided to get the car packed after the next contraction. Two contractions later at 6:15am, we were cruising down the street with her draped over the car seat and her head buried in a towel. She demanded MAX AC! It was just like in the movies. I thought about turning my emergency flashers on. By the time we got to Northland Avenue, Kylie still hadn’t said a word. We had to go through like 20 traffic lights to get to the birth center. Luck was on our side and we hit all green lights. Andi was filling the tub when we arrived. I knew then we’d be alright.
Andi checked me upon arrival and said I was fully dilated (YES!). I started bleeding pretty heavily and my water broke on the bed. I got into the tub and had a few more painful contractions before feeling the urge to push. Pushing didn’t come natural- it just didn’t feel right. In looking back, I think it was because It didn’t feel like how I imagined it would. I thought I’d be able to FEEL the baby moving down with each push and it was really discouraging when I couldn’t. Andi encouraged me to change positions. I got out of the tub, and then eventually moved to the bed. The midwives helped me “learn” to push correctly by positioning their fingers in me and applying pressure..really I have no idea what they did, but it worked. It took a little over an hour to push him out. Everyone was so encouraging and it really did help. The sensation of his head coming out was indescribable. After it was out, I got to reach down and touch it (even though at first I refused...lol). It was squishy. Another push or two and his body was out and he was placed on my chest. 8:44am.
He looked around a bit and started whimpering. After a few minutes of rubbing he gave us a big cry. We were able to hold him, breathe him in and get him to latch on and start nursing. Luke cut the cord after it stopped pulsing and after about an hour, the midwives checked him over, weighed him, etc. I correctly guessed his weight at 8lbs 2oz. We were on our way home about 3 hours after he was born. It felt like a dream.
The birth was by far the most amazing experience that I have ever been apart of! Kylie did such a great job, she instinctually knew what to do with just a little guidance. I’m so very proud of her. At the birth center, I did a lot of comforting and massaging. One vivid moment that touched my heart... Kylie was moving to the bed when she started having a contraction and Andi said, “do what feels right.” Kylie instantly lunged towards me and wrapped her arms around my shoulders and we stood there for maybe a minute or two (I felt such an overwhelming closeness/bond). Words can’t describe the birth of your child...simply put, it was just awesome. Juni was born, looking around all bright eyed and bushy tailed... wondering what the heck just happened.
All the preparation and intenseness of our natural birth was completely rewarded by Juniper's alertness (not just during the moments after birth, but the entire day). He was wide awake and seemed to be taking in all the familiar, yet new, sights and sounds. What a day to remember.
Juniper Wild Parry-Schiller - 8/14 - 8:44am - 8lbs 2oz - 19.75"
Juniper Wild Parry-Schiller - 8/14 - 8:44am - 8lbs 2oz - 19.75"
(photos taken by me after the birth...the little stinker wouldn't look my way)