This is my third son, Charlie’s birth story. I wanted to write it down so that I could remember his beautiful birth. Someday Charlie will read it and learn about the day he entered this world. This little person has already given me so much strength and wisdom. My heart is fuller than I could ever imagine.
My baby’s due date had come and gone with no signs of labor. We were 1 and half weeks late according to my due date. Dr. Vu had recommended to use an induction method (either breaking the water or use Pitocin) to get the labor started on the following Saturday which would mark two weeks from my original due date. I knew that the baby would come when he was ready and the time was right. I didn’t want to force start the labor. I wanted my baby to chose the perfect time when he was ready. In hoping to get things started, we decided to go hiking at Cowels mountain at 41 weeks. I also did an hour walk at Mission Trails with my mom, and I even attempted to do some jump roping with Kai. I was getting a little anxious as people around me were asking when the baby would come as if I was able to tell.
May 10, 2016
That morning my husband, Damien, took the boys to school as usual. My mom was busy making food and tending to our garden that she totally beautified in the last two weeks. It was Damien’s hope to make our courtyard and backyard nice with flowers and shade trees so we could labor there, and my mom totally transformed our empty yard with succulents and flowers. At around 10 am I started to feel slight cramping. I was excited that this might be the day! I told Damien that contractions were starting and this might be it. I hurried and took a shower in between my surges. It was on and off around 7 minutes apart. I decided that I needed to bake bread for the next morning for my boys and my mom. So I hurried and set my bread maker. I told my mom that I was feeling contractions and we will be heading to the hospital some time today. She almost jumped at the news and started getting even busier in the kitchen making lunch for us.
Damien and I quickly checked our list of things to bring to the hospital. He was very calm, which made me feel calm even though I was so excited and very nervous for the big day! We then decided to go outside. Part of me wanted to be alone with Damien as my mom was making noises in the kitchen and I didn’t want to be distracted. We stood under the big tree in front of our house and talked about which branches should be trimmed off to air out the rest of the tree. Then we took a very slow walk several houses down, stopping at every succulent and talked about how nice they looked. It was such a beautiful day, it really seemed like the best day to birth my baby!
Around 3pm we decided we should head to the hospital even though surges weren’t unbearably intense. I was feeling pretty strong surges by then and I didn’t want to risk birthing on the side of the freeway.
We got to the hospital, but I didn’t want to check in just yet. I knew I wasn’t ready. I wanted to be at least 7cm before I checked in. So we put our things down by the Women’s Center and walked around the rose and cactus garden for few hours. My surges were getting very strong, and my voice was shaking as I tried to let out each time. Damien read Hypbobirthing birth affirmation cards as he put counter pressure on my lower back. When I felt surge was coming, I hit the “start” button on the contraction tracker, then I hugged him tight and tried to relax my leg muscles . It felt very good to hug him. I loved his warmth. It comforted me and took some of the pain away. I felt things were going very well.
Around 6pm, I decided it was time to check in. A nurse took me to the triage, I had one contraction while she asked, “Why are you here?” then she answered herself, “You are having contractions.” She then asked, “What birth is this?” I answered, “Baby #3.” She checked and I was 7cm. I thought to my self, “Okay, not too bad. It will be a while.” Three more nurses came in and they seemed to be in a rush to get everything set up. It took 4 nurses to put the IV on my wrist and they almost made Damien faint! Finally they got it under control after securing the IV onto my wrist. By then I really needed to be standing. Laying down was so uncomfortable during my surges. In between my surges Damien set up my relaxation music, gave nurses our birth plan, dimmed the lights, then back to be my mighty birth companion. I felt cold at first, but as my surges got stronger and shorter in between, I was sweating. Damien was busy reading Hypnobirthing scripts and pressuring my lower back with one hand and massaging my left leg with the other hand. Everything that he was doing seemed absolutely necessary and I couldn’t go through one surge without him. I was standing by the bed, resting my arms and head on the side of the bed being careful not to rip the sweaty band-aid and IV needle off my wrist. Sometimes the heart rate monitor band would slip off from my belly and the nurse had to hold it during my surges. I was letting out my quiet “ahhh” voice to release and let my body do it’s own job. My voice was shaky and would vibrate like some kind of instrument as my surge was taking over. I didn’t know how much time had passed. I had to focus on each surge with all my mind and body. I kept telling myself, “just let go, relax your face, your body is doing it’s job and you just need to let it be.” The Hypnobirthing scripts really helped me bring back focus to the joy of birthing and trusting my body. Dr. Vu came at some point, and I felt better that he was there. I felt very close by then, I felt that the baby’s head was low, pressuring my pelvis. I asked Dr. Vu to come and check on my dilation, and to break my water because I knew that would bring me over to the edge. I was getting tired! He said that I was 9cm, and the water had been already broken. Just then I felt the gush of warm water. How exciting! He said that the anterior lip was in the way, so he was going to push it over in the next contraction. After that he said that I could start pushing! I was so happy to hear that. I knew the hardest part was over and now it’s just the pushing!
I started pushing may be twice in the side laying position and decided this wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to be on my hands and knees. I needed the help of gravity! I wanted this part to be as easy on me and as fast as possible for the baby! So I got on my hands and knees. Pushing felt good. I knew this was the very last part of my labor and I was confident that we (baby and I) could do this. Everyone respected our wish of mother directed pushing and no loud pushing prompts, so there was just me and my baby, directing our own bearing-down while everyone quietly supported. After a few pushes, I could feel that the baby’s head was passing through and I felt that he was soon crowning. I told Damien to go look at his head. Then I reached in between my legs and felt his head with my hand. It was so warm, soft, gooey and wet! What a joy! I heard Damien say “his head is out!” I took a few breaths and started to nudge his body gently. Baby Charlie slipped out! I heard a gargling cry, and I knew he was out! We did it! I was still facing my pillow at that point. Dr. Vu put baby Charlie in between my legs so I could pick him up. He was quiet, warm, wet and slippery. I couldn’t believe he was now outside of my tummy, and on top of my chest! He was the sweetest thing. His eyes wide open, very alert, and very content. I asked Dr. Vu if the placenta had come out. He said no, but if I cough, it would come out. After a slight push, the placenta came out. I asked Dr. Vu if we can take it home to plant it by our brand knew tree. He said no problem and showed me the placenta inside out. It looked pretty gross, but I had to check it out. After all this was Charlie’s home for the last 9 months! This was the miracle inside my tummy that took good care of my baby. I put my nipple near his mouth and there he went, sucking so strong! Dr. Vu let me touch the umbilical cord and I felt it was pulsating. We waited until it stopped pulsating and Damien cut the cord. I am happy he was finally able to do this part (without fainting!). Our labor and delivery nurses, Emily and Sarah, were enchanted with how everything was so calm and in control, and they were impressed with our Hypnobirthing method. They even told us that we should have made a Hypnobirthing video!
Our boys, Hue and Kai, came to the hospital to meet baby Charlie the next day with their grandmas. They couldn’t take their eyes off Charlie. They’ve been nothing but sweet brothers. Charlie is perfect! He is a calm and happy baby who eats well and sleeps well. We are so happy and grateful with our birthing experience. The Hypnobirthing class gave us the knowledge, tools and confidence that a women’s body is capable of birthing naturally. We practiced relaxation at night and I listened to the birth affirmations daily. The biggest help I had was my husband. I truly couldn’t have done it without Damien’s loving companionship during my labor.
Photocredit: Damien Devine