by Martha Basham
I just don’t know if there are words to do justice to the way my baby boy came into this world. To put it simply and maybe best, it was a little piece of heaven. I’ve never been closer to God or my family as I was in the moments he was born and after.
Even now, 2 weeks to the day after he was born, I have a hard time believing how amazing his birth was. I feel like I dreamed it all. While I was pregnant I only hoped, dreamed, that it would be what it was. I would live and relive those moments over and over again if I could and will draw on that experience any time in my life that I need strength or courage. Because of his birth I know myself better. His birth was about responsibility from the start. During pregnancy I was responsible for taking the best care of myself that I ever have in my life. During the 2 years prior to his birth I took responsibility for preparing and educating myself about birth and every possible path that birth could take. I surrounded myself with people who were also educated about birth. But ultimately in my mind, my soul, I had a perfect picture of what this birth would be and it was.
What it wasn’t was dramatic. Or scary. Or painful. It wasn’t anything that people typically envision in a birth. And it was nothing like you see on t.v. By all means, Isaiah’s entrance into this world would probably be classified by some, as boring.
A boring birth.
But really, I would not call it boring. Sure, it wouldn’t make for good t.v. but I wouldn’t call it boring. I would call it peaceful. Joyous. Beautiful. Calm. Relaxing. Even triumphant.
On July 22nd at 3:00 pm my family who had just visited prior to leaving for their trip to Hawaii for my brother’s wedding was getting ready to say goodbye. My husband worked the night shift that night and he woke up as they were leaving to see them off. At 3:30 he was getting ready to go to work and I sat down on the couch to relax after a long day. My 3 girls, 5, 3, and 1 were playing. They had woken early that morning and my 1 year old was getting very tired after a long day with no nap. We had spent the day shopping and having ‘girl’ time together as I knew that things would get busy when the baby arrived.
When I sat down on the couch I felt the baby drop. It happened very quickly and noticeably. Shortly after that I had this feeling that labor would be starting soon. By 4:00 Nick was ready to go to work. I wasn’t having regular contractions, just the same Braxton hicks/ prodromal labor that I had experienced for weeks prior. Instinctually I knew that it was going to happen that night. I just knew. I let him know this but told him to go to work anyway ’just in case it wasn’t’. We all said goodbye and he was off to work. It took him about an hour to get to work and would take him another hour to get home. By 5:00 I was still not having regular contractions. They were still the same and still barely noticeable. I cleaned my house, helped my girls get ready for bed, washed all the laundry and took care of anything that I knew I wouldn‘t want to worry about once the baby did arrive. I was doing these things instinctually and that instinct was telling me that baby would be on the way very soon. I took a bath because I was tired and just wanted to relax. I sang along to my Ipod and could hear my older girls singing along from in their room while they were playing with their toys. I called Nick at work. He called back just after 5:00 and I told him he should come home or he might miss the birth. He was home by 6:00 and I was playing barbies with our girls. Our 1 year old had fallen asleep and it was just my oldest 2 still awake. When Nick got home he thought maybe my call was a false alarm. I was calm, relaxed, and not in pain. I did ask him to rub my back because it was tired after a long day. I was still keeping busy and my girls helped me switch the clothes from the washer to the dryer. It was almost 7:00 and I decided to lay down and rest a little. Still no regular or painful contractions. I went to the bathroom and half expected some signs of labor but nothing.
I went to go back to our room and lay down when my dh said, something along the lines of ‘so, we’ll have the baby tomorrow maybe?’ He was thinking he could go to sleep. I said, ‘no, baby will be here soon’. It was after 7:00 (7:15? I’m not sure…time is fuzzy at this point) I couldn’t sit still. I needed to be moving, pacing, walking, and I walked down our hall, into our living room, and then back into the bathroom. That was transition. It lasted about 5 minutes from the time I told Nick baby would be here soon and it never hurt. It was also the only time I had a regular contraction pattern or contractions that felt slightly more noticeable than Braxton hicks. My body then started to bear down. I wanted to be in the tub at first and the feeling of the water from the shower was very relaxing and soothing. Nick checked in on me and I think he finally believed that baby was going to be born soon. I reached down and felt the bag of water bulging. I told him that it was very close. Then I wanted to be out of the tub. I got out and Nick gave me towels to dry off. I made my way to our room and onto our bed.
Once I got on the bed I reached down again and felt a hairy head and shortly after that I knew I needed to slowly breathe him out. Nick and my girls were there with me, they were just watching and waiting quietly and patiently. When baby’s head came out I heard my older daughter say “I see the baby’s head!” I had my hand on baby’s head as it crowned and in the same contraction as the head was born the shoulders turned and baby’s body slid gently out into my hands onto the bed. He cried right away and was immediately pink. He looked around and then gave another good cry. I was so busy looking at him that I didn’t even think to look and see if he was a boy or a girl. We didn’t find out because we opted not to have an ultrasound. Nick asked and when I looked I half expected him to be a girl. I said “it’s a boy!!”
Within 15 minutes of his birth he was breastfeeding and the placenta came out. He ate for a half hour nearly every hour for the first 12 hours of his life, my milk came in the 2nd day, and has been a great eater! I’ve even kept up with the demands of cloth diapering a newborn (this is the biggest surprise for me!). He weighed in at 9lb 2oz on the fish scale Nick bought for his birth...our “catch of the day” as he called him :)
Isaiah Gideon was born exactly how I hoped he would be. He had a peaceful entrance into this world. I was able to listen to my body and my instincts and do everything I needed to so he could have a safe and peaceful birth. I knew myself enough to know exactly what I needed for his birth and I know birth enough to know exactly what I needed to bring him safely into this world. I had hoped I would “know” I was “in labor” sooner this time (last time I didn’t know until an hour before she was born!) and I did. Even though my labors aren’t ’traditional’, instinctually I *just knew*. I had hoped I would enjoy it and soak it all up and I did. I had hoped my husband and my girls would be able to witness it and they did. I had hoped for the birth that was perfect for me and our baby and it was. I am so thrilled that my girls were able to see a baby, their brother, brought into this world in such a way, that they too may someday birth without pain or fear and it might be a joyous and beautiful event for them too. I feel so incredibly blessed!