Kai Enters the World, by Kelly

Sep 13, 2012 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Birth Stories

I love sharing the story of my son’s birth not just because of its significance on my life but because his birth was very empowering for me. I am proud of how he came into the world. I, with the help of some wonderful women, created the birth environment I envisioned; gentle, peaceful and in my control.

I had planned on birthing Kai at a local hospital with a group of midwives I had been seeing for my prenatal care. As I was nearing my due date, I began to become concerned with what I was learning about birthing in a hospital. I toured the hospital’s “birthing suites” and found them to be little more than a hospital room painted pink. I started asking about hospital procedures and questioning those procedures. I became uneasy with the answers I was given. I began to feel more and more out of control of the birth of my son.

I had met Kim several months earlier. We had an instant connection and she soon agreed to be my doula. She was a great support and resource for me. Without her, Kai’s birth would have been a completely different experience. A week before Kai was due, I expressed to Kim my growing concern about birthing in the hospital. She suggested that I meet Janine Walker, Licensed Midwife, a close friend a local midwife. Kim also suggested I tour the Puget Sound Birth Center. My friends and support team, Jen and Amy, accompanied me to meet Janine and her midwife partner, Darlene Curtis, Licensed Midwife at the birth center. I walked in and Janine immediately welcomed me with a huge, loving hug. After about an hour long question and answer session with Janine and Darlene, I switched my care and planned to birth at the birth center. Jen asked me if I wanted to take some time to think about it. No, I felt good about my choice. The birth center was warm and beautiful. I had a good feeling about these women. I knew I wanted a gentle, non-medicated birth for my son. They were there to help me achieve it. It all felt right.

I had slight pains Wednesday and Thursday. Janine told me it was my body “warming up.” On Friday I had small contractions most of the day but I was in denial about what was beginning. Jen made dinner for me and Amy. We began timing the contractions. They were getting closer together but they were short. Amy must have sensed that something was about to happen and decided to spend the night.

We went to bed around midnight. I couldn’t get comfortable. Every time I tried to sit or lay down another contraction would send me to my feet. Around 3am I called Kim. She kept me on the phone for about a half hour to listen for clues in my breathing that would tell her about the progression of my labor. I had to throw the phone down several times during our conversation to concentrate on a contraction. Because my contractions were so irregular, very short yet intense, she wasn’t sure it was the real thing though she said she could be eating her words later. She did.

I talked to Janine who suggested I take to take 2 Advil, get into the bath tub and try to sleep. I was still in denial that this was the real thing. I just wanted sleep. I was able to get a short nap. Around 5am I laid down on my bed and it felt like a water balloon popped between my legs. My water broke. I called Kim back. I then had to throw up so I hurried to the bathroom. Jen came out of her room. I don’t think she initially had any idea what was going on. I was kneeling by the toilet and handed her the phone. She gave me a puzzled look. “Talk to Kim.” Jen wasn’t quite awake yet. It took her a minute to realize that Kim was on the line. Kim told Jen she would be right over. Amy was also awake by then. Both women were a little unsure what to do to help me. Once back in my room, I just hung on to the baby crib and rocked though each contraction. Kim soon arrived which was a big relief to all of us. She put her hand on my lower back and rubbed in a circular motion. It was instantly comforting.

Kim called Janine while I continued to cling to the crib. They decided it was time to go to the birth center. Kim asked Jen and Amy to get us ready to go. I think they were grateful to finally have something to do. They were feeling a bit helpless. They gathered up bags and suitcases and we were off to the birth center. Kim asked Jen to drive her car. Kim and I rode in Amy’s back seat. That was the longest car ride of my life. I couldn’t get comfortable. I laid over the back seat with my face smashed against the back window. Then I laid over Kim. Finally, after what seemed like forever, we arrived at the birth center. It was about 7am. We had to wait outside a few minutes until Janine and Darlene arrived. It had just gotten light out or that may have been the first time I had opened my eyes in several hours. It was lightly misting.

Inside I tried to lay down but again the contractions wouldn’t let me. I hung onto the sink and rocked. I finally got undressed and into the tub. The water was a bit too warm for me but a certain temperature had to be maintained for the baby. I cringed every time more hot water was added. Janine wanted to check me to see my progress but I asked her not to. I was afraid I wasn’t very far along. Since I was already exhausted, I didn’t want to know how much was ahead of me. Janine respected my request.

We had brought my favorite music along but at that moment I wanted quiet. My friends sat quietly by the tub and just watched. Kim sat on the other side giving me suggestions on positions. She reminded me to deepen my moans to get the most power out of them. Candles were burning and it was very peaceful.

Through every contraction Kim would say “It is almost over then you can rest.” Every time, just for a second, I thought she meant that the whole thing would be over and I could sleep but she only meant that particular contraction.

I purposely avoided looking at the clock on the shelf but whenever Janine put the doppler in the water to check the baby’s heartbeat, I would catch a glimpse of her watch. Time felt like it was crawling by. Janine asked to check me again. I agreed and she announced that I was complete. I touched inside myself to feel my baby’s head. I said “I think he’s bald.” Everyone chuckled. I began having the urge to push.

I tried and tried to push in the tub. I really wanted to birth in the water but I was having a hard time finding a position that worked. They finally got me out of the tub to walk around a little. Janine suggested that Kim sit on a stool with me facing and straddling her. It worked. It totally opened me up and with the help of gravity, my baby started moving down. I don’t remember how long I was in that position but I felt like I was smothering Kim so I stood and hung on to the bed post. Janine sat on the floor under me just watching and waiting. She applied warm towels and oil to my perineum to help my tissues stretch. She put a mirror on the floor so I could watch my progress. I didn’t look at first but then I heard my friends awing as he began to crown. “Is he out?” I asked. “Not quite.” I looked and I could barely see his head. I felt discouraged. Janine pointed out that he wasn’t bald after all.

Somewhere I found a surge of energy and just went for it. I was going to get that baby out. I felt like I was pushing with a vengeance. I didn’t look down again.

During this time, my friend Melanie, who had been paged earlier and was driving down from Vancouver, Canada arrived. I wish I had a picture of her face as she walked in after a 3 hour drive to see a baby coming out of her friend’s body. It takes a lot to shock her and I know that did it.

Soon I heard some sucking and was told to stop pushing. Janine was sucking meconium out of Kai’s nose and mouth. It was hard to hold back the contraction but then I got the ok and he was out. It was 11:37am. I honestly couldn’t comprehend what was happening at that point. Janine was saying “Kelly take your baby.” I thought “What baby?” ” What just happened?” He was passed between my legs and I sat down on the bed. It took several minutes for me to “return to earth” and realize that I had a little crying boy in my arms. He soon stopped crying. I think he was the only one in the room not crying. He just looked around and took it all in. It was love at first sight. I was elated not only to finally see my beautiful son but because I did it. I had the beautiful birth I had envisioned, surrounded by wonderful women who were there to love and support me. I must have thanked everyone a dozen times. It was so empowering and at that moment, as I looked down at my son, I felt like I could do anything.

Click here to see Kai’s Birth Gallery.

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