I would like to introduce you to Joshua Finn Arnold, my son.
I have a son. (Wow.)
Here is his birth story: on a Tuesday afternoon at 3:00, I stood up from sitting on my yoga ball for a while and felt a small gush. My eyes bulged a little because I immediately thought, “was that my water breaking?” I had no idea what to expect. I had spent a good portion of that morning deep cleaning my apartment because I knew any day the little man was going to be coming home. I was a day past my “due date” but wasn’t concerned about that. I knew he would come when he was ready. Anyway, I was thinking my water broke, so I called my midwife and she said she’d like to check just to make sure. She met Josh and me at our birthing center to make sure that in fact, my water had broken. Sure enough, my water had broken, but I wasn’t having any contractions yet, so they gave me a list of natural ways to induce contractions. Josh and I picked up those things and went home and got to work. (If you have to use castor oil, I figured out the best thing to mix it with is a little root beer!) Nothing was really working, so I called my midwife at 9:00 p.m. and she told me to use the breast pump for one hour and then call her. By 10:00 p.m. I was having contractions. And I mean…I was having contractions. We were a tad frustrated though because the contractions weren’t “regular” the way the midwife wanted them, but they were coming about every 2-3 minutes and lasting an average of one minute. So, for the rest of the night, I worked through contractions but wasn’t able to sleep at all. They were strong and constant – not much let down between the contractions to recuperate. I laid on the floor for a little bit, then got on my ball and just hung over it, then curled up on the floor, etc. Josh tried rubbing my back but it irritated me more than anything so I told him to go to bed. Not sure how much sleep he got with me moaning and breathing on the floor in the bedroom. Ha! By about 5:20 a.m. I was in more pain than I could handle with the contractions and I told Josh to call the midwife and see what she wanted us to do. I went to the bathroom while Josh was on the phone and all of a sudden my body took over and I was pushing! I could NOT control the reflex in the least, and every contraction that occurred after that was me pushing. I yelled at Josh and told him I was pushing and he told Harmony (the midwife) and she said TELL ASHLEY NOT TO PUSH – GET TO THE BIRTHING CENTER NOW.
Sooo… fortunately our bags were packed and by the door; Josh grabbed them, backed out the car, helped me into the car, and prayed out loud the whole way to the birthing center, while I lamely fought the urge to push. (Josh was amazing. He was such a support to me through this whole thing. I hated making him so nervous!) We both had not-so-pleasant visions of Josh either having to deliver the baby at home or in the car on the way to the center. Fortunately, we had green lights most of the 15-minute drive to the birthing center, and Josh’s prayers were answered because Harmony was already there when we pulled in. We walked in the door, straight up to our room (those were the most difficult stairs to climb in my life) where Harmony told me to go ahead and get undressed so she could check me. I was having a contraction right then and could barely do anything so Josh helped me get on the bed and get undressed. I barely laid back when Harmony and Josh both said, “I can see the head!” Baby’s dark hair was showing! Somewhere in my mind “surprise” registered that I was so far along already, but I was so out of it and all I cared about was getting through the next contraction. I laid on my back and Harmony checked for the heartbeat, which skyrocketed. Baby didn’t like me on my back, so she had me get on my side and he was fine after that. They gave me an oxygen mask to make sure I was getting plenty of oxygen to the baby, then she lifted my leg on her shoulder and said, “Okay hun, I need you to push for me.” Finally… I could push without it being bad! I used some breathing and pushing techniques I learned in my Hypnobirthing class and they seemed to be helping, but about 15 minutes after I started pushing, the second midwife (Suzanne) got to the center and checked me, and my pushing wasn’t making much progress. Baby’s head was kind of stuck, so they asked my permission to do what they needed to do (they gave me a small episiotomy) and Baby literally fell out all at once. He was here! They immediately laid him on my bare chest and wrapped a towel around us. He made a few little noises, but was silent and just wiggled around. He was perfect. It was over. Wow. I have never felt so much instant relief from pain in my life. Josh and I looked at each other in amazement and stared at this little male miracle. We just sat there staring at him while the midwives made sure I was okay. They gave me a few stitches while I held the baby on my chest, then after the cord was done pulsing, Josh cut the cord. (Proud dad moment!) After all that was done, they measured and weighed baby on my bed next to me (7 lbs 15 oz and 22 1/4″ long), then helped me nurse him for the first time. It was a success! Once I did that, the midwives left us with a menu and said we could order breakfast and lunch whenever we wanted, then they left the room and closed the door. We were completely alone the rest of the day. Josh and I just laid on the bed together with Baby and rested, ate, talked, relived the night and morning, stared at Baby, and stared some more. We had plenty of time to talk through names, but we were both pretty set on using Finn and Joshua… then we decided on the order in which we wanted it. Joshua, after Daddy, Finn, Arnold. He’ll go by Finn. We love it and feel like to completely suits him.
At 4:00 that afternoon, we packed up, Josh got Finn in his little going home outfit while I cleaned up a bit, and he put him in the car seat, and we drove home. It was a pretty fantastic feeling, and also totally surreal. Were they just going to let us leave with the baby? Just like that? We went to the center without a baby, and left with a baby. Crazy. Our little family heading home together. Sigh. What an amazing day. We got home and unpacked a few things, then showered and got dressed. Then we bathed Finn together for the first time. Then I nursed him and we just sat on the bed the three of us talking and staring at each other. For a newborn, Finn has been pretty alert and wide-eyed with us. My parents came over with dinner and met/held Finn for a bit, then Josh’s parents and little sister came and met their first grandchild/ nephew. It was a pretty special moment! After everyone left, we got ready for bed and did some much needed snoozing…something I miss a lot right now.
So there is the story. I have a baby – I am in complete awe of the birth process. It is such a miracle, and I can’t believe I did it. Quite an empowering feeling. I can’t wait to do it all over again.
My awesome team of midwives at Better Birth. Harmony is on the left. Suzanne isn’t pictured. The other two came just after Finn arrived. They were all SO full of love and kept telling me what a great job I did – I have never felt so good.