*Posted with permission
Baby River's Birth Story
The Birth Story of River William Artz
On Monday May 4th I started feeling cramps while at lunch at Garnett’s. I proceeded to my weekly acupuncture appointment and asked my practitioner to help speed things along as I was due the next day. She gave me a nice backrub and did some needle work to help expedite the onset of labor. Afterwards, I went swimming with my sister and started having more consistent contractions but tried to ignore them. Floating in the water felt amazing despite the cramps. After our dip, we went and got some Mexican food and ice cream and by the time we were back in the car I started having to breathe more deeply as the contractions came about 5-10 minutes apart but lasting only about 30 seconds.
When I got home, Dustin and I started timing the contractions as they grew stronger. We went walking around the neighborhood to try to get things moving. The contractions were forming a pattern, reaching as close as 3 minutes apart that evening, though not consistently. We waited until about 2am to call the midwife. She suggested we call our doula and have her come over. Maris came over very prepared and I started getting a bit anxious. The contractions were strong but there wasn’t a clear pattern. I was having rushes of adrenaline, which was making me very shaky at times. When we called the midwife again, she listened to me through a contraction and then suggested I try to rest and see what happens. I was able to get a little rest between contractions for hour or so until I decided to get up and go for a walk to see if things would start progressing. Maris and I went on a sunrise walk and gave Dustin some time to rest and see if things would get moving again. When we were out in the backyard, I noticed one rose had bloomed on my budded up rose bush. I took it as a sign that I was opening up like the flower, and today would be the day I would meet my baby. After a walk I started to feel really tired and tried to rest some more. I was able to get a little sleep in between contractions, which were now spaced out 8-10 minutes apart
After little progression, we decided to let Maris go home and rest and call her when things picked up again. We called the midwife to see if she had any ideas and she mentioned that since most of my pain was in my back, the baby was working on position. She suggested a mixture of rest and walking. So we kept going! We took a walk down to a little natural spring and a second grade class field trip passed us. We called Maris again in the afternoon as contractions were getting really strong but still not super consistent. She arrived with smoothies and cake, and we called the midwife again as the pain in my back was getting more intense. She suggested resting but also trying some inverted positions. I was getting really frustrated and upset because I didn’t want to go another night without seeing our baby! So Dustin made me a “24 Hours of Labor” medal out of his Ukrops 10k medal, which I wore as I inverted upside down while having contractions. Meanwhile Dustin was feeding me the tres leches cake that Maris had brought over, which happens to be the same cake we had at our wedding less than a year ago. I have to say, it was hard to enjoy upside down while working through contractions.
I got up to pee, and found my bloody show had arrived. Contractions were getting really intense, and coming closer to 5 minutes apart. I tried taking a bath but being in the tub felt suffocating. When I got out I went to lie down on the couch and we refocused timing the contractions again, which started to come around 4.5 minutes like clockwork. After the seventh one, we called the midwife again as it was clear things were progressing. Fearful of another response to try and rest, I worked through a contraction on the phone – and then my water broke! I managed to get off the couch and on the floor next to our dog Dewey, who was visibly concerned, and worked through contractions that were speeding up and intensifying. I knew it was time to go to the hospital. It wasn’t more than a half hour that I was in the car heading downtown. Going through transition in the car was utter hell, (Dustin was glad the car is mostly soundproof) and when we got to the hospital I was screaming really loud. I was wheeled speedily up to Labor and Delivery, where I was allowed to skip registration (the people were freaked) and go straight to a room. This was around 9:30pm.
When we got our gigantic labor room, I leaned over the couch for a few contractions until midwife Meghan arrived and got me to the bed. I was holding onto the bed tightly and continuing to scream – not using the down and out breathing techniques I had learned in my awesome childbirth class. Meghan locked eyes with me, and got me to calm down. I was finally able to get a hold of things and breathe into the rushes. After a few contractions she got me to the tub, where I was on hands and knees and Maris was gently spraying water on my back, which felt amazing. I loved that tub. After what felt like about a minute in, I started having the urge to push, which is like nothing I have ever felt or can truly describe. It felt so good to have pressure moving down and I grunted and did my best with breathing, though there were still some screams along the way.
Meghan told me my baby was ready to come out and I got out of the tub onto hands and knees. She said the amniotic sac was still in tact, aside from a hole where my water broke. This is apparently very rare and I had it in my head that my baby would be magical and born with a sixth sense as some cultures believe. I could feel him descending and grew excited, feeling the burning sensation grow deeper I knew he was almost here. I kept asking Meghan if she could see the head and she told me the amniotic sac was bulging out and he was right behind it. Each contraction felt like actual progress, and though I was shaking I knew it was so close to being over. As the head was descending I heard Meghan hesitate, and I got scared but she said the baby had his hand up to his face, which explains the back labor because his elbow was putting pressure on my back. The baby had grabbed her hand when she was pulling his head out. He must have let go because after 20 minutes of pushing, River William Artz was born at 10:24pm on his due date, May 5th 2015. I looked down and saw my baby, who wasn’t crying as I expected, but calm and beautiful. The nurse handed me my beautiful boy, and I cried with Dustin as we took him in our arms and held each other.
River weighed 7 lbs 10 oz at birth and was 20 inches long. I held him to my chest and got into bed, where shortly after he made his way to my breast, formed a perfect latch and fed. He has the most beautiful skin, and everything about him is perfect. We are so in love with our little River.