*Posted with permission
After 41 weeks, our birth experience actually began to materialize the evening of Wednesday Aug 12th. As people were taking leave of their day’s work and driving home to their families, we were just beginning our 30 hours of long work, driving towards the eventual entry of our son into this world. Enduring approximately 2 weeks of scattered, momentary belly tightening, it was August 12th when Heather’s contractions began to organize, fall in line and settle into a pattern that would become more and more pronounced throughout the restless night ahead. The morning counsel we received from our Midwife team led us to a tbsp of castor oil in hopes to help continue progress of emphasizing the intensity of the contractions. Overtime, her discomfort began to manifest in repetitious forced breaths and low building moans, settling into the surmounting ache. Positions ranged from laying supine to utilization of a yoga ball, leaning, head down on the couch while hips circled. Walks outside among trees and the kissing breeze also aided in bringing us closer to a more consistent and intense order of contractions. At 2:45 our doula arrived at our home, advised a steamy shower while she, leaning in, listening closely to the sounds of Heather dealing with the current tightening.
A quick discussion ensued and all agreed it was time to make the nervous trek to the VCU Medical Center, where our fantastic team of midwife, nurse, and doula would assemble and become finally complete. A strenuous and slow walk to our low-lit and spacious birthing room brought us to 4:30 pm August 13th and to what would begin the real experience of active labor. As Heather readied herself for the tough hours ahead, the room transformed, as everywhere lights twinkled gently in the darkened room and soft melodies danced in the air.
As the tension within Heather built, who at this point was 4cm dilated and with a shifted babe unfortunately in back labor, a warmed tub of shifting hues helped soothe the pressure inside. Moving between this tub and a shower lit only by warm flickering candles and equipped with a handheld showerhead that would be used to massage Heather’s lower back with strong hot streams would prove to be invaluable in enabling Heather to deal with the intense pain she now was feeling.
3 hours later and a second check, now at 5cm dilated, brought the conclusion that her water needed to be broken manually due to the extremely thick walls of the amniotic sack. Once punctured, progress sped up tremendously accompanied by another level of hurt and pain. A few tearful breakdowns and moments of extreme exhaustion brought Heather to proclaim she could endure no more and needed the assistance of drugs. This request was stifled by the relaxed and confident guidance of the midwife. “I can’t do this!” was returned emphatically with “You are already doing this.” Heather continued.
The unbearable pain grew and grew, the deep moans loudened and then something happened.
RYAN: At this point there seemed to be this transformation that happened with you. We could all hear it in the sounds and tones of your voice, moaning throughout the contractions. What were you experiencing?
HEATHER: The pain was very rhythmic, hugely intense but small spaces where I could be quiet occurred. Then it would come back on and vocalizing would help me connect to the contraction and gave me something to focus on, drowning everything else out around me. I had to stay in this ebb and flow and stay present. I had to go with the pain instead of fighting it.
RYAN: What were you thinking during this time? To me this was a very spiritual moment. Your tones became something otherworldly and unlike the Heather I know. It was obvious that something very primal was taking place. And it seemed you were physically there, but mentally you were not in that room, but miles away.
HEATHER: I was in a depth that I had never felt. I knew I was in a safe, supportive environment, which allowed me to escape and go deep, deep inside beyond where I have ever been before. Things simplified for me there, all thinking went away. What brought me out of this was the building need to push.
RYAN: That’s when we got you back in the tub for a short time. And it was apparent that you had the urge to push just by the grunting that started appearing at the backend of your moans.
At 11:30 pm, Heather was brought to the bed and checked. She was fully dilated. “Heather do you want to have your baby now?” asked the midwife. There was no hesitation in Heather’s answer – yes. Gathering around her, our team encouraged our new mom as she strained and strained to produce a glimpse of the little hairy head of our boy. Then it was his turn to do some work and help wriggle himself through the birth canal. In a comical turn of events, I, as if scripted out of a movie, grew very lightheaded, turning all various shades of white and green, feeling faint. The team glanced around at each other nervously and got an ice pack and orange juice to keep me on my feet and in the game. I couldn’t miss this moment for the life of me!
Shortly thereafter, our perfect little man was lifted and put directly into Heather’ s arms, while she looked for the first time wide-eyed, with awe and love at her baby. A brief series of whimpers escaped his tiny pillowy lips announcing his arrival and bringing a swell of tears to my eyes.
Rune Iver Micklos came to us at naturally at 11:55 pm Thursday, August 13th . His sweet body weighed 8.1 lbs. and was 19.3 inches long. He is healthy and intact.
We stayed in the hospital until Saturday morning, undergoing many tests, checks and overall recovery. Sleep wasn’t part of the plan as we were much to enamored to do anything but stare lovingly at this little life we created together.
We are now home and, over the last few days, have found a routine allowing Heather to get rested bit by bit. Rune is breastfeeding like a ravenous champ which we are so thankful for! He is so, so awesome and we are continually amazed by the experience we went through together and at how much love we have for Rune as he sleeps, coos, and, yes, poops in our adoring arms. He is our dream come true. As for Heather, I didn’t know I could fall even more in love with her. She is my hero.