Thursday, October 30, 2014

Xanthie's Story

I've been really blessed to share each of Bethanie's, from Green and Grateful, birth stories. We have shared Bethanie's other three Birth Stories here, here and here. This story is of her fourth and most recent birth experience!

Xanthie's Story
by Bethanie

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I think Xanthie was trying to outdo her sister, but didn’t quite make it! Aisling was 10 days late, but Xanthie didn’t quite make it that long. She arrived 7 days after her due date. In this home, the boys seem to arrive early and the girls late! I guess they need the extra gestational time for beauty sleep!
This labor was super fast, which I kind of expected and secretly hoped for, but it was definitely faster than I thought. Still VERY intense, but so relieved to have it completed so quickly!

So to start at the very beginning, on Saturday the 3rd, we had the day completely free and it was so nice not to have any plans to be able to spend time together as a family. It looked like it was going to rain in the morning, so we decided to go to the mall and walk and then let the kiddos play in the playground area. We did walk the perimeter of the mall… both floors, but unfortunately they were remodeling so the kids area was completely torn up.

The kids were disappointed, but we certainly didn’t have the meltdown that I partially expected. We had a gift card for Chipotle, so we decided to leave the mall and drive around the corner to get some lunch and do some more walking around Fairfax Corner since the sun had decided to come out. We walked some more and then listened to some live music in the square and let the kids play in the water fountain.

It was so nice not having a schedule and just letting the day play out. I really didn’t get any contractions out of all the walking which is what I was hoping for, but I did lose part of my mucus plug that night… so I guess I did get a little something out of all the walking!

Sunday we went to church in the morning and then enjoyed a relaxing afternoon with my parents at their house and with my sister and her family who were in town from Kentucky. It was great seeing them and enjoying another beautiful day! I think it was only in the 70s which is unheard of for August in Northern VA!

I felt a little crampy… just that the braxton hicks were stronger, but nothing anywhere close to anything I’d call labor. They weren’t regular at all and wouldn’t even say they were painful. My Mom was on call to take the kids when labor did start so I contemplated leaving them for the night, but didn’t think I was that close to having a baby that they should stay.

Then early Monday morning around 3:45/4am I awoke having to go the the bathroom which is a little abnormal for me. Usually I don’t have to wake up until 5am or after, but I didn’t think too much of it. However, once I got back in bed I couldn’t go back to sleep. I started having contractions that were 10 minutes apart. Just like period cramps. I still wouldn’t have even said they were painful… just annoying enough I couldn’t get back to sleep. I woke Brian at 5am and let him know that I thought we were gonna have a baby sometime before lunch time! So I asked him to start filling the pool to make sure it was ready for when I was ready to get in. At 5:30 I called my Mom and asked her to pick up the kids around 6:30 so that she wouldn’t get stuck in rush hour traffic.

When she got there around 6:30 my contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart and only about 30-45 seconds long, and uncomfortable, but not intensely painful. In fact I found out later that Mom told my sister she didn’t think I had any contractions the whole time she was there to get the kids. She hung around til about 7am. As soon as Mom left with the three kids the contractions increased to 2 minutes apart and still not intense, but stronger.

I called Peggy (our midwife) and was able to have a normal conversation with her through the contractions. She wanted to know if I wanted her to come now. I said it was up to her. I didn’t feel like she needed to be here, but I also said that once I wasn’t the one calling her because the intensity had increased… by that point she probably wouldn’t make it. So she said she would get ready to head out.

Things started to increase and at 7:45 they were strong enough that I got in the pool and didn’t really want to carry on a conversation with anyone. Grunts and one word answers was about all anyone could hope for! Brian was still finishing up a few things and adding a bit more hot water to the pool. Brian then hopped in the pool with me and I was so glad to have him there.

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The midwives still weren’t there and I could tell it wouldn’t be too much longer. I had two really strong contractions though which I could feel Xanthie’s head moving down through my pelvis. I remembered feeling the same when Aisling was born and was hopeful it wouldn’t be too much longer. During the second of those two contractions Mayanne (Birth Assistant) arrived. At the end of the contraction she asked if i wanted to be checked and I said no. I knew the head was right there and I wanted to push with the next contraction.

Next one came and I pushed and her head emerged. I said something to that fact and Brian said Mayanne looked at her gloves and then at me and back at the gloves and then just came over to the pool! Next contraction shoulders and the rest of her were born. 8:33 Mayanne arrived and 8:36 Xanthie arrived! Peggy didn’t get there for another 10 minutes!

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It was super intense but I’d much rather it be quick!

Thanks to my wonderful husband who cheerfully got up at 5am to quickly get the pool filled and do whatever he could to serve and care for me as I progressed through this labor. He was so encouraging and knew what words I needed to hear. He worked hard and quickly to get things together and then cared for me as the end neared. I always love to see the joy and excitement in him as the end nears and as the baby joins us! I couldn’t have asked for a better man. God knew my needs and provided a man to suit that perfectly.

I’m still in awe at the miracle of birth and rejoicing in the daughter that has newly joined our family.

Thank you for rejoicing with us!

Xanthie's mama, Bethanie, has a wonderful blog, Green and Grateful, where she writes about her days spent as a mama to her four beautiful children, frugal living, delicious food and homeschooling. Stop by and say 'hi!'

If you are interested in sharing your Birth Story here on the Radiant Birth blog, feel free to Contact Me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Beyond Birth ... Stop the Presses!

Our Beyond Birth: Preparing for the Fourth Trimester event is coming up this weekend, and Stephanie Hanson of Diaper Parties by Stephanie and I are so excited to be joined by Jessica Chase of Tree of Life Birth Services!

Jessica will be talking about the benefits of placenta encapsulation for the fourth trimester period - can't wait to learn more about this!

For more information about this, and other upcoming RADIANT BIRTH events, click here!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Beyond Birth

Such exciting news to share!

Stephanie Hanson, of Diaper Parties by Stephanie, and I are excited to announce a one time talk for new and expecting mamas, Beyond Birth: Preparing for the Fourth Trimester.

Join us to learn more about breastfeeding, babywearing, cloth diapering and what to expect in those early post-partum days.

Stephanie will bring some samples of baby carriers, cloth diapers and mama cloth, for attendees to peruse (with the possibility to order), and I will have my new line of Radiant Tea and Radiant Cookies, yummy treats for new mamas to help support a good milk supply.
Upcoming date:

Sunday 2nd November, 4pm - 6pm
Room 11, Program Building.
2709 Hunter Mill Road, Oakton, VA. 22124-1614

RSVP for this event on Facebook for the
lastest updates on this event.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Birth Story Circle

It's time to plan for the next Birth Story Circle!

A woman's birthing experience is such a powerful one, and many Mothers love to have the opportunity to share their own personal birthing story.

Birth Story Circles are small groups of Mothers, coming together to share their stories. This is a safe and non-judgmental space, where Mothers can feel supported and safe as they share.

I am so so excited to announce that I will be holding a Birth Story Circle, on Saturday 22nd November, 4-6 pm, in Sterling, Virginia.

Attendance is limited, to ensure that the group remains small, cozy and confidential. Please RSVP here to save your spot at an upcoming Birth Circle.

Babes in arms and nurslings welcome! Your first priority is to you and your baby, so please feel free to take care of your needs, to nurse, feed and change as you and your baby require.

There is no right or correct story to share. You are welcome at a Birth Circle whatever path your Birthing journey took. Please remember that Mothers each have their own story, and you may well hear stories that differ greatly from your own, including home births, cesarian sections, unassisted births, Birth Centers, Midwife deliveries and hospital births. This is a supportive space to share and receive ALL stories!

Interested in me facilitating a Birth Circle for your Mom's Group? Contact me for more information!

  • Upcoming dates
Saturday, 22nd November, 4-6 pm
8 Howard Place, Sterling, VA. 20164.
     - Pay what you can! (suggested amount is $15 to $40)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Kora's Story

A new week, another opportunity for a Birth Story!
Read on!

Kora's Story
by Mellisa

I took the Bradley Method classes. We felt prepared. We had a doula. I chose a hospital birth due to unknown family history. My husband really thought we should have a birth center birth. I pushed back because of the unknown.

I started with mild irregular contractions on 10pm Friday night. Right at bed time. My husband said, "rest, you don't know how long it will be". I tried resting until about 2 am. At that point I was done with getting up every 20 minutes with a contraction, needing to pee and being thirsty. At this point I was also hungry. So, I decided to go to the kitchen and get something to eat. All I remember is wanting to eat the fruit we just bought. So, I stood there at the counter cutting up all the fruit, eating some and putting the others in containers. I also timed contractions. They were still irregular and not intense. At about 5 am I decided I should get more rest. They contractions must have stopped because I slept until about 9 am.

My family was in town and were preparing to leave when I woke up; I told then I was having contractions last night.

They decided to stay.  My sister and husband helped me try to get my contractions going again. We called our doula just to inform her.  The contractions came back and started to become regular in the afternoon. We called the doula after dinner time between 6 and 7pm again, to tell her they were getting stronger and staying pretty regular. I was still pretty talkative and felt fine.  Our doula arrived between 8 and 9 pm. We did some laboring on the ball; I was definitely moving along in labor. I had to concentrate and relax during each contraction. It never felt painful. We discussed if I should go to the hospital now or later. I was admitted to the hospital around 10pm.

I tried the tub, but I kept having to get out to pee so I was annoyed; I decided to stay out of the tub.

Some time around midnight, but Dr came in to check me.  I was told by my doctor in a frank voice "You are not fully dilated, your water has not broken and your cervix is protruding. You are pushing. You need to stop pushing or your cervix will explode. If you do not stop pushing, I will take you in for a c-section".

I told my doctor that I was not purposefully pushing, that my body was doing it. At this point my water broke. My doctor proceeded to tell me that my other option was an epidural. I told her that I didn’t want an epidural or a c-section. She then told me that if I didn’t stop pushing she would take me in for a c-section and that it would not be in a form of a question if I wanted one. My husband looked at our doula and asked if there was anything else we could do. She said that I could try to blow out each contraction and focus on that. We asked the doctor if we could try this. She said that I had one hour and if I could not stop pushing then I would have to get the epidural.

I tried so hard not to push. With the fear of a c-section looming and not being able to stop the pushing, I looked at my husband and told him to tell the doctor to get the epidural because I did not want a c-section.  I did not request the epidural for pain management. I wanted to avoid a c-section.

Looking back, I honestly believe my doctor wanted to perform a c-section. It was not only Sunday, it was Father’s Day. I remember my doctor looking at me and asking me if I wanted the epidural. I told her that I didn’t want a c-section and that I couldn’t stop pushing. So, if that is my only option then yes. I also remember her saying that it might be another hour before he could get to me. I remember being scared. Thinking how am I not going to push for another hour.  Well, I remember him coming in soon after she left with all the paperwork for me to sign. Of course my husband can’t sign them. I have to sign them in the middle of contractions. The epidural is inserted. Then nurse Anne goes to put the catheter in, but can’t. She yells over and says turn off the epidural, she doesn’t need it! I am confused, my husband is confused as is my doula. She says the head is right here, you need push and can push! My doctor did not check me before the epidural was given. I began pushing as my doctor is frantically getting ready. I can totally feel the pressure of the contractions. I am yelling "I need to push, I need to push". Then I feel it subside and then I go back to saying "I need to push, I need to push". They are not telling me that a contraction is coming or to push. I continue to do this until my beautiful daughter arrives at 4:44am on Father's Day.

If you are interested in sharing your Birth Story here on the Radiant Birth blog, feel free to 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Simon's Story

Happy Friday everyone!
Enjoy your Birth Story!

Simon's Story
by Pamela

I had what I think was my first contraction around 7:15am while I was cuddling in bed with my two older boys.  I didn’t necessarily believe it was a contraction since up to this point I had had three nights of contractions that went from about 2am until 3am and then stopped.  The day before I went into labor I felt terrible; my body ached, I was in a tough place emotionally, and I truly thought I was going to be pregnant forever.  

After I got out of bed I went about my morning trying to keep time on my contractions.  I called Thad (my husband) around 8am and told him I had a few contractions but I couldn’t keep track of their pattern; they were somewhere between 10-15 minutes apart but not consistent.  He said he was going to leave the office right away but I told him I wasn’t sure if this was it.  He said he’d rather be home than miss anything so he came home.  I was standing in my kitchen trying to keep track of my contractions by my last made calls/texts to my husband, doula, and midwife.  By 8:45am my husband came home and he asked his mom to stay home in case she needed to take the boys out of the house.  I remember walking to the bathroom (I was making very frequent trips to the bathroom that morning which was a good indicator that I was truly in labor) around 9am and had to hang on to my dresser to get through a contraction.  My midwife, Marilee, called to check on me and said she was on her way and my doula texted me to tell her when we needed her help.  Around 9:30am my friend, Amanda, came by to pick up the cookies for our cookie exchange that morning and my mother in law was getting the boys and dog into the car and I had a long, intense contraction that had me on my knees hanging on to the banister with tears in my eyes.  Active labor began!!  Dash (older son) was very concerned seeing me in pain and I was grateful that they would not be there for labor despite my initial wants of having them in the house for labor and/or the birth.  I wouldn’t have been able to concentrate on labor if they were there.  I remember Marilee walking into the house while I was groaning through a contraction and I heard her say, “Those are good sounds,” and it finally occurred to me that this kid was going to be born that day.  It was around 9:45am. 
I made it downstairs in between contractions to see Thad busy at work filling the aqua doula, Marilee setting up supplies, and I helped by setting up my iPod for music and setting up my diffuser (I used doTerra’s Balance blend for grounding).  I was having a hard time getting comfortable through contractions because I couldn’t quite tell where I was having pressure.  Was the pressure on my bottom or my perineum or my back? I couldn’t tell, so I couldn’t figure out what position to be in for maximum comfort as I worked through my contractions.  All I knew was that I did not want to be standing up, so I tried being on all fours (which was tolerable) or sitting on the toilet and/or the birthing stool (which was more tolerable but not perfect).  I even tried hanging off the corner of my sectional but it was not quite right.  My doula, Mary Beth, arrived around 10:15am and she jumped right in and helped ground me through my contractions.  She helped me relax and used essential oils (we used Iris Oils 4 pack for Childbirth) for scent and massage.  Thad sat behind me to hold my shoulders down during contractions (so I wouldn’t tense up) and Mary Beth sat in front of me between my legs.  They took turns feeding me pineapple and/or pomegranate seeds and giving me sips of water to keep me hydrated.  I felt encapsulated in love.  
Around 10:45am after I went to the bathroom I stood there crying.  In pain, I cried worrying about whether or not my son would love me.  In retrospect, I realize this irrational worry was a sign of Transition, and apparently so did everyone in the room because Marilee, Thad, and Mary Beth held me in the bathroom as I cried.  When I got out of the bathroom I complained that I couldn’t get into a comfortable position and Marilee wisely suggested the aqua doula. 
Once I lowered myself into the pool I had instant relief.  I can’t believe I didn’t have a pool with all my babies!  The water was warm, soothing, and I instantly felt like it lifted everywhere I was feeling pressure. The counterpressure was so helpful in managing the pain, it was just amazing. We labored in the pool as the contractions became stronger – at this point I was still able to talk or joke a bit between them; I distinctly remember joking with the birth team over my husband’s dismay when Celine Dion came on the playlist.
The period for talking soon ended – the break between contractions was shortening and the contractions themselves were getting much stronger. I remember asking Marilee why I wasn’t getting a break, and what I should be doing, and she kept saying ‘You’re doing it.’ Sometime around noon I was really working hard – I remember feeling tired for the first time, and concerned about how long the labor would take – would I still have the energy to push effectively at the end? Mary Beth kept me hydrated with water and Gatorade, and I continually sought positions that would relieve pressure from my back. I remember leaning back with my husband’s hand supporting my back, leaning back in an almost hurdler pose with one leg extended, squatting upright and swirling my hips, and finally shifting to all fours in the pool, which would become my final birthing position.
At one point well into active labor, I did ask if there was anything for pain relief, and after a brief silence, Marilee replied ‘You’re sitting in it.’

In retrospect, now I know the various positions and movements were all what Simon needed me to do to safely enter the world. While I was deep in active labor, I had to release the negative thoughts that spun through my head. I questioned whether I had done enough. I had thoughts of being ill prepared, of his size, of my abilities to actually get him out, of possible rupture, and I realized I was at a point of no return, and in releasing those thoughts, I started to unintentionally push. My midwife does not dictate pushing; she allows the body to do what it needs to do. With Dash’s birth, she told me when to push because she saw that I was getting tired and needed to help me focus. This time, my body just did what it needed to do, and unbeknownst to both my husband and me, I was pushing.

I noticed Marilee was behind me by the pool, and Leigh Ann (her assistant) was holding tools of some sort. I had no concept of time at this point – I don’t know exactly when I began to push, or for how long I pushed. I don’t know if it’s because I was in the water, or because the bag of waters was intact, but I had no idea how close he was to being born. I remember Mary Beth asking my midwife if she ‘catches in the water’, (she does) and it hit me that we were going to meet him soon. It’s a crime that in some places women have to get out of the tub to deliver – I can’t imagine how hard that must be.
My groans became grunts, and bearing down with each contraction became instinctive. Whatever people say, you truly poop a baby out. The sensation is low and deep, and no other sensation can be compared to it other than pooping.

Thad was in front of me, supporting my weight and helping me focus. His strength and faith in me took away any fear I had in pushing. It started to burn up towards my clitoris, and I still had no idea where he was. My midwife never told me how much she could see, but in watching the birth video, he was beginning to crown. My midwife put her hands on me to help guide him out, and when she touched me, I was afraid that I was going to suck him back up into my body. When I watched the video and saw the moment she touched me, I didn’t realize just how close he was to being born.
I was pushing and Marilee told me that my bag of waters was intact, that there was a lot of vernix in there, and that his head was almost out. Thad told me that the time to slow down (to prevent tearing) was coming, but all I could feel was pressure and stretching – I didn’t realize his head was already out. It took my doula and husband telling me that his head was out before I grasped, emotionally and physically, that he was about to be born. My sac was still intact at this point and Marilee asked if I wanted her to puncture it – I told her to do whatever would relieve some pressure. On his way out, she made a small puncture to help him glide out.

While waiting for the next contraction, I felt stretched to the absolute max, and Thad and I maintained steady eye contact to help me stay open. It was during the next contraction that he was born – I was still bearing down and pushing when I heard Marilee say, ‘He’s out – reach down and take your baby – be careful, his cord is short’. I couldn’t believe that I was actually pulling him to my chest. I rested him on my breast, he let out a small cry, and the flood of emotions completely overwhelmed me. What broke my trance was Marilee saying to me, ‘You just birthed a direct OP baby.’ For those of you who don’t know what that means, he was posterior, sunny side up, and he came out gently, which is extremely unusual for babies in that position. In fact, part of the reason why Julian was born by Caesarean is because he was posterior.

Once he was born, we completed all the particulars - getting out of the pool, cutting the cord, prenatal exam, passing the placenta, and of course ordering some pizza. The entire birth team was in high spirits, the sun was still up, and they would be home in time to have dinner with their families – Simon Edgar Winston was born at 1:06pm. He was 7 lbs. 5 oz. and 21 inches long.  ‘Edgar’ is for my father.  Simon was born on the 11th anniversary of his passing, which was also our original due date.  I couldn’t think of a better way to honor my father.  ‘Winston’ is our street name since he was born in our family room.

We had the obligatory family text and Facebook post, and by 4pm it was just the three of us, snuggling on the couch and soaking up every moment of our perfect birth and perfect son.  The postpartum period was an emotional roller coaster.   For now, I will return my arms to my little 3-week old babe waiting for mama’s milk and snuggles.  Life is good.  

If you are interested in sharing your Birth Story here on the Radiant Birth blog, feel free to Contact Me.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Aisling's Story

We featured a Birth Story from Bethanie of Green and Grateful a couple of weeks ago; here is the story of her third child!

Aisling's Story
by Bethanie

I woke up at 1:30 in the morning with some cramping, but nothing strong or really very painful. I laid in bed for another 30-45 minutes to see how far apart they were. Each contraction was about 5 minutes apart, so I called Peggy (our midwife) to give her a heads up just in case it started to get any stronger or progress more. She advised me to call back in about an hour and give her an update. An hour later things were still about the same so I had Brian start filling the pool with hot water and decided to wait a bit longer before I called her. By 3am my contractions were 1 minute long and 1 minute apart and getting stronger. I called Peggy and told her she should probably come before too long.

Everyone arrived around 4am and of course the contractions slowed down almost to a stop! Peggy checked me soon after she arrived and I was only 3 cm… a little disappointing! They were 7-10 minutes apart, no longer painful and only about 20 seconds long. It stayed like this for about 45 minutes and I was getting discouraged that I had called all these ladies and woken them up for nothing. We had the idea of trying the steps to see if that would help things to start moving again. I did the steps twice and then went into the restroom and sat on the toilet for a while as well and things started to pick up again! It was a feeling of “YEAH! Things are moving!” and “Oh, No, not labor again, I’m not sure I’m ready for this!”


Tonchi and Koa (older children) woke up at about 5:30 so we called our friend Judy Trostle to come and get them. They both wanted to keep checking on me to make sure things were ok. By then I was in the pool and not once did they ask to get in with me. I didn’t mind having them there and was able to give them hugs and kisses and chat with them between contractions.


Judy arrived around 6:30 to pick them up. Koa was not very happy about leaving and made his voice known, but Judy didn’t seem to mind. Later on she said he cried a lot on the way home, but was fine during the day and had a great time playing with Tonchi.

By 6:40 labor was really intense and I thought I should be almost done, so I asked Peggy to check me again. She said baby was -1 station and I was 8 cm dilated. I was a little disappointed. I was hoping to be 9 or 10 cm and baby close to being out! However… 15 minutes later at 6:55 Aisling Michelle was born! It was a SUPER intense 15 minutes. I could actually feel her head moving through my pelvis and it WAS NOT comfortable! As she started to crown I started to push just because I could tell she was right there, but I didn’t have any overwhelming urge to push!

I was SO thankful to be done and SO glad she was here! Brian was REALLY surprised that it was a girl! He had to double check just to make sure! I didn’t tear at all and the bleeding wasn’t too heavy either. She was born in the birthing pool underwater and I also delivered the placenta in the pool as well. Afterwards Brian and I took a shower and I think that is the best shower I’ve ever taken in my life! The warm water felt great!


After the midwives left I slept for about an hour and then Mom came out to see her before she had to start teaching her classes. Brian and I then had the afternoon to rest and relax and I think Aisling and I slept for about 4 hours! Later that evening we had A LOT more family to visit and see the baby! Mrs. Trostle also brought the boys back in the late afternoon and they were SO excited about their new baby sister!

This was another amazing birth! Just the way I had hoped and with close friends and family there! It was an amazing night. All who attended were each needed in their own special way and I’m so blessed they sacrificed precious sleep to be there to support us! And again, Brian was just what I needed when I needed it most. I love the way each birth has drawn us together and created a stronger bond between us. It’s so good to know he is there when i need him!


We praise God for a safe and healthy baby and for the first girl baby in the family! My mom has 5 grandsons and now a granddaughter! What a treat! She is going to be tough, but I’m guessing she will be the princess as well!

Aisling's mama, Bethanie, has a wonderful blog, Green and Grateful, where she writes about her days spent as a mama to her four beautiful children, frugal living, delicious food and homeschooling. Stop by and say 'hi!'

If you are interested in sharing your Birth Story here on the Radiant Birth blog, feel free to Contact Me.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Daschel's Story

Have you missed the Birth Stories as much as I have?!

Daschel's Story
by Pamela

Sunday wasn't anything particularly crazy, just a normal day. After dinner we were in the living room and at 7:06pm I had my very first "real" contraction. It was enough that I turned to Thad and said, "ow, what the hell was that, it really hurt." We kinda took note of the time but went on with our evening, giving Julian a bath and putting him down for bed. In the 7 o'clock hour I had about 3 contractions, and in the 8 o'clock hour I had about 4. By 9 o'clock I was like, ok, these really hurt and are coming every 10 or so minutes now...should we call someone?! I spoke to a friend to get her opinion since her birth story was still fresh in my mind (she had a planned home birth but it turned into an unplanned unassisted birth since her baby came so quick and the midwives didn't get there in time) and where I didn't want to call the midwife too soon, I also didn't want to wait too long. After I got off the phone with her, we called our doula (Mary Beth) and our midwife (Marilee) and she said she wanted to come over to "check things out." I was really nervous about her coming over because I didn't want her to come and this just be a false labor. We sent Scout (our dog) to my mom's since he was whining at me and I had to work through the contractions enough that his whining was pissing me off royally. So off he went.

The midwives showed up at about 10 pm and my contractions at this point were every 5 minutes, lasting about 60 seconds long. They hunkered down on the couch and took my vitals, listened to baby, and we spent the next hour seeing how things were progressing. We called Mary Beth, too, and she decided to come over as well. I didn't truly believe I was in labor and it wasn't until we lit the birth candle and I finally posted on FB for my friends to light their candles that I thought 'this was it.'

The next couple hours are a bit hazy to me as far as the timing goes, but essentially my contractions went from 5 minutes apart to 4 minutes apart over the next hour and then finally down to 3 minutes apart. We labored in the living room and they had set up the birth supplies in the bedroom, but as the night continued more and more supplies were appearing in the living room. Soon I was stripping down my clothes and chux pads were appearing under me everywhere I moved in case my water broke. I labored most of the time on my hands and knees or standing on the stairs (having my legs at different levels really helped) but as my contractions got to 2-3 minutes apart, I felt like I needed a change. I knew he was coming down but I couldn't figure out a better position to be in, so my midwife recommended that I lean back on Thad. Once I got in the sit position leaning back, the baby dropped incredibly low and I had a feeling I could start pushing. I was really, really worried to push since I didn't know how dilated I was and Marilee doesn't check unless I ask. I figured that we still had hours of labor ahead of us so it would be premature to push. Well the position we were in in the living room was so uncomfortable that I couldn't square up my hips. My hips kept on tilting one way or the other thus the baby did Marilee asked if I wanted to move upstairs on the bed to be more comfortable. We started a mad dash in between contractions up the stairs. Thad was bracing me for each contraction, Mary Beth was following me with a chux pad in case my water broke, Valerie (the midwife assistant) started shuttling birth supplies back up to the bedroom, and Marilee was talking me through each contraction. I distinctly remember someone saying to me, "when this one ends you have to move, Pamela, to make it up the stairs before the next one." I don't think I walked so fast in my life, especially with a bowling ball literally between my legs.

We got into the bedroom, I laid on the bed, and I decided to have Marilee check me for dilation. Shoot, if I had hours more of this pain I had to be able to deal with my energy level, right? She checked me and very calmly said, "you are complete and the baby's head
is right there." With that we began pushing around 3am. She said she could feel my bag of waters right in front of his head and I remember asking her if she needed extra clothes in case my water broke all over her. Next contraction, I beared down and my water literally popped everywhere- it sounded like a water balloon! At that his head really came down and we pushed through a few more contractions when the stretching was really kind of freaking me out Thad was being a great cheerleader, "with every push we see hair," "his head is right there!" I love him but gee, I know where his head was! There was a point where Marilee told me that she'd ask me to stop pushing so she could guide his head out slowly and when that moment hit, boy was that mean! Sure enough, though, down and out he came (cool note, my sacrum was so loosey-goosey that they said they could see it moving to let him out...props to chiropractic care during pregnancy) and at 3:33am our little boy was born. Daschel weighed in at 6 lbs 11 oz (2 lbs smaller than his big brother) and 20 1/2 inches long.

She placed him right on my chest and he was COVERED in vernix, a sign that he was early. Marilee said his gestational age was about 38 weeks which is just fine since this little dude is perfect. The placenta took over an hour to come out (it was posterior so I ended up
having to sit on the birthing stool to get it out) and then I took a shower, got some stitches (which is why I was in bed for a few days to let them heal), and the newborn exam. Julian (older child) woke up just in time to see the newborn exam and check out the placenta (which is SO cool!). I'm still surprised he slept through all the ruckus.

By 6:30am everyone was headed home and Thad, baby, and I hunkered down in bed for a nice nap. Here we are, 9 days later and I am still on cloud 9 from our birth experience, and little Dash is napping on daddy's chest. My milk came in on day 2 and nursing (so far) has been a total breeze. Also, side note, all that eating well did me good...not only was Dash a great size, but I am only 2 lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight. Granted, my belly needs some, um, toning, but damn, life is good.

Here is a photo right after he was born:

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