Birth Story of Gordon
Amber started having rushes on Thursday night, April 21st 2011 at about 36 weeks gestation. They were very mild and not timeable, yet stronger than her usual Braxton-Hicks. They eased off a bit by Friday morning, but regained strength around 11 am. At this point I called Amber to check on things and she informed me that we should pack up and start driving to New York, where we had made plans for a home birth at my mom and Stan’s home on Cayuga Lake. We had planned to leave on April 30th when Amber was 37 weeks along and I had arranged to telecommute to NIST until the baby arrived.
We arrived in Ovid, NY after 6 hours on the road and countless jokes about where we could have the baby on the way. Soon after we arrived, we finally got in touch with our midwife, Monica, who informed us she was visiting her sister in DC for the Easter holiday! Had we known, we could have stayed in Gaithersburg and had her come to us. Fortunately, her wonderful backup midwife, Linda, was able to meet us Saturday morning.
When Amber lost her mucus plug Saturday morning we were all relieved to be settling in at the lake house. Amber tried various tinctures to try to stop or slow labor to no avail. We decided to run some errands and pay a visit to our friends up the road at Cayuga Ridge Winery. As suggested by our midwives, Amber enjoyed a half of glass of red wine as a last ditch effort to slow the labor.
We arrived back home around 2:30 pm, and decided that this would be a great time to do the plaster cast of Amber’s belly. Ella played in the bathtub as I scrambled to put the plaster strips in all the right places in between Amber’s rushes. By the end of this process, the rushes were strong and regularly spaced at 3 minutes. After cleaning up a bit, Amber decided it was time to call Linda and our photographer. The clock read 4:46 pm.
Linda was happy to hear that Amber’s water was still intact, because she was sure that the baby would be right behind when her waters broke… she was correct! Linda arrived at 5:06 pm while we were walking along Elm Beach Road with Ella now asleep in her stroller. Returning home, Linda and I set up the birthing area while Amber rocked through strengthening rushes on the birthing ball.
At 5:30, Amber lay down to try to conserve her energy, thinking the labor could last some time. Ella woke up in her stroller 10 minutes later needing her momma, so she cuddled up next to Amber on the bed and promptly fell back to sleep in the middle of everything! About this time our photographer Hillary arrived, and Linda’s birth assistant, Denise, a short time later.
Linda suggested that Amber try to pee to relax her perineum. Now on the toilet, Amber finally felt the urge to push when her waters broke. At 6:29 pm, Linda suggested Amber move off the toilet so that the baby could be born into air, not water! Amber knelt on the floor next to the bed, with her arms and head resting on the bed. By this point I was behind Amber, placing constant pressure on her lower back to relieve some of her back labor, while my mom held her hand. From my vantage point, I was able to see the baby’s head move further down the birth canal with each successive rush.
Nine minutes after Amber moved to the kneeling position, I reached down to receive baby Gordon. His beautifully wrinkled and vernix-covered head came out with one rush, and his body followed immediately afterwards. As I moved him underneath Amber so that she could see him, I announced “It’s a boy!”. Amber was already tearing her shirt off and reaching for the baby. We quickly moved into the bed just as Ella opened her sleepy eyes to welcome her new baby brother. Ella had fallen asleep before everyone had gathered in the room, and I had to calm her down for quite some time as Amber tended to Gordon.
Six minutes later the placenta was birthed and stored in a freezer bag for placenta encapsulation for Amber to ingest postpartum. At 7:25 pm Gordon nursed for the first time. Gordon had a healthy pink complexion when I cut the cord well after the cord had stopped pulsating. Little Gordon will remain intact (we are opposed to genital mutilation). Finally, Gordon was weighed and measured.
Weight: 5 lbs., 7 oz.
Length: 17.5 inches
Head Circumference: 13 inches
Everyone in attendance celebrated Gordon’s birth with wine and cheese prepared by Grandpa Stan. Gordon has been nursing very well and pooping and peeing with more regularity than his father! Amber feels great, with only a small inner tear that she cannot even feel. Ella is smitten with (and yes, a little jealous of) her new baby brother.