Hospital Water Birth, Dad Catches

From the day we found out we were pregnant, our delivery and birth choices were researched, studied and discussed amongst many people.  We decided early to have you naturally (un-medicated) and the education on how to accomplish that began.  We “interviewed” two different doulas, toured two different hospitals, talked with the delivery staff at one of them, “interviewed” the midwife group we were considering switching our care to, and even took a 12 week long class on natural birth.  We knew from the get-go that this was the right choice for us.  The following is all a result of the preparation and choices we made.  It’s a beautiful result.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011:

After anxiously waiting for you to arrive (and hoping, wishing, begging!) it was before Christmas, at about 5:30am, you woke me up.  I felt a contraction and knew it was different.  For about an hour, I laid in bed next to your Dad (as he snoozed away) and tried to pay close attention to what my body was doing.  Finally, at 6:30am, I told your Dad I thought I was having some real contractions.  The look on his face was priceless.  He got serious.  For the next hour we timed them while still laying in bed.  I would tell him when I would start to feel something and when they were over and we discovered they were about 4-5 minutes apart.  At 7:30am, as we got up to get ourselves ready and eat some breakfast, we called our doula, Jamie, and told her what was going on.  She said it sounded like you were on your way so she would head over.

At about 9:00am, both Jamie and your Grammy arrived at our house and we got settled in.  Until about 11:30am, nothing was really changing.  Contractions were still about 4-5 minutes apart.  They started to get a little more intense since I would have to stop and breathe through them with my eyes closed.  I started needing to concentrate more, which means we were making progress, but still, they were coming about every 4-5 minutes.  Jamie decided to take a break and head out for a little while.  She said to call if anything changed or if my water broke and she would be right back.

So, expecting this to continue for quite awhile, she was out the door with your Dad not too far behind to go get a pizza for lunch.  (We figured since we would be here, we might as well have something good to eat!)  While they were gone, your Grammy stayed with me. At about noon, I felt as if I couldn’t sit on the couch anymore and I needed to get on my knees and lean over the chair.  I felt as if the contractions were getting even more intense; that we were about to get busy.  I distinctly remember at this time thinking to myself, “Oh boy, here we go!”  Then, while Jamie and Dad were still gone, at about 12:20pm, my water broke.  Right there, in the living room, leaning over on my hands and knees.  It was the funniest feeling.  I told Grammy, “I think my water just broke” in a semi-strained voice and we made our way slowly to the bathroom as she called your Dad to report the progress.

I remember thinking that your Dad needed to hurry and get back; I literally needed him at this point; emotionally and physically.  I remember feeling nervous and somewhat scared but I knew I was going to do this; I was determined we were going to welcome you into this world medication free.  I needed that to happen for myself and for you–and it was about to happen, for sure!

Soon enough, your Dad and Jamie got back.  I remember hearing your Dad say something to Grammy about how he could tell just by looking at me that we had switched to transition (the part of labor right before pushing).  As we tried different laboring positions with the ball, on the toilet, etc., the only thing I remember working was leaning on your Dad standing up.  I know when a contraction would come I would nearly pull your Dad down!  Those were the most intense moments of my life.

I screamed and groaned every time one of them hit.  I distinctly remember one in particular when I was standing at the foot of the bed with my head on the birth ball, your Dad on my left, Jamie on my right and when it came, your little head was swiveling around, pushing down.  It was incredible!  During all the contractions before, I remember only feeling a squeezing sensation; I hadn’t actually, literally, felt you moving down yet!  That feeling, although painful, really put me in tune with you, I think.  When I felt your little head moving and twisting around, it was almost as if it made it real at that point.  I was about to meet my little man.

At about 1:45pm, we decided to head to the hospital.  After being in the bathroom and Jamie seeing me work through my contractions, she made the decision that it was time.  One of our goals for our birth was to labor at home as long as we could.  And luckily we could do that with Jamie (because of her educated judgment) and the fact that we only live 1/4 mile from the hospital!  At this time I was already feeling the sensation to push.

As the four of us headed out the door, me gripping your Dad’s arm as tight as I could (and saying our rushed, half-hearted goodbyes to the dogs–who were used to getting long, drawn out parting wishes) we were out.  There was one contraction in the front yard that I thought you were going to come right then and there!  I remember hearing your Dad say, “Oh!  She’s pushing!”  That was cool to me (in the midst of it all) to hear him say that because he made that realization all by himself.  We hadn’t actually talked about my urge to push.  It was as if your Dad was so in touch with what was going on with us, he could tell the difference.  Your Dad was amazing.

When we finally made it up to the room around 2:00pm (after some confusion about where to go exactly) as I was on my hands and knees on the stretcher (yes, I had to be transported up there) I remember everyone rushing around frantically.  I knew you were coming soon and apparently, they did too!  When Lindsay, the midwife, checked me, I remember her whispering in my ear that I was “at a 10” (which means completely dilated…which means you’re ready to come any minute!) and that if I wanted to get in the tub (which was our goal) that I needed to get moving and get in there now.

So we made our way to the tub and as soon as I got in, I immediately felt relief.  It’s funny but at that point, between the pushing contractions, I felt relaxed.  I was much more coherent and was able to somewhat talk with people.  I remember leaning over to your Aunt Lindsey, who knelt down by me at some point, and asked her if Daddy (your Grandpa) was here.  I asked if Gigi and Dad had made it too.  I wanted to make sure that everyone was there ready for you.

Then, only just a few short minutes and pushes later, with your Dad right by my side and Lindsay, the midwife, coaching me through each one, your little head was out.  Your Dad had been watching and feeling every push before that as you would make a short little appearance.  Only the very top of your head would poke out until you had positioned yourself exactly how you wanted to be and were ready to see us.  I remember your Dad saying with such excitement, “May!  His head is out!”  Michelle, our photographer, got a very special picture of your Dad’s face when he said it too!

Then, with Lindsay calmly coaching me on the next step, the pushing sensation came, I started to push, your shoulders were out, your Dad grabbed a hold of you and there you were!  At 2:37pm, our beautiful baby boy from Daddy’s hands to Momma’s chest.  I couldn’t believe it.  You were here!  There we were, lying in the tub, with the nurses trying to get you wiped down and warmed up right there in my arms.

We had done it.  We had gotten you here, in this beautiful mess of a world, and we did it how we had hoped and wished for. We love you, little man.  Happy birthday!


  • Kristin

    so beautiful! Congrats on your handsome little boy and what great pictures of that special moment. Thank you for sharing. Wishing you all the best!

  • Jaclyn

    It doesn’t matter how many birth stories I read, I cry every time. Some more than others for sure…this one was great!

  • Fatima

    I LOVE that third picture where they’re handing the baby to mom and he has his hands outstretched like he is reaching for her himself! Congrats!

  • Denise

    Congratulations! Such an amazing birth story and beautiful pictures. I don’t know if this can be told or not, but I’m just wondering if this midwife is Lindsay Kragle in TX. The pictures look similar to her. She was one of my preceptors while I was in midwifery school several years ago. Such a great mentor. Even if not Lindsay Kragle, this midwife definitely sounds like she is a blessing to many moms such as you in welcoming your precious baby into your family.

  • Wendy

    I love the look on your husband’s face- he’s so obviously excited and thrilled. It’s making me cry just thinking about it. Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy!

  • Emily

    It IS Lindsay Kragle (now Griffith). She helped to bring my baby boy into the world via an amazing water birth, as well. What a wonderful experience. Congrats to your family!

  • Keri

    Absolutely gorgeous telling and pictures. Thank you so much for sharing and congrats on your beautiful, expanded family! <3

  • SKA561

    Loved it! All the pics are amazing too but particularly love the last one. Mom & Dad are elated & baby is crying away!

  • Tiffany Strong

    I love that you wrote his birth story to him. AMAZING! I might have to steal that idea. Beautiful pictures, I too love that look on your husband’s face when he kisses you.

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