Christine’s Birth of Nicholas
"There is power that comes to women when they give birth. They don't ask for it, it simply invades them. Accumulates like clouds on the horizon and passes through, carrying the child with it." -Sheryl Feldman
This is for you, my sweet Nicholas. This is the story of your birth.
I carried you longer than any of your siblings. On the day I turned 39 weeks, I could not have felt better, could not have appreciated more, those last precious moments that you and I were so closely knit together. As much as I could not wait to see your precious face, to find out who you were, if you would make us a girl dominated family, or even us out in perfect symmetry, I knew that a baby is so much easier to take care of inside than earth-side, and I was in no hurry. I could have happily carried you much longer.
Your dad worked that day, while I was at home taking care of your other 3 siblings. I was frantically still on my mission to find a birth tub, or anything that would suffice as a water containing device to birth you in. We had the perfect pool, but threw it away after your sister had been born in it - exactly two years before. We were preparing to welcome you at home, in the same comfortable surroundings and familiarity we have come to enjoy each time we add a member to our growing family. The birth kit was ready, the towels were clean and organized and the tokens of blessings and love from friends were within my space to draw upon for comfort and strength.
It was Thursday April 1st in the late afternoon, and I was just checking in with a local parenting group, to see if any of their 3 birth tubs recently on loan, had arrived back. Something told me to try the girl in charge on her phone one more time, even though she didn’t answer the first time. She happened to pick up the phone. Amy lived only a hop, skip and a jump away from your dad’s office. He had just headed home before I called Amy. Amy informed me a birth tub had been returned just the night before. It wasn’t the nice aquadoula they had, only the clear fishy pool, but I was in no place to be picky this late in the game. The fishy pool offered depth, a cushioned bottom and enough space to move around and switch positions easily, it was actually pretty perfect. I called your dad, and he turned around and headed to Amy’s to pick up the pool. At that moment, it was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Now - I was really ready for you to join us any time you chose to come.
We had a typical evening, dinner, cleanup, play and bedtime routines. Your dad asked me to please not have you on April Fools Day. Frankly, I was pretty surprised you decided to stay put as long as you had, but you were in charge, not me. After the house was quiet, we sat down in the living room to relax. We chatted, watched some tv, the usual. Your dad started to get pretty sleepy around midnight, so he informed me he was heading up to bed. Or so he thought. I couldn’t be absolutely sure, but I though I felt the beginning of some mild contractions. I told him not to bank on sleep just yet. Your sister gave me about 50 minutes from the first real contraction until she was born, so I was on high alert in case you decided to pull the same shenanigans. Immediately, I requested that your dad head down to start blowing up the inflatable birth tub. Now, instead of quiet and sleep, we were both up and moving, anticipation running through our veins. The hum of the air compressor could he heard down in the basement while I still wondered if I was having real contractions, or if it was just in my head. I waited for my usual bloody show, that never showed.
By 2am, I was sure this was the real thing. Your dad was starting to get nervous, because he was sure I was in labor, but the birth team had not been called yet. The first call I made was to Rebecca, our midwife. I woke her up, but she was on her way. I called Shayla next, who (not surprisingly) answered the phone with “You better be in labor!”. This was sweet, because Shayla was about to leave to go out of town for Easter, so just that morning, she had threatened me to have you soon, or I would be out of luck and she’d be gone. She hinted that you must be a boy, because only your brother was born in the middle of the night, and your sisters had been born in the early evening. I did wonder about that too. Just about everyone insisted you were going to be a girl, in fact, your dad was absolutely sure of it!
At some point, Holly was called, then before I knew it, people started popping their heads around the corner to check up on me. Rebecca arrived and asked how I was doing. I was on all fours, leaning on the step stool in the bathroom. I remember being extra whiney this time, vocalizing how much I just did not want to do this right now. I knew - Oh, did I know what to expect, this was old hat, charted waters for me and I knew exactly what was coming. I welcomed Shayla, baby Alyssa and Holly when they all arrived, probably not very warmly to be honest. I was distracted, working - hard - my body was gearing up, tightening and relaxing, to push you out safely and harmoniously as I rocked you down, and changed positions multiple times. I stood up and felt rather pushy, so I worked through several more contractions, then decided to head for the water.
You cannot believe how amazing water feels when you’re in that state, both of mind, and physically. Water is my element. A little time goes by. I’m pushing, but for some reason, I can tell it’s making little difference. The intermittent doppler tells us that you are having a hard time, but only during contractions. After, your heart rate picks right back up, which tells us that ultimately you are fine, but we consider cord compression somewhere. More contractions, more push, little progress on getting you downward. I decide that if possible, I would like to catch you myself, so I make my plans known to the midwives and I prop myself up in the water, so I’m on my left knee with my right foot gripping the bottom of the pool. I bare down hard and push some more and think to myself “why is this taking so long and why is it so hard this time?”. Dad goes to get the big kids for the big finale, but sadly, your sister Francesca is so tired, she whines a little and wants to go back to bed. Of all your siblings, only your big brother Christian, 7 years old at the time, comes in the room with us. The lights are low, the birth team whispers when necessary, but I fill the gaps with a few solid barbarian cave woman grunts in an attempt to push you down. This is it. It’s your time now. Time for you to come and meet us all. You are already so loved, so anticipated, so wanted. I say out loud to you “Come on baby, I’m ready to meet you now. I’m ready.” I bare down hard and Rebecca says “Catch your baby Christine!” I feel down and touch your head, I push and you come shooting out in one solid sweep. The only hands on you, were mine. I scoop you up out of the water and pull you up to air. Here you are, at last! Holly makes note that you were born with your membranes intact (in the caul)! NO WONDER you were so hard to push out!!! No wonder! I had pushed you out IN your bag of water! This was an immense blessing Nicholas. The fact that your bag of water remained intact until the very end happened for good reason, and may have even saved your life! This is why I believe in my heart, that the healthy body when trusted has an innate ability to birth a baby safely and efficiently when it's left alone to do it's job, and it's nothing short of miraculous. I was about to lay you in the crook of my left arm, but we had CORD, and a LOT of it! I have no idea what you were doing in there, but your cord was wrapped not once, not twice, not three, but FOUR times around your neck. Rebecca somersaulted you around and counted out loud as I counted in my head - one - two - three - four!! "Thank you Lord!", says Rebecca. I place you back down in my arm. What a total and complete shock! None of your siblings ever had a nuchal cord. You being our baby number four, with your cord wrapped around your neck four times holds significance. Rebecca places a towel over you and places a hat on your head. One of the midwives checks your heart and lungs and your dad asks if anybody knows what your sex is yet. Nope! In the business, no one had even thought to look yet. I hold you and let you acclimate yourself to this world. You cry, you breathe, you root around for your food source, just that quickly! With the ring finger of my left hand, I could swear I feel testicles and now my curiosity is getting the best of me. I peek! Deep down in my heart, I craved a little boy so badly, although I would have never admitted it to anyone. It was supposed to be your big brother’s job to announce your sex, but I got so caught up in my own excitement, that I lean back in Christian’s direction and tell him through tears “you got your wish - it’s a boy!“ In this moment, I feel such joy, such love and I lean over and kiss your head a million times. These moments, so raw and new cannot be replaced. You began nursing immediately, like you had been doing it for years, I didn’t even have to help you. We wait for your cord to stop pulsating and somebody cut it, I think your dad this time. You were born at 5:08am, in the wee hours.
Laughing, celebratory words, warmth, a few questions from your big brother and about a thousand kisses were the first things you experienced in this world. You didn't leave my protective arms for quite some time, and after we were done nursing, cuddling and your placenta had been delivered, I passed you on to Rebecca so she and Holly could complete your newborn check. You made it known that you were here, I suppose that shouldn't come as a surprise.
Rebecca commented on how this was probably the easiest birth she's ever attended, because she hardly had to do anything! The birth team then takes care of everything for us, and we all drink in your brand new presence.
God has blessed us once again, and we are so in love with you! Happy First Birthday Nico. May all your hopes and dreams come true.
With all my love,
One year old. Happy Birthday baby boy!
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