On Friday when I went in to the Birthing Center for my nonstress test, I got my membranes swept. This was probably around 2pm or so. Came home. Got some work done. Around 4:30pm I was resting on the bed when I started to feel cramping and my hips started to hurt. I didn’t think I could possibly be in labor yet, and the cramping wasn’t totally letting up. But then I started using my timing app and found out that the contractions were about 7 minutes apart and lasting just under a minute. Somehow I still couldn’t believe that I was in labor, mainly because I’d never heard of hip pain happening. I spent a lot of time on the toilet exiting my bowels and making it through that way. I also spent some time leaning on the railing by the stairs and leaning over the bed. At about 7:30pm I was at my computer and then felt a contraction so I stood against the wall. I felt a pop and a gush, so I was pretty sure my water had broken. I called the Birthing Center hotline and also my doula, Namaste. The midwife on call was Mary. She said that I could keep laboring at home and she’d call me back around 10pm if she hadn’t heard from me. An hour, and a lot of hip pain later, my contractions were at 4.5 minutes apart, lasting about a minute. Sometime after that I was feeling tired so I tried to rest, but it wasn’t working. Around 9:30 I knew I was not managing the hip pain well. It just wouldn’t go away, no matter what I did, so I asked Namaste to come over. At 10pm Mary called and I was contracting every 3-4 minutes, lasting for around a minute. Mary said it would take her 30 minutes to get to the Birthing Center and which room did I want. I had originally wanted the Santa Fe room, but since they changed it to the Barcelona room, the Windsor room was more appealing to me. I set a timer for 20 minutes because I knew it took 10 minutes to get to the Birthing Center.

Windsor Room

The Windsor Room, fit for a King


At around 10:15, Namaste showed up. I was on the toilet. Darius had already got everything on the checklist together and out to the car. Somehow we got me downstairs and out the door. Namaste came with us in the car ride, which I was super thankful for because I needed her presence. We got me into the BC, probably around 10:45 and checked in. I put my phone on airplane mode and we got my birth playlist started. I remember going to the bathroom (again) while the tub was filling up and throwing off my dress and underwear. Mary checked me and said I was at 5-6 cm dilated. I got into the tub, because I was hoping it would help with the hip pain. I spent a lot of time against the end of the tub further from the bed. I remember saying things like “I can’t” and “my hips hurt.” I was told to say “my hips are opening” instead. I didn’t really feel like I was getting any rest. I also remember at one point, or two, thinking that this was insane and if I had gone to the hospital I could have drugs to make the hip pain stop. I’m glad that we’d made frozen apple juice popsicles because they were wonderful to eat.

Around 12am I started feeling like I had to poop and so I started pushing downwards. They told me not to because it could swell my cervix. But it was really really hard not to. Somehow I ended up at the other end of the tub and Mary was checking me and announced that I was 9, almost 10 cm dilated and that I could go ahead and push when I had the urge to. I ended up with my feet on the far rails and holding onto the close rails. Namaste was wiping my brow with a cloth that had been dipped in ice water and it felt fantastic. Everyone kept encouraging me and reminding me to make low noises, instead of the high ones I wanted to make because low ones help prevent tears. I remember at one point asking if I was working against gravity, but was told that the baby was so low now it was fine. What was wonderful was the ability to rest between each urge to push. I’m sure my hips were still hurting but I can’t remember. At some point Mary said that something was up and could I switch position. So I rolled over (I have no idea how), and ended up on my legs, sort of squatting and sort of on hands and knees. In between each urge to push I would rest my head on a towel on the edge of the tub. I remember being worried about sinking my head all the way into the tub during each rest. The urge to push is amazing. It just hits you like a wave and there’s nothing else you can do. I do remember sometimes trying a wishful push, but those were never very effective.

I could feel him starting to crown. He’d come somewhat out and then go back in with each rest, but each time it was a bit more. Mary was helping stretch me and Darius was saying he could see the head. I remember reaching down at one point and touching the head full of hair. Then it started burning and burning (hello ring of fire). Then Mary said something about having to get him out or something else something happen. I knew at that moment that I just had to get him out. At the next urge to push I pushed and pushed with all of my might. It felt like he was fully born in one push, but Darius said it was more than that. But he came out and I sat back against the far end of the tub and held my son for the first time. It was 12:58am. I had only pushed for an hour.

DJ just born Happy, if tired mommy

The most amazing thing was that right after he was born and I was holding him, the “Long Time Sunshine Song” came on the play list. This is the song that we sang at the end of every prenatal yoga class. It was amazingly perfect that it played just after my labor was over and at the start of his life. It was just a perfect moment.

It was weird holding him with the umbilical cord still attached and inside me. I could feel it tugging sometimes. At some point I realized that I never actually checked to make sure the baby was a boy, but he sure was. After a point in time Mary said I got to birth the placenta. It took me two contractions that I was aware of to get it out. They asked Darius if he wanted to cut the cord, but by that time the tub was really bloody and he has issues with blood, so I think Mary did it, which was fine.

The King Family

The King Family

They got me out of the tub, dried off, and into the bed. I was shivering. The baby was put in my arms and Darius was next to me. We spent some time looking at the baby and trying out different names on him. He responded the most to Damien, which our top pick. I’m still not sure if that’s the right name, but nothing else worked and I have so much trouble just naming my characters, I can’t believe I had to name a person. I think he’ll grow into it, or he can always change it when he becomes 18 ;).

The rest of the night is something of a blur. Damien wasn’t too interested in nursing at first, but he did have a good set of lungs on him. At one point we finally got him to nurse with an nipple shield. At some point Mary checked me and we found out that I was bleeding and clotting a lot. She had to reach up inside of me and get the clots and the blood out. That hurt more than anything. It was awful and scary and I’m pretty sure I screamed and cried and begged for my mommy. They had to give me a pill to contract my uterus and an IV to replace the fluids. The first vein Mary tried blew out immediately, so we had to go to the other side. She had trouble with that side too, but got the IV in at a slow drip. Then later in the morning we finally checked to see if I tore. I had just a little. So we had to numb me so that she could stitch me up. We were all sleeping, but she had to use a light, which was okay with me. The stitching up was also not fun and again I think I was crying for my mommy at some of it. I took 3 or 4 repairing stitches and then a few more to pull it together or something. The postpartum midwife said that Mary did a great job with that. However, during the stitching, my arm with the IV started to bother me. At first it was my fingers feeling numb. Then when I moved my hand, my arm where the IV was started to burn. When they finally looked at it, they saw that my arm was all swollen up as the IV had come out and the solution was going into my arm. So I didn’t quite get all of the fluid, but I got a good chunk of it.

Some point soon after that, my mother and sister showed up from New Orleans. They’d started driving in as soon as we gave them notice that my water had broken. Darius was already asleep and I passed out while my sister held Damien. Maybe the first nurse was sometime after I woke up from this sleep. We finally got him weighed and measured. He weighed 6lbs, 14oz and was 18″ long. Then got Damien got his footprints taken and had his first bath. Darius put him in his going home outfit (although we had to leave the jacket that said “Little King” on it off because it was too hot for it). Eventually I really wanted to pee and shower and head home. So we got me up and into the bathroom. The shower was heavenly, if exhausting. After the shower, as everyone was packing up to go home, I sat in the rocking chair and we finally had a good nurse on both sides. Hurray!

Darius put him in his car seat and got him out to the car. We got me out to the car too. I sat in the back seat as Daddy carefully drove us home. We got in, got upstairs, and I’m pretty sure we all passed out again.

DJ rules!

DJ at home