Two beautifully intimate and gentle birth stories of the day Nash entered the world, surrounded by love and kindness. One from Mom and from from their doula. Please read and enjoy!
Dear little one,
We went out to an early movie on Friday, Oct 9th- my last day of work before maternity leave-knowing it would probably be our last solo movie date for a while, as we would be 41 weeks pregnant the next day. All week I’d been trying to encourage you to join us by going to acupuncture and eating spicy foods and pineapples and drinking red raspberry leaf tea. That night, we went to see The Martian. Your Baba wanted to see it because it was about space. I wanted to see it because the tagline was “Bring him home” and I thought – Yes! Let’s! We had popcorn with jalapenos and other movie treats. After the movie, we debated going to a diner (Baba wanted pie) but I was too tired, so we went home and went to bed.
At 3:56am I woke up with a pressure wave and went back to sleep. At 5:30am I had a second pressure wave and woke your Baba up. We decided to call the midwife on duty (Shar) and text the doula (Patty) to let them know you’d probably be born later that day. Baba called Shar and, as expected, she told us to go back to sleep as we’d need our energy later. I was too excited to go back to bed so Baba helped me get set-up listening to Hypnobabies tracks with my earphones on the sofa. But there wasn’t much time to rest as the pressure waves started coming really quickly. Baba was writing each one down – first every 5 minutes and then every 2 minutes.
Baba called Shar back at 7am. Shar was about to make coffee and then head over but Baba said, “We’re in birthing time so come now- I’ll make you coffee here.” Then Baba called Patty to come over too and started the coffee.
Since birthing time is normally long, especially for first babies like you, we had planned to make you birthday cupcakes while we were waiting for you. We had all the ingredients for homemade vanilla cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting out on the counter. We even made a platter that said “Happy Family Birthday” to start a tradition. But you were eager to join us, so there ended up being no time for baking!
While we were waiting for Shar and Patty to arrive, I was on the sofa with my earphones and Hypnobabies tracks and Baba kept bringing me water. I felt really hot and cold at the same time. At some point I decided I wanted to be in the shower because I could adjust the water temperature- mostly I was so hot and the birthing waves were coming strong and fast. Then I moved into the bed and every time Baba brought me more water to drink with ice, I poured it on my head and body in the bed and Baba would have to refill it!
Shar and Patty both arrived around 8AM. I was back in the shower by then- cold and hot- facing and leaning against the wall. Patty came into the bathroom and showed me how to rock my hips during the pressure waves so they hurt less. She taught Baba how to massage me as I rocked and Baba and Patty did that and Baba used the Hypnobabies cue – release- to help me as well.
The details and order of events gets fuzzy for me around here until I started pushing a few hours later. I know that I labored on the toilet for a while and Patty said to come into the bedroom and try to position myself on all 4s through a pressure wave. I started to get into that position but it hurt so much that I said I didn’t want to try it and went back into the bathroom. I don’t remember what I did next, but I remember being on the toilet and saying I feel “pushy.”
Shar told me to go into the bedroom, as they’d set up the birthing chair. I looked at it and said I didn’t want to try it after all so she told me to go lay on the sofa on my side. She said the first birthing wave in that position would hurt a lot and to try to get through it. It did and I did! Maiysha, the birth assistant, was there by that time too but I was already too far into another zone to even say hello!
When I walked into the living room, I noticed Baba had put a tablecloth on the kitchen table. And there were flowers all over the apartment. Baba was supporting me so much throughout the entire birthing time!
Pretty soon after I was on the sofa, I had a birthing wave and my water broke! It was a flood! Patty came and rubbed my legs with lavender to help them in the pushing stage, which was coming quickly. And then I started pushing. It was about 11am.
Even though it hurt, pushing felt good because I knew I was going to meet you very soon! I was pushing lying on the sofa, facing the window. This was Baba’s favorite sofa but you were coming so fast that there was no time to even put a sheet down- though Baba asked! I was facing Shar on my left and Maiysha on my right. Patty was behind my head on my left side and Baba was at my left side by my waist.
I didn’t have many thoughts while pushing…I worried a bit about the noise because the sofa was against the wall we shared with the neighbors and it was a Saturday morning and their little girl- Julia- was 10. And once I thought about asking Shar if she needed the coconut oil, but then I remembered I was safe and supported and didn’t need to ask. I noticed my Hypnobabies track about pushing was playing, but I didn’t realize that was because Baba was setting them up…I just thought it was a coincidence! Mostly, I just kept thinking, “I’m going to be a Mommy” over and over again!!
I heard Shar ask Maiysha to get her the mirror. I assumed it was for me, so I said I didn’t want it…I thought it might throw me off if we weren’t as far along as I thought we were. Then Scout (our kitten) jumped up on the table and broke the mirror! Later Baba told me that Maiysha said, “Well, we know she can hear” when I piped in!
At one point I was pushing and leaning to my left and something hurt really badly like it might pop. I told them my left side really hurt. I didn’t know what was normal though because you were my first!
I asked how you were doing and Shar said great. She kept checking your heartbeat the whole way down. At some point she said pushing was about going two steps forward and one step back. I didn’t want you to go back because I was afraid your head would get stuck (though I don’t think that’s what Shar meant!), so I started pushing really hard! I remember saying “I need more leverage” and I put both my feet up on Shar and Mayisha’s shoulders. Patty held my back forward and I grabbed onto Baba’s arm as hard as I could and I pushed! I started to get worried about hurting them but then reminded myself they were adults and to just stay in the zone. I had a couple of big pushes and everyone was getting excited and telling me I could do it, so I knew you were near. I kept saying to myself “I’m almost your mommy”!
They kept giving me coconut water for energy and to stay hydrated.
And then your head came out and your whole body so quickly after! It felt like you were riding a roller coaster inside of me to get out! It was such an amazing feeling that I can’t explain it and I started to forget the sensation quickly after.
Baba caught you as you flew out of me and I saw you for the first time in Baba’s arms. You were beautiful. And perfect. It was 12:05pm. Your little face and lips were swollen and bright and Shar put you on my chest right away for skin to skin bonding. You were wrapped in a spring green receiving blanket and you looked at me like you already knew me.
I couldn’t stop smiling and you were looking at me- so alert. I was already in love.
In my frenzy of love, the details and order of events gets a little fuzzy again. Shar had to take you to examine you- though everyone missed your cute webby toes! Then she told me she had to do 5 rescue breaths on you. I was in such ecstasy and knew you were perfect and safe that, to Baba’s surprise, I wasn’t even alarmed. She did them and you pinked up and were given back to me.
They gave me two stitches while I held you, but I didn’t feel any pain.
I have no idea how long I held you. I remember once I asked if it was Baba’s turn and Shar said that only I should hold you for a couple of hours…which was perfect for me! At some point you started to do the breast crawl and Patty showed me how to hold you and help you latch.
Baba called your godparents, Auntie Mary and Uncle Norman during that time and asked them to bring Zabar’s for everyone to eat. They delivered it- leaving it with the doorman- not knowing you were born already. After months of missing it, my first postpartum meal was bagels and lox- still sitting on the sofa. Yum!
I’m not sure, but I think Baba held you while I ate. The first thing you did when Baba held you was to poop all over! So Baba changed your first diaper with Patty. Then Baba needed a shower. They asked me if I wanted a shower but I didn’t want to be away from you yet.
After you pooped, Shar weighed you in a sling. Everyone guessed your weight. I said 7 lbs. 6 oz., which is what I weighed. Everyone guessed 7 lbs. something except Baba who guessed 8 lbs. 6 oz. Baba was exactly right- you weighed the same as Baba! You were 21.5 inches long- which is very long!
Shar and Mayisha prepared to leave but I needed to walk to and use the bathroom first. They put chairs for me to sit and rest along the way, which I used. Once I got to the bathroom, all I wanted to do was brush my teeth since I hadn’t been able to do it that morning so Mayisha found my toothbrush and toothpaste.
Once they left, Patty showed us how to swaddle you. You looked like a little glowworm with an old soul!
Then Patty and Baba started cleaning. Patty cleaned the sofa cushions while Baba did a load of towels in the laundry room. I sat in the rocking chair with you.
Baba called Auntie Mary and Uncle Norman again and told them when you were born and asked if they could bring dinner from the 96th Street diner- a tuna melt and fries for me, chicken club for Baba, and three matzo ball soups- one for Patty too.
My left side was still hurting and I felt like I needed to urinate but couldn’t. It was going on for a long time and Patty wanted us to take you to bed but it really hurt me to climb into bed and I couldn’t roll over, which I would need to do to nurse you. We went back to the bathroom and called Shar. She had some advice and said she’d come over if it still weren’t better by later that evening. It wasn’t and she came over and used a catheter and it was much better. We realized that I probably had a very distended bladder because I hadn’t gone to the bathroom throughout the labor but was drinking so much water! Baba held you during all this but you were in the room with me.
Once I was okay, Shar told Patty it was time to go and for us to have some family time. I think it was about 8pm. The food was on the table waiting and I was holding you. Baba asked Shar how we’d all eat now and she told Baba to feed me- so that’s how we ate our first family dinner.
And like a dream, we all went to sleep- you in the middle. And it’s been a dream every second since. Thank you for choosing us. We love you. I love you.
Weather: 65 degrees
Midwife: Shar La Porte
Doula: Patty Moreno Fletcher
Birth assistant: Maiysha Campbell
From Patty, their doula:
October 10, 2015
Today is the day you entered this world, and met your mommy, and Baba! My name is Patty, and I was blessed to be able to be your family’s Labor & Birth Doula. Your actual estimated due date was October 3, 2015, but remember that is an estimate. It seems you had other plans, and decided you wanted to wait to be born the day before your parents wedding anniversary! Everything regarding your labor & birth can be easily explained through these words: beautiful, blessed, and lots of intense wonderful hard work by your mommy and very strong support by your Baba!
On October 7th, your mommy thought maybe her water had broken but when she was checked by your parents midwife, Carol, the test was inconclusive. Carol used a nitrazine strip which was negative as it didn’t change color, but an internal exam gave Carol lots of water. The next day, at your mommy’s BPP exam, the amniotic fluid was thick, and you & mommy looked great. Your mom had been doing acupuncture already as well, so you and her were all set to get things going to start labor. Then later mom and Baba went back to see the sonogram doctor, and he did a test called the “amnisure” which confirmed her water had not broken. Acupuncture was also continued, and on October 9th, the midwife said your mom was 4-5 centimeters dilated and 50% effaced, as she went to check your mom and sweep her membranes. The next morning I received a text at 5:47 am from your parents saying pressure waves had started, and they were coming about every 4-6 minutes, lasting an average of 45 seconds. When I checked in again at 7:25 am, your mommy was resting as Baba was doing chores around the house to prepare for your birth. Then Baba said she was going to close her eyes for 30 minutes.
About ½ an hour later I received a call from Baba, saying they were ready for me to come over. When I arrived, your mommy was sitting on the toilet laboring there. We stayed in the bathroom, just creating a safe space for her to ride through each wave until she was ready to get in the shower. Once in the shower, your mom enjoyed the water running down her back, which was soothing her thru each wave she had. Meanwhile, Baba was making sure the hypnobirthing affirmations and sounds were playing in the background. Your mommy was laboring so peacefully, although I knew she had intense moments of pain, she was still able to be in such a zone of complete openness and being present to labor in the best way possible. I then began to do hip squeezes and asked her to rock side to side a little while standing leaning against the wall. This “dance” she began to do helped her bring you down further, as well as create wonderful movement for your mom to be able to cope. During this time Baba also helped by lightly massaging your mommy’s lower back, and whispering in her ear how powerful, strong, and beautiful she is. We did move to your parents bed for a second to get your mommy on all fours, to try a different position, and she did not like it at all! So, we quickly tried to move her back to the bathroom. Once there, we sat her on the toilet for a little while, then back in the shower. The shower was your mommy’s favorite place to labor.
Around 10:35 am, we asked your mom to lay down on her side, on the coach to try and rest for a couple of minutes. We thought, maybe she could get some rest while being off of her legs. The minute she laid down, she felt a lot more pressure. The midwife who attended your birth, Shar La Porte, then asked your mom if she could check her. Your mom agreed, and to our surprise, your mom was fully dilated! Therefore, exactly at 10:47 am, your mom was fully dilated to 10 centimeters, and then immediately after at 10:53 am your mom had a spontaneous rupture of membranes. By 11 am your mom began to push!!
At 1st Shar had your mom pushing in a semi-reclined position, and then she switched her to her left side to push. Baba & I took turns between taking pictures/videos and coaching your mom to continue pushing as well as helping to hold her head up. As you were closer to being born, Shar had your mommy go back to a semi-reclined position, and you immediately began to crown. After a lot of strong pushes, and your Baba coaching into your mommy’s ear, you were born at 12:17 pm weighing 8 pounds 6 ounces, as Baba caught you in her hands. The rush of emotion was beyond beautiful, as you were immediately placed on your mommy’s tummy. At about 20 minutes later your placenta was born. Once you were comfortable, and after Shar did a little puff of air into you, as your were having a little bit of a hard time transitioning into breathing through your airways instead of your umbilical cord, you were ready to begin breastfeeding. In order to do so, Shar 1st had to stitch up a little tear mommy had, as you were being born. And then as the birth assistant, Maiysha, cleaned your mommy up, Baba got to hold you again. The look you gave Baba was full of love. You were immediately in love with each other! We then placed you back on your mommy’s chest, and as you began to smell your mommy, and realize where you were, you latched on perfectly! Your bonding was continuing to happen as you were being held by your mommy.
As I witnessed you being born, and shortly thereafter, I was in complete awe of how amazing your mom and Baba where throughout this pushing stage. Your mommy is a true Goddess, and embodies everything of a woman of strength. Watching your Baba take care of your mommy the way Baba did showed what an incredible spirit Baba has, filled with honor and love for your family! It was so sweet to see the immediate love both your parents had the minute you were born. This letter is my thank you to you, and your family for allowing me to be a part of such an intensely amazing beautiful birth!