To my dear Charlotte,
The story of your birth…
It was the first week of October and the weather was beautiful. I wanted to take Genevieve to the Bronx Zoo one last time before your arrival and Thursday, the 7th turned out to be the perfect day. We enjoyed a wonderful day at the zoo with Nana and Poppop, a nice dinner out, and then some time with daddy before he left for school that evening.
Daddy and I had been talking about how great it would be if you were born on a Thursday night or Friday since he attended school Monday through Thursday nights. Well, that night after Daddy arrived home from school we sat and talked in the living room for a few minutes. We had just decided to go to bed when I had a contraction as I sat on the sofa. I closed my eyes and felt this overwhelmingly strong feeling of peace come over me. At the end of the contraction, something happened and I felt some fluid leaking out of me. I went to the bathroom, wondering if that was my water breaking. Some more fluid trickled out, not enough to convince me that it was indeed my water breaking. So I put on a pantyliner that would test the ph of the fluid to determine if it was amniotic fluid.
After a few minutes we checked the liner and it had changed colors. It was time for you to be born! I called Susan, our wonderful midwife to let her know. It was around 11 pm. She told us to try to get some rest and to let her know when I started having contractions. I took a quick shower before getting into bed.
Daddy fell right asleep, but I wasn’t able to really relax. I knew that it wouldn’t be long before we would be meeting you! I was able to doze off a little bit here and there. I put on my Hypnobabies cds to help me get a little sleep. After a few hours I started to feel some contractions. It felt strange to me to be feeling them all by myself while everyone else in the house was sleeping. Finally I got up because they were starting to feel stronger. When I realized that they were coming pretty close together I woke up daddy. It was around 2 o’clock. He wanted me to call Susan back right away to tell her what was going on. I gave Susan a call, but we hadn’t really timed any contractions at that point. As soon as we got off the phone Daddy timed the next few contractions. They were around 3 minutes apart! So I called Susan again to let her know. She said she would come on over.
I put on another Hypnobabies track and tried to sit on the exercise ball in the bedroom. That felt awful! I just couldn’t get comfortable. I had read how wonderful sitting on that ball was for so many people, but it just didn’t work for me. Then I felt like I had to go to the bathroom. Sitting on the toilet felt awful too! I had read about people feeling comfortable there too. I felt so torn because I really wanted to go to the bathroom, but the contractions were so overwhelming for me while in there.
Susan arrived while I was in the bathroom. I was happy that she was there. I made my way to the living room and sat on the couch for a while with Hypnobabies playing on my ipod. I was finally able to relax through the contractions for a little while. While I sat on the couch, legs crossed, eyes closed, I could focus on the fact that every contraction was bringing my precious baby closer to being in my arms. I remember smiling through many of the contractions as I dwelled upon that beautiful thought.
As I sat on the couch, Susan and Daddy were getting everything prepared for your arrival. Although we originally planned to have everything set up in the bedroom, we decided to set up the birthing pool in the living room since Genevieve was sound asleep in our bed. The living room was dark and peaceful, so I didn’t mind this change of plans. Daddy was busy filling up the pool and Nana soon arrived, half and half in hand. (anticipating the need for coffee to get through the night!)
Not long after this, Genevieve woke up. She came out to the living room and was so calm and mature! She sat on the couch next to me and snuggled up against me. It was such a precious time I will always remember. I was feeling strong contractions but it was amazing to be going through them with Genevieve in my arms. Those were the last moments that I spent with Genevieve as my only child and they were just so special. I kept thinking about how special it would be to soon have two daughters.
Dale, our other amazing midwife, arrived next. Then Tita came to take care of Genevieve. They went back into the bedroom to watch some movies on the portable dvd player. By this time the pool was filled and I was ready to get in. (Genevieve started taking her nightgown off right away so she could get in too!) The water felt amazing when I first got in. It was wonderful. John brought out my ipod and put on the Intimacy cd. It was the same music that I listened to during Genevieve’s birthing time. It was so very peaceful and special to have that shared experience. I was able to just marvel for a while at how wonderfully God created us. I stayed in the pool for a while until I suddenly felt very nauseous. It came on so suddenly and strongly that there was no time to get anything to throw up into, so I just leaned over the side of the pool. There was nothing else I could do!
After that I got out of the pool for a little while and tried to lie down and rest on the couch. I wasn’t very comfortable though and I don’t think that I really rested! At some point Dale asked if I wanted her to check how far along I was and I agreed. I was sure that I was almost done! I was only 7 centimeters though, which she said was great. (I didn’t think so!)
After a while I got back in the pool and although it felt better, things were very intense by now. I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with each contraction and feeling as if there was just no break in between. Actually I was feeling that way the entire time. Then I started to feel more pressure and it was finally time for you to make your way into the world!
Pushing was an amazing, intense experience. It was so different from having Genevieve, which I felt was almost an out of body experience. This time I was totally present, listening to my body and watching my precious baby’s arrival. I didn’t feel that overwhelming feeling to push that I had read about. It felt much more gentle to me. I would feel a wave and I would just breathe into it. No one told me what to do or when to do it. Dale and Susan were just so supportive and patient. They were simply amazing. Dale was giving me gentle prompts about opening up and allowing you to come down and my body to do what it had to. She gave me some guidance about breathing you down and I was really able to focus on what she was saying and apply it. Dale and Susan were so calm that it helped me to relax too.
I was making lots of noises, trying to open and relax my mouth so that my whole body would relax. It was intense and exhausting, yet so spiritual and wonderful. I could feel you descending. There was just a fullness down there and I found myself wanting the next contraction to come sooner so that you would be that much closer to being in my arms. At one point I remember just leaning back and telling Daddy that I couldn’t do it any more. I was feeling so tired. Dale had a mirror in the water and when I could finally see your head emerging it was just amazing. I will never forget how your soft, smooth head felt when Susan told me to reach down and feel you. For 9 months I had felt you inside of me and now I was getting to touch you and soon I would be holding you.
Your head came out and I could feel your little body rotating around. That was an incredible feeling. Finally, I pushed your warm, wet body out and I reached down and pulled you up to my chest. You were warm and pink and just so beautiful. Your first cry was this little sound, almost like a purr. Your dad and sister were right there to see your birth and to greet you. From the moment you were born, the four of us were together. It was an amazing time and I am so grateful to God that we could all be together to share in your birth.
Right after you were born, Genevieve was standing at my shoulder and she said something. You turned your little head to look for that voice you had heard so much for the last nine months and you looked right at Genevieve. What a special moment between sisters. I pray that the bond you have will never be broken. She is so in love with you.
You came into this world, into our lives so peacefully and beautifully Charlotte and every moment with you since then has been just blissful. I love you so very deeply and I thank you for allowing me the honor of carrying you for nine months, delivering you into the world and most of all being your mother. You are precious and wonderful and I cannot imagine our family without you.