Mackenzie & Patrick
I went into labor around 11:30pm on a Friday night — Patrick was already asleep when I started having contractions. I was hoping hoping hoping that this was it and I would finally get to meet our little girl. I went into the nursery (where we have a twin bed) to sleep – I didn’t want to wake Patrick yet because I knew he would need all of his energy for the active part of labor.
I texted our midwife around midnight letting her know that I thought I was in early labor. I was cautiously optimistic! Things felt pretty dang strong – about 7 min apart and intense already. I knew I needed my rest though, so I was able to fall asleep – waking up during the contraction and then dozing back off. By 4:30 i couldn’t sleep through them anymore – yay! I was SO happy! I was going to meet my baby today!!! (I was 41 weeks and 2 days along and was so ready for this!) I figured it was time to wake up Patrick.
Here’s how it went:
Me – “Babe, wake up, I’m in labor”
Patrick – “Oh. Can I have 30 more minutes?”
Me – “hmm okay” (inside – oh my gosh you’ve got to be kidding me!?)
Can you believe that!!? It’s SO unlike him!! He did come out of the room about 5 minutes later all excited and revved up — his sleepy man-brain didn’t understand what I was saying I guess. I also failed to tell him I had already been laboring for 5 hours on my own (oops!). Regardless, we had bigger fish to fry and were both happily focused on getting everything ready for the birth!
By 6:00am we had texted the midwife and my mom to come over. I was determined to make Langley a birthday cake to distract myself – this, of course, never happened. No time for baking – this labor was picking up steam! The midwives and my mom arrived, we got the pool setup, and by 7:00am I was needing support during each contraction. Patrick was my rock. Seriously, husbands are so awesome – he held me during every contraction and kept a warm rice sock on my low back. He was so sweet and so gentle and it just felt so intimate and loving the whole time.
I was naked pretty much the whole time – and I must say that I felt so liberated! It was great! I was in and out of the birthpool – either standing and walking around or in the pool squatting. It was so nice because I basically just labored freely on my own (with Patrick’s support). We just kind of did our own thing and everyone else was gently supportive in the background. I loved feeling the sense of calmness and security.
My water broke (over the toilet – lucky!) in the late morning and things were progressing beautifully. Langley’s heartbeat was strong and steady the whole time. The contractions hurt but I remember thinking – “hey, this isn’t so bad!” – it felt totally manageable as long as I focused on my breathing and kept my face relaxed.
I knew I would get a break in-between and that helped me so much. Then I started crying for no good reason and thought — this must be transition! Yes! I couldn’t wait to start pushing. I wanted to meet my baby!! I did a couple contractions in a lunge-type asymmetrical position because I wanted to get to the pushing phase as soon as possible. Time to get back in the tub – almost ready to push!
My body started pushing on its own a little bit and that’s when I lost my beloved breaks between contractions. The intensity was off the charts! Wow! What a totally different feeling – so much pressure! I started feeling frantic for a few minutes and all I could get out was “I can’t, I can’t” – I just wanted a break! But hey, this is labor, people, and it wasn’t going to happen.
One of the midwifes reminded me to “push past the pain” and for some reason that resonated with me and it was game on. I pushed for about an hour and half. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done – but the most incredible too. Time got really fuzzy and I was tuning everyone out (I didn’t know this until later when Patrick told me I was ignoring the midwife and her suggestions).
I tried to do the breathing like in the Mexican midwife’s birth video – blowing the air out at the water. I think that helped. I was pushing and I felt this painful pop and freaked out – WHAT WAS THAT!!! I yelled. My water had broken again. Still lots of pushing to go. I was aggravated. Then I cried because I peed in the pool (in hindsight, how ridiculous!).
Everything felt so intense that I knew I had to stop thinking about what my body was feeling and start focusing on our baby. So I started talking to her (yelling, actually, but I meant it in a gentle, encouraging way!) – “Come out, baby!”, “You can do it” “I love you, baby!” “Come out!” “We can do this!” Lots of grunting and growls. So primal. So powerful.
On what ended up being my last push, I stood up slightly from the squatting position I was in and her head came out just above the water. The midwife said “stand up, stand up!” – since her head was already in the open air, we had to make sure she didn’t plop back into the water.
One more push and she slid out into Patrick’s arms (and the midwive’s too). I couldn’t see anything because she slid out behind me. “Is she okay??? Is she out??” And then I heard her cry and they passed her forward to me through my legs and helped me sit back down into the pool.
And all the sudden all the pain vanished and I was filled with so much love and wonderment. It was so incredible. I felt like I had felt the full might of creation moving through me and here she was in my arms. This embodiment of love. It was the most powerful moment of my life. So blissful and pure. The whole room faded away and I was in this little secret haven of light with my sweet little girl.
Soon my awareness came back to the room and I saw Patrick – gosh I love that man. He hopped into the pool with us and we enjoyed our first few minutes as a family cuddling in the water. It was so amazing. My soul felt so swollen with love – everything felt surreal and soft and peaceful. Best day of my life.
Our sweet little girl – Langley Rae McNamara – born at 5:52pm on Saturday, July 26th. 8lb 1oz, 22 1/4 in. long – pink and squishy and perfect!