On May 26th, Cyrus James joined our family. A huge thank you to all of my clients who have shown tremendous love, patience and understanding during a third trimester that presented some challenges and this initial precious newborn period. As much as I love my work, it does not provide me with traditional maternity leave. There is no real stopping point – just a point where there is nothing you can do but stop (for a while). I feel so close to so many of my clients – many times I have the honor of being a part of their weddings and then also the births of their children down the line. Below, I will share Cy’s birth story and the photos taken that night.
On Friday, May 25th I posted to my Facebook wall: “OK, Universe, it would be really great if today were the day…” Later that day as I was driving to the post office I did something I normally didn’t do because I felt silly doing it – I talked to my baby and told him it was time to come out and join us, we were all ready and waiting for him. After that, I went to the outlet mall near my house in hopes of walking bringing on labor and after that I squeezed in just one more photo shoot. By the time I was at the outlet mall, I was feeling some contractions and I continued to feel them through my shoot. At home later that evening I began to time them and they were about 5 minutes apart but not bothersome. Thinking it was probably false labor, I went to bed. At 12:30 a.m., I felt the baby moving and felt and heard a “pop”…I thought “wow that had to have been my water breaking” …but nothing happened. I laid there with my eyes open for a few more minutes when suddenly I felt the gush and knew labor had truly begun. I woke Tristan, got up, and started getting ready for when it was time to leave for Rosemary Birthing Home. I called my friend and neighbor, Jessica who would be attending the birth and then I paged the on call midwife, who turned out to be Harmony Miller. When I spoke to her I told her I would just feel things out and call her when we decided to leave. I think it was about 30 minutes later that I realized that I probably shouldn’t wait much longer. My older girls, Emma and Hannah, and Tristan and I loaded up in the car (with lots of towels) and headed out for the 40 minute drive.
We arrived at the birthing home at about 2:30 am. As we were getting settled, Harmony said that judging by the way my contractions seemed to be (I was talking and calm) that I should probably try and get some sleep. I knew there was no way I was going to sleep through those contractions! I have no idea how dilated I was when we arrived and I was not checked at all throughout the labor as there was really no need. Within another 30 minutes my contractions were starting to feel very intense, especially in my back and I sat on the yoga ball with Tristan behind me rubbing my back. When the pain began to feel overwhelming I asked to get into the bath tub. The water felt great and at first Tristan sat beside me, holding my hand. When I felt the need for more physical support, he moved behind me so I could lean on his legs. Very quickly things progressed to pressure and it was all way more intense feeling than my last unmedicated birth – I have to admit that internally I was doubting myself a little and wondering how I could handle it. Tristan continually put wet wash cloths on my forehead and chest – he seemed to know exactly what I needed at every moment. By this time Jessica had woken Emma and Hannah who were sleeping upstairs and they sat quietly on the bed. My midwife, Harmony and the birth assistant, Heidi, sat on the other side of the tub – but besides the occasional fetal heart monitoring, it was like they weren’t even there. No one told me when to push or counted to ten. My body just instinctively knew when it needed to push and it came very naturally with each contraction. I think it was about four contractions with pushing before Cyrus made a very fast entrance into the world. Harmony told me to reach down and grab my baby and I did, pulling him to my chest. It was 5:08 am. Only a couple hours after arriving at the birthing home.
I held Cyrus on my chest and Tristan drizzled warm water over him while we waited for his cord to stop pulsing. Then Tristan cut his cord and we moved to the bed to snuggle. After a while Harmony did all the newborn assessments, weight, etc. His approximate weight was 8 lbs 7 oz. My smallest baby. He was so calm and perfect. We were home by about 9 am. Giving birth naturally in a home setting with midwives was such an intimate, personal experience and something I wouldn’t trade for anything. I wish every family could experience it. A huge thank you to Harmony, Heidi, Ivy, Priscilla and Laura for making Cyrus’s pregnancy and birth so special.