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Jesse’s birth story, part 3

November 21, 2009

Back onto the ball I went at 8, and immediately, it seemed, I went into hard labor. I started hee-hee-hooing in time with my bounces, and got Dean into a pattern where he’d steady my back and massage the small of my back during the contraction and then move his hands up toward the center of my back during the time between contractions. This system worked really well and soon I could just say “Hands Up” as the contraction would fade and “Hands Down” as the next one would start. Faster and faster they came, and Dean would remind me: “Baby down, Mama open.”

Contrast this with the epidural model where you can’t leave the bed and your partner has to tell you when the next contraction is happening when the needle rises on the monitor. We’d have been there all night and probably wound up having a c-section.

It was clear that I was in labor now, though, and the bouncing no longer seemed silly. In fact, during the interludes of “rest” where I’d have to get on the monitor for 20 minutes, I was aching to get back on the ball. It was more comfortable to bounce through the damned things–and bouncing has a rhythm that you can really flow with. My next round on the monitor was at 8:30, and I found I hated being in bed and got back on the ball as quickly as possible.

At nine, I was bouncing, and trying to breathe, and howling as I did so. It was an uncanny ululation as I allowed the baby down and felt myself opening, finally. I clumsily banged the call nurse button and told her what I’d just felt. “I need to push!” I said, I think with a scream. Keep in mind I’d just hit 5 cm. at 7:45.

She hurriedly got me into bed, hooked me up to the monitors, and checked me. “She’s at 8, and look at those contractions!” she hollered, galvanizing several other nurses into action and sending one off to get the doctor. I realized I was in transition and glanced at the monitor; the contractions were literally happening on top of one another, cresting like great waves pounding into one another before washing ashore in violent cascades. I think I finally understood what it meant to be in both agony and ecstasy at the same time, and stared down in bewilderment as they removed the bottom of the bed and Lisa began to manage my breathing using a counting technique that forced me to refocus my attention away from the wild banshee I was becoming as I continued to howl.

“Helen, you still have just a little bit of cervix left,” she said. It was happening that fast. “Breathe with me, now.” Five hees. Hooooooo. Four hees. Hoooooo. Five. Hooooooo. Lisa was holding one leg, Dean was holding the other. Three hees. Hooooooo. Five hees. Hoooooo. Two. Hooooooo. The doctor was at the foot of the bed. The other nurses were frantically getting everything ready, I was suddenly aware that It Was About To Happen.

(It was right around this time that my midwife found out I’d been admitted. She called and was told I was about to deliver. She commented back on my Facebook update: ‘Why do my best patients always give birth on days I have my pager off?”)

At 9:30, I got the ok to push. “Already?!” I said. I heard Lisa tell Dean to support my head as I did–and then, I pushed. With each contraction, I’d push three times; with each push, I’d visualize where he was. The baby crowned on the third contraction, and Dean looked down as we moved into the fourth to see his skull molding to emerge. “You’ll feel some burning,” said one of the nurses, and — I felt his head move through me, and screamed again.

“Don’t scream,” said Lisa, and I nearly laughed. “Pant like you’ve never panted before.” The baby was being suctioned, and I felt goosebumps as I fought the urge to push him the rest of the way out before the doctor had a chance to move his shoulders safely.

“Ok, push again,” and out he came. Phflump into the doctor’s waiting hands, and then–that first cry. They placed him on my abdomen to dry him and suction him, and I sat there breathless and awestruck, stuttering the only thing I could think to say as I wrapped my arms around him: He’s beautiful. I was blinking rapidly, trying to get a sense of what had just happened as he was carried over to the examining table. He had a lot of fluid even after the first round of suctioning, and so I sent Dean over to watch as they got him breathing better.

I had more trouble delivering his placenta than I did delivering him, and I was bleeding a lot. But at that point, I was transfixed watching him, watching Dean watch him, so I didn’t really sweat the Pit they attached to the INT to control the bleeding and help deliver the placenta. I probably should have, but I couldn’t breastfeed the baby right away because of the excess fluid. Turned out, he’d come down the pipe so fast that he didn’t get all the amniotic fluid squeezed out of his lungs and tummy.

Because when it comes right down to it, I had him in about two hours flat, and only pushed for 15 minutes, if that.

I had a small tear that needed repairing, and once he was stable they brought him to me to breastfeed. Lisa disconnected my IV, saying, “They probably want you to have a second bag of this but I know you don’t want it and you definitely don’t need it.” As he tentatively latched on, I murmured his name, Jesse.

The doctor not only congratulated me but also–significantly–apologized to me. “You did say that if you could just get to 5…….”

Jesse Heath Mosher, 9 lbs. 11 oz., 23″ long, with a 14″ head. 11/11/2009, 9:47 p.m. And absolutely beautiful.

The story doesn’t exactly end here, though. Jesse’s first night will be another blog post in a bit. πŸ™‚

Before that, though, a couple of observations. I think if my midwife had been available for my labor, I would have gone into active labor more quickly. I also think I could have avoided tearing had I been able to give birth in the squatting position instead of flat on my back. That said, in my heart I feel like my midwife DID deliver my baby. She gave me nearly all of my prenatal care, and took time to educate me so that I would be empowered if she wasn’t there, and helped fill me with a passion I didn’t know existed–or, should I say, still existed.

She asked me, at about 6 months along, if I would consider a homebirth, saying that I would make a good candidate for one. I think, at this point, if we had another freak oops and a sibling for Jesse, I would. But the chances of that are very slim. Jesse was against the odds. A gift, if you will–and how apt is it that “Jesse” means gift?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. November 22, 2009 1:17 am


  2. November 22, 2009 4:00 am

    Wow, amazing. I commend you on your will power and sticking to what you wanted. I’m afraid of having to be extremely stern with doctors as well. The funny thing is that if you had the Pit your labor would have probably been so much longer. Congratulations on your baby and thanks for being an inspiration.

  3. November 27, 2009 5:21 pm

    I came over from the Unnecesarean. Congratulations! Thank you so much for your sharing your birth story. It was so incredibly inspiring to read, and gives me hope for next time!

  4. susan permalink
    November 27, 2009 6:08 pm

    I was made aware of your story through the Unnecessarean blog. What a great birth story! Good for you for telling them no for Pit! Congratulations!

  5. Loralee permalink
    November 30, 2009 9:42 pm

    Thanks much for sharing your story! I know where our birth went wrong and what will NOT be happening this time. πŸ™‚ Thanks for being strong for all of us! Your story really helped me process and understand what happened last time.

  6. February 13, 2010 10:56 am

    When that awesome nurse gave you the birthing ball, I totally started to cry. What a great story! I love that you had such a great experience and got the natural birth you wanted in a hospital setting.

  7. Allison permalink
    March 24, 2010 11:45 am

    Wow! The information about how you avoid so many hospital interventions is SO valuable. I am amazed at your strength (and continuing to progress!) in the face of all those obstacles! I had a home birth, but then to the hospital for 4 days with post-partum hemorrhage – I’m a scientist, and I was still TOTALLY confused about what the heck they were trying to do the whole time I was there! Congrats on your hard work and beautiful babe!!!


  1. Jesse’s birth story, part 2 « Generation Angst

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