My entire birthing experience was prefaced and affected by this determination I had to make the delivery go “perfectly” — or at least perfect from my perspective. A lot of my pregnancy had been frustrating on some petty levels — basically, we had had to rearrange a lot of our lives in ways we didn’t want based on when we conceived, and I developed an autoimmune disorder in my second trimester.
I woke up at 6:30 with what felt like menstrual cramps. I don’t know how many times I’ve read that phrase at the beginning of the scores of birth stories I’ve read over the months but it just didn’t seem real now that it was actually happening to me. I knew then that this was definitely labor, but couldn’t imagine I’d have a baby at the end of the day.
“You want to do what?!” “Will there be doctors there?” “Why would you want to do that?” “What about what happened to (insert an unknown to me name here)”? These are just some of the questions and reactions I got when I decided to do a home birth. Some people just could NOT grasp the fact that for me, there was no need to be lying up on a hospital bed, in an unflattering hospital gown, being poked and prodded. I know because I have had that type of experience with my first born.
As a Valentine’s Day gift my dad boiled countless pots of water to fill a tub for each of us. I feel safe in that story and in the memory of a perfect expression of love. And every splash of water I heard at that moment made me feel safe, too. The midwife smiled. She says my mom and I must be mermaid girls, the way we find such peace in the water. I thought of the next mermaid girl to come, an Aquarius baby born in water.
I had already been experiencing pre-labour contractions for three weeks before my labour started. They had been strong and regular, seven minutes apart, for literally days at a time. Then they’d stop… and then start up again. By the time my due date came I was emotionally and physically exhausted, and thoroughly pissed off.
All of the events and relationships involved in my birth story were put into place nine years ago when my best friend and I met. I’ve watched my best friend and her husband struggle with infertility for years, and one day simply said: “You know I’d have a baby for you, right?” That sentence started the most amazing journey.
On Halloween night 2010, at 12:57am I rolled over in bed and felt my bag of waters breaking. I managed to get out of bed without getting the bed wet and as I was running to the bathroom, water gushed out all over the kitchen and bathroom floor. It was a gush like in the movies. As I was running I yelled to my wife Liz, “My water just broke!”