In the days past my due date we had tried pretty much every home remedy natural induction technique. Evening primrose oil, raspberry leaf tea, walking, pineapple, sex, chocolate cake, yoga ball, acupressure, Chinese food but nothing had worked. I had made the choice through my pregnancy not to have any cervical checks so I had no idea how “ready” my body was getting, apart from lots of Braxton Hicks and prodromal labor, although the Doctor had concerns that I may not dilate properly due to a previous LEEP surgery.
Surrounded by my husband, my daughter, my mother and a dear sweet friend we welcomed our last puzzle piece into our home. Born at the home his mother grew up in, the home he was made in and the place where we will let love grow for the rest of our lives. Jasper was born in our very own bathroom back here in North Carolina. It was right for us and I would’t have it any other way. Go figure, my body’s not a lemon.
I became pregnant with my seventh baby at the age of 44 — after my husband, Michael, had undergone cancer treatment for Stage 3 colorectal cancer two years prior. To say that this pregnancy was a surprise would be quite an understatement; my age alone made it seem somewhat unlikely, and we were under the impression that his cancer treatment had left him sterile. Our family felt complete with six kids, and we were thankful that Michael’s cancer was in remission, so the idea that we would have no more children was fine with us.
My son Max was born on September 18, 2012 with several other first-born baby boys. According to the nurses, the days leading up to severe thunder storms tend to bring in lots of first-time births where the expectant mom’s water breaks. The day before, I had decided to work late in order to finish as much as I could, just in case baby came early.
Before I had my baby, I had a lot of plans and expectations based around an unmedicated birth and high hopes for a water birth. This didn’t seem unfeasible as the pregnancy had been entirely uncomplicated. I hadn’t bought a pram, preferring a Kari Me sling. I was planning to wear the baby all the time, breastfeed all the time (after all it’s free and if you’re on limited finances that’s pretty important) and was overall looking forward to it.
Monday, December 3rd was a normal day. I was 38 weeks and completely over being pregnant. I was really excited because I was going to get a much needed pedicure. It was amazing. She spent about 20 min massaging each leg and it was heavenly. I came home, my partner Mark and I had dinner and did our normal routine and went to bed. I remember asking him, “Wouldn’t it be funny if that pedicure put me into labor?”
Whenever I would tell a fellow Southerner about my plan to have a drug-free water birth, I would always receive the same reaction: skepticism and a lecture about how painful it would be. Although I would always answer their criticism with the same reply, “I have never been in labor so I know it may be too painful — I am just going to try.” What can I say? I am people pleaser. It is not in my nature to challenge those who seem more experienced. In my heart I knew I could do it. I could only think of one thing that might shake my confidence: a long labor.
The morning my wife went into labor, she came to me and shared that she was experiencing period-like cramping. It was still two weeks before our official due date, and this was her first pregnancy, so we reminded ourselves this could go on for weeks and I left for work. I was only at work for around an hour before I got a text from my wife telling me she thought her water had broken. She told me she wasn’t sure and would keep me posted, but there was no way I was going to try and stay at work.