Xander’s Birth

September 6th I had this feeling that I should clean the house, put laundry away, and wash dishes.  I chalked it up to nesting and almost put it off, but in the end did it all anyway.  That evening John asked me if I thought baby was close.  Lacking any concrete pre-labor signs and not being dilated the week before I said not at all.  Almost as if baby heard me, a few hours later I was coughing and having some leukorrhea leakage.  I had no major or regular contractions so I was surprised when I lost some of my plug first thing the next day.  At my appointment that morning doctor Friye had said she didn’t think I would make it to the next week.

That afternoon we took Breña to her first day of school and I stayed to take pictures of the students. I had minor contractions but as usual nothing that I felt intensely.  We ended up leaving a little after 2pm.  We went to Wendy’s for lunch and headed to wal-mart to pick out Breña’s halloween costume.  I was about two steps inside the door when I coughed and felt a pop and a trickle – it was 3:05pm.  I had to stop where I stood – I was sure my water had just broken.  I walked slowly to the bathroom to see what was going on.  The more I walked the more I leaked, and when I saw mucus I knew I was right.  As soon as I stood up I began leaking very quickly. With every step I took towards the door I was getting soaked.  I was standing by the sink waiting for it to slow down and telling Breña that baby was coming today when a nurse walked in.  She and two other women stopped, helped me with Breña, and found a manager (Shanita).  Shanita was ready to call 911 and get me transported via ambulance but I convinced her not to.  Instead she got John and he and Breña went to get the car and a wheelchair.  Shanita and another employee stayed with me while I waited and we talked about labors and babies.

On the way home Breña fell asleep.  While she napped I spread out some waterproof pads, turned on relaxing music, and started preparing.  The first thing I wanted to do was call my friend Vicki to let her know my water had broken and to talk a little.  I also called Callie who said she might be able to be labor support for me.  I packed a few last minute essentials and washed up a little in the shower.  When contractions began somewhat regularly I sat on the birthing ball.  I started timing them around 4:13pm – they were 30-44 seconds long and 5-7 minutes apart.  By 4:32 they were 35-56 seconds apart and 4-5 minutes apart and by 5:12 40-60 seconds and 3-4 minutes apart.  They weren’t too strong but things seemed like they were progressing faster than my previous birth.  I was starting to think I wasn’t going to have as much time as I had anticipated.

Around 5:30pm Vicki came to drive me to the hospital while John took Breña to get her costume.  I wanted to get the IV antibiotics over with so Breña wouldn’t be scared by the needles and tubes if she came up.  Once checked in and hooked up to the monitor I think the stress made things slow down considerably.  I was at 3cm and contractions were spacing out.  Thankfully I had music on my tablet and Vicki and Shannon the photographer were there to talk with me and help me relax.  I was finding it hard to be patient waiting to get out of bed.  Around 7 I finally got to walk around.  They started running the antibiotics and I went for a short walk in the hallway.  Back in the room I had squatted for a contraction and a nurse offered to bring in a labor ball.  I sat on it talking and laughing with Vicki and Shannon for two hours while laboring.  Around 8:30pm or so I text Callie that contractions were getting more powerful.  I was breathing through them and not able to talk as much.  Thankfully nobody minded the pauses in conversation!  It was nice to have relaxed people in the room with me.

Callie came around 9.  About half an hour later another monitor strip was done, though it took at least the same amount of time to find the heartbeat consistently as it did to do the strip.  I was checked again – the nurse said she thought 6cm.  It was so painful and I was so tense I don’t think she was able to get a good estimation.  I felt like I was further along in labor than that.  About that time Vicki came back and then Shannon left to get some dinner.  John was being increasingly rude on the phone so I gave it to Vicki.  Contractions were getting very strong and I was looking for new positions to help them along.  I found standing up to be less intense and was leaning on different things.  John called – Breña had gotten upset at home and wanted to see me.  Of course I wanted her with me as much as she could be so I said to bring her up.

I had thought they wouldn’t let me labor in the tub since my water was broken but thankfully Callie was there for me to ask.  Laboring in the tub was much more comfortable.  The warm water was great.  There was a funny moment when Callie turned the jets on and they sprayed like fire hoses all over the walls.  I began sitting in a butterfly position and then turned to hold the outer edge.  Pulling on the side of the tub and pushing against it with my legs provided a helpful counter-pressure during contractions.  Contractions were getting very strong and coming quickly, I was moaning with them which seemed to help.  When Breña got there it was really nice to have a positive energy and a reason to smile.  She put on her costume to show me and was playing and being silly.  When I had contractions she would rub my hand and whisper, “I’m here,” and give me hugs.  That almost made me cry!


Maybe around 10:40pm the feeling of contractions changed.  I hadn’t realized I was bearing down but Callie recognized it and said I had better get out of the tub quickly.  She told John it was a good time to take Breña out for a walk since she couldn’t be in the room during delivery.  Vicki let Shannon know the doctor was being called in.  I remembered with Breña’s birth by that time I still had hours left before she was born so I wasn’t sure why everyone was in a hurry.  I didn’t think it was going to happen quickly.  Thankfully Shannon and doctor Friye were both close!

Things went so fast they are a bit of a blur in my mind.  At that point I was well past annoyed with the belly monitor and kept asking the nurse to put it down.  I was laboring on my hands and knees leaning on the head of the bed and it was aggravating to have someone’s hand constantly pressing on me.  I said it seemed like a silly formality right then.  What frustrated me even more was that she would only reply with, “Well,” and her tone of voice was rude.

Doctor Friye got there around 10:50pm.  Even being in labor her presence brought a lightness to the room.  It was good to see her and have another calming person there.  She wanted to do a check and I said I couldn’t make any promises.  We did manage it, though it hurt a lot, and I was at rim.  I asked her, too, if we could just be done with the monitor as it was so frustrating to me.  I was pushing with contractions and everything was looking fine.  As it turned out there wasn’t much time to be concerned with it.  The urge to push was so strong and the pressure was overwhelming, I was sweating a lot.  I could feel my body stretching around the baby’s head after contractions.  I thought again that I might have a few more hours left and there was no way I could handle the intensity for that long.  It felt like I was still in transition, though people kept saying the baby was coming soon.  Callie and doctor Friye were so calm and encouraging.  I was getting emotional and feeling like I couldn’t do it.  At one point I felt the baby’s head go down with pushing and then go back up and felt some despair.  I said what I was doing wasn’t working and I needed help, but I didn’t know what would help.  I thought I should elevate my upper body to let gravity help move the baby down.  I asked how long realistically I might have left and Callie said it was really close, but I didn’t entirely believe it.  I thought she was trying to help me not to get discouraged.

I tried to remember how I had pushed the last time, but it felt entirely different in that position.  I just went with what felt right.  I gave a very hard push and doctor Friye said not to stop, and then I could tell the baby’s head was coming.  I pushed again and at 11:02 the baby’s head came out.  When I felt the shoulders coming I felt some pain that made me think something was wrong, but with one more push the baby was fully out at 11:03.  I felt such relief.  Vicki was there telling me I had done it and I was going to be so happy.  I heard a few loud cries, doctor Friye told me to turn over and see what I had.  I am so thankful now that nobody announced the sex and let me see for myself.  The first I saw was an umbilical cord and then that it was a baby boy.  I saw his face and said, “He looks just like Breña.”  Doctor Friye put him in my arms and they rubbed him down.  I felt so much happiness. He was just beautiful, covered with vernix and he kept sticking his tongue out.  Someone asked if I wanted to cut the cord which I hadn’t even thought about, but I did with three snips.  I specifically requested no uterus punch until after I had some motrin.

I couldn’t believe it was over and the baby was here, and that he was a boy.  I had had no feelings about the sex during pregnancy so it was a complete surprise.  It was amazing to be holding him surrounded by calm, happy, supportive women.  Vicki called John and told him the baby was here but she wasn’t going to tell him what it was, he had to come see for himself.  At 11:22 he and Breña came in and saw Xander for the first time.  They watched him get cleaned, wrapped up and handed to me.  Around 11:50 he had his first latch thanks to considerable help from Callie, and Breña came to sit and look at him.  Nothing could have been more perfect right then than having the two of them with me.  She touched his hair, watched him nurse and we talked.  As a mother watching that is something incredibly special.  A little after midnight she and John held him for the first time.  Even now I’m amazed at how she reacted.  She was exhausted and a little uneasy but curious, calm, and sweet.

He weighed 7lbs 6 3/4oz and was 20in long at birth.


~ by Ashlee on September 7, 2016.

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