Just a little over a week before the scheduled ultrasound, Paul and I decided on a boy’s name – with three boys already, it’s a daunting task to come up with a nice one we both agree on. Noah Tikhon. Over lunch at church, with a suggestion from our friend Antonia, we liked Noah as a first name paired with Tikhon, which we already knew was going to be part of the name. The day of the ultrasound came. Sure enough! We were destined for a fourth boy – I saw the “proof!”
After nine months of a fairly easy pregnancy, but with more of the usual pregnancy discomforts (ugh!), I was sincerely hoping Noah would come early. I just wanted to rub his cheek against mine and to feel comfortable again.
Well, sure enough, Noah did come early – 38 weeks, 4 days. Parental prayer for one’s children does wonders!
Friday, November 15th, 5:10 p.m. I’m on the phone with Antonia, and Paul beeps in letting me know he was on his way home from work – I feel my first regular contraction. These are mild, but noticeable, lasting only 30 seconds and remaining 10 minutes apart for several hours. That evening, the whole family went to Best Buy where we purchased some Christmas gifts for the kids. Later, I called my sister, Christa, who planned to take the kids during the birth – we’d already had a dry run at her house just that Monday with a “false alarm.” We agreed that I’d call her if things picked up, and I needed her to get the children, or if the birth happened in the middle of the night and the kids slept through it, she’d get them in the morning. By 9:30 p.m I decided to go to bed. Paul stayed up studying. The kids were already in bed and had no idea that there was a possibility of the baby being born soon – I didn’t want them to get too excited and not sleep, just when I needed them to – Monday was proof of that.
About 10:30 p.m. I was awakened by an intense contraction. “Now,” I thought, “if these go on for days, I certainly won’t like it!” Hopefully, this was the “real deal” starting to kick in. Unfortunately, the contractions were still only 30 seconds long and still 10 minutes apart – just more intense, but that was it. I called Dotti at 11 p.m. to let her know what was going on. We chatted a while, and then she told me to call her back when the contractions were 5 minutes apart and lasting about 45 seconds. I stayed in bed a few more minutes and decided then to get in the birth pool that had been set up in our bedroom since Monday.
First I set the lights to dim and programmed my CD player to play certain songs from my Celtic Christmas CD, which sounds nothing like Christmas music, but is definitely classic Celtic. I put a few drops of Lavender oil in the warm birth pool water and got myself a glass of water. Everything was set to be as relaxing as possible – I was virtually alone, although the rest of the family was in the house sleeping.
I kept track of the contractions and somewhere around 12:45 a.m. the contractions got closer together and a bit longer. Finally, I woke Paul up around 1 a.m., because I just couldn’t keep track of the contractions myself anymore and didn’t want to be “alone.” It was another forty-five minutes before we called Dotti and Dana to come.
By the time the midwives arrived, I felt like I was in transition, but also doubted it because it seemed too soon. My contractions were definitely very strong and were coming often enough and close enough that there was no need to really time them. I got back into the pool, since I’d been out of it since I woke up Paul. Dotti checked my cervix for dilation and felt I was about 8-9 cm dilated! Wow! The water was relaxing and warm and kept unnecessary pressure off my feet, legs and wrists, so I could just concentrate on coping with the contractions. I labored almost silently in the pool allowing my legs to float behind me while I held myself up with my arms; bouncing my feet off the side of the pool for a bit of a rocking motion during contractions. Paul, Dotti and Dana kept watch in relative quiet for over an hour and a half.
About 3:43 a.m, I felt the first urge to push. Soon I would be holding my baby! Paul stood outside the birth pool and supported me under my arms, so my hands could be free to catch the baby when the time came. I was completely immersed in the water up to my chest. Dotti knelt outside the birth pool, completely attentive, but keeping a “hands-off” approach as long as all was well, since that was my wish. After the first push, I felt a “pop”- my water broke – all was well, the fluid was clear. I gave a couple pushes until the baby’s head started to crown. Dotti reminded me to blow through the pushing urge so I could allow the baby to birth very gently. What a relief when his head was born! I felt him moving inside me and with one more push, I caught my baby underwater as he was born and lifted him out of the water to my chest. I saw he was certainly Noah Tikhon.
I had done it! I birthed my baby unassisted, but not unattended!