It was 20 days past our ‘due date.’ My husband Jason and I were at the end of our prescribed 3 days of alone time by Auntie Pua… to let the baby know that it was alright to come, that we were solid. We had spent most of that day gardening and relaxing in the kiddy pool that was intended for the birth, and drinking plenty coconuts. Then we laid down to read more of “The Continuum Concept.” It was about 6:00pm when I went to the bathroom and noticed a titch of blood, and at 6:30pm I had my first contraction. The sensation radiated around my back and my whole belly! I knew it wasn’t another practice contraction like the ones I’d been having for two months already…
In 10 minutes I had another, then again in 5, and then another in 5! Jason and my doula, who was conveniently staying next door at the time, thought it was a good time to call our midwife. She said everything sounded good and to call her again in a little while. Jason asked, “When will that be?” She said, “Oh, you’ll know!”
We began timing the minutes in between contractions. 4:54, 4:22, 2:36, 3:46, 3:21, 2:30, 2:52, 3:50, 2:42… They were coming fast and hard, and the only place I was ‘comfortable’ was on the toilet! Nine contractions in 30 minutes! It was time to let our midwife, doula and my mom know what was going on. The midwife was on her way. This is when it got very real for me.
3:06, 2:46, 2:39, 3:28, 2:24, 2:21… With each contraction lasting for over a minute, I had little time in between each one to catch my breath and try to collect myself. 2:15, 2:39, 2:34, 2:38… Jason asked what he could do to help, a sweet mistake… I yelled, “Don’t ask me any questions! I will let you know what I need when I need it! I love you.” The contractions continued… 2:46, 2:17, 1:40, 2:17, 2:44, 2:43, 2:36.
The midwife came in through the front door and continue they must… 3:08, 2:37… I asked her if I had to keep timing the contractions. She calmly says, “No, it is just happening.” Ahhhhhh… what a relief! All the numbers were making me very anxious.
She sat at my feet with her ever gentle and compassionate presence, Jason prepared the pool, everything was happening so fast. I felt like I needed to push, and she suggested we go outside. I knelt in our taro patch, I held onto a coconut frond, to Tina’s car, to the tailgate of my truck… Nope! It was back to the toilet for me. How very romantic! I was not having my baby in the lua! As soon as Jason said the pool was full, I felt very ready to get in and start to push.
My contractions began to vocalize into flat out hollers! I remember in between one set of contractions, looking at my doula and stating very matter-of-factly, “Well, this is very interesting!” With each new strong sensation I became more and more present. “Each breath for your baby,” my midwife reminded me. I told my baby not to worry, that I wasn’t as scary as I sounded. I focused on the soft light in the corner that illuminated beautiful color-filled paintings. The pauses were short, but serene… sacred silence. The contractions were now so fast and hard they made me feel as though I was riding a lightning bolt through the universe. It was other worldly!
The midwife checked me, I was dilated to 10cm – it was time to get the baby out. Baby’s heart rate had dropped and a new position didn’t help. My doula was asked to call another midwife in, who thankfully lived directly across the street, to come up and help. Something was up, I didn’t know what, but I remained fierce and fearless. A couple of pushes and my midwife could feel hair! Another Big One came on… I pushed so hard! I needed to slow myself, open my mouth wide so the rest of my body would follow. Another one! I had come to the infamous, “ring of fire.” My baby was crowning! I reached down to feel my baby’s head begin to emerge. Just then, rain began dumping outside for about 30 seconds. It was my baby’s blessing. Two more pushes and I was holding my baby’s head! One more push, the biggest of all! My midwife said those three unforgettable words, “Grab your baby!” I did. It was 9:07pm.
The midwife took hold of my baby right away, there was no breath! There was a lot of meconium in the waters, she had to clear the lungs and then she gave my baby the Kiss of Life!** “Breathe baby breathe!!” Jason and I repeated while she tapped heavily on the baby’s back and cleaned out the airways. Finally the baby cried out with life and was back in my arms.
Time seemed to stop. Through the gurgles of new lungs clearing themselves out, the first latch of my baby’s mouth on my breast and the complete expansion of my heart, I forgot that it wasn’t over yet. My midwife placed her hand on my knee and said, “It’s been about an hour, you need to get the placenta out. It’s not over until the placenta is born…”
**Tina, if I had ten thousand tongues, I couldn’t thank you enough!
Image Credit: Sommer Tarro