With the coming of the new year (2004), my life headed for some unknown changes. I woke up early on New Years Day to the sound of rain pounding on the roof. I laid in bed and had this extreme sense of happiness come over me, and it was at that moment I could tell that I was pregnant. It wasn't a physical feeling, but more of a very intuitive sense that there was a budding new life growing inside of me. Months prior to conceiving, I chose the name Cypress as the name for our next baby, if we should ever have another. And so as I laid there in bed that morning, I knew that Cypress' middle name would be Rain, because the beauty of the falling rain that morning touched me.
Before I found out I was pregnant with Cypress, I knew that if I was going to have another baby, I would have an unassisted birth. My daughter's birth two years prior gave me this inner strength and wisdom about my body that I didn't have the first time around. Her birth was so empowering, and the midwife I used with her was very hands-off and respective of my body's own unique way of birthing. I walked away from that birth inspired to do it on my own the next time, and that is just what I did!
I was due around September 15th. For some reason, I had the thought that I'd end up going a little early this time around, so boy was I in for a surprise when Cypress decided he'd come 12 days "late". Once September rolled around, I was anxious all day long, everyday, wondering when my time would come. I certainly was in store for a lesson of patience!
On Sunday, September 26th, I woke up around 3:30am to a contraction. I smiled and thought, "wow, this is probably it!". My other 2 labors were 48hrs and 24hrs, and both started off with very mild and manageable contractions, and this is exactly how it started this time around. I decided to stay in bed and try to sleep through my excitement, but once 5am rolled around, I just decided to get up and see how the morning would unfold. It was still dark out, so I decided to light the candles I had set up for when I went into labor. It was so peaceful sitting in the stillness of the morning, knowing that with each contraction, the moment of finally meeting my baby drew closer and closer. As daylight crept nearer, I decided to sit outside and watch the sun rise. To be sitting outside, watching the world awaken, the flowers glistening with morning dew, and birds welcoming the start of the new day, gave me such a feeling of tranquility. I then decided to go to the back porch and read a book, when shortly after I was startled with a bright, almost blinding light, and realized it was the sun coming out. It had been years since I've been able to spend the early morning in peace, and this was such a perfect way to start my labor.
From the time I got up, my contractions were anywhere near 5-10 minutes apart. When Tom and kids got up at 8am, we had a special breakfast of homemade waffles, and then started our day how we usually do. I called my cousin, Mandy, to let her know I was in labor. She was going to be present for the birth, though we had no set plans as to what her role was going to be. She was going to be both care for the kids and serve as a doula if I felt I needed support. She arrived a few hours later, and her daughter and my kids played in the yard, while I steadily labored on, and decided to do some tidying up. With labor not really progressing too quickly, and with the hunch that I wouldn't be having the baby until it was dark outside, Tom decided to take the kids out for most of the afternoon so that I could get some rest. I did end up resting for about 1 1/2hrs in mid-afternoon, but couldn't get too comfortable. Labor intensity kicked up a notch, but was still not what I'd call painful. My mom and I decided to go out around 5pm and get some movies. We decided to get "Along Came Polly", and it turned out to be a very funny movie. My contractions were requiring my full attention and so although I was laughing a lot during the movie, I was also concentrating on each sensation I felt, and deeply breathed through them. I made use of the birthing ball from time to time while we were watching the movie. Tom and the kids got home somewhere around 8pm and we got the kids ready for bed. Contractions were getting pretty intense now, and so I figured that once the kids were asleep, things would pick up. It was the hardest thing ever to be putting the kids to sleep and trying to remain quiet through contractions so they could fall asleep. Thankfully, they managed to fall asleep through all of my heavy breathing, moaning and pelvic rocking. Once they were asleep, I made my way into the living room and lit the candles. At this point contractions were still fluctuating between 5-10 minutes apart. As much as I wanted an answer to my unspoken question of, "how much longer will this take", I decided to just let my body do what it was doing and not be concerned with time. My body was busy cleaning itself out, like it has done with my other 2 labors (using the bathroom quite frequently). I tried my best to sleep between contractions, but when I'd doze off, I'd be quickly awakened by the contraction and have to rock my way through them. Somewhere between 1-2am, I lost my mucous plug and this was so reassuring that things were actually working the way they were supposed to. Things were really intense now and even though I was able to fall asleep easily, I'd always awake from the contraction at it's peak intensity and have to jump off the couch because it was getting unbearable laying down. My mom and Tom both were asleep in their rooms, but came to check on me from time to time. Mandy was in the living room with me, sleeping on the other couch. She told me later (days after Cypress was born) that she felt so bad for me, because she could tell I was in a deep sleep, and she would watch my body when a contraction hit me and how I was awoken up abruptly by the pain.
Sometime between 3-4, I had this HUGE urge to get the spot ready that I was going to birth the baby in. I started gathering my birth supplies and laid out the old sheet in front of the couch. I was also continuing to use the bathroom a lot, and I also started feeling nauseous (with both of my other 2 births, I threw up somewhere between transition and the pushing stage. I knew that I'd soon be ready to push the baby out.
At some point, and I'm not exactly sure at what time, I got Tom, Mandy and my mom together and I started giving instructions on how I want the actual birthing to go (i.e. catching the baby, how to support my body, etc.). I think I started semi-pushing at around 4:30-5am. At first I felt the urge to push every so lightly....it wasn't my body doing the pushing, it was more like it felt relieving to push, and so I went with it. I was switching between lots of positions (birthing ball, hands and knees, squatting). I found that standing up to push. It was then that I took off my clothes and got ready to "get down to business" (I'm usually a very modest/prude person, so just the simple act of being fully nude in front of others and not care is a BIG moment of empowerment for me). So I started pushing with each contraction, and they still were coming 3-7 minutes apart. I was still standing up pushing and a little dribble of my waters came out,and it felt so good. At one point it got really hard to stand up and push, I felt very dizzy since I wasn't holding onto anything for support. I then switched to hands and knees to push. From the way I was facing while I was pushing, I was looking directly at the fireplace mantle, which is where I made my birth alter (it had candles, my artwork, and some special things from my blessingway), and this gave me something to focus on. So I was working hard with pushing and I started to feel the baby's head coming down (I never *actually* felt it with my hand, I just could tell by the sensation in my body), and I decided to grab the bar stool for support, since the hands and knees position worked so well for me, but I needed something to hold onto and rock forward on. I just kept focused on my birth alter while pushing, and kept telling myself, "you can do it, just a little bit more". In between all the pushing, I was giving instructions to everyone. They all got behind me, with Tom waiting to catch the baby. I pushed and could totally feel the baby's head about to crown. Then another push and his head was out,at which point it was semi-painful and semi-relieving....and my body just stopped contractions for about a minute or so, my body stretching nicely, awaiting to birth the rest of the baby. Then the next contraction, I pushed with all of my might and he came splashing out, with the rest of my waters breaking all over. He came out so fast, Tom almost dropped him. 5:53am... Ahhhhh, relief, he was finally out, it felt soooooo good! He was behind me, so when I sat backwards to get on the couch, I saw him in Tom's hands, my lil Cypress, and he was a boy, like I knew all along! I sat onto the couch and held him so dearly, and he let out such a beautiful lil cry. My back was hurting so bad, and I couldn't get comfy on the couch. Also, I was immediately met with more painful contractions, and for a split second, I thought, "oh no, there's another baby in there!". I just kept having this urge to push, so I pushed. For some reason I just wanted to get the placenta out, so I was halfway concentrated on getting Cypress to latch on (which he did so well), and also focusing on getting this placenta out. It came out about 15 minutes later. My mom and Mandy got everything cleaned up, and shortly after he was born, we looked outside the windows behind the couch and saw that the sun was just about to rise, and a beautiful fog was covering the woods behind us....it was so breathtaking, and combined with holding my new baby, it's a moment I'll always remember.
The kids woke up 1 1/2hrs after Cypress was born,and when they came out of the bedroom and saw us on the couch, they were so excited. They came running over and were so happy to finally meet their little brother! I was am happy with how the birth went, and proud of myself for never doubting my ability to have the baby exactly how I wanted to. There was never a moment during the labor where I had any fears, I felt like my head was on straight the whole time!